(dutch) Als iemand je een vraag stelt…

.. dan beantwoord je die natuurlijk!

Gisteren ontving ik een prachtige vraag van een van mijn nieuwe idolen in mijn leven: Wout van Wengerden. Wout heeft meer energie, passie en overtuiging in zijn doen en laten dan wie dan ook. Hij is de initiatiefnemer van o.a. kwetsbareheld.nl: een ode aan iedereen die zichzelf kwetsbaar durft op te stellen en daardoor een heldenrol vervult voor zichzelf en anderen. Hierboven staat het filmpje met de vraag die Wout mijn stelde: wat was onze grootste angst toen we in december 2011 Nederland verlieten en alles achterlieten voor een bestaan als Digitale Nomaden. Mijn antwoord staat hieronder:

Dit is mijn eerste videoblog. Spannend en weer een angst overwonnen. Het voelt gek om tegen je camera te praten maar eigenlijk is het een stuk fijner dan schrijven. Wat vind jij? Heb je ook een vraag? Stel hem gerust aan mij of Wout!


The concept of weekend

Weekend is a strange concept. A concept created by man and obeyed only by man. A concept that is accepted worldwide as a standard. A concept based on basicly nothing, accept our believe in it. The weekend gives us something to hold on to and to long for. ‘What are you doing this weekend’ is a frequently asked question. But what is the weekend really? To answer this question we have to look at its past. How did the weekend come into existence? And does it still deserve this existence?

From a religious point of view, the weekend was created as the 7th day, our sunday. The sunday was a day of rest and mindfulness after a hard workweek of six days. A moment to reflect an to be with God. Not a bad idea in itself. In 1926, Henry Ford added from a economical point of view an extra day to the ‘weekend’ and also closed his factories on saturday. Since 1940 this was applied globally and since then, the weekend as we know it has been a fact. All in al the weekend is a concept based on a long past of religious thinking and economical effects of the industrial revolution in the 20th century. A concept that deserved its purpose for a long time, felt logical and gave structure to our society and our lives.

However, when you look at the weekend from a ‘Working Wonderfully’ perspective, it is nothing more than fooling ourselves a little bit. For the past eightteen months we have been living without the knowledge of week or weekend, holiday or workday. A truly beautiful feeling. At the moment you realize that the weekend was just an invention and you can let go of the concept of time, you earn complete freedom in return. The freedom to work when you want to, write that blog when you feel like, go party on wednesday evening and do some work on sunday afternoon because you feel like it. In the end it really doesn’t matter what day it is if you feel like working, relaxing, exercising etc.

Why should you only be able to have fun with your friends in the weekend? Why is it strange to work on a saturday? Stay longer in bed only on sunday? Why are you longing the entire week for something we all made up (and more importantly why are you fearing the monday?) You have the freedom to arrange your life the way you want it. To work when you feel like working, to relax when you feel like relaxing. People are not the most productive only from 9-5 on monday to friday and quality time and good weather can often be found during the week. An example from the animal kingdom: you will never see a monkey think on our sunday ‘hehe finally I have some time for myself’. No, he will work for his food when he needs it, he will rest when he is tired and play with his kids or friends when he feels like it. And you will never hear him think: oh shit, it’s monday tomorrow.

To dare to let go of the concept of weekend requieres a different view of ones life though. And quite often it also requieres a boos who can understand and embrace the same ideas. We believe that being able to live free of time, weekend and weekdays is something worth fighting for. To decide yourself where, when and how you work starts with the acknowledgement that time is a fluid concept and that we give our own purpose to it. And that this pattern can be broken. At the moment you realize you can change the thing you thought was being controlled by your Outlook calendar, a world of freedom will open itself.

What do you think? Is it time to say goodbye to the concept of weekend and put the thing you want to do first instead of checking whether the day or the hour is appropriate? If you like this way of thinking you might be open to something a little bit more extrem: out bootcamp Travelling Entrepreneurs in August on Isla Holbox in Mexico. The experience to set you free and create a life of working wonderfully. We would like to hear what you think of the blog above, please do so in the comment or by email!

(this blog appeared earlier on workingwonderfully.com and wonderlijkwerken.nl)


What is certainty?

(this blog appeared earlier on WorkingWonderfully.com)

What is certainty? Is certainty knowing exactly what will happen in your life tomorrow or in a year from now? Is certainty the feeling of security? Having control over you life? Knowing every day what your day will be like? Or is certainty something different? Does it even exist?

I believe that certainty does not exist. All the things that give us the feeling of certainty lika a permanent job, a house or a good retirement plan might feel like it, but they are not. In fact, they might just be the opposite of what you think they are. In a lot of our recent talks with clients and other WW enthusiasts I learned that these specific three topics (job, house, retirement) are very important to them because they five them certainty. I believe so strongly this is not the case that I will share our thoughts with you in this blog.

Permanent job
So you think have certainty because you have a job with a permanent contract? Think again. The only certainty you have is the number of months of salary they have to give you the day they fire you. These days people find themselves standing on the street with the infamous box with all their stuff almost faster than the elevator can carry them. You thought your boss cared about you and that the company would always be there for you? These are false certainties that will buy you absolutely nothing at the end of the line. You are only depending on somebody ele’s judgement about your performance, your wage, office hours, holidays and time off. That is not certainty, that is prison. Your talent and passion are better justified when you are free to do what you like and decide your own path.

Owning a house
For many people owning a house is an important step in leading a successful live. While in fact buying a house is a commitment of such a enormous size that it pretty much determines the rest of your life and will probably end up limiting you. While you think you are buying a dream, you are buying a nightmare. Besides the fact that you are paying a huge amount of interest for an investment that is more risky than putting everything on ‘red’ in Vegas, you are buying a physical anker. You are limiting your freedom to move around and take a chance when you see one. The only certainty you have is that you will be spending 20-50 years of your life working to pay off something that more often than not feels like a cinderblock around your neck instead of a dream. Keep your freedom and rent!

A good retirement plan
Ok, by now you might agree with me that having a permanent job or owning a house might not give you the certainty that you though but a good retirement plan should offer some form of certainty right? Well, let’s examine this. What certainties does a good retirement plan offer you? The best it has to offer you is that when you are old and grey (and out of energy, taste, scent and vision) to live the life you have always dreamed off with all your finances arranged. Is that you idea of certainty? Besides the fact that by the time you will retire the best days of your life are behind you, a retirement plan is also making us lazy. All creativity and perseverance to actually do something meaningful with your time here have been taken out of the equation. You can just finish your boring job, wait till you are sixty-five and finally start doing what you love. And in doing so you are wasting a perfectly good life that had all the opportunity to make something out of it. So what certainty do you get out of a retirement plan? Sitting, waiting, wishing instead of dreaming, doing, living.

For us, certainty means something completely different. By letting go of all the things mentioned above, you will liberate your mind and soul in such a way that you will have more certainty than you could ever dream of or hope for. This is a different kind of certainty though: you get back the one certainty that whatever life throws at you, you are ready for it! Whether you want to work while travelling the world or build a new company around your passion, this way of certainty will give you all the energy you need and will make you look for more!

So, what is certainty? Certainty means taking your own decisions every day: what will I work on today? With who will I work today? What do I want to learn today? How many hours will I work? Etcetera. There is nothing better than having the certainty that you, and you alone, are responsible for the decision that have impact on your life, the way your work and the way you live. Oor mission is to help you find this feeling and never let it go!

Check our programs on how we plan to do this and please let us know what you think of all this. Thanks for reading, now go outside and build something!!


10 life lessons from Startupbus 2013

A big hole. There is no other way to describe the feeling I have after having been on the Startupbus than falling in a very big hole. During the course of five days the lives of my and all my fellow buspreneurs have changed for the better. We have learned more than an entire year in college and we have made new friends for life. Every single on of the participants has rediscovered himself (or herself) and most of the lessons we have learned are very personal. Over the course of the coming months, we will all find ourselves making decisions and changes in our lives we never thought we would. Why because? Because Startupbus changes you and the world around you. In this blog I will share with you ten basic lessons that I learned by participating on Startupbus.

To explain startupbus in one sentence for those who have no clue what I am talking about: one bus, forty of the smartest people (developers, designers, business) and less then seventy-two hours to develop a new company with a finished product with people you have never met while driving on a bus from Mexico City to Austin (in our case).

This blog is intended to take the valuable lessons from the bus and share them for you to use. So, what have I learned?

1.  Age doesn’t matter.
Half of the people on my team were below the age of 25. They have impressed me in every way possible. Not only are they capable of achieving extraordinary things. They have shown to be extremely creative, entrepreneurial and afraid of nothing. A mentality that I was still looking for at that age. Thank you Rodrigo, Alex, Javier and Christian I have learned from you and you are an example for all people your age and everybody else!

