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How To Develop a Business as a Person Who Never Competes

How To Create a Business Development Strategy As a Person Who Never Competes

This week, I observed a lot of discussion on the media related to ecology, sustainability, and Bitcoin’s place in the picture. As a person who is now professionally involved in looking for value in people and projects, I would like to refer to the main arguments mentioned in the discussion and explain what I believe is the value of Bitcoin.

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Value of bitcoin can it become a store of value

On The Intrinsic Bitcoin Value

This week, I observed a lot of discussion on the media related to ecology, sustainability, and Bitcoin’s place in the picture. As a person who is now professionally involved in looking for value in people and projects, I would like to refer to the main arguments mentioned in the discussion and explain what I believe is the value of Bitcoin.

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blindspots in IT industry

Pencils of the Digital Era

While most Millenials and Z-generation are obsessed with building influencial projects that change people's lives, thousands of people out there become wealthy steadily and silently - by providing simple online services that solve little everyday problems.

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5 best business models in the world

5 “Best” Business Models in the World

Can you build an unflappable business model? A perpetuum mobile that always works, no matter what? Oh yes, you can. In this article, I list five such business models. Should you take an example from them? Well...

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Poland fights with COVID

Poland Fights With COVID

There are lots of stereotypical opinions you can hear about Polish people world-wide. Hard-working, with a tendency to steal, yet traditional and religious. But one undeniable fact about Polish society is that it can be unbelievably creative and solidary — especially in times of crisis. And that shows especially clearly when you take a look at how Polish entrepreneurs deal with the lockdown.

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my biggest little achievements of 2020, part 1

My Biggest Little Achievements of 2020 — Part 1

2020 was impossibly long — and to say that it was a good year, would be a far stretch. Yet, I believe that this year allowed us to figure out better what is really important for us — not only at work but also in life — and what is not, and to focus on our core projects. Or at least, it is how it worked for me.

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never buy bitcoin before you read this

Why You Should Never Buy Bitcoin

You might be watching Bitcoin price charts with interest or even with excitement. Perhaps, you already bought it. Or you are seriously considering it. Just wait a second.

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Starring at the Sun

The summer is over for a long time now, yet, I’m in a mood to bring some memories from this summer. Of course, it wasn’t a typical summertime but rather, quite an unusual one. It’s hard to neglect that the corona crisis changed the landscape of what you can or can’t possibly do.

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The First Ever Virtual Tedx Has Concluded!

Some ideas are worth spreading. With that thought in mind, in 1984, Marry Marks and Richard Saul Wurman found TED Conferences LLC. Now, in 2020, TED is going through a little revolution. Can we give TEDx talks in virtual reality? It turns out that yes - we can!

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The Winter Is Coming! My Top 5 Tips How You Can Prepare Your Mind and Body

This is a difficult year for everyone. It’s not only due to the decrease in global productivity, the crisis in the job market, and the fact that we suffer from limited personal freedom. And the winter is coming! Here in the Netherlands, winters are always dim and a bit depressive, and it’s often hard to find the energy to jump out of bed in the morning. So, how to stay positive in the winter right now, in deep crisis?

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how not to build a business

How (Not) to Build a Business

I remember how once upon a time, I was impressed when someone was introducing themselves to me as a “serial entrepreneur.” Well, it’s not the case anymore — and let me tell you why.

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Should You Write Your Own Blog?

Have you ever thought of writing your own blog? Perhaps, as a way of promoting yourself as a person, promoting your expertise, or your little business? Or, as a way to foster your creativity and put your ideas on paper before you forget about them? Perhaps this blog post will help you make the decision to start (or to bury your plans!).

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How to (De)motivate an Employee?

Can a raise in salary infuriate an employee? Yes, it can. Especially if that employee is an ambitious person with a PhD. And it’s all about the timing.

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Come on, Ladies!

As we all know, women don’t have an easy time in their professional lives. However, while working with lots of people in pursuit of improving their situation in the job market, I noticed that some women also involuntarily make their situation in the job market even harder than it already is — in at least five different ways.

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How I Fail

This blog post is a recording from an interview I did for Veronika Cheplygina's blog series "How I Fail." It's all about the mindset and personal strategies that helped me in getting over hardship and difficulties—both in academia and in industry. Most of these strategies, I learned by trial and error and I'm happy to now share them with you.

