All posts by Santex

Humor and Stand Up!

Our Santex Team Member, Andy Palacios, tells us about his experience doing Stand Up perfomances.

  • Why and how did you come up with the idea of doing stand-up?

I am always saying silly things, and many friends asked me to do or dedicate myself to putting together monologues of the stories that I told them. It was very common in my previous jobs to tell my colleagues something that had happened to me on the weekend and it made everyone laugh. Someone always says to me “Please Andy, dedicate yourself to this…leave the IT world!”. This tells me two things, either I am a very good humorist or I am a very bad QA hahaha.

  • What is humor to you?

Humor means so much to me. I find it really difficult to relate with someone without humor between us. But beyond that, it seems very important to me to be able to face difficult moments with humor. I’ve always said that no matter how difficult or ugly some moment in your life is, it will always become a good anecdote.  

  • Which are your favourite topics for the stand up shows?

Usually, I talk about things that happen to me, or that I see in my day to day life. Also I talk about things that happen to people that are close to me. Some people tell me an anecdote and in the show I exaggerate it or invent details which are a little more unusual.

What I don’t like is being rude, although sometimes I use it, it’s only so that the language sounds natural like when I talk to my friends. Also, I don’t like to attack anyone, I only try to talk about things that could happen to any of us.

  • Do you remember how your first show went? How did it go?

It was recent, in February…so I remember it really well! It was at the end of a Stand Up workshop that I did. The idea was that at the end of that workshop we would go to a bar and do the show. I was really excited, but never afraid or nervous. I visualized that nothing bad would come of it. The truth is that the experience exceeded my expectations.

  • What are the best and worst things that have happened to you on stage?

The best thing was the surprise I had when I realized that there were people who enjoyed what I was doing. The truth is that I still have very little experience to have had something really bad happen to me. The only thing I can say is that is very difficult to perform the show when half of the public is distracted and talks or makes noises.

  • Do you admire a comedian? Who and why?

Although I’ve seen very few live shows, I really like Fernando Sanjiao, Sebastian Weinraich, Luciano Mellera, Fernanda Mettili from Argentina. The best international performers are Aziz Ansari, Dane Cook, Iliza Shlesinger, among others.

Code documentation good practices

By Francisco Verastegui – Santex’ Technical Board Member

Code documentation is an important practice of the development process and it’s worth the effort in the long term as the application gets bigger and more complex, letting us save time and minimize the learning curve to understand the functionality of the API, libraries and applications. Here we explain 4 practices that we hope you embrace as part of your development process.

  1. Document your APIs in a simple and concise way

Libraries and APIs are made to be used by people that might not have time to read the code or just might not have access to it, so documentation should reflect your code objectives in a simple (easy to understand) and concise (focusing on the important facts) way.

  1. Keep your documentation code up-to-date

Update your documentation each time you change your code – especially if business rules are affected. Software evolves over time, and so does the code. Therefore it’s important not to start documenting too early in the stages of the code because you might be forced to change it a lot of times.

  1. Focus on the ‘Why’ not the ‘How’

The main idea of this principle is: “Your code documentation should explain the ‘Why’ and your code the ‘How’”.

Good source code can be self-explanatory, but we should give it meaning. So we shouldn’t repeat the how. The following examples explain the same method with different code documentation approaches. The examples are in Java, but we are able to apply these concepts to any other programming language as well.

Example 1

In this case, the code documentation (JavaDoc) just explains the ‘How.’ The context isn’t clear, and neither are the business rules that are the reason of the creation of the method. Basically, the documentation is providing the same information that we could get reading the code.

Example 2

In this example, the method’s JavaDoc focuses on the ‘Why,’ explaining the context and the business rules that support it. It is also important to explain the business reason behind an exception that the method might throw.

Detailed explanation

“When we are editing a recurring series”: This is the context – whether to include it or not will depend on if it is a business-related method or just an ‘isolated’ method like the ones we can find in a utility class (reused by different parts of our code).

“we have to enforce the rule that recurring {@link Order}s can’t exceed a period of more than 24 hours”: This is the main part providing the ‘Why’ because it explains a business rule and the main reason for creating the method. A method can explain, or be supported by, more than one business rule.

“If the remove TIME portion is less than the install TIME portion, then it is safe to assume that the remove date has rolled onto the next day (e.g. June 1st 7PM -TO- June 2nd 3AM, is still a 24 hour period)”: Business rule considerations are important to have a good understanding of the method behavior. To include it or not will depend on the complexity and conditions of the rule we are trying to code.

@throws OrderEditException

– if the order was already deleted by a different user: Explanation of the reason (Why) the method is throwing a specific type of exception. It is recommended to do this for any application business exception.

It is important to realize that it is perfectly possible to understand the meaning and the business implications of the method just by reading the code documentation. This is a key concept for APIs that are public and designed to be reused throughout different projects and applications.

  1. Don’t document trivial code

Avoid documenting getter or setter method (unless it does something business-related), so remove it from your IDE’s auto-generated code template. Avoid documenting simple procedures perfectly explained in reading the code. For example:

As you can, see doing this only makes code harder to read.

