Invisible hands

Your Life is Driven by Network Effects

Before I jump to this week’s story, I would like to thank you for reading last week’s report. I have received a lot of good words and encouragement. If you didn’t get a chance to read it. Please head to https://www.albertsema.blog/p/i-remember-dad.

This week I’m going to share a podcast by James Currier. You can find it here https://nfx.simplecast.com/episodes/your-life-is-driven-by-network-effects. It’s really fascinating, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

I will talk to you next week.

Best,

Albert.

I remember Dad

I miss you Dad.

“Sois sage, prends soins de ta maman, ta soeur et tes frères ”, translated in English “Be wise, take care of your mum, your sister and your brother”. Dad told me those last words before getting into a Toyota 4x4 to go to the Kavumu airport to catch a plane for Minembwe on September 12, 1997 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

That sentence will later become my hymn. Words are powerful.

Do people know when they are about to die? The excitement around that trip to Minembwe was out of the ordinary. Was it a marketing plot by Ebenezer Ministries? It was a small plane: Twenty-two passengers plus the crew members. Many wanted to be on that plane, but it got full pretty quickly.

Everyone wanted to go, but the plane could only carry a few.

Mum always tells us the story of Pastor Rushambara. He was also part of the plane crash, waking Dad up a couple of times in the middle of the night, thinking they had missed the plane. Pastor Rushambara was a relative and friend of Dad, and we were staying at his house in Bukavu.

The plane carried 22 passengers, if I’m wrong. The majority of them were Pastors and missionaries going to attend the Ebenezer religious gathering in Minembwe. The circumstances of the plane remain unknown. There are many aircraft cashes in the DRC, and some get unnoticed. “google” plane crash in the DRC, there is a least one in every couple of months.

We were on “vacation” in South Kivu. We lived in Bwamanda and went to school in Gbadolite in the Equateur province. Was it vacation or a move? Unfortunately, it had become a permanent move.

The plane crashed while tried to land. All aboard the aircraft died. We didn’t get a chance to bury his remaining. We didn’t have the opportunity to travel for the ceremony. I’m hopeful that that part of the world will have peace soon to at least visit the site of the crash.

Yesterday we remembered them. It has been 24 years. So I thought I would share what I remember about Dad. Dad was a father, a Medical Doctor, a friend of many, and a community activist.

After 24 years, you would think I would get over it, but no. Albert, it’s been a while; move on. I still miss him. I still hear his whistling and his steps in the house. I still hear the car door opening and shutting.

I still remember him putting on some music on a random evening and inviting Mum to dance. Mum would be shy but at the same time smiling. “Dance in the front of the kids,” she would whisper.

I still remember our dinner table. Ours was a lunch table. Dad would always come for lunch between 12-2 pm every day. Dinner sometimes, given his busy schedule at the hospital. At the dinner table where we would talk about school grades. I still remember him giving us kudos and sometimes not the most comfortable conversations. I still remember him getting disappointed at us when we weren’t excelling. Why aren’t you the first of your class this time? What happened? I do have my own opinion about grade-based learning, but it worked. Let’s keep that discussion for another day.

I still remember his smile. I still remember his soft voice. Loud at times.

I still remember him criticizing. I pick some of that or a lot :) He would always raise his bar very high at home and also at work. His colleagues would complain about his rigor, but they all were his good friends.

I still remember his office and his bookshelves. I would sit in his office and pretend I was him. I would try to read some of his books. I still remember his style. He was smart. I didn’t pick his style but his taste in music.

Of course, he introduced me to classic music, African music from West Africa, Reggae, and Congolese music. Michael Jackson, Enya, Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure, Lucky Dude, Lokua Kanza, and the list goes on.

I still remember his welcoming spirit; he made friends around the world. He made friends that I still talk to today. He made good friends in DRC, West Africa, and Belgium. He made friends from all over the world. I’ve randomly talked to Medical Doctors in Rwanda and here in the States, who say good things about him.

He has done public health research. He made publications.

Dad had discipline, though, but very loving. He would tell us his story, how he went to school in Bukavu and Kinshasa. What sacrifices he had made to take care of us. His generation and a generation ahead of them had suffered to bring up their families and the Banyamulenge community. They would walk 3, 5, 10 miles to go to school. They would travel thousands of miles for education. I will soon ask that generation to give me permissions to write about them. They have given us so much. I’m grateful for all of them.