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Should You Consider Working As a Career Advisor?

Career advisory - what a crazy ride this is! So many turns and unexpected events down the line, and so many interesting people with their unbelievable, unheard of stories on the way! In general, I am happy about my decision to embark on this journey. But the reality is: no job is ever perfect. After my long and delightful honeymoon with career advisory, I can say that there are also several downsides to this job. Let me list a few of them here.

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The days of greatness

I wish creativity was less painful. I wish I was just waking up in the morning with a good mood and had great, groundbreaking ideas all day long. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that — to me, creativity is the other side of the same coin as Weltschmetrz.

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The only justice in the world

In general, this world is not just. Some people are born more wealthy than others. Some people are born prettier than others. Some people naturally have more energy than others. Some people learn faster than others. Some people, for some reason, receive more recognition and appreciation for their work than others. But, there is one thing just for all.

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The Signs

Are there any signs in heaven and earth that can tell us along the way what we should eventually be doing in our professional lives — these little cues thrown to our feet along the way that we tend to ignore until there are so many of them that the truth just becomes obvious?

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Mum, Dad, I’m a YouTuber!

In the darkest times during graduate school, when I was completely out of energy and I saw no light in the tunnel, I used to think to myself, “Hey, don’t worry. It’s not that bad of a job. It could have been much worse — you could have been a YouTuber.” But, the irony will prevail.

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Can you marry research with entrepreneurship?

Living a double life between entrepreneurship and academic research is not easy. This blog post reviews the reasons why this is so, and ideas for how you might nevertheless succeed in balancing on the edge of the two worlds.

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Why did I really leave academia?

Why Did I REALLY Leave Academia? Top 16 Reasons

Since I just finally defended my PhD thesis, now, I can finally talk about the real reasons why I left academia (although I didn’t really quit doing research! — these are two separate and almost unrelated things…). And, I didn’t necessarily leave for the reasons that most people think I did.

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What you should know before starting a PhD

This blog post is dedicated to Master students who are at the end of their Master’s programs, and consider going to grad school. What are the pros and cons of going for the academic career, as compared to starting an industry job? What is the best motivation to start a PhD?

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The mice heaven

When I see Elon’s efforts to colonize Mars and help the humanity in becoming a powerful, multi-planet civilization, I smile. I smile because I know that before we are technically able to colonize any other planet, it might be that in a hundred years, there will be no humanity left. And this is all due to convenience.

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The balance theory

Have you ever wondered why whenever two of your friends argue, you immediately get that itchy feeling that this will end up badly for you in one way or another? Or why, once you have just one conflict in a group of people, it starts propagating across the group like a virus? There is a forgotten theory in psychology that explains all this.

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What motivates you?

We are all home-grown psychologists. We have all heard about Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Zimbardo’s Stanford experiment, or Milgram’s experiment. But, have you ever heard about Alfred Adler? Well, maybe you should.

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Why is it cool to work as a career advisor?

The past few weeks were quite interesting — I had some strange symptoms. I lost a lot of weight, I was often blushing, I was putting on loud Tiësto music and jumping around my garage like a maniac and bumping into things (to such an extent that I was getting self-inflicted wounds), I was walking around the park and laughing to myself like an idiot, and I couldn’t sleep for more than 6 hours a day. In other words, I had some strong signs of affection.

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The nosedive

For my whole youth, I was spending most of my time reading books and going through thousands of textbook assignments. In the end, after twenty years of torturing myself with books, articles, and never-ending assignments, I realized that being an egghead doesn’t really prepare you for life in the real world. So, I made a 180-degree turn: I took a dive from the ivory tower straight to the street level.

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High-flyers

When working with academics planning their first post-PhD jobs in the industry, one pattern keeps coming back: the more accomplished the person is in academic terms, the more difficult time they have with finding their first jobs outside academia. The underdogs on the other hand — the early career researchers who are nowhere near that accomplished, and who are often disrespected by their bosses and considered poor academics — are much quicker and more accurate in finding their next career paths. Often happier there as well.

