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Het was een mooie dag vandaag en na het pannekoeken bakken voor de vriendjes op het kinderdagverblijf van Noah mocht ik op weg naar Zaamen, een grachtenpand met vergaderruimtes in hartje Haarlem. Ondanks de over het algemeen moeilijk te vinden parkeerplaatsen in centrum Haarlem kon ik praktisch voor de deur parkeren bij Zaamen. Het was een statig grachtenpand en ik kon bij na niet geloven dat ik voor een uiterst gunstig tarief hier mijn social media training mocht geven. Eenmaal binnengekomen was ik werkelijk verbluft door de uiterst verzorgde en stijlvolle indelingen van de verschillende kamers.

De workshop moest met zo’n locatie wel een positieve impuls krijgen! Na enkele minuten kwamen Coen Hagens, Ludwig Westerveld en Kelly Zomer binnen. Zij hadden op deze mooie lente dag de moeite genomen om iets bij te leren, namelijk hoe ze beter met WordPress om kunnen gaan om een goed online profiel op te bouwen. Normaliter zouden we elkaar wekelijks zien 5 minuten verderop bij het UWV kantoor in Haarlem. In samenwerking met het leerwerk loket van Haarlem, onderdeel van het UWV, probeer ik jongeren een nieuwe manier aan te leren om aan werk te komen. Deze trainingscyclus is onderdeel van mijn eigen ambitie om met Nederland Werkt Mee de werking op de arbeidsmarkt te veranderen. Mijn doel is om de jongeren te leren sociale media doelbewust toe te passen om hun lokale en sociale netwerken te activeren om hen bewust te helpen om aan werk te komen.

Meer over WordPress

Vandaag stonden de voornamelijk stil bij het gebruik van WordPress, hoe je je basis instellingen moet wijzigen, het verschil tussen een bericht en een pagina, hoe je met widgets kon werken in je sidebar en hoe je met foto’s en hyperlinks kan werken. De jongeren hebben niet allemaal even veel affiniteit met de computer, maar mijn interactieve workshop met een groot scherm leek goed te werken. Ik heb goede hoop dat Coen, Ludwig en Kelly na vandaag in staat zullen zijn om hun blog aantrekkelijker uit te bouwen. Vandaag hebben we ook op de blogs samengewerkt om de vergaderruimtes van Zaamen in Haarlem beter vindbaar te maken in Google. Zou het hun uiteindelijk lukken om zichzelf met hun naam beter vindbaar te krijgen in Google?

Het nut van Twitter

Naast WordPress maakte ik ook een start om het nut van Twitter uit te leggen. Zo kon ik laten zien hoe ik via Twitter contact kreeg met vergaderruimte Zaamen. Dat is weer een voorbeeld hoe je online netwerken kunnen gebruiken om iets te zoeken, ook als je elkaar niet kent, vooral als je hashtags zoals ‘#durftevragen’ gebruikt. Mijn zoektocht naar een goede trainingsruimte in hartje Haarlem kreeg maar liefst aandacht van 7 Twitter accounts: @vergaderlocatie, @HotelHaarlem, @Prinsenconnect, @Hostelboat, @ReneStoop, @HaarlemseTweets en natuurlijk @ZaameninHaarlem. Dit zijn 7 netwerken die ik niet of nauwelijks ken, maar met Twitter wel makkelijk benaderbaar. Zo liet ik ook mijn trainees zien hoe ze met een tool zoals bijvoorbeeld Hootsuite makkelijk ‘gericht kunnen luisteren’, bijvoorbeeld naar vacatures in en rondom Haarlem.

Natuurlijk is sociale media niet de heilige graal voor werkzoekenden, maar het is in ieder geval ‘rijker’ dan het standaard proces van sollicitaties doen. Sociale media biedt werkzoekenden op een makkelijke manier kansen in nieuwe netwerken, wat juist nodig is om meer kans te hebben om warme introducties te krijgen! Over 2 weken weer verder bij het UWV.

Millions of people living here, but no highrise to disturb this hard working city

Monday evening Yonathan and I arrived in the City of Jaipur. We had just come from Mumbai, from a meeting with Ravan Boddu, CEO of a partner who wants to do sales with us in UK. Upon arriving we found Jaipur to be very tranquil and well organized. Kumar and Naren, the two directors of our Jaipur unit, were there to pick us up and drove us back to the apartment.

Back to basic
On our way back Kumar started to manage our expectations and warned us that the appartment might not be to our liking. But we insured him that we would agree quite easily after having staid at a very small double room at the Kamran Residency in Mumbai. The appartment turned out to be very spacious and had 4 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 living room and a kitchen. Kumar was kind of nervous showing us the 2 bathrooms, 1 toilet and the 4 beds that were ready.

