Sustainable Pace

November 12th, 2011

A home cinema for minimalists

In our home there is no TV. We have thrown it out about five years ago and didn't regret it. But there is one aspect I miss: watching films. We used to watch films on the computer screen, but since we've moved to a bigger apartment there is no appropriate setting that allows this in a comfortable manner. I thought I had found the solution when acquiring a projector two weeks ago. But the day after having watched the first film in our home cinema, I was having doubts. Don't get me wrong, I was truly impressed what even low price projectors are capable of. But somehow it felt wrong. I disliked that I had to wire a lot of new cables. I disliked the idea of having to maintain another device. I…

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October 20th, 2011

Agile traffic - All's well that honks well

In October I've spent about 24 hours on the roads of Jakarta. At first I was annoyed, as the traffic was seemingly not moving at all, but slowly I myself was deeply moved by the subtle, graceful and yet effective way in which Indonesians manage to get from A to B. While in German traffic every tiny aspect is regulated (signs galore), Indonesian traffic is a great example of agility at its best. I'm not saying Indonesian traffic is superior to German traffic, it's just more agile, it has less overhead and regulates itself. (Of course there are upsides to regulations, for example security aspects. In Indonesia you have a lot of inadequately equipped vehicles, and also reckless behaviour like…

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September 10th, 2011

Management 3.0

There has been a lot of buzz around Jurgen Appelo's book Management 3.0 lately. Subtitled "Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders", Appelo introduces a model for agile management, applying the findings of complexity thinking to social systems, like agile software developing teams. First of all, Appelo makes the point that we usually confuse the terms complex and complicated. He explains complex as foremost unpredictable, while complicated merely means hard to understand. However, our minds work in a linear fashion, in terms of cause and effect. This leads to reductionism, solving complex issues by dividing them into parts, and addressing these independently, leading to…

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July 11th, 2011

Happiness

Bruno Frey is a professor of Economics at the University of Zurich, and this book, subtitled "A revolution in economics", compiles the results of several papers he (co-)authored. In a nutshell, he argues that conventional economic theory assumes people always make rational choices in order to maximize their utility, while happiness research claims that people's choices are significantly less rational, and utility doesn't correspond to well-being. Utility In traditional economics, utility is typically modelled as income, as it comes in numbers and is thus convenient to use. But maximizing utility does not maximize happiness, because people quickly adapt to an increased level of income, and…

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July 6th, 2011

Happy Hour Is 9 To 5

The concept of happiness at work deeply resonates in me. That's why I was curious to discover "Happy Hour Is 9 to 5" by Alexander Kjerulf, who labels himself Chief Happiness Officer. He argues that companies who put employee happiness first will more and more have an edge over their competitors in the future, in contrast to companies who focus on revenue or even customer satisfaction. The book is available for free, but I ordered a print copy at Lulu. First of all, this book stinks! Hehe, I'm not rating the content, but the actual book: the pages are really smelly and made the book painful to read. I don't know if it's an issue with Lulu or with the postal service, but it made me long for…

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