Looking Back on 2012

In the past 2 years (2010, 2011), triggered by my friend Ernst Phaff, I’ve posted a list of things that gave me a sense of accomplishment that year. The list of things that made me go ‘Tadaa!’. It is often all to easy to loose track of all the different things I’ve done, and just bear in mind the unfinished, the yet to achieve, the not-quite-up-to-standard, that make up the lists of things-to-do that rule my every day work. So at the end of the year I look back at my calendar and note the things that I think were pretty damn great in the last year. In no particular order, and roughly chronologic 2012’s (mostly profession related) ‘Tadaa!’ moments are:

 

  • Landed a project competing against three well established big consultancy firms, winning on expertise;
  • A beautiful summer evening with awesome friends and great food on lake Zug;
  • Provided training at the World Bankin the US;
    Icy Canada from above: enormous power lines US Flags
    Enormous power lines in Labrador, Canada, from plane. US flags at Washington Memorial
  • Organizing a hack day in my hometown on the occasion of the beta release of our city’s open data portal;
  • With the ePSIplatform team organized a large (300+ people) international conference on open government data in Rotterdam;
  • Doing a fun and energy giving project on open data in the city of Leeuwarden, covering aspects from community building to designing information processes, and to positioning open data as a real policy instrument;
  • Seeing a dinner in late 2011 morph into a starting business ‘The Green Land’ in open data consultancy, with several good projects delivered in 2012;
    The Green Land Strategie sessie
    Future backwards session with Paul, Frank and Marc, my The Green Land partners
  • Create new Open Data workshop formats with my colleague Frank which never fail te generate lots of energy with the participants;
  • Spending a week in Moldova working on open government and open government data;
  • Working a week from Helsinki;
    On Kauppatori Laboratory
    Berries on Helsinki market, Design District
  • Spending time with dear friends, old and new, living close and far away, in good and bad times;
    Visiting K20 / Düsseldorf Coworking Boat PAN
    With Pedro & Patricia, with Henriette and Thomas
  • Tried outsourcing some work to speed execution of ideas up, working with my friend Peter (both remote and in our living room when he visited from Canada). Will need to do more of that in 2013;
  • Taking good care of my well being by immediately switching hotels when the one I was in was way too noisy;
  • Organizing a great BBQ for my 42nd birthday with friends, family, clients, raising money for charity in the process. I enjoyed the party tremendously!
  • Got rid of half (500+) of our books, keeping those that changed me, I haven’t read, or are there for future reference;
  • Visiting the Olympic Games in London for a week (thanks Elmine for making that happen!);
    Excel Italy-Russia
    At the Olympic fencing tournament
  • Being on the jury for Apps for Germany;
  • Started getting the machines (lasercutter, CNC milling machine) for our home FabLab, to be continued in 2013;
  • Giving a keynote presentation at the great State of the Net conference that Paolo(co-) organizes in Trieste, finally making it to this conference after trying several times;
    Trieste Trieste
    At State of the Net 2012, sunset in Trieste
  • Working in Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Ireland, next to as already mentioned in USA, Finland, Denmark, and Moldova;
  • Giving a keynote (in German) at Zukunft Basisbildung on the impact of networked society in educational settings, visiting that topic again after a few years (bringing back memories from the Rotterdam project and the Online Educa 2008 keynote);
  • Trying and more often succeeding in enjoying the places I visited, and not just fly in / fly out with merely seeing hotel room and conference venue or client office in between. Sushi with Heinz, Guinness and European championship football with Keith, both in Graz, a great late night dinner on the Piazza Unita d’Italia in Trieste, a wine tasting in Moldova, great crab cakes in Washington, espresso in the sun in Nantes, and an amazing dinner with Elmine and very dear friends in Switzerland. A car ride through Slovenia, a small neighborhood pub in Prague, and Leberkäse in Linz. Strolling through Zurich and a surprising exhibition at Kunsthaus, artisanal shops in Copenhagen, interior design and a ferry to a fortress island in Helsinki;
  • Relocating for a month to Copenhagen with Elmine, a month living in a foreign city together (posting on week 1, 2, 3, 4);
    Chairs Apples
    Colorful chairs in CPH, Halloween with Elmine in Tivoli
  • Starting the Copenhagen Data Drinks;
  • Deciding to lay down my role as chairman in the Dutch FabLab Foundation, acknowledging that is a decision I needed to make because it is good for myself and to prevent a situation where I can’t live up to promised commitment.

Some of the things that gave me great pleasure this past year are connected to metrics that are not all that healthy, which is the challenge I think for 2013. I spent 112 days abroad (in 16 countries) this year, or about 1 in 3. That is too much to feel balanced, and causes the trips to blur into each other, and time spent on a plane is no fun. I worked over 2200 hours, which although 200 hours less than 2011, makes for 275 working days. (My calendar says there are only 261 weekdays and thus workdays in the year, even if I never take time off). I have worked to exhaustion on too many points this past year. Rationally I know I get more done if I work less but I find it very hard to let go every now and then, so that again is something to get better at in 2013.

All in all it has been a good year. Onwards!

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Occupy your imagination! (in Dublin)