Vincent Writes

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Category: interlude (page 1 of 3)

The value of support

All right, in 10 mins or less…

I just started reading a series of essays, entitled “Wish I’d known: Insights and inspirations from the journeys of successful entrepreneurs.” Do a search, and you’ll find it for free online. One essay finishes with:

“I wish I’d started younger and wish I appreciated how much family and friends would support me beyond what was reasonable and fair. I wish I’d know it was OK to have fun and in so doing not taken myself so seriously—the journey is often superior to the destination.”

Words to live by!

Last weekend, I wrote the acknowledgements for my thesis. The cherry on top, which I’d left for one of the last things to finish. And it would’ve been impossible to write it before anyhow, as even in the last lap there were/are people driving me on.

During the writing, one person died, another got terminal cancer. Both much too young and undeserving of such a fate. And both of whom I consider good friends, whom I trusted and who trusted me. In part it was the thoughts about them that prevented me from giving up.

But, strangely perhaps, it was also my little brother, just 19 years of age, that was unrelenting in pushing me forward and not letting me quit. It was as silly as him telling me 6 months ago, “I want you to finish this in three weeks,” which got me to get my act together, perhaps taking longer than three weeks, but not stopping until I was done.

And it was all the people I interviewed for this study—my subjects, and ultimately my customers—all of whom unquestionably agreed to share their wisdom and whom I ultimately do it for.

It’s only about a page worth of acknowledgements, but it is for the people on that page that I spent countless months writing, that I ultimately produced a 120 page-document for, and without whom I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today.

That… is the value of support and why nothing is impossible!

(No picture, as I found nothing that could do them justice)

Cookerlude – thoughts on cooking

chef!.jpgI’m thinking about adding another “interlude” to my collection, inspired by ADD without a doubt. It’s the cookerlude, baby, aimed at collecting thoughts and notes on cooking in order not to forget and to better understand the world that a cook goes through. While I cook nearly every day, I don’t consider myself a good cook. I simply don’t have the taste-buds for it; but I do love the good food, which, luckily, my gut no longer shows!

I recently discovered a podcast, called/by The Restaurant Guys, which, apart from the insanely long commercials, actually seems quite interesting and is funny enough to keep my attention. Some notes.

Salt: So, we seem to have this internal taste-meter for the stuff, which in some ways is tied to the percentage of salt in salt-water. At the same time, our saliva actually dilutes salt in food, reducing it, meaning there should be a higher percentage in food than salt-water, for us to enjoy it.

Sugar: apparently there’s no set limit for that, people love sugar (I must be the exception).

Salt + Sugar: whenever you make a sugary desert, adding a little(!) salt helps the taste; apparently they do funny stuff to each-other in your mouth, a party in your mouth, so to speak.

Taste-enhancers: apart from the above, olive oil, mushrooms, garlic, tomato-paste, alcohol (and much more) enhances the taste in your mouth.

Pretty basic, no? You can listen to the whole episode on what (American) people like in their food, here.

My own world
(This is where I talk a little about what I discovered myself in regard to cooking. Pretty basic too, so I’ll try not to embarrass myself.)
I’m a big fan of salads, I make and eat one nearly every day as a meal. I often use canned tuna, but I recently discovered salmon in a can, which tastes better, is less salty, healthier, and costs about the same here in the Netherlands.

But steamed salmon is the best. You can get an expensive steamer, but a cheap solution is a microwave-steamer. I found one in a Chinese store for about €10, you can steam whatever you want in 5-10 mins and it magnifies the taste. Add some green beans and carrots, and you got a great salad for a meal! Add some potatoes or rice, and you won’t need the salad.

Last, but not least, sometimes, not always,Ketchup actually makes for an interesting dressing (together with some oil and spices). It often contains vinegar, which salads like, and the tomato mixes well with the salmon-taste.

That’s about it for today, I’m not sure how often I’ll repeat these cookerludes, but I hope you enjoyed it! The picture is of course of Chef!, the show.

Interlude: From medical to space-tech – How technology affects incubation-strategies

rocket surgery start-up incubator.jpgHigh-tech… My never-ending hobby! Read about it on Tech IT Easy!

