Happy New Year 2024!

I haven’t written a single post on my blog in a long while. It’s time to change things, so here is a quick starter, at the beginning of this New Year 2024.

First of all, I barely touched my digital devices on January 1st, which was mostly dedicated to spending time with my family. That was a good start!

Today, January 2nd, I spent some time on my computer working, preparing a new color LED lamp setup for my daughter Alice using the WLED firmware, and finally have changed a few things on the WordPress plugins setup to prepare for my future activities on this blog.

What will I be writing on my blog moving forward? I plan on using my blog as a way to collect all the thoughts, ideas and activities which are worth sharing in public, in order to being more active as a writer, as a creator of my own content.

One topic which I plan to cover in great detail is how the ideas coming from the famous coach Dan Sullivan have been shaping my actions over the last few years, and how they have allowed me to greatly improve my prospects for my future life.

Happy New Year 2024 everyone!

“Luca”, a few Objectivist reflections on a sweet @Disney @Pixar movie with a great title!

Having a six and a half year old daughter comes with perks, one of which is watching movies together with mummy and daddy, especially movies with meaning for both children and adults.

Last night we watched “Luca” by Disney Pixar, and all three of us loved it!

Sure, I am biased because of the title, and because the movie has strong ties with Italy, the country where I am from.

Still, what I really enjoyed is the way difficult topics such as being different, having a difficult childhood, being a rebel to one’s family, facing a big challenge, creating a group of friends to overcome difficulties, and the fear of the unknown have been portrayed in the movie.

We can go anywhere, do anything… we just gotta stick together!

Luca Paguro

Luca is a sea monster, yet a sweet one, a young boy loved by his very protective family, who is growing up facing the challenge to know what is “up there”, above the surface of the water. And what is above the surface will surprise him, the moment he stops following what his parents told him. And will surprise you too!

Luca then meets Alberto, another fellow sea monster, and a friendship above and under water develops. And when they meet Giulia in the little coastal town, another friendship develops.

I am sure one can find many descriptions of the whole movie plot, so I won’t go beyond this. Yet, the movie touched me deeply, as many aspects were addressed in the movie, and only adult eyes and ears would notice them.

What I saw was this:

  • Luca and Alberto were different, horrible sea monsters when seen as part of a collective group. Yet, when treated as individuals, they were sweet, tough, respectful, fun, and dedicated to the task they were facing.
    This is why at the end of the movie the fact that after all they were sea monsters did not matter much at all. They were Luca and Alberto, little boys with the world ahead of them, in spite of the tribe they were coming from or the type and color of their skin. A great allegory on racism, which “is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism”, as the great Ayn Rand wrote in her memorable 1963 essay aptly titled “Racism”.
  • Luca has always followed parental advice, and has never gone up to the surface, in spite of being very tempted to see how the “human monsters” look like. Yet he is curious, and when the unexpected happens, he finds himself going beyond what his parents told him NEVER TO DO. Those of you who are parents know really well what I am talking about! It’s the balance between caring for your children so much to keep them too close to you, and pushing them to face the unknown, when ready. And Luca was definitely ready!
  • Luca and Alberto are facing the unknown, and are scared to death in many occasions, and yet they keep on going, in spite of the difficulties and uncertainty. The movie is a testament to “grit” and hope for a better future. It really made me think back to the book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth.
  • Luca and Alberto have highs and lows, and their friendship is at times in deep trouble. Yet Alberto is there to help Luca when needed, and Luca takes courage to help Alberto, in spite of the uncertainty related to showing the “true colors” of who they really are. The movie is about the importance of friendship between people from the same tribe and skin color, that is, the same “identity”.
  • Yet Luca and Alberto become great friends with Giulia and with her father Massimo, who in the end is the person with the courage to step up to the screaming tribal thugs, and to treat the two sea monsters as individuals, and not as members of a different collective. The movie is about the importance of new friendships beyond our immediate circle, which are typically those who enrich us the most.

