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veen's comments
veen  ·  55 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 28, 2018

Had my Big Presentation the other day. It was for the same client that I bombed my presentation with a month or so ago. I was genuinely worried, since the result would be presented (and had to convince) some twenty-odd wethouders, which are municipal executives. In other words, two dozen cocksure suits who are more than happy to derail your story if it makes them look better.

Tough crowd, but it went about as well as it could've. Did my best to make sure that the end result was as good as I could make it which made me much more confident in my presentation. I think it showed.

And as icing on the cake I heard that day that my first year contract will become a fixed contract, which is something of a rare good these days. My superior said the decision was 'a no-brainer'.

The details will be discussed in a contract renewal meeting, and I've been wondering how to approach it. Negotiations seem more hard when it's already pretty clear I won't leave - feels like it gives me less leverage. On the other hand, I'm thinking about writing a long ass list about the various ways in which I am vital to the company, which should give me the ammunition I need to get the most out of such a conversation. Fundamentally, though, I don't really care about the money; if I did I would be in some boring IT job by now. But I don't want to be undervalued, whatever that means for me...

veen  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 29, 2017

Last day at my internship today! Man, it was only six months but it doesn't feel like six at all. On the one hand I think I'll miss the nice people, on the other hand I'm a bit glad not to go back to that Office Space again.

I'm doing great, but my parents are in a rut. They've been trying to sell their house for the last few months but got hit mercilessly by Murphy's Law. The seller decided to withdraw at the last minute, leaving my parents with a lot of fees to pay and nothing to show for it. Now it's on the market again, back to square one. Not much I can do to help...

nowaypablo  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What an amazing view. Bro, I bet I can stack a bunch of skyscrapers to make one big one. Hold my beer.

veen  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You're closer to the truth than you think. It's a Rem Koolhaas, hopefully his last modernist outburst. Can't complain though, the view from the 40th more than makes up for it. :)

kleinbl00  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ah yes. The man who thinks up escalators don't need down escalators.

veen  ·  470 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

I think the first time I was introduced to the "attention economy" was back when I read this phenomenal article:

I kind of envy you because you're miles ahead of me in this regard. I catch myself wanting to check Facebook multiple times, every day, even though I don't want to spend time on there. I am now logged out most of the time, which is enough of a barrier that I don't spend time on there anymore, but I do catch myself in moments of boredom mindlessly hitting ctrl-t + f + enter like the trained monkey that I apparently am.

One change that did have a lot of impact was to permanently have silent mode enabled. My phone shouldn't be dictating my attention, and while I now miss calls every once in a while I now go hours without looking at my phone instead of minutes and love it.

If you want to read two really great books with two different approaches to what attention means in our modern age, I can't recommend Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle and Deep Work by Cal Newport enough.

mk  ·  469 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When we had a baby five years ago, I had to switch my phone to silent. I haven't switched it back. I can't imagine it making noise at me now.

Email is my favorite method of communication.

veen  ·  495 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: YC S17 in photos --

Good luck with financing! Go and rock their casbah. (You know, I never knew it was casbah. I always thought they just said cas-tle in a weird way.)


What do you do all day? I assume you work on building / refining FL with the YC advisers, but there's probably more to it than that.

What's the best advice you've gotten? Did you ever drastically change course?

What's the story you'll tell your grandkids?

How did you guys decide to go for YC?

Did you find any 'unknown unknowns', i.e. some aspect of building FL that you had never thought about before?

thenewgreen  ·  494 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    What do you do all day? I assume you work on building / refining FL with the YC advisers, but there's probably more to it than that.

You spend most of the time running your business. There are normally 1-2 days a week when you are actually at YC. The rest is spent working on bottlenecks/problems that stands in the way of you and your success. You can request office hours with one of the many YC partners or experts to help you solve these problems and get advice etc.

It's important to note that if you come in with the same problem, next week you're gonna be called out as to why it isn't solved yet.