Interlude: The flirt

flirt.jpgI took part in a “flirting in business” workshop last night, pretty fun and insightful. It tried to explain the fundamentals of communications to us—around 50 professionals, students, work-seeking-people, etc., both shy and outgoing, all with their own qualities and questions—and I took a lot home from it, including a book by the presenter.

So, apparently a “flirty” conversation has three main components:

  • giving attention;
  • showing curiosity;
  • showing trust.

An exercise to meet a stranger and asking them the name of a parent, illustrated the latter quite well, as I don’t trust many people with the name of my mother. 😉

Several things, like conditioning, fear, and ego stand in the way of change, and the only way to get around it, is to acknowledge the feeling as it happens and know that you have a choice. Good to know! Apparently, a conditioned change—one that lasts—can happen quite quickly, you have to practice it around 15 separate times for it to become internalised.

A round of answers were given concerning what people pay attention to during a first meet, the infamous first impression: it ranged from dry hands (which you can’t do anything about), tone of voice, general looks, and, most importantly, the smile, as that overcomes a lot.

It was also interesting to hear that only 7% of the message that we get from people is verbal, and the rest is sensory. That explains why I often don’t listen and go on instinct, I guess… 🙂

Did I take anything big back from that meeting? Not really, except that it’s really not that hard to sell yourself, as long as you have a certain awareness of what’s going on in your head and what matters to other people.

Interlude: Copyright or the *Right to Eat*

copyright right to eat.jpgRead it on Tech IT Easy!

Interlude: Top-bloggers’ competitive advantage

supergeek-1.jpgRead it on Tech IT Easy!

Interlude: The born bootstrapper

boostrapping.jpgI am not a born bootstrapper, let me make that clear from the start. I just like titles that include words starting with the same letter (is there a term for that?).

Bootstrapping is, in my own definition, “the ability to generate growth on minimal financial resources.” I was first going to call it “the ability to survive on minimal resources,” however that would make most of the third world bootstrapping-geniuses.

No, it’s when entrepreneurs have an idea that they want to grow into a commercial business, and since finding funding is difficult and less preferable for some, they do so with minimal financial means, perhaps while maintaining another source of income and by generating organic growth—revenues derived from within the company. In sociology, there is a concept called bricolage, which means more or less the same.

What makes a born bootstrapper, or rather a good one? I think it requires three qualities:

  • The first is certainly the ability to live cheaply, and I’ll refer you to one of Jeremy’s post where he makes the point quite eloquently. The ability to live without luxury, eating at discounters, buying second-hand furniture (or dragging it off the street), living in cheaper areas, and, most importantly, to delay paying the bills, are certainly key-components here. As is, making resource-choices for your business. Easy to do when you work in software, less so in physical businesses, though inventory is fun to play around with.
  • The second quality is time-management. You need to generate growth within your company and pay the rent, so you have to make choices. You have to find alternative revenue-streams, perhaps get another job, and work on your business during your free time. It requires you to set some clear priorities, skip the weekly cinema-visit or the time spent with your loved ones.
  • The third and final quality, is to be goal-orientated. You could place that under time-management, perhaps, but where bootstrapping is most likely to fail is when motivation drops. You need to keep your eye on the ball at all times; the priority for a bootstrapper is to grow the business, not keep a stable job, and you need to see the light at the end of a tunnel and keep going until you reach it.

Anything I missed?

The picture is courtesy of rockies-ice.com

Interlude: Why blogging isn’t for everyone

blogging-1.jpgRead it on Tech IT Easy!

Musical interlude: Róisín Murphy parties like it’s ’99

This is as much a celebration of technologies like MixWit, which make publishing playlists (legally) possible, as it is a spotlight on one of my favourite musical discoveries last year.

Róisín (Pronounced “Roshiin”) Murphy, former lead-singer in the British band Moloko, with a voice that reminds me a lot of Annie Lennox. I have to confess that, except for some remixes, I wasn’t a big fan of either of these artists back in the day.

Still, Ms. Murphy is a breath of fresh air in what often seems like a stale and regurgitated pop-scene (I exaggerate). And… I simply can’t get the first song on this playlist, “Dear Miami“, out of my head!

