All posts by Santex

Go for Golf!

Juan Cruz Leyba tells us about some life lessons we can all learn from the sport.

I started playing golf in 2009 because a friend recommended that I should try it. One time we were playing golf well past sunset, and he told me, “If you like it, you should start tomorrow and I promise you won’t regret it.” Sometimes when I have a bad day on the course I remember what he said and I want to go back to him and tell him just how much I regret it! But then when I finish at the end of the day, I’m always anxious to play another round.

Golf is a unique sport. As far as sports go, it’s the most democratic of all – anyone can play and compete against anyone else. Your skill doesn’t matter, nor your height, weight, age, or anything else. Of course, the more you practice the greater are your chances of winning.

Among golf’s many unique traits, there are a few that apply not only to the sport but to life as well. One of these is etiquette.

Even though each player is accompanied by someone keeping score, it’s generally understood that the player tells the truth with the number of strokes he/she has taken, etc. Of course, there is always someone who is tricky or tries to cheat, because such actions and lack of honesty are for personal benefit. But overall there is a lot of trust amongst players.

Another rule of etiquette is to always be considerate of the person or group who is playing the course behind you. If you leave a mark or damage to the course, you should fix it so as not to jeopardize the following games. Always thinking of others is a practice that helps us in all areas of life.

On a personal level, golf has taught me many things. The first tournament I won was in 2009 and before that I always lost and was always at a disadvantage compared to other players. However, for some unexplainable reason, I didn’t lose my patience that day or get nervous because I saw I was losing. When it was my turn, I did my best and in the end I won! Since that time, I learned to have more patience when playing and that the right moment always comes and you just have to take it.

They say that golf doesn’t build character, it reveals it. People who get anxious or angry quickly find that golf will just accentuate those aspects of their personality. Players often scorn their club, the ball, the hole, or even themselves. However, you quickly realize that it’s almost mandatory to learn to control these frustrations in order to play a better game – or to simply not end up throwing your clubs in the trash!

What I love most about golf is that you compete against others, against the difficulty of the course, and, more than anything, against your personal flaws, be they physical or mental. There are no excuses, and improving depends solely upon yourself. Also, the 19th hole (aka the bar) is one of the best parts of the game!

Since 2009 when I fell in love with the sport, I recommend it to everyone and tell them “you won’t regret it!” I know that’s not 100% true, but I also know that in spite of having off days, I’m always excited to get back on the course.

Things to keep in mind before adding a Software Dependency to your project

By Agustin Aliaga, Mobile Developer at Santex

In my work experience, one basic thing I learned about software engineering is that you don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” every time you want to achieve some functionality. Open source projects have revolutionized the way we work in that we can reutilize existing software in addition to collaborating with others devs. In the web-development ecosystem, there are plenty of frameworks and tools that already simplify things like user authentication, routes, templating (client-side and server-side), state-management, database queries, web sockets, etc. On the other hand, however, sometimes the existing solutions are just not good enough or it may be that there are no alternatives at all, but that’s a completely different story.

The ability to know when to implement the feature yourself and when to use an existing solution will be a crucial asset for your team. Adopting a new library, language or technology as a dependency to build your product without extensive research could become headache in the future, so you should always ask yourself at least these questions about it:

1. Does it meet all your needs?
Sometimes you’ll find a solution for your problem that does not cover all the specific features you need. In that case, you might have to deal with forking and extending it (if it’s an open source project), and this means greater time investments and costs. Are your team and the client prepared for this scenario?

2. Is there any documentation?
If so, is it well documented? Just as an example, one of the things I like the most about Django (web framework) is the quality they put into the docs. It’s remarkably easy to find the topics you need for the framework version you’re using. https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/.

3. Is it supported by a “big” community and/or a private company? Having a company or a community behind it helps a lot when you’re having trouble and need assistance from others. You may have to send a “help-desk” ticket (probably if it’s a paid service), find information on blogs or StackOverflow, or maybe even post a question to those sites. If you’re relying on the community to help you, your chances of being helped are proportional to the popularity of the software dependency.

4. Is it an “external service”?
If you rely on services like “Google Maps API”, “Facebook Graph API”, “Google’s Firebase”, etc. be aware that they may change in the future without notice, or they could just stop working at any time (temporarily or permanently). SaaS/BaaS solutions are great but you should think twice before setting them up as a critical piece of your system. Just as an example, read about what happened to Facebook’s Parse: (https://techcrunch.com/2016/01/28/facebook-shutters-its-parse-developer-platform/).

5. Is it actively maintained and improved?
If hosted on Github, “Pulse” and “Graphs” tabs will give you an idea of the latest activity. You probably don’t want to set up an outdated library, because it could bring retrocompatibility issues to your project. Also, if it’s constantly evolving, sometimes it could mean you’ll have to update your code repeatedly.

6. Is it tested?
Some libraries use automated tools to build and test every change that is introduced (applying continuous integration tools like Travis CI, Circle CI, etc.). This makes the library more reliable.

7. Are you compromising another dependency if you adopt this new library?
Sometimes libraries don’t play well together.

8. Will it affect your product’s performance, speed, size, etc.?
You should always take this into consideration. In the “web environment”, a giant front-end library could affect the browser’s performance and also increase network transfer times. On the back-end side, you want to avoid server overloading. In the mobile world, things get even more critical because mobile phones don’t have as many resources as a desktop computer. In Android, an app that wastes memory and CPU is a real candidate to be killed automatically by the operating system.

What about Android ?

The core-functionalities that Android brings to the table are sometimes more than enough to build simple applications. You could build an entire app by using bare Activities, Fragments, Views, AsyncTasks, Services, Content Providers, Broadcast Receivers, etc.

But in my experience, sometimes this means you’ll have to write (and then maintain) a lot of repetitive/boilerplate code. In other words, sometimes sticking to the core framework means you will have to invest more time to taking care of all the details. Some examples of libraries that made me more productive in Android development are: Retrofit, Dagger 2, and Butter Knife.

You should also know that if you add too much direct and transitive dependencies (plus your own code), you might exceed the “64K-method limit”, explained by Android documentation:

Android app (APK) files contain executable bytecode files in the form of Dalvik Executable (DEX) files, which contain the compiled code used to run your app. The Dalvik Executable specification limits the total number of methods that can be referenced within a single DEX file to 65,536—including Android framework methods, library methods, and methods in your own code. In the context of computer science, the term Kilo, K, denotes 1024 (or 2^10). Because 65,536 is equal to 64 X 1024, this limit is referred to as the ’64K reference limit’.”

If you exceed this limit, you’ll have to change your application to support “multidex”, which means it will have to load multiple dex files. This will produce higher compilation times, and also performance/loading issues in the app itself. So I’d recommend to always be careful with the dependencies that you add to your Android project.

Conclusion

I have seen these concepts apply not only to Android development (a technology I use every day at work), but to all software development in general. Every product relies on dependencies (whether it’s an OS, a service, a framework, a library or some other kind of software). The goal is to pick the best ones to maximize your productivity, without affecting your product’s performance, scalability, and capacity to evolve over time.

Learning Happens at Any Age

By Marcos Lopez – Business Analyst at Santex

Marcos Lopez spends some of his time outside of the office teaching Physics classes to adult students. Read more about his rewarding experience.

For what reasons did you start teaching Physics classes to adults?

Mainly because it is an experience that allows me to learn and grow. The fact that they are adult students makes the approach, methodology and type of class unique from most teaching experiences. My students live a reality that has nothing to do with the common student, and attending classes can be a challenge if you are located in an area that’s far away. I like being able to help those people.

Did you have any prior teaching experience?

I began to teach classes during my last year of college, at the local Institute of Computer Science (AES) first to children, then to adults. I spent 5 years of teaching all kinds of people –  adolescents who were forced to go, workers who needed to learn to use the computer, and to an elderly lady.  She was unable to write, and needed to communicate with her son who lived in another country via email, (it took an hour to write just one line of an email). That was such a rewarding experience. I was also Teaching Assistant for a course on methods and techniques of Scientific Research on the Phonoaudiology at UNC for 10 years.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a teacher?

Yes, always. It is an area where I feel comfortable and that I have the skills necessary to carry out the complex task of transmitting knowledge to another person. I like to ensure that the student understands what I’m teaching and has enough confidence to ask me anything (not only about the subject in question, but what anything that they may need to know).

How many students are in your class?

Last year there were 12 at the start, which ended up being 8 in the end. Making the time for class is more complex for adult students. The goal is to try to keep them in school and not let them leave and go back to their old ways. It is a big step to finish secondary school, no matter what your age is. It’s never too late!

How much time do you dedicate each week to preparing for these classes?

