stuff multinational internet companies don’t get

There are a few things multinational internet companies don’t seem to understand:

  1. Location and language don’t always match – even when a users are proficient with the local official language, they may still prefer to use a different language – but there are a lot of users who may not be proficient enough to use the native language or who may feel more comfortable with a different language. A lot of this multinational companies have most of their content in multiple languages, the only question is, why the hell do you guys keep connecting language and location together – I understand that there may be exceptions – like contacts who may be tied up with the local laws, but other than that, just allow users to choose the language they want for your interface.
  2. Gift Cards are very useful – there are multiple reasons for people to use gift cards to add credit to their accounts in your websites – because they don’t trust you enough to not abuse or lose their credit cards, because they don’t have a credit card, because they want their kids to use your services but want to control how much they spend without having to approve every single transaction, because they collect the gift cards they buy to refill their credit, because they fell like it. If you don’t have gift cards for sale in every corner of the globe, you should.
  3. People travel around – that is true in America as well, some US citizens go to Mexico or Canada now and then, but Europe is made of very small countries, which means that people cross borders all the time.
  4. People don’t really care about border – and that is specially important for your gift cards – if someone who leaves in one country goes on vacation to a different country and buys a gift card for your services, they expect it to work with their account, it doesn’t matter if their account was created in the other side of the unnatural line.
  5. Give us the content – if in every country you are available you have the same catalog of content (movies, books, music, tv shows, etc) as the local competitors, and the account is connected to the location of the user, what is the point on having an account with a big company? It’s time to kill borders for content. Users don’t care what the content managers think is the best for them, users just want what is best for them, and even if some users want to wait for the subtitles of the movies and TV shows to be available in their local language, other users just want the most recent episode of their favorite TV show as soon as possible, and are willing to pay for it – but will gladly get it from some torrent if the companies they are paying for content don’t give it for them. Stop negotiating content country by country, force the content owners to license world wide – to everyone, not just you. Help lobbying the politicians to kill borders for copyright. We don’t live in that world anymore!

To be fair, I understand that not everything in this list is directly in the hand of the big corporations. But some of them are: Location and Language is a matter of design, having gift card is a matter of find a few partners to implement it with, and allow them to be used cross border is, at most, a matter of accounting that is not that hard to solve.

And those three alone would be a good improvement for must migrant users of your services.

Thank you!

Hundred doves

This is a math riddle often asked in Portugal to kids who are good at math. There are two versions of the same riddle, but if you can do one, you will most likely be able to do the other – I leave you both, just in case:

A hawk flies by a flock of doves and says:

Hello hundred doves.

We are not an hundred doves – the doves replied – but us, as much as us and a quarter  of us together, and you, hawk, makes an hundred.

So, how may are the doves in the flock?

In the second version, the doves reply, instead:

We are not an hundred doves, but us, as much as us, half of us and a quarter of us together with you, hawk, an hundred would be.

So, can you find out how many doves are in each of the flocks?

Increase the headcount

I hope you won’t mind the direct approach, the **Some company name** team is looking for Perl developers to increase its headcount, and I was wondering whether you would be interested. Your profile is a good match for our needs.

I was looking into my recent contacts on Linked in and I had a message from a recruiter that started with that paragraph.

So, do you guys know of any developer who is looking for a company who hires for the headcount?

If being head counted is your dream job let me know on the comments and I will give you the recruiter contact.

Our responsibility for those whose lives we touch

From the little prince to the intersessions of Mercy, by the sisters of Mercy, and not even spiking social responsibility statements from corporations, our society is impregnated with the idea that we are responsible for the lives of others.

With the little prince, our responsibility end with those we tame, but to almost everyone else it extends to anyone whose lives we touch – I depending on how you interpret this, it may be a way bigger group.

But where is our responsibility with ourselves?

Energy and sleep

Some days I have the feeling that sleeping is essential to keep productive.

Other days the fun of keeping working on something takes all the need for sleep away.

It’s not only how much we sleep that matters, it seems, but also what is keeping us from sleeping.

Welcome to Hell

“Any given Saturday” (Um sábado qualquer) is a Brazilian comic from Carlos Ruas about gods – lots of them, from the Christian God and his son to the Nordic, Egyptian and the African and traditional Brazilian gods – they all show up now and then. This one strip is about hell…

usq-bemvindo-ao-inferno-2636

the conversation goes like this:

– Welcome to hell! Football starts at 14h, the barbecue starts at 16h, the strip show starts at 17h…

– You are not going to torture my soul for all eternity?

– Of course not, little fool. God made that up to frighten you.

– You are here because you didn’t follow the words of god, right?

– Right.

– I’m also here because I didn’t follow the words of god! Welcome to Paradise!

I’m saying this for years. Who want to go to heaven? Everyone praying and behaving very up-tight… it sound like hell to me.

The Dream work

One of the things that keeps surprising me is the lack of dreams.

I understand quite well those who don’t do anything or that don’t manage to finish much – I’m planing on buying one of those T-Shirts that say “I put the Pro in procrastinator” – After I start writing this story I did replace the aromatic candle I like to have in my table, and then looked for the T-Shirt, but not happy to find one, I did find one, two, three… hell, a full category of them

But the lack of dreams surprises me. Asking someone “What would you like to do?” or “What would you do if money was not a problem?” and getting “I don’t know.” as an answer confuses the hell out of me.

Dear authors

Dear authors,

I love to read. And the space in my shelves is more than gone.

I know that a lot of you are already being published in digital formats, but If that is limited to the big publishers who use DRM, don’t count me as a client.

But in general I’m more than willing to pay for your work. But I only in an open format, DRM-free – epub is my personal preference.

Now, personally I get most of my ebooks from smash words, but if I really want to get your book, I’ll find your site and where to get the book from.