How hard it is to unmask the faker?

I see myself as a skeptic. And yet, time and again I surprise myself accepting an statement someone tells me without verifying it, or taking an unproven fact as truth. I am appalled at how naïve and innocent I choose to be when being doubtful requires an effort on my part. It is so easier to concede and so hard to question everything, or to doubt so-called “experts,” as Richard Feynman told us.

It sounds incorrect, but you’d rather don’t think about it. You are most certain the statement you are hearing is false, but you wouldn’t want to annoy the one conveying his opinion. You are in doubt and would like to ask, but you wouldn’t want to make those around you uncomfortable. You have all the power and knowledge to unmask the faker, but you don’t want to be the party pooper.

And so you settle for whatever it is you are hearing, reading or experiencing. Like I did when I visited this supposedly old Inca site on Ecuador last month.

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Another intractable challenge was divided and conquered

Last week a client suffered a major hardware failure on a storage and lost several virtual machines, including one which hosted an application to compute salaries. The failure came exactly a week before pay day. With over 600 sales executives, supervisors and managers expecting their salaries, losing the application on that very moment can’t be taken for less than another proof that Murphy’s Law continues to rule our world.

The software company which built the app didn’t have the resources or knowledge to restore it. So even though I quit working as the salary app architect more than 4 years ago and hadn’t seen them since, they called me desperately asking for help. They wanted me to recover the system on a new server so they could compute the salaries ASAP.

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Am I happy because I’m ignorant?

I’ve been remembering the conversation I had yesterday at the golf club after lunch. It started as a regular business meeting but somehow lead into the subjects I am passionate about. These are the same subjects that distress me at night and stalk me while I walk. They seize my thoughts while I leaf through an uninteresting book or while working on a chore that doesn’t demand my full attention.

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Posh lunch at the Golf Club

A little after noon today we came out of a business meeting at downtown Santiago. One of us proposed to drive us to the Club de Golf Los Leones to have lunch. He warned us this place was somewhat expensive, but that it was comfortable enough to resume the conversation after lunch. He told us the menu was about CLP 12,000. That is indeed a very expensive menu, around 3 times what you would normally spend at an average restaurant downtown. What the hell, I thought, I don’t know the place and this is a good opportunity: you are only allowed to enter with a club member. And there were a couple of business opportunities to discuss, so this agreeable place sounded OK.

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The omniscient restaurant feasibility test

How hard is it to deliver the food to the customer in time? My business partner and I were pondering on this idea last week. As a customer who orders food, it would be great if the restaurant you are calling knew who you are, what you want and where you reside. It would be even better if the restaurant went one step ahead and, heeding your behavior as one of their regulars, somehow knew you were going to order food. So we let our minds roam free around this ideas for a while and tried to evaluate the feasibility of this… insightful restaurant.

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