Hello! This is a micro-blog by Ahmad AlNaimi; a software craftsman, curious experimenter, and founder of a one-man laboratory Burkan Labs.

Plates 2.0

I took two months off between my resignation and graduate school, and I used most of that time learning Swift and Android’s SDK by re-implementing Plates. This was back in June, and even though I (almost) completed the work on both of them in August, I’ve been procrastinating the release. Until now (for iOS, at least).

The new iOS Plates is much snappier, smoother, and comes with offline synchronization. I am still struggling with iTune Connect to delete the old version (for some reason I’m getting an error) and also trying to convince Apple to upgrade my seller account to Burkan Labs rather than my name.

Anyway, check it out here.

Timeless Tunes

I have been developing an obsession for Arvo Pärt – a minimalist Estonian composer who consistently arranges simple notes to beautiful patterns.

My favorite is Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror). If you listen to it with full attention through your earphones, I promise it will make everything around you go slow motion. Perhaps a bold claim, but BBC Soul Music seem to think just as highly of it.

I am also a fan of combinatorial creativity. As such, a hat tip goes to Beats Antique for a fair attempt to remix Fratres.

There’s an old documentary about him. This guy is a genius.

Next Stop: MIT Sloan

I visited Boston in 2011 on a business trip. One sunny day, while wandering around, I stumbled upon a small stand selling t-shirts. In a standard impulse buying behavior I decided to buy a light grey MIT shirt. I only wore it once; it didn’t feel right.

Last month I received official admittance to MIT Sloan to pursue a two-year MBA. If you were to tell me, three years ago, that Boston would be my next home, I would have laughed it off. I still can’t believe it.

Life is choices, opportunities, and grit. I am forever indebted to those who helped me throughout the process.

Book Summary - High Output Management

I often forget what I read. This is why, for every non-academic book I read, I will be sharing an electronic copy of my bullet-point notes. I hope this would help me retain the information, easily reference it in the future, and maybe share some of the things I learned with you.

High Output Management is a very practical, result-oriented guide to optimize processes and manpower.

Andrew Grove (the author) was the CEO and Chairman of Intel, and a significant icon in modern management practices. He steered Intel from its startup days to become a world-class brand, while driving the growth phase of the whole Silicon Valley.

Grove’s methods are impressively practical. Some of the things that hit me the most is the idea that he prefers decisions to come from the middle of the hierarchy chain, because that’s where you get the know-how and the authority to execute. Or how much emphasis he puts on performance evaluations: the fact that every year, he reviews around 100 random evaluations, making sure that all of his managers are giving concise and constructive feedback. He sends notes of compliments or requests for re-writes to all of those evaluations.

Click here for my bullet-point summary. If you are in management, I highly recommend you read the book. I’d give it 4/5.

Thanks to Jihad for unknowingly bringing this book to my attention.

The Best Advice

The best advice I have ever received was around one year ago, when a good friend told me about (and pushed me to embrace) Rejection Therapy. Few minutes ago I received the best news I have ever received – a life changing phone call.

Rejection Therapy is a marvelous idea. Put simply, it is the concept that if you are not being consistently rejected/denied, then you are not consistently aiming for big things, and therefore not consistently evolving or learning. Practitioners of this exercise should find themselves comfortable out of their element and always surprised of how much they can achieve only by asking or trying. Or as the Arabic Bedouin proverb goes: اللي ما يطلع القنص ما يصيد.

Do it today. Plan for experiments immediately.