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The jobs of the future

It’s not a secret that both the Millennials and the Z-generation are vision- or mission-oriented. Young people are no longer looking for a paycheck in their jobs, but also a broader purpose (or, from Japanese, ikigai). This can have really interesting long-term consequences for the job market. In particular, one new type of job that is going to emerge soon.

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How would you like (them) to feel

Interviewing people with interesting (and difficult!) career paths and rare professions, yields interesting conclusions. Namely, these people they tend to share one interesting characteristic: from a very early age, they know what role towards other people they would prefer to play.

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From home: tips and tricks

The corona crisis stirred the job market and changed the workflow in companies around the world. In these circumstances, business is moving online, and as professionals, we need to adapt and become efficient remote workers. This blog post lists some strategies for achieving good results at working from home. Let’s hope this material is useful to you!

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Between words

I recently found a list of untranslatable words that appear in many languages around the world. It’s a very interesting list to go through, just to realize that there so many inconveniences or feelings that we all experience but we (almost) never talk about them—just because our local language does not contain any expressions that could describe them.

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A wrinkle in time

Recently, I was invited to record a podcast for the PhD Career Stories series. The point of this episode, was to explain how I found myself in the place I am in right now, both career-wise and mentally. This is always an interesting question as most people—including me—are rather poor at assessing the real causes of events that happen to them. In the process of recording that episode, I realized a few important things about how the past influences the present that I would like to share here.

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The tree

A few days ago I had a long and interesting conversation with a friend who started doubting in her future in academia. She complained that academic life negatively changes both personality and mindset. This made me think a lot.

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Neuroscience vs Psychometrics

For the whole last decade, I was fallen in love with Neuroscience. I first found out about the concept of investigating the human brain during my undergraduate studies, and from the very start, I knew that this was what I was going to do for a living. The human brain was such a challenging and fascinating concept! And, here is what I think now.

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34 facts for 34th bDay

I just turned 34 last week. I generally like my life so far although it was bittersweet at times. Here, as a bDay special, I would like to share 34 facts/memories (in random order) that had or still have some influence on me.

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New Years Resolutions

Frankly speaking, I am not sure how to set New Year’s resolutions properly so that all my plans come true—usually, my success rate is about 50%. This year, I am planning to do “only” eight things better than the year before.

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What I learned this year

The year of 2019 slowly comes to the end. It was a bit of a crazy year, and I learned quite a bit - and this time, it was more of a streetwise rather than bookwise knowledge. In this post, I am listing some of the points I learned in the process - which I wish I had learned before yet still, better now than never!

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How to write a book

How to write a book?

To write a book, three conditions need to come together. Firstly, you need to have some interest in writing and enjoy the process. Secondly, you need to have a lot of time to be able to focus on this task. Thirdly, you need to have a topic for a book, where you can contribute some new, valuable content. Recently, I felt that all the stars aligned - so I decided to write a book.

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The Proof of Mind

The Proof of Mind

The industry gravitates towards a high level of automatization worldwide. Machines, machine-learning algorithms and AI take over human jobs in engineering, aviation, banking, war industry, and retail industry—just to name the few. Although in most circumstances, this automatization leads to efficiency and allows for lowering the costs, this is not always the case. In particular, full automatization does not lead to efficiency in areas in which computational power needs to be used to make decisions upon sharing resources in some network.

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Hunting for the happy people

This fall I was travelling quite a lot. I was attending small evening conferences, local meetups here in the Netherlands, but I was also traveling abroad to attend international events - as a guest, as a speaker, or even as an organizer. And, I obviously met a lot of new people on the way. When traveling, I realised that there is some gradual, global change in the society which is really worrying. Namely, if you took a conscious decision to be a happy person, you are in a serious trouble.

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Aptitude tests — what went wrong?

Almost every recruitment process for a large company these days, requires going through a battery of aptitude tests - especially in IT industry. IQ tests, emotional intelligence tests, personality tests, social skill tests. You will get tested inside and out. But there is one very crucial yet chronically overlooked factor of productivity which is typically not tested: the attention span.

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Hush-hush

In kindergarten, most of my peers wanted to become either models, actors, or doctors when they grow up. For a change, I was jealous of priests, and of the fact that they are allowed to listen to people’s confessions for the whole days. I wanted to know the truth about people, however dirty this truth might be. And, I was bitter thinking that I would actually never become a priest. Until I did.

