Do you order online?

Internet is the future and so is ordering your stuff online. It’s easy, fast and there is plenty of choice.

I started ordering online about two years ago. In the beginning I did not trust it at all. I wasn’t used to pay for something before I got it. But after your first online order, this fear will soon make place for a sort of addiction. Ordering online is so easy that people tend to buy more on impulses. If you read about something in a blogpost, it is just a few clicks away from your doorstep.

I don’t remember with whom I ordered online for the first time. I assume it was in the Apple Store for an iPhone or maybe Coolblue. If you add HomeWizard, Bol.com and Conrad I think you have the main places for me to order online. I chose those five beacause they are wellknown and that gives me a secure feeling that I will get my stuff :).

There is one service that really pleases me and that is Coolblue. They offer a large range of products at a good price. Not a special price, just the normal price. Bol.com offers a larger range of products, but the thing that matters the most to me is the service. Coolblue has the best service. They deliver the next day, even on saturdays. Their customer support is very good. I had to call them once and they really connected with me. Not the classic support where you are a number. When I’m looking for something online I want to be able to check some reviews and compare alternatives. All of this is available on their website. The design of their website is really good so that you can find your way immediately. Sometimes, you can find the same product cheaper in another store but that’s mostly because the other company seems to go below the ’normal’ price. Ofcourse, that is my impression. I haven’t done any research on that part.

Ordering online? Take a look at Coolblue, you won’t regret!

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Share to grow.

If you want to grow, you need to share. It’s simple. I suppose that this will sound strange to some of you. But when you think about it, you will notice it’s the truth.

knowledge-sharing-image-cropped_10

There is a lot of knowledge in our world, but unfortunately it doesn’t get spread as well as we’d like. For a lot of us, knowledge is a source of power. Knowledge gives them a way to control things. For them, sharing knowledge is like giving away their money or being degraded at work. Instead of sharing their knowledge, they tell people they will arange it for them.

I know how to do it, I’ll fix it for you.

Doing so, they make sure, that the others are not able to build the same knowledge and as bonus they become even more powerfull because everyone needs them. But every story get’s his end. Sooner or later, they will be overflooded with questions from others. They will not be able to keep up demand and people will start to look for alternatives. That’s a good thing for the people seeking for alternatives but a sad thing for those that blocked their knowledge for others. Soon they will realize that it could have been different.

Think about it. Do you want to perform the same task for the rest of your life? Do you want to respond to the same question over and over again? Do you want to be indispensable?

Being indispensable may look like a good thing but it isn’t. In the beginning, you may like that people need you for everything they do. After some time it starts to be annoying. Your valuable time will be spent doing the things you already know. You will not be able to do the things you like. Exploring new things and being creative will become impossible. Just because you wanted to have more power. I have to be honest that I am afraid too. Afraid that someone else will become better than me. Afraid that they wil get the job offer I dream about. But I realized that this fear is not needed. You need to share when you want to grow.

When you want to become a leader, you need to be able to trust people and delegate. By sharing your knowledge, other people can pick up your tasks so that you can pick up new tasks. Keeping the knowledge for yourself will keep you in the place you are now. While I’m saying that I’m afraid that someone else will become better than me, I know that is not true. When you share your knowledge with other people, they will share their knowledge with you. Doing so, both become better and smarter.

Luckily for us, there are still a lot of people out there that want to share with others. It are those people that will be innovative and smarter than the rest. They will make sure that those that are afraid to share, will get behind. If they are smart, sharing knowledge will be their new hobby :).

Not convinced? Check out initiatives like Seats2Meet and the Serendipity Machine, both live from the knowledge people want to share.

Tip: Watch this TED video

The Engine of Innovation Mindset.

The world is small and even a blogpost can make a difference. Two weeks ago I was in Ronse to listen to a keynote about sheep and last week I had the chance to spend two days with Jef Staes and a lot of other interesting people.