There is one night a week with a mandatory dinner. This is where the magic happens. They have accomplished entrepreneurs come talk with us and we can ask them very candid questions and they give very candid answers. I'm not allowed to mention who talked or what they said. It's off the record so that these people feel comfortable being open and honest. -This makes a big difference in how candid they were. These dinners were awesome.

    What's the best advice you've gotten? Did you ever drastically change course?

At first we were pursuing being both a stem cell banking and a therapeutic development company, all right now. When we mentioned this to our advisor, Geoff, he said, "this is bad. This fucking sucks! You're a house boat!" We all looked confused. "You know what's wrong with a house boat?" We remained stunned. "It's a shitty house and it's a shitty boat!"

Geoff's point was that at this stage of our company we need to be doing one thing and one thing very well. We decided that we will focus our efforts on being the best stem cell banking company, expanding quickly. We will continue to quietly file IP but the lionshare of our efforts will focus around expanding and growing the banking business. #nohouseboats!

    What's the story you'll tell your grandkids?

    How did you guys decide to go for YC?

The way we got in to YC is the story I will tell my grandkids. Some YC alum had banked their stem cells with us and we got in YC's radar. Sam asked to meet with us and asked us to apply. We did and voila. This is a very unusual way to get in. YC wasn't something we planned to do but it's the best decision we could have made for Forever Labs.

    Did you find any 'unknown unknowns', i.e. some aspect of building FL that you had never thought about before?

Hmm.. good question. I don't think there is anything about our company that I didn't already know, beyond us being a houseboat :) That said, I learned a lot about entrepreneurship that I didn't necessarily know. One of the common threads in the talks was about embracing and getting to know your customers. This seems like a no brainer, but it is something we are continually getting better at.

It was refreshing to hear, at the dinners that there's still a lot of chaos in a billion $ company. That never goes away. The feeling, at times, that your company is all over the place is normal. Also, all founders experienced immense obstacles and near catastrophic failures. Some of which were enormous.

The thing I've not mentioned, but is extremely valuable is the environment. It's no frills, it's about ideas and hard work and fellowship. You're surrounded by founders trying to do the same thing you are, build a product people want. You are also surrounded by past founders that have successfully done this already. This is what makes it an amazing experience. There's a magic in the room and it's tangible.

Hope that answers your questions :)

veen  ·  545 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 26, 2017

Donezo with my move, or at least most of it. We started at 11am and were done by 4pm! Casualties: one of my mediocre PC speakers is now semi-dead

and I now have a very visible 2 inch scratch on my display. I've long wanted to give my audio setup a big upgrade, so I've been bugging KB, scouring second-hand websites and visited a hifi store yesterday.

This weekend I'll be doing a Ludum Dare gamejam with two of my best friends. I can't use Unity to save my life, but I have enough Illustrator chops to make decent-ish artwork. Plus, it's fun to do.

Right after that I'm headed to Sweden for my annual road trip holiday. Our goal was Norway but we decided to plan the trip more frugally, so we're going to Sweden in my parent's VW Touran instead of getting a ferry to Norway and renting a station wagon. If all goes well we'll stay under 400 euros for two weeks. I hope it's as relaxing and enjoyable as the last time we went there. Feel like I could use a good recharge.

I've been listening to the new Tyler, The Creator. Anyone else digging it?

keifermiller  ·  543 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I've been listening to the new Tyler, The Creator. Anyone else digging it?