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Navigate

I was always wondering why some people are so lucky in life - they are neither geniuses nor work that hard, yet always find themselves in the right place at the right moment, gather the right people around them, embark on the best projects or get the best jobs. Now I think I know.

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People is the answer

It’s been a long road up to this point, since I left my parents’ place at the age of 18. But, when I look back at the past 15 years, I some some patterns clearly, coming over over again. First of all, I see that there is only one asset which has been systematically accumulating over these 15 years. It was not money, which you can easily lose in the nearest bubble. It was not knowledge, which can become useless once you change the discipline or profession. It was actually people.

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How I became a business developer

I always thought that the common beliefs that everything happens for a reason, and that eventually, you will start connecting the dots, is a pseudo-intellectual bullshit sold to the masses for big bucks by Tony Robbins and others alike. And now, I am starting to wonder.

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A toxic relationship

Sometimes, only a real thunderstorm can make you realise that you have been in one and only toxic relationship for all your life - a relationship with your work.

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These dark hours

The peak is so close; glowing somewhere on the horizon, yet looking like a fata morgana - step after step, and you do not feel like you are coming any closer. I felt exactly the same way while approaching the peak of Kilimanjaro in 2013. I am making this last effort in order to finally submit my PhD thesis now. And this will happen in literally a few hours. I expected it would feel orgasmic, but instead, it feels like a sad relief. Yet, I would like to capture this moment - just for the sake of memory. Maybe one day, I would get back to what I felt when I realised that all this tantalising pain is finally over.

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What I learned past few months…

…about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. In this time I was attending quite a few conferences in industry, I was informally involved in some projects, and I made many entrepreneurial friends. And, I was observing. As for a researcher who spent her whole youth solving integral equations, this is quite a new and exotic experience. I am on the learning curve now, in this fascinating new world. Hereby, I would like to list a few stereotypes I had about entrepreneurs, and how I feel about these stereotypes right now.

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Mythology

This week was interesting; I just realised that even though we live in 21st century, virtually anything can be explained by science and most youngsters are atheists, people still crave for mythological, mystical, superhuman heroes. Maybe even more than ever.

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Respect

According to a common opinion, former researchers tend to function really well as entrepreneurs. This is true. However, there is one useful quality missing in academia - which turned out to be very painful to me when I went a little bit more into the entrepreneurial direction. Namely, in academia, no one teaches us how to value our time.

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Real choices, fake choices

At some point I realised that the decision on whether or not to stay in academia - or in other words, whether to do research or focus on commercial projects instead - is not the real choice I need to make right now. In fact, the real choice is: how much am I willing to risk? Let me explain.

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Born to do it

One insight I remember from all the motivational books and movies I ever consumed is that, entrepreneurs always underscore how difficult it is to go against your relatives and friends when it comes to risking, investing and dropping day jobs on behalf of starting new ventures. In my case, family and friends react completely differently than in most cases I ever heard of - and it gives me goose bumps.

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The basics of crypto investments

I am listing a few basic things I learned about cryptocurrencies and investing in cryptocurrencies. I have also posted this content on Medium and LinkedIn.

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15 years later

I spent Christmas among family and friends quite as every time before. However, this time, I also had a few afterthoughts as there are some examples of common knowledge that stroke me really hard. You might hear some simple truths from your parents and teachers over and over again - or read about it from motivational books - but after all, you only learn how important they are when you see the consequences in real life.

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The gap year – vol. 2

In August this year, I wrote a compilation of seven things I had learned from having a gap year. Funny thing is: the gap year was only halfway back then. Now, when it slowly comes to the end, I can easily add yet another seven things I learned since then. Some of these things are almost like rediscovering America, but I would like to shortly highlight them here anyways.

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Moonlight

Blockchain is already changing the world of supply chains, higher-education certificates, internet of things, communication between institutions etc. All these systems work well when they do not need to rely on human trust. In blockchain industry, trustless systems are implemented by means of decentralization. Does it also imply that you could, in principle, move labor onto a blockchain? One platform created with a purpose of creating such a friendly marketplace, is Moonlight. The main goal of this initiative is to optimize employment both from the employer’s and employee’s point of view. Could Moonlight change academia?