Some people, they’ll never accept him. But some will. And he seems to know how to find the good ones.

Grandma Paguro

I have spoiled enough the movie I am afraid, and I encourage everyone to watch it, especially if you know a bit about Objectivism, as this viewpoint will allow you to read between the lines a whole lot more.

Let me reassure you that even if you don’t have a six year old child, you will enjoy the movie quite a bit, even if you have never ever been on a Vespa!

Of course I have, as riding Vespas was an integral part of being a teenager during the 1980s…

The ideas and works of @Saifedean Ammous

A few months ago I discovered Saifedean Ammous by way of Alex Epstein, a longtime hero of mine, as he has made me discover the philosophy of Objectivism thru his work on energy.

Alex discovered Saifedean thru the work he has done on Bitcoin and economics, two domains he has lots of knowledge on, so much so that he has written a best-seller book on the topic, “The Bitcoin Standard“, which I highly recommend reading.

Saifedean has been running seminars with his followers for a while, and many of them have been turned into podcasts, which can be found on his website.

As I have not been writing on this blog much at all this year, I will make a point to write some considerations on the ideas of Saifedean Ammous in relation to what he said in his seminars.

I will start later today by analyzing some of the things Saifedean said in his first episode of his podcast, titled “Monarchy and Democracy“.

It’s always a pleasure to discover new ideas and to be challenged by them, and maybe change my mind about some things.

Sorted³, my new choice for task manager app @SortedHQ

A couple of weeks ago, I read about Sorted³ in MacSparky’s newsletter and since I had never heard about it, I decided to give it a try.

Their website is:

They have a 2 weeks Pro trial available for their app, and I have installed it on my MacBook Pro, my iPad and iPhone 8. The Pro feature set allows the devices to be in sync with one another using iCloud, among many other features. To me, this is a very important feature.

Over the two weeks I have used the app, I have come to like many of its features, yet the most distinctive one is the usability of the app, enhanced by a very slick UX which makes working with tasks a breeze.

You can have a great idea of how the app looks like in different use cases by checking their website at this link:

As the trial period is almost over, I wanted to do a little more research and I found this recent episode of the GTDJedi podcast, with guests the two gentlemen from Sorted³, Harry and Leo, with a nice and broad discussion about the past, present and future of Sorted³, I enjoyed listening to the interview:


I have been quite happy with the app so far, and since they provide an extension to their Pro features, I have decided to extend the trial to one full month before deciding on buying the Pro features.

After all, their app also works without the Pro features, that is it’s a FREE app, and that’s great. But I sense that I will be buying the full features soon…

In terms of pricing, the macOS version is a one-time payment of CHF 25 and the iOS/iPadOS is CHF 15 here in Switzerland, quite reasonable given that you are also given lifetime updates, unlike other apps which keep asking money for major updates.

Their support website at https://support.sortedapp.com has a lot of information and their quick tutorials and guides are definitely worth reading!

I look forward to learning more about Sorted³ over the next few weeks, and maybe it will become my main task manager, after many years of (sort of!) using OmniFocus…

2021-01-03 – Today I am grateful to my virtual mentor Hal Elrod @halelrod

“When something goes wrong, it’s OK to be negative, but for not more than 5 minutes“

Hal Elrod

Over the past few years, but especially in the last 12 months, I have read many books and stories and blog posts of people who have overcome different situations in their lives, and have achieved some notoriety because of how they did it, or for what they do after their lives have changed.

The latest personal improvement guru I discovered is Hal Elrod, and for some reason I had never come across his “Miracle Morning“ formula and the many books and speeches he has delivered over the past 10 years.

His personal story is quite something, including an almost deadly car accident and a rough time with an aggressive form of leukemia, from which he recovered.

I like Hal and what he does, and I now am a convinced “Miracle Morning“ practitioner, as over the past two months I have started to do the morning routine that he talks about in many of his speeches and books.