2. There is nothing you can’t do
It all starts with this simple sentence. Not just on the bus. In life in general. More often than not we are being told that our ideas are to far fetched or that you should nuance your thoughts. Just remind your yourself every time when people give you this crap: if Einstein would have made his ideas more realistic we probably would not know him and he would be stuck at E= instead of E=MC2 :)

3. Talent combined with passion beats education every time
No matter what they taught you at school. When you are on the Startupbus or chasing your idea in real life, your combined passion with talents will get the job done. In our team developers were designing and business guys were building a website. We never learned these things at school, we learned them right there and then because we needed it and we managed them because we believed we could.

4. Job titles and job descriptions are worth NOTHING
When it comes to creating your team on the bus or in your real company, job titles are not important. Only hire people who believe what you believe. If your gut feel says they believe what you believe the rest will work out because of the point mentioned above. Create tasks around people and not people around tasks.

5. Dare to step back
Sometimes the right thing to do is let things go. Especially when you are under pressure and you feel that you should be involved in everything, dare to let go and step back. I know nothing about development and instead of constantly checking on the progress (which slowed us down on day one) I stepped back and let the guys do what they do best. The result surprised everyone (me but even more they surprised themselves)

6. Enable, Empower and Endorse your team
People can do things they never thought they could. By simply believing in them and expressing that in your actions they will surprise you. Simply enable, empower and endorse them to see the results. Often this means that your job will be about creating the circumstances to let them flourish. (on the bus this means: get coffee, arrange wifi, let them sleep, put them first:))

7. Involve the entire team
No matter how good your idea is, if you don’t have everybody on the same page, you will be struggling. We lost twelve hours this year because we didn’t involve the entire team in the first phase of the process. From a business perspective we were building the platform from our vision. When we presented it back to the guys who actually had to build it, we all struggled to explain and start building. We could have tackled this by involving them and co-creating the final idea. We would have had more time and a better quality product that would have gotten us to the next round. A hard but valuable lesson.

8. Validate your idea (but don’t let your findings turn you down)
On day two we found out that our initial idea actually wasn’t that different from a couple of big companies we actually never heard of. Realizing this bummed us out for a moment but within a matter of hours we adopted to the newfound circumstances and created actually something that was way better and had a lot more value.

9. You can do more than you think
No explanation needed. YOU CAN DO MORE THAN YOU THINK!

10. Sleep is overrated
When you are really ready to pursue your ideas or business but you still have your job, cut on your sleep. Sleep is overrated and your mind and body can do a lot more when true passion and drive are involved. Up your game and make your dreams come true instead of keeping on dreaming.

So, what have we built?
We have built a platform called Emplify.us. Our goal was to bridge the gap between the people either stuck in their job and looking for a way out and the kids coming from university realising that the things they were taught actually have little or no value. They might be very passionate about other topics but they are lacking experience to actually get hired. We wanted to connect these people to the group of companies looking for passionate professionals but don’t have the budget ton hire them. In this way, the job seekers can amplify their talents and the employers can amplify their budgets.

A word of thanks
I hope my personal lessons have helped you and inspire you to pursue your own ideas. But most of all I hope you hop on a Startupbus near you to experience this life changing journey yourself! I would like to thank my personal sponsors: Thank you so much HansMikeRolfCrista & KlaasRoderik and Dave & Bonnie  and my anonymous contributors!! This adventure would not have been possible without you! If there is anything I can do in return, just let me know!

Useful Links
- Startupbus Movies (top 4)
- Startupbus Pictures
- Startupbus website


When things don’t work out the way they planned the real buspreneurs are separated from the weak (and tired)

What do you do when you have been working for almost 16 hours straight (5 of them on a driving bus) with your team on an idea you thought was great and turned out to already partially exist and have over a gazillion registered users?

Well, I did the following:

- got my headset and hooked it up to my iPhone (against the snoring Mexicans;))
- searched for Paul Kalkbrenner’s most famous songs Aaron in my iTunes, put it on and set it on repeat
- sit and contemplate on my options, this is the result:

The startup we are launching from the Mexican Startupbus is called Emplify.us. Our mission is to get people to work more from their passion and enable them to amplify their talents using our platform connecting them to various job opportunities. Instead of becoming the next Elance.com by focussing on freelancers and online jobs (as we originally more or less had in mind and thus found out was kind of lame and not so innovative) we changed our philosophy to three groups that are way more interesting:

- the gifted but unemployed
- the (well) educated but unemployed
- the unlucky employed

For these three specific groups we will set up a platform to help the not only find a job but really turn their passion into profit and amplify their skills. Where are they going to find these jobs I can hear you thinking. Well, we have learned there are many people looking for a kind of but just don’t have a big budget to hire an expensive freelancer. Out of this group we identified the following potential job providers:

- idea people (people with an income and with an idea for a business looking for someone to help them take the first step)

By connecting the ‘idea people’ to the people looking to improve their skills and make some money we have found a perfect match where we thought our idea had turned useless..

