This sucks

Posts like this suck. The 'I haven't written in a while, please forgive me, I'll do better' kind. And I have been guilty in the past of indulging in these posts. Heck, I'm even doing it now. It's interesting, right? I feel there's some kind of relationship between me, your faithful writer, and you, my sometimes transactional sometimes faithful audience. And I feel I let you down in not writing. There's expectations and I feel I'm not doing very well. Allow me, to explain why it's been a tad quiet. As per my usual pattern, life has taken over somewhat again, leaving little or no room for things such as reading and writing the blog. After coming back from hols straight into a busy project which is keeping me plenty occupied, my MADS degree starting again, and with people to see and places to go, I'm yet again struggling to keep myself afloat. I haven't got this whole balance thing down yet and I sometimes wonder how other people manage. And then two major changes happened in the last month or so, both of which I want to keep under wraps for now, but which I suspect will both have a big impact on my professional and personal life. Exciting stuff, it's all good and manic. So I just wanted to tell you. I'm still here. And I'll yet again try and make a bit more effort to write if you want to read it. Thanks.

[edited to add: so yes, there are plants that blog more than I do. How embarrassing is that?]

The voice is gone

763038384_cf68158c81 Summer isn’t really summer without the Tour de France on the radio. And Radio Tour de France isn’t really radio without Jaques Chapel. His commentary is legendary in the Netherlands. He IS the voice of Radio Tour de France. Or I should say ‘was’. Jaques Chapel died today, one day before the Tour 2008 starts tomorrow. It’ll be weird listening to the radio and not hearing him, I’ll miss him so much.  Her’s to you Jaques. Thank you.

This is a timed delivery

You know the drill. Been busy. Extra busy. Ultra busy. Insanely busy. With work, and school and life. And everything.

But that doesn’t explain why I haven’t written in a while here. I’m always busy. Somehow, this medium wasn’t the right one for getting my thoughts out of my head. Don’t know why. And don’t know if it will be in future. Suspect it might be. Actually, I’m pretty sure it will be. But not quite sure when yet.

So, if you’re still interested, hang in there. I say that out loud, as much to you as well as to me. Hang in there. I’ll be back. With something more substantial than this. Because ‘I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while’ posts are just lame. I know.

Normal service to resume soon

I believe it’s the Chinese that have a proverb that says ‘May you live in interesting times’. Well, that I do. Most definitely. Work’s quite busy and interesting (but I’m not quite sure how much I want to talk about it right now, client confidentiality and all), I’m very busy working on a project for my MA degree (presentation tomorrow night, keep fingers crossed), my laptop broke down and is now with the kind Apple people to replace its hard-drive.

It’s my brother’s birthday today (hurrah), in the last two weeks I’ve given career advice 4 times (Lord help the people who are getting it from me), I’m trying to keep up with my social life, went to the V&A to listen to a talk about psychogeography, went to Brussels to spend a day with a friend. And tons more. And I’ve got a million things I want to write about. Which I will do. Soon. As soon as normal service resumes, which will be probably when my dear Powerbook is returned to me (and when hell freezes over… maybe I should get used to this being ‘normal’ service) I’ll take some time to write again. In the mean time, handle me with care. Thank you.

I don’t quite know why…

But I haven’t had much to blog about lately. Or better said, my head and heart haven’t been in it. Not quite sure why exactly, because in the past two years I’ve always had something to talk about and I’ve had some ideas for posts. Have been on holiday, which was nice and relaxing, so that can’t be it. Am working the whole week this week, but I’ve posted before when I worked. There have been some very sad personal circumstances in my family that have kept my mind occupied elsewhere. Apologies if you came here interested in reading something new. Give me a little time, I’ll climb back on this horse again. I still have stuff left I want to say. But I can’t find the words just yet.

You know you’re a lazy blogger when…

Afb016…my mum, who I’ve been staying with for the past 2 weeks, tells me she misses what I have to write ;-)
So this post is especially dedicated to my lovely parents, who have put up with me the past fortnight, jetlagged and all.

Tomorrow I’m off to London again, after some very nice R&R in the Netherlands, eating my mum’s fabulous cooking and spending some quality time (I hate those words… and what do they mean anyway? All the time in your life should be quality time!!) with family and friends. My first elective, Brand Management, will start on Monday morning and I’m very much looking forward to this course. Prof Mark Ritson teaches it (see more info on him on his own website) and his reputation is rock-star-professor, so a lot of people are taking this course. Most electives at LBS are held over the course of 10-week terms, but some are held as a block week, i.e. all class that are normally spread out over 10 weeks are given in 1 intense week.

Other courses I’ll be taking are Product Innovation (from the Marketing department), Leading Teams and Organisations (Organisational Behaviour; all the alumns I’ve asked all said they regretted not taking more ‘soft’ courses like this and I’m determined not to make the same mistake, plus this course sounds really interesting) and New Venture Development (entrepreneurship; this course will go well with the Understanding Entrepreneurial Management I took as an elective in the first year), all of which make my heart race a little faster (I clearly followed the ‘choose-what-you-love’ approach when I chose my electives) so you can expect excited reports from me over the course of the next 10 weeks.

I’ll also be working on my 2nd year project, which is one of the exit requirements at LBS. I’ve found one already, but am not sure what the blogging policy of my project company is, so for now it’ll be shrouded in secrecy and veils. But it is something again that I’m really excited about and that fits well with my interests.

