Saeid Fard (sfard)

Written Posts Favorited Posts

How to be cool

I was once at a party when a friend asked a small group of us what word we would want others to describe us as. We were more or less in a circle, and like good order-loving Canadians, took turns answering. “Kind” the first person said. “Compassionate”, said the next. “Generous” is another one I remember. By the time it was my turn, the number of veiled, nauseatingly self-serving responses was e

October 26, 2014

Richard Dawkins Uses Statistics Incorrectly

Nassim Taleb recently wrote some thoughts about Richard Dawkins' poor use of stats. It came in three separate facebook posts, so I figured I'd compile them to make sharing easier. Source is here. Richard Dawkins, in his statement about the number of Nobels granted to Moslems, showed a total ignorance of probability. A pri

September 7, 2013


"Creativity is just connecting things…A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have" -Steve Jobs

May 23, 2013

National Entrepreneur Day, by Nassim Taleb

The following is an excerpt from Nassim Taleb's Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. Heroism and the respect it commands is a form of compensation by society for those who take ri

May 15, 2013

Vancouver vs. Seattle: a Vancouverite's Perspective

I've lived and worked in a lot of cities: Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, to name a few. My last real "job", before returning to my hometown of Vancouver to become an independent web developer, was with Expedia in Seattle. I love Vancouver, and I love Seattle. But despite people consistently throwing them into the sa

May 8, 2013

I Accidentally Built a Blogging Platform

I built Throwww eight months ago with the intent of creating a really simple way to write and share ideas. However fuzzy the line is between that and a blogging platform, it was never my intent to create a "blog". But I may have. The story of how that happened is a short one. Users asked for features, and I built the ones that made sense to me and aligned with principles upon which I built Thro

April 26, 2013

The Positive Pessimist

My whole life people have called me a negative person. This despite the fact that they'd probably say I smile and laugh more than most. I was thinking in the shower a few days ago, in between arm pit scrubs, why that is. Seems to me people conflate pessimism with negativity and optimism with positivity. I am a pessimist, in that I typically don't expe

April 1, 2013

Fulfilling Work

We spend a lot of time at work. I spend my waking life at work. With all this time and all the luxuries of the developed world, are we happy? No. And taylorism, I think, is at least partly why. Since human labour was specialized and became a cog in a system of production, we have lost some of what I think is the natural way of things. We used to spend our days with a diversity of work: cooking

April 1, 2013

Is Flow Addictive?

By now most people reading this probably know about flow. I’m not talking about water through a pipe, but rather psychological flow: that mental sweet spot where high skill and high challenge meet to create focused passion. A skilled dancer or pianist practicing her craft is said to be in flow. A chess player or mathematician solving a tough problem is, as well. We have all experienced flow at so

March 17, 2013

Good People

This is a short story written by David Foster Wallace. It's not particularly profound as much as it is a nice expose of the complexity of emotions and love They were up on a picnic table at that park by the lake, by the edge of the lake, with part of a downed tree in the shallows half hidden by the bank. Lane A. Dean, Jr., and his girlfriend, both in bluejeans and button-up shirts. They sat u

March 17, 2013

The Stigma of Sadness

Written in 2009 As a matter of general disposition, I am a pretty happy person. Why is everyone trying to convince me I’m not? Anyone who’s ever spent a hung-over Sunday afternoon half asleep channel surfing in front of the TV knows how many people are out there selling us happiness: sermons from an assortment of religious clerics and motivational speakers, smile-filled adds for anti-depr

March 4, 2013

Google Glass From a Luddite's Perspective

Is Google Glass going to be a groundbreaking piece of technology? I don't know, probably. But guess what? You'll use it for some time and after a brief period of excitement, the novelty will wear off, and you'll start to grow frustrated when it takes more than a few seconds to turn on, or in later versions complain about how the holographic 3D rendering colors are slightly off in bright dayligh

February 20, 2013

Stop Sharing Quotes. You're Not Better Than Anyone.