Generally, each week you should review the theoretical content that will be explained in the following week’s classes – how to put things into practice and that it is applicable to the students. They have to be able to process and apply the information in some way, because sometimes the context and the content may be totally new to them. On Saturday mornings I usually do this type of planning.

What do you think is different about teaching older adults than teaching someone your own age?

The need to overcome setbacks in life is an important factor. The students want to prove to themselves that they can overcome this hurdle in spite of the passing of the years and the reality in which they live. We are talking about my superiors, very respectable people, accepting life’s circumstances and talking to me, the teacher, with great respect. They have a lot of issues outside of the classroom, and many times I as a teacher must support them and listen to them. They may be day-to-day situations, that make it difficult for them to get to class. If they can’t find a babysitter, it may be that they talk to me about it and I end up teaching class with a baby on my lap. I want my students to be present in the classroom without distractions. They need to be able to have their hands and minds free so they can take notes and process the information I’m giving them. It’s a really gratifying feeling.

 

In what ways does the study of Physics complement your work as a BA?

The two are not specifically related, but being a  teacher enables you to improve the way you communicate with others. You become attentive to the behavior of the people you interact with, which enhances the way in which you communicate. Above all, it helps you stand in front of an audience and know what to say and how to reach them. This same idea can apply to the online meetings I participate in with clients and the teammates for my software development projects.

When (in my opinion) Not to Use Drupal

By Sebastian Gonzalez – Drupal Developer at Santex

I would like to clarify first off that I love to work with Drupal. I’ve been working with the Drupal platform for about 10 years now, and through all those years of getting frustrated over the same things, I realized something. I noticed that when certain clients or businesses had a previous project in Drupal that was successful, they would want to handle any future projects in the same way, when in reality Drupal may not have been the best tool to use.

In all these years of experience, I came across various projects and had a lot of different experiences – some very rewarding and others not so great. In some of these last projects that I didn’t think were so great, I noticed that something kept repeating. Drupal was being used for any kind of project on the simple premise that “it can do everything.”

If a client needs just any sort of app, we as developers usually say that Drupal is the solution. But what we should is is that Drupal could be the solution. Changing the message from “Drupal can do that” to “Drupal should be able to do that” is fundamental to starting any project off on the right foot.

Drupal is a CMS (Content Management System) that was intended to be a content administrator. Every page in the world has content, and when we talk about ‘content,’ we automatically think that it should be able to be handled administratively. This leads one to automatically think of a CMS like Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla. For me, the important question is what you want to do with the content. Where is this going and what is it going to be used for?

A lot of people view Drupal as a CWMS (Content Workflow Management System), and I agree with this vision. In my opinion, it makes sense to use Drupal when a business’s domain entails a lot of different types of content with multiple users who have different levels of permission. All of these users can alter the state of the content, making it fluctuate through different phases of the workflow where there aren’t annotations, reports, or emails involved.

The reality is that the vast majority of websites built using Drupal should not have used Drupal. This is not because Drupal can’t do the job, but rather because it’s a waste of all its functionalities that end up not getting used. A clear case of this is with classic brochure websites or institutional sites where the content is static and hardly changes over time. There isn’t much interaction between users beyond basic contact forms or a comments section.

Our world is currently dominated by mobile devices. Drupal was able to enter into the competition with its latest version 8, which came out in November 2016. Using and integrating components with the popular framework Symfony provides a robust back-end to facilitate API development. Drupal is jumping onto this trend with something called Headless – an architecture that uses Drupal as the back-end paired with a framework to present the data, which could be AngularJS, React.js, or any other framework.

In summary, I believe Drupal should not be used for:

  • Simple brochure websites
  • Single-purpose apps (like a chat application)
  • Gaming apps

I think Drupal should be used for:

  • News websites with multiple users
  • Multi-user publishing apps
  • Any app or website that includes workflows among people with different roles/permissions
  • A mobile version for Drupal

To conclude, here are 4 more pieces of advice:

  • Choosing one tool or another has to do with understanding the business’s control over the application or website. The more you know about the project, the greater the decision power in choosing which platform to use to meet those needs.
  • Use Drupal from the start and don’t try to switch and start using it for something else when things are not properly in place.
  • Stop saying “Drupal is the solution” and starting saying “Drupal could be the solution!”
  • Always explore alternatives because new technologies are coming out everyday.

Those are my two cents.