Oooo, I didn't know he had new stuff out. Giving it my first listen thru now; just got to Who Dat Boy. So far I like it.

johan  ·  545 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Let me know if you need any suggestions for places to go/see in Sweden!

veen  ·  545 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Actually, I do have a question. What are some good or beautiful areas to camp freely in nature? Last time we mostly went to the Göteborg / Vänersborg / Ulricehamn area, just driving around until we found a cool lakeside spot to pitch our tent at. Do you happen to know good areas for that south of Stockholm?

johan  ·  545 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Around Skåne, you could look up Mölle/Kullaberg on the west coast, Simrishamn/Kivik/Stenshuvud on the east coast, or Söderåsen somewhere in between. I'd check out lake Åsnen south of Växjö, but I haven't really spent much time there myself. If you're going up the east coast, you could make a small detour and see Öland. Or, driving up the east coast of lake Vättern from Jönköping to Motala and you will see lots of nice places. Closer to Stockholm, I'm actually not so sure where to go, except out into the archipelago. I can ask someone who's more familiar with the area.

veen  ·  544 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Awesome, I think we can check a bunch of those out. My assumption was that national parks were a no-go for pitching tents, but some like Söderåsen allow pitched tents in designated areas, which is very cool. Thanks!

johan  ·  543 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You might have seen this the last time you went, but in many places you can find shelters and a fireplace which you can use for free, although you might have to share it with strangers if others show up.

veen  ·  566 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 5th, 2017


I had forgotten how uncomfortable writing can be. The editor did a great job of pointing out everything I did wrong, but seeing dozens of comments on my piece feels like being pummeled and I haven't been able to shake that feeling entirely. If I keep at it it'll eventually be good, but between now and then is a chasm of self-doubt and frustration.

The book I'm reading, The Lonely City, is lukewarm at best. It's a third autobiography, a third art analysis and a third George Packer-esque biographies about artists. Sorry, but I don't really care much about what the color green represents in Hopper's Nighthawks. It doesn't help that I haven't been feeling very social myself either. I can't relate to any of the colleagues at my thesis-internship-place much and I haven't been able to see my peers much because I am now working on my thesis full-time.

One of my friends can't come along the road trip, so now we're splitting the costs over 4 instead of 5, which means that we might have to change plans to keep costs down. Another friend really wants to come along but can't pay for it. I'm considering chipping in, but money and his independence is a bit of a sensitive issue.

There's a bunch of other stuff frustrating me that I won't bore you all with, but I wanted to get this off my chest.

blackbootz  ·  566 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't think it's boring. But I also understand your self-consciousness about sharing it all. I've been going through so much but I don't want to use up Hubski's goodwill and patience. I'm really proud and impressed with your Headspace streak. And the fact that you wrote a thesis. To be honest, getting back a written piece without comments or constructive feedback can be dangerous. This might be a little too abstract to be helpful, but encouraging the mindset of "my writing is great and needs little to no improvement" is only good for padding your mood. That said, a padded mood can be a good thing.

veen  ·  566 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks, man. I appreciate it. :)

I think it's pretty difficult to wear out Hubski's patience. But I also think that you should only share what you feel comfortable sharing. Quite a large part of my frustrations stem from being confronted with parts of myself that I've struggled with for a long time.

A while ago I realized that the slow and incremental approach to things and to life in general might be a better path for me. Small changes that stick are much better than large changes that don't get realized. Maybe that's something you can find a use for as well.

blackbootz  ·  566 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Small changes that stick are much better than large changes that don't get realized.

A most stubborn fact.

am_Unition  ·  566 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I got some rather critical comments back on a draft that I'd sent to my coauthors, only a few hours after I emailed it out. For about 2 days, my thoughts were along the lines of "These people are just jealous they didn't write this! Probably trying to sabotage me", etc. (it's a hyper-competitive project). That gradually gave way to "Holy shit, I hate what I've done! What an embarrassing structure I tried to use. I really am rambling here, and they were only trying to help", etc. etc.