And while writing this blog everything came together so instead of finishing this blog I will start putting it into action.. So the lesson here is: when it seems like things are not working our the way you planned, just stay calm, put on Paul Kalkbrenner and trust that it will all work out just fine.

In case you are Interested in what we will build eventually (in less than the 50 hours ahead of us)? Check www.emplify.us and sign up for our newsletter.. Talk to you later!



Startupbus 2013: before the start

Tomorrow around this time I will be in a bus with forty mexicans travelling at 90km/h on our way to Austin, Texas creating new companies from scratch in less than 72 hours in a crazy experience called Startupbus. Our goal? Getting a Mexican company to win this unique competition for the first time!

What is Startupbus?
Startupbus is the ultimate learning experience for entrepreneurs. Creating a new company with people you have never met, in less then 72 hours, driving on a (mexican) bus, sleeping only a few hours, pitching for an impressive jury at SxSW and discovering how you perform under the circumstances of pressure, failing wifi and being sleep deprived has been of the best experiences of life last year. These are the pictures and my blog from last year.

I have just googled some of my fellow buspreneurs for this year and I am very, very, VERY excited about the talent we have on board. Some really smart hackers (developers), hipsters (designers) and hustlers (business) make me feel confident to say to the other busses coming from the USA: prepare for Startupbus Mexico cabrones, we are coming to win!!

My sponsors for this year
Startupbus is a crazy experience and without a little help from friends and family this trip would be impossible for me. A special word of thanks to the amazing people who decided to sponsor my dream and who I hopefully will make proud by getting a mexican team (preferably my own;)) in the finals and winning this years edition. Thank you so much Hans, Mike, Rolf, Crista & Klaas, Roderik and Dave & Bonnie this would not have been possible without you!

P.S. hopefully our bus will look better than the one on the picture above but in Mexico you never know ;) nonetheless we will be coming hard!!


A random multilingual evening on Isla Holbox

I am lying in my hammock on the beautiful Mexican island Isla Holbox. While sipping my sangria I am listening to the conversations around me. Slowly the chatter becomes clear:

Behind me I hear a Polish guy ask in English to the Argentinian restaurant owner whether the Mexican chef could maybe put a little less peppers on his Italian pizza the next time. The Argentinian restaurant owner asks in Spanish to the Mexican Chef why, for god sakes, he has put peppers on the Italian pizza of the Polish guy. The Mexican chef answers in perfect English that in Mexico they put peppers on everything and that includes Italian pizzas and that he speaks English as well and the Polish guy should shut up and go to Italy if he wants Italian pizzas without peppers. At that moment, the Canadian couple in the hammock next to me starts laughing and say in fluent French to each other that peppers are not the problem, but the Italians and their crappy pizzas. They are told that’s not true and that they should go to the norther part of Italy in fluent French by guy from Switzerland sipping a Corona chatting in German with a couple from Berlin….

Slowly, the multilingual chatter around me is dissolving and I am back in my hammock and start realizing that I just understood this entire conversation in five different languages. For me this is the essence of travel: not just the (in this case beautiful) destination itself but more the people you meet. And to get the best out of the people you meet, you have to learn to speak their language.

How many languages do you speak? And have you ever witnessed a conversation like this one? Please let me know!


‘Human beings are a disease’ or ‘We don’t need further economic growth’

‘I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with its surrounding environment; but you humans do not. Instead you multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern… a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet.‘ 

This is what ‘Agent Smith’ said to ‘Morpheus’ in the well known movie The Matrix. It may sound a little dramatic but it looks like he was right. Our need for constant economic growth is killing us. It is killing our planet, our society and our plans for the future. And besides that, by only focussing on growth we are missing out on a lot of things our lives have to offer us when you take the time to stand still.

I was raised and educated in a world where ‘growth’ was the most important measurement tool we had and we thought we needed. If you are not growing you are standing still and when you are standing still while everybody else is growing you are going backwards. Especially economists tend to think that ‘economic growth’ is the only indicator of success we have. And this is where they are wrong.