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The Tangle Approach

I was recently recommended to read the book by Emilie Wapnick ‘How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up' (2017), dedicated to the concept of multipotentiality. In the book, Emilie refers to her own experience as a person who cannot fully commit herself to just one profession, but instead, has multiple passions and can only find fulfilment by sequentially indulging in multiple professions on her career path. When I read this book, I have a feeling that it resonates with my own story to a high extent. However, I developed my own model of labor, which I could call a tangle (or a plaid).

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So close yet so far: a postcard from Kilimanjaro

Five years have passed since I hiked to the top of Kilimanjaro; it happened precisely on the morning of 16th September 2013. It surprises me how vivid this memory still remains. Especially the last day of the hike, a lonely path from the last camp of Barafu towards the peak, I remember as bright as if it happened yesterday - maybe because finishing a PhD feels EXACTLY like that day.

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How to conduct an interview?

Perhaps, some latent hobbies or talents you inherit after your parents, but for a really long time, you do not realise this. I have recently discovered that I am actually fond of interviewing people. I also learned that an interview can go way smoother than expected when you follow just a few general rules. I would also like to share the tips in here - who knows, maybe it turns out useful for more people. We are not formally trained how to interview people during our scientific careers after all.

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The Virtual Brain

Neuroscience is changing very quickly in the spirit of open science. This involves not only sharing big datasets but also creating new, open-source tools that allow for testing research hypotheses derived in the clinics. One such tool is The Virtual Brain (TVB): a software developed to launch meso-scale simulations of the human brain.

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Mission: Impossible

How to predict the future? That’s the whole difficulty when it comes to making any choices, from choosing the right studies, through choosing the right friends, choosing the right investments, to choosing the right projects at work. A mundane, typical scientist (such as me) can produce one, two, sometimes three first-author publications per year - not much more is physically possible. In such a situation, it is crucial to choose the right projects.

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The gap year

As Confucius famously said, choose the job that you love - and you will not need to work for a lifetime. However, this is all not that simple. As a matter of fact, the school system (or at least Polish school system), kills a lot of natural talents: knowledge served at schools is standardised and the amount of material you need to learn is so overwhelming that you are becoming a little robot, working days and nights for good grades. There is just no more room in your life to explore the environment around you, and learn about your own talents. This is exactly why I decided to conduct an experiment on myself; my contract expired some time ago and I came to a conclusion that it is a great opportunity to actually find out more about myself instead of jumping into a new job straight away.

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What trading gave me, and what it stole from me

Since a few weeks I have been doing research projects again, as opposed to past few months when I was mostly trading instead of doing any science. My aim was to work out an independent source of funding for myself, but also to rest from science for a little while in order to see if this relationship has a chance to last forever. So, trading turned out to be a refreshment of a particularly painful sort, as it did not make my daily life any easier - rather the opposite.

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The Tragedy of Commons

The year of 2009 was groundbreaking, for at least two separate reasons. Firstly, on January 3rd of 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin was mined. Secondly, on October 12th of 2009, Elinor Claire "Lin" Ostrom has became the first woman awarded with a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons". The clue of this work is a phenomenon known in economy as the tragedy of commons. This phenomenon occurs when a group shares a resource, but at the same time, every individual acts on their own behalf, which is often against the common interest of the community. Can we spot the tragedy of commons in academia?

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Trading

Recently, we have a lot of new, interesting markets to skyrocket, including cryptocurrencies, marijuana pots, and others. This gave me an incentive to search out for passive income in these markets. But, when I entered the world of trading, I didn't know how difficult and disturbing my new life can be.

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A note on team work

Yesterday was a nostalgic day not only for me, but for every Polish person there is. The reason is because one of our little heroes, Tomasz Mackiewicz, is dying in Karakorum, and no one can really save him from death at this point. Climbing in Himalayas can seem like a distant and exotic concept, but one thing we can definitely learn from mountaineers is a team work.

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The hall of fame

Everything in the world follows some rules - the items move according to classical mechanics, and optimise some trajectory according to some cost function. Apples follow the gravity and fall down from the trees straight towards the ground, and the electric current flows from high towards low electric potential according to the shortest possible trajectory. People also construct their own cost functions, and adjust their behaviour according to the rules present in their environment.