Coder + Gamer

Mario Luna tells Santex how creating video games is the perfect combination of all of the things that he loves.

Tell us how you first got interested in developing video games?

Video games have almost alway been part of my life. When I was 9 years, the idea of creating a video game came to me. I was looking for some programs that could help me create a game, and I found some good tools, but didn’t know how to use them.

Later, when I was 14, I started to learn video and image editing. Then, I studied 3D editing and music composition. At the age of 17, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to some of these skills, but I couldn’t decide between them. The only place where all of those aspects converge is in video games. I went back to the beginning, but this time with more knowledge than before. I learned to program on my own and noticed that I liked it above all the other skills I’d learned. Since then, I have been slowly investigating the process of developing video games.

Today, at the age of 20, I am in the last year of my degree as a computer analyst with the intention of dedicating myself fully to video game development once I graduate.

What were your favorite games in the past? Was there one in particular that will call your attention the most and inspired you to start developing video games?

It’s impossible to choose only one, or even a few video games! I loved so many, but my favorite genre is FPS (First Person Shooter). Ones that I can mention are Call of Duty 4, Half-Life, Serious Sam 2, Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, among others. I also liked strategy games a lot, like Commandos, Age of Empires and Age of Mythology. Many of them I played in multiplayer with friends when I was younger.

A game that drew my attention was Bionic Commando when I was 9 years old. It’s an FPS with a mechanic that allows you to fly through the cities (or rather swing). When I played it, I wanted to be able to create a game with esthetic and/or similar mechanics and it led me to research how to do it. I think that thanks to that game, I love post-apocalyptic esthetics in video games or movies.

What do you like most as a player? As a developer?

As a player, I love a good story as well as a great narrative. I think that although it isn’t everything, a big part of the experience when playing is being able to tell a story that can distract you from the real world and immerse yourself in the game, creating the abstract of a great adventure.

Another thing that I like is the atmosphere of a game. It is not the same to make a horror game with strong light and shades of pink everywhere as it is a dark setting in an abandoned place where the player does not know where the danger might come from.

As a developer, I like the fact that I can tell a story by letting the player experience it as something that he, by himself, performs, and not as something told or seen, such as in a book or a movie.

Are you working on any gaming projects currently? If so, what?

I am currently doing the sketches and beginnings of a clone of the old Arkanoid. Long ago, I liked the series of mobile games called Block Breaker. I was a little disappointed when I found out that there are no titles for the most current platforms. That’s why I want to develop my own version of the game as a tribute. It’s a small project, but it’s pretty good to start with. This would be the first game I develop by myself, which I hope to see finished completely.

It is something new in a certain sense because so far, my experience has not gone much further than simple prototypes, so I am excited about being able to call this a game made on my own.

How long do you take to develop a video game? Is one person required?

A video game is composed of: programming, 2D digital art, sound effects, music, 3D, animations, script, lighting, conceptual art, level design, post-processing effects, platform and OS configuration, optimization, marketing, licenses, patents, publications, etc.

A person can do all this on their own, but it depends on several factors, such as the person’s ability, the size of the project, the budget among others. Some projects can take years and others only months, but as a rule, one person cannot or should not take charge of a project alone, because the benefits of being surrounded by a team are many.

To conclude, what do you think would be the biggest challenge when developing video games?

Almost since its inception, the video game industry has never stopped growing. Today there are hundreds of free tools available to developers, which has led in recent years to the creation of thousands of “indie” video game companies. These video games don’t depend on a big distributor like EA Games to position themselves, because with some marketing strategies and distributors like Google play or Steam, they can be published at a very low cost.

The massification of video games is good because it provides a greater amount of games on the market, but on the other hand, it prevents games that deserve greater recognition from being seen and judged as they should.

The biggest challenge for any new software developer is to ensure that their video game is seen and played by a large number of people, including competitors. The success that it has depends largely on this, because a game that does not become known, even if it’s a great title, is considered a failure. There are ways to counteract this, such as showing the video game to the community during its development phases, to determine how much expectation or “hype” the game has, as well as feedback on what features people would like to see in the game.

Marketing strategies are usually forgotten by independent developers, but they are very important for the positioning of a title in the industry.

 

Good committing

By Jose Torres – iOS Developer at Santex

People in software development know there are a ton of difficulties a team faces when working on software projects. That’s why best practices were introduced as a way of preventing  common problems that software teams eventually face. Best practices cover many aspects, from the environment setup to the way we write code and produce deliverables. Unfortunately, one aspect usually forgotten or underestimated is the handle of the repository. This usually happens when the team is small – if you are the only member on the team, you are prone to get disorganized. This can dangerously hide other potential issues usually faced when the team grows and you find yourself in complicated situations or flows. As the team increases its size, a lack of good practices will reveal itself and problems will surface.

As engineers, we should understand the importance of doing things right. It shouldn’t matter that our current context shields us from facing complex situations. We have to be prepared for when the context changes and things start to scale. It happens often that engineers have this feeling of “things are working fine,” so therefore the context is “that should mean we are doing things well,right?” Not facing issues in the moment is not a guarantee that things are being done right.