It can go fast in this world where everyone has access to the internet. Social media, Google, blogs… Jef would call it information flows. And if you remember from my previous blogpost, information is very important in the mindset Jef explains. If there would be one thing I believe from his speech, it is the importance of the internet. IMG_4875I’m the living proof of it. Without my blog and Twitter I would never have discovered the story Jef is telling and I would never had the chance to go the workshop at his homebase in TongerloIMG_4870

 

”Every organization has an engine of innovation.
Today it has to be tuned to become very powerful”

That is why Jef has drawn the EOI Mindset map, a powerful tool for companies to become innovative. He calls it a language, as a programming language you can build great things with it. The easiest way for me to describe his story is the difference between 2D- and 3D-smart. A 2D-smart is someone who does a good job for his manager and asks for money when he needs it. A 3D-smart will not ask for the money. He will spend the money when it’s needed. That is true. I think we are all afraid of spending the money we need. Most of us will indeed go ask for the money. But why? If we think we need the money to get more value for the team. Why wouldn’t you spend it?

Have you ever seen a Red Monkey? I guess you haven’t. I’ve seen one, last week in Tongerlo. Jef created a story, a story that can change the way our Educational System evolves. A story that can change how companies think about innovation and how they can create a learning environment where everyone can explore his passion. It’s even a story where we can learn from. It can make you think whether you are working with passion. But as always when you create something, you need pioneers. People who can imagine why you want to do this. People who want to go for it without seeing the result. They believe in your story and help you to realize your vision. Like in all stories, there are people who don’t want to follow you. They don’t believe in it or they are afraid of the consequences. So Jef asks us to help him tell his story to convince those that are in between, in doubt to jump and waiting until they see a result. I see some of you wondering what a Red Monkey is. A Red Monkey is an idea, an innovation from someone who dares to think outside the box.

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It’s impossible to tell you everything, but there is no need to. If you have passion, you will find the information ;). Those two days were not only about this story for me. I’ve met some amazing people and discovered stuff I didn’t know it existed. Seats2Meet is one of those things, a great way to share knowledge and meet people. I regret we don’t have such locations in Belgium. Our Dutch neighbours are more open to these kind of things I suppose. Even within companies this concept can work I think.

I’ll keep an eye on Jef’s story and when I meet a sheep I will try to set it free. I’ve added his books to my reading list. I’ll start with ’My Organisation is a Jungle’ as soon as I finish ’Start with Why’ from Simon Sinek.

”Conflict will be the new consensus” - Jef Staes

”If a Tulip had feet, she would go to the place where she could grow the best.” – Jef Staes

 

 

My top 10 podcasts.

In one of my latest blogposts, I already told you I listen to a lot of podcasts. I often get the question to what podcast I listen so I decided to share my top 10.

Here are my favorits:

1. Mac Power Users with David Sparks and Katie Floyd: I love to use my iPhone, iPad and Macbook every day. This podcast has made me a lot smarter in using my Apple devices. They give me great tips and tricks so that I can enjoy my devices even more. Only downside is that they have cost met quite some money. But to be honest, every app I bought based on their advice, is worth the money.

2. This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt: Michael shares his knowledge with us in a simple format. I like the way he manages to give us great content about leadership in a short timeframe. He brings his message clear and to the point. This is one of the podcasts that made me stick to listening podcasts.

3. OMT Live: The only dutch podcast in my list. It’s not easy to find good podcasts in my natural language but I like the way the people from One More Thing bring Apple related news. Even if it is with their typical accent :). I discovered a lot of gadgets during their talks but for the moment I can keep myself from buying them.

4. Beyond the To Do List with Erik Fisher: If I remember well, this was the first podcast I listened to. The moment Erik launched his first episode, I discovered podcasts and now I’m writing a blogpost about it. Erik talks about what happens behind Getting Things Done together with his guests.

5. Entrepreneur On Fire with John Lee Dumas: This was a strange podcast the first time I listened. John went so fast that I could barely follow. Now I love his podcast because of his enthousiasm and all the inspiring entrepreneurs he interviews. John always manages to set his guests and listeners on fire!

6. iMore show: The iMore show covers all news about iPhone, iPad and Mac. Rene Ritchie explains his ideas and vision about the latest news together with Peter Cohen and their special guests. Not much time but wanting to keep up with Apple news? Listen to the iMore show!

7. 48 Days To The Work You Love with Dan Miller: We all spend a lot of time at work and still we tend to forget we can shape our work environment. Dan shares his experience to make you better in the work you do.