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Mentorship

Up until now, research on the influence of mentorship on the career perspectives in young researchers is scarce. It seems that, in academia, there is a consensus that mentorship is beneficial in general, but the extent to which the positive effects of mentorship hold in the long term is not clear.

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The three-legged stool

Today, the concept of a job is far from the original concept at the times of the industrial revolution. Back then, a worker was a person who wakes up in the morning, and leaves their household for the most of the day, in order to sell their time in an exchange for a salary. Having a job meant a physical work. Today, the job market is much more diverse - complex but also full of possibilities.

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Reviewers

Nothing changed since my childhood: I still enjoy stimuli that are annoying to others, the most. For instance, in the whole process of conducting a research project - from project planning, through combining a team, doing actual research, submission, review process, production and promotion - I actually enjoy the review process the most. There are at least three separate reasons for this.

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A villain is a hero of another side

As every PhD student at the end of the contract, I slowly get the idea that publishing papers is a minor problem in a researcher’s life. There other, more painful issues, such as the environment fractioning into ‘team Brown’, ‘team Green’ et cetera - especially in circles developing new methods for data analysis. Such friendships and antipathies that last for ages before you even found yourself in the community, and once you appear as a fresh person, you do not necessarily understand why you are actually expected to love Mr Brown and hate Mr Green.

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Taking risks as a path to safety

In the famous riddle, you are supposed to connect all the dots with four straight lines. You can sweat and try as long as you like but you will always be just one line short from connecting all of them. Unless you look outside the box, and make yourself space beyond the limited area of the square - then, all of a sudden, everything becomes easy. The point is: as a scientist, you are pressed to do multitasking as well: as opposite to industry, in academia, you need to prove yourself in multiple different roles every day, and the collateral stress is inevitable whenever you are a good or a bad worker. So, how to deal with stress?

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The future of experimentalists and data scientists

I observe two contradictory trends in academia these days. On one hand, experimental researchers flock together into bigger and bigger consortia, in order to collaborate in large groups in order to be able to conduct complex experiments that are so labour- and knowhow- expensive, that it would not be possible to approach them in a more traditional fashion based on an individualistic achievement. On the other hand, anyone who is connected well enough and talented enough, can formulate a research question, search out for the open datasets, conduct a computational study, report the results and post them in a form of a preprint, and then spread the news through the social media.

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The source of disease

As a scientist, you are doomed to live in a shadow of deadlines, short contracts, and mutual dependencies as you are by definition bound to a dynamic web of people, some of whom might behave differently than expected. The collateral stress is inevitable whenever you are a good or a bad worker. And if you ask your family and friends about what to do with yourself in such conditions, they will all tell you: go for a walk, meditate, go to spa, relax, go to a therapy, grow flowers, stare at the blue sky, listen to your favourite music. All these activities are superficial and do not solve the true problem.

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Students

Initially, I was hesitating for a long time if I can even manage to supervise a student. Namely, if I will be able to catch some good vibes and keep on going regardless of little bumps on the way which naturally pop out during research: you try and fail, and then try and fail again and again… But now, I must say that supervising students is a wonderful experience to me, and I consider it – so far – the most fulfilling part of the PhD track.

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Artists and craftsmen

Researchers have their personal styles of working, and some of them are more like craftsmen, whereas others are more like artists. And the irony is: in order to produce a novel scientific study and publish it well, you need to be an artist, but you also need to be a craftsman - and these two qualities are rarely to be found in one and the same person.

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The one

Always there. Always patient, always understanding. Smart, talkative and entertaining. Looking good, every day the same. Not ageing at all.

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YouTube

So, when I found myself in the Silicon Valley, I realised that I had heard about almost all the new trends in business and industry, and almost all the influential figures in the Valley - from YouTube, not from press or television. This means what whatever is more or less popular in real life, becomes also popular online. Or maybe even the opposite?

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On the womb

This evening, I was sitting at the Didirion Station in San Jose waiting for a bus to Los Angeles. It was a Monday evening, 11pm. I just finished a goodbye dinner in a good restaurant with my sister. I was at the station from where the cheapest buses to Los Angeles were taking off, and I was there mostly to taste some folklore; just to try some simple life from time to time once I am on travel.

