• A Simple Place to Live

    “I can be at home anywhere because feeling content and safe and loved has nothing to do with the stuff that surrounds me.”

    What Courtney Carver describes as “A Simple Place to Live” resonates quite a bit with me.

  • The Ireland of the land and the people

    "Having seen quite a bit of the country in the past three years, we agree with those who say you don’t have to leave this island to know Ireland boasts one of the world’s most stunning ensembles of landscapes. And all of it decorated in an eye-soothing colour that is the Irish green.”

    ”But what really makes you feel you will never leave Ireland is the Irish people. In the course of our three years here we had numerous visitors who took trips throughout the country. All returned with very fond memories of the Irish they had met. And they had met many!"

    It's nice to see two of the main reasons why I moved to Ireland shared by Eckhard Lübkemeier, departing German ambassador to Ireland. Read his full farewell message in the Irish Times.

  • It's Movember!

    Up until this year, I’ve never paid much attention to the Movember movement. People growing facial hair in a way that should have been banned since the 80s, what’s that all about? But this year, it dawned on me that I really should look into the issue the Movember movement tries to shed more light on: Men are getting cancer. And with cancer victims in both our families, that topic is far from irrelevant to me.

    When I saw a friend’s Facebook post about him taking part in Movember, I spontaneously decided that I’ll join the fun, grow a mustache and finally learn about the health issues I may need to face as I grow older.

    Speaking of face, here’s my progress so far:

    Photo on 15-11-2013 at 10.07

    What do you think? Leave me a comment below!

    It looks like fall puts me in a spontaneous mood because, a week ago, I also decided on a whim to participate in the Dublin Mo Run this Saturday. In that context, it’s important to know that I stopped running in November last year due to tendonitis in both of my legs and that I haven’t done a round since then. I registered myself for the Mo Run regardless and did two test runs this week to see how I do. Surprisingly, I managed to run the 5k without major problems. It must be the two children that keep me on my feet day and night. ;-) And that I’ve lost 10kg since June probably also helped a bit.

    So, the geewiz family will head out to Dublin early morning tomorrow to see a lot of people carrying furry animals on their upper lip across Phoenix Park. My start number will be 26.

    May I ask you, my dear reader, for a favor? Support Movember by making a donation. In Ireland, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men; each year 1 in 8 men is diagnosed with prostate cancer. Movember is a fun way to lower these numbers. Simply go to my Mo Bro page and help fight a terrible disease!

  • I believe in working remotely, too.

    We've now been living at our new house in Bray for almost two months now and we're happily settling in. The move to Ireland has had almost no impact on my work because I've built freistil IT as a virtual company from the get-go. It really doesn't matter where our team members do their work; it only matters that they do a great job.

    Being able to freely move to another place is only one of the advantages we have as a distributed team. In his post on the Stack Exchange blog, David Fullerton lists several more reasons “Why We (Still) Believe in Working Remotely”:

    • It lets you hire good people who can’t move. Maybe they've just bought a house or they need to take care of a family member. Not being able to hire people who've made a commitment doesn't make any sense to me.
    • You don’t lose people to silly things like their significant other going to medical school. Or like fulfilling their wish of moving to another country…
    • When done right, it makes people extremely productive. We've built freistilbox, our platform for Managed Drupal Hosting and Managed WordPress Hosting with a team of three doing everything from IT architecture to payment processing and accounting. The flexibility of our work environment helped us not getting burnt out despite many challenges.
    • It makes you focus on more than butts in chairs. Big companies like Yahoo! and HP recently called their remote workers back into offices with the explanation that this will make their teams more effective. I think that's nonsense. “Going into office” doesn't equal good work and “counting butts in chairs” doesn't equal good management.

    David goes on with giving some insight into their learnings and how they collaborate. I highly recommend reading the whole post.

    Here are a few more reasons why we, too, think that the benefits of working remotely outweigh its disadvantages:

    • It makes expenses more effective. Instead of paying for more and more office space, we rather put money into the tools that make us more flexible and productive (powerful laptops, mobile internet access, collaboration software, coffee machines).
    • It makes teamwork multi-threaded. It's like parallel processes in an operating system: Once you have the “inter-process communication”, i.e. collaboration tools and processes, in place, each team member can work independently without relying on everyone being readily available at the opposite desk.
    • It makes choosing the right things easier. My family is the most important thing in my life. Back when I was working in an office, I could not go home just to babysit for half an hour while my precious had a haircut. Today, a haircut can be an opportunity for both of us to take a break from our usual responsibilities.

    I'm the first one to admit that running a distributed team has its challenges. And there are ways to master them. If you'd like to know more, please leave your question in the comments!

    Want to make more awesome from whereever you're the most happy? Join our team!

  • It's simpler than I thought.

    One thing to help you be a great dad.
    Appreciate your child’s love for you.
    Do this every day, whenever you see your child, and even when they’re not around.

    (via Zen Habits)