There aren't many (any?) grad students laying golden eggs inside the papers of scientific journals. If you can just make your reviewers happy and forgive yourself for not being perfect, that's the worst part of the whole thing, I think. Yeah, this is difficult, especially the first few attempts, but we both know you've already shown massive improvement.

veen  ·  572 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A Wee Stroll

The map is finished! What do you think of it? Let me know if I made any mistakes. :)

ThatFanficGuy  ·  572 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Fucking hell, this is beautiful! Nice work!

afterburn  ·  539 days ago  ·  link  ·  
AnSionnachRua  ·  572 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Veen! This is absolutely amazing - thank you so much! I do have one request if you don't mind. Is there any chance you could remove the towns not on the route (Shannon, Kilkenny, etc), and add Claremorris (it's where the ninth degree longitudinal intersects the red line north of Galway)? Only if it's not too much trouble. This is seriously sweet!

veen  ·  570 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No problem:

I also found a more natural looking ocean color in CMYK colorspace so that it looks the same printed and made some minor adjustments here and there. See your inbox!

AnSionnachRua  ·  570 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Veen, you are a beautiful soul and I will never again speak ill of the Dutch! Thank you so much - this is really cool, and I'm going to print it off ASAP.

veen  ·  573 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 28, 2017

Lack of Pubski post structure does my heading.


Finally feels like I can go full steam ahead on this one. After waiting a few weeks, I got the Ruby scripts that control the traffic model this monday. Just before I headed back home today I started a new running the traffic model. It'll do a full model run for the next nine hours or so on a beastly dual-Xeon 24-core workstation, calculating 40.8 million choices for 80 permutations of the model. I'm very glad the traffic model guys had some friends in the IT department. Now I can finally run the numbers and build a bunch of Python scripts to analyse the result.

I also wrote two chapters and finally made the supporting twenty or so maps. For example, here's a map depicting Rotterdam's job density:

(which reminds me! AnSionnachRua shoot me that PM, man.)


Had lunch with one of the journalists for The Correspondent last week. I got her in contact with a bunch of urban planning people, so we talked about her (urban-planning related) article ideas. We ended up talking for quite a while and I pitched a few article ideas to her along the way. She ended up liking one of my ideas so much that I've now committed to writing it as a Freelance Journalist™. Deadline in three weeks! If it works out, there could be more down the pipeline for me.


In the Tech corner this week: I made this cool diagram on what happens when MyEtherWallet sends transactions after insomniasexx tweeted two flipover drawings of the process. Making an infographic rarely goes easy, yet I knocked this one out in no time:

I've been trying to get better at web development, so after drawing that I thought it might be cool to have a mini website that checks how full the pool is for you. Turns out that creating a simple input-dependent bar chart with d3 and jQuery isn't as easy as I hoped it would be. So far I have the text working. The 'pool' is only a single line consisting of all the ticks I want to use for my y-axis. But I am learning a ton. I now understand hex values and selectors, for one thing.

veen  ·  572 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Posting the result here for posterity:

AnSionnachRua  ·  573 days ago  ·  link  ·  


Also, that's super groovy re: the article - just don't wait until the deadline is looming up ahead!

veen  ·  594 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 7, 2017

This weekend I went to the whitest outdoor festival since the Fyre festival in Amsterdam. It wasn't my pick but it was a rendezvous with a bunch of old friends. The music was entirely forgettable technodancetronics. Think Major Lazer but ten times more dull - I literally couldn't remember a single song.

Nevertheless it was dance-able and we had a great time in the 25C sun. Had some amazing churros and I didn't even get a sunburn! Whoo.

steve  ·  594 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    entirely forgettable technodancetronics

I think I have a new band name... I'll send you royalties

veen  ·  693 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Ask Hubski - TNG in Europe. Where to go?

Let me know what dates so I can put it in my calendar! I have a bunch of suggestions. It mostly depends on what your preferred method of transportation is, how much you wanna see and how much you're willing to spend. While Amsterdam itself is pretty good to base yourself in, I have two less popular, train-based options: The Hague and Brussels.

The Hague has direct trains to Amsterdam Airport (30 minutes), Amsterdam (40m), Utrecht (40m), Delft (13m), Leiden (20m) and Rotterdam (20m) as well as Antwerp (67m with Thalys high-speed) and Brussels (2h with Thalys), all cool to visit if you ask me. It's a seaside city with a long urban beach to cool down in the summer. It has the Parliament, a great city center and because of all the politics there it's internationally-oriented.