There are many areas of good practices surrounding Software Configuration Management. Let’s focus on some of the best practices when committing code.

When committing code, we are introducing new code changes to our code base. In distributed version control systems, this is done first in our local repository and then the code is applied (“pushed”) to the central repository. There are multiple approaches on how to handle the branching model of a repository, but we will focus only about the committing. It is basically a general rule that a commit in code should reflect an atomic change. This means that it can only be applied entirely, never partially. And, of course, it should not break the build. All build routines and tests should run successfully.

When committing code, we also have to include a commit message. This message is meant to give more information about the code changes that have been introduced. Such a message will last through eternity, and it is our duty to use it wisely.

Image 1: Sample git log

Limit your commit first line (title) up to 50 characters

This is one of the most common suggestions, but it is still forgotten. The first line is treated as the title of the commit. This means it should be brief and concise. It must be no longer than 50 characters, and ideally should not be too short either. This characters length may not be a hard limit, but having it in mind ensures that the author thinks for a moment on how to concisely describe the commit. This helps to get quick contextual information when navigating through the git history and ensures that all clients will display the commit info properly.

Consider a blank line before the description

In order for Git to differentiate the title from the body of a commit, a blank line must be added. Of course, this is only required if we want to add a description. Whether a description is needed or not is up to the author. However, it is a good practice to include a description that adds an explanation of the changes introduced and also some contextual information, like a related ticket number or link.

Include a link related to the issue on Bitbucket/GitHub/JIRA/etc

This is related to the previous suggestion. It is important to have a reference to the source of the request, so we can have more context of the change overall. This should not be part of the title of the commit, but rather part of the description with the full link. If it is a bug fix, requirement, enhancement, etc., most of these are tracked with software development tools that assign them a unique identifier which makes it easier to track development. On one hand, it helps each commit in the repository to have a full reference. On the other hand, it gives visibility to external tools about when, by whom and in which branches the changes are applied.

Write the message using present tense/imperative mode

Finally, the golden rule of committing: all the writing must be done using an imperative mode like [FIX] and not using past tense like [FIXED].

Define a template

Having all of the previous considerations in mind, the team should define a template. After discussing what should be included in the ticket as the description and syntax of the titles, your team will have a clear idea of how they should commit code. Here is a sample I use for my current project:

Image 2: Sample of a git commit structure

All of these good practices will be useful in many situations that software teams often face.

Help during the review process

When doing code reviews, we have to check all of the new code that is introduced. Having a clean commit history with descriptive titles and useful messages helps to understand the reason behind the changes. Also, as the reviewer will have access to the description with a link to an external tool, he/she is able to understand the full context of the change.

Help when handling merge/rebase operations

This is my favorite. Every time we have to deal with rebase operations it is extremely useful to have a clean commit history. This helps to make sure you are moving the right code changes from one branch to another. Without this information, it will be almost impossible to do without having assistance from the original author, which as we know may be impossible sometimes.

Help when writing release notes

At the moment of preparing the release notes, a clean commit history is useful so we can see all changes that are part of our release branch (or any branch we are using to prepare a release).

Help during maintenance

Finally, one of the most important reasons for having a clean commit history is so that we can understand changes that were introduced a long time ago. Often as software engineers, we are in a situation of not understanding why a specific change was made or why a piece of code was originally introduced. A well written commit will bring together all of this information, and will give important insight for the new authors to avoid having side effects when performing a change.

Image 3: Sample of a rebase operation for moving code between branches

There are really a ton of recommendations and conventions for good committing. These were just some of them! These are the ones I think are the most basic and need-to-know, and are based on the official Git Man page1.

Let me know if you have any others you would like to add or suggest.

Links:

– [1] https://mirrors.edge.kernel.org/pub/software/scm/git/docs/git-commit.html#_discussion

Music that Moves You

Maria Alejandra Diaz tells us about her experience playing the cello in her homeland of Venezuela, and the hopes she has for the future in her new home, Peru.

What made you decide to study music? Was it a personal decision or something your parents made you do?

Honestly, ever since I was little I’ve been very interested in the fine arts. First it was ballet and contemporary dance. Later I took up painting. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve entered the world of what is known in Venezuela – and internationally – as  “El Sistema,” which was founded by maestro Jose Antonio Abreu. His main objective has been to broaden the horizons – culturally and musically – of the country and get the youth interested in music.

My parents were always the first ones to support me in any initiative I may have had surrounding my curiosity for the fine arts. They supported me in developing other skills not just related to academia, although the decision was always mine to pursue such activities. They encouraged me to stick with such activities and not just abandon them further down the road.

Why the cello and not something else? Did you ever consider pursuing other instruments as well?

At first, I was most interested in the violin. My dad took me to see the Children’s Orchestra of Tachira, which is the province of Venezuela where I’m from, so that I could get a better idea of what instruments caught my attention. From that moment on, I decided I wanted to learn to play the violin.

