Why Zuckerberg is Wrong About T-Shirts | Wearing the same thing every day won’t make you more productive

Mark Zuckerberg once claimed that dressing the same every day freed him to focus on important decisions. This assumes that being well-dressed has no value beyond luxury/vanity. This is a stance I have come to disagree with in recent years, so here’s my argument for why you (I’m looking at you, programmers) should invest some time in thinking about what to wear in the morning:

1- It’s a stimulating mental exercise

You’re not just agonising over red shirt vs blue shirt. If you do then that’s just indecisiveness and Zuckerberg is probably right about that being a waste of energy. What you should be doing is trying to find a combination of clothing items that match one another and also look new and refreshing when put together. Fun fact: in Computer Science, this is actually called a constraint satisfaction problem and there’s a whole branch of AI that deals with similar problems. It’s kind of like trying to colour a map while making sure no two adjacent countries have the same colour. Except you have to satisfy the additional constraint of making sure the map doesn’t look the same as yesterday and also looks good enough to maybe catch the attention of the  cute map it sees on the bus to work sometimes. The point is, it’s a puzzle, and that’s not a bad way to rev your brain up in the morning.
atlas continent country creativity

Oh gosh, I hope this doesn’t make my Brazil look too big.

2- It makes you feel good, which makes your work good

Maybe you’re not a self-conscious person; if so, that’s awesome! Keep doing you. But most people are a little, and that’s okay. Having an outfit that works with your body and makes you look attractive in your own eyes makes you feel good about yourself. Walking out of the house feeling like you look attractive gives you confidence and contributes to your overall mental health. This puts you in a better head-space which I would bet money has a measurable impact on your work quality.

3- It improves how others perceive and, sometimes, treat you

Attractive people get better treatment in life. That’s just an unfortunate truth. People are more likely to be nice to you, and oblige you when you ask for favours, because the fact that you look nice makes them think you’re likeable (assuming you’re not a jerk). But attractiveness isn’t an innate quality that you’re either born with or without. Anyone who’s watched an episode of Queer Eye will tell you, if you give an average person an outfit that complements their body type and a haircut that matches their face structure, it can make a world of difference to their appeal. And that increase in appeal translates to an improvement in how people behave towards you, especially if you’re confident as well (see #2).
man in white shirt using macbook pro

So anxious. So forlorn.

man using laptop computer

So confident. So self-assured. You know it’s the buttons and collar.

At the end of the day, you’re not a machine trying to maximise its work output by removing anything that isn’t critical to its objective. You are a person that needs to be fulfilled outside of work to do a good job. Looking good and feeling good about how you look will bring you some of that fulfilment and help you with your work. Not to mention that once you get into it, you’ll start using your fashion choices to express yourself. And wouldn’t you rather live in a world where you’re surrounded by vibrant colour and diverse styles than a world of solely jeans and t-shirts?

Why Do We Fall, Master Bruce?

We’re back! After an embarrassingly long hiatus (given how briefly this project had been going for) we’re back and hopefully for longer this time around.

First robot is done but there is some broken hardware that I need to replace before I can get a demo up, in the meantime, work has begun on Robot #2…a telepresence robot! Check out the video for details on all of the above.

Hooray! Nothing Caught Fire!

The first Cylon is well on its way and so far, no part of it has burned out or burst into flames, which I consider a mark of progress. The components are all attached and the obstacle avoidance code seems to work, but I’m having issues testing it properly because the wheels I’m using aren’t very good and are getting in the way of functionality. The plan is to get new wheels and see if that changes anything. I’m also having a balance problem where the robot keeps falling over backwards. You could fix this by adding a third wheel at the back, but I got the idea to add brushes instead and try to turn this obstacle avoider into a roomba! I’ll fiddle around with that over the next week and we’ll see how we go. For more details on what I did as well as what I’ve got planned for next month, check out the video.

Introducing the 12 Cylon Challenge

A lot of people like to make new years resolutions but this year, Mark Zuckerberg took it one step further and set himself a challenge to build an AI that manages his house. Not one to be shown up by the Zuck, I decided to set my own challenge. You’ll find my whole schpeel in the Facebook post below but the long and short of it is: I’m going to build one robot every month for the entirety of 2016 and the whole thing will be called the 12 Cylon Challenge.


As I mentioned in the post, I want each robot to be simple enough that I can do it as a hobby project over the course of the month. That said, I don’t want to rebuild the same thing 12 times so each month I will pick a theme, a concept or piece of tech that I want to fiddle with, and base the bot around that. That way each one has a unique flavor. January’s robot will be a simple obstacle avoider and the theme for the month will be building a complete system out of off-the-shelf components (as opposed to a pre-packaged kit).

I want to keep people up to date on my progress; I like YouTube as a medium but sometimes you need to have text. So all my updates will be posted to this blog, but the updates may just be an embedded YouTube video with a little bit of intro text. That about covers all the background information I have for this post. You’ll find the first video of this challenge below where I talk about my first robot, component shopping and what you can expect from this challenge. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

How One Start-Up is Revolutionizing Egypt’s Food Scene

How One Start-Up is Revolutionizing Egypt’s Food Scene

A piece I wrote for Egyptian Streets about the rise of a new Egyptian tech start-up called Engezni, started by two friends of mine from university.

Egyptian Streets

Hungry? Just get out your phone and download Engezni when it goes live in May. Hungry? Just get out your phone and download Engezni when it goes live in May.

By Mostafa Rizk, contributor, EgyptianStreets.com

Sometimes it seems that any news you hear out of Egypt is bad news. Whether it’s about an increasing budget deficit, a new wave of violent clashes or another government screw up, it feels as if everybody is actively trying to make things worse. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

For every person out there not doing their job or actively making the country a worse place to live, there are a thousand more who are sick of the politics and stagnation, who just want to see Egypt flourish, and are working tirelessly to make that happen.

The team behind Egypt’s latest tech startup, Engezni, are some of those people.

This February, Engezni won second place at the University Mobile Challenge at the prestigious Mobile World…

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