Micro-districts

Taillin, Estonia, summer 2016,

we arrived to the city and did the traditional tourism walk in the historical center. Taking some information and reading about what our book say about the city, it was clear the URSS influence on the city in their history.

After that we went to the appartment we were going to stay. This was inside of a major district built during the URSS period. They are called micro-districs.

How does micro-districts work?

The person hosting in his home was a Russian citizen, he explained to us that the round shape of the district tried to influss the sense of community into the people living there.

All services where inside: stores, school, police station, a small health office… in your day to day you could spend the whole day there. As a child, to stay in the distric was very common.

For instance, in a building of flats, the older children had to pick-up the younger ones, so they would go with them to the school; in this way the mothers could work at home. There were other rules like that to reinforce the sense of belonging to the district. This small gesture was to promote the continuous collaboration between people.

Cupertino

Today I have seen a picture in the news about the evolution of the new Apple headquarters office. When I saw the picture I could not resist the comparisson to the URSS microdistricts.

What do you think?

 

 

Pirineos with the bike

I have been able to travel again a week to the Pirinees mountains with the mountain bike. This is a journey I love to do and I was able to do it after 2 years off.

The first thing is to prepare me physically. 7 weeks riding at least 3 times a week made the difference. This time I prepare the days of training combining climbing, long rides and specific workouts with high slopes.

The speed during the routes is very slow, and this helped me to be at the same pace of the group. It’s vacations, not a ride, so we stop to take pictures, talk to people and this type of things.

We have stayed in Castejón de Sos and Ainsa.

The routes we have done were:

  1. Day 1: Castejón de Sos –  Integral de Gallinero: 40 kms, 1600m positive high. 6 hours ride. Good feelings as I rested some days and the pace was slow. We extended the original ride going to Gabás, so we added an extra downhill. The fact that this week I rested help too.
  2. Day 2: Villanova- Rabaltueras: 20 kms, 1050, positive high, 3 hours. The slopes were more complicated, but the ascend was only 10kms. The downhill is in a forrest and it was very good to stop from time to time an enjoy the views. The cows were in the middle of the path when we were downhilling, so a technical stop was required.
  3. Day 3: Ainsa – Viaje al Inframundo: 55 kms, 1585 positive high, 7:30 hours. We wanted to do this one some years ago, but in summer is not suitable because of the heat. Even today it was a hot day. The travel to infraworld is a ride reaching some abandoned towns and old houses were there is nobody. Today we did not see anybody in almost 40 kms. It was a large day but it was a nice day, as the route description says: it’s a bad route for the body and good for the soul.
  4. Day 4: Ainsa, raining, so no bike today.. so the alternative was a gastronomic route with special meet of the region.
  5. Day 5: Ainsa, Portillo del Vallés: 39 kms, 1360 positive high, 5 hours. We picked this route due to a local rider told us there were less posibilities of mud. The worst part was the start of the downhill on the north face with a lot of water there. The other paths where fine. We started at 13:00 as the whole morning was raining. It was a good decision as finally we were lucky and no more rain falled. The path over a river with stones was fantastic.
  6. Day 6: Ainsa: Saravillo – Ainsa: 37 kms 960 positive high and 1400 negative high. We took the van till Saravillo, there we started going to Badaín, then we stopped to take lunch in Laspuña. After lunch we went to Araguás, Torrelisa and finally Ainsa. The final path over the badlands was amaizing.

You can find all available routes here:

  • For the 2 of Castejón de Sos: Puro Pirineo.
  • For the 3 of Ainsa: Zona zero . We have to thanks again to the guys of the Intersport store in Ainsa for the guidance on the routes and the election of the best ones taking into account our directions and the weather.

Only 2 falls without consequences and the bike without any incident, what else can I ask for?

I hope I can come back next year.

South Africa, Cape Town area

This summer vacations were combined with business trip and the causalities made us to change the initial plans by a trip to Cape Town area. The decision was more that good. We enjoyed a very nice vacations discovering an area of a big country with a strong character.

Wild nature in all forms is the main thing you can find there. The road from Swellendam to Oudtshoorn (road R62) is a good example: in 220 kms you will see different type of country side: desert, high mountains, valley with a river covered with a dense vegetation, plain country side with many different animals…

32% del mundo

Según Trip Advisor, he recorrido el 32% del mundo. Yo tengo la sensación de haber visto solo el 4% como mucho. Pero bueno, es una referencia, mala, pero una referencia.

Hay todavía tantos sitios por visitar que no sé por donde empezar. En fin, continuemos disfrutando del viaje.

trip-map-2017-03

Las Vegas

You travel to a new city and which you have seen in TV so much times and the exercise your mind does is to confirm or disregard the labels you created in your mind. All based in the small adjustments you do when you arrive there. In my case, these were the small adjustments my body did.

The temperature is similar to Sevilla, but without humidity, which makes the heat just a little bit more affordable. Well in Las Vegas you have so much months like this and in Sevilla just around 2 – 3 months.