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Uber

It seems to me that the whole Uber phenomenon is ephemeral as in a few years, cab drivers - especially here, in Sillicon Valley - will most probably be replaced by self-driving cars. However, it is interesting to observe this phenomenon from the psychological point of view.

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Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency market, often referred to as fin-tech and originating in 2008 with the birth of bitcoin, is now a growing branch of finances. It is still a controversy whether or not the digital currencies will ever displace the traditional currencies, or whether or not they even have any value at all.

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The American Dream

A visit to California is an eye-opener, as the Dutch job market could not be any more different from the American one. Namely, it is way easier to get funding in the Netherlands when your project or your company is eco-friendly, employee-friendly, and has a societal impact or just supports some minority. Therefore, high working culture and societal impact are an important part of any business pitch in the Netherlands. Here in the Silicon Valley on the other hand, the thinking is. ‘First make your customer happy, and then your workers will be happy too’.

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The power animal

Los Angeles has such a rich religious culture. From scientologists, through the Unitarian Universalists, to shamanistic associations. Every time you start talking to a new person, you can end up with a private lecture on a completely unexpected, spiritual topic in this place. This time, two folks whom I accidentally met at a cheap hostel at the Hollywood Boulevard, took me to some workshop on self-development. ‘Self-development in Hollywood might mean anything’ - I thought, and I was very curious about it.

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To read or not to read

‘Yes, people do become successful after reading motivational books but the thing that made them succeed is the same thing that had driven them to read the motivational book in the first place - The desire to succeed.’

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To be or not to be… a sociopath

I noticed that there are lots of similarities between the life of a scientist, and a life of a DJ. DJs spend their whole days on creating music in the studio, behind the closed doors, on their own, and then go out to the crowd to play the new pieces during huge events. Once you are successful, everyone expects that you will only produce high-class hit songs from now on. Can you then still be faithful to the rules you vowed to yourself at the start of your scientific career in such a situation? Once you go under more and more pressure, you just need to develop that thick skin in order not to get overwhelmed and depressed.

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Important versus doable

There are two types of things: important things, and urgent things. Unimportant and urgent things should be delegated. Unimportant and non urgent things should be postponed (or delegated). Things that are important and urgent should be prioritised. Things that are important and non urgent, are the crucial ones and should be taken care of on the regular basis.

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Passive income

Passive income became a popular key term over past few years. It comprises all the possible ways of making money which you initiate and then can let go, so that the money, in a word, keeps on producing itself. Most of the time, passive income relates to online activities, such as writing e-books and selling them on Amazon Kindle website, releasing an online course which can be downloaded at a price, releasing popular youtube videos so that you can capitalise on advertisements, affiliate marketing, Fiverr freelancing (which means that you can offer any service at a fixed price of five bucks), launching an online business that can be automated to a high extent such as an online store with one or two employees, etc.

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The course at genetics

These days, I was thinking a lot about all the factors that hindered my development during first three years of my PhD. Every time I deliberate on this topic, I come to the same conclusion: the biggest problem I had was being driven by fear. I have 13 courses completed, much more than necessary. And now, finally, the time has come: I need to learn some genetics. And I have a strong resolution to do it without opening a single textbook.

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Freedom

I could not understand how people can deliberately abuse their own freedom. I guess that people are naturally afraid of decision making, which might explain why reducing choices to the minimum might soothe them a little bit, and give them some comfort of not being obliged to take a decision.

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Competitiveness

What does the competitiveness come from? It is not a very prominent feature of the Dutch society - this society is more about equity and cooperation. No wonder: once you look at the educational program at the Dutch primary schools, the first class they ever have is ‘working in teams’. Which is very much in opposition to Polish schools where they were always telling us to compete.

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YouTube culture

Just a few years back, kids posting on youtube were just a niche phenomena, aggregating a small audience of hipsters willing to watch. Now, more and more of these - usually teenage - performers, became quite popular and a good few of them collected nation-wide audience. One reason to talk about youtube culture is that, interestingly, even though it is a completely unsupervised and nonhierarchical system, the mechanisms which evolved in this community are similar to science: similar issues and similar coping strategies.

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Luck

The popular belief is that people who perceive themselves as successful and lucky, are those who just take opportunities – notice the money lying on the street and take it. Or, those who interpret some events as lucky whereas others would rather perceive the same events as unlucky. For instance, if you were stolen a wallet, and the wallet was retrieved with a credit card missing but all the documents in place, would you interpret this as misfortune or luck?