Rotterdam, Leiden and Utrecht are also good places for similar reasons but each city is different. Train tickets are usually around 10 to 20 euro per person each way, highspeed trains around 30-40 if you buy them a few weeks ahead.

If you wanna see more of Europe and don't mind a bit more travel, Brussels might also be a good base. Amsterdam is 2h10 with highspeed trains, London 2h30 and Paris less than 2 hours.

nowaypablo  ·  693 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Amsterdam, London, and Paris within 2.5 hours?

I am on the wrong continent my dude.

veen  ·  692 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Belgium has THE best beers, man. They are just the greatest. Tremendous.

nowaypablo  ·  692 days ago  ·  link  ·  

How are the Belgian waffles in Belgium though? D:

veen  ·  692 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Great, they're not sugared up like the ones in my supermarket. Belgian chocolate is also phenomenal, if you didn't already know that.

veen  ·  707 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Student Research

Welcome Madi! If you haven't read it already, check the About page and the Hubski Primer, they are a good place to start. The backbone of the site is similar to Hacker News but with many features added to improve the sense of community. Perhaps it's also interesting to compare and contrast.

In theory, any user can make any kind of contribution they want. In practice, the mechanics of the site are such that interesting links, texts or images by users that have more than a few followers get most of the interactions and attention. The site revolves around sharing the things you read on the Web with the people that follow you on Hubski. Those people then share your post with the people who follow them, who might also share it with whomever follows them, etcetera. Both posts and comments work like this; shared posts appear in your feed, shared comments in your chatter.

This post of mine from a long time ago might be interesting, it's one in a string of meta-discussions about hubski. That post and the one linked to have a lot of ideas and thoughts about how online communities should be organised. No shortage of research material, that's for sure. :)

While I can't put a number to it, I'm pretty sure that the actively-engaged group of people here is no more than a few dozen. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of people who just read hubski without interacting, having articles and comments all neatly on one page lends itself to lurking quite well (as opposed to message boards, for example).

madiatkins  ·  707 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you so much!! The mechanics of the site can be a little overwhelming at first, but this really clears up any remaining questions regarding how to use the site.

veen  ·  723 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: BRAGSKI!!! What have you accomplished lately?

That's awesome, congrats!

Because I'm going to Lisbon in a week, I decided to dust off my DSLR by getting a new lens (the 50mm f1.8 'plastic fantastic', to use the camera shop guy's words). I'm very happy with the photos that I've taken so far. It's more zoomed in than I'm used to, but that challenges me to find more interesting angles and details.

veen  ·  804 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 9, 2016


veen  ·  874 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 31, 2016

Uni is starting next week. New job started for real this week. Good news coming this Friday to a hubski near you!

I also started a new hobby:

Gliding! Which is much more intense and fun than it sounds. Those things can do some serious acrobatics. Hopefully I can get a good amount of flights before winter kicks in.

goobster  ·  874 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm gonna break ThatFanficGuy's brain, but flying gliders was one of my most favorite things ever!!

My Uncle flies them, and has taken me up flying many many times since I was a child. I quickly learned how to fly, and he'd just sit in back and enjoy the view while I - from about 12 years old, on - flew from release to landing all by myself!!

That is a transformative experience... being in the air, feeling the thermals, sensing the air... man, I miss it.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  874 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Man... You should start a series: #storiesfromgoobster. I'd follow that in an instant.

What you describe sounds like a fantastic experience, as well. I wanted to fly for as long as I remember myself, and I figured that the reason we enjoy sliding down a big hill on our butts is that it simulates (or provide some of the feelings as) the experience of flight.

Any way you can hook me up with a glider if we are to meet someday?

goobster  ·  873 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Any way you can hook me up with a glider if we are to meet someday?

