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2007 - a (social) year in review

posted in personal stuff on December 31st, 2007

The last few days have been so hectic, with meet-ups here and meet-ups there that I totally forgot to post this, but finally, here it is:

2007 would not have been 2007 if it were not for the three meetups I had during the last days; first Emma, then Claske and finally - the one meeting I have been looking forward to since we first met virtually: Jeroen Poortvliet.

Jeroen and me have been working on both building and maintaining a special interest community for no less than 30 months now and after much planning and shifting, we finally managed to get together for a pint of beer.

Jeroen, who is a real-life photographer has been spearheading the expansion of our community and it is safe to say that, without him, NL-Noob would not be what we have become. Thanks to his efforts, our turnover rate is incredibly low compared to other communities and what’s even better - whenever we seemed to hit a snag or stagnation in growth, he came up with ideas that allowed us to expand even further.

We are, by no means the biggest (Dutch) community, but we have a fair number of people that are very happy that we are there, when they need a gaming fix.

Marjon on the other hand, is totally uninvolved in gaming, but still made a tremendous impact on me, most of all because of the inner strength she possesses and if there is something I respect in people a lot, then it is the ability to conquer literally anything they are faced with. No micro-relationship here, just great talks and mutual trust.

And last but not least, the Wingman of the year award goes out to Kevin for accompanying me to a number of great and interesting events and helping me with most, if not all, visual branding things that came up over the past year.

I could probably go on for a fair bit, because the above mentioned people are by no means the only ones that made an impression on me, but I wont. The ones I care about know that I do and that’s that.

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On standing up people you value

posted in personal stuff on August 29th, 2007

It is said that one should treat his friends well, for they are worth much more than any wealth or property in the world.

There is a lot of truth to be found in the proverbs of the Bourgeoisie, because these figures of speech are tried and time-tested and thus still hold true in this very day and age.

If I were the dramatic kind of person, I would say that today marks the first day of a different life for me. The reason for that is that I stood up a friend and person I respect a lot, a person I look up to and a person I have had the privilege of sharing a great amount of things with together.

I pride myself in being the loyal kind of friend, the person that you can rely on when things start hitting the fan at light speed. I normally am the person that will stand by you, even if others abandoned you long ago and yet, here I am, looking back at three weeks of utter stupidity, immature behavior and very un-me-ish actions.

In today’s world, it is hard to find the rare ones, the ones that are willing to teach you, tutor you and show you the stuff that you would normally have to pay for, fight for and beg for.

I have managed to find one of these rare ones and I treasured it for a long time now, in fact, I still do but at the end of the day, not everything is mutual.

It is said that one should treat his friends well, for they are worth much more than any wealth or property in the world.

It is also said that, given time and space, friendships can overcome hardships and problems and issues can be solved, made to disappear and cease to exist and to be honest, there is nothing in this world that I would like to do more.

I have grown attached to you, to you as a person, to you as a friend, to you as a tutor and to to you as a contact. You made me cheer when I felt bad and you provided perspective when I needed it. You, my friend, made me do a great amount of things I would not have done, or even considered, without your gentle prod.

In return, you received zilch, nothing, nada. Just an unthankful, short-sighted and incredibly stupid person.

This is not how friendships work and I realize that. I also realize that saying “I learned my lesson” does not cut it here, in fact, it does not cut it all - it does not even scratch it.

My actions were crazy, disrespectful and plain shitty, period. I hope that, at some point, we can reestablish our friendship and that you will be able to trust me again. I would like that, I would like that very much.

For those that were expecting juicy bits in this letter, I apologize. I feel that there is no need to involve my contacts, simply because this is not about their name(s), but about honesty and remorse.

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Communication in a digital world

posted in Media on August 21st, 2007

I just received an email from a user at xdaflameusers.com asking me about some general information on the device in question and so on.

While I would rather see said person asking their question in the forums, so that everyone can benefit from the answers, I still decided to type up an answer, but that is not the point of the email.

After sending my reply, I decided to do a quick lookup on the person I was “talking” to and grabbed some of the data that was available from the email header and forum software.

The name revealed a profile on a popular Dutch social networking site but other than that, did not provide me with any more information, so I used the second piece of information I had, an IP address.

It turns out that the IP address that was used to register on the forums is part of a block that was delegated to Achmea Active. After searching around a bit, it would appear that the IP was mainly used for vandalism on Wikipedia.

For the sake of clarity, I should note that, in this case, the IP is shared amongst a great number of users and I do not believe that the person that mailed me is amongst the group of people that vandalized Wikipedia, but it made me think about how digital communication could evolve (for me).

In real life, I do not talk to people I know have a bad reputation, especially if they did something that goes against my core values and I am thinking of adopting a similar system for online communication. This kind of background-check would take some time to conduct, every time, but it could be limited to those contacts one is not familiar with; those contacts that contact you out of the blue.

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The things that keep you coming back

posted in Marketing on August 7th, 2007

In today’s (commercial) world, everyone seems to be focused on one thing and one thing only: money. Many companies forget that without customers, they would not be where they are right now and yet, some companies still believe they can treat their customers the way they want.

Normally, this kind of post would turn into a rant, but I think it is important to point out those companies that actually care about their customers and will do (just about) everything to keep you coming back:

First up is QH Networks. I came across them while looking for some professional help on getting a new Operating System installed on my server. Since I value my data and like to be kept in the loop, I bombarded one of their employees with a myriad of questions during the whole project. I had special requirements and special circumstances, yet they did not give up on me and move on to the next, probably more profitable client. By doing so, they earned my respect and I will most certainly come back when I am in need of their services again.

Next stop is Proporta.com. I initially came across them in 2003, while looking for some accessories for my Pocket PC and while I am not ordering from them every other week, they are always the first site that I check. The reason for that is simple: their employees are very responsive and in the rare case that your order cannot be shipped out the same day, they will try to, and actually do, their level best to keep you happy as a customer. It is not so much the reparations they are willing to make but their concern for you as a customer. Granted, said concern is probably based on the fact that they want to keep you as a customer, but still, they care, while others do not. And besides that, Proporta.com includes a selection of English Breakfast Tea with every order, a small gesture, yes, but one I like a lot.

Both of these companies work harder to keep you as a customer than most other companies you will ever come across. It may be related to their respective area of operations, which are more niche than your ordinary brick and mortar store or it may be related to the fact that their employees actually give a damn. Either way, it works out very nicely for the consumer.

The Reason I do this

posted in personal stuff on August 4th, 2007

Sometimes, people ask me why I devote time to blogging, after all, it is one of those pastimes you do not earn much ‘cred with on the streets. Which, obviously is not entirely correct, but that is not the point.

The reason I do this is simple, I like to share my thoughts with the world, and occasionally, the world replies and tells me heartwarming things like this:

The reason I do this

If this is not one of the best reasons to do this, then I would not know what is. Thanks, Josh.

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