Kumar was happy to see us again as we were happy to see him again

Just after we said that the appartment was really fine for the tenth time, Kumar announced us that there was no warm water, but that it would be there by tomorrow. So the next morning I could experience a cold wash, with water from the bucket. The last time I had an unwanted cold shower was in Lviv, Ukraine about 3 years ago. The breakfast was simple, the next day I was all fresh and ready for a hot day at work 🙂

Good results from the team
Of course Kumar was proud to show that he had grown to practically double the amount of people working at the office. The additional office space was painted with the same orange / blueish style to match Componence colors.

New office space was added to fit the 100% growth since March 2008

In the coming days we would find ourselves in different meetings that resulted some clear lessons learned that showed that we in the Netherlands would sometimes behave the same towards our Indian colleagues, like our clients do. And other talks would show that they had the same issue as ourselves; the developers who were not getting the right information on time from our Dutch team also showed the same behavior towards their internal QA team.

Another exiting meeting was the kickoff session for a new product, a caching layer that will allow portals to perform much faster than it is now. This time it was not just a technical talk, but the complete picture was discussed starting from the businesscase. This new product is really exciting, as it’s results can really improve the throughput of any Weblogic or Websphere portal with at least 10 times. That’s solution thinking! The team was really excited about this development, as the whole project will lie in their hands, from requirements to delivery. Of course we’ll help out, but it’s exciting to see if our Indian unit can do total job like this.

Naren and Abhay are discussing if it's possible to implement the page cache as a separate application

And as the week ended we were able to win back some time on a crucial project, I guess we could expect nothing less as most of the days were from 10:00 – 21:00. Yonathan was very pleased to see all the progress and Krishan seemed to be happy too.

Yonathan and Krishan seem to be satisfied after a week of hard work

Great vegetarian at Urban Bistro


Urban Bistro made sure that we were well served every time, trying out their complete menu by the end of the week

Since last March a small restaurant had settled in the Anchor mall at Jaipur, Urban Bistro. Upon first sight it looked like a small diner, with just a few simple fast food dishes. But after returning for the 3rd time it became apparent to us that the owner knew our unit quite well, we had custom menu’s made for us every time we got in. So after 5 days of vegetarian food we have tasted many delicious dishes from different regions of India. Indian cuisine has a strong vegetarian side and is quite satisfying in this climate. Personally I thought I would crave for at least 1 piece of meat during my stay, but none of such … The place was even so good that we went out to celebrate the birthday of Coen, the support coordinator who is working closely with our Indian unit 🙂

Urban Bistro serves food good enough for a birthday party

It’s Componence time!

Just a few reasons why working at Componence is so cool

And of course the week could not end without a presentation and a company diner. As 18:00 was approaching I could just see every one standing and waiting for Naren, Kumar, Yonathan and me to leave to office towards Hotel Hawa Mahal (wind palace). In March we also had the presentation here and for Yonathan it was a trip down memory lane as he was staying at this hotel last time. This time the group was bigger, no more U-shaped conference setup, but just straight rows to give enough space.

Almost 40 people were sitting in the conference room waiting for my presentation to start.

And this time I was acquainted with the surrounding and gave a presentation with some new slides about Componence, why we’re so cool, about Portletsuite 1.x and 2.x and some slides about why we need our Jaipur unit to increase their quality and individual capacity.

This time I was better prepared and the people are more familliar

And probably Yonathan and I performed a good job as this time more hands were shown and there were definitely some people standing up to give some discussion. That´s what we´re aiming for, more initiative! One of the persons that I´ve met during this trip showed me that this unit is really going in the right direction. Sudesh, our system administration, turned out to be a powerful personality who really wants to contribute to this world through his work.

A new shining personality within our Jaipur team, an system administrator with good potential

So talks and foods followed, giving me some chance to speak with more of young team members. It was definitely a big releaf to see that here India women do IT!

Last time I think we only had Megha, now we have 7 Componence ladies in Jaipur

Ok … that’s all for now, time to go to bed (it’s already 02:23). Tomorrow we’ll hit the road to New Delhi, as Mumbai would not allow our relatives to be at ease. Anyhow, terrorism is a part of life in India and it can happen anywhere. Hopefully just not tomorrow in New Delhi 🙂

And at last our dream honeymoon starts as we get to the romantic Aleenta Resort & Spa in Hua Hin, Thailand. It’s time to enjoy …

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