10 August 2017

You missed your lucky break

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Someone at work today accidentally posted the above job in our careers section of the website. I work for a fast-growing startup that's hiring at a rapid rate and it was hiding out amongst all the real openings we have from Node.js Backend Engineer to Client Success Manager. I don’t know how long the ad was live, but what I do know is that it had fifty views. And zero applications. 

You don’t really apply for good jobs in London these days; rather you compete with the hundreds of other applicants that are all vying for a foot in the door. Busy hiring managers spend an average of six seconds looking at your CV before making a decision (really), so it might feel like you need more of a lucky break than anything. 

Which is why I can’t help but think that fifty people just watched their lucky break sail straight past them. 

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”  - Seneca 

I’d probably change that Seneca quote to say: “luck is what happens when preparation and creativity meets opportunity”. Fifty people had the opportunity but clearly weren’t prepared or creative enough. You have to think: what hiring manager wouldn’t read a well-crafted, mildly tongue-in-cheek application to that advert? They could have used it to apply for one of the real jobs. 

It’s easy for me to say all this with hindsight, of course. I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed that were staring me in the face. Lots I imagine. 

by Nino Rosella
09 August 2017

When your identity holds you back

“That could never happen to me” 

“I’m the blonde one" 

“I’m someone who hates exercise” 

“I never get the girl” 

“I’m not a very confident person” 

“I’m just big-boned" 

“I don’t get addicted to things” 

I find myself saying things like this all the time.

We need to be aware of the story we tell ourselves. It might just be the very thing that stands between us and the life we truly want. 

by Nino Rosella
08 August 2017

A lack of empathy

It's amazing the array of places you can find a lack of empathy. 

There's the support technician trying to fix your internet that treats you like an idiot and doesn't understand that you work from home and need Internet to earn a living. There're doctors that have a cold bedside manner. There are the architects who have never spent a day in a wheelchair trying to navigate the built environment.

And there are people like me, who attend a funeral and ask a puffy-eyed relation to the deceased: "how are you doing?" as if the answer wasn't bloody obvious.

You may think I'm being unduly harsh on myself - it's a mistake that's easy to make. But the first step in developing more empathy is noticing the times when you have a lack of it. 

Empathy can be applied to things big and small alike. It makes us more human and that's why it's important.

So, I apologise for today. Will do better.  

R.I.P Maggie G

by Nino Rosella
07 August 2017

Pret missing a trick

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I was sitting in a Pret A Manger today when I noticed this card in its little holder on the table. You're meant to fill it out with feedback and somehow deliver it back to the staff. It wasn't clear how. 

When was the last time anyone filled one of these out? I'd wager that people are more inclined to write a crap review online or physically go and complain to the staff face-to-face if the issue is bad enough (Americans and insane people). 

Instead, imagine if that little holder grasped a postcard with pre-paid postage and a pen. How many people do you think might write: "Hey, just having lunch in Pret and saw this nice postcard and thought of you" before popping it in a little postbox in the store and going on their merry way?

A wasted opportunity if you ask me. 

by Nino Rosella
06 August 2017

A proper drink

I was in a coffee shop today where I witnessed a couple discussing whether or not they should attend a party next weekend. 

"I think we should go. I haven't had a drink in more than a month," said the girl. 

"What about that half a bottle of wine you drank last night whilst watching TV?" said the guy, his face screwed up in mock confusion.

"You know what I mean - a proper drink". 

It's easy to see how this failure to recognise reality - self-delusion - can be dangerous. 

Marco Tempest is right. The biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. 

by Nino Rosella
13 December 2016

Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

As a general rule, I tend to steer clear of books with titles that could be considered a bit woo-woo. Books with titles like “Big Magic”, for instance. I made an exception in this case because the recommendation came from one of my favourite humans, Seth Godin, in the Slate podcast with Brian Koppelman. 

He didn’t let me down. This book by Elizabeth Gilbert - the author of Eat, Pray, Love - is really one author’s story of how she nurtures creativity. It’s a deeply personal and authentic story. 

As an engineer I’m really not one for anything that could even be construed as supernatural or other-worldly, but I have to admit that I really resonated with Gilbert’s description of what ideas are: 

I believe the creative process is both magical and magic…
I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us - albeit strangely… 
Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. 

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a very romantic portrayal of something that is usually given to us in a very binary, scientific way. 

I liked the fact that there was very little “you should do this”, or “this has to be done my way”. Gilbert is just describing her own methods and describes what worked for her and if the story resonated with you then great, and if not, also great. 

Gilbert's style is also something that I love. The book is so easy to read and her voice really shines through. It's incredibly conversational, with lots of hyphens and brackets. I know many people will slate this style of writing, but for some reason my brain just got on really well with it and I was able to finish the whole book in a day.  

I loved this book. It’s magic. 

by Nino Rosella
10 December 2016

With one hand Ford giveth

The thing I remember most about my childhood Sundays was playing footy in the freezing rain before rushing home to catch a glimpse of an Escort Cosworth terrorising a World Rally stage on TV. I also remember the joy of seeing a production version prowling the streets with that hunkered down stance, the ridiculous bodykit, the loud exhaust and the stupidly brilliant “whale tail” spoiler. 

Imagine my delight then when the new Focus RS (Baby Cosworth) is released not only with a 4-wheel-drive system, but is also awarded 5 glorious evo stars. But before we get too excited there’s a rather large elephant in the room that needs addressing. Like the regular models it’s only available in frumpy 5-door trim. Ford has to be kidding. 

A fast Ford is supposed to stick it’s fingers up at everything, but in particular: VW owners, your neighbours, that classy bird from work without an accent, and corporatism. So when I hear that the RS won’t be available in 3-door guise due to ‘global ambitions’, I can’t help but feel like the baddies won. If that’s something today’s RS owner doesn’t mind then I’m really worried about the direction the world is headed. 

This post was adapted from a letter that I sent to evo magazine that they printed in the March 2016 issue.

by Nino Rosella
09 December 2016

Dear Fiat, here are four signs a relationship is over

It's probably fair to say that the vast majority of people have been in a relationship that lasted much longer than it should have. I've been in a few and I've gone to the effort of highlighting four common traits that these kind of relationships tend to be characterised by. 

1. You and your partner don't respect each other as individuals

When you saw that Lancia was drifting away from you, instead of doing everything in your power to make amends and truly work on the relationship you pussied out and let her jump into bed with Chrysler and taint the family name.

2. Your partner stuck and unable to grow

Worse than that; your partner is stuck in a crevice where she's slowly withering away. In her heyday of 1990 she was shipping just over 300,000 units. Now it's been reduced to a measly 61,000. In fact the only people that buy Lancias now are patriotic Italians who will never see any wrong. Trust me on this, my own grandad still insists that his 1997 Fiat Brava is the best car he ever owned despite the fact it literally set itself on fire.

3. You're not even nostalgic

Lancia was a true innovator. It was the first to sell a car with a monocoque, the first to offer a five-speed gearbox, the first to sell a road car with a V6 engine. The list goes on. You seem to have forgotten all this as well as its phenomenal racing pedigree.

4. You and your partner have mutual goals and dreams for your future together

I'm almost crying just writing that last point.

The time has come to bite the bullet, man up and call the relationship off. At this stage I don't really care if you kill off the brand entirely or sell it on. You're clearly not willing to put in the effort and care that it deserves, and to quite frank it's a bit embarrassing.

P.S. I promise this is the first and last listicle I ever produce

by Nino Rosella