 

About the Author – Sebastian Gonzalez is an experienced Drupal Developer at Santex,  passionate about his work.  Sebastian is a strategic team player always willing to contribute and to solve problems.

Cultures Crossing Borders: Santex visit to Mexico

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This past month, Juan Cruz Leyba (Front-end Developer), Victor Zapata (Java Developer), and Emilio Garcia (Java Developer) represented both the Lima and Cordoba offices with a trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet with the Santex client Tacit Knowledge. The two weeks of face-to-face collaboration brought the teams together in order to kick off a new project. See what Juan, Victor, and Emilio have to share about their experience.

Did you see many differences in the way people work in Guadalajara? Which were the most noticeable?

J: I did not see many differences. The methodologies are pretty much the same as we practice everyday. The only thing I noticed as being the most different is that they drink beer at work. While working! And it’s accepted by everyone.

V: The way of working is very similar. They have the benefit of working from home, but because of our visit, they came to work to be with us. They work in very collaborative way.

E: One thing that’s neat is that they can work standing up because they have adjustable desks that can change height! That’s something that seems to be trending these days.

What did you enjoy the most about travelling to Guadalajara for work?

J: I enjoyed getting to know a new city, a different country with different foods and habits. Also Mexican people are the nicest in the world. We had first class treatment starting with the hotel and in every other place we visited. We met other developers from Panamá, India, and Honduras, and we had a great exchange with them. It was a great experience.

V: The Tapatíos, as they call the people born in Guadalajara, are amazing people. They have great food, a lot of bars and catchy music. All the people we interacted with were kind to us.

E: What I enjoyed the most was to have the opportunity to work with this nice group of people. They were always open to sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas, and even joking around with us. I also loved the tacos.

Any must-sees in the city?

J: Downtown is beautiful, but you should go before 8pm. Chapultepec Boulevard is a must-go for great bars and restaurants. Plaza Andares is the best shopping place in town and Karnes Garibaldi is an awesome restaurant with the best service and the most typical recipes from Guadalajara.

V: If you have the opportunity to go there, you should taste the “Carnes en su jugo”, served in Karne Garibaldi. They have the Guinness Record being the quickest restaurant to serve your order. Another part of their folklore is the wrestling. It was a great experience!

E: Karne Garibaldi is a must-try restaurant.

Do you think this trip changed you in any way?

J: I don’t think it changed me, but it’s been very helpful to get up and running with a new project. It also helped me to confirm that we can work without having any kind of problem with different cultures, in an unfamiliar place.

V: I think that getting to know new places and talking with the people helps to enlarge your vision of the world, and it helps you to understand other thinking ways.

E: Yes, it changed the way I see the project and the people working on it. The good mood of all the folks in the office made me to enjoy this visit a lot.

Something different that you took away from the experience, and something that was the same that surprised you?

J: It was amazing how polite the Mexican people are. They are so nice that it never stopped surprising me. It was also very nice to see how people from all over the world could sit at a table and try to communicate and understand each other in order to make the project a success.

V: The Mexicans have an incredible way to be. They are so kind! Additionally, despite the distance between us, it’s incredible to see how our realities are so similar.

E: I expected the traffic to be similar to Lima and the people to not be so kind and talkative. I was totally wrong. They are in fact very nice, and by the time we were there the traffic was not such a big deal. I also never thought I would end up speaking with the same accent as the tapatios.

 

7 Tips for Automation Testing

Luckily today, the term Automation is becoming more common and popular in the immense world of IT companies. You just have to search a little bit in the web to find hundreds or thousands of articles in all languages talking about the benefits of automated testing and how much money companies can save using it, so it is not my idea to repeat the comments of my colleagues, but rather to share some of my experiences across more than 5 years of working as a QA.

I worked on 3 giant projects: the website of a major airline, a video on-demand provider, and a security application of one of the most famous antivirus services. I also participated in small projects where manually running the same test suites every day, up to 3 times a day, made me realize how necessary and beneficial it is to automate.

Automation Blog image

Here are 7 tips I learned from automating that I would like to share with you:

  1. The Code Reviews of other QA and/or Developers as well as those from POP or the BA are of GREAT importance.

  2. Reuse code. Writing the same code over and over again can be a waste of time when the changes in the data set are minimal.

  3. The tests have to be fail-proof, they should only fail due to errors in the product, environment, etc. and not because of a bad analysis made before creating it. This also includes the Unit Test.

