6 months in a Poland…..a well needed reflection! [Part 1]

Well it has been 6 months in Poland and yes time flew by so quickly especially when you have a big event to prepare for!

Life in Poland has been highlighted with a number of ups and downs and I would daresay that this time here has been quite enlightening.

I have been travelling quite a number of times here and I had the opportunity to go to the northern-most part of Poland and went multiple times to both Warsaw and Krakow. They are for sure amongst my favorite cities in Poland. The Startup scene in these cities is quite lively and a substantial amount of people meet on a weekly if not twice-weekly basis and discuss about startup ideas. No wonder people want to set up their technology startup in Poland. There is a feeling which for now might be the closest that I could ever get to the American Startup Scene.

So many people ask me: What is a Startup? and somehow quite a number of times, I was taken aback by this question and as if in a fleet of inspiration I remember this wonderful quote from Steve Blank about startups which says

A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model

Then again the next natural question is: What is a business model?

And the way I could explain that is by saying that it is rudimentary/basic essentials of a business plan which will give you the necessary vision and direction to lead your business in the right direction.

I can see we have veered of course here…..back again to my experience in Poland.

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend three conferences(Mobile Developer Conference, Mobile Trends Poland and Makerland) and 1-day Hackathon with one of the best names ever – ‘Hacktory’. All of these different opportunities and events have given me the necessary insight to understand better the Mobile Developer World and what it takes to take a project from concept to innovation. This process, which happens on a frequent basis during hack-a-thons, is truly a magical feeling and it’s my form of adrenaline to keep me innovating and pushing me forward to reach new frontiers.

Hack-a-thon? Is this a place where illegal activity takes place? No. Are people trying to hack into government and banking services? No, and if they would, they wouldn’t be so stupid to do it during a hackathon. It is an event which could last from a couple of hours to days where people are involved in collaborative programming and sometimes these people have never met before.

I had the opportunity to experience this twice to three times in this past 6 months and I am very lucky to say that they have been experiences which helped me grow as a person and which have made me understand quite a lot of aspects of the technology business and the wonderful mobile development world, where quite a lot of magic has been happening recently.

A quick thought about the conferences:

Mobile Central Europe was a truly wonderful experience and I had the opportunity to meet really great people there from all over the world. The best part of this is that all the workshops and lectures were held in English which made it much more comfortable for me to fit in this atmosphere and I honestly felt at home there. I was also lucky enough to meet the right group people to win a Hackathon and thanks to that I got a free ticket to Makerland on which I will talk about later.

In Poland, there are many people who know how to speak English quite well but the large majority of people find it very difficult to communicate in English which has made things a bit more challenging for me here. By the large majority, I am talking about people who work in the grocery shops, supermarkets, bus drivers, etc. These are the places where you spend quite a lot of time and sometimes it has made me nervous but over a significant period of time, I have learnt to embrace this.

Thanks to this, I have been able to learn quite a lot of Polish and despite the fact that I still find it challenging to talk in Polish, I have progressed to the stage where I can understand quite a lot from a conversation and I can answer back most often than not. This has led to a number of hilarious situations throughout the past 6 months(imagine Stefan attending a marriage course for 10 weeks in Polish) which I will remember for some time!

The 2nd conference which I had the opportunity to attend was known as the Mobile Trends Conference, and this took place in Krakow. Here the lectures were a mix of Polish and English, but there wasn’t the same atmosphere that I felt in the Mobile Europe Conference. Its as if there was something quite missing and I was quite nervous as the internet connection suffered quite a bit there(unlike the Mobile Europe Conference, where the internet was quite flawless I would dare say), as I was trying to live-blog the event.

The last conference that I was to was Makerland. It was truly a wonderland of hardware technology namely 3D printers, robots, arduino(small and feature packed micro controllers) and so much more. It was a really great insight into the future of hardware and the magnificent realisation that the offline/physical world is getting closer and closer to the digital/online world through so many different interfaces. The future is truly exciting in this manner and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I also had the great company of my maltese colleague and visionary Jeffrey Dalli.

I have run out of thoughts…..I will post some more next week :)

 

 

It’s the doctor’s fault.

Stefan Buttigieg:

A post worth noting!

Originally posted on Dharmaraj Karthikesan's Blog:

I came to clinic at 9.15 am the other day. I was held up in the wards and was fifteen minutes late. My patient, a 40 year old housewife with poorly controlled diabetes was fidgeting outside my room. She was unhappy. I could tell. She entered my room and started berating me for my seeming lack of consideration for her time. By the time she was done, I had apologized a dozen times. We started with the consultation and to my chagrin, she forgot to bring her home sugar monitoring chart. Her blood sugar control was abysmal and her kidneys were starting to leak protein. She was obese and still gorges on fast food despite being counseled by a dietician. She has defaulted her appointment to the eye doctor because she felt ’her eyes are just fine’. She has not been taking her medication for the past week as she was…

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Why do I think that it’s worth paying for some applications……especially when it comes to Sleeping.

I get to encounter people on a regular basis asking me for the best apps on the app store and when I get to the point that I tell them that they need to pay a certain amount, their eyes seem to grow with surprise and even though I try to argue the fact that some of these applications cost about as much as two or three cups of coffee(some of them will even pay you back with sanity and easier workflow), they still don’t seem to like it.

