Blogging.

Blogging is hot. Internet is available to a lot of people and they tend to use it. Not only for social media or playing online games. For many people out there, the internet is used to share their story with the rest of the world. Blogging.

Blogging is popular, many people write blogposts and even more read them. It’s not only because of the internet, that would be to easy. The internet makes it more easy to reach a lot of people with just one click. But the main reason that blogs are rising, is that people love to describe their thoughts and ideas and share them with the world.

Writing is a good way to express yourself. Ofcourse it’s not like talking but when you write with passion, you will notice that people will understand you. Maybe even better than when you talk to someone. Writing has the advantage that you don’t have to repeat yourself everytime. You can write down your idea and share it as many times as you want.

For some people it’s easier to share their ideas from behind their computer. Presenting it on a podium during a TEDx Conference is not for everyone :).

I like to blog. I don’t really know if many people are reading my posts but the comments I get are always positive. You don’t have to share my ideas. You can read them and have your own opinion. That’s the nice thing about blogging. It’s free and everyone can do with it what they want. No obligations and no limits. I wish everything would be like that. Our life would be much simpler.

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Mindless work.

Ever had a moment nothing seems to go well? Or a day where you don’t feel the need to do anything?

I guess we all have these moments from time to time. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. It might overcome you at the wrong time or place but it’s not as worse as you think. Why do we have those moments? We are tired after a busy week or we had a rough weekend. Maybe it’s because someone said something wrong or you did something that causes trouble and now you’re afraid of doing something else.

In fact, all of the above reasons don’t matter. The point is to fill this time as effective as possible. If you are tired, it’s better to take a nap and continue your work the next day. At first, it will look like some time wasted but you will see that you might as well gain some time. When you are tired, your brain will not be creative or able to think fast enough. The consequence is that you spend more time on your work without delivering more quality. Sometimes when you’re brain is tired, you will not feel the need to go get a nap. What to do then? That is the perfect time to do some mindless work like scanning all your paper notes or cleaning your desk. Maybe you have some slumbering tasks you postponed for a couple of weeks? This is the perfect time to get rid of those. Performing those little tasks will free your mind and provide you with some positive energy to continue the rest of the day.

How do you manage the moments you’re tired? Let me know in the comments!

What the World Cup can do with a nation.

Tuesday, we played our first game on the World Championship since Prendergast stole Marc Wilmots’ goal 12 years ago against Brazil. 

Since we were not present an any of the international tournaments in the past 12 years, we had to cheer for Germany, Spain or the Netherlands. Many did, but still it’s not the same. This year is different, we participate ourselves. Even better, we think we can win. Our golden generation plays in the best competitions in the world so why wouldn’t we? To be honest, I don’t think we will get that far. We talk too much of winning instead of just playing the best we can and enjoy. But still, I hope we will win the final.

Last Tuesday I followed our game on a big screen with 200 other people, all cheering for our Red Devils to win. The game was boring and we were loosing for the biggest part of it.

But what I will remember of this game is that everyone was part of one big group being said and hoping we would score that one goal that would free our players. Even people who said they do not follow the results of the Red Devils were hoping for the best, I’m sure of that. It was not that our country stopped functioning during the game, we are not that crazy yet.

And then finally we scored, everyone was happy and everything was possible now. Maybe we could still win our first game since long on a big tournament. And yes we did. 10 minutes later everyone jumped with hands in the air. 2-1! The happiness I saw at that moment was incredible. We are a country divided in two parts and enrolled in difficult politic discussions. At that moment none of this matters, everyone jumped together for the same purpose. We scored and we won the game. Amazing.

When driving home, it was amazing to see what was happening on the street. People everywhere. Cheering, yelling, waving our flag. Sometimes when I drive trough Brussels I’m afraid. Now, all the people where smiling and talking to each other. It was like I landed in  a different country. Who knows what happens when we win the final…

 

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Please answer…

…my question. Have you ever neglected to answer someone’s  question? Have you ever asked a question and never received the answer?

I hate it when I don’t get an answer. Is it that difficult to phrase a response? Before you say that you can’t know everything, I am aware of that. I don’t mean you have to give a good answer, but a correct one.

When I ask you if you can help me, you can at least say no when you don’t have the time. I don’t mind. At least I know I have to look for someone else. When I ask you to explain me something and you don’t know what I’m talking about, just say so. I prefer someone who answers that he doesn’t know instead of just ignoring my question.

When you talk face-to-face with other people, they will mostly answer. But the moment you ask your question to two or more people, you are in trouble. Everyone thinks someone else will answer and in the end no one does. Why don’t we have more respect for the one who raises the question? Are we afraid our answer will be wrong? Or maybe it just doesn’t interest us? Nowadays e-mail made this even worse. How many e-mails are send everyday but never get answered? I know, you should not send that question to everyone near you. But just a simple ”Can’t help you.” should do the trick then.