  4. Ask for help. We are all proud people and it is a huge satisfaction to complete a challenging task without having to turn to someone for help, but sometimes pride translates into hours that only lead to losing time in the sprint, money for the client and the company, and can even delay the tasks of our peers.

  5. Respect good practices. When working as a team we must remember that our code can affect the code or work of others.

  6. Automated tests are not only a good tool for testers but also, when used correctly, can be very useful for developers.

  7. Adapting is very important. Sometimes because of licensing issues or for a number of other reasons, we may have to automate in a language with which we do not feel comfortable or simply do not like. Despite not enjoying it when it happened to me, I understood that the language was the right one for the software to be tested, and today I can say that at least I have some experience in other languages and technologies that will surely be useful again throughout my career.

Hopefully these tips can help testers and developers who are not yet familiar with Automation to understand more about its importance. At Santex, we are always open to sharing knowledge and listening to new experiences and opinions, so feel free to leave your thoughts on automation.

About the author: Mauricio Ardiles is an enthusiastic QA Analyst seasoned in a variety of testing skills. Strong background in automation testing and a certified Scrum Master. 

 

THE LOVE FOR THE BOW AND ARROW

Hernan Senki, one of our Front-End Developers, began archery 1 year ago. One of his close friends was practicing it and invited him to a practice. After a while he was hooked.

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  • When did you start practicing archery?

I started with Traditional Archery 1 year ago. (There are differents types of Archery depending on the bow and the technique, Compound Bows, Olympic Recurve bows, and Traditional Bows)

In Traditional Archery we use bows made of wood and some fiberglass that lacks of sights, arrow rest and stabilizers, it’s the most Instinctive and natural way to aim. You aim as if you were shooting a Slingshot.

  • How are practices like?

We shoot on Saturday mornings, our practices are kind of informal. We do a short warm-up to avoid injuries and then we start shooting 6 arrow rounds at 20-, 30-, and 40-yard targets. Sometimes we have some kind of small tournament amongst ourselves, or something like small games. There are 2 or 3 more experienced Archers that teach us and help us to improve our shooting.

  • What abilities do you need to be good at archery?

You need to focus, be patient and consistent. You need to repeat each step of the shooting process in the same way every time in order to gain accuracy.

  • Are there competitions? Do you compete?

Yes there are competitions and Tournaments, there is an Archery Federation that has a National Ranking of Archers. I don’t compete yet.. But I’m planning to attend at least one tournament in 2017.

  • Why would you recommend practicing archery?

I would recommend it because it’s a good way to improve your patience, it helps you to fight the stress. While you are at the range the only thing you have on your mind is archery. It also improves your core muscles and your posture because as you use your back muscles to draw your bow, you make your back muscles stronger.

One day of Singularity University at The Tech Pub

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This month at Santex, we had the pleasure of hosting Peter Wicher, Director of Strategic Relations at Singularity University. Over his extensive career, Peter has held executive positions in Silicon Valley in the industries of consumer electronics, semiconductors, education, and integrated systems.

We asked our Director of Operations, Eduardo Coll, to tell us a bit about the experience.

SANTEX: Tell us a bit about what Singularity University is and what it stands for.

Eduardo Coll: We had the pleasure of having Peter Wicher from Singularity University (SU) visit our Tech Pub. SU is a university created and founded by Peter Diamandis and has sponsorship from Google, NASA, and Autodesk, among other large companies.

Its vision is to create technology solutions that can make a positive impact on a billion people. There are 7 billion people in the world, and SU is trying to impact 1 billion. The university has unique programs for both individuals and organizations. They also have an incubator where they work on projects across verticals, which are selected because they aim to resolve some of the great problems facing humanity today – like renewable energy and access to drinking water. One of the concepts that they promote in SU, which Peter Wicher explained to us during his visit, is the concept of “exponentiality” – exponential technology and exponential growth.

SANTEX: Elaborate more on this concept. Where does this exponential growth in technology go?

EC: For humans by nature, it’s easier to understand linear growth. We grow older lineally; we don’t pass from 2 to 50 years old without turning 3, 4, etc. We physically grow in the same way, as we gain weight in successive numbers, and therefore we tend to forget that there can also be exponential growth in certain things. SU strives to leave its students with the ideology that exponential growth can be applied to our daily lives and that we don’t have to act within a linear mindset. This enables people to more rapidly achieve their visions, and helps the university reach its goal of impacting 1 billion people.