Later, I auditioned for the Youth Orchestra Foundation “Luis Gilberto Mendoza” which was the base from which El Sistema operated. They evaluated aptitude for rhythm and solfege which is the fundamental basis for every musician. They loan out instruments and let you use their facilities until you can raise enough money to buy your own instrument.

When they asked me which instrument I wanted to play, they told me that there were no violins available to loan out, and they only had cellos and trumpets available. Of course, the trumpet was never to my liking, with the mouthpieces and parting of the lips and everything, and therefore I stayed with the cello, which was the best decision I could have made. It is an instrument with a unique sound and accompaniment and is – according to expert opinions – the sound that most resembles the human voice.

Are there musicians in your family?

My great-grandfather, on my mom’s side, had an orchestra called “Filo Rodríguez y Su Orquesta” in the 1940s. He was a trumpeter and the director. One of his sister’s was also an opera singer in a circus in Italy during the same time. My mother played piano, my father participated in the Christmas masses in choirs and playing, and my sister is an opera singer (Mezzo-soprano).

How old were you when you performed at your first recital? Where was it?

They usually recommend that you start studying music at an early age, not only because it’s common knowledge that children pick up new skills more easily, but above all because of the muscle memory that comes with studying string instruments (violin, viola, cello, bass). Starting early helps your fingers develop accordingly. For example, for the case of the violin, it is best that players have thin, not so large fingers. In my case, I started at 14 years old, and I had my debut 3 months after starting at the Pre-Children’s Orchestra in San Cristóbal – Táchira State.  This was, of course, very ironic because of my age, but it was the group that It started at the same time that I entered “the system” and it was for ages 8 to 12. There was already a Children’s Orchestra, so we could not call ourselves the same thing or play the same pieces as them because of the level of difficulty .

Then I moved quickly to the Children’s Orchestra and then to the Youth Orchestra. It was in the latter that I had the opportunity to play as a guest on 2 occasions with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Táchira. A year and a half later, I formally joined that orchestra.

With the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, I had the opportunity to be a soloist and play with musicians of international renown – such as violist Frank Di Polo, pianist Arnaldo Pizzolante, and guitarist Alirio Díaz, among others.

Who are some musicians (past or present) that you admire?

Among the musicians that I admire most are Jacqueline du Pré and Yo-Yo Ma. With rock, I like Apocalyptica, which is a symphonic metal band formed by 4 cellists graduated from a classical music academy called Sibelius. In the beginning, they covered Metallica songs which then made them famous. Also, 2cellos is a duo of Croatian cellists who make versions of songs by Michael Jackson, Guns and Roses, Jimi Hendrix, and more. It’s really fun to listen to them.

How much time do you dedicate to practicing cello?

In Venezuela, I devoted every afternoon to studying and practicing cello. The Foundation had an academic center where they teach classes in rhythm, theory and solfege, harmony and then classes related to each specific instrument taught by a professional – usually members of the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. All of these classes were distributed throughout the week.

In addition to the classes, there were also rehearsals with the Orchestra, which were everyday, Monday through Friday from 6pm to 9 or 10 at night, depending on the difficulty of the work and the time needed to rehearse. If they were complicated pieces to execute, each leader who was a kind of representative of the group of musicians for a particular instrument, would host additional workshops to go in depth and see the synchronization, harmony, solos, and tuning.

It really was a full-time commitment. But when you like what you do, you’re not aware of how much time it takes.

Do you have plans for the future with regard to music?

Since I moved to Peru, I have not been able to continue with music because when I left the country, I didn’t know where I was going to settle down. Also because of economic issues, I had to sell my cello in Venezuela to help my mother with medical treatment. I’ve been checking with friends who still belong to El Sistema to find out if there are organizations like the ones there which can help me with loaning a cello while I save to buy my own, and also where I could resume my classes. In the near future, I hope to belong to another orchestra and continue enjoying this most beautiful form of art.

Internship Abroad

Our German intern, Paulina, tells us more about what brings her to Argentina and what her plans are for the future.

  • Why did you decide to come to Argentina for your internship?

For school, I have to do an internship abroad. To improve my Spanish skills and also get to know a completely different culture, I decided to travel to a Latin American country. A few of my friends had already been to Argentina and all of them were very fascinated by the country and its people. After collecting some information about the country, I decided to spend my semester abroad in Argentina.

  • What would you say is the biggest cultural difference between Germany and Argentina?

There are many differences, but one of the main obstacles was getting used to the Argentinian eating habits! In Germany, we usually eat dinner around 6 or 7 pm, in contrast to Argentina where they eat much later. The same applies to the nightlife.

Furthermore, the people are very different. The Argentinians are way more welcoming, open and sincere. We Germans are much more reserved and don’t open up to people immediately.

  • What do you think about the work culture at Santex?

Since my first day, everybody was very kind and welcoming. Whenever I am having a problem or need support with anything, someone always takes the time to help me. At Santex there is a very relaxed working atmosphere. People are always in a good mood and it is fun to work there.

  • Which parts of Argentina have you been to? Which ones would you like to visit?