I ask you to please respond to the question, you’ll see that a whole new world will open for you.

Please answer.

Experts are blind.

Sometimes you can go so deep in something, you don’t see your mistakes anymore. It’s like you can only see what’s in front of you.

Experts are blind. Yes, I know this may sound a bit strange but it is true. I think we all have had the feeling that everyone else does not understand our point. We are so convinced of our truth that it’s very frustrating to see the others doubt and disagree.

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This is what happens with experts. They know their domain so well that they forget to think outside it. They always dig deeper and deeper and forget to ask for help. Details can make the difference they say. Ofcourse they can. But a broader view WILL make a difference. I can understand experts. It is human nature to explore what we already know. The unknown is frightening and might learn us things that change all our ideas. Maybe we have to change our way of working. Or worse, we have to correct the things we already delivered.

Experts have experience. They have worked for years in the same domain and know how it all works. Yeah right. I don’t believe in experience as is. It’s not because you work five years in the same sector that you know everything. If you work for five years in the same sector and you do the things you love to do, then you will know a lot. But even then you need to keep innovating your knowledge. Listen to other people, look for new perspectives on what you are doing. It might be difficult to accept that someone new is right. But often they are. Why? Because they look at it as someone new. They question everything and Google for information. And you will see, they will find other sources of information than those you have explored for many years.

I don’t want you to think that I don’t like experts. I just want to show you that there are different ways to fill the role of an expert. You can see it as someone who needs to be in the lead. Someone who has to control everything and everyone. Other people have to ask whether they can make a change and will mostly avoid to go into discussion with this kind of expert. I hope you understand that this can be very negative for the team as well as for the expert. The expert I prefer is someone who shares what he knows but is open for other ideas and perspectives. He or she is challenged by other opinions, even if they may seem wrong in the beginning. Instead of checking the work of the new guy, he will ask the new guy to take a look at his own work. The value here is to share knowledge and learn from each other.

What kind of expert are you?

Backblaze.

The more I do on my MacBook Air, as higher is the need for me to have a backup in the case something goes wrong. That’s why I installed Backblaze.

Backblaze is the solution for me to make sure all my important files are stored in the cloud. Doing so, I will always have them available on any Mac when mine crashes. Of course I have some external harddrives with backups and clones of my MacBook Air. But if everything goes wrong, I know I can trust on Backblaze to get my files back.

They have an app for your Mac that makes sure all it’s data is backed up to the cloud. For me, the app works flawless. The only downside I discovered is that I sometimes have to pause the backup since our network is not that performant all the time. Their app will throttle automatically but it doesn’t take into account other computers in the network. Besides that, they also have an iOS app. This means you can always access your data on your iOS device. Oh, Backblaze also works with Windows…

I like Backblaze and will continue to use their service. I you’d like to subscribe too, you can get one month for free when you use this link. In addition, I get one month for free too :).

Ideas worth spreading…

…is the tagline of TED, a platform known for its short movies of people presenting their idea to the world. I am a fan! This weekend, I went a stap further.

It must be two months ago I saw a tweet passing by that promoted TEDx Ghent. A full day filled with inspiring people showing their ideas live on stage, what a chance! I doubt many times but this time I did not hesitate. I booked an early bird ticket and grabbed the opportunity for this new experience.

This weekend I went to Ghent to attend the event in ’NTGent Schouwburg’. A great location for an amazing event – as I know now. It is wonderful to see how many people attend events like this. They came from all parts of the country to listen to some great speakers and topics. In addition, it was a great time to build our network and meet new people. I was astonished to see how many creative and enthousiast people there are. Perhaps they are not famous managers or rich soccerplayers but I realy felt honoured to be part of this group of people.

The speakers were presented and questioned by the curator of the event and Lieven Scheire. They both did a great job by being themselves while warming up the public with a joke from time to time ;). IMG_4958When I watch TED movies online, I look for those topics that interest me the most. The strength of TEDx events is that you get to hear a variety of ideas and topics. That’s interesting because you get the chance to expand your areas of interest. You are forced to listen to all of them. Ofcourse it doesn’t feel like being forced. Once the speaker is on stage, you are sucked into the story. I discovered a lot of new things, things I did not pay attention to before.

Politics is not my favorite topic, but Alphonse Muambi triggered something with his story about democracy in Africa. Afterwards at the reception, I had an interesting discussion with some other attendees. I never thought I would be discussing politics…

Dirk Ryckbosh made me discover ’ghost particles’. Neutrino’s are all over the place but we can only see them deep in the ice.

These days everything has to be smaller, better, faster and greener. That is what the Phd of Jonathan De Roo is about. Microwaves can speed up all sort of things and clear the way for superconductors. Chemistry looks fascinating, but I leave it to the specialists.

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Maybe you have heard of ZWERM, an urban game that stimulated social activities in the competing neighbourhoods. Thomas Laureyssens tells us how people behave and explained the results. Always funny to see how people unite when they are loosing.

