Feyyaz @feyyaz

Hi, I'm Feyyaz. I help people to get healthy on bitehype. I like to think about ideas and create projects. Here's a place where I share some of my ideas.


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Why bots are the future of commerce and communication

I recently went to Stockholm for a family trip and had a very specific use case for the "bot commerce" announcement that facebook just did on F8.

I was looking for a book called "The Nordic Bakery Cookbook". See, the Nordic Bakery is a shop in London that does these amazing cinnamon buns and the book actually shows you how you can reverse engineer them. I thought it would be a great gift for my girlfriend, who loves baking.

Now, I have no idea where I could find that book in Stockholm, so I googled "stockholm book stores" and found about 3 places.

Some of them had websites, some of them didn't and most of them didn't have a clear way to contact them using email (but rather phone). While the Swedes talk amazing English and are always friendly, I wanted something more asynchronous and since I didn't have a SIM card in Stockholm, an email or message of any kind would be way better than trying to call them via a shaky Skype line.

To my surprise, all of them had active facebook pages. Normally when I check for activity on social accounts of businesses I look at their last tweet or post and check the engagement. Now however, something way more interesting caught my eye, that was always there but I rarely needed it:


"Typically replies within a few hours - Message now"

I instantly jumped into facebook messenger and wrote the same message to a couple of book stores (basically asking: "do you have this book in stock, if not how can I order it?"). That little message before initiating contact told me that the page is active and people are replying to messages. I didn't have to call via an expensive phone line or look for an email somewhere hidden on the contact page (or worse: a contact form!).

I'd have immediately ordered the book via message if possible. However, some of them told me it would take up to 7 days (longer than my trip) and some of them told me I should call/contact the book store directly (exactly what I was trying to avoid).

I can see a very clear business use case here for A LOT of businesses that otherwise couldn't catch questions from their customers like that.

Btw. I had a very similar experience while trying to contact Lycamobile Sweden for a free SIM and ask them about the arrival/sending time. I got an answer within 45 minutes.

And herein lies the future of commerce, because 99% of these conversations can be automated and you can not only increase sales, but also your customer support team with bots like these. Now they are still very personal and 1:1, and that's perfectly fine. But my request for the bookstore could have been automated very easily and I would have been a very happy customer like that.

I definitely believe in the future with bots and I'm building one right now. Interestingly, now I'm also thinking about launching it on facebook as well...

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How I prepare for the future

These days I think a lot about the future and where we're going.

It is really exciting to think about self-driving cars, robots or hoverboards. But it is also really scary to think about all the implications this brings to the economy and life in general.

When I started university in 2008, getting out of college with a degree in computer science meant you were the king of the world: great salary, tons of job opportunities and a growing industry.

Now, almost 8 years later, I read multiple articles saying that the basic programmer is getting outsourced more and more. Programming doesn't pay as much as it used to (although there are still tons of jobs around and the industry is growing as a whole), mainly because the competition is stronger than before (paradoxically). I believe the idea of universal income becomes stronger every day and I support it where I can. Unfortunately, I think most people don't see the implications of the future yet and are scared of additional costs. But that's another topic.

So I started to think about a process on how I can be prepared for the future, as best as possible. Be it for survival or out of simple interest. Here's what I came up with.

I want to put myself out of business - Gary Vaynerchuk

1. Check out interesting books that discuss the status quo and the future

In my case, I've looked at 5-6 books about the future and looked at all the topics they discussed. Ultimately, I really liked "The Industries of the Future" by Alec Ross. It gives a great overview, incl. introduction, to a lot of important developments in technology. That coupled with some deeper articles on interesting topics, as well as recommendations (at the end) of other books helps you to get an overview.

2. Cross-reference this knowledge with what thought leaders are saying

Now that you have a basic understanding of what's going to be relevant in the future, compare the ideas with what thought leaders are saying. A few that come to my mind in this regard are: Gary Vaynerchuk, James Altucher, Pieter Levels (aka levelsio), Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss (there are many more but the idea is to strengthen the base).

3. Have an action plan for all areas that will be relevant

You probably have around 5-10 topics that are going to be relevant at this stage. Write all of them into a spreadsheet. Now add three columns, titled step 1, step 2 and step 3.

Instead of steps you could also use timelines, but I haven't found the perfect ones yet, especially since some technology advances faster than others. I think something along the lines of 6 months, 18 months and 3-5 years makes sense, YMMV.

4. Start with the first steps

Now that you have the action plan and the necessary steps to stay relevant and knowledgeable in that area, start putting it into work. If it's a book you need to read, put it onto your list and write down when you're going to tackle it. If it's a topic you need to learn about, go research some tutorials or courses on the book. Meet the relevant people, etc. Sometimes you see it as only a financial opportunity, so try to estimate how much money is needed and how you can invest in it (there are multiple ways).

