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  • Camila San 7:14 PM on 24/08/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advices, failing, failure, , success   

    The 0.00000001% 

    Today I bumped into this article from Medium: and I couldn’t agree more:

    I don’t like advice like “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Not because it isn’t true, but because it’s a monkey’s paw: it’s true under the right circumstances with the right people, and for everyone else, it’s just bad advice.

    I don’t think I tried hard enough or worked hard enough for the things I really wanted (for many reasons), but I did enough to feel frustrated every time I read about successful people (specially women in IT). Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in being successful doing what you like, or making money or sharing your success with the world by writing books or giving talks. These histories are always inspiring. But yet, it can be frustrating. Probably, depends on my mood (I am very 8 or 80 when comes to mood), depends on my day, but yes, nobody talks about probability when they write about how they were successful and when they try to sell that if you just do as they did, you will get the same results. Sorry, but no. That’s not how life works.

    What these books and talks and articles forget to tell is that these super successful people were the 0.0001% (I just made up this number, I just want to make my point clear) that had the perfect idea in the right place in the right time. The rest of the world can try, but they have 0.00001% of chance of success. You just need to remember of articles like: and

    Over 90% of tech startups fail, but I never thought my baby, 99dresses, would be one of them.

    You always hear about the college grad who slept in his car while building a product, worked out of a basement to save money, or secretly resided in the AOL office as testament to his determination. But you never hear about those who hustle just as hard, make similar outrageous sacrifices…and still fail.

    And this is the same in real life. 90% of the people are going to fail in life (add here your definition of success and failure). Yes, maybe I am too naive and my standards for calling something that I did successful are too high and I am trying to compare myself with people that have nothing to do with me but still… don’t expect to follow the steps of someone else and get the same results. These ideas only give good titles for self-help books.

    I never forget what I read at the book “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” by Leonard Mlodinow, I don’t have it here to make a proper citation, but the book makes really clear and mathematically proved that events in our lives are much more random than we probably would like it to be, but still, (sometimes) what separates success from failure (again, place here your definition of success and failure) is how many times you tried. In my case, I think I give up too easily…

    Talking about trying, being successful or failing, in my last blog post here, I talked about how much I failed in giving a talk, but then I didn’t give up as I said I would, I tried to fix my flaws and so I did. Months after my “failing in public” I tried again to give a talk and turns out it went pretty well and without any calming medicine :)

    The conclusion is: don’t give advices like it is nothing. What worked for you, won’t work with anyone else. Everyone is unique.
    Histories can inspire people, they can teach something and maybe help to sell books, but that’s all. We should have more books with titles like “How I failed in my business”, “How to fail effectively”, “I did it 10 times wrong until I go it right” and less stupid happy Facebook pictures (I do it too).

    [and yes, this post is also a reminder for myself every time I fail or feel frustrated]

  • Camila San 2:57 PM on 26/04/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , confessions, flaws, , mistakes, osc14, public-speaking   

    My flaws in public speaking (a.k.a public suffering) 

    I just gave a workshop about Ruby on Rails, in the openSUSE conference 2014, but I almost didn’t do it. I was very very close to cancel it. I cried many times like a angry kid during last week and today morning too. I arrived in the conference venue completely broken and certain that  I was going to give up. It feels humiliating when you cry, especially when other people see it. They can see how weak you are. It sucks.

    What did I do to not give up? I took a lot of medicine (I have prescribed “calming” medicine). Then, these were my flaws:

    • I gave the workshop feeling totally numb.
    • I think my (always) big mistake it is to let thing to do in the last minute: procrastination sucks and in my case it is most of the time the feeling that I can’t do it, I am not able to do that etc
    • I talk too quickly: I want to end the suffering very quick. I want that feeling to go away as soon it is possible. Even in all the presentations I prepared in time and trained, I always would enp up finishing way before time. I just want to end it quickly and hide under the table.
    • I know it is human to be anxious about that and the feeling after it is always somehow nice, because it felt very hard to do and in the end you did it. It was crappy, but that was what I could do! I am not good at that. Period. I can try to think like that but it is always a painful experience. I try to say “I don’t give a shit.” but it doesn’t work. I even get sick after situations like that. My hole body is painful.
    • When I gave talks before it was a bit of “I want to try it”. Probably to prove to myself that I could do it. Maybe I already proved it, do I still need to do that? I just should stop. I had enough. Why to keep forcing me into it? I think I can find another challenges for my life. I know I can do it, but not well enough to make it a nice experience.
    • Who starts a talk saying “I hate people.”? I did.
    • It was the first time I gave a talk in english. I also I think it was the most technical one too. All that didn’t help me to feel better.
    • It was supposed to be a workshop and I just kept talking instead of checking how people were doing with the tutorial. I didn’t really helped anyone.

    I know I am not alone on these feelings, that’s why I wrote this post and also it helps me to take away a bit of the “weight”.

    Thanks to everyone that showed up in the workshop, I am sorry it was too short and too quick.