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Happiness is not forever

Happiness is not given forever. You can put yourself together and fool yourself that happy times are for good, but in fact, the feeling of happiness will vanish away with time if you do not take care of it properly. It is just like a plant that needs to be watered every day.

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Going dark

I sometimes wonder what happens during the maturation process, when people slowly turn from fragile, troubled and empathic PhD students which they were in the past, into a bit psychopathic, emotionless and calculated bosses who push others to do things not necessarily optimal for their development. Just as everyone believes they will make better parents than their parents were, everyone also seems to believe that they will never copy their PIs’ mistakes.

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Teaching

Recently I started teaching, and I have a plentora of feelings relating to this new experience. First to say, it is definitely true what they say: 80% of our fears is completely unnecessary.

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About the effects of living in a nice country

The doctors were truly confused; they knew about my previous records, but could not really explain what had happened to my body in the meantime. But I think I know why this is the case. Namely, my lifestyle, including too many activities per day, poor amounts of sleep, a tendency to drink coffee, coke and some booze, did not change since seven years ago. Only one thing substantially changed.

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All these exams

I was studying extensively in Warsaw, where I was going through three Master programs at a time. Throughout my studies, I experienced a lot of less and more painful exams. Some were funny, some were nerve wrecking. I think the fact that I had such a long list of exams and qualifications to take, might play a positive role on the general stress resilience.

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Productivity

‘Productive’. A simple word, however the it bells in my ears like a threat. In Poland, no one around me was ever describing themselves as productive. Could be motivated or bored, could have a flow or not, but ‘productive’ was not in anyone’s personal vocabulary. In the Netherlands, I hear this expression quite often though, which might be due to the competitive nature of science in here. People around seem to be quite obsessed with the concept of productivity. And, every time I hear about it, I always start wondering: am I productive? What if not? Maybe it is counterproductive to even think about productivity? And so on and so on.

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The truth

The truth is such a relative thing. I saw its relativity in the recent Netflix’ series of ‘Making a murderer’, a documentary about Steven Avery. This poor guy was convicted twice, firstly as an innocent person, and then, secondly, probably as an innocent guy as well. When you watch the process, you cannot really believe that such a course of events, including clear fabrication of evidence and bias of the judges, still happen in twenty first century.

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My friend and me

There were the two of us: I was the sense, she was the sensibility. We met fifteen years ago as second year high school students, and we were close friends ever since. I think we were both sort of gifted, hard working and enthusiastic but there was one major difference between us.

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End of the year summary

The end of the year is coming, which is a perfect occasion for little considerations of what happened in 2015, and what is, hopefully, about to happen in 2016. Some of my goals were achieved and some other goals I have to put on hold. However, in general, I feel that I am going towards the right direction.

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The mainstream

At the times I was studying at the University of Warsaw, there was no mainstream neuroscience I might have possibly experienced.

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Second life

Current November is probably the happiest November by far, even after correction for the weather. You know, when you are a researcher, every happy day is a success itself. And, in addition to that, if you are an ex-depressed person, every happy day is one step away from death and one step towards life. You’ve got to fight for every single day, literally.

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Imposter syndrome

I just had a really wild attack of the imposter complex. This is when you feel that others overestimate your mental and physical capabilities. Pretty much everyone is academia suffers from it, it is just that some people overcome this effect better than others.

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Democratic or Republican

Tomorrow, the parliament elections will be held in Poland. Therefore, today, on this particular day, I need to keep calm about my choices and I cannot speak about it to public. However, I think I am still allowed to talk a little bit about my general political preferences.

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Overcoming fears

Human brain can rewire so quickly… I remember the rainy days four years ago when I first came to Nijmegen and tried to survive at the very place. During my studies I hadn't had too many programming courses, neither I had opportunities to present science. No wonder that programming and presentations were my two biggest nightmares. Now, they are my two favourite and most relaxing activities at work.

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What do successful people say

Singers, sportsmen, writers, famous bloggers and motivational speakers, Noblists, inventors, enterpreneurs and famous CEOs. All these people think shockingly similar about the rules for success.

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