Thoughts and other words

Writings by Inti Ocean

Fake It Till You Become It

There is a moving and insprirational TED talk about body language at the end of which Amy Cuddy says

I want to say to you, don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.

To give you a little more context here is the run up to that quote.

I worked and worked and worked, and I got lucky, and worked, and got lucky, and worked. Eventually I graduated from college. It took me four years longer than my peers, and I convinced someone, my angel advisor, Susan Fiske, to take me on, and so I ended up at Princeton, and I was like, I am not supposed to be here. I am an impostor. And the night before my first-year talk, and the first-year talk at Princeton is a 20-minute talk to 20 people. That’s it. I was so afraid of being found out the next day that I called her and said, “I’m quitting.” She was like, “You are not quitting, because I took a gamble on you, and you’re staying. You’re going to stay, and this is what you’re going to do. You are going to fake it. You’re going to do every talk that you ever get asked to do. You’re just going to do it and do it and do it, even if you’re terrified and just paralyzed and having an out-of-body experience, until you have this moment where you say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m doing it. Like, I have become this. I am actually doing this.’” So that’s what I did. Five years in grad school, a few years, you know, I’m at Northwestern, I moved to Harvard, I’m at Harvard, I’m not really thinking about it anymore, but for a long time I had been thinking, “Not supposed to be here. Not supposed to be here.”

So at the end of my first year at Harvard, a student who had not talked in class the entire semester, who I had said, “Look, you’ve gotta participate or else you’re going to fail,” came into my office. I really didn’t know her at all. And she said, she came in totally defeated, and she said, “I’m not supposed to be here.” And that was the moment for me. Because two things happened. One was that I realized, oh my gosh, I don’t feel like that anymore. You know. I don’t feel that anymore, but she does, and I get that feeling. And the second was, she is supposed to be here! Like, she can fake it, she can become it. So I was like, “Yes, you are! You are supposed to be here!

She comes back to me months later, and I realized that she had not just faked it till she made it, she had actually faked it till she became it. So she had changed. And so I want to say to you, don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it. You know? It’s not — Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.

C Is a Very Nice High Level Language

A quote which made me smile today.

C is a very nice high level language with many of the modern programming constructs in it. The thing thats very important about it is that it lets you avoid the details of the machine when you want to, but when you need to, and sometimes when you’re writing an operating system you really do need to, you can get at the details of the machine and control everything. But you’re not forced to do that and thats important because that means you can write operating systems in this language and still have something that can be portable to other machines.

Do What You Enjoy

I was having a coffee today at my local coffee shop and I had a moment of inspiration and scribbled over both sides of an index card. This is more or less what I wrote.


The necessity of having to take something from start to end is stopping me being as productive/creative/happy as I could be. In order to improve this I need to accept that it’s okay to pick some work up, take it forward a little and then let it lie or let someone else continue it. Because even though when considered from a top down view this doesn’t seem the most efficient way of doing things, it allows one to do what really interests us without constantly feeling guilty of all the things we have not completed. Instead of feeling guilty, we should feel proud of the work we have done even if we didn’t take the work over the finish line we have still helped it along the way.

What does it mean to have completed something [a piece of work] in this age of knowledge workers? There are more knowledge workers than ever before and this makes me think that we can’t hold on to the same definition of complete that we all currently have. I think we need a new notion of complete, a more agile notion and one which conveys that complete just means complete for me, complete for now. Not necessarily complete forever or for everyone.

When is a software package or library complete? At the first release, second, tenth? When it’s decommissioned?

Release early, release often.

~Thoughts in a coffee shop. Saturday the 11th of May 2013.

Debbie Millman at Creative Mornings NYC

A quote from end of a really great presentation titled “The Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Graduated College” by Debbie Millman at the February Creative Mornings in New York.

If you think that you’re too busy to do something. I wanna talk to you about what busy means. I think busy is a four letter word. I think busy is never about busy in the sane way that sex is not about sex and money is never about money.

Busy is a way of organising your priorities and we use being busy or thinking that we’re busy as a reason not to do something that we *really want to do*. If you’re not doing something that you really want to do then you really don’t want to do it. If you really want to do something, you will find the time to do it. Be honest with yourself. If you’re not doing something that you tell yourself that you want to be doing it means that you don’t want to be doing it. Figure out either how to do it or what to do instead.

Ultimately I think it’s important to consider the two ways of living. You can live out of fear where everything in front of you is something that is unnerving or you can live out of power where everything could be an opportunity if you let it. So I think, in order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide that you want one. Because if you expect less, less is all you’re going to get.

I hope that the force be with you and I thank you for your time and for coming out in this miserable weather.

Thank you very, very, very, very much.

Quote From Mirko Ilic on Design Matters (Podcast)

A few quotes from an interview of Mirko Ilic by Debbie Millman on the Design Matters podcast. You will have to listen to the podcast to hear his great accent (link to podcast in title).

