Photo by Alex Guillaume on Unsplash

There is an abundance of time management materials written in the form of books, blogs, videos, and even scientific papers. I do not attempt to increase that pile. But I could not find a useful introductory guide that was not trying to sell you “The Ultimate Method (tm)”.

I am a bit of a time management junkie. In the last decade, reading books on the subject and trying out different methods for sometimes years at a time, has been a constant. I came to the conclusion that there is no single method that fits everybody, every time. …


Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”

We often see that quote attributed to Peter Drucker, as a justification for measuring things. He not only never actually said that, but even spoke about the perils of measuring social aspects of the work.

But when speaking about hard numbers, such as company finances, I would say that the quote is a valid one. I would take it even further, and say that “what does not get measured automatically, does not get managed often enough.”


Biosphere 2 by sunset (Johndedios - CC by 3.0)

Optimizing small-scale agriculture for a lower ecological footprint, and a healthier and nutritious diet.

Eight researchers, five goats and half an acre

In the morning of September 26,1991, a crew of eight researchers walked into a 12,700 square meters (137,000 square feet) giant steel tubing and glass building –a structure that today is still the largest closed system ever created. The plan was to lock themselves in for 2 years and demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support human life in outer space. Though the experiment was overrun with many controversies and problems, it set world records on agricultural productivity: around 5 times more than efficient agrarian traditional communities.

To sustain themselves, the team relied on a lush indoor garden…


Manas.Tech is kicking-off the development of the entire Sikoba platform for peer-to-peer credit-based transactions

You know how at Manas.Tech, we love digging into projects that are a bit unusual? Well, we have done it again. Also, have you ever heard of the blockchain-based “IOU economy”? That is exactly what our friends at Sikoba are up to, and it makes us very proud and happy to announce that they have chosen Manas to be their technology partner.

So, what is Sikoba?

Sikoba is an IOU (“I owe you”) platform which automates the creation, tracking and finally clearing of debt between its…


Over the years, people that hear about the compensation system at Manas.Tech have asked for more details or access to the software we use. It felt unresponsible to me to only share bits, without the overall context, design goals and assumptions, so it took me a while to write this. I hope this article is a valid redress for the long delay.

What’s wrong with current compensation systems

If you are already convinced that the current standard ways to determine salaries don’t work well, you can skip this part. This section is what blocked me to release this article, mostly because there’s so much to say…


Dhobi Ghat — Mumbai’s open air laundromat

Most of the technologies we have designed –and continue to design– are efficiency maximizers. They allow us to do more in less time, to go faster, to reach higher, to build bigger. However, the underlying processes remain unaffected. One benefit of such innovations is known as economies of scale, but economies of scale tend to hide negative externalities.

Sometimes more, faster or higher is not what’s needed. Technology can be designed to act as a systemic disruptor. But, most social systems, are complex and adaptive; we cannot design the endpoint. What we can do, is to intervene in a system…


Since the invention of the printing press, every new communication medium has brought the hope of greater consensus among the citizens of the world and therefore world peace (a point made by Clay Shirky before). But in an age where communication media abounds, world peace seems to be further away than ever.

The British Embassador in 1858 said about the invention of the telegraph:

“What can be more likely to effect(sic) peace than a constant and complete intercourse between all nations and individuals in the world?”

[Tom Sandage, The Victorian Internet (New York: Berkley Books, 1998), 90]

Briggs and Maverick…


“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. — Mark Twain”

Developing software systems -and I’d dare to say all systems– implies mastering the arts of uncertainty and complexity.

  • uncertainty, because it is impossible to know everything you need to know at the outset of a project. We have to make decisions even when not all the necessary information is available or when the information available is ambiguous.
  • complexity, because any non-trivial process will involve many stakeholders in constant flux. And the context for those stakeholders will…

How much sooner could you stop a disease from spreading if you had real-time anonymous information on how people are interacting with each other, where they are gathering and whether people reporting similar symptoms shared a common place in the last few days?

Last year, invited by Skoll Global Threats Funds, I participated as a facilitator during an Epihack in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Epihacks are co-design workshops sponsored by Skoll, where epidemiologists and software developers tackle issues around disease surveillance. This particular Epihack had the goal of making progress towards a mass gathering participatory disease surveillance application.

I suggested exploring the possibility of using proximity-sensing and crowd-sensing to improve disease spread models. Both techniques are still in their early days and though they have been tested and researched extensively, they have not, to my knowledge, been applied in the field of epidemiology.

Nicolás di Tada

Systems design, social innovation, collaboration and the elusive liminality. Director of Engineering at http://instedd.org. Founder at https://manas.tech

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