The motto at SU is “don’t make something better by 10%, make it 10x better!” When you think about changing or creating something, you don’t have to make something new that’s 10% better than what already exists. You should strive to make it 10 times better! When you do this, your business or your technology or idea will grow exponentially. Some familiar examples that they point out are: Uber generated a revolution in the transportation industry using technology that was already over 10 years old – cell phones, GPS, web services. They simply made it into an app and the number of trips, drivers, and passengers increased exponentially. They created an exponentially better transportation system.

SU also mentions Airbnb, who also revolutionized the hospitality system with the idea of renting homes and individual rooms for a lesser cost than staying in a hotel or vacation house. These technologies and systems are disruptive, and obviously have their flaws. They have problems that occasionally  need to be fixed that need to be observed in their entirety, but we’ll save that for another article.

SANTEX: How do some of concepts learned during SU’s visit pertain to Santex currently?

EC: Peter brought us some lessons that really dazzled us, lessons that we should apply to our lives daily both as an organization and individually. With existing technology and new technologies to come, the objectives that SU presented to us will be made simple.

At Santex, we are beginning to understand and work with the concept of exponential growth and the use of technology to solve some of humanity’s biggest problems. As a company, we want to support our clients with the knowledge needed to help them grow, which in turn will help us grow as well. We’ve set the goals of improving 10x more for every new project that we take on, and striving to solve problems that help not only our clients, but us as an organization and the community we’re involved in.

About Singularity University (SU)

SU is an academic institution in Silicon Valley whose focus is to bring together, educate, and inspire leaders about the exponential power of technology to solve some of the greatest challenges facing mankind.

A journey to fitness and health

By Sebastian Gonzalez – Drupal Developer at Santex

My journey begins in early 2014, at the time I went to see a dermatologist for a few spots that I found on my legs. The dermatologist told me that it was acanthosis pigmentaria, and that they were due to my being overweight. At that time, my weight was about 110 kilos (242 lbs.) or a little more, had a very poor diet – lots of take out, lots of soda, many processed meals (bread, pastries), only a few vegetables and no fruit.

Sebastian GonzalezparablogchicaI signed up for a gym without a clear idea of what to do: that I should lose weight. At first, they recommended that I start on the stationary bike in addition to an exercise routine that was, at the very least, boring. Those were the first few weeks, and then little by little I began to like the routines that the coach was giving me and I started to enjoy training at the gym. In the meantime, the coach started demanding more and more of me.

When it came to my diet, I knew that it was the key to losing weight. Little by little I started changing certain eating habits. I started to plan my meals and set a day when I could eat more fattening foods (I still eat sandwiches and pizzas on my “cheat” days). I had to change my breakfast habits too – I used to not eat breakfast at all or just grab something quick on the way to work. I stopped drinking soda and eating certain foods at night.

Within the first 14 months, I lost almost 30 kilos (66 lbs). At a first glance, this seems like a large number, but I did some calculations and it evens out to about 500 grams (about 1 lb) per week. The truth is that weight loss is not a consistent progression. Sometimes I lost 500g per week, and afterwards weeks would go by where I would plateau and not lose even 1 gram. It’s times like that when you need to learn to be persistent and not give up, and just continue trying day after day. It’s not an easy journey that one sets out on to try to change or improve one’s life, but the people by my side supported me and encouraged along the way, and they didn’t let me fall. It’s also nice to hear when friends or coworkers comment on the weight you’ve lost and how they notice your body changing. That’s encouraging.

Today, my food plan is quite varied. My breakfasts usually include yogurt, fruit, granola, and peanut butter. My lunches focus on protein like beef, chicken, pork, and eggs, in addition to a healthy source of carbohydrates like broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Dinners also revolve around a protein and lots of veggies like lettuce, tomato, carrots, arugula, cabbage, etc.

When people ask me how I lost so much weight and totally changed my body, the first thing I say is that you have to have persistence and the drive to keep going. There are going to be difficult moments in which you feel anxious and want to buy everything at the grocery store! But you’ll see how your body changes bit by bit and you’ll feel stronger and have more energy. You won’t get as tired at work – you’ll sleep better at night and feel more awake during the day. You can’t put a price on those feelings. I always recommend doing a physical activity, whatever it may be. If you like soccer, play it. If you like to run, go do it. If you’re a gym person like myself, be methodical with your training plan. Whatever the activity you prefer, the important thing is to stick to it.