5. Do this every 6-12 months

I've learnt from James Altucher that future trends don't come and turn everything on its head within 6 weeks. It's more like 6 years. Or 60 years. Entirely dependent on the type of technology and tons of other variables, chances are that it will creep up on you slowly, so you have to revisit your spreadsheet from time to time to adjust, add and detract certain trends.

So what have I learnt?

So far I've come up with these areas of interest:

  • eSports
  • 360 Video
  • Virtual Reality
  • Genomics
  • AI/Robotics/ML
  • Digital Finance/Money/FinTech
  • Big Data

Depending on my level of understanding of the topic, I either put a book on my reading list or looked for certain tutorials to try my hands on the technology. In some cases I also calculated the time and money needed to invest in the technology.

Skills that won't be replaced as fast (Spring 2016)

There are three important skills that you need to have in order to stay competitive in the work force and a globalized economy.

  • Languages, both technical and normal

Somebody has to program these robots and algorithms, so understanding how the technology works and how you can program it, is essential. Plus, the economy is getting more globalized by the second. This means, that different countries will start to dominate different industries. Being able to speak those languages, will put you into great demand or position of opportunity.

  • Idea Creation / Ideation

James Altucher likes to call today's economy "the idea economy" and I think it makes sense. While you can outsource knowledge and skill, you can't outsource creativity and ideas. One way to stay sharp is to think about ideas all the time, not even necessarily for businesses, but stuff that you're using, that you'd like to have, books that you'd like to write or read, anything you can imagine, think about ideas on how to improve it or change it for the better.

  • Pattern recognition

"You see, but you do not observe" is one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes quotes and it is very applicable to today's time and to the future. Being able to see patterns and opportunities is and will become increasingly more important with time. Now I'm not talking about certain patterns in a huge dataset, but cross-platform patterns. My economy teacher in high school used to say Intelligence is linking knowledge and I think this is exactly what is meant by pattern recognition.

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Drive out of trauma

I follow a couple of makers on twitter, because they inspire me to make. I also follow a bunch of business people, because they inspire me to work hard on everything I do.

People like Casey Neistat, levels.io, Gary Vaynerchuk or Mark Cuban. These are people I look up to and I catch myself so often in a rut of just consuming their content, vs. creating something myself.

I think it's because I'm very information-driven and think that every problem is an information-solution, but that's another topic.

What most of these people mentioned above have in common though is an incredible drive, day in and day out. They work hard even though they probably have enough money to rest.

Comfort is the enemy of progress. - Casey Neistat

Let that sink in for a second.

Everything I strive for, ALWAYS was based on having comfort in the end. Comfort was the end goal. But all these people realized that it is a trap.

If you're not progressing you're standing still or worse experiencing atrophy.

But what makes these people go? Comfort is so easy. Deciding to keep going is hard. Working every day is hard.

And I think after watching a periscope stream of levels.io and listening to a couple of Casey Neistat vlogs I think I know what the reason behind their drive is.

Creativity is an addiction and a way to escape the world. - Pieter Levels (levels.io)

These people experienced trauma in some form and wouldn't allow that trauma to ever occur again, so they are addicted to hard work. Because that's probably the only thing that will keep you from losing in life.

It is their way of solving problems, or maybe escaping them.

I don't know if I can do it as well, but I'm definitely inspired by it.

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10'000 Hours with Reid Hoffman or giving value to influential people

After I read the Industries of the Future I wanted to read this article (http://casnocha.com/reid-hoffman-lessons) which I've put off for quite some time. It's quite interesting to see how Reid Hoffman works and what rules Ben Casnocha got out of working with him for a some time.

Reid Hoffman (early PayPal, LinkedIn co-founder) is probably one of the best connected people in the Valley, so when people talk about him I listen.

I found it interesting that Ben mentioned the giving value first, before asking for something in return. It's so obvious and everyone is saying it, yet nobody seems to implement as it's still a big issue.

I wonder how much it would help to try to give Reid value via email? Definitely something to think about. Also maybe it makes sense to help the people which know Reid for a potential intro down the line. Obviously the idea is not to plan these things out, but try to help wherever possible and hope that somehow the universe will return your favor through a person :)

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The effects of Creatine (currently)

I've gone off creatine about 2 weeks ago and started re-taking it (dosage of 5g, post-workout) and noticed interesting effects that might be correlated:

I get hot throughout the night, like very very hot and have to move around or drink some water in order for it to go away. If I don't focus on it, I wake up, remove the bed sheets/duvets and cool down within 5 minutes. If I'm panicking it might take up to 10-15 min.

I've also realized that when I was cooking the other night, although there it wasn't as visible, because you feel hot any way with the oven and the entire kitchen going on.

I've had that feeling when I got off creatine about two weeks ago and yesterday and the day before (started taking it again on friday).

