Monday, October 22, 2012

Finally, My User Manual

When I took the MBTI assessment, I was amused by it, but it was no surprise. I always knew I was more introverted, more data-based, more big picture and more of a planner. What did blow me away was stumbling on the wiki article on my personality type (INTJ), the idea there is that the different dimensions of your personality inter-play. Reading the description of the INTJ personality was striking, I resonated with a lot of what was written there. So, yeah, in case you're interested in a breakdown of my personality, there you go. Statements in in italics are copied from the wiki article, stuff in parenthesis/link are my own:

  • INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. (I agree)
  • Hallmarks of the INTJ include independence of thought and a desire for efficiency. (My Touchy-Feely Bill tackles desire for efficiency and disregard for social norms)
  • INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait of combining imagination and reliability. (I FIFO my Fridge, so, yeah, Systems Builder)
  • This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause; both perfectionism and disregard for authority come into play. (Hence my professional nickname
  • They are often acutely aware of their own knowledge and abilities (see "I am awesome" tweet") —as well as their limitations and what they don't know. (see "Bounce, Fesh, Bounce" post and  "My Bouncer Complex" post)
  • They have a talent for analyzing and formulating complex theories. (see "Turned-on by data" tweet)
  • Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel ... This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals (*cough* Yeah, that's kinda true, this tweet comes to mind.) 
  • The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJs are apt to express emotional reactions. 
    They generally withhold strong emotion and do not like to waste time with what they consider irrational social rituals. (*ahm* True as well, when I told my ex I like her, I was so psyched, I had to tweet about it. Shut-up)
  • In social situations, INTJs may also be unresponsive and may neglect small rituals designed to put others at ease. For example, INTJs may communicate that idle dialogue such as small talk is a waste of time.  (Yeap, I do)

I love how the wiki article concludes with that: Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. 

It's true, we INTJs are awesome, y'all are messed up.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Year Later

I'm always surprised with how my brain manages to retain many little details on an eventful day, details that otherwise I wouldn't remember. One such eventful day happened almost one year ago, the Maspero massacre happened, when a demonstration turned violent and suddenly--and surprisingly--the army started running protesters over, resulting in 28 deaths and more than 200 injuries.

I remember the exact project I was working on that day, many of the discussions I had at work. At the time I was a bloodsucking private equity shark. Well, technically not a shark, I was a glorified excel modeling monkey, but that's a few steps away from shark-status. The drive back. Cairo's traffic being the big game of Russian roulette that it is, I opted, for a route that took me thru the heart of Cairo, few hundred meters from where the massacre happened, as it happened. The confusion as the news broke. I remember scrolling thru my twitter feed in disbelief about what I'm reading. Army attacking. Shots fired. Molotov cocktails thrown. The weird feeling of reading about the news as it breaks and glancing up into the distance to see flames go up into the sky as the Molotov bottles hit--or missed--their targets. The realization that I've been completely desensitized. I had a doctor's appointment not far from where the events unfolded, and I was going to make it. The disbelief of how the state media covered the events. As I sat in my doctor's waiting room, I watched the state media report on the events in the most polarizing way, painting the events as Copts attacking the army. The silent, violent anger of hearing how others interpreted the events. "Why are they [ie Copts] doing this to us [ie Muslims]?" asked an older woman in the waiting room. The dialogue that played out in my head about every single thing that is wrong with what was happening that day in the country, how the media/government was portraying it and how it was landing on many Egyptians.

I even remember the nurse's name. I guess I don't have a crappy memory afterall?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Enter the 7-foot Dominatrix

In case you haven't heard, I'm famous now. With a sweet YouTube blogpost out and news coverage on wired, techcrunch, TNW, etc. I'm quoted in other languages too: German, Dutch, Chinese, HungarianPortuguese and Japanese. I guess I'm literally big in Japan now. 

But this post is not only about shameless self-promotion (phew: justify linking to 10 articles talking about myself, check!) It's also about my experience with a 7-foot dominatrix. This shouldn't come as a surprise, most of my stories usually feature a dominatrix. Let's run with that last bit as being a 'joke'. 

The YouTube blogpost was my first time collaborating on a piece of writing. I can't claim I'm a writer, but I've maintained an on-again, off-again blog for the last 6 years and I have a double-digit number of followers: it's 10. Side comment: 10 is the sweetest of all double-digit numbers, right? You get all the shock value with the least amount of work. But I digress. Point being, a decent blog, been published on an even number of continents: it's 2, again, the sweetest of all even numbers! I promise, last tangent, I think my main point is: working on that post was nothing like anything I wrote before.  

One night, I started punching out a draft. I had a completing message, a sweet narrative and the punchlines to go with it. When I was done with the post, it was love at first sight: the perfect post! Oh, I was so naive. Next came the creative love-making. Bunch of very smart, knowledgeable folks in the organization pitching in with thoughts and ideas to make the perfect post, even more perfect.... yeeessss. It's a slippery-slope though, a creative love-making session with a piece of writing can turn messy if each contributor, you know, has their way with the post. Yeap, at some-point it bordered on a creative-orgy. But don't get me wrong, I love a creative-orgy as much as the next person, but it was my first time so I was a bit shy. But just about when we were about to finish *giggle*, door swings wide-open and the 7-foot dominatrixes--aka the lawyers--walk in. 

Once again, I like a 7-foot dominatrix as much as the next person, but man leave it to lawyers to suck the color out of a piece of writing in exactly 3 mins. The domination was military-grade and very professional too: ie whenever someone yelled the safeword (it's "cat video"), they stopped. But like any good domination session, it was rough and thorough. Something I've never actually did to any of my previous pieces of writing. And I must say, I enjoyed it.