I'm tired of bullshit quotes. My facebook/twitter feed is riddled with them. Everyone knows that person who shares quote after desultory quote, none of which they wrote, most of which they probably don't understand the full context of, and all of which they lazily copied and pasted in an attempt to come off as wise themselves, or if I'm being more generous, as a way of therapy, revealing their

February 16, 2013

Update: New Throwww Features

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post outlining the direction of Throwww, and now I'm happy to give an update on where things stand. User Domains They work. Once you write a post (logged in with your twitter credentials) a account is automatically created for you. Here's a screenshot of mine. RS

January 21, 2013

Anxious Transgressions with a Lazy-Eyed Hooker

Just seeing how many people click this.

January 16, 2013

Failing to Succeed

You might know who painted this. He was one of the biggest failures of all time. Yes, by volume, Leonardo Da Vinci failed a lot. Many of his ideas, like a man-powered flying contraption, never worked; he frequently dropped projects when he realized he had maken a mistake or when he found more productive uses of his time; and he often ventured into curi

January 15, 2013

Knowing When to Take Advice

Whether we seek it or not, we will all get a lot of advice in our lifetimes. Some of it will be helpful, most of it will not. The reason? Advice tends to be very self-serving. Even with the best of intentions, it’s a natural human tendency to give advice that validates the decisions we’ve made in our past. If you look at life with a persp

January 11, 2013

Where Throwww is Going

It's been a few months now since throwww launched. And in that time, with more and more users joining and providing feedback, it has evolved from a simple way to write and share something into what is becoming a more robust blogging platform. To give everyone an idea of what throwww will look like weeks to months from now, here is a look at where development effort will be focused. Immedi

January 7, 2013

Corporations: Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game.

In a television show centered on playing with the stereotypes of modern America, Mr. Burns, of The Simpsons, takes on the caricature of the soulless capitalist elite. He has a stranglehold on the town's energy and capital, and in return the people of Springfield are mired into a hostile but dependent and sometimes exploitive relationship with him. Qui

January 6, 2013

Setting up Proxy for Pandora, Hulu, Netflix etc. w/ EC2 (or other US-based VPS)

Yo @dannyhertz, this is just easier than a DM... and I figured I might as well use the stuff I've build to share it... So here's the steps. I. Set up a micro instance with EC2 It's pretty straightforward to do this. Set up an account with Amazon AWS, create an instance, choose all the default settings. II. Create a security group By default EC2 opens port 22 for SSH. Create a new se

November 14, 2012

Growing Up Rich

I recently read a reddit comment about what it's like to grow up rich. I wanted to "save" it, so here it is It's shit. Granted we weren't as flashy like that, but replace everything immaterial in your life with something material, remove all of its value, and convince yourself that being surrounded by worthless baubles makes you happy- there's the key difference there for the inevitable "LOL

November 9, 2012

People are Really Bad at Making Conclusions Based on Statistics

I was reading this reddit thread yesterday about how "Republican-Heavy Counties Eat Up Most Food-Stamp Growth". The title of the post merely summarized a statistic. The conclusions that followed were interpretations predicated on ideology and personal bias. For a community that praises rationalit

November 5, 2012

Building an Honest Business: Social Media and a Case for Radical Authenticity

Before social media and the internet, it was very hard for business to communicate frequently and directly with customers. If you introduced a new product, you could employ a 30 second TV spot, billboard ads, and some magazine one-pagers to get the word out. With access to typically, at most, a few seconds of people's attention spans, there was very little room for nuance. You had to condense your

October 13, 2012

A Crash Course in Information & Visual Design

Good design is an interesting thing. It's easy to identify but hard to explain. If you have ever tried to mimic good design, you'll really know what I mean. Sometimes, even with the "inspiration" right before your eyes, you struggle with creating something that feels as "tight" as the original piece. My goal is to give you a crash course in some of the fundamental elements of design as well as

September 29, 2012

Consumers and Creators.

