Weeknote #44

You’re feeling as if time crawls like syrup? Get sick while having a heap of work and watch time fly by! That what I did over Christmas. I got a head cold and couldn’t get any of the tasks done that I had planned to work on during the quieter days. It was really hard for me to accept that I would have to tell clients that we still weren’t ready for their projects after two weeks of downtime. But I also knew that forcing it would result in mediocre work and maybe me getting more seriously ill, so I kept my feet still and tried to recover as fast as possible. Of course, when I finally got back in business, many tasks had transitioned from “important” to “important and urgent”. That’s why January became a month of hustling. With the most pressing projects done now, we got back in control of our workload, so I’ve got time to write another weeknote.

Action days

An article on GigaOm describing the concept of an “action day” caught my immediate interest in December. Actions days foster results-oriented working, engagement and motivation in teams by an hourly exchange about achieved results and the next tasks about to get done. Our first try at an action day went so well that Markus stated “It almost feels like we sit in an office together”. So we decided to have an action day every Wednesday.

By the way, we didn’t use a teleconferencing solution to report our results, but instead a feed created especially for this on our company site on Yammer.

Social days

Like last year, visiting conferences and, ideally, giving talks there will be one of our most important marketing efforts this year, too. In Open Source services, nothing beats personal contact and the opportunity to prove one’s competence and answer important client questions at the same time.

Friday, Markus and I will be on trains to Brussels for the Drupal Developer Days where I will give a talk about “Developer-friendly Drupal hosting”. In this talk, I’ll try to explain how DrupalCONCEPT differentiates itself from the many hosting services on the market. We’re also a Silver sponsor of the weekend. (Probably the only one not appearing on the print materials because we couldn’t procure a vector version of our logo…)

I also happily accepted the invitation to give a talk about systems automation with Chef at the Open Source Datacenter Conference in April. All of our servers (of which we got more than 40 already) are maintained from a central Chef instance which lets us reduce the time spent for repeating system administration tasks to a minimum. Without such a system, I would do system administration all day and wouldn’t have time for any of my business tasks.

Since I’m going to do some traveling this year, I really appreciate how TripIt makes it easy for me to put together a travel itinerary. I just forward my DB Online Ticket to them and they create a nice overview with all train connections and reservation information. Then I add my hotel reservation and find everything I need in one place, which is the TripIt app on my iPhone. Very handy!

Vacation days

Markus is going to go on a big trip from March to July. In February, he’ll finish his running projects so there should be no loose ends when he’s off. While he’s hopping from beach to beach, I’ll keep the stations manned, dreaming about where I’ll disappear to after he comes back.