Business, life

Good Podcasts

headset with colors in the backgroundYesterday I had an interesting conversation with a friend about ways to improve your knowledge in different topics.

I suggested to him to leverage his long commute or runs to listen to audio books and podcasts. I have been doing it over the last 15 years and it’s a great way for me to utilize time better. Suddenly the long runs become interesting and time flies. So his next question was what are the podcasts I like and why.

Here are the top ones:

  • Revisionist History is my favorite one. Gladwell does what he is excelling at… telling a story you think you knew but turn it on its head and during this process teach you a thing or two. In the last two seasons, Gladwell went back and reinterpret something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood. The one on Martin Luther King is fascinating.
  • Freakonomics is an award-winning podcast with a lot of listeners (which most, I suspect, like logic, economic etc’). Stephen Dubner has conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt. The last few episodes (as of March 2018) about CEOs are really good. Check it out.
  • Here’s the thing with Alec Baldwin – Alec really knows how to interview his impressive guests and listen to their ideas and stories. It’s great to follow him and learn about people that changed history, industries or ‘just’ put a smile on our faces.
  • Epicenter – I’ve been passion about the crypto world since 2012. Around early 2014 I found this one. It’s a podcast that takes you to the heart of this important technological revolution: the rise of decentralized technologies. Every week, they bring conversations with some of the brightest minds in this bourgeoning ecosystem of startups and open source projects. Good stuff if you want to learn more about decentralized technologies and the crypto world.
    Btw, Block Zero is a new podcast that deal with this topic as well. It’s still young but sounds good so far.
  • The Moth – The Moth Podcast features stories that are being recorded live on stage around the USA.
    Some of them are really good! Episodes are released every Tuesday.

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Hey Google, Talk To Crested Butte Powder

Crusted butte with Snow

It was another amazing conference in Crested Butte – The winter Tech Forum (or try the short version of its name).

It’s been over 11 years since I first came to learn about it. The quality of the people and the venue with the passion to hack and learn, make it an experience that is unique and amazing.

The first couple of days are composed of sessions and lighting talks at the evenings. But on the 3rd day, we have a hack day where people can go wild and build something fun.

This year, my hack was a Google Assistant App that tell you if it’s a pow day.
You can just say something like: “Ok Google, talk with Crested Butte Powder” and you will be able to ask it if it’s time to run for the mountain.

You can see it in action with the code at: or if you are on a mobile device – click here.

Of course, you can just say it to the Google Assistant…

Screenshot 2018-03-06 10.04.52

May you have lots of powder days with sunny sky!



OK Google, Talk To Northstar Pow Day!

Northstar pow day action on google

Northstar Pow Day – Action on Google

Last week, we had a big storm at Tahoe.

I thought it might be great if with one quick question (while you washing our face in the morning) you can learn if it’s a powder day.
After all, when there is a pow day, you should close the shop and run for the slopes, no?

The result is here: and you can find the code at GitHub.

If you are on a mobile device, click here to check it on the assistant, or just say “Hey Google, talk to Northstar pow day”.

Have fun!


Two Books On World War II

2 books

I don’t know why, but in the past month I read (again) two books that tell personal stories during World War II / holocaust.

I didn’t plan it. But like most things in life, while we are making plans, things happen.

In retrospective, it was a powerful, sad and interesting time. You can hear a lot of stories about WW2 and the holocaust but there are some that hit you right in your heart.

As the say, “Long story short”, here are the two books I recommend.

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah is so talented. She does a great job in capturing an intimate part of history from a unique perspective: the women’s war. It is a combination of two stories or two sisters. They are separated on many levels: years, experience, ideals and mostly character. Each one is paving her own path toward survival in German-occupied France. It’s a beautiful, sad story that shows the real strong gender – female.


Beneath a Scarlet Sky

It’s a real personal story of Pino Lella, a young Italian teenager who wants to ski and have fun. Up to here it’s just like any teenager who lives near the amazing mountains in north of Italy. But, there is a war and he started it by joining the underground where he helped Jews escape over the Alps to Switzerland. From one step to another he become the personal driver of Hans Layers who reported to Hitler. The story tells how is manage to spy for the allies and his relationships with Hans, Anna (his love) and his family. During the book, you keep thinking it can’t be a real story. But, you keep realizing, it is all happen in Europe only 60 years ago.



An Amazing Apps For The Google Assistant – Chatbot Summit 2018

chat Bot Summit

Here are the slides from my talk today at the Chat Bot Summit.

It was a great experience to talk about the Google Assistant platform and to run two workshops with live coding.

If you could not make it and you wish to test this platform, you can go over the slides (and other tutorials or videos) and check on of the code labs that we have for the Assistant on your own.

There are many good apps that you can check in order to get ideas and inspiration. Here are some apps for the Assistant that I’ve created for the code labs and demos.

Good luck!


How Nike Became Nike

I just finished this book and really enjoyed it.

Any entrepreneur and/or a runner should read it. Such an amazing story of a startup (they didn’t have this term back in 1962) that fight against the giants (e.g. Adidas, US customs, Tiger etc’) and succeed to win. Big time.

It’s told by Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight and he does a great job to describe the inside story of the company. From the early days as a one man show startup and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic and profitable brands.

In 1962, fresh out of Stanford business school, Phil Knight traveled the world. When he visited Japan he was able to get a deal with Tiger (well known brand at the time) and with fifty dollars from his father he created a company “Blue Ribbon Sports“. They had many issues and problems (like any startup) but in the end, Nike’s annual sales last year top $30 billion. The story between these two extremes is fascinating.

It’s a candid and humble memoir. Knight details the relationships he had with the first employees and the (many) risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream. He is a real problem solver and keep learning on the go but the most impressive quality I learn about him is the relationships he was able to make (with very few words) with athletes, employees and friends.

Enjoy it!
…And go for a run.


Great Books To Start The Year

Few of the best books I’ve read in the past and you might enjoy. There are in no special order, but if you love good stories start with the first and the last.


One of the best books I read in a long time. It’s an interesting story about the humankind in the last ~70,000 years and Harari does it so well, you won’t feel it’s a history book.

I like the 2nd book (Homo Deus) as well and found more things in it that I would like to discuss about with the author. I just need to find the right time and place. Continue reading