The price of software we use on a daily basis has actually gone down. We used to pay 50 EUR for the latest game! In fact, I remember that for Fifa 1998, I had paid about 20 Maltese Lira to purchase the game(I was a good boy most of the time, wasn’t really a fan of pirating software) and today, 15 years later you can actually get FIFA for free on the iOs App Store. Of course, they needed to find a way to get the money otherwise they would be unable to pay their staff, and this is done through the in-app purchases which you have the option to make use of to enhance or facilitate your game experience.

Great Software is worth the money you pay for and you observe this in the quality of the software you use. And I’d like to take the opportunity to start suggesting some paid applications which are truly worth your investment and which I pretty much use on at least a weekly basis(and some even on a daily basis).

Today I’m going to talk about Sleep Cycle!

I will go to straight to the point, it costs 1.79€ but it saves 1000s of Euros on productive sleep!

Image

 

As shown in the picture above, this app works by putting your phone in the corner your bed and connected to your charger, so really and truly you’re hitting two birds with one stone. Good sleep and charging your phone for the next day! And this app has grown to be so specialized over the last two years that it can even provide you with soothing sounds(this features is known as ‘Sleep Aid’) to help you go to sleep(these don’t work with me unfortunately haha). 

Not everyone is the same but it’s usually quite reliable when it comes to helping you wake up as it helps you decide the time interval required for you to sleep which can be modified from 10 to 90 minutes.

The developer who has a Polish name(not sure if he’s living in Poland) has been on top of things when it comes to app, and he updated his app in the early weeks of the release of the new iOs 7 operating system which shows his dedication and commitment to keep on developing this wonderful software.

I can’t stop praising this app enough.

Have a great sleep ;)!

You can download this app for iPhone from here!

 

 

Spotify has arrived to the Maltese Islands! Rejoice!

This week I had the pleasure to finally install Spotify on my iPad and iPhone and I just can’t stop playing all kinds of music playlists. It truly seems that I’ve been missing out quite a lot! 

Luckily, I’ve been able to access Spotify on my Mac from Poland without any hitches and from Malta was using a VPN service to be able to access the service. Having a mobile Spotify experience is truly one of the best music experiences you can get.

And to make things even more interesting,Spotify has decided to provide free unlimited music streaming to mobile devices! CNET covered the announcement in the most unbiased way possible

What are you waiting for? Download Spotify today!

Apple – iOs – Spotify iOs App Link

Google Play – Android – Android App Link

Over the upcoming few weeks will be posting some of my app choices and adventures developing mobile apps!

What I am passionate about : Health Informatics

In the coming few weeks, I will start posting on a regular basis about what’s going in the world of Health Informatics and how it can be used in such a way as to improve healthcare and ultimately saving more lives!

Originally posted on Successify!:

This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to address those with clinical depression or other mental illnesses.

happinessThere are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. I have spent plenty of time amongst both groups to have seen it first hand. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do…

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Stefan Buttigieg:

Interesting blog by a good friend of mine. Beautiful video to be seen!

Originally posted on One Baka Apart:

This short video epitomizes much of my thoughts about the world, my love for science and it’s beauty and why I can’t, can’t, can’t accept when people stop asking “why”!

It’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which may be wrong.

Richard Feynman, 1918 – 1988

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MOOCs

Recovering from major knee surgery and being away from work gives you a lot of time.

A lot.

Recently, I had subscribed to a number of Massively Open Online Courses on coursera.org which I didn’t have so much time to dedicate to beforehand. Work drains your energy and after a days work, the last thing that you feel like doing is learning. But alas, now I’m unable to go to work and a good chunk of time which had been previously filled by work had to find new pastures. And there comes along, MOOCs(along with a subscription to lynda.com and an amazing subscription offer at udemy.com).

And, yes, time is flying fast. It has already been 5 days since my operation and equipped with my new Macbook (the true productivity machine which was enhanced by the fact that I had the opportunity to do a 6-hour long training programme on lynda to learn all the features of this wonderful machine).

Bring on the learning!

One more thing, I’m doing two courses which I’m focusing on right now:

These MOOCs are giving me an insight into what I’m passionate about, that is , Technology. And, it is providing me with the opportunity to have a full 360 degree view of how technology affects peoples lives and how it bothers and empowers them. Equipped with this knowledge, I truly believe that I can be a better advocate of technology.

If you are thinking of taking one of these MOOCs. The following video is a friendly and great video guide:

Stefan Buttigieg:

useful I guess ;)

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

iOS app Happier is launching today with the ambitions of, well, making you a happier person. The app is inspired by research that shows that focusing on the positive and sharing good things that happen to you with the people you care about makes you happier. You can download the app here.

The app, which is the brainchild of former Where product VP (sold to PayPal) Nataly Kogan, encourages people to capture and share happy moments during the day. As Kogan explains, happy moments can be small, such as eating something you enjoy for breakfast, getting an email from a friend, or a hug from your kids.

To share a moment, you can jot down a memory and take an accompanying picture. You can also categorize these happy moments, such as food, exercise or time with friends. And you can share these moments in the app with friends and family.

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