Just One Thing. [weekly head voices #49]

(post summary: linkedin news, the week in bullets, backyard philosophy!)

Dearest readers,

Yesterday I made my 400th LinkedIn connection. Yes, I know there are people with zillions of LinkedIn connections, but mine are special. I’ve actually had contact, outside of LinkedIn, with each and everyone of them. In most cases the contact has been in person, in some cases even involving beer, and in the others the contact has been sufficiently significant, by my metrics of course, to warrant a real connection. Whatever the case may be (how many times have I used the word “case” so far?), reaching this milestone has made really happy, and this again warrants a great big thank you to each of you little coloured dots! The visualisation below shows my complete network, where I’ve labeled each cluster with the place or institute it’s most associated with:

My LinkedIn network, visualised today. If you're not in there yet, connect with me man!

You can also try out an interactive version of this map, or make your own.

The week in bullets

  • On Monday I had the privilege of attending the Yes!Delft Network Event 2011, secretly also the opening of their beautiful new building. Yes!Delft is an incubation centre where startups, once approved by the board, can find affordable office space and a number of other facilities, including for example advice and financing, that startups require. The show was really impressive, with multiple giant projection surfaces and super lighting, a number of VIPs (Maxime Verhagen amongst others) and a 3 or 4 of the involved starters doing their elevator pitches. It was great to see that through Yes!Delft, my little city is turning into such a startup innovation hub.
  • On Tuesday I attended a day-long course on drafting an ERC Starting Grant proposal. For those of you not in the know, this is a super-prestigious research grant of up to 1.5 million euros that can be requested from the EU. Logically the rejection rate is also sufficiently high, so wish me lots of luck. Better yet, explain to any family or network members that you might have in Brussels that they should give me the money and get it over with.
  • The rest of the week was spent in meetings. I’ve come to the conclusion that the number of contiguous meetings in my programme is just about the strongest determinant for me getting unhealthily bad-tempered. By the end of Thursday I was ready to start breaking things, by Friday I was in my denial stage. A meeting now and then is fine, especially the inspiring ones during which you come up with some awesome new idea, but having them all back-to-back is just dangerous.
  • Almost as if karma felt that it should compensate in some way for inflicting meeting hell on me, the weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect, and perfect weather means BBQing! The BBQ was even more perfect, filled with scorched meat, beer, wine, good friends and great conversation. Fortunately nobody was raptured.

Backyard philosopy

There are two issues I’d like to discuss with you.

The first is the following realisation I had this past week, a slightly different incarnation of another recurring thought: At any one time, you can do exactly one (1) thing only. This has at least two implications:

  1. Don’t panic. Life is just a long sequence of these single things strung together. Just keep on doing them.
  2. At any time, do make sure that you pick the best possible thing to do at that moment.

The second issue is not really an issue, but an inspiring quote I came across recently on the interwebs:

If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises, they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not ‘studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

There you have it kids: Work hard, try new stuff, remember to fall on your feet, and live now.

Great Success! [weekly head voices #48]

Seven years ago, a wise man gave the following advice on this blog:

There are two rules to success in life:

Rule 1: Don’t tell people everything you know.

At that stage, twitter did not exist yet (the first tweet would only be made on March 21, 2006), so the clearly visionary post author had the habit of writing short, tweet-like blog posts. Because times have changed (my posts are slightly longer than 140 characters these days), but the advice is still sound, I’m repeating it here.

Also on the topic of success, he most significant event of the past week must be Clinical Graphics, represented by its CEO Dr. Peter Krekel, winning the prestigious Philips Innovation Award (PHIA) 2011. See below for a video of the announcement, the real action starts at 3:50 (you can even hear me shouting):

It was absolutely awesome being there to witness this grand event. Clinical Graphics won this for the largest part due to its innovative product, but the company was also evaluated, by a jury consisting of Extremely Experienced and Probably Very Rich Entrepreneurs and High-Powered Managers, based on its full business plan and potential. I am of course also fantastically proud of my good friend Dr. Krekel, having coincidentally had the privilege to act as his academic advisor throughout his master’s and his Ph.D., and now as scientific advisor to Clinical Graphics. Watch this company, do buy their stuff or get the people you know to buy more of their stuff!

By the way, I got to take a 20 minute ride on the AquaLiner (I WAS ON A BOAT!) from the Willemskade in Rotterdam (where I took the photo below) through the Rotterdam harbour (it’s frikking awesome) to the RDM campus where the PHIA finals were held:

Erasmus Bridge and surroundings taken before boarding the AquaLiner to the PHIA 2011 finals at the RDM campus.

In other less momentous news, I’ve actually written three blog posts today:

  1. This one.
  2. A post on my ultra-nerd blog VxLabs dealing with a number of annoyances and their work-arounds in the latest Ubuntu release, version 11.04, aka The Natty Narwhal (eeuw).

So that’s it for now kids! Let’s focus on GREAT SUCCESS this week, ok? Whilst you’re pondering how to get started doing this, you could do worse than watching this video of a dude lip-syncing the 50 worst video game voices, in quite entertaining and hence probably successful, fashion: