An Automattician is you

This post by Matt got me inspired about Automattic 4 years back.Automattician.png

Now, I have the creed in my offer letter. Yes this creed that inspired me to apply to Automattic is now on my offer letter.

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

I start as an Happiness Engineer at Automattic tomorrow and I am super excited to be part of the fabulous team. The process of applying and trialing has been an intense, focused, fun filled journey that I will never forget. The creed is what brought me to the company and one that will keep me motivated moving forward.

If you find the creed inspiring and you think you have it in you to make it as an Automattician, you should apply. We are hiring.

Sleep apps and their usefulness.

I was using a sleep app to track and monitor my sleep pattern for over 6 months when iOS 7 launched with health kit. The first few days or rather a few weeks were fun and interesting. I got insights into how my body had rested and I was able understand how my body would react to a stress or a workout(cycling, running, etc) the following day. All that data was interesting to analyse and understand. Sometimes there were odd days, where one would notice that the day goes really well, despite the fact that sleep was hardly 4 hours or so. As weeks and months passed, the initial enthusiasm died and I wasn’t analysing the data anymore. I still tracked my sleep, but didn’t just look into the data in the morning. I did this for over two months, one fine day I realised that the sleep tracking didn’t change anything about how I lived my life for the past two months. That got me thinking and I came up with some questions. Some questions I should have asked before I set out to start tracking my sleep. The questions were

  • What is the point of this tracking?

  • How accurate is this sleep tracking?

  • If I could spend $2 to know everything about my sleep, then what are those expensive equipments in an actual sleep lab?

  • Is this sleep tracking really worth the effort?

I started digging around articles and forums on the internet. Its no surprise that the apps are some what beneficial (yes they track the time you spent in bed 😀, the movements yes, but sleep not really 😡) but they aren’t completely reliable and they aren’t accurate at all. Here is what I learned.

Any sleep tracking app does two things well, they tell the duration of the time spent in the bed, and they can record the movements in the bed. Both these aspects deal with the quantitative aspect of sleep. If only these quantitative aspects can give us insights into how our brain works and recovers, we all can be geniuses soon.

Sleep quality defines how the body works and not the time you spent in your bed rolling around, and these apps/motion trackers can hardly measure that.I would say it is just marketing speech for these apps and devices.

Here is an excerpt from a researched, guardian article

“Anything that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning is what you should be aiming for, which is generally between six and nine hours,” explained Dr Irshaad Ebrahim from the London Sleep Centre. “But it’s not all about time, it’s about the quality of the sleep, whether you complete sleep cycles.”

As to using motion trackers to measure sleep, he said: “They’re not measuring sleep, simply motion – not muscle tone, brain waves, heart rate or eye movement. You cannot infer quality of sleep from motion and tell what is crucial REM [rapid eye movement] sleep and what is not. People can become obsessed about their sleep through these gadgets doing them a disservice, worrying about it and in turn getting less decent sleep and having a negative impact.”

Here is more from a Ph.d candidate in neuroscience. Don’t forget to read the full article.

About every 90 minutes, we slip into REM, which is characterized by EEG waves that resemble wake, whole-body muscle paralysis, and—yes—rapid movement of the eyes. In the end, a pretty little roadmap of one’s night’s sleep, called a hypnogram, can be generated. It looks a little something like the image
…which is exactly what apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time attempt to create for you.

Except that, without precise electrophysiological measures, the apps’ premise is fundamentally flawed.

So I stopped my sleep tracking. What a blissful feeling to not take your phone to your bed every night and not worry about iCloud backups in the morning. Yeah, iCloud doesn’t back up data when the sleep tracking app is running at night and you have to manually start the iCloud backup every morning if you care about iCloud backup like me.

We all had good life even before the onset of activity trackers and sleep apps. Lets not forget that. Humans are predictable and are a creature of habits. Just create a routine of an hour of workout and a regular habit of getting into bed at the same time everyday. In just a couple of weeks you will start feeling the improvements of a good sleep and your body and mind will thank you for the good habits 😀.

Life & Death

It has been over a month since a dear friend of mine passed away. It still hurts and I know a few people who are yet to recover from his death. Accepting death isn’t easy at all and especially when it was a very unfortunate ill timed early death. Since I know how badly it hurts, I thought I will share an article by Tim Ferris about Death and especially about suicide. The idea behind sharing an article here is to spread the word for those who are looking for motivation to avoid taking their lives. Tim has compiled a list of reasons which should give a new reason for living to those who are depressed.

To quote

Below are the realizations that helped me (and a few friends). They certainly won’t work for everyone suffering from depression, but my hope is that they help some of you.

  • Call this number : 1 (800) 273-8255. I didn’t have it, and I wish I had. It’s the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (website and live chat here). It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in both English and Spanish.

  • I realized it would destroy other people’s lives. Killing yourself can spiritually kill other people.

  • There’s no guarantee that killing yourself improves things!

  • If you don’t care about yourself, make it about other people.

  • Make a promise you can’t break, or at the very least realize this: killing yourself will destroy other people’s lives.

Life is precious, please do make the most of it. Life is definitely worth living every moment you have, even if it hurts.

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