Again

I remember waking up the morning after putting together these notes and looking at them, feeling like a detective trying to find the clue, the hidden link, that will resolve my case.

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Almost five years later I am looking at sticky notes with question marks in my eyes again.

It is all about The Search.

 

Github Projects

I don’t know how to start with this blog post. Remember my love for Kanban boards and how I am an advocate of GitHub and the ZenHub plugin for project management?

Well Github has finally added Kanban board support for GitHub Issues!! And it’s super easy to use. Here are five steps and five screenshots, let me know how you like it!

ONE – Create issues as you usually do. I like doing this from the Issues tab

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TWO – You can create and see projects on the new Projects tab

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THREE – Create your Kanban Board’s columns

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FOUR – Click on Add cards. Drag and drop your open issues wherever you want

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FIVE – See the project and column on the Kanban board or from each specific issue

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What happened? What next?

Last thing you know I’m living in Guinea and working for an NGO doing very interesting stuff. Next I start tweeting at weird times and posting pictures of mate on my facebook – that if you can still see my posts as 80% of my friends* (can we call them contacts!?) are gone.

In July I decided to quit my job, say yes to love and look for a new place. A new place in Berlin was not enough – I had already tried to leave in 2014 – and following Mr. Right’s intuition I thought Montevideo had some potential to be the place. After a month travelling Europe (check instagram for the pics!) and detoxing (less and more meaningful social media check, quit smoking check) we took a flight here… and here we are.

After a bit over a week and all I can say is “it’s getting better all the time”. Will this be the place in which we settle? I still can’t tell. But Montevideo is certainly an inspiring and relaxing city, I’m coworking again which feels great, and meeting interesting people and walking new roads. I’m also having ideas. And ideas, specially after a burnout and a month of zero computer use, are awesome to have.

In the next months I’ll try to make these ideas grow, decide where I will call home in 2017, and work more on what makes me happy with people that make me happy. After years of saying “we should work together” I’m finally going to do my first cooperation with the people at cosfera, mentoring any eHealth related startups that join their acceleration program. Working with people with ideas and motivation FTW.

I will be back with more soon – a lot of things are about to happen, I can smell it in the air.

* Were you left out but want to keep in touch and are too lazy or far away for coffees? Email me at hola@cristinasantamarina.com and I will get you back in the list.

 

 

 

 

 

Do chatbots dream of electric sheep?

Chatbots are a trend and I’m a trendy girl. I’m also a girl that believes tech can help resolve other girls’ problems – but needs to do it in an easy, no hassle, no patronising, no boring way.

Chatbots are easy, no hassle and, if their personalities are designed well, no patronising and no boring.

I´m using Chatfuel to program my chatbot prototype because it’s easy to use, easy to test and free! Another reason to use it is that it comes with built-in analytics, allows to switch from a conversation with a chatbot to a conversation with a real human in a very easy way, and comes with a lot of integrations.

Did I mention Chatfuel also has a little AI-like module? The possibilities are endless!

While programming my chatbot I found the most important thing to get right is the personality I want it to have and the flow of the conversation.

  1. First rule: Using short text blocks makes my both feel more human. Long blocks of text == boring!
  2. Early on I had to design a personality for my chatbot. This helps me keep the tone uniform across topics and defines the tone of my links and default answers (for example when something is not understood)
  3. Because my chatbot is for young women I decided to make my bot a chatter and a joker. She also uses loads of emoji! 🤖❤️
  4. At certain points I need to make sure the chatbot understands the question asked. For this the easier is to repeat the understanding and to offer yes and no buttons. When doing this, to get rid of the phone tree feeling, I make my bot say things like “Did I hear xyz?” or “That sounded like xyz – have I gotten that right?”
  5. Avoiding repetition in hard as hell, but specially important for confirmations and high level menus. While testing the bot I realised some sentences are repeated again and again – which makes my chatbot a bit boring. I would love Chatfuel to allow for randomization of blocks, as I saw project like Rosie have.
  6. Last, but probably MOST IMPORTANTLY: Language variations are going to represent a big challenge. Spanish, the language I’m using for my chatbot, varies a lot from one country to another and even within some countries, as in Spain. In my case, as a Spanish from Spain writing a chatbot for Uruguay, this is particularly challenging. The only solution for this, for now, is basically to work with locals and end users, understand their use of language and iterate, iterate, iterate. Maybe in the future AI will take care of that.

Now back to work! If you’re working with chatbots (specially health chatbots or chatbots in Spanish) I’d love to chat some time. My email is hola@cristinasantamarina.com – I promise it will be me answering and not a bot 🙂