Andrei Firoiu

Web entrepreneur, product builder, book lover, traveler, proud father and of course (and why not?) looking for world fame.

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I watched Ex Machina and it was boring. I mean, it was clear from the beginning the whole movie is just an “AI Box Experiment” ( that it would end badly (for humans), just to show how dangerous artificial intelligences can be for us.

I don’t want to brag about this, just to point out that if you have minimal knowledge on a subject, everything looks clear, simple and predictable. If you’re in dark and just facing that matter for the first time, things looks spectacular and almost mystical.

This is the difference between ignorance and knowledge in any field and that’s why you need to have a deep understanding of everything you’re doing. If you don’t understand something you tend to reject it and form a justifiable opinion that probably that thing is bad for you. If you’re in the dark, anybody that produces a lighter in front of you is more credible...

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Circles of trust

Like you and any other social being, I have different circles of trust in witch my relatives, friends and acquaintances are positioned. This trust is the measure we all use when interacting with other people.

And this is where it starts to be counter-intuitive - to my inner circles I can be as blunt as I want, sometimes even rude. It’s not my real intention to be rude, I’m just very sincere in my feedback. If I’m unhappy with you doing something stupid and express myself accordingly, is because I really care and don’t want to put a sugar coating on it just for you to have it easy.

If I am to do the same thing with someone witch I’ve only met last week, most probably I’ll be avoided in the future and our relation will end before it even starts. That doesn’t mean I won’t give sincere feedback to that person, just it won’t be my main concern if she will choose to discard it and it won’t...

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The difference between perseverance and stubbornness

I just stumbled on this article by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten that got me thinking:

Indeed, that’s a very important matter to decide when you’re building a startup. It’s the difference between loosing a lot of time and money and become irrelevant, instead of starting again with something new with greater chances of success.

So how do you know when you’re persevering or just being stubborn?
I guess going on with the “when everybody tells you’re crazy, you should go to a doctor" test is good enough. But then again, there were some examples of stubborn people succeeding long after everybody gave up on them.

So all things considered - is all about numbers and statistics: is more probable that you’re on a wrong track if most of the people are telling you so, although it doesn’t have to be...

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About how we learn

Today (in shower of course) I had a revelation about the way we learn.

I was repeatedly amazed by how my daughter learned to do some things, when she was very little. It was like suddenly starting to do something (a gesture, face expression or word) that she didn’t know how a moment before. It wasn’t a gradually improving process - just instant feature activation.

And (even if we don’t realize), it’s the same way we adults usually learn, too. There are things around us that we don’t see or understand. Then some day, someone show us the blueprint, the schematics of that thing and suddenly it’s there! We understand it and it’s like we always knew it.

Remember feeling stupid and wondering how you didn’t thought of that thing before? :)

Of course, this is not the only way we learn, but I think it’s the most important one. Because this is the way we become wiser.

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We all read a lot of articles about starting habits. Good habits I mean. Everybody agrees that habits can lead to a healthier life, better productivity, happiness and other good stuff for you. The problem is, that when you start to form a new habit, most of the times you have to replace an old (possibly bad) one. And that’s hard - you have to leave your comfort zone and spend a lot of energy without a formed positive feedback loop. When it’s much easier to do the same old thing that your brain knows for sure it will bring a reward.

So let’s say you want to switch to a healthier lifestyle and start exercise each morning. Seems easy when you first think of it. But you’ll soon realize you have to change a lot in your daily routine to fit this new habit. First, you’ll have to reduce the 1 hour coffee&news morning ritual. Then, you have to stop going to bed very late in the evening because...

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19 billion dollars

Just take a minute and think at this number. Can you grasp it? Do you have something to compare it with?

Now think that someone was willing to pay this amount to buy something. And because the purpose was a commercial one, that someone is expecting this investment will return that money and much more. Do you imagine yourself being a part of this transaction (not dreaming of it, but instrument it)?

This can very well be news from a parallel universe, because it’s not (or it shouldn’t be) of concern for the startupers around the world. It’s not a good pro-startup argument, because they are not the standard, but just an exception. A very exaggerated, grown out of proportion, news sweetheart. Just an exception. Think of how many unthinkable-amount transactions of this kind were made in the last year. Was it more than one? Maybe two or three? Now think of how many startups were born in this...

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About consumer economies

In a society that is politically and economically unstable, you cannot predict the future from the vantage of the present. You work and put money in the bank to save for a rainy day, but inflation suddenly soars and make your money worthless. The rule of the game of life seems to change randomly, so why would you invest in the future? You probably would not. You would focus on the present. People in volatile economies do not invest, because it is better to spend now that have their earnings lose value tomorrow.

The Time Paradox, Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd

Thats why you tend to find ridiculous situations in pourer economies, when a lot of money are thrown away on frivolous things (expensive cars, gadgets, parties, trips) by people that should put this money in retirement, medical or college funds instead. Or worse, by people that don’t even afford this...

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A simple journey

  1. A short ride in my car from Timisoara to Arad to meet Adi.

  2. Move in Adi’s car for the trip to a parking lot near Budapesta.

  3. Take a mini-bus to the airport.

  4. Then a plane to Bergamo.

  5. Waiting a shuttle bus for 30 minutes for a 5 minutes ride to a nearby parking.

  6. Finally, driving a rented car to Trento.

For the pitch.

  1. And then of course, same way back.

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As we travel through our lives we are changing a lot. And usually we trade our innocence with experience, skepticism, matureness. Most of the times we didn’t event notice. We are always wanting something new, always fighting for more, never stop to think at what we loose in all this time.

Look at the kids around you (if are your own even better) - they are the best reminder, the wake-up call you should take. Most of the times, we are too busy to stop for a minute and try to understand them. We are annoyed when they are too noisy, when they want to play with us, when they want to do what they want instead of what we want (selfish ungrateful brats). We are too tired of our stressful jobs to do some little effort for them too. We fail so completely to understand them that we want to change them, to make them as us - to grow and be successful (in other words to become busy drones that...

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Why uberVU being acquired by HootSuite is good news for romanian startup community (for real)

Yes, I know everybody is very proud that a fellow romanian just sold his business and become millionaire in the process. Just like in gymnastics. And in football some very long time ago.

But beside the bitter-sweet celebration and buzz in the press and community, this really mean something important.

Because this is how the first wave of romanian angel investors are starting to appear. And I mean the first real angel investors - with know-how and networking that could really help romanian startups to grow world-wide (think super-heroes but with startup superpowers :).

I think this is the last important missing link for the romanian startup community to became internationally relevant. And yes, it’s starting to happen right now. It will not be this year, or the next, but maybe in 4 or 5 years we’ll be getting there.

Meanwhile is anybody willing to place some bets on who’s next...

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