The bigger the crisis, the more we must innovate to get passed it. And after that we’ll be stronger than ever. Companies can use the crisis to increase the alertness, pro-activity, collaboration and innovation of their workforce. That in essence is the key of crisis solving, not by just putting more money in.

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Time to look back and learn from the things that happened in 2008. Although the crisis has already set in, how can I make sure that next time I’ll be better aware of the signals of a crisis. And what lessons do I need to see before I can really ignite the necessary improvements in 2009.

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Years have passed in which so many of us have prospered and profited from the growth of the world economy and the positive side of globalization. Now things are getting worse, but we should not forget how well life is to us. We must learn to live with more balance.

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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 🙂

My personal vision to Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden on Will they listen to my outcry for a better balanced American Dream?

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Obama already used Web 2.0 to defeat Clinton and used it to reach the finish line first

November 4th 2008 – A historical day

“I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didnt start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It seems that I’m lucky enough to live in an era of extreme events. Lately it seemed to me that the world had more eyes and ears for the climate change and it’s negative effects and the financial crisis. And while our world is facing great challenges and threats, days like today show that mankind can achieve the sometimes unimaginable.

Today is a the first day in a new age for America, with President Obama to lead the country that is mainly responsible for so many of the problems (and great things) in the world. By beating the Bradley effect he is the first black president in this conservative country (yes, America is a conservative country).  This means hope and that is exactly what the Americans need nowadays as they are suffering one of the worst economic crisis in the last century. Obama will have to change the way America is operating as a leader in the world. Internally Americans always are very strong for their democracy, not to say how true that is, but it will be essential for America to also act on this in their international relationships.

A very hard time to become the president of America

“For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.”

I think this presidency is one of the hardest any American president has faced. Of course President Roosevelt had to solve a World War, but now President Obama has to solve a problem that is changed the forces of nature itself. And the cause is of course from human origin and huge investments need to be done to make the world a lot greener and more balanced. That’s why this presidency will be extremely hard, because America needs to invest while their financial burdens and costs of finance have never been so high.

America needs to unite and endure the hardship as a nation

“So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.”

The coming 4 years might just be enough to see the financial sector gain the necessary trust back. That’s why it’s such a relief that Obama has been addressing these issues firmly during his campaign. I believe that he truly understands that he has to reform America’s way of energy consumption. Hopefully he can urge American companies to invest in R&D again, they used have the biggest R&D budgets. I truly believe that once America puts their head to it, they can overtake Europe and Japan in green technology. And I believe they will, they will take their financial pains fast and hard, while Europe will take it slowly but long. In such doing Americans will need a leader that can unite the whole country in order for America as a whole overcome the challenges faster.

Will he continue as the Web 2.0 president?

“But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you!

I’m quite sure the campaign managers of Obama have shown their great understanding of the long tail in politics (more examples of long tail), because the amounts of campaign contributions they’ve been able to get are enormous. Obama alone achieved to get more contributions than Hillary and McCain together. I heard that he really is really twittering and he has about 4 times more friends on Myspace and Facebook than McCain. Through the web he has been able to reach millions of young people and people who did not go voting in 2004. With that he turned more than 10 states that were voting for Bush in 2004, just compare the situation in 2004 and the results of today.

“But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”

But like any president he will also have to do things he didn’t promise and not do things that he did promise, that’s the fate of any president or political party that are in the government. But I just hope that he will continue to use the internet to listen to the voice of normal Americans. In the dark days ahead his messages on the internet can stimulate, convince and provide understanding. Whether he will keep his election promises, time will have to tell. I just hope that he will keep on using the internet to stay in touch with the people that have been touched by him.

Click here to find the full speech of Mr. Obama in video and text.

If you’re having problems with the performance of your Weblogic Portal, then you’re definitely not the only one. Read this article if you want to see how you can increase your throughput up to 10 times!

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The Netherlands is ranked 8th in the Global Competitiveness Report. But at the same time the Dutch seem to complain more and care less about their collective well begin. Is this true? Is it necessary? Do they feel the urgency of action? Are there enough Dutch people who are strong enough to really take action instead of just complaining? I trust that there is enough spirit amongst this reasonable folk, they just have to find their drive …

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More rules and regulations make people feel more like it’s not their problem and responsibility. It’s time to get people responsible again for collective causes, it’s time to get more concrete results!

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So what is the English way to treat customers? My quest to find an answer for this question starts in London, where immigrants do most of the serving. London is a huge service-economy, done often with a decent smile. And when you find the right places, London can be cheap for your wallet, even for Americans.

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