3 min read

Day 12: Intersections

I ❤️ Whiteboards

One of the key benefits of sitting in Germany is not only being in the same time zone the majority of my colleagues, but also being able to easily get to a whiteboard. I’m a big believer in whiteboard sessions, and I am also big on face-to-face interaction. I love the flexibility that comes with working remotely. But if I’m honest with myself, I do prefer working with my peers in person.

There’s something very tangible about being able to stand next to someone to discuss ideas as opposed to finding an available slot in their schedule, and hoping they are free for a phone call. I have no problem at all working this way. But if I’d have to choose a preference, I think I know which way I’d lean.

I also spend too much time fixated on how my hair looks in the reflected view in a web call, so I have to admit my attention tends to wax and wane. I also have an insanely crooked nose, so I feel like I need to overcompensate my angles.


While the 4-day weekend still feels too short, starting the week on a Tuesday can be off-balancing. The lethargy of a Monday morning kicks in, but must immediately be shaken off to hit the ground quickly as momentum builds for the week starting on Tuesday. 1-1 conversations, team syncs, deep work sessions, and emails take up most of the day. Today was particularly busy. While it can be pretty exhausting, I found it exciting moving quickly with a team. Things feel like they’re coming from all different sides. The challenge is figuring out how to regulate and control it.

Like a traffic light at a busy intersection.

As I was making my way home, I was sitting at a traffic light when I realized I haven’t yet talked about them while driving around in Germany. There’s nothing inherently special about Germany traffic lights. They operate a little differently compared to the US, but on the whole they’re pretty much the same. There are some nuances which are worth pointing out.

#1 Traffic lights are located on your side of the intersection.

This takes some getting used to. I certainly am. Traffic lights in the US are normally positioned on the opposite side of the intersection for the lanes to which they refer. In Germany, the are positioned on the same side. If you pay attention, a lot of people like to stay a few feet behind the limit line to see the lights, otherwise, their necks are craned dramatically to see the light change colors.

#2 In between Red and Green, there is Red+Yellow.

I’m a fan of this one. Just before it turns from Red to Green, the light phases from Red to Red+Yellow to Green. The benefit here is that one can already lift their foot off the brake to let the car roll. Many vehicles made within the last 10 years have start-stop technology. For those who choose not to disable this feature (which can sometimes be very annoying to have), when lifting your foot off the brake pedal, the vehicle will re-enable fuel and start the ignition of the car (when standstill and not in the gear with the brake pedal pressed, the fuel is cut and ignition is stopped to preserve fuel). When this happens, it can be really uncomfortable immediately pressing the gas pedal before the ignition comes back on. This normally doesn’t happen too often, but the car can jerk forward dramatically. So, I’ve realized that you can use the Red+Yellow to your benefit by lifting off the brake as soon as the light comes on, waiting a second for the ignition to restart and the car to start rolling, and then hitting the gas to accelerate. The experience is smooth and very easy to get accustomed to.

#3 There is no such thing as a Right Turn on Red.

In Germany, unlike in the US, if the light is red, there is no turning right. You have to wait until the light is green to turn right. It doesn’t matter if it is a solid red bulb, you still have to wait. Typically, there is a dedicated traffic light just for that lane. There are definitely right turns that are controlled by Yield signs, which permit turning right without needing to wait. However, those are without a traffic light. When there is a traffic light, only turn right on green. That’s a hard one to remember, but I hope you do, because, as I understand it, your license is pulled immediately for a red light violation.

While today’s post is pretty short, writing this post is a good way to slow down and recollect the day's events. This is almost becoming a nightly routine.

Frieden und Liebe ❤️ (translation: peace and love)