Not for you, if you don’t like electronica or pop.

Enjoy!

Media-interlude: the role of ‘third places’ in Star Trek

Guinan star trek third place.jpgThe reason I like Star Trek, most sci-fi in fact, is because of the space-opera aspect. You don’t just tell a story, you design a universe around it. I’ve been a fan of the show, ever since the age of 10 when I got to watch TV at home. In some ways, sure, the time spent watching the show impoverished my life by taking me away from other endeavours, in other ways, it enriched it by contributing to my ability to dream.

As I grew older, I started paying much more attention to the story-telling aspects of the franchise. For instance, did you know that until the second season of Star Trek, the next generation, the writers didn’t create a place for the crew to relax? It was only then that the makers came up with the concept of Ten Forward, hosted by the infamous Guinan (see pic). Later, in its spin-offs, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, we also saw a big role being played by the “lounge”, hosted by Quark and Neelix respectively.

It was felt that by introducing this aspect into the show, a third place, it allowed the characters to show a different side of their lives, necessary if you want to teach a complete philosophy about society, as Gene Roddenberry was in fact doing. And of course, it spawned plenty of dramatic stories, that would otherwise never have happened. It allowed for romance, friendship, and conflict to happen, for aliens to meet and interact with one another.

What’s interesting about the franchise that each series had a different archetype, which also affected the room for “drama.” You could see it as both an evolution and devolution of a story. Star Trek, the original series, was the raw outline of Roddenberry’s philosophy about the future of society. The next generation was much more developed and allowed for deeper interpersonal relationships. Deep Space Nine was again an evolutionary step, and much of the stories centred around “life” on the station.

Both Voyager and Enterprise represented a devolution. Voyager introduced the “morale officer”, in my opinion, an engineered effort to bring a certain warmth to the story. But it was much less about teaching philosophy, as it was about survival. It showed that Roddenberry’s universe was in fact small and could break apart at the edges. But it was still a good story.

Enterprise represents a return to those raw ideas. Perhaps it was felt that the franchise could cover no more new ground, and that a new philosophy had to be designed. It was also a story of survival and the raw pioneering spirit, shown in part in Voyager. But it felt like a military mission, there was little room to form complete characters. Instead we were presented with deep dramas, echoing the 9/11 events, which turned the characters into one-dimensional creatures, much perhaps the way the news depicts the main characters involved in the post-9/11 era.

To me, at least, Star Trek is a good analogy for certain principles in life. That it is not enough to search, but also to build. That friendships and societies are built, not only from the hard work they require, but from the breaks we take to reflect on our actions, and the places that are engineered to cater for that need.

Food for thought.

Musical Interlude: Grant Green’s blues

Funny how moods influence musical preference. Last week on my run, I would’ve told you that Junior Jack is the sh*t; a few weeks ago, on a lonely walk through a misty and deserted street, it would’ve have been Lisa Gerard’s haunting voice. But last night, as my eyes were feeling heavy with sleep, it was Grant Green that touched me most.

I first stumbled on Mr. Green’s music after trying to prove to my brother that many rap-songs are sampled from other (better) songs. Turns out Grant Green performed a song, named “Better Tomorrow,” that was later sampled in Dr. Dre’s hit-song “Still DRE.” Even though it’s not my favourite track of Green’s, it’s one of the few I could find on YouTube. So here you go, a very recognisable melody after 1:20 mins.

P.S. The Grant Green album I like the most, is called “Ballads.”

Addendum
Thanks to the power of Mixwit, you can listen to a whole playlist of Grant Green songs, sourced from all over the web. Enjoy!

Interlude: 2 movies about discovering your passion

I decided that the one thing that was missing, for myself, on this blog, was the “fun” post, where I could write about the softer side of sounds + food & retail. The other two sides, facts & opinion, are also areas I plan to develop on, but without fun, there’s no balance. Therefore, I am re-instating the interlude, but trying to not exaggerate, like I did during my thesis-break.

The reason to like fiction, I guess, is because, unlike the mechanics of business, its dreamlike qualities encourage the viewer to think abstractly. And abstract thoughts, to bring it back to business, lead to creative ideas that no-one had before, and have the potential to create market-spaces, no one imagine before that. At least that is my theory.