So far, I haven’t seen that much of Argentina since I’ve spent a lot of time in Cordoba. I have already been to the Sierras and to Mendoza, both of which I liked very much.

I definitely want to go to Buenos Aires and of course to the waterfalls in Iguazu.

  • What are your plans for after you finish your internship here?

After my internship I am travelling back to Germany in order to take some exams at my home university. Afterwards, I am starting my next semester abroad in Finland.

The impact of Generation Y on employee, manager and owner roles

by Walter Abrigo, Managing Director of  Santex.

The uncertainties of today’s world

When we look at the news from our own countries and the rest of the world, we can say without a doubt that “stability” no longer exists. Today we are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. The only certainty we have is that there are no certainties.

Since there aren’t, let’s think about the Panama Papers. How many high-level people were completely unauthorized? Or, for example, who would have thought that Iran would have a predominant role in the problem of Syrian refugees when it was once the world’s number one enemy and nobody sat down to talk to that country? Nor did they talk about the presence of a Latin American Pope among other contemporary events.

The skills of the workforce in the upcoming years

From the point of view of hard skills, by 2030, 600 million new jobs will have been created in the world. Jobs established as a result of the Technology Revolution, characterized by the use of megadata (IoT), 3D printers and robots in the manufacturing process.

In terms of soft skills, by 2020 in Latin America, 50% of the workforce will be millennials (born between 1984 and 1991) and their values will now be the values of the world, including:

  • Significant and transcendent lives
  • Happiness not being the result of a specific job
  • Care for the environment
  • Fewer sexual taboos
  • Extreme transparency
  • Want of  instant feedback

The skills of companies in the next years

Given so much uncertainty and the speed of change, there are three critical characteristics to develop in order to survive in the world of work in the upcoming years:

  • Adaptability: Facing a changing world, adjusting and accommodating (subsistence)
  • Agility: Being flexible and elastic in order to redesign processes to meet changing requirements without losing order
  • Alignment: Being attentive to permanently meet the needs of all stakeholders, always considering the long-term

Given these characteristics, it will be of overriding importance that organizations:

  • Incorporate technology and permanently redesign their processes
  • Promote collaborative work and networking (both externally and internally within the organization)
  • Encourage self-supervision with a goal-oriented culture

The characteristics of the employees, managers and organizations of the future

These new features mean that traditional practices lose their validity and if employees, managers, and organizations intend to surf these new waves, collaborative technologies will be the central nervous system of the future of work regardless of the role we play. Here are some characteristics to keep in mind:

Employee:

  • Flexible work environment
  • Customized work
  • Shared information
  • Can become a leader
  • Leverages new ways to communicate and collaborate
  • Changes from being knowledgeable to wanting to learn new skills
  • Learns and teaches at will

Manager:

  • Needs to be a leader
  • Supports  from front and center
  • Understands technology
  • Leads by example
  • Embraces vulnerability
  • Believes in sharing and collective intelligence
  • Is a fire starter
  • Recognition in real time in terms of feedback and commitment
  • Aware of personal limits
  • Adapts to the employee of the future

Organization:

  • Has small teams of employees distributed globally
  • Intrapreneurship
  • Connected workforce
  • Always operates as a small company
  • Focuses on what you want, not what you need
  • Adapts quickly to change
  • Creative ecosystems
  • Runs in the cloud
  • Women have senior management roles
  • More horizontal and with decentralized decision-making
  • Telling stories
  • Democratization of  learning and teaching
  • Moving from profit to prosperity

What we are doing at Santex to adapt and align ourselves

Stepping in line with the above, governance at Santex responds to a holacratic system and management is Agile.

Holacracy is a self-management practice for running purpose-driven, responsive companies.

Specifically, these are the actions we develop to try  to be adaptable, agile and aligned.

  • Creation of Agile Management Teams that intervene in the 3 core processes of the company
  • Implementation of an aggressive Incentive Policy that distributes up to 30% of profits among employees
  • Creation of a Cultural Advisory Board composed of collaborators whose objective is to help promote the values of the company: Participation, Courage, Passion, and Trust.
  • Creation of a Technical Advisory Board composed of collaborators whose objective is to outline the company’s technological future.

Sources

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Jose Meyer – Project Manager at Santex

Want to give up smoking? Lose weight? Maybe start a course or embark on a career you always wanted to start? These are some of the promises that we usually make, for example at the beginning of a new year.

We have renewed hopes, enthusiasm, joy! But usually it’s not enough, and many of these desires remain unresolved. It is said that only 8% of the people meet or achieve these self-imposed goals or resolutions made at the beginning of the year (or at any other time).

One of the causes of this can be attributed to the lack of habits that allow us to do what is needed, or on the contrary, to quit the habits that don’t allow us to move forward.

A habit is made up of 3 parts:

  • The stimulus or signal we receive to do something.
  • The routine or activities we do.
  • The reward we receive for having completed those activities.

Identifying these components is a great first step in being able to start doing or stop doing whatever we want.

In the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” the author, Stephen Covey, summarizes years of study and research on the habits that we need to incorporate to improve our efficiency in both professional and personal life.