I haven't fully refined this idea in my mind so take everything below with a grain of salt What, if any, is the relationship between transcendentalism and entrepreneurship? Why is it that a guy like Steve Jobs, who was once famously, a barefoot, bearded, commune-living, drug-using, buddhist, hippie, would go on to become the founder of one of the greatest consumer product companies in the wor

September 26, 2012

In Response to Paul Graham's "Startup = Growth"

Last week, Paul Graham wrote an article entitled "Startup = Growth", which if I had to summarize argued that what defines a startup is a product with incredible growth potential, typically by means of technology. He goes on to elaborate on implications of this definition, including targeting growth rates (users or revenue, for instance) of 5-10%. You can read his article [here](http://www.paulgrah

September 24, 2012

Woah, Something Just Hit Me Regarding the Nature of Man.

If you've ever thought about the classic philosophical question of whether man is inherently good or bad, consider this: in science, hypotheses become "facts" when it is determined they repeatedly and consistently have predictive value. So think about every predictive behavioral or economic model of man. In a prisoner's dilemma, man is inherently (and foolishly) selfish, yet with the use of rea

September 22, 2012

A Way to Think About Career Choices

Too often people will complain to me that they don't like their jobs. That they're unchallenged, over-managed, and unmotivated. Sounds like a lot of people, I'm sure. Some of them, probably thanks to Facebook and Instagram, seem to think that startups are the way out. Others I know became investment bankers out of college, hated it, and decided gett

September 19, 2012

Principles of A/B Testing: What I Learned Working With Millions of Visitors at Expedia

A little over a year ago, I worked as Expedia's Site Innovation Manager. The role required I dig into the site to find its more-neglected areas (typically landing pages) and work with a team of designers and developers to improve them. What that meant was a lot of A/B testing. And with millions of unique visitors on even some of the overlooked landing pag

September 18, 2012

The New and Improved Throwww: More Features, But as Elegant as Ever.

A few weeks ago I built Throwww, a minimalistic blogging Platform designed for people who want to just write something and share it. Here's the original post explaining in greater detail why I built throwww. The feedback was positive and constructive: most people liked the elegance of throwww but wanted a few more features. In the time since launching, I've done my bes

September 17, 2012

Mitt Romney, a Potentially Good President Working for a Terrible Political Party.

Romney regretting shaking hands with all those old people For all the political spin going around painting Mitt Romney as a capricious opportunist lacking a moral compass, the fact is, it's more spin than truth. Not to imply that Romney doesn't have a smeared record of flip-flopping on issues like Obama cough Romney cough care, abortion, or gu

September 11, 2012

A Heuristic Of Success

A friend of mine shared the following with me. I like it, though you'd think there'd be a middle ground between quite successful and miserably unsuccessful A trivial and potent heuristic to figure out success: a) you are absolutely successful if and only if you don’t envy anyone; b) quite successful if those you envy you don’t know in person; c) miserably unsuccessful if those you envy you enc

September 10, 2012

David Foster Wallace's Commencement Speech To Kenyon University in 2005

Three years prior to his death in 2008, David Foster Wallace, addressed the graduating class at Kenyon University. Reading it, you can't help but witness the tragedy of a man who just "got it" so much more than most of us ever will. It is long, but don't let the word count dissuade you. I promise it will be the most compelling and relevant thing you'll read today. (If anybody feels like persp

September 6, 2012

Throwww's Initial Reception

I started working on Throwww last week and decided, yesterday, to share it on hackernews and with the few people who follow me on Twitter. Within a few hours about 400, mostly anonymous, posts were made. Looking through them this morning, I found that a lot of them (maybe 10%) actually contained incredibly helpful feedback. This random post did a full review of the site!

September 6, 2012

Why I Made Throwww

Blogging platforms are, as far as I know, too complicated for my needs. I like to write ideas and keep track of them somehow. I don't care about themes, widgets, or any kind of meaty personalization. I understand why a lot of people want a feature-rich blogging platform, but I don't. There's something beautiful to me in the purity of just a message. Some blogging platforms I tried in the past s

September 5, 2012