8. Agile Weekly: The title speaks for itself. A weekly podcast where Agile coaches from Integrum share their ideas with us. Not by discussing theory but with examples from their worklife. Everyone confronted with Agile Development should go listen and apply what you learn.

9. Dose of Leadership with Richard Rierson: Richard interviews leaders from all over the world and shares those talks with us. It is a great way to discover how great leaders lead and motivate their people.

10. The New Disruptors with Glenn Fleishman: This is one of my newest podcast but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I still discover new and great podcast every week. Glenn provides us stories about how to publish your content and connect with you audience.

Enjoy!

Can you help me to reorganize my photos?

Until last weekend, I was perfectly satisfied with my photo management workflow. But something made me doubt…

Starting with my first MacBook, I started using iPhoto to manage my photos. iPhoto is a very handy tool, especially for people that do not need a lot of bells and whistles. With a minimum amount of time, you can get your photo’s organized the way you want without knowing a lot of computers.

But all of the above also has a side affect. I’m starting to get a lot of events and photos and it’s getting difficult for me to keep a clear view on al my pictures. When moving pictures from one event to another I get frustrated because I have to scroll up and down in my event list to find the event I am looking for. It seems impossible to get a decent list with all my events in iPhoto. This causes me to have duplicate events and looking for photos without finding them.

I don’t want to say iPhoto is bad because I am convinced that without iPhoto I won’t even notice these problems. Without iPhoto, my pictures would be spread all over the place.

So now I’m looking for something else but before moving all my pictures, I want to know what tool will help me to get my pictures organized again. I need to be able to organize them by date and event. Sorting, renaming and quick edit would be nice too.

I want to ask you to let me know in the comments what tool you use and why. If you can add the strong and weak points, that would be nice.

No sheeping.

To be honest, I stole this title from Jef Staes. It was his slogan to end the presentation he gave about Business Innovation. I had the honor to attend this event and he made me think about several things.

First of all, I didn’t know much about Jef before I went to his presentation. I saw the invitation on Twitter via EventOnline and grabbed the opportunity. At that moment I did not know that Jef would mention that people not using Twitter are stupid. Lucky me :). But the moment he did, I agreed. For me at least Twitter is a source of knowledge. It is a way to connect with great bloggers and speakers. That doesn’t mean that Twitter can be your only source of information. Google, YouTube, blogs, screenscasts are all valuable information flows that will make you smarter when you use them. Did I forget books? For me books are a slow information flow because reading a book takes a lot more time than reading a blogpost or watching a screencast. That does not mean books aren’t valuable anymore. I started reading again this year and I love it. There are so many good writers with a clear message you can learn from. But when I want to fix an issue, I’d rather Google it instead of reading a book of 300 pages.

”You don’t discover talents at school.” and ”Our educational system is fraude.” are two statements Jef launched during the keynote. Those are critical words about a system that exists for many years. But maybe that’s why it is true. Maybe education did not follow the evolution of the increased information flow? Maybe education is too conservative? I think these are things to think about and to investigate. Work enough for all teachers out there I suppose. I graduated almost 3 years ago and I have to agree that I did not discover my talents at school. I like to work with computers, designing solutions for problems of other people. I can’t imagine doing so while at school. Or maybe one time during a group assignment to organize an event for charity. We should get more assignments like that where your team can organize itself and discover who does what the best. Diplomas are used by companies to assign employees a function and level. Most of the time, this means that people with a higher degree get the better jobs. I think that’s what Jef means with fraude in our educational system. Someone who had problems at school with Statistics may not have a Master degree but is he less smart than someone with that degree? Possibly, but you can only know it for sure when you give him or her a chance. 2D smart, Jef calls it. Getting better by doing it over and over but without passion and without information.

That brings us by how Jef thinks we should be, 3D smart. 3D smart has three pillars: Talent, Passion and Information. Information is very important. Someone with passion will look for information and develop his talent. Everyone has talents an passion, but you have to discover it. When schools and companies don’t give you the chance to explore your talents, they end up with people that are not engaged.

Jef used a great quote that shows the essence of his message.

