• Weeknote #46


    Beaurocrat week

    This week, I spent most of my time doing taxes and other paper work
    like applying for the extension of my founding subsidies. I hate to do
    that kind of stuff and because in those cases I tend to procrastinate,
    I’m running late once again.

    Solar motivation

    On a positive note, the weather seems to get better. On wednesday, the
    warm sun certainly lifted my mood. I’m not very much influenced by the
    weather, but this glorious sunshine makes even me move my lazy behind
    outside.

    Checking out the neighbors

    At Drupal Developer Days in Brussels, I met two other guys working at
    hosting businesses; one from Belgium, one from the Netherlands.
    Following my talk about “Developer-friendly Drupal Hosting”, we picked
    our brains over some coffee how we could do business together. This
    tuesday, we followed that up with a Skype chat where we worked out the
    first baby steps of our “coopetition strategy”. More Skype chats/calls
    are coming. It’s a new experience for me to do business with
    competitors and I find it interesting and thrilling.

    Also on tuesday, we got our first order from Italy. Man, it feels so
    great that our plan to expand into Europe this year already becomes
    reality, even without us doing marketing beyond an English-language
    website.

    This also means we now have to add international payment options. And
    judging from my initial web searches, it will consume a lot of time
    and effort to find the right Payment Service Provider.

    Local exile

    I found a place in the city that rents office space on an hourly
    basis. This could be a nice alternative when I’d like to get out of my
    homeoffice but spend my worktime in a more quiet place than a crowded
    coffee shop. (And the hourly rate is cheaper than a Venti Chai Tea
    Latte…)

    On thursday, Amalia got sick and had to be picked up from childcare at
    11:30. Even when her mother’s around, it’s hard to share the place
    with a child that’s too small to understand the differentiation of
    work time and play time. In those cases, a few external office hours
    can come in handy.

    Packing light

    Just before the Drupal Developer Days in Brussels, I had finally
    exchanged my 2007 Macbook Pro 15" with a 11" Macbook Air. Working with
    it really is fun, you can read about that in many blog posts all over
    the web. As a bonus, I got my Aunts & Uncles leather bag out of the
    closet again. For carrying the weight of the Macbook Pro with all the
    auxiliary gear, I always preferred a laptop backpack. Now, with the
    leather bag, I sometimes wonder if I perhaps forgot the Macbook Air at
    home…

  • 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.

  • Two very different acquisition notices I received today

    Dimdim:

    Dimdim has been acquired by salesforce.com. Your free Dimdim account will remain active until March 15, 2011. After that date, you will no longer be able to access your free Dimdim account.

    Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for additional information.

    We appreciate your understanding, and we thank you!

    Pursuant to the Dimdim Terms of Use (the “Agreement”) governing the use of Dimdim Inc.’s (“Dimdim”) Site and Services (as defined under the Agreement) by you (“You”), Dimdim is hereby exercising its right to terminate Your Dimdim Account and the Agreement in its entirety. Dimdim will continue to provide Services to you until March 15, 2011. Following March 15, 2011, neither You nor Dimdim shall have any further rights or obligations of any kind under the Agreement, including the right to access the Site, or receive or use any Services. Dimdim thanks you for your business, and wishes you success in the future.

    Socialite:

    Socialite

    That notice above makes me glad I never used Dimdim for serious work. The other one makes me reconsider giving Socialite another try.

  • Themed Christmas Presents

    This year, my family chose theme packages as my Christmas presents:

    My father invests into my startup business by feeding my thoughts.

    And my brother seems to have noticed a certain trait of my personality...

    I love my family. Thanks, Dad! Thanks, Tom!

  • Google Chrome Notebook. Made for stoics.

    The Google ad for their new Chrome Notebook inspired me to keep using cloud-based services.

    But I'm not going buy the device because even I would find those people coming by to destroy it all the time annoying.