Archeology. Yes, it sounds boring and I still think it is. The talk of Philippe De Smedt was not the most interesting for me but still it’s good to see that people are busy investigating our past by using modern technologies.

The Mixfitz is a DJ crew that has won the worldchampionchips. After all the speakers, it was an nice twist to listen to their mix inspired by last year’s event.IMG_4961

’To Google or not to Google, that’s the question.’ is what Sylvia Van Peteghem tells us. Nowadays everything can be found with Google, even books. Open access is what she wants and that is why the library of Ghent works together with Google to digitize their books. I’m convinced that digital media is the future so I can only be happy with this initiative.

Always wanted to be an astronaut and discover new planets? Now you can! Hanny Van Arkel discovered her own astronomical object by participating in an online project Galaxy Zoo. I will never be an astronaut but I’ll definitely check out this project.

Smartphones and security, more and more you hear those two words together in the same sentence. The more we use our smartphones, the more information is available on the internet. Long live the internet. IMG_4963But what if this information get’s stolen? Bram Bonné tries to scare us by showing us that he was able to find out where of the attendees have been in the last couple of months. Just by looking at the data available on the internet. I think you should not be scared but be aware. You need to be aware of what you share and with whom.

 
I can go on like this but it’s better you go and watch the movies once they are online. And when you get the chance, attend one of the future TEDx events wherever you are. And if you want to join me next year in Ghent, shoot me a message. I’ll be there!

Thank you TEDx Ghent team for the great experience!

Thank you TEDx Ghent team for the great experience!

Apple did it again.

Monday, Tim Cook presented the long awaited WWDC keynote. A lot of people were really excited for what would be the new things. I followed the keynote via livestream and I have to say I was pretty amazed with some of the things they announced.

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Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs, but there is no need for that. At least not for the keynotes. Even if you don’t like Apple, you should at least watch one of their keynotes. The way they present their message, simple and clean is a good example for everyone. They know how to sell their products. Talking about their why inspires people to buy their products. Add some ’amazing’, ’huge’ and ’powerful’ and you have the perfect marketing.

Like always, Apple managed to amaze us with some remarkable updates for OS X and iOS. For me, the most amazing announcement was about letting all your devices work together better than ever. No matter where you are, you can always switch from device and continue what you were doing. Being able to pick up a phonecall on my Mac is just a nice example of it. Imagine yourself editing your household budget in Numbers. You have to leave for the dentist and while waiting your iPhone prompts you to continue editing your budgets. Amazing, isn’t it?

There is a lot more but their are a lot of people that are way better in explaining all those new features. iPhoneclub (Dutch), iMore and MacStories are a couple of examples.

It’s not all good news at WWDC. iCloud drive is a nice new feature but we only get 5GB free storage. Pretty stupid if you ask me. My biggest request for iOS 8 was Siri in Dutch. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t announce that one. We get some new dication languages so maybe Dutch is among those. Maybe I should send Tim Cook this blogpost with the request to teach Siri Dutch…

Start reading.

Everyone has read a book or an article. When you are young you did because your teacher told you. But have you started reading a book since then?

I guess there are a lot of people who have not read a book since they left school. Maybe they did pick up a studybook when they started in their new job because they needed to follow another course. When they had the chance, they will never buy a book. Reading is boring, I’d rather watch television. That is a fair opinion, watching television can be interesting. But I don’t believe that you can find really interesting programs all day long :).

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A couple of months ago I wrote about discovering my old love, reading books. I have read a lot of books when I was younger, mostly adventure books. But as with many people, you get busy and reading becomes like a difficult assignment. You need to make time for it and it seems to take ages to finish the book you’re reading. I think the power is to find the books you really like. For some it can be fantasy, others like to read biographies. I prefer books that tell the story about our lives and work. Books that encourage you to think about your own life and how you are living it. That doesn’t mean I don’t like fantasy books, it’s just a long time since I’ve last read one.

It’s not that I’m reading all day long. I’m still looking for a good balance. I noticed that it’s difficult for me to read in the evening. I’m tired when I get home and it’s easy to get distracted doing something else. That’s why I decided to get up early in the morning at 5:30 AM. I take a shower and start reading while I eat breakfast. Depending on the book that I’m reading, it happens I arrive later at work because my book is so interesting. ”The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing: A Spiritual Memoir” by Jeff Goins is such a book. This is really a quick read that you should definitely check out.

If reading a book takes too much time for your busy schedule, there are a lot of interesting blogs out there. A blogpost is easy to read and only takes a couple of minutes. In fact I call books slow information because it can take quite some time to read them. Blogs are much quicker to read and can also provide great lessons.

Summer is near, a lot of television programs are at the end of their season so now is the time to start reading. Ask your friends what they are reading and if you find a book that attracts you, just buy it. You wont’t regret!