But I what I really found true is something that I have heard just today, in a keynote speech he held in 2020. He calls is the “5 minute rule“, and it’s worth copying again the same quote with which I opened this post.

“When something goes wrong, it’s OK to be negative, but for not more than 5 minutes“

Hal Elrod
The part of Hal Elrod’ keynote speech in which he talks about the “5 minutes rule“ (starts at 37’00“)

This rule alone would impact the lives of an amazing number of people, myself included. Just remember these three words:

Can’t Change It

Hal Elrod

For this rule, for the “Miracle Morning“ formula, for his books and podcast, I am very grateful to Hal Elrod, and am proud to having started to put in practice some of his brilliant advice.

Yo’ pal Hal, you rock!

2021-01-02 – Today I am grateful to my wife Laura Granata

Laura and I met in April 2012, and we started to date in May 2012. Together we have been romantic lovers, partners, parents, fiancées, married… and the best is yet to come!

Whether one believes in the horoscope or not, one funny fact is that both Laura and I are Leo. Laura’s sister and her partner are both Aquarius, and Laura’s parents are both Virgo. Funny coincidences, huh?

Laura is Italian like me, was born in Italy like me, yet unlike me she never lived there except for short periods of time, mostly during summer vacation. Lucky her! Where could I possibly find an Italian woman who had more international experience than me? Switzerland, of course!

Yet there is some Italy in how we met, as we happened to be sitting in front of one another at a pizza party on Friday April 13th 2012, held at an Italian restaurant in Ouchy, near Lausanne. And she surprised me as she liked beer better than wine, like I do!

I could ramble on and on about Laura, about her amazing qualities and strengths, and about how we sometimes argue for the stupidest reasons, like we just did a couple of hours ago. After all we are both proud Leos, and that causes friction, sometimes…

But one thing is for sure. She is my girl, and I am her “bel omm“.

And I am extremely grateful to have had her in my life for 8 years. And counting.

I love you leonessa!

P.S. The picture above was taken the very first time we played minigolf together in Lausanne, in July 2012. This has become a family tradition, and every summer we go and play minigolf together while drinking beer. And we have been doing that together with our daughter Alice for 5 years, now!

The most perfect Mary Poppins and Bert on Halloween night 2020

2021-01-01 – Today I am grateful to myself

As a rugged individualist, I couldn’t start my 365 days gratefulness journey without focusing on myself, Luca Bertagnolio.

I have been around on this planet for almost 52 years and a half, and it’s always been a very unconventional existence, and I am both happy and proud for this, though sometimes this has proven difficult to bear, both for myself and people around me.

Why being grateful to oneself, in the first place?

In my case, it’s because I had never considered gratefulness as an important aspect of our lives as human beings part of this amazing modern society. And yet, at some point in time, my life started to change because I started to embrace gratefulness.

Gratefulness entered into my life by storm in 2020, one of the many great things that 2020 brought me, thru the work of Bob Proctor, something which was suggested to me by my personal coach Dina Pataki.

Bob Proctor is a very interesting character, who is still very energetic at 87 years young, and has lived a life of continuous improvement of his own life thru improving the lives of others. He will be definitely the subject of another post in my gratitude series.

Bob Proctor uses his “stick man“ drawing to show how we are all made of both a conscious and an unconscious mind, working together with our body to make up who we are.

In his seminars he mentions gratitude, or gratefulness, as a key component to have within ourselves, and he shows the whole video “A Grateful Day with Brother David Steindl-Rast“ which I already mentioned in the intro post to this series. Here is that video, because it’s always nice to watch it one more time…

It’s thru learning about gratefulness that I have started to address the deeper issues that I had been carrying around within myself for the past 52 years.

And it’s thanks to gratefulness that I am now addressing them, also by writing about people to whom I am grateful for.

Thank you Luca for allowing gratitude to play an important role in your life.

My 30 years journey in computer security

It’s really hard to believe that I have been active in the domain of computer security for such a long time, yet this is what my personal timeline tells me!

