Zeit·geist = spirit, essence of a particular time

A collection of food-for-thought posts and articles on technology, business, leadership and management. 

Metanoia (n.) the journey of changing one's mind, self or way of life

A conversation over the weekend with Peter Simons, co-founder of Performant, a management consulting firm, turned into a twitter dialog which, eventually, sparked other thoughts and ended up with his ideas about change in my inbox.  His views around change & perceptions are too good not to be shared (thanks Peter for permission to reproduce in here), not to mention his formula to calculate quality of feelings as a function of change in perceptions, simply brilliant (nerds & quants please feel free to comment or elaborate).



Changes in our lives are important and cannot be avoided.  We normally do not like them, they trigger us to take action.

There are many simple examples how we react to changes. If temperature starts raising we notice.

If light levels or sound levels suddenly change we react.  If something in our view suddenly moves we look at it before we know.

The reason is that when we lived in trees we needed those triggers in order to survive.

Today changes affect us in the following way: If something changes for the better we are happy. If it changes for the worst we dislike.  Once better or worse we do not pay attention to it anymore. We get used to it. Hence only the CHANGES give a stimulus to our mood, to our lives.  Please understand the importance of changes to the way you are.


Whatever we do in live is mainly driven by perceptions. Marketers now that very well.

We hardly take the time to verify and we believe what we perceive.  The media are very good at that. We assume a lot and that is dangerous.

News shows one side of the story:  the accident with the aircraft. They will NOT TELL US how many aircrafts landed safely.

They will not tell us about all the peaceful muslims on earth after a car bomb kills an American soldier in Afghanistan etc..

It would be worth to THINK at least  a few minutes once digesting information.


Here we go.  We are triggered by changes. You cannot always manage changes yourself.  Or can you? Yes you can because a large part of those changes are changes in PERCEPTIONS.  We are triggered by CHANGES IN PERCEPTIONS:

For those who love mathematics:

U = d(Perception)/dt .

where U is the quality of the feeling that was triggered. It can be positive or negative

Once you understand that,

YOU yourself can change your perceptions too.

- look at the flip side of a story, what was NOT TOLD???

- if you have a bad moment start to think that tomorrow probably will be better and if tomorrow arrives ENJOY the improvement

- in conflicts with other people try to understand that a large part of the conflict is probably based on perceptions. Find out what really goes on instead of assuming

Three ways of improving your quality of life, personally and professionally. It improves your decision-making.

Good news: think about it and you will find that there are many more ways of changing your perception.

About Peter Simons

By applying the management techniques he learnt at AT&T, Peter turned smaller technology companies into successful businesses. In the current crisis he is co-founder of Cohen & Simons that assists companies in financing industrial, technology and life science companies.

Peter holds an MSc (Hons) in electrical engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology and an MBA (Hons) in finance and general management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


'I am the president of the United States' - a tribute to Bertrand Russell. #toomuchtimeonplanes

(this is an English, US altered version of the original article published in November 2011 that can be found here). Disclaimer:

This post is a tribute to Bertrand Russell, the brilliant philosopher and politician. Any reference to the president of the United States is just contextually serendipituous and a mere coincidence when the subject of this post was created. It is also intended to leverage on its relevancy and hopefully increase the reach of this blog through search engines and content discovery (... at least I'd like to try given poor metrics around here).


Starting from an axiom acepted as an universal truth we can prove Mr. Obama and I are the same person, therefore, I'm the president of the United States.

Don't believe it, do you?

Let's drill down beneath:

As everyone knows, one plus one doesn't equal two always. It is an universally acepted truth the sum of the parts can lead to a greater result (e.g: one plus one, in a marriage, typically derive in a family: three or more from the moment the first baby comes).

Taking this postulate as the underlying logic, the corresponding rationale follows:


  • The equation  1+1 = 3 (or more than 3) is possible and true.
  • Hence  2 = 3
  • Substracting 1 at both sides of the equation 1 = 2
  • Mirroring the equation  2 = 1


If the President of the United States and I are 2 different persons and 2 = 1, then Mr. Obama and I are 1, therefore, I'm the President.

From now on please refer to me as Mr. President or Prez in short, in case you follow me on twitter (at @efernandez).

PS:  Bertrand Russell was a brilliant British philosopher and politician from last century. He became famous when he said the British prime minister was worse than Hitler at that time. Bertrand, using the same rationale as above, demonstrated he and the Pope were the same person.

(By the way, following this logic, if I could demonstrate that I am Mr. Russell, then, Mr. Obama and the Pope would be the same person, shocking, isn't it? ;-)



from the series #toomuchtimeonplanes

Father & Son lifespan together #toomuchtimeonplanes

My son turned 4 the other day, on the 20th of August. I was away, as usual these days, traveling.

Being away made me think of the time we should be spending together and, more importantly, about how much effective time we will be able to spend together over the course of our respective lifespans.


I came up with a draft aproximation to the problem based on two criteria:

Time (X axis), overlaying Father and Son's timelines, with the estimated lifespan they can effectively share, since a son is born till father dies.

Energy (Y axis), or 'impressions' during a lifetime. Inherently linked to our physical growth as humans, representing our lives as a bell (gaussian) curve: birth, growth phase, younger age, middle age peak and elderly evolution.

Foremost and most important, time father and son can share over their respective lifespans is limited to those years where both are alive. This is true at least while we can't backup our brains and download our consciousness on virtual machines as this would enable timeless independent interaction.

While we wait for that technology, in my case, common lifespan for my son and I is in the range of 30 years over our combined lives reach of 140 years, overlying our respective timelines.

In the picture above, this is the time between point A in 2013 (ed Jr, my son, turning 4 now) and point C in 2043 (myself becoming too old for meaningful interaction).

Peaks in life, top of bell curves, happen at mid age (points D and E), gone for me, and estimated at the age of 50 for my son, somewhere around year 2059.

This is considering life expectancy of new generations, and new millennials to increase from 80-90 years today to over 100 for them, hence ed Jr's bell peak at 50 instead of 40 as it was for Generation X parents like me.

Similarly, the 'energy' or 'impression' levels for new generations over the course of their lives will be far bigger, amplified by technology, ubiquitous knowledge, and online, always on services & resources that will expand human interaction with the world around them (early signs of this can be seen today).

The gaussian area below your bell shaped life curve defines how impactful your life has been. It's some sort of power measurement (energy/time) of your life.

For instance, there's little 'power' life you can live with your son before he is at least 3-4 years old, when he starts to remember things and experiences (point A). Similarly, there's little doable at the very end of your life (probably lying on a bed with serious physical limitations, point C).

The triangle shaped area delimited by points A, B and C gives you a sense of the actual common 'powered' life available for you and your son.

The referred triangled area is the gaussian area below your son's life curve (between point A and B) adding the area from father's declining bell curve (from point B to C).

Anyone up to do the math?, would you like to see an online calculator of 'father & son power lifespan'?, let me know....