Kiko's Musings

by Francisco Homem de Mello

Founder of Qulture.Rocks
Trying hard to be a: Writer, entrepreneur, angel investor, curious mind.

Page 3

Studying Resources: Dev Bootcamps

I’ve been studying for about 2 months with my gaze set on getting accepted to one of the U.S.‘s top coding bootcamps: Hack Reactor and Fullstack Academy.


The learning road has been a very snaky one. I first started out with Codecademy and Codeschool courses, that I felt would prepare me to these bootcamps’ selection processes. They didn’t. Codeschool’s Javascript track was barely a track, stopping short of concepts like recursion, closures, higher-order functions, and the sort. I also ended those MooC tracks without any sense of what exactly could all that Javascript be used for (while I learned how to unite strings, loop arrays, and access objects, I didn’t learn any practical implementations that could be used in websites or web apps.

So I tried looking at the bootcamps’ prep aid to see if I could get more references to great material. I found many pointers to Eloquent Javascript

Continue reading →

2015 Reading List: Update


Recommended entries in bold

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Nir Eyal

Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love
Marty Cagan

Great book for those who want to learn more about the role of the Product Manager, made notorious by Marissa Mayer’s Associate Product Manager program at Google.

MY LIFE AND WORK (Annotated) (Timeless Wisdom Collection..
Henry Ford

How to Get What You Want: A Short Primer for Ambitious People
Jason Shen

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to..
Verne Harnish

Amazing book for learning how to scale an organization. One of those books that feels like a syrup: short, concentrated, and straight to the point. Highlighted almost all pages.

The Profit Zone: How Strategic Business Design Will Lead You..
Adrian J. Slywotzky

The Greatest Salesman in the World
Og Mandino

How to Lie with Statistics

Continue reading →

A Brief History of OKRs

OKRs are an old staple of business management, rebranded, repurposed, and tweaked to 21st century necessities of companies and professionals.

It all started with the fathers of management: Taylor, Ford, and the sorts, who began treating business like a science. How so? They figured they could measure output, and then formulate hypotheses as to how they could improve output. Back then that meant productivity, as measured by output per employee. These guys figured out optimum work schedules, break times, and lightning arrangements for factories. They also started streamlining production, adding specialization to the factory floor. These practices all brought incredible, tangible improvements.

In the 50s, a fellow named Peter Drucker, who’s believed to be the greatest management guru that ever lived, figured out that managers goals could be a great thing. Now, not only they had to improve

Continue reading →

The News Tornado: Part 3

Finding the new news business model.

If we want to solve the problem with ad revenues:

The solution, if we want to keep high-quality news being produced on an ad-supported model, is to somehow find some form of news that is i) high quality, ii) in depth, and iii) still entertaining.

Think about Apple. It’s one of the rare cases of a wildly successful mass-market product that is of “good taste.” If we can’t, sometimes, rely on the mass’s tastes to pick up the wheat from the chaff (think about entertainment - the movie business is succumbing to Avengers 5, X-Men 12, etc -, “news” with Buzzfeed, you get the point) we’ll need a visionary leader who can build desirability into high-quality journalism.

If we want to solve the problem with paid access:

We need to find a way to empower customers, and reduce transaction friction. How about charging users a low price on a per-article basis

Continue reading →

The News Tornado: Part 1

This is a sort of draft for a larger post on the news I’ve been meaning to write for some time. But I’m a procrastinator, and I need quick wins. So I decided to post some ideas, which will hopefully become a nicer post some time in the future.

I am very worried about the news.


No, not that way…

That the news business is in a tipping point is no news. (No pun intended).

How so?

Old line news content producers/media, like the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, just to name two of the most famous entities, are struggling with their existing business models (print medium (a), ad revenues (b), paid access ©, ultra-high quality content (d)).

The bad content vicious cycle:

1) Customers are increasingly relying on online news, so print circulation is either stable or falling dramatically, depending on the property. Circulation is a measure of “eyeballs looking at ads” so ad

Continue reading →

Qulture.Rocks is live!

I am founding Qulture.Rocks, a SaaS/professional services company focused on the culture aspect of businesses’ human resources. It was inspired by my writing of The 3G Way, a book that got me really thinking about corporate culture and management, after spending more than 12 years working at various types of companies and cultures.

Check it out at http://Qulture.Rocks

We’ll have an interesting blog about culture as well. http://Qulture.Rocks/blog

Continue reading →

My highlights/notes: How Google Works

These are every highlight I made on my kindle when reading How Google Works, which is probably THE best business book that was published in 2014 (and to date, for that matter). I tried to organize them all, but it’s just too much stuff, so I’ll leave you to it.


The Internet has decimated traditional media business models, but new ones have and will continue to emerge in their place. The result will be a much bigger, more fragmented and chaotic market for creators and endless choices for consumers.

Just bringing even a basic level of information transparency to health care could have a tremendous positive impact, lowering costs and improving outcomes.

Health-care consumers suffer from a dearth of information: They have virtually no data on procedural outcomes and doctor and hospital performance, and often have a hard time accessing their own health data, especially if it is held by

Continue reading →

2015 Updated Reading List

Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins
Tom Perkins **
pretty good book about the start of venture capital. It becomes clear by mid-book that Tom is - very - proud of his accomplishments across all spectres of his life, so one may get a bit annoyed with his writing. Suggested for those who are looking for the nth piece of trivia on silicon valley, but not for those starting to learn about it. Much better to watch the documentary on the pioneers of the valley, that tells Tom’s story, and Arthur Rock’s, and Gene Kleiner’s, and Pitch Johnson’s, etc.

Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
Ryan Holiday ****
very interesting look at the state of media 2.0, i.e., Business Insiders, TechCrunches, Gizmodos, Politicos, and the sort. Basically, these new institutions respect no established journalism practices (like checking sources, getting multiple views on a subject,

Continue reading →

Why Facebook is a huge short

“Hey Julia, what are you up to? Facebook?” I said to my 20-year-old nephew.
“No way,” she said. “I’m on Instagram.”
“Why no way? Anything against Facebook?”
“Nah. I’m checking my Instagram, and responding to some Snapchats.”
“No Facebook?”
“Facebook’s done. I use it to find people, but I rarely log in anymore. Nobody does.”
I’m getting old…
“Why’s that?”
“I don’t know… Too many people - I’ve got 750 friends or so… - too many of those Farmville games… too many random posts.”

Facebook is, IMHO, a huge short opportunity. Here’s why [1]:

Weak business model: people forget social networks are a fickle business. Myspace and Orkut were huge. Brazilians and Indians spent comparable amounts of time on them as people spend today on Facebook worldwide. Both vanished, in a matter of years. Just disappeared. Why? Customer taste, herd mentality, whatever [2]. People like new things, and they’ve

Continue reading →

Uber and Disruptive Innovation

(This post was originally posted in Portuguese, at 21212 Academy.)

I recently stumbled upon a link to a Harvard Business Review (@harvardbiz) article that discussed Uber’s recent $ 1.2 bn on $ 40 bn fundraising. Apart from being highly skeptical about such a valuation level (but I’ll leave that to a future post,) I was impressed by the misuse of the disruptive innovation term by such a famous magazine. In the article, the author says

“Uber represents a true disruptive innovation. A model of delivering a service where the market entrant is making a previously inaccessible service cheaper and more accessible.”

Curiously, the term disruptive innovation was coined by Clayton Christensen, himself a Harvard Business School professor.

The fact is that the HBR author is not alone: VCs, entrepreneurs, and the ever-growing startup media all use the term incorrectly in their buzz word

Continue reading →