Two of the following movies are quite surreal: one is about adulthood and the other about childhood. They are both about creativity, about dealing with the demands of real life, and about embracing your passions.

skitched-20080321-104308.jpgWhere the heart is
A typical 80s flick, where the characters are misaligned with the hard-cruel “real” world. In this case, the two beautiful daughters (Uma Thurman and Suzy Amis) and one son (the guy who plays McKay in Stargate Atlantis, if that means anything to you) are disowned by their wealthy father and placed in a broken down house in the middle of the business-district. What I liked about the film is that the house becomes a place of self-expression, and each individual that inhabits it is an artist of some kind. The father eventually loses all his money also and ends up living in this house, and he comes to accept that the world doesn’t revolve around money, but around believing in what you do. A light comedy with some deeper principles.

skitched-20080321-104154.jpgMr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Here’s an interesting exercise: Get a block of wood, as bland as possible. And believe in it.

The weird thing about it is that the block of wood is you. Anything can happen to it, as long as you believe in it. The block may initially appear lifeless, but it is your faith and work that makes it more than its parts, so to say. And that block can be anything. A piece of clay that you turn into a sculpture, a room that you turn into a living thing, an idea that you turn into a business. All it takes is a little faith.

Well, that is the extent of my learning from this film, which was really about a toy-shop that is alive and a girl, Natalie Portman, who refused to accept it was her destiny to run it. It’s entirely not meant for my age but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

That’s it from me this week, I’ll be spending this Easter with my family. Have a good one and until the next time!

Sabbatical

Dear readers,

I’ll be taking a few days to a few weeks off to reflect on my current state and activities, my goals and the steps needed to reach them. I’ll likely post a few thoughts about this on Tech IT Easy in the near future, as that seems more suited for that somehow.

Until then, my links are being still updated and I’ll discuss some of them this weekend again. At the end of this month, I’ll also wrap-up what I’ve covered in February 2008.

Until then, take care,
Vincent

Books as research-material for a blog? A discussion.

bookworm.jpgIf you follow my blogging-history, you may have noticed that I write about books… a lot! There are several reasons for this. One is certainly that I am a bookworm—I enjoy reading books, learning new things, and whenever I enter a bookstore, I go into a trance and start studying books to buy now or in the future. Case in point: I wasn’t planning it, but I bought two more today! Talk about impulse-buy… More on those in a sec…

The other reason is more complicated. I actually think that books translate better to blogging than much of real life. This clearly differs from blogger to blogger. You won’t find Robert Scoble blogging about books much, nor Fred Wilson, both of whom blog on more daily issues (Scoble is also a media-guy). Both John Gruber and Jason Kottke do cover books, but often base their writings on articles and other shorter readings.

For myself, it is different and I can give several examples of this. One, I was a pretty regular blogger until about a year and a half ago, when I started on a project of researching venture capital in the Netherlands. Not only was it a time-intensive process, but I was constantly questioning myself as to whether my blogging was ethical or not. There were certain topics reigning in my life, relating to that company, which i could just not disclose. A similar thing happened before that, when I worked at a high-tech start-up, and most recently, while completing my thesis.

There are several blogging friends I could mention (F., J., C., & M.), where you notice this same phenomenon.

Books instead, as well as articles, offer a foundation to build upon. One, they are public, which dismisses any confidentiality issues. Two, if they are well-written, they communicate core-ideas well, and you can add to that with your own knowledge. The complication with reading is of course, similar to writing, finding the time to do so. I think I found a doable system, by reading just before sleep, but I don’t know how that will hold up in future projects.

The way I choose books (and articles)
As I look back at my short life, I find that I’ve evolved in the choices of books I made, and most recently after engaging on this trajectory—the food & retail blog and the underlying purpose that serves. While before, my choice of business-books was somewhat restrained to general management, strategy, and entrepreneurship books, I now choose books purposefully that fill a gap in my knowledge and focussed on business-issues in this industry.

