Itamar Berger

R&D Manager @Autodesk

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Don’t Close Doors

Working behind close doors means that we have something to hide, people don’t know who are we meeting with, how long, or if we are even in the office. Closed doors reflect the exact opposite of visibility, confidence and purity. It also means, that we are reducing our availability for the team. We are getting disconnected from the team vibes every time we close a door. it’s amazing how a simple clear glass door can make a huge difference. It’s more amazing how reducing meetings can keep the door open.

“Closing doors” is also about blocking opportunities, projects, ideas or people to come into our mindset. It’s sounds trivial, but sometimes we are so confident in our fundamental assumptions, that anything else is not an option. The first thing to avoid closing doors, is to be more aware that they exists. Please don’t close doors - implicitly and explicitly.

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The Relation Between Trust and Productivity

There are two types of teamwork:

Teamwork based on meetings - meetings on specs, meetings on technical designs, meetings on graphical designs, meetings on HR stuff, meetings on retrospectives, meetings on updates, meetings on fun, meetings on meetings. Every decision requires opening a scheduler.

Teamwork based on trust - trust your teammates decisions without attending in meetings, respect them and understand that sometimes decisions can be taken without you and might be wrong, however, the overall direction is clear and executed well. A small self directed team that understand requirements will quickly turns decisions into actions.

In our team culture, our teamwork is based on trust, which results more productivity, less context switching, more focus on making and less focus on talking. In addition, we don’t schedule fun, it just happens :)

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Why Managers Should Write Even More?

Here is an interesting fact - almost all of my previous workmates blogs have not been updated in the past 3-4 years. Here is another interesting fact - most of my previous workmates are now in a management position.

Why managers stop writing? Some say that they are too busy to find time to write. Busy for 3 years? probably not. The truth is that managers are much more careful in exposing their thoughts, dilemmas and decisions to the public, since “public” is not and can’t be a controlled environment. Actually, I believe that managers should write even more, they are taking dozens of complex decision each day, and writing can assist forming an opinion and clarifying (also to the public) what they believe in.

Anyway, now as a manager, I hope this won’t be my final post…

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Getting Started with 3d Scanning

I 3D scanned my dog Coco using 123D Catch (free) and my iPad mini. I then used Meshlab to reduce the poly-count and clean the model. Last step was to upload the result to Sketchfab (you need a WebGL supported browser to view the embedded plugin properly).

Another interesting solution is Skanect Pro + Structure Sensor (500$) for 3d scanning using a depth sensor.

For other scanning apps, I recommending reading 30 tools to make a 3D scan

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Keep Calm and Carry On

When I was promoted from a team leader of a small research team to a group leader, leading developers, qa, ux and the product, I discovered that my the biggest challenge was meeting my own self expectations of being a manager and a leader.

As someone who strongly believes in “Getting Things Done”, I felt that there are too many things that should (already) get done. As someone who believes that a manager should code with the team and be with the team, I understood how challenging it is when you get dozens of mails, endless meetings and excessive context switching. As a group leader, it appears to be impossible to meet my self expectation as a manager and as a leader..

Then, I got a great advice from an amazing person - “take yourself a grace period, you deserve it”, she said. And indeed, as weeks passed, I’m finding that struggling for what I believe in is starting to pay off...

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The Future of Mass-Creativity

Last week I went to the local book store. The seller asked me what do I do for living. From here to there, she told me that she was a housewife most of her life, and now she has some time so she took a Game Design class last year. She’s starting to learn Android, Unity and Maya to develop her own game. We talked more about Maya and about how expensive and complicated it is to create descent 3D models for a game. She told me about her visit in the garage and that she knew that this is the scene she wants in her game, she wished it would be some day possible to capture the scene in 3D, using a 3D-instagram-like app…

Enabling technology is about making it accessible and the simple to a larger audience, apple-ify your technology, thinking consumer-ish the next productivity tools. If it’s simple to create something, people will use it, if it complex and require a learning curve they mostly...

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The Risk In Tangling Your Aspirations With Someone Else Aspirations

Where do you see yourself in a few years? what type of work do you want to have? What achievements do you want to reach? Whether your dreams are humble or ambitious, having them, may be the key for converting complex decisions that you need to take in your life to a fairly simple ones - follow your aspirations.

Different people have different visions and goals. That’s why groups are strong - they share enough goals that the people in the group benefits from it. The problem arise when the people in the group have different goals that are not aligned with yours and you all tangle your goals. If someone else goal is planned to accomplish in six months, and it can advance you. It might be worth waiting, but what if it doesn’t happen eventually and the other one further getting delayed, will you continue waiting? will you get involved in other visions to make yours happen?

Don’t wait if you...

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Let’s Not Give Up Creativity Just Because We Can’t Measure It

Agility is a great, it pushes us to think fast, execute fast and iterate fast. Working in agile trained us to build “viable” products, products that maximize their value in a very short time. We learnt to blindly follow the MVP rules (Minimum Viable Product) and to build products based on statistics and user analytic. However, focusing on the “viability” of the products and developing products based on measurements only, could lead us to build pale products and not to how we visioned them.

Sometimes we have to trust more on our intuition if we want to achieve what we believe in. Not every product decision must come from an analytical decision. Developing just measurable features might produce a mediocre product. In optimization theory there is a popular method named Gradient Decent, where you move toward the solution that return the maximum value in a local environment. This is a great...

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R, D and In Between

R&D stands for “Research & Development”. It is the usual term for the developers team in most companies. Yet, many companies have separated their teams to research-only teams and development-only teams. Teams that do both “R” and “D” are fairly rare this days.


Research tasks are harder to plan and you can’t just commit to return satisfying results every time (or it is not a research.. isn’t it?). It takes time to measure the success or a failure of a research. When I worked on my thesis, I remember that I had days (some say weeks) with zero-progress and in one memorable single Friday, I made a huge leap.

Development tasks are very different. It is easier to plan them, estimate their cost precisely and set clear goals of what needed to be done to get to things done.

Those differences between research tasks and development tasks might create the perception that it would not be...

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Here is a worth-thinking quote (from notes to a software team leader):

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying
to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
― George Bernard Shaw

If we all adapt to the world, we will sure get into fixation, yet if all refuse to adapt, there will be chaos. Eventually, it’s all about finding the right balance of personalities in the group you are part of.

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