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Showing posts from November, 2015

What Is A Platform?

A country is a platform.

This was obvious to my friend when he called me last week and asked what I was doing.

"I was just talking to the missus about how a country is a platform."
"Yeah, it is" he said, like it's old news. He's a startup guy, he knows the deal.

But the missus had just been saying how it was easy for me to say because I work in the world of tech and only techies will get the analogy. I said to her, "I got news for you, we all live in the world of tech."

You don't have to work for a tech company to post or to view YouTube videos. You don't need to know anything about tech to get a ride with Uber, or to book an apartment on AirBnB. Amazon has over 200 million customers most of whom don't work in tech. Wikipedia is read by students, teachers, and any shape of curious person there is. Don't get me started on Twitter, Facebook, Google, or, while I'm at it, the internet as a whole. Few tech products are just for pe…

A Brief History of Romanian Protests

Don't let anybody ever tell you that street protests don't change anything. Over the past three years, massive protests have yielded dramatic results in Romania.

February 2012: The protests were ignited by the proposal of a government bill to privatize certain aspects of the healthcare system. The bill was vocally opposed by then undersecretary of state, Raed Arafat, who was then urged to resign by the president, Traian Basescu. The protests, in support of Arafat- and against Basescu -  grew into the eventual anti-government, anti-austerity protests. Outcome: Prime Minister, Emil Boc, resigns. The proposed healthcare bill is also dropped.

September 2013: The "Romanian Autumn" protests and the Rosia Montana issue. I even wrote about it here. I won't go into the details again, but looking back, I would say that even more than the 2012 protests, this is where Romanian civil society was born. For the first time since the fall of Ceausescu the politicians at the top rea…

Fire Hazard

When I first moved to Cluj, I was taken in by the party scene. No last call, good vibes, cheap drinks. The perfect party cocktail. It's a potent mix, it usually delivers, and everybody goes home happy at the end of the night. But every time I descended into smoke-filled party dungeons like Janis, Diesel, Stuf, and others, there was always this niggling thought at the back of my mind: "Fire Hazard."

When I first started working security during my university days there was this very zealous guy training me. He wore black leather gloves, a duty belt with mace and cuffs, a utility knife, a bulletproof vest (which, he said, required a permit), and he wielded a hefty Mag Lite. Pretty much the stereotypical security guard, cop wannabe. This getup might be normal for security guards in the US, but not in Canada. Anyway, this one lesson really stuck. 
As as we patrolled the hallways of a large condo we had to check all the common area access doors. We get to the first door and he…