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#London Chapter 4: My Propeller

I’m a bit late with my this but it has been my 4th “Londonversary” at the beginning of the month. It’s getting harder and harder to write something because so many things happen every day and I have always less and less time for my blog.
The truth is.. I’m getting probably older and I’ve even forgotten having a page somewhere around the web 😀

This has been a damn intense and fast paced year.
I had the same feeling in the past, but this time I can guarantee it was even too much for me. Probably, this post is not even for you but just to make me realize how things happen so fast and so many all at once even when you cannot control them.

Work

I tend to really like what I do, so don’t take this “section” as a negative bit of this year.
It’s what probably I’ve been really invested in for the the last years but I’m getting better also at other stuff 😛

Since the beginning of my journey at Bloomberg, I had a chance to work on a new Android app which is part of what the company offers as complimentary service to its customers. As usual, there were some hard times at the beginning because I had to understand how things were working but I managed to find my space and perform a lot of improvements those were not affecting just me but the entire ecosystem we were trying to build. I also had a chance to interview tons of people and for the first time in my life do some volunteering teaching math to kids(at least I tried haha).

It finally came the time to move on. I wasn’t really planning to change for any other job but something really big this summer came. For a lot of people this would be just a chance to work for the biggest social network in the world, adding a nice stamp on their CV. Honestly, while this can be true, I don’t really give a fuck about my CV and if you think like this is gonna be the perfect recipe for failure.
For me this is all about learning a lot of new things, working with the most skilled people in the World and tackling problems that any other company cannot even dream to have.
Even if it’s just the beginning, It’s really an honour working at Facebook and trying to strive towards the company’s mission.

Travel/Misc

In March, my girlfriend and I moved to a different flat and we had crazy time packing all our things and getting rid of all that crap people cumulate in years(someone was right.. garbage collection has few tiny little drawbacks).
Around the same period, I went for the first time in my life to Sicily with my friend Kfir and it was absolutely awesome. It was still to early to have a swim in the sea but it’s definitely a place where I’d like to go back again.

In May, I had a chance to go for the second time in my life to Google I/O. The conference was nothing crazy and not really well organized but I had really good time with chaps from Badoo, Deliveroo and many other companies.  I also had a chance to meet Vincenzo and Emilio from SmartLauncher, a really cool mobile company from a city call Manfredonia which is definitely in my todo list in the place to visit.

In June, my girlfriend and I went to Copenhagen for the third time and it was awesome.
The girl that was hosting us through Airbnb left us a couple of tickets for Tivoli and it was great to go there even if it’s such a touristic place 😀

In July, taking advantage of a friend’s wedding, we finally had a real holiday in Portugal. It was my first long road trip and it was awesome to see everyday different cities, cultures and traditions. If you haven’t visit the country, I’d definitely recommend give it a chance and your holidays will definitely be great ones.

In September I spent some time back in my hometown with my family and few friends.
It was awesome to see them again after a long while. Sometimes I feel kind of sad because I cannot play cards or have a coffee with my grandma, watching my grandpa still working from 6am, driving with my father, seeing my brother and old friends, cooking with my mother, … whenever I want.
On the other side, staying far from home and trying to achieve better and better results gets rewarded every time I see their eyes: that sense of admiration and happiness when they see me and what I achieve doesn’t have a price. This is my propeller.

In November, I went to Menlo Park CA for my Bootcamp and I had two awesome weeks seeing Facebook even closer and leaving a bit the American Dream. I honestly don’t know if I’d like to live in California but as of Today and looking at past experiences… you never know what future is preparing for you.

Last but not least, I still have to go back home for Chrismukkah(XMas).

I think I’ve never travelled so many times in my life in a year both for work and leisure.

Merry XMas to everyone 🙂
Simone

Curious/fun facts

  • My lemon tree looks the same as probably one year go
  • My last 3 jobs last 1 year and 3 months (cit. LinkedIn)
  • The number of hours it took me to prepare for Facebook interviews was directly proportional to the number of wine glasses I had this year. The only difference is that interviews had an end but wine hadn’t 😀
  • In California, even if you have five/six lanes each side in the highway, you’ll still get stuck somewhere with your car

 

Algorithms are fu**ing awesome!

If you have a quick look on Wikipedia you’ll find out that algorithms are procedures used to solve calculations and to process data.

When I was in university, one of my teacher has defined them like a receipt. Imagine that you have got dozens of ingredients. You have to mix them in order to obtain something that’s really tasty and that can be considered eatable.

From a certain point of view that’s true. Isn’t it? 🙂

One thing that takes a little bit of attention is the fact that the ingredients have to be selected and manipulated following particular procedures otherwise you’ll obtain a food that it something “similar” to what you are expecting.

One week ago, I was reading a problem on Codility that at the beginning was appearing really… really… EASY PEASY!
That’s the greatest mistake that you can do! It doesn’t exist a problem that is simple… otherwise it’s not a problem 😉

After that assumption, I tried on my favorite editor to solve the problem and it “was failing some tests” (if it doesn’t cover any case it’s wrong).
I misunderstood the fact that my solution wasn’t considering entirely the input.

Hence I decided to focus on the velocity of the execution because maybe some loops + if statements were speed down the execution.
That’s another problem: don’t focus on velocity at the beginning. You’ll incur in a lot of mistakes and the problem will become more complex than expected.

At that point I decided to drink a huge cup of strong Italian coffee. “What am I doing?!?!? That’s not the way!”
This was not the idea that solves all your problems but a kind of ray that was saying me that I should start to think instead of trying a feasible solution .

At the end that’s the result:

Detected time complexity: O(N * M * log(M) + N * log(N))
Score: 100 of 100

…getting back to my teacher’s words, when you are sure that your solution works, you should start to think “Can I do something more?“.

Most of the time the solution is YES! OF COURSE!

Leaving that’s long and boring introduction I think that algorithms are not only a way to solve problems but a tool that allows us, not only geeks or nerds, to find other possible better solutions or to confirm that our one is the best one.
So, if you have a look at the icon, that is taken by the Princeton website, you should consider the opportunity to think a problem as something that has to be solved through organized iterations not only as an intuition.