Bodybuilders and Supermodels

Gabriela Markus, Olivia Culpo, Renae Ayris, Janine Tugonon, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero

I can assure you, with complete certainty: those beauty queens were not born like that.

They were born covered in nasty mucus, crying and completely naked (yes they were born naked!). Furthermore, their dresses are not sold by Sears, Kmart or Target. Quite possibly, you might have to scrape 50K for one of those babies (and the shoes run in the thousands as well).

Yes, even beauty queens and supermodels have their tricks. Heels, dental work, expensive make up, expensive trainers, weird diets and unreasonably priced dresses are all part of the game here. But men are different right!? Right?


Sure! He was born that way! Look at those genes! A baby born in high definition!! He didn’t have to lift a single weight! He didn’t have to put in the years and years of work and, of course: no steroids or supplements.

You now what, that is some major B.S. right there. Dorian Yates (the body builder) has a book full of tricks and has put a life worth of effort into his body building career. I don’t know about steroids but supplementation and specialized nutrition are a big part of this game.

Bodybuilders and supermodels read Hacker News daily, they follow key people on Twitter. Their code invokes a dozen ninja libraries that you don’t yet know about. They use cheap cloud services and summon a cluster with 2TB of RAM just to make their SQL queries run faster.

Wake up and smell the toast! Your best bet to beat the best (what a mouthful) is to find their tools and tricks of world class performers and then improve on them!

Did you like that site? Then head to and break it apart. Surf to find which stack they are using and do so for each competitor. Discover as many of their key tools, processes and people and then, improve on the state of the art.

Pretty soon you’ll look like this…


Well, maybe not, but you get the point. Discipline, tools and processes make up a bigger part of the end result than we take for granted.

Common Mistakes in Website Performance Optimization

Enterprises make a lot of mistakes when testing the performance of their websites. High-speed Internet access and ever more powerful servers, have given a good excuse to many IT managers and web producers to become a little bit lazy when testing and optimizing their websites.

Nevertheless, the benefits of performance testing are unparalleled: speedier website loads, lower hosting costs, more sales, increased equipment durability, happier customers and faster backups are but a few of the many advantages. Even when presented with these attractive gains, most project managers skim on testing to deliver projects on time or to avoid further delays. In this scenario, managers forget to fit performance testing in their projects timelines and then run into all sorts of problems. Here are five mistakes that enterprises make when testing the performance of their websites.

#1: Unrealistic Traffic Estimates
The first mistake is not emulating the real stress their websites will endure by failing to adequately estimate traffic. Adequate capacity planning involves estimating regular traffic conditions as well as predicting traffic spikes during busy days and geographic distribution of traffic and service loads. Some countries and regions will place higher demand on particular sections of your website and thus, contracting CDN services in those regions might make a lot of sense for your organization. However, none of this is possible without an adequate traffic estimation that takes into account seasonalities, regions, online services and timezone differences.

Traffic can be estimated by adding up the expected search engine traffic with the social media referrals and email lists traffic. Several free tools are available online and, along with historic server logs, they should be sufficient to estimate your web traffic adequately.

#2: Not Isolating Database Testing
A big no-no is failing to test your databases separately. Isolation of database components makes for easier and more accurate testing. This is even more important today, because of an ever increasing avalanche of data. You should pay especial attention to batch processes and remote web services because, believe it or not, there are the most expensive processes of most major data stores and are often overlooked by performance tuners.

Sadly, on the quest for the fastest launch possible, most companies skim on database testing and optimization and make their sites slower to read and index. This translates into decreasing traffic charts and slower search engine indexing.

In order to avoid this problem remember to comprehensively test and optimize every query, stored procedure and remote service but do so in isolation using the specialized tools provided by your database vendor.

#3: Uneven Unit Testing
In many companies, unit testing is not part of the daily routine. This is a major blunder, units should be tested and stress tested before making it to production or else! Unit testing makes your team accountable, fosters communication and levels the information technology understanding of your junior programmers.

#4: Neglecting Client-side Testing
Most companies don’t test their websites from a client perspective. They forgo slow Internet connection simulations and the like. But without a realistic idea of how your customers experience your website, little can be done in terms of caching, code optimization and CDN implementation to better customers’ experience.

The swift identification of poor user experience and bottlenecks can save you time and money, as well as improve sales. Furthermore, client-side testing allows to rapidly identify malfunctioning webpages in different browsers, platforms and mobile devices.