Some examples
I choose the McDonalds (coverage here & here) and Starbucks books (here, here & here), because they seemed like a good venue-point from which to understand how food-businesses work. My interest has always been towards chains of businesses, not individual ones, so that was also a bonus. Similarly, the IKEA-book (here) offered insights into retail, and the eBay-book (here), while less relevant, into starting a business and running a community.

The Disney-book (here), which I’m currently reading, gives me insights into building a framework around the soft discipline of entertainment, story-telling, etc. It is very relevant to my earlier post today on cinemas, which is clearly a raw perspective, but one I hope I can refine, as entertainment is a core-value I have.

The two books, I’ve chosen today, are on two diverse, yet, to me, relevant subjects. “Managers as mentors” is about what the title suggests. The reason I chose it, is because I’m not a fan of the traditional perception of management. I find it a hard world. The way I relate to people is through learning and teaching. I’ve raised my brother since I was 11, as my parents were often away from home, and find it very rewarding to see him become an adult. I have a similar relationship towards people, where I like to turn them into more than they imagine themselves to be. So this book seemed right. That is not to say, that I have any problem with firing people that I don’t feel have potential. 😉

The second book is even more interesting to me, it’s called “the growth strategies of hotel chains – best business practices by leading companies.” It’s very strategy-orientated, covering principles of diversification vs. specialisation, vertical/horizontal/diagonal integration, m&a’s, franchising vs. ownership, branding & globalisation, and US vs. European differences, as well as examples of said leading chains at the end of each chapter. Exactly up my alley! Needless to say, I will read it after the Disney book!

So what about you?
Now, a discussion is only valuable if more people take part. So please, if you have an opinion on this, or on a better research-methodology for blogs, let me know in the comments!

The picture is courtesy of brandtarot.com

Last book: Ikea’s 11 secrets… next book: The Disney Way

ikea disney.jpgSo, I finally finished the book on IKEA, which, sadly, is NOT yet available in English, though there are other choices + I seem to remember reading that it will be released soon.

In any case, a great book, which taught me a lot about the mentality that reigns inside IKEA, how logistics are organised, what determines design, what determines price, how people are managed, and… the most boring/interesting part: how IKEA evades taxes. That last one is really worth a read… they basically designed a complex financial structure, which enables them to offset tax-differences in various countries. As you may know the tax-levels in Sweden, its country of origin, are somewhat insane and have marked the company in a way that the Swedes probably didn’t intend.

So what to do next. I’m a strong believer in making things actionable, vs. the passive digestion (& forgetting) of facts, and, in order to make this book useful, I need to do something about it. I previously thought about writing about the way that IKEA expanded internationally, as that sheds some insight into cultural differences of countries and the considerations a business has to make when launching there. It’s also relevant IF you care about how the origins of a business determine where and how it will grow. I may still do that, but since it’s a lot of work, I’ll do it in note-form.

Something will probably come out of it. You can read about my previous coverage of IKEA here.

Next book: The Disney Way
While IKEA taught me about retail (and some extras), I’m hoping to learn more about how to organise entertainment. As I wrote a few days ago, a strong theme in my life is how to tell stories, in whatever form, but there is a whole process behind that and, while I have a rough view of what that is, I’m hoping that the Disney book has some practical tips.

I’ll probably supplement this with The Toyota Way at some point, as I have a certain fascination for supply-chain management also.

Yes, yes, I read entirely too much…

FYI, previous book-reviews include:

and, as an interlude:

The picture is a mashup of this picture of a scary clown and this other lesser-known picture here.

Hot or Not commercials – Axe’s "Chocolate Man" vs. Eristoff Black

Nothing to do with HotorNot’s 20 million sale, which I just heard about today, I’m afraid. No, I watched Juno in the cinema today (great flick!), and saw following two commercials: Axe’s “Chocolate Man,” which was great, vs. Eristoff Black, which was not.

What I like about this short film is that it does give you a similar feeling to what it’s like to walk around with a good scent and feel good about yourself. It’s so hard to portray smell on video, I can imagine, and chocolate’s just a great vehicle for it. The cinema-crowd’s reaction was great also, laughing throughout the film.