Habit 1: BE PROACTIVE

Complaining, blaming the government, blaming our parents or other people about our fate is a characteristic of REACTIVE people. These people live their lives according to the circumstances that surround them, or given certain conditions.

On the other hand, PROACTIVE people are conditioned by their own decisions. They take responsibility for their actions and accept the consequences of what they have decided to do.

A reaction occurs when a stimulus is received. Human beings have the FREEDOM to choose their answers. Proactive people put that freedom to use.

Making an analogy with the IT world, the materialization of this habit would be the recognition of ourselves as the PROGRAMMERS of our lives.

Habit 2: START with the GOAL in MIND

The creation process is made up of 2 parts; all things are created 2 times. The first creation is the mental creation, then comes the materialization – the physical creation. Habit 2 is about mental creation, visualization.

This habit refers to the creative process of imagining what we want to be, where we want to go. Imagine what the result will be of the activities we want to carry out.

Following the analogy from the IT world, this habit refers to designing or creating the PROGRAM of our life.

Habit 3: FIRST things FIRST

When someone asks us what the important things in life are, most would say health, family, friends, and work matter the most. But then in the practice of our daily routines, we do things that do not go according with what we think or want it to be.

For example: We say that health is important, but we do not dedicate time to exercising, and/or we continue to consume unhealthy “foods”. We say that family and friends are important to us. However, we do not always dedicate the time necessary to preserve, understand, or make the relationship grow. In the work environment we often do not dedicate the time needed to renew ourselves and continue learning in order to keep ourselves “up to date”.

The third habit refers to defining priorities in all the orders of our lives and in all the roles that we as human beings must fulfill (parents, spouses, children, brothers, professionals, friends, neighbors, etc).

The relationship between “The Urgent” and “The Important” is raised with this principle. We should make time for the things that are “Important and Not Urgent”. These are the things we plan based on what we want to develop in our lives, and as a result should dedicate less time to the “Not Urgent – Not Important” or “Not Important – But Urgent”.

To end the IT analogy, this habit refers to EXECUTING the designed program. It has to be executed based on the priorities we have designed.

Habit 4: Think WIN – WIN

This habit is about seeking mutual benefits. We should share profits, knowledge, recognition, etc., especially in those relationships that we are interested in maintaining over time.

“Think Win-Win” is not an easy task. In general, we are prepared for the type of relationship Win – Lose. If the other wins, that means that we lose. We should stop believing that.

Thinking win-win requires the extra effort and creativity to look for mutually beneficial alternatives and solutions.

Habit 5: Search to UNDERSTAND First, BEFORE Being UNDERSTOOD

Most people listen to respond, but we do not listen to understand, and that is a big issue.

There are different levels of listening – each one depending on the degree of attention we pay to what the other person is telling us. In order to understand, we should develop what is known as “Empathic Listening” which consists of putting all of our attention and intention into trying to understand what the other person need to express to us.

For example, in the case of the development of a new product, the listening would be before manufacturing it in order to understand the needs of our future consumers. In essence, it is to get out of our own way of thinking and into the shoes of the other person.

It is similar to the fact that to be able to provide a prescription, a doctor must diagnose the patient. This means he/she must understand what is happening to us.

This habit responds to a deep and perhaps unconscious human longing to feel understood.

Habit 6: SYNERGY

This habit is based on creative cooperation. Synergy suggests that through the collaboration of a group of people, we can obtain greater and better results than working individually. “Everything is greater than the sum of its parts.”


Something very interesting about this habit is that it raises the differences between people. Not only should these differences be accepted, but also VALUED. Strength is obtained from differences and not similarities.

Two people with 10 years of work experience working together at the same time, sharing knowledge, have in fact 20 years of experience. There may be 5 primary colors, but by combining them we can obtain many more colors.

Synergy requires developing common objectives and a sense of mission: “Neither your idea nor mine, but an improved common idea”.

Habit 7: SHARPEN THE SAW

This principle refers to the renewal and continuous improvement of the body, mind, and spirit, social relationships (friends, family, neighbors, etc) and emotional relationships (relationships with ourselves). This well-applied habit generates or allows the development of the other 6 habits. Basically, it states that we must keep in mind the objective of continuously improving.

Although the concept of sharpening the saw refers to the integral improvement of ourselves, we can take an example of what happens in the world of software development. It is well known that one language or framework can become obsolete in a couple of years, and if programmers do not update themselves, they also become obsolete. This leaves them with less employability in the labor market.

CONTINUITY OF MATURATY 

During the development of habits, the author speaks of “Private Victory” and “Public Victory.”

The first three habits that refer to the private victory are habits that are achieved individually: be proactive; start with the goal in mind and prioritize.

The following three habits refer to the Public Victory: Think Win-Win – seek to understand before being understood and to synergize are habits that involve the relationships with other people.

To achieve the Public Victory, the author indicates that private victory should be achieved first. With the private victory we achieve the “Independence” that basically refers to being responsible for ourselves, our actions, and their consequences.