”If you put fences around people, you get sheep.” by William McKnight

I can go on about Jef’s presentation but I think you should go listen to Jef yourself when you get the chance. If it’s not for his message, he’s an amazing speaker. You won’t regret.

 

A book that will change your thinking.

You may think I’m exaggerating but that’s not true. I finished ’The 4-hour Workweek’ by Timothy Ferris and it really is a life changer. Your vision will never be the same after you’ve read the book.

Timothy’s book was on my reading list for a long time and now that I’ve read it, I regret waiting so long. Timothy grabs your attention from the first page with his own story and vision. He is someone who questions his life and work so much that he realized he had to make a change. A change that everyone should make. We are all afraid of jumping in the dark. The unknown scares us so we stay in our comfortzone. Instead of taking the opportunities around us with both hands, we push them away from us.

We work day in day out to earn money. Long days fullfilling our tasks sometimes like robots. In the evening we are too tired to do something else and we ignore all the nice things around us. Worst of all, we don’t even realize life is passing by and we are missing the train.

Timothy took the train, in fact he took different trains, boats and plains to discover his opportunities. He created opportunities by jumping in the dark, by grabbing the chances he got. He questioned his life, his work and how he was doing the things was doing. He made some changes and created all the time he needed for exploring the world and reinventing his life.

I’m convinced. Now it’s time for the hard part, getting out of my comfortzone. I’m covinced I will succeed. What can go wrong?

Will you make the jump?

Will you make the jump?

Little creatures of nature.

This weekend, the weather was nice so I was walking in the garden to get some sunlight. Suddenly I heard some tsilping coming out of the nestboxes I hung up a couple of months ago. Apparently, we’ve got visitors!

I always hang up some nestboxes in january because I like birds. I keep birds myself, Zebrafinches. It’s always wonderfull to watch little Zebrafinches getting out of the egg and grow up. But seeing wild birds breeding their eggs, feeding their little ones and learning them to fly… That’s just amazing. It makes you realize what a beatiful world we live in.

To go further with my story…

As soon as I heard those little birds and saw their parents with spiders in their mouth to feed them, I went inside and grabbed my camera. I went back and hided under a low tree. After a couple of minutes, the parent couple returned. It appeared to be a couple of Great Tit (Parus major) that was living in this nestbox. They were very active and busy feeding their youngsters. Although a bit shy when they saw me, they continued feeding. I was able to watch them for a long time but taking a picture was something else. I decided to make a video. What do you think of them?

Great Tit (Parus major) from Bart Vermeiren on Vimeo.

While observing this couple, I saw another couple in the next tree. My nestboxes are popular this year :). The other couple was a pair of Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus or Parus caeruleus). They were really curious and came sitting closer to me. When I was inspecting their nestbox, it seemed they were testing me. Flying around my head and teasing me to take a picture but fly away as soon as I positioned my camera to shoot a picture. But I managed to take some pictures and you can see them beneath in the gallery.

Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus or Parus caeruleus) from Bart Vermeiren on Vimeo.

I really enjoyed my saturday observing those birds and I look forward to next weekend. I suppose some of them will have left their nest by then…

Some of the pictures I took:

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What I think of my Elephant wallet.

I bought myself an Elephant wallet. In fact, I bought two of them. The second one I ordered because I was curious and wanted to avoid higher transport costs than the price of the wallet itself.

I read about this slim wallet in an article on Lifehacker. The simple design and low price immediately convinced me to try this wallet that fits in every pocket. I was looking for a wallet like this for quite some time. Most stores only sell big leather wallets that need a bag to put them in. I needed something a little more convenient.

When I first unpacked my wallets, I was not very impressed. You have to get used to them and the fact that they are so little and can only carry the necessary stuff. I only keep two cards, my id, some money and two coins in it. That’s all I need.

I’ve bought two different versions: E8 wallet and LR wallet 1.0. The E8 model is the model I currently use and I’m really satisfied with it. It’s really easy to use and the cards slide out when I want them to. The wallet slides into my front pockets so I don’t have to sit on it.

Are you still looking for a practical wallet to put in only the necessary stuff? Don’t hesitate anymore and order an Elephant wallet. Still doubting? The price is worth the try.