Tag Archives: life

Why return to office is actually good for you

In the last three years there has been a torrent of people telling us how life-changing work from home has been and there is no turning back. A lot of these conversations start by someone claiming that they saved 3-4 hours a day on commute, and are actually 10 times more productive at home while cuddling with pets and having tea with the wife, all at the same time.

Let’s break down why it’s an exception or a temporary arbitrage at best, and a death spell to all of these jobs at worst, and why these myopic people may need to actually embrace some of the RTO even if it ends up negatively affecting their personal idyllic bubble.

We will set aside such trivial facts that 1. not everyone is good at WFH (or likes it), 2. not every manager/org is good at managing WFH, and 3. not every job or project type is suitable for WFH. Let’s just wave a magic wand and say all these and lack of socializing/fighting for promotions/brainstorming in person are non-issues, and work from home is extremely efficient for all parties involved.

Then we run into an immediate problem: your cozy WFH job can be done not from your home, but from a home in Ahmedabad.

Your WFH job could even possibly be done by an English-native expat beach-bumming it in some tropical paradise like Koh Phangan for like a $1000/month.

Why not? There are plenty of engineering (in my case) graduates in Southeast Asia and anywhere else that’s 10x cheaper than the US. We’ve had plenty of precedents where manufacturing jobs were moved overseas, and during COVID progressive-looking tech companies claimed it’s only fair to pay the same salary anywhere in the US.

Well guess what? That Reddit move hurts everyone who lives in the high cost of living (HCOL) areas, because now they get the same salary as people working from Kentucky but have to spend a ton more on basic necessities.

You could say, screw the HCOL people, they are spoiled anyway, who cares, let them migrate or otherwise fizzle away, the future is everyone WFH from Kentucky and there is no turning back. But why Kentucky and not Bangladesh, Thailand or Guadalajara? If WFH was so efficient, why should the company pay you even a Kentucky salary, when they can pay you a Pakistan salary? The typical hurdles like remoteness, time zones, language barrier and lower-quality education are slowly being removed, with education improving, current remote and asynchronous tools getting better (and Latam being in the same time zone anyway), countries churning out more and more hundreds of thousands of Computer Science (and other engineering) grads.

The fact that for the last 20 years despite having all the modern work tools we’ve only been moderately successful at outsourcing – and many companies are still willing to shell out top bucks for salaries in the US cities – indicates that WFH is probably not going to take over in a massive way. Something still doesn’t fully click with remote, and if you care about your US salary, that’s probably for the better.

Your #SSN DOB credit cards were leaked. Go do a credit freeze at all 3 agencies (FTC): https://goo.gl/RXZAVL

Equifax Says Cyberattack May Have Hit 143 Million Customers (Bloomberg)

That’s 60% of all US adults, or pretty much everyone with a credit card. There is a big file floating around somewhere that has enough info on you for anyone to take out a bunch of money in your name and dump that debt on you. You can prevent that by putting a credit freeze on your personal info, which you can lift when you need to apply for credit yourself – here is an FTC link on how to do all three.

The most maddening thing about this leak is that – unlike Ashley Madison – this time you cannot opt out of this shit or “just stop doing it”. If you are a functioning human in USA, you are pretty much forced to store your most sensitive financial and personal info with these scumbags, and then they go on and leak all of it. I hope they get sued to death for being a bunch of incompetent de facto extortionists.

Of course, it’s another issue altogether that what used to be called impersonation and bank’s failure to verify its borrower, the same thing now is referred to by an idiotic oxymoron identity theft and somehow it became not the bank’s problem but yours.

In case you wondered why Travis #Kalanick got kicked out from #Uber

Quote 1, June 9, 2016:

I say we are going to IPO as late as humanly possible. It’ll be one day before my employees and significant others come to my office with pitchforks and torches. We will IPO the day before that. Do you get it?

Quote 2, August 30th, 2017:

In response to a question about going public, Khosrowshahi said it would probably happen in 18 to 36 months, according to two people who listened to the meeting. “It’s my opinion that the company should go public,” he said.

Of course it’s your opinion, that why you just got hired!