When asked why he didn’t want to work at the New York Times Op-Ed pages for the rest of his life

If you stay too long on one place, become routine, and then you can forget, even those beautiful brilliant moments on the beginning, becomes job…

I stopped doing comics because I got bored with my own comics…
… you must entertain yourself in the first place

“So Mirko, you love to experiment?”

Exactly. And really, business wise, its extremely bad because once, when you start doing something well you just need to cash in. And just do it many of those. But is boring. And I didn’t become artist to be bored by myself. If is boring to me how boring must be to people who consume that?!

Tips From a Design Technologist

I was reading an article about becoming a designer and some of the points resonated with me. (via hack design)

Tip #3: Design everything you do

…Your emails should be written/composed clearly and beautifully. Your conversations with individuals should be designed through how you listen, how you maintain eye contact, how you respond (both spoken and unspoken). Everything you do should have a reason, no matter how small. Design requires constant practice, this is a great way to keep growing.

I don’t think its possible to design everything but if we keep design in the back of our minds at all times we are more likely to be able to spot problems and design great solutions for them.

Tip #7: Focus on defining and solving problems

A lot of the work you see at design showcase websites are great examples of well executed decorations that lack substance. The people that can perform this type of work are countless and the skills highly commoditized. Avoid pixel-pushing at all costs – your job is to solve problems. View your work through that lens at all times. Always know what problems you are trying to solve while in the process of designing (e.g., people are having a hard time knowing where to go next in a flow, or, the current visual design does not reflect the mood of our brand). Good designers solve problems, great ones ensure they are solving the right ones. Accurately defining the problem goes a long way towards solving it.

This is a no brainer but its something which I don’t often think about.

I often see stunning designs and don’t stop to consider what solution they are actually solving (if any) before wishing my designs were as polished. This then leads me down the road of never releasing anything because it isn’t as nice as said design.

The reason this tip resonated with me was that I constantly need to remind myself the importance of of solving a problem rather than creating something beautiful which may not actually achieve what I want. Writing this down it seems so damned obvious but its something I often forget.


It has been a while since I last posted however its my aim to post more often than I have in the past.

I will be posting short pieces with my thoughts on content which captures my intrest, of course I will always include links back to the original sources.


I’m trying out octopress.

As you may or may not have noticed depending on how long after this post was written you are reading this, I have decided to use octopress. If it happens that you are reading this as the second most recent post it is likely that my most recent post is about a different blogging framework which I have decided to use! ;)

Blogs I Follow

Below are a few of my favorite blogs which I follow.

  • daring fireball is a apple centric blog although John Gruber also writes about other businesses occasionally though usually in comparison with apple. This is a great blog for apple news.
  • swiss miss is a swiss designers blog. Tina Roth Eisenberg lives in NYC and reblogs cool and interesting designs. One thing I especially like about this blog is that it is centered around images with a few words accompanying each image.
  • farnam street is a blog which have recently started following but it deserves a mention as most things I have read from it have been interesting and thought provoking.
  • I used to enjoy following lifehacker but these days I find its just too busy and much of what they post is not interesting to me so I have set up a huge list of filters using yahoo pipes which narrows down the amount I get from here. I’ve been thinking of giving up reading lifehacker though as I rarely find anything interesting on it any more. (if you are interested I have posted a screenshot and link to my filter at the bottom of this post.)

Lastly one other thing you should check out for some inspiration, although its not exactly a blog; by which of course I mean its not a blog, is creative mornings. Creative mornings is a series of morning talks aimed at creative types which happen all over the world. I have found the New York ones to be especially good.

I think everyone should follow some blogs on topics they are interested as I find they can provide: Information, News, Thought provoking material, New ideas, Inspiration, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

If you don’t know about rss then you should find out about it. I’m sure many people have written very good explanations on what it is and how to use it so I won’t bore you with the details.

The only thing I will say is investigate google reader. I use google reader to keep my list of rss feeds and manage what I have read but I don’t usually read my feeds directly though it. There are many applications written which sync with google reader and provide a nicer reading experience. The app which I use (and personally love) is Reeder which is available for Mac OSX and iOS on the mac/ios app stores respectively.

For those of you who have no idea what an rss reader is, the following is an easy way to think about it. An rss reader is much like an email client only for blog posts rather than emails. You chose to follow the blog posts of a particular site and then any new blog posts by the site are sent to your rss reader as new unread items which you can then read at your leisure. The difference with a mail client and an rss reader is that read items in your rss reader are not kept.

Thats all for now.


ps: link and screenshot below as promised my filtered lifehacker rss feed (be warned this will change over time as I add or remove filters)

My filters, as you can see, I filter a large number of terms my lifehacker filters

Quote From Steve Jobs 1997

The line of code that a developer can write the fastest, the line of code that a developer can maintain the cheapest and the line of code that never breaks for the user is the line of code that the developer never had to write

Steve Jobs, Macworld expo in San Fansisco January 7 1997 Video