The strength of the sun is much higher than in Sevilla, here you can burn easily, and I cannot be without sunglasses.

Here people can smoke almost in any place, so at the end of the day, all clothes smelled to tobacco. Hopefully this is not happening in Spain anymore.

Apart of these small adjustments, here all is around the entertainment, absolutely all, there is no space for other things. We came for a fashion fair, and we see, touch and smell the core business of this city: entertainment. They were able to diversify their business, the main 4 ones are:

  • Entertainment for adults,
  • Gambling,
  • Family friendly activities,
  • Convention business

They divide the week in 2 parts:

  • From Sunday night to Thursday night: families and conventions.
  • From Thursday night to Sunday night: gambling and adult entertainment.

All casinos compete to attract as much business as possible, but they have a common long term direction about where they want to drive the business. Apparently there is also a good collaboration between the state government, the gambling authority and the casinos. To me these synergies are the main difference to the Atlantic City business: they have not good collaborations between the state, the casinos and the gambling authority.

Las-Vegas

Bikes and cities

I read an article about the the positive impact ofthe use of the bike inParis after the people receive a monthly compensation for going to job by bike, promoting a set of behaviors that benefits the whole city. This made me think about bike adoption in cities.

I´m becoming olderand I am able to lookwith perspectivethe evolution of cities I visited 10 years ago.This week I was,in this order,inBerlin, Amsterdam andBarcelona. I will focus on the quality of lifeof those livingtherein terms ofuse of the bike10 yearsagoand today.

So,

Berlinhas not changed, so many people use the bike. It was 2003 the first time I visited Berlin, in summer; This time in winter. You can see childrenarewrapped in their coatsthat canbarelymovethemselves, but here theyare. Herethe motto is:one street, onebike lane.

In Amsterdam there aremore bikesif possible, insome areasit is the maintransport, you can find piled bikes, wood-bikes, fat-bikes. exclusive city-bikes.I asked if they still have the problem of biketheft,and they still have it. Ifthisenormous lovefor the bikes that Dutch people have you apply their knowledge ondesignonthe bikes, the consequence is easy:you have all kind of bikes.They have in The Hague a race of fat-bikeson the beach. 10 yearsago The Netherlands wasa pioneer in theuse of the bikeand today they still are on top of the list (atleast I think so).

Barcelonawas thebig surprise to me. The first timeI visited it there were only onebike laneon Diagonal Avenue andinthe sea-port area. Now you can find thousand of bike lanes, a municipalbike service, lots of bikesparked on streetlights The changeof such a largeand complex city as Barcelona cannot only be measuredby the existence ofbike-lanes, but you can see the change (maybe others do not agree with me). Bikes have won some space of the streets to the cars.

In contrastI look atMadrid,and I see nochange, the cars still ownthe streets.

Amsterdam, design

Design, design and more design is what you can find in so many corners of Dutch’s cities. All of them developed with high quality and nice style.

My preference is the home design of furniture, how they play with the space of a room and how the ergonomic aspects are present in all details.

First time in winter, and I have to say it was not horrible at all, but 4 days is enough for me to make me an idea about how cold weather impacts on lifestyle.

Berlin, again

I spent some days in Berlin, working and having only the nights to enjoy the city. Dinners in a Russian restaurant and a glass of wine in an Italian winery was just an example about the opportunities you have.

First time in Winter; and we were lucky of enjoying sunny days combined with a nice snow storm during the night that dress the city with a beautiful white.

Running 13 kms around the city enables you to know new streets, stop in shops to look up at some designs, build a better map of the city in you mind and know where the people go.

Nice trip!

NYC meet-ups

This week in NYC I had the opportunity to attend different meet-ups. Two of them were related to hardware, the other was related to lean management.

I’m not an expert in hardware, but these two were the ones with better speakers and the quality of the speech was amazing. One of them was NY Hardware Start-up, the other NYC hardwired.

One of them published a useful presentation, that is not only useful for hardware projects, they are useful for any type of start-up.

Some notes I took:

  • The life-cycle of a product is around 18 months.
  • Never go to a round with a Venture Capital to offer more than 25% (in a couple of rounds you will be out).
  • The hardest part of the prototype phase is to say “no” to features.
  • First days are essential in KickStarter.
  • Market attraction, you cannot stop working on it.
  • Market validation, you cannot stop receiving real feedback.
  • As CEO you have to give return.
  • In one session the perfect number of team members for a start-up was 3, on the other one 8. 🙂
  • www.mcmaster.com is the most useful source of jigs & tools for hardware entrepreneurs.
  • The minimum # units to manufacture in China is 5000.
  • When you will be looking to reduce the price of the components, concentrate on the 3 main components, no more (pareto principle).
  • The packaging box will cost more than you think, take this into account during budgeting process.

Thailand

We had the opportunity to visit this country, and I was surprised about so many things. We enjoyed a good time there escaping from winter.

The city I enjoyed more it was Chiang Mai, the more fascinating city: Bangkok.

(Ayuttahaya, landed Buddha)