Restlessness is something that happens quite often when you take creatine just before you go to bed, but I always train in the morning, so that wouldn't make sense either.

  • I'm thinking drinking too little water could be the issue, but why would it happen then when I go off creatine
  • The quality of the creatine could be another issue, but I'm using creapure, which is a high quality german creatine monohydrate (and the defacto standard)
  • A chemical reaction within the muscles? So creatine makes the muscle carry more water, so maybe something in the influx or release of water within the muscle could be causing this.

The research continues...

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The idea of buy once, buy right

I don't know why but I always like to think about travel and minimalism. I guess it's because of this concept of optionality, that I dove into when reading Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. Having optionality gives you freedom. And I like freedom.

So I always do research about things that I possess or like to possess. I know it's a weird thought to think about things, but I'm not trying to live in the woods on love and air, so I appreciate good gear.

In my ideal world of "minimalist traveling optionality" a few things exist, that would make my working and personal life enjoyable. This is an unordered list of these things:

  • a MacBook (Air)

I currently have a 11inch MacBook Air, but would love to change it with a 12inch MacBook with a bit more power. It does everything I need, when I want to work: I can write, design, code, research and create with it. I love that.

  • Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones

A definite must when traveling or trying to focus on important work. They are even great headphones without the noise-canceling feature. I'm not an audiophile, so I can't differentiate the difference of sound quality, meaning Bose works for me.

  • Apple EarPods

Perfect when working out or commuting, especially in Summer. I've never had this much quality in in-ear headphones for that price. Great allrounders

  • Goruck GR1

I used to have Rush12 by 5.11 Tactical and I loved that backpack, so versatile. But the it was just too small. The 21l barely worked for me on a 3-day trip. My ideal bag size is around 24-26l where I can pack stuff for about 5 days. The Goruck fits that category perfectly. It's also extremely comfortable to wear. I love it as an EDC (every day carry) and as a travel backpack.

  • Klean Kanteen Water bottle

I have the Reflect with 532ml capacity and a bamboo cap. Works perfectly as a foam roller when on the road and is just the perfect size when traveling (not too much to drink up when you're in airport security) and when working (just small enough so you have to get up regularly to fill it up)

  • iPhone 6S Plus

My camera, my research lab, my notepad, my music player. This device does it all, and blazingly fast. I imagine this + an external keyboard to me my mobile workstation when I need to.

  • Amazon Kindle Keyboard

I still have the old one and its battery life has gotten worse, but I still love that thing. Small, perfect for travel and all the knowledge in the world in one device. I'm a big fan of physical books, but I don't discriminate anymore, I read on my iPhone when commuting, on my Kindle when traveling and on my physical book when I'm at home. I might exchange this in the future for a Kindle Voyage or Paperwhite, it's about time.

  • Accuball Small

This is the small version and perfect for traveling and always having it with you. Perfect to massage neck, arms and even legs if you're a little creative.

  • Uniqlo V Neck Shirt Heattech

I love uniqlo stuff for all things basic, especially their shirts are comfortable, versatile and look amazing with jeans. I rock a heattech shirt almost all summer.

  • Feiyue Martial Arts Shoes

These are the minimalist shoes before there were any minimalist shoes. They cost like 20 bucks and are perfect for every day use and walking. I'd love to see them in all white and I'll probably casey neistat-ify them by painting them myself.

  • Myles Apparel Everyday Shorts

I love the red ones and love the idea that they look amazing while at the beach, when working out or when you're going out with a button down shirt. Perfect.

  • Space Pen

I still have to jot down thoughts, ideas and summaries of things, so the Space Pen is perfect. Works always, even as a lefty and is small.

  • Patagonia Nano Puff

Amazing jacket for 75% of all seasons. It protects perfectly against wind, is great when it rains and awesome when you ride on a bike. Unfortunately it's quite thing making it only a layer jacket in winter. You can package it in a way that it is really small.

This list is not complete and only a snapshot of the things I really, really like and I'd like to add things to it as I go.

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Apple Music is still a very sub-par experience compared to Spotify. Following issues:

  • a discover equivalent simply doesn't work as good. Apple Music has the "For You" feature where you can actually find nice compilations, based on your likes, HOWEVER they only have around 7-8 tracks in a list. REALLY? I need more for a workout.

  • I hate the playlist and online/offline functionality of Apple Music, it's too complicated. I always hated it within iTunes, and this just amplifies it.

  • Still very buggy when you have bad connection. Spotify outshines here.

  • Less choices of independent artists. While I love the fact that almost every Drake and OVO can be found on Spotify, I can't find all the rest I've discovered on Spotify.

For now I'm switching back.

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This was the link to the Enissa Amani comedy post https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-rPPRIGUiM

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Great comedy set by Enissa Amani

"Deeer Bastard"

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