Sadly, no. Haven't gotten to fly in 20 years. The "airport" we used to fly out of got turned into condominiums, and I don't know anywhere within 100 miles where you could fly sailplanes any more.

And my Uncle - the actual, licensed pilot - lives on the East Coast... so I think my sailplane days are probably over.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  873 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Shame. I'd love to fly.

Well, if you do manage to stumble upon a similar opportunity, do let me know. Maybe, when I'll get to the US someday, I'll take you up on it. :)

kantos  ·  874 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nothing like flying with the birds. :)

The feeling of legitimately gliding with any sort of engine is another beast entirely.

goobster  ·  873 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The thing that shocked me the most about flying is turning.

We all think about turning in 2 dimensions... turn the wheel to the right, and your car turns right.

In an airplane (and especially in a sailplane), turning is falling to the side.

You move the stick to the right, the right wing slows down, and you basically fall over to the right, losing altitude quickly!

It's way more like skiing down a mountain, as opposed to driving... sure, you are turning and changing direction, but you are also losing altitude quickly.

And in a sailplane - relying on thermals to gain altitude - this is a shocking and scary thing!

kantos  ·  874 days ago  ·  link  ·  

HELL YES. Enjoy that shit. I have some unforgettable memories of flying alongside hawks, catching thermals with other birds of prey... Oh man... Enjoy it, and stay safe with a hat, hydration, and sunscreen.

While I was in Civil Air Patrol (CAP) I got to spend time flying planes, but my favorite memories come from a buddy off mine inviting me to go to the local gliding spot. Only complaint, which is so outweighed by the sheer experience is the heat of the cockpit, but that might just be a Florida thing.

Sucks since I was phasing out my time in CAP and subsequently gliding that I never got to the level that I could do acrobatics.

Another possibly just Florida thing, but are you restricted in winter because of the snow? I ask since the last I remember, our local gliding club set their cross-country gliding distance in the winter - I think one of the reasons being the thermals had more condensed air, meaning more lift. Also, Florida is rather bi-polar when it comes to weather despite the name "Sunshine State" due to it's climate: lots of cumulus patterns to pick up altitude on. From what I gather, you're Scandinavian? Trying to sort out the system your'e working with.

veen  ·  874 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If you look closely in the pic, the digital panel says 'Terlet Gld'. I'm Dutch and this gliding club almost always flies at Terlet Airfield (not to be confused with this, lol). Can't tell you much about the system except that flying is very weather-dependant. I had one run of just a few minutes because we couldn't find a single thermal. They stop flying when the ground starts to freeze overnight (around October-ish), as it pretty much kills the thermals for the rest of the day.

I'm looking forward to getting to control it myself for a while. Monday was more of a try-out. The heat was fine, it was like 70F outside so the little window provided more than enough fresh, cool air.

kantos  ·  874 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ach. Memory recalled "Dane" rather than "Dutch". Apologies, I found it! Reads like it's been aroud for a bit. You must be in very good hands. Meant wind/weather system; made an oopsies on the short hand.

Mostly with reference to cllimate and wind patterns. It's been too long for me to remember the impact per se on thermals. While you're not supposed to glide in stormy weather, if there are stormy clouds nearby, it wasn't uncommon for us to swing by for a quick pick-me-up when we couldn't find other thermals. :)

Sounds like the heat was just a Florida thing after all!

This would be a bit much, but it was a before smart phones. And now that I think about it, taking video in flight would be a fun bit. May have to go back to it once I'm financially independent.

Very excited for you!!!

veen  ·  903 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: It's my 2000th day on Hubski!

I think you were the first person I interacted with on here. Can't find the comment but you were nice enough to make me stay, so thanks for being here! If I am ever near NC I'll buy you a drink.

thenewgreen  ·  903 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I look forward to that drink!

flagamuffin  ·  903 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I think you were the first person I interacted with on here. Can't find the comment but you were nice enough to make me stay

Same here.