Looks like the IPO will happen shortly after the VC’s came to TK’s office with pitchforks. Everything else was just clowning and smear campaigning by Benchmark to depose him. Everyone who jumped onboard the righteous moralizing Uber-bashing train should be really ashamed now. HR incidents happen at any company, everyone involved in them must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That doesn’t excuse a ridiculous anti-PR attack that almost took down the entire company. And even now it’s not clear if Uber will fully recover.

Level 5 #SelfDrivingCars by 2021, by 2030 gas cars drop near zero?

We’ll see… I’ll just leave this here : ) Will check back in a couple of years to see if gas and personal cars have gone the way of Kodak and the typewriter by then. Might be a bit upsetting for the Uber-bashing crowd out there, too. Some really interesting forecasts here and here:

  • Self-driving cars will launch around 2021
  • A private ride will be priced at 16¢ per mile, falling to 10¢ over time.
  • A shared ride will be priced at 5¢ per mile, falling to 3¢ over time.
  • By 2022, oil use will have peaked
  • By 2023, used car prices will crash as people give up their vehicles. New car sales for individuals will drop to nearly zero.
  • By 2030, gasoline use for cars will have dropped to near zero, and total crude oil use will have dropped by 30% compared to today.


#wtf @microsoft? #rant

TLDR: the whole process of buying consumer Windows is surprisingly user-hostile for a company that is supposed to move quickly to survive.

Splurged on a Windows 10 Home license (sooo 90’s….) for my family. Normally, I would not inflict Windows upon myself or people around me, but my family is stubborn. Now trying to simply download. the. thing. and I get this:

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.36.43 AM

Wtf is “Creators Update”??? What is “Windows 10 N” and how is it different from “Windows 10”? What is all this crap? Oh, it’s a special edition for sale in Switzerland that has media player removed, that’s great! But what moron decided to drop these acronyms on a person simply trying to download Home edition, no explanation provided? Too little space on that page for a couple of explainer sentences? Which one should I pick for the ensuing 35-minute download and not screw up? (answer: “Windows 10 Creators Update Windows 10”)

Of course, no mention of how big is the actual download anywhere, including Amazon’s product description (answer: 3-4GB depending on the architecture, so throw away that 2GB thumb drive you were planning on using) – and I bought this on Amazon, in advance distrusting MS purchase experience, and was still forwarded to MS website. Who cares if I have to run to the store to buy a bigger thumb drive? Stupid details, this petty consumer nonsense is beneath Microsoft. I thought Nadella turned that place around… or something…

Basic Income #basicincome

The subject is all the rage in nerd blogs and progressive debates. But it’s a bit ridiculous how quick people are to forget history and get carried away with hype. Basic income (various versions of it, and much more along those lines) has been extensively debated and tried in real life for many years. It has serious pros and cons that mostly still hold, even in the world of (gasp) iphones and facebooks. There is a rich body of works and real-life data for anyone who cares to set aside a few dogmas and take an unbiased look around. Yet most vocal people just pretend like nothing of that kind has ever occurred, and the dumb humanity just never happened to think of trying out the groundbreaking Finnish new ways…

To all the gun lovers out there

In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11

That’s 11 (eleven) incidents, three orders of magnitude less. Japan’s a bit under a half the size of US population.

The U.S. has the loosest gun laws and a gun homicide rate is 15 times higher than the rest of developed countries.

Nuff said. I love guns, rented from a licensed vendor at the range.

equivalent to a retirement sum worth millions of dollars #fumoney


Who are America’s fastest-growing class of millionaires? They are police officers, firefighters, teachers and federal bureaucrats, who, unless things change drastically, will be paid something near their full salaries every year–until death–after retiring in their mid-50s. That is equivalent to a retirement sum worth millions of dollars.

Never thought about it this way. Social security is on its way out; turns out the people with a guaranteed pension end up among the richest. You have to make a lot, save a lot, and manage your savings really well to match that.

And no, this is not socialist Europe, this is the good ol’ US of A, Gini index  45.0.

loving and hating San Francisco

Much has been said lately about how messed up this city is. Most of it is true, it is very difficult to live a normal life in SF, and the price/quality is probably one of the worst in this country. However, in my line of work, there is one amazing fact that is hard to ignore:

* appthority

* lookout

* bluebox

and many others are a 10 minute walk from each other. This can’t be a coincidence, right?