    In any case, I think I can write better than I can speak, so here is the workshop/tutorial:




    • Jan 3:29 PM on 26/04/2014 Permalink | Reply

      There are many people at the openSUSE Conference, most of them are not giving presentations or workshops. Everyone in the room(s) knows what it means to give a presentation and most will not give one because they are anxious.
      You stood up, prepared and run a workshop! You deserve respect for that, independent of how quick it was or any other things you mentioned. The only way to overcome all of this is by doing it!
      I can tell from my own experience that it is getting better every time you do it, I also have been anxious and a very typical thing for my presentations is that I finish to early, sometimes only taking half the time scheduled.
      You did good and you wanted to share your knowledge, that is a very important thing! Trust me it will get better!

      Jan – Who was able to create his first Ruby app in your workshop

    • Bruno Friedmann 9:21 PM on 24/08/2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve totally missed this part, and especially your workshop, which would have learn me something that I don’t know Ruby, and certainly something that I can share, anxious before a talk.
      To made it really cool and awesome, it need preparation, a bit of self-confidence, and this come with experience. One of the best talk I’ve done has needed hours and hours and hours or repetition. First cause of english speaking. Adapt the tons, the speed, where to place the jokes etc.
      One thing that has help me to be prepared for the D day, was to use my camcorder and do the presentation face to a beta public ( okay that one was composed of tons of plushes :-) so a bit less scary than real people ). and Review with constructive remarks. What goes well, what to improve etc.
      Once you’ve done that training, you know a bit more about yourself and were are your normal failures points (like talking in a hurry, mess your slides etc).
      The D day you know your talk or what you want to achieve, the content flows like water. You just have to watch yourself and other, and adapt again your speed. Still a challenge anyway :-) But that’s what give you the zest of adrenalin you need to do it.
      I hope to don’t miss the next one you will do.

      • Camila San 10:16 PM on 24/08/2014 Permalink | Reply

        That’s what I did right in my second talk: training, recording myself with my phone and watching it a few times. And yes, it is still a challenge anyway.

        Thanks for your comment here :)

  • Camila San 8:58 PM on 15/04/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , consumer, , , second-hand, , shopping, ,   

    The direct relationship between shopping and talking in German 

    Online Shopping

    This year I had planned to try to buy other products online, not only electronics.  I bought clothes at and medicine/cosmetics at They were quick and I always had control: I knew what was going on from the time I paid to the time the products arrived.

    All went well until I tried to buy at the I love the their products, they are good and the price is fair, but shopping online was a disaster: the user has no control over anything. There’s no way to change or cancel the process. After I made a purchase through the website I only received an email with the list of products that I bought in the next day. You can not  view the purchase details on the website, after a day you can see information about the package, the total price and that’s it. At least, everything is delivered as expected. Although I think I had more advertising paper than product in the package.

    Purchases by phone

    In one of the purchases that I made I got a gift voucher, a product that I could choose from the website but could only buy by phone. So I was quite happy to make the purchase over the phone and for a change, no one spoke English. For the first time I faced the conversation without saying ” I do not speak German. Bye .”. The end result was about 15 minutes talking on the phone in German. Ok,  I did not need to talk much, but I could understand what she said and answer it accordingly. I even managed to give my cell phone number in German, which I think it is super hard to say even in English, because I always need to think first in Brazilian Portuguese when I’m going to say the numbers!

    Anyway, the package came with the same amount of advertising and useless papers as the package before. They should have known that I made a purchase just a few days before, so I didn’t need all that advertising papers again! At least, the Yves Rocher stores always smell super good and the staff are always friendly and patient even when I am trying to kill the German language. Next time, I will just go to the store: easier and nicer  :)

    Second hand stores

    Berlin, as far as I know, is famous for  the second hand stores. It took me some time to get into one, but now I find difficult to want to shop elsewhere.  And do not buy in large department stores is part of my New Year’s resolutions (ok , I did not accomplish this when I bought at the, some changes happens slowly…) .

    Why buy in second hand stores?

    At the most basic level, when you buy from a local designer or from a local boutique more money stays in the community. According to, “Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.”


    “There are 27 to 30 million slaves in the world today. Yes, slaves.
    Have you ever wondered how companies like Zara and Forever 21 can sell t-shirts for five dollars?”

    “Huge progress can be made by consumers purchasing second-hand. It is imperative that we start making use of the resources already available to us instead of buying new clothing.”

    “Not only are the price tags competitive with the fast fashion giants, but many of the garments appear to be practically new. It’s a win-win for your wallet and for the planet.”


    Today, I decided to buy at a second hand store, close to my place, and again I had the chance to practice German. The sales lady, perhaps the shop owner, was super friendly and asked if I was happy with my purchases, she was really sweet. I had that feeling of a small town, where everyone knows everyone, you know?

    Another way to buy second hand clothes is using They have app for Android and for iPhone. Through the website or the app, you can sell, buy, trade or even give away products. The same goes for I already used the Shpock app to sell and I did buy using the KleiderKreisel app. It all works fine.

    Auf Wiedersehen!

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