I miss you, Dad.

Before I go, I also want to share that we are thinking about starting a foundation to honor Dad. We would work in the Great Lake region. We want to go back to the Equateur region and in the South Kivu’s Haut Plateaux to help just as Dad used to do.

References:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1997/09/14/crash-in-congo-kills-20-people/776892da-3050-4f93-8928-24cd548e69e8/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/tulsaworld.com/archive/congo-rebels-give-thanks/article_373e886f-c17b-5e3c-ad07-99c85e4c4899.amp.html

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/34125861.pdf

https://ojs.ugent.be/AF/article/download/17706/15115/

http://lib.itg.be/cips2019.pdf

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/47227/WH-1994-Nov-Dec-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

https://horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins_textes/pleins_textes_6/b_fdi_49-50/010013984.pdf

3-Bullet Friday - Sept 10, 2021

What I'm reading, watching and listening to.

Hi All,

Happy Friday!

Here is my weekly '3-Bullet Friday,' a list of things I'm pondering and exploring.

What I'm reading

I'm finishing up Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams.

I have started reading Software engineering at Google by Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck & Hyrum Wright. It's about the Google way of doing software engineering.

What I'm watching

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror, a Netflix documentary.

Cocomelon and Baby Shark for obvious reasons.

What I'm listening to

I'm glad that Lokua Kanza's new album Moko is on Spotify -

And I leave you with this quote by Archilochus — 'We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.'

Stay tuned!

3 Bullet Friday - Sept 3, 2021

Alist of things I'm pondering and exploring

Hi All,

Here is my weekly '3-Bullet Friday,' a list of things I'm pondering and exploring.

What I'm reading

Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams https://www.amazon.com/dp/3899555848?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

A great design book by Braun's designer Rams. True to the principle of “less but better” his elegantly clear visual language not only defined product design for generations, but also our fundamental understanding of what design is and what it can and should do.

The Practice - by Seth Godin https://www.amazon.com/Practice-Shipping-Creative-Work/dp/0593328973

Seth is one of my favorites authors, and Linchpin is my favorite book by Seth. If you are looking to grow professionally, follow Seth. He also has a podcast called Akimbo. The Practice is about creative shipping work. It's about showing up. While we are talking about Seth, check out AltMBA. I did graduate from AltMBA a couple of years ago. It has changed my perspective about putting in work, showing up, and being generous.

Designing Data-intensive applications - by Martin Kleppmann https://www.amazon.com/Designing-Data-Intensive-Applications-Reliable-Maintainable/dp/1449373321

A technical book about building scalable applications. I've been learning about distributed systems, and this book has only overviews and deep dives on topics about reliability and scalability.

What I'm watching

Cocomelon, the wheels on the bus: Yes, Cocomelon, and for a good reason. With a one-year-old, there isn't much a lot to watch.

What I'm listening to

Flow state show - by Bobby Lyte

This is a podcast with music. It has talk and music segments. This will keep you focused if you listen to instrumental and electronic music. I'm not the kind that quickly gets in the flow, and this has been very helpful. It also follows the Pomodoro technique. 30 minutes of music followed by 5 minutes break.

And I leave you with these ideas from Psychology of money by Morgan Housel. It's a good book.

"No one is impressed with your possessions as much as you are."

"You might think you want a fancy car or a nice watch. But what you probably want is respect and admiration. And you're more likely to gain those things through kindness and humility than horsepower and chrome."

That was it for this week. Next week I will share a project my wife and I have been thinking about for some time, and we are ready to get it started.

Stay tuned!

Introducing...

Welcome to my newsletter!

Hi, I'm Albert. Nice to meet you.


I'm starting `Partage`. Partage is the french word for `share`. This is a space for us to share. I will share some ideas, experiences, and insights on several issues and wait to hear back from you. I will be open, analytical, and vulnerable at the same time.

I will be focusing on health, fitness, technology, life, and psychology. My intention is to provide deep dives into topics. There is a lot of information out there about the subjects mentioned above. I will serve as a curator and will provide my personal experience. There is a lot of noise out there, and I intend to bring some clarity.

Hence, a newsletter! It gets sent out every week with some combination of new data, new facts, and new links. The first "real" issue will drop in a couple of days. So stay tuned, and meantime, forward this to your friends so they can sign up!!

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