I can’t believe there’s only 6 months left before graduation… one of my friends is now applying to b-schools and sometimes I wish I were still in his shoes (that reminds me: good luck everyone who’s applying in R2, and especially to my friend M). I don’t want to finish just yet, I love this whole MBA experience! However, there is a time and a place for everything and for now I am going to enjoy the rest of my LBS experience to the fullest!

[edit: My hometown is also the hometown and birthplace of Grolsch beer, and I can’t resist posting this cool ad for Grolsch, which has taken its inspiration from the red-paper-clip-trade-up-story:


Best wishes for 2007

Afb008_1On the last day of 2006, I look back on a year that was so weird and wonderful and magical that I couldn’t have imagined it on December 31st 2005. So here’s hoping that 2007 will bring wonderful surprises too, and health and love and happiness to my loved ones.
The blessing I used last year worked well, so I’m using it again this year:

Lucky stars above you,
Sunshine on your way,
Many friends to love you,
Joy in work and play-
Laughter to outweigh each care,
In your heart a song-
And gladness waiting everywhere
All your whole life long!

I hope you have a wonderful 2007 and I wish that all your wishes and dreams will come true!

Lots of pictures

For a while, my bluetooth connection between my phone and my laptop didn’t work, and I couldn’t upload any of my pictures. I got it sorted out, so here’s a bunch of my pictures.

Afb0011Afb018I love these! How to make a fairly boring product interesting on a supermarket shelf.

Afb004_1Afb005_1Afb006The inside of the Seattle public library (no pics from the outside, it rained too hard) from when I was there. It’s designed by Rem Koolhaas, and although pretty ugly on the outside, it’s wonderful and very functional on the inside.

Afb008Afb0091Afb015_1From left to right: a cool truck, advertising an upcoming musical; leftovers of traditional American pancakes for breakfast; Union Square in San Francisco with my hotel on the left.

Let’s rock and roll!

BarneyballoonQuick post, since I’m running around trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and to finish two big assignments due on Monday. On the list of things to do: clean the house for my friend who’s coming (check), watch the obligatory ‘how-not-to-fight-with-your-inlaws’ and ‘how not to overeat on turkey’ segments on breakfast news (check), go to Macy’s for a pre-parade briefing (check). Yep, that’s right, Miss M, H and I be helping out with the world-famous (well, at least in the US) Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I’m very much looking forward to it, it promises to be a blast! And about as American as apple pie and turkey on Thanksgiving ;-)

Check here to see quite how large this Parade is, and how much planning is involved, and where to find the best seat to see the whole thing.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I could use your help

Overwhelming_paperworkI’m not quite sure when it happened, or what caused it, but I seem to be buried in emails and to do lists nowadays, and I don’t seem to be able to get on top of what needs doing somehow. I don’t want this to turn into a whine and moan about it, but would instead love your tips and tricks for dealing with email avalanche and to do list mountain. How do you get through all of them? And what’s the best way you’ve found to keep track of to do lists? I can use all the help I can get!

PS This also explains why if you’ve written an email to me and I haven’t replied yet… it’s probably lost in my email system somewhere…

How to become a VC

ImagesIf you’ve always wanted to be a Venture Capitalist, here’s your opportunity. Kiva according to their pressrelease is  " the first microlending Web site designed to provide individuals with the ability to connect with and make personal loans to small businesses in developing countries. Founded in 2004 by Matthew and Jessica Flannery, Kiva’s goal is to reduce poverty in developing countries by giving entrepreneurs the ability to build their businesses through flexible loans with six-to 12-month terms. Kiva allows individuals to act as a "micro VC" by loaning directly to entrepreneurs with feasible business plans. Kiva is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. For more information about Kiva, please visit (see also a Businessweek article on Kiva for more information. I think this is a brilliant idea!).

[edit, on BBC I found an article, which mentions another peer-to-peer VC site called Global Giving.]


I guess I’m it… Farhan, here I go!

Four jobs I’ve had in my life
* strawberry picker
* newspaper delivery girl
* quality control in the Grolsch factory
* research assistant

Four movies I can watch over and over
* Oh Brother, Where art Thou?
* Cry Baby
* any Sissi movie
* oh boy… I’m not much of a movie kinda girl….

Four places I have lived
* London, UK
* Den Haag, NL
* Groenlo, NL (my hometown!)
* Groningen, NL

Four TV shows I love to watch (back when I still had a TV)
* Gilmore Girls
* What not to wear
* Oprah
* News

Four places I have been on vacation
* Grand Canyon
* Edinburgh
* Tokyo
* Montevideo

Four websites I visit daily
* London Business School portal
* Yahoo
* Bloglines
* Guardian

Four of my favourite dishes
* mom’s boerenkool/zuurkool/stamppot
* french toast
* pancakes
* ice cream!!

Four places I would rather be right now
* Groenlo
* Paris
* Madrid
* nowhere, pretty happy here

[addition: I’m adding one more ‘four’]

Four books I loved reading:
* Po Bronson, What should I do with my life
* Helene Hanff, 84 Charing Cross Road
* Claire Tomalin, Samuel Pepys: The unequalled self
* John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Four bloggers I am tagging

Merry Xmas!

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and all the best wishes for the New Year (ugh… who am I kidding, I’ll probably write something before that)!
To the R1s that were admitted: Santa came early!
To the R2s that are working on their applications due early Jan: good luck!
To my LBS-friends all over the world: have lots of fun and relaxation over the break, hope to see you rejuvenated in 2006!
To my blogger-friends all over the world: may you have lots of inspiration and time to keep on writing next year!