With the public victory we achieve the “interdependence”, needed to achieve, improve,  and grow through the relationship with other people.

With both victories, we leave aside the “dependence” of other people who rule over the state in which our life is located.

Reference:

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,  Stephen Covey, 1989

Out of the Box

Gianluca Candiotti shares with us some of the physical benefits of boxing!

  1.    How did you become interested in physical contact sports? What made you dare to try boxing?

My interest was born out of simple curiosity. I always found some of these sports interesting, and I admired the expertise shown by different athletes in these disciplines.

Now, many things influenced me in finally deciding to learn and practice Box. The main reason being that I have always tried to lead a healthy lifestyle, without necessarily taking it too extreme. I really like to play sports and take care of my diet. I’ve played tennis since many years ago. However, I wanted to complement it with another sport to help me gain a little more muscle mass and endurance. I thought about enrolling in a gym again, but in my experience, it becomes quite monotonous and boring, and I did not know if it was something that would motivate me.

Luckily, a couple of friends were in a similar situation. We evaluated our options and decided to enroll together in an academy where you can practice boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, among other sports. So far, I’ve only dedicated myself to boxing.

  1.    Boxers are often considered macho and aggressive. Could you explain your point of view on these statements?

I believe that this falls on the character and profile of each person, but this sport would never seek to train anyone in that way. All the people I have met are quite kind and respectful. Moreover, many of them try to be very careful when they have to perform exercises in pairs and have not yet established trust in the other person. Luckily, most times I can train with my friends and we can hit each other with a little more freedom. In the end, if you make a direct hit, you know it’s part of the training. None of us would ever take it personally.

  1.    How do you prepare yourself physically for training?

I do not have a strict routine, to tell the truth. At least I do not feel that way.

I go to train 3 times a week, and I always go at 7:00 in the morning. I think it’s a very good way to start the day before going to work. Training relaxes you and gives you enough energy (which is important) to be able to concentrate programming.

Regarding the preparation itself, I think that the most important thing is to be in good condition, eating properly, and sleeping the necessary hours. I do not think I follow these rules accurately, but I try.

Another thing that I consider very important is not to smoke. Tobacco limits your lung capacity, alters your heart rate (among other things), and all this ends up negatively affecting your resistance and the rhythm you should be able to maintain while training.

  1.    Do you have any kind of special diet?

Not for now, although I have considered it. When I was younger, I was much more rigorous with what I ate, but lately I haven’t had much time to cook, and eating in a balanced way on the street is very complicated. Anyway, some time ago I learned some important things about nutrition, so I usually try not to get too far away from what I know I should be eating.

In general, I would say that the most important things are: to drink plenty of water throughout the day and not to consume a lot of carbohydrates – and when you do, take into account their quality (sweet potatoes are best) – and eat many times throughout the day, but in small quantities (ideally every 3 hours or so). But I think the most important thing in maintaining a good diet, or any diet for that matter, is to never take it too seriously. If you never give yourself a taste or a little indulgence, eventually you will get bored or it will be too difficult for you to keep up with. I think the best thing is to be disciplined with what you eat, but also know that nothing will happen to you if one day you go for an ice cream or you eat some pizza.

  1.    What sports-related goals do you have in the short- and long-term?

I think that when I started boxing, I saw it simply as a fun way to exercise. However, soon after I realized how demanding it is – physically and mentally – and all the technique involved. In the beginning maybe, you think that you only use your arms and that hitting isn’t so complicated. But the work of legs, the way you should use the body to give power to the blows, how you should move, how you should stand, anticipate, react… putting all of that together is extremely difficult and requires practice.

I found it very frustrating at first not being able to do some of the simplest exercises the way I should. But in the end, it all takes time and effort.

I think all these things have motivated me to want to take it more seriously and get better. I do not think I will want to participate in any circuit, but I would like to feel that I am good at this sport and that I could teach the basics to someone else.

I like to have boxing as a complement to tennis. I think that they share a set of interesting features that allow me to use qualities from one in the other. For example, the way you use your body and legs to give more power to the blow with your right arm in boxing is very similar in both sports. Also, boxing will help me to have better resistance because the energy is explosive, but at the same time you have to know how to manage your energy very well because everything happens over many rounds. This is something that I can also take advantage of when playing tennis. In general, I like to see things in this way. It will help me stay motivated as I plan to continue playing both sports for a long time.

 

May The Force Be With You

We noticed that we have quite a few Star Wars fans at Santex, so we asked a few of them to tell us more about why they love it so much!

What was the first Star Wars movie you ever saw? How old were you?

Gabriela Chaves: Return of the Jedi. I don’t remember well how old I was, but I must have been like 6 years old. I’ve had a taste for science fiction since I was little.

Martin Navarro: Episode IV A New Hope — I must have seen it without even wanting to when I was 6 or 7 years old on an air channel. I was very curious about it. I don’t know what it was that initially caught my attention and attracted me to it, but since that time it’s left me thinking and wanting more. I watch the movies whenever I can.

Lorenzo Sauchelli: Star Wars. I was about five years old. One of my dad’s best friends had a movie club and he brought the original movie for me to watch.

