I'm walking 50km

Starting now, I'm setting one big physical challenge a year, in an effort to push myself to exercise more. (Also, I gotta justify all that MEC gear I keep buying)

This year, I'm walking 50km. And I'm telling you so that you keep me on track. My hope is that, by telling you all, you'll help me stay motivated.

The details of the challenge are very simple: A 50 kilometre hike with no long stops - short rests and meal breaks are ok, but that's it. No camping, no naps.

Logistics are not very complicated, and fun to put together. I haven't figured out the exact trail, time of the day, meals, water, etc. That's the easy part.

The hard part is the training, of course. I can comfortably walk at 4.5km/h which means I'll cover 50km in about 11.5 hours. If you add breaks, it might go up to 14 or even 15 hours. I need to build my endurance greatly to achieve this.

I already have a training plan I put together with my personal trainer. Now it's just a matter of following it.

I've set the date to early August, so I have just over 4 months to get ready.

So, I'm asking you - every time we talk between now and August, ask me how my training is going. You'll be helping me greatly.

Scaladays 2015 was awesome

Scaladays 2015 was a fabulous experience.

As an attendee, I did not have to think about the organization of the event at all, which is probably the best compliment one can provide for the organizers. Nothing got in the way of my conference experience. Wireless just worked, the rooms were great, quality food when you expect it, and the scenery around the venue was incredible. Kudos to Typesafe and Trifork for organizing this.

Attending Scaladays with the Bold Radius posse was pretty awesome, of course. I'm incredibly proud of working with such a capable, positive crew.

And there was lots of time to connect, which was essential. I had great conversations with all kinds of wonderful people - some old friends, some brand new. It is incredibly encouraging to see interesting things being built with the Typesafe Reactive Platform.

As for he presentations, here are some of my personal highlights from the talks I attended:

  • Easy scalability with Akka by Michael Nash
    • A wonderful demonstration of using Akka's power to build a reactive application.
    • An excellent delivery by an experienced technical leader.
    • Showcase of some advanced Akka features, like Clustering and Persistence, allowing for the design of a strong CQRS based application.
    • Ok, maybe I'm biased since I kinda work with the guy. But all of the above are still true!
    • Download the Activator template here.
  • Scala - where it came from, where it’s going by Martin Odersky 
    • It was good to hear Scala is moving towards even more type safety, while keeping its flexibility.
    • Announcements about TASTY as an intermediate class format seems promising.
    • Seeing Scala.JS take such an important seat at the table was very interesting.
    • I'm also keenly interested in the use of implicit types to model effects, as opposed to Monads. I hope simplicity and readability are kept as a priority when designing these features.
  • Life beyond the illusion of present by Jonas Bonér: 
    • I really liked the comparison Jonas drew between handling communication errors in Real Life versus our (often impossible) desire for failure-free information systems. Confirmation and repetition are techniques we use all the time.
    • We can't force the world into a globally consistent present, so we might as well deal with the messy inconsistencies as a fact of life.
    • CRUD is dead, long live CR
  • Anatomy of a Play application by Marconi Lanna:
    • Essential tricks if you're building Play applications.
    • Hard to summarize, since there was many useful code snippets, so I strongly recommend you read the slides.
  • Leadership wherever you are by Diane Marsh
    • Very interesting points about leadership, not all of which I agree to.
    • In particular, the idea of the Genius Jerk is a bit disturbing, in that there was no mention of trying to work with this Genius to have his ability empower rather than discourage her team members.
    • However, I generally liked the thread about encouraging leadership in your organization, and being a leader yourself - even if you don't feel like one right now.
  • The unreasonable effectiveness of Scala for Big Data by Dean Wrampler
    • Loved the code samples comparing Java map-reduce with Scala Spark equivalents.
  • Akka HTTP by Roland Kuhn
    • Akka HTTP looks very promising, and I can already see implementations where it would fit very well
    • I'm looking forward to great documentation where many of the new (to me) concepts are elegantly explained and described.
  • If I only had a brain... in Scala by Julie Pitt
    • This one touches a soft spot, since I've always been drawn to AI and Machine Learning. Seeing work in this field with Scala is really encouraging.
    • Intrigued by why Akka was not a good fit - perhaps I should give them a call?

However, I had to miss many talks that I wanted to watch, which is why I’m eagerly looking forward to the videos being posted online.

If you couldn’t make it, I strongly encourage you to check out the videos whenever they become available.

Oh, and a quick tip: if you like a talk, ping the presenters. They looooove to hear their efforts are not in vain. We're all human, and these people do put tremendous passion into what they do. Give them some love.


I recently read Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” and it left a profound mark. Since then, I’ve started to focus more intently on Why I do the things I do. I agree with his idea that great organizations and leaders have a strong sense of Why. Their teams, services and products reflect that raison d’etre deeply, and as a consequence are strong, believable, and powerful.

The same applies, in my opinion, to one’s life.

So I cannot imagine a better topic for the first post in my personal blog than this : Why?

You see, I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my professional life. I’ve worked with great teams of very capable and likeable people, where my opinion has been heard and my work appreciated.

On top of that, I’m lucky enough to do something I truly enjoy - I solve problems with software, and teach others how to do the same.

One can hardly ask for more.

Yet, I’ve realized througout my career something has always been missing.

I’ve been missing a strong sense of helping others in a profound, meaningful way with my professional skills. I've been missing my Why. I’ve occupied too much of my time to make the lives of the 1% marginally more comfortable and convenient.

I’ve decided to shift my focus.

I want to start focusing on the amazing impact we can have in the lives of those who technology takes longer to reach, and in drastically better ways to interact with our environment.

I have a new Why.

I don’t yet have concrete ways in which this will materialize, although very interesting ideas are brewing right now.

I will continue to develop, teach and lead, of course, but now with a new focus and set of goals.

Stay tuned, good news are coming soon.