Sustainable Pace

August 31st, 2014

Art is Therapy

When you go to a museum, they have a very clear idea about how art should be experienced: You follow a pre-defined route through several anti-septic rooms, and take a short glimpse on far too many exhibits, and move on quickly. Everything is labeled meticulously with the artist name and the creation date. You are currently being monitored. "Do not sit down here! Do not touch! Drinking is not allowed! No photographs!" When I was at the Rijksmuseum last Thursday, I saw a lot of exhausted people, who seemed to visit the museum just to check an item on their to-do-list (The Rijksmuseum is number four on the list of sites in Amsterdam, according to TripAdvisor). About a million people visit each…

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August 24th, 2014

Consciousness - A very short introduction

Having been inspired by the book "The Meme Machine" in the past, I was happy to find out its author Susan Blackmore had also written a book on consciousness, a subject I wanted to learn more about. When you think about it, it's problematic to define what consciousness is, as consciousness itself seems inherent to the process of understanding it. But the book showcases a large variety of takes on the subject while still being opinionated, and is understandable for amateurs like myself. A criteria that stands out most is subjectivity, something like "How do things seem to me", opposed to how they are objectively (if there even is a thing as objectivity). Related to subjectivity, Susan…

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August 18th, 2014

Organize for Complexity

The first time I came along the distinction between "complex" and "complicated" was in Jurgen Appelo's Management 3.0: The difference is that the outcome of complicated systems is still predictable, while that of complex systems is not. In our age of connectedness and rapid change we have to deal with complex systems more often than maybe a hundred years ago, when most of today's management ideas were conceived. There is nothing wrong with these management ideas, but they were created to target complicated systems exclusively, which are now mostly obsolete. This is where Niels Pflaeging and his new book "Organize for Complexity" enter: The author proposes a whole new approach to management.…

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April 3rd, 2014

Four day work week

I have been working 5 day weeks for 8 years now, without a significant pause. Since then I had very little time to pursue spontaneous interests in order to satisfy my curious nature. The plan So, in 2012, I challenged myself to take on an experiment: Do not spend my allotted days off on weeks of free time at once, but take one day off each week. All in all, I had 7 continuous months of 4 day weeks, starting from June 2012. I decided to take Mondays off. It had to be Monday or Friday, as I wanted a long weekend. I decided to go with Monday. On Fridays you're in a weekend mood anyway, and things are less stressful at the office. I also wanted to spend the weekend with the family, and still…

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December 8th, 2011

Distributed Scrum

Last night I listened to the latest episode of Software Engineering Radio, "Distributed Scrum", with Rini van Solingen. Having worked on open source projects and having mentored in Google Summer of Code for three years, I've had my share of distributed teams, but I have never done distributed Scrum, so I was interested. I've heard of Rini van Solingen through Jeff Sutherland's translation of his book "The Power of Scrum". It's not your generic Scrum book, it is novel with a proper narrative. Rini described that a fiction book is better suited at managers as stories appeal more to them than theory. Also, it doesn't focus on the artifacts of Scrum, but on the effects. I…

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