June 24, 2019

Life hacks

Below is a collection of life hacks that I have been using over the years.

Name resolution

In a situation, where you will be identified by your name, give a purposefully unique name.

Having a name that stands out a) minimises the risk of a “hash collision”, where you are confused for someone else, b) makes it memorable.

When I book tables in restaurants or arrange pick ups, I do it under the name “Boutros” (after Boutros Boutros-Ghali). This makes it easier for people to find my name on the list.

In a place, where I regularly grab lunch people know me as Boutros, which makes it effortless to order and collect. They even greet me “by name”, when I walk in.

Crowdsourcing opinions

In the absence of a tripadvisor-like forum for people to review products and services, find a group of users/customers and write to them directly.

As a teenager I was lucky enough for my parents to spoil me with summer camps. One summer, I had to find a camp in Spain. I wanted to find a camp with a) good quality tuition b) a balanced international group c) fun sport activities. There were no review websites outside the small “testimonials” section on the website and the pages for each camp didn’t list their timetable of activities.

At the time, it was common for people to create facebook groups after shared experiences like summer camps. I found facebook groups from previous summers at the camps I was interested in. Using a template, I messaged a dozen people asking about their experiences at the camps and what facilities/activities were available.

This enabled me to choose a camp with basketball and a fun group of people.

I thought it was a logical thing to do, however, several people have since told me it was “out of the box”.