Fun pass

This video about Caine’s cardboard Arcade made me smile today.

An Invocation for Beginnings

Five years after the The Show, Ze Frank started again. The first episode picks up where he left of. So much goodness here. This will be my daily routine for the coming year. some quotes:

This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun. Who’s stuck in a terrible place between zero and one

Let me think about the people who I care about the most, and how when they fail or disappoint me I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best of them. Let me extend that generosity to myself.

Let me thank the parts of me that I don’t understand or are outside of my rational control like my creativity and my courage.

Let me remember that my courage is a wild dog and it won’t just come when I call it, I have to chase it down and hold on as tight as I can.

Let me not be so vain to think that I am the sole author of my victories and a victim of my defeats.

Perfection might look good in his shiny shoes but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.

Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic, but when the intent is evil, that’s what the block button’s for.

There is no need to sharpen my pencils anymore. My pencils are sharp enough. Even the dull ones will make a mark.

Little Printer

This is great, reinventing the printer.

The next chapter

For the last three and a half years, I have been working at Sanoma Media. It is my last week there. In October I will be joining the startup Silk.

When I started working, fresh out of university, I formulated two choices for myself. Either continue my internet company I set up as a student (doing internet development and advice for small companies) or take a job as a business consultant. I opted for the latter. It seemed the right and rational thing to do. I did many projects for many companies, had many very smart colleagues and did a lot of things a rational person would do. I learned what companies did, how organizations worked and how analytical thinking could get you further. But it was work on the sideline, mostly focusing on the financial bottom line. Figuring out how companies can working more efficiently, cut costs. However, I was way more interested in how to be successful in terms of growth, innovation, exploring new markets, new business models.

Luckily my employer gave me a half year off to work on my own product. I met an angel investor to help me build Spectives.com in 2007. Spectives was a visual RSS reader. A really novel and wonderful idea. We worked hard to get it right, it was hard but we launched a great site. Got great coverage on TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, ReadWriteWeb and others. Then again, I formulated two options: either find more investors, form a team and go full throttle with Spectives, or try to sell it. I eventually sold it to Sanoma where I started working in the innovation team. It seemed the rational thing to do. However, running a startup within a large company proved to be difficult. Especially because it was not invented there. We pulled the plug in 2010.

I did some wonderful things at Sanoma. From concepting, developing and running a video site and a Dutch Twitter aggregator to running the largest Dutch Q&A site. But after three and a half years, it was time to do something new. Again I formulated two choices, either choose for a new function within Sanoma and continue my career in a large media company or join a startup. This time I did not choose for the rational and secure thing to do. I followed my feeling, my intuition.

Next week, I will join a team of 6 very talented people. The product is awesome, the ambition sky high and a top notch VC is backing us.

I’m petrified and I can’t wait.

Here I go.

What motivates us

In this talk, Daniel Pink explains the cognitive mechanisms behind what motivates us. Quick spoiler: it’s not money.

If you like the style of this talk, visit RSA‘s Animate series, very cool.

The success of Finnish schools

Smithsonian has a very interesting article about the educational system in Finland. Its schools are at the top of the world. Setting up a good educational system is not easy, it has to combine pedagogy, financing and politics. Nonetheless, the Finnish have done some great things that seem to work. They give the teachers the trust to do whatever it takes to turn young lives around. I personally believe that freedom fosters responsibility and creativity. Moreover, all teachers have a university degree. This is combined this with simple guidelines and no obsession with tests. From the article:

There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school.

There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions.

Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians.

Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town.

The differences between weakest and strongest students are the smallest in the world, according to the most recent survey by the OECD. “Equality is the most important word in Finnish education. All political parties on the right and left agree on this,” said Olli Luukkainen, president of Finland’s powerful teachers union.

Read the full article

Wikileaks leaks

The shit has hit the fan. Wikileaks’ complete uncensored archive of 251,287 secret US diplomatic cables – without redaction to protect sources – have been made available online. Untill now, many secret sources were not visible, they were replaced by XXXXXXXXXXXX (12 X’s). Wikileaks blames the Guardian:

A Guardian journalist has negligently disclosed top secret WikiLeaks’ decryption passwords to hundreds of thousands of unredacted unpublished US diplomatic cables.

The Guardian denies

Guardian denies allegation in WikiLeaks statement that journalist disclosed passwords to archive

Fact is that many persons that were previously protected can become targets. From now on, people are in danger and that is a scary thought. How this story unfolded can be read in a good article from Der Spiegel.

To make the archive even easier to search, Cablesearch.org will include the uncensored cables.

Update 2 Sept: Wikileaks now made all the cables available themselves. The archive is unencrypted, but still redacted in my understanding.

Computer camp love

This is such a geeky funny track from Datarock that I started to like it.

Here’s the Spotify link

The Think Tank

Great short film by Peter Calloway about what is going on in a guy’s head when having a date. Very amusing.

Interview with psychologist Philip Zimbardo

I saw Philip Zimbardo on the Picnic conference in Amsterdam last year. He conducted the famous Stanford Prison Experiment in the seventies. The goal was to research the influence of circumstances on the behaviour of people. The guy is an amazing speaker taking the crowd into a journey of the human mind. Two clips for you today. An interview about the prison experiments and some great footage featuring kids, candy and discipline.