Joonas Pajunen

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the knowns

“There are known knowns…”, the gem made famous by Donald Rumsfeld, though in a sense originally appearing in the 50’s in the form of Johari window. I like to think these combinations as a framework for classifying information and our attitude towards gathering more of it.

k-k (open / arena)

Known knowns are quite obvious. They are the knowledge one is aware of. However, don’t believe everything you think. The scientific method relies on rewriting or updating the current knowns. Most that were once known is now obsolete or outdated. So never get too sure or confident in your knowledge.

u-k (blind spot)

Unknown knowns are perhaps those tacit and implicit pieces of information that lie in the subconscious. More dangerously, these might be things we refuse to accept or recognise.

Many of them are autonomous and linked to the System 1 type, instant reacting and thinking. The more one...

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mma and grappling

I like to watch mixed martial arts and grappling events. MMA especially is so raw and so primal, that no other sport compares. Perhaps because of the assumption that in theory, a loss equals death, it raises deep feels.

MMA is a recent phenomenon, starting from the 80’s and 90’s In Japan, Brazil and USA, only to get more popular in late 2000’s and becoming one of the fastest growing sports in 2010’s. What most might not know, the ancient Olympics contained a contest called “pankration”. That was, in essence, MMA of the 7th century BC. Like in its current form, only the most savage and dangerous things, like eye or genital gouging and biting, were forbidden.

As in any other televised sport, MMA is part entertainment. That means some of the press happening outside the ring or cage is ridiculous and silly, though often quite entertaining. But, as from any leading professionals, there is...

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maker manager both

Makers and managers, their scheduling and time management needs can be considered as opposites. A maker’s schedule is focused on producing, where the incoming, external distractions need restraint. A manager, instead, must tend to the external inputs with fervour, and delegate them to the makers. A manager is dependant on a maker, but the opposite isn’t always true. In most situations, I believe the ideal position is somewhere between these two roles, in being both and neither.

The key issue in the distinction is reactivity. A maker should build her schedules and routines so that her life requires the least amount of reacting to sudden impulses. Granted, creative work requires some input and inspiration, but it is the mundane and repetitive stimuli a maker could do without. A manager benefits from some organising, filtering, and scheduling of inputs, but not removing them. It is after...

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self-help

Self-help literature gets a bad rap. I like to think most literature, and especially non-fiction, is self-help in some way or another. After all, we tend to learn real world facts and lessons from them. Or generally hope to enjoy whatever we read. Preferably both.

Self-help literature in general falls within a spectrum, and some the most blatant output is obviously in the fishy end. There is obnoxious and malignant material, and some authors seem to have lost their marbles. Finding the realistic and personally best-fitting material from the noise can be difficult.

The best self-help would be that which is not explicitly trying to explain something directly. Some examples that come to mind are the fictitious Zorba the Greek and non-fictitious Meditations. Stories, whether fact or fiction, help us to better remember entireties and relate to situations. This is because the context is...

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temporary choices

We are often delusional about the temporal nature of written software. After all, nothing is more permanent than temporary piece of code. We often think software should be beautiful or clever for it to exist at all. But, (rightly so) code is only as beautiful and useful as the information it outputs.

This might be because code is considered an end result, instead of a means to an end. The business needs for refactoring a working piece of a program arises usually only when the code is too difficult to work with. The more critical the domain, the greater the risks, and more difficult to take the responsibility for fatal errors.

All this shouldn’t be a problem, at least when we don’t fool ourselves. Commitment is positive, permanence can be soothing. Though excuses about time and later refactoring hopes are plentiful. Better yet, coming to terms with good enough is liberating. Always...

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mental coupling and languages

Some people, myself included, act differently when speaking in tongues. Especially if the spoken language is learned later in life. I suspect this is so because the nth language is learned in conjunction with other, less primal skills, knowledge and associations. After all, we cannot remember most of events and happenings during which we learned our mother tongue. It is therefore a deeper mystery what is associated with it in our minds.

When conversing in English, I feel more open and less constrained (compared Finnish, that is). This is not a conscious thing, and something I’ve only realised recently. I don’t know why this is for sure, but I believe words, rules and grammar are coupled to the things we learn them from. These are often cultural things, especially when we learn them outside the constrained and politically correct environment of a classroom. When learning a language, it...

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attention

Random, somewhat scatered thoughts on attention.

Attention is becoming an increasingly valuable asset. The information overload is getting worse. Companies should be happy if people pay any attention to something their offering for free. And for that, many are willing to pay hefty sums. As the saying goes, if you are not paying for something, you are being sold. Attention and time is becoming a kind of a meta-commodity.

Companies acquire rivals just because they are stealing their customers time and attention. Not necessarily because they have a viable business model or a sensible product, but because they one day might. A company with numerous users but not their attention, it cannot advertise directly. The view counts don’t accumulate. In that case, indirect attention grasp via selling data to advertisers is still possible.

The possible disturbances, the attempts to grasp your...

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in praise of podcasts

I listen to podcasts quite much. Almost always while commuting, and sometimes during exercise. They’re an excellent fill for dull times. Here’s a few favourites:

  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • Jocko Podcast
  • Waking Up
  • The Tim Ferriss Show
  • Hardcore History ( + Common Sense)
  • The Paleo Solution Podcast
  • The Drunken Taoist

Whichever one I’m listening to, I’m bombarded with facts, ideas, information and inspiration. There is slight problem, though. My mind is filled with bits and pieces of knowledge, and I sometimes forget important details, not to mention sources. “I just heard this somewhere, and I suppose it was along these lines”.

As Jocko mentioned in one of the episodes, audio has some kind of a special way of getting into the brain. That is, as opposed to the written word, and in the sense that immersion and retention is much better.

Even though the technology required to enjoy podcasts...

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brownfield kintsugi

Kintsugi is Japanese for “golden joinery”. An art of repairing broken pottery with usually golden glue of sorts. The idea is that the resulting ornament is better of after the repair. It becomes one of a kind. It has a story. I can imagine someone breaking shit on purpose.

Software is shipped with functionalities and features assumed necessary. Rarely is one shipped without bugs. Software adapting to trends in the future is rather impossible to make. So it gets broken, becomes outdated, reveals weird and unexpected edge cases. It is then patched up with hotfixes and paskofixes.

These fixes, they can be golden, made of chewing gum, or of the dark essence towards which brownfield sometimes hints.

Yes, this is a far fetched and silly analogy, but what if age old software was more treated as like kintsugified pottery? Most software contain heaps of undocumented features and fixes made...

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dunning, kruger, the expert and the impostor

When an expert underestimates their ability, they are likely experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect. The accumulation of information, knowledge, or skill generates a gnawing understanding of the things yet unknown. The collection of the known unknowns grows larger. The unawareness of the unknown can first manifest as overestimated capability and know-how. But the inevitable overwhelmedness caused by our lack of knowledge exposes us to the impostor syndrome.

I’ve fallen victim to overestimating my knowledge on issues. Some things, they seem so simple at first. Time and again, I’ve come to realise I was only at the beginning of something, and needed to learn more. This has lead to a somewhat paralysing world view, by which I find it difficult to claim anything with certainty. Instead, I aim to only assess things to the best of my ability and current knowledge.

This is not a negative...

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