#5: Test Environment Differs From Production
Finally, enterprises fall prey to a very basic mistake: forgetting to test on machines comparable to their production servers. While you don’t need to test the on the actual production servers, servers with similar specs and connectivity help to highlight obscure issues related to the OS and hardware of the production environment. Complexity created by operating systems, processors, libraries, connectivity issues and the like make a very strong case to simply replicate your infrastructure for testing purposes. Specially when testing complicated websites, you should be as thorough as possible in simulating real operational conditions to make your tests as accurate as possible. This discipline minimizes surprises and allows making last minute changes to further optimize operations.

Although performance testing requires additional investment, time and discipline, your company will benefit greatly while avoiding many technical pitfalls. Google, Facebook and Amazon created impressive online businesses by “paying attention to the milliseconds” and optimizing their websites as much as they could. If larger scale and increased revenues are on your company’s horizon, give performance testing the attention it deserves. You won’t regret it.

The Great Educational Divide / La Gran Brecha Educativa

We need more people in the world that understand this!! (Cauchy’s Inequality)

Regarding my collaboration with Math Multipliers, I would like to share some important documents regarding basic education in China and Latin America. The contrast in math education between this two regions is quite staggering. China has clear guidelines to use math as a tool that enriches the individual’s mind and brings forth a higher level of societal understanding thru abstract thinking, to this extent, China executes an educational program three times the size of its latino equivalent.

For more on Chinese Math Education refer to Math in China, Mathematics Curriculum Standards, Prepared by the Ministry of Education of People’s Republic of China

A particular weakness of the Latin American system is forgoing training in inequalities and maximization problems. Hence, we end up with a society that lacks significant high-level understanding of maximization processes, statistical analysis and optimization procedures. In particular, very few Latin Americans now about the Cauchy-Swartz inequality, a very important, albeit somewhat advanced, mathematical concept.

To learn about the Cauchy Inequality refer to Starting With Cauchy.

Yes, the situation is worrisome, but programs such as Math Multipliers, sponsored by the CGIU and the Iberoamerican Math Olympiad seek to improve the situation by making this knowledge accesible to young students and fostering math studies with international math olympiads and other prestigious competitions.

Learn more about the tremendous benefit that Math Competitions bring to education.

——————————— In Spanish / En Espanol ———————————

Necesitamos más gente en el mundo que entienda esto!! (Desigualdad de Cauchy)

Con respecto a mi colaboración con el proyecto Multiplicadores Matemáticos, me gustaria compartir algunos documentos importantes de la educación en China y Latinoamérica. El contraste en la educación matemática de estas dos regiones es francamente sorprendente. China tiene lineamientos claros para usar las matemáticas como herramienta de enriquecimiento individual que le trae al individuo un mayor entendimiento de la realidad social a través del pensamiento abstracto y, en ese tenor, China ejecuta un programa educativo tres veces mayor al latino en cuanto a educación matemática se refiere.

Consulte (en inglés) Matemática en China y Estándares Curriculares de Educación Matemática – Preparado por el Ministerio de Educación de China para obtener una perspectiva más clara del sistema educativo chino.

Una debilidad particular del sistema educativo latino es la ausencia de entrenamiento en desigualdades y problemas de maximización. Por ende, graduamos a una sociedad a la que le falta un entendimiento significativo de los procesos de maximización, el análisis estadístico y los procesos de optimización. En particular, muy pocos latinos conocen acerca de la desigualdad Cauchy-Swartz, una de las más importantes en las matemáticas, aunque para algunos, un concepto muy avanzado para ser explicado en la educación media.

Para aprender acerca de la desigualdad de Cauchy visite Demostración de la desigualdad de Cauchy.

Sí, esta situación es inaceptable, pero programas como Multiplicadores Matemáticos, apoyados por la CGIU y la Olimpíada Iberoamericana de Matemática, organizada por la OEI, buscan mejorar la situación haciendo estos conocimientos accesibles a jóvenes estudiantes y fomentando el estudio de las matemáticas a través de prestigiosas competencias internacionales.

Descubra los beneficios que ofrecen las competencias de matemática a la educación. (En inglés)

Si no esta familiarizado con el tema le recomiento que descargue el documento Entrenamiento Básico en Desigualdades.