I recently made this reflection due to an unexpected offer to present at the local (ISC)² chapter here in Suisse Romande.

Mauro Verderosa, Chapter President, got in touch with me via LinkedIn and asked me if I would be interested in delivering a presentation online, on a security topic of my choosing.

Given my passion for both public speaking and security, I immediately accepted the challenge and started to reflect on what topic to address, to make the presentation both interesting and pleasurable to listen to.

The plan became that of presenting a timeline of computer security and my involvement in different phases of the evolution of technology and events which had an impact on security, and how the industry responded, up to the present day.

In my reflections, I went all the way back in time to when I was first exposed to the Internet and to computer security, and the calendar went back to 1988! But if I consider my first computer and telephone modem, and not-always-so-legal accesses to ITAPAC, the public X.25 data network in Italy, we go back to even earlier than that, as I remember soldering the components for my 300 baud telephone modem electronics kit in 1987.

The “Nuova Elettronica“ italian electronics magazine with the 1987 article on the telephone modem kit which I bought for 165.000 Italian Liras, and built all by myself using my soldering iron!

Back then, I was using a Macintosh Plus as computer, after starting in 1982 with an Apple ][euro+ (the first ones assembled in the new Apple factory in Cork, Ireland) and then moved to an Apple //e, before starting with the original Mac in 1985.

Other than accessing a number of FidoNet BBS (bulletin board systems) and also using CompuServe for more serious e-mail use, I had never seen the power of a computer network until I started to visit the computer labs at Politecnico di Milano in 1987, even before I had finished high school! I was using my brother’s “libretto universitario“ to enter the labs, where Pasquale, the security guard, did not really do a good job of “intrusion prevention“! 😀

The rest of the story, which can become indeed quite long as I have a very good memory of those happy days, can be heard in my 21 minutes long presentation, found on YouTube:

I have also published the slides on SlideShare:

I really enjoyed preparing and delivering this presentation, and if you have been working in this domain as long as I have, I am convinced you will have more than a few shared memories, especially during my time at Cisco between 1998 and 2009.

Starting 2021 with gratitude

Wow! It feels weird to be calling 2020 “last year“, but this is what happens all of a sudden when December 31st is behind our backs!

And given the kind of year 2020 we saw, one would think that it’s no point to even look back to 2020.

I beg to differ.

While surely 2020 has been a challenging year, it brought many changes into my life, some of which are a harbinger of bigger changes, some have already started to appear, and others will no doubt come later in this 2021, and in every single new year after this one.

In this set of blog posts that I have just started to write a couple of minutes ago, I will reflect on some “whos“ whose lives have intersected with mine, and how our mutual relationship changed me.

I will do this from a place of gratitude, highlighting the positive impacts that even small things have had on myself in the past.

I will do this every single day of the year, starting today, January 1st 2021, or 2021-01-01 for those like me who like the ISO 8601 date format!

Where did I get the inspiration to include gratitude in my thoughts and feelings? It all started from this video, which I encourage everyone to watch with undivided attention for the next 5 minutes and 22 seconds.

It might change your life.

It did with me.

Happy watching, and may you all have a wonderful New Year 2021!


Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer on Unsplash

Matt Ridley @mattwridley interview with @naval Ravikant

Those who like to read great books should definitely NOT miss the latest book by Matt Ridley “How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom“.

Matt Ridley has done many great interviews about his book in the aftermath of the launch, my favorite ones being those with Alex Epstein and Yaron Brook, both very much worth listening to.

Now, Silicon Valley legend Naval Ravikant has released a great interview with Matt Ridley, really more of a discussion between two amazing clear thinkers, in two parts, both very much enjoyable.

Lots of interesting themes around innovation, crypto, how the state can thwart innovation, and where the next Silicon Valley might be located.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Part 1
Part 2

The transcripts of the discussion can be found here:
Part 1
Part 2