*************
Update: apparently this is part of a whole viral campaign by Axe. I just found the matching game: Maneater
*************

In contrast…

I don’t know about you, but this film just made me feel nervous. It’s a commercial for an alcoholic beverage, ok, but nothing in the film suggested anything positive about the experience of drinking it. Instead you have this paranoid image of someone being locked in a glass sphere, pursued by bloodthirsty animals. Even the scene at the end, where it’s a guy who apparently hit a shopping-window, is not reassuring, rather it confirms that this is a drink to be treated with caution. The cinema-crowd was totally not into this commercial either.

That’s all from me this weekend. Have a nice one!

My relationship with story-telling – a short autobiography part I

I’m in a philosophical mood today, after having spend an hour this morning sorting through the rough drafts for this blog (estimated at around 150), which I categorised as “idea,” “rough notes,” “feature complete,” and “send it already.” There were so many of them that I found myself a little overwhelmed to address a single one, a little afraid to miss seeing the forest through the trees, and instead decided to write about a core-principle in my life: story-telling.

I’m very attracted to the concept of telling stories. It’s perhaps a little difficult to explain, but certainly related to the reason why I write so much, and also integral to what I want to do with my life.

When I grew up, I was reading all the time. From the back of cereal boxes, to encyclopaedias, to even the bible (which I thought was a great fantasy book). As a kid, I also remember building up cities in my room and garden, made out of toy-parts and characters, and constructing visual stories around what was happening.

I did not watch TV until I was 10, but, around that time, I fell in love with fantasy and sci-fi stories, both in book-form and on TV. I liked the way the story was constructed, and loved to imagine myself being there. I remember having magnificent visions of what I imagined the future of society, cities, and the home to look like.

Around 17, I decided to hold my first teen-party (the last one before that was probably around the ages 8-9). At that time, I was playing around in a band and very much into music-culture. I remember coming up with the party idea, which was essentially a visualisation of a club. It was lucky timing. We were just about to move and I had a huge house to my disposal.

The way I visualised it was to have rock-bands playing live in the living-room, a techno-room with a (borrowed, I think) strobe-light in the basement, and some other theme-related room elsewhere. Important were of course drinks and drugs, as, hey, I was 17. And equally important was the concept of complete freedom, which I think was communicated quite clearly.

A large inspiration was this video by the Prodigy – No Good (start the dance):

The end-result was great: around 50 people showed up, 2-3 bands were playing, and people did some crazy stuff, without getting me in trouble. In the end, I was still the one responsible, and took that seriously, but essentially everyone could do what they wanted. I repeated a similar party a few months later, which revolved around the same principles, with some restrictions, though around twice the amount of people.

That’s where I’ll end this. Lot’s of stuff happened since then and will continue to happen, and I hope to write a second part in maybe 5-10 years from now (maybe sooner) about all the adventures I’ll hopefully have, and evolutionary leaps I’ll hopefully make.

Core to everything, I think, is vision and freedom. When you create a story, you have a vision of the components and the way they fit together into a dynamic process. At the same time, a story-teller must realise that his/her story is just the start for the listener/viewer/experiencer. It’s a synergetic interaction between creator and beholder and the end-result can be both unpredictable and quite beautiful sometimes, a risk that, to me, is entirely worth it.

P.S. Happy Valentines day!

Building up the research-library for this blog again

skitched-20080129-095013.jpgOne of the downsides of not being at home for three months is that the mail tends to pile up. The culprit is The (weekly) Economist, which forced my landlord to dedicate a special cabinet just to accommodate them all. He was happy to see me.

My thesis is handed in, and while I’m anxiously waiting for the feedback / grade, I’m doing a variety of stuff to diffuse the thesis-haze that was in my head these last months. One of these is thinking about how I will organise the research that I collect for my work / blog. This is part of a dual trajectory I’m pursuing—one side is research, which I use to build up my knowledge about the field of food & retail, the other side the practical path, which I can now finally pursue freely.

The pile of 15 or so Economists is actually a good exercise to think about what really matters, and I’m going through them quickly, marking the articles that are interesting to read, and later cutting them out and adding them to special folder, after which I may categorise them by country and subject perhaps.