Andres Palacio: When I was a kid, I watched Episode 4, but it didn’t really catch my attention. When I was in high school, I saw Episode 2 and then I started to like it. When Episode 3 came out, that’s when I got hooked on the saga and I saw all the complete movies and even some storylines that go beyond the movies.

Eduardo Nieto: I saw the first Star Wars movie on national television when I was approximately 7 years old. In those times, Channel 2 in Peru had a block called “Función Estelar,” and they played movies during family time. I remember seeing the 3 original Star Wars movies that way.

Pablo Johnson: I remember seeing parts of Episode 5 or 6 when I was very young, but it wasn’t until I saw Episode 1 (even though they say it’s not the best) when I was 14 that I really stuck with the story.

How would you summarize the plot to a person who hasn’t seen any of the movies?

G.C: Without going into much detail, I would say that the story focuses on the eternal struggle between good and evil, between monopolized power and the common good.

M.N: Giant spaceships, lasers, lightsabers, a fictional complete galaxy. What more could you want?!

L.S: I’d say it’s an adventure story. A western in space that at the same time is a movie where the good ones lose, and the space Nazis will dominate the universe. Everything else is decoration.

A.P: First of all, I apologize to the other fans who are going to read this. They are several frames, but on the most basic level, it would be:

Civil war: separatists vs. the republic – separatists being the androids and Siths (dark side) and the republic being clones (white soldiers) and Jedis (light side). The Republic wins, senator Palpatine proposes to arm an intergalactic empire so that it does not happen again, they give him the ok. But it turns out he was a sith!!! And the empire ends up being a high dictatorship, commanded by him and Darth Vader, who stayed with the clones, who now are no longer clones and are called stormtroopers who killed all the Sith, except a few who managed to escape. The rebel alliance is armed on the other side with the sons of Darth Vader, the Jedi who survived, and some others. The empire arms the Death Star, a space station that could destroy a planet in a single shot, and the alliance steals the planes and destroys it. The empire arms another one, now with a shield, but the alliance destroys it again. They face Darth Vader with Luke Skywalker, a new Jedi trained by those who came before him. Luke finds out that Darth Vader is his father!! In that fight Vader dies and so does the Emperor. Goodbye to the empire! But the First Order is armed. All the imperialists are reorganized. They put together another station, the star killer that exploited entire systems. The break, the first order, decimates the alliance and now we’re left to see what comes next.

E.N: I would say it is about conflicts between people in outer space who are “free” against a Galactic Empire that seeks to dominate all of the planets in space. In the midst of these conflicts arise the figures of the Jedi, characters with superhuman powers; and their counterpart, the Siths.

P.J: In a very distant galaxy, there is a child with a supernatural potential. He is a noble and good boy but life changes him and leads him to the dark side. Various circumstances make him become the greatest villain in the universe, and he attacks the different worlds. In the end, only the love of a son can overcome all the hatred and fear he felt, and manages to regain the kindness that once existed within him, although perhaps a little late.

Who is your favorite character and why?

G.C: It’s difficult to pick just one, but C3PO is one of the ones I like the most. He’s a robot, but ends up being much more human and comical than many other characters.

M.N: Undoubtedly Darth Vader, because he represents Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The internal fight of good and evil, the conflict for what one feels, what one wants to do or should do and be. In the same way, in comics, novels, and other stories, there are many other characters that could be my favorites, but sticking with the movies, Darth Vader is definitely my favorite one.

L.S: Yoda. Being a character who can barely talk and who hardly appears in the movies, each of his appearances has a huge impact on the story.

A.P: Obi-wan Kenobi. I can only think of nerdy answers, but I think he’s the most “noble” of the characters.

E.N: Even though he’s not the main character, my answer would be Boba Fett, simply because he looks “cool”.

P.J: Han Solo. Even though he’s not the main character in the story, he knows how to capture your attention and be a kind of tough good criminal, but at the same time kind.

What do you think is the most important moral of the story?

G.C: That there is always hope to achieve a better universe.

M.N: Forgiveness, redemption, and letting go. The Buddhist religion was used as the basis for the Jedi teachings – one of the religions in depicted the film in that distant galaxy – so it had a lot of influence. The most important message is in the middle of the Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, when Yoda is talking to Anakin, who is about to betray everything and everyone:

“The fear of loss is a path to the dark side. Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy.
The shadow of greed that is. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

It’s very difficult to do and follow what he says there, but it has a lot of meaning and it is an excellent moral of the story.

L.S: That you shouldn’t try to do something halfway, you have to do it for real.

A.P: I think the great thing about the movies is that there’s not just good and bad – there’s a big gray area in between the two extremes in which we can move about. The bad isn’t always simply “bad.” Everything has a backstory.

E.N: It seems to me that the central message is the typical “Good always triumphs over evil”, but there are other aspects that stand out, like loyalty and respect for teachers.

P.J: It seems to me that the main message of the story is that a person has the potential to do many good things as well as bad, and ultimately it depends on the person and their decision-making to choose which path to go down.