Developer communities in the Netherlands

July last year, I moved to the Netherlands to join Xebia Nederland after working at Xebia India for a year.

There were a few different reasons for the move, but one thing that I was looking forward to personally was a more vibrant developer community. In spite of the huge number of developers in India, there are not that many hard core developer events or communities. What events there are, are geared towards marketing or propagation of latest buzzwords be they Agile, Lean, or Cloud or something else. And Malaysia before that wasn’t any better either.

In contrast, in the Netherlands, I have been to a whole lot of programming groups and events in just six months РDevoxx 2010, and a fair few NL NoSQL group meetups. Not to mention such events hosted by Xebia itself Рmany excellent Xebia knowledge exchange sessions and tech rallies. A few months ago, we had James Coplien come in for two days to talk about lean architecture and organizational patterns. During one of the last tech rallies, Dan North dropped by for a while and talked about deliberate discovery and his other (post agile?) ideas. In short, the developer in me has been having a rocking time. Let us see what the year 2011 brings!

The meaning of drive

This has to be one of the most touching personal anecdotes I have ever read.

A. C. Lyles, a producer at Paramount who worked at Paramount for over 60 years –

When I was 10 [in 1928] I wanted to make movies…

After four years in the job [he was then 14] I eventually met Adolph Zukor… when he came to Jacksonville. I asked him to let me come to Hollywood to work for him. He said, “Well, you’re just a kid, but you’ve been working for Paramount now for four years at the theater. So you finish high school, keep in touch, and I’ll hire you when you get out of high school.”…

So I wrote him every Sunday for four years.

Read the rest at Marc Andreessen’s blog.

Are you smart enough to quit your job?

Thanks to Erik’s Linkblog, I came across one of the best blog posts I have read recently.

Paul Tyma, a senior engineer at Google, talks about Software Engineering interviews. Something he said, really struck a chord with me –

if you are the smartest person at where you work – QUIT

I came across the same idea while reading Paul Graham some time ago. He mentions the talk You and Your Research by Richard Hamming. In Paul Graham’s words, ask yourself these three questions –

  1. What are the most important problems in your field?
  2. Are you working on one of them?
  3. Why not?

These are the questions that can change your life.

I have been thinking about switching to a four day work week, so I can spend at least a couple of days a week working on more challenging and interesting problems. And today, I feel I am ready to make that move.

I see happier times ahead :)

Happy New Year

A warm welcome to the new year!
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Happy New Year to everyone..hope it brings the best to you, and brings out the best in you!

Admittedly this New Year is filled with sadness. One of the worst disasters ever to hit Asia. The stories and the photos of the people affected are heart rending…I’d pray for these people, but I am bit of an agnostic..I am sure there are others who will remember them in their prayers.

It was nice to see many countries in Europe cancel all new year celebrations in memory of more than 150,000 people who lost their lives. Malaysia cancelled all celebrations too.

During the special aikido class last night to usher in the new year, and we held a minute’s silence for the Tsunami victims.

Tsunami disaster

The worst disaster to happen, for as long as I can remember.
More than 26,000 people dead, from Thailand to Somalia. The sheer size of the area affected is mind boggling.

According to one person from Chennai, the death toll would have been many times higher if the Tsunami struck in the evening when there are many more people on the beach, it being a public holiday.

Most of my friends seem to be safe, except for someone I knew, living in Maldives now; no news from there. Here in Malaysia, nearly 50 people lost their lives in Penang.

The news in today’s paper about a suicide bomber killing 15 people in Iraq appears almost ironical.

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