My journey continues, and each day I strive to improve my diet and improve my training. I try to communicate my life experiences with others so that they feel motivated to become more physically active. With a little bit of perseverance you can achieve big things.

Trends for IT Execs and CIOs to Aniticipate

By Juan Santiago, CEO & Co-Founder of Santex

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Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and Senior IT executives. Attendees gain an unbiased and insightful perspective on what the future holds for the industry. This year, Santex’s CEO Juan Santiago traveled to Orlando, Florida, to attend the Symposium in October. Here’s a peek at what he learned, and what trends we can expect for the IT industry in the near future.

 What were the 3 highlights of the Symposium?

My Key take-aways are:

Data is king!

Organizations that learn to maximize the value chain of their ecosystems are the future.

Digital Platform + Leadership + Business Contribution = Your Ecosystem.

The market is Customer-Value-Centric.

Customers that get value, and feel valued, will advocate for your business:

  • Create communities, user groups, and advocacy programs for customers.

  • Embrace a wide range of advocacy activities to let customers help you in ways that work not just for you, but for them.

96% of satisfied customers said they would be willing to participate in reference/advocacy activities.

Strategic marketing, sales and practice leaders must tell their story in the customer’s context. This suggests aligning messaging to desired business outcomes and related roles of their buyers both in IT and business.

Context in this case means explaining value in terms of vertical markets and business imperatives that could be externally or internally facing (e.g., digital supply chain optimization vs. collaborative engineering).

What are the most important trends in the IT world that were discussed at the Symposium?

Product Innovation

TSP CEOs are using innovation projects and leveraging digital business to drive growth through better engagement with customers. Investment is being driven toward sales and customer-facing roles instead of toward new product development or cost-saving measures.

Cloud Strategies

Strategic planners need to identify and address the opportunities and risks associated with the shift in IT spending due to the adoption of cloud computing. Providers must ensure they are the beneficiaries of cloud shift in order to minimize legacy revenue erosion and maximize cloud revenue growth.

Go-to-Market Secret Success

Technology buying teams, in both midsize and large enterprises, work on multiple categories of purchases at the same time. To improve marketing and sales effectiveness, TSPs must develop deep understanding of accounts to ensure that their offerings stay high on the enterprise’s diverse list of priorities.

These are the key trends I see in the market today.

 Strategic Trends:

1. Disappearing Data Centers
2. Interconnect Fabrics
3. Containers and Applications Steams

Tactical Trends:

  1. Business Driven IT
  2. DCaaS – IT Delivers Services, NOT Infrastructure
  3. Stranded Capacity
  4. IoT

Organizational Trends:

1. Remote Device (Thing) Management
2. Micro and Edge Computing Environments
3. New Roles in IT

How does Latin America fit in the market?

Huge opportunities!

With globalization as it has progressed today, many Latin American countries have fallen off the wagon due to their political and economic challenges. That is rapidly changing and as technology paves the road to lower costs of easier product and services adoption. Markets become less regulated, and more investments and more reliable infrastructure set the perfect stage for more countries to jump back on the trends and take advantage of them.

At the same time, may Latin American countries, such as Argentina, are extremely well positioned to provide the necessary talented workforce when it comes to IT development, due to its higher level of education, cultural fit, and competitive cost to countries, like the US,  where IT talent is scarce. It’s a known issue and companies see this as one of their primary roadblocks to scalability.

So, I guess it’s fair to say that Latin America, for the first time in many years, has it both ways.

What are the new challenges that CIOs have to face in the industry?

  1. Fear to change and how that will ultimately affect their job and organization
  2.  Access to talent
  3. Leaner processes
Most CIOs know they need to see these new trends deployed within their organizations or they could potentially be out of business. The questions is how you go about it.

Many CIOs have their strategy in place and are eager to implement some of these changes. Yet they are faced with lots of red-tape, internal politics, cultural resistance, and the right leadership in their key people whom they rely on for a successful outcome.

How can you apply what you’ve learned to Santex?

I see that we are moving in the right direction.

A few years ago, we embarked on a path of disruption and innovation –  both internally and externally. We set out to become a composable company, and we did it!

Today, I see that the foundation can propel Santex to face all these new challenges, as strong as ever before.

Our long term vision and organizational changes that we have faced in the past two years will prove invaluable to the company in the years to come.

Despite our relatively modest size as a company, I’ve learned we are at the cutting edge of many of these trends. All that is left is to continue the path we have chosen and expand upon it.