It’s easy with The Economist, but there other publications that I’m much less eager to chop into pieces. My books are filled with pencil-marks, as are my Harvard Business Reviews, but there’s no way that they’ll ever feel the cold blade of my scissors. With those publications, I’m forced to keep all that extra paper and try to get my thoughts to paper as quickly as possible.

The other, sort of, complication are web-articles. I’ve been printing stuff to pdf and have a special S+FNR folder, reserved for anything from fashion-trends to human-resource management. I’m also going to print them out and add them to my folder for future analysis.

As you can see, I take my research seriously. A probable after-effect of writing a 180-page thesis, studying three academic fields—innovation, entrepreneurship, and finance—and interviewing roughly 300 businesses.

But I wonder how the real bloggers do it. If you’re someone who takes blogging seriously, how do you organise your material, or do you organise it? If you do so on paper, I’m curious as to what kind of folders you use (incl. a link to a photo if possible).

Note: If you use a computer to store stuff digitally, I assume you use a personal database, like Devonthink or Jojimbo for the Mac. I’ll tell you right now, I’ve used them all (to organise my thesis) and found it frustrating that they wouldn’t do everything I wanted and tried to lock me in in the process (I’ve spent many hours migrating everything from app to app—it sucks!). They also don’t help you much with paper-based materials, like mags, journals, and books. No, on the computer, I prefer a regular folder and to add text & pdf to it. Simple, portable, and cross-platform.

Interlude of interludes… no more g.d. interludes!

interlude |ˈɪntəl(j)uːd|
noun
1 an intervening period of time : enjoying a lunchtime interlude.
• a pause between the acts of a play.
2 something performed during a theater intermission : an orchestral interlude.
• a piece of music played between other pieces or between the verses of a hymn.
• a temporary amusement or source of entertainment that contrasts with what goes before or after : the romantic interlude withered rapidly once he was back in town.

I’m going to quit the interludes. When I’m back, I’m back.

Happy 2K8 !
Vincent

Idealistic interlude – what I wish people (& myself) for 2OO8 and beyond

skitched-20071230-234115.jpgI’m in a philosophical mood. Got the flu, lack of sleep, an excess of stress, and the general feeling that I need to “get things done” before I have earned the right to enjoy life (though I will try to enjoy seeing old friends on the 31st).

Yesterday, or this morning, I published a list of materialistic wishes for 2OO8… now it is time for the a-materilistic, or rather the idealistic wishes I have for my family, friends and myself in the near and more distant future.

Surprises – After composing a list of idealistic “to-do’s,” I felt that no matter what you plan it’s important to experience and be open to surprises. What life is worth living without them?

Financial success for my family & friends – as materialistic as it may seem, there is a clear correlation between success and happiness, and I wish this very much to the people I know, those that I don’t know, and myself of course. Money not only makes the world go round, it makes for a better world.

Beware of the accelerator – I can’t speak for other people, but I’ve noticed a clear trend with myself. I’m like a ball, when I start rolling, I go faster and faster, until it becomes hard to stop. This is true for my work, for my more artistic projects, even for depressive days. It’s important to keep the balance, as theoretical as that may sound. Even if it feels “wrong” to stop sometimes, stop, and even if it feels wrong to work sometimes, work. It’s a little connected to ‘surprises’ also.

No assassinations during the holidays – a minor point perhaps (is it?), but have you noticed that last year on this day, Saddam Hussein was executed, as was Benazir Bhutto a few days ago? A serious bummer, dude.

A better US president… perhaps – I think there is a complex interplay between what I would call macro-leadership and micro-management. Both are important, and one cannot exist without the other. The US makes a good case-study for observing the interplay between federal and state-politics. When Bush goes against the climate, you see plenty of bottom-up activity for improving the climate on a city or state-level. I would love a US president that is more moderate and appreciative of the complexities of international politics, terrorism, climate-change, world-hunger, world-disease, emerging economies, etc. But really, I just want people to fight for what they believe in, whether it be top-down, or bottom-up.

For myself:
A good job in 2OO8 – one that I enjoy doing and that teaches me skills that help me be a better project-manager.

My own company for 2OO9 onwards – not sure when and how this will manifest itself, but that is what I’m working towards.

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