If we want to continue and maintain our current living standards on this planet, we already need 1.5 Earths to support all our needs (let alone another Earth to dump all our waste). We are going to be 9 billion people soon, if we keep growing our economies at the rate we currently do (and all the ministers of economic affairs, managers of banks and big corporates want us to), we will burn down our system completely. You simply cannot grow infinitely on a finite planet. We have reached a tipping point in our development as a species on this planet. After more or less 10.000 years on Earth we have failed to establish the aforementioned equilibrium we need to survive and if we are not going to do so rapidly, our existence here on Earth might end sooner than we all want it to. Not in a couple hundreds of years but in our lifetimes. We are approaching the point where Thomas Salk is turning out to be right when he said:

“if all insects on Earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish”. 

People already tried to tell me, while I was still working for a big corporate company, that growth cannot and should not be the main driver for our species on this planet, but I wasn’t able to listen to them then. I simply couldn’t believe them. Like many others I was brainwashed. Brainwashed by my government, teachers, bosses, commercials. For years I was only looking at the competition and trying to be faster, smarter and better than everybody else. Almost at any cost. Until around a year ago I realized there is nothing wrong with ‘standing still’ or ‘not growing’. In fact it is both beautiful and necessary!

By stepping out of the corporate life where shareholders, CEO’s and managers determine what is important (growth and profit) and are willing to sacrifice almost everything else in order to acquire that, I am now in full control of my life and the projects that I want to work on. I am responsible for what I do and I determine the impact I want to have. I focus on helping the people I meet with the knowledge I have (or can acquire). Hopefully spreading happiness one encounter at the time. My goal is not to grow or to possess. My goal is to live in balance with the people and cultures I meet and try to deserve to exist to do good things for the people I meet and make enough money to live my life in balance with our planet. Living my life this way feels awesome, every single day!

Does this mean I only eat fruit that has fallen on the ground? No. But it does mean I acknowledge the fact that we are messing up our world and I am focussing on turning that around! By writing about this I hope I can inspire you to do the same and rethink your way of living and change your focus on growth and economic figures. If not, in a few years we will all probably be forced to change our lifestyle a little more dramatically.

How do you feel about all this? Please let me know in the comments!

This blog was inspired by:

- The Matrix (Agent Smith talking to Morpheus) (movie)
The Earth is Full (TED-talk)
Prosperity without Growth (book)


30 years, 10 lessons

One month ago I turned thirty. This means I have been walking around on this earth for thirty years. The first twenty years people tried to teach me a lot of things about myself, the world and how to act in it. And the last ten I have finally learned about myself, the world and how I want to act in it. I have decided to write 10 important lessons I learned for during these thirty years I have been around. So here goes (in random order):

1. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are
Your mindset is biased and most of the times this is a good thing! Just be aware of the fact that it and start making your art.

2. Education is overhyped
The first ten years at school are valuable (who goes anywhere without tying his shoe laces?). After that it is a lot better to decide who you want to be, what you need to learn how to get there and go do it.If you decide to stay in school, challenge your teachers, professors, mentors, they are not always right!

3. Give and you will receive
So simple and yet so true. The more you give, the more will come back to you. More often than not this will be a smile, a thank you or a hug, but those things are more important than money.

4. Whatever you think, think the opposite
What you think is a combination of where you were born, how you were raised and where you live. More often than not, the opposite of what we think, is also true. Validate your own arguments by trying to argue for the exact opposite. You’ll understand life much better. (click here to buy the book that changed my life: ‘Whatever you think, think the opposite‘)

5. Stay hungry, stay foolish
Nothing better than a hungry and foolish life. Aim for the sky and make sure you have fun while doing it!

6. Listen to your stomach
Always, always, always, trust your gut feeling. Intuition is your best guide. There is no better way to live your life than listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, change it. It it feels awesome, give everything!

7.  There is nothing better than finding the love of your life.
If you haven’t found him or her, keep looking! Diana, thank you so much for everything, you complete me!

8. Run like the wind
There is no better sport than running, both for your mind and your body. The best ideas occur to me while running and  a fit body results in a fit mind. Don’t hesitate just get up, go out and run!

9. Travel the world
No matter where you live or what you do, go see the world. Meet different people, learn new languages and try to understand your place in this very big world of ours. (note: this blog was written from Zipolite beach, Mexico)

10. Your parents are not always right (but often more right then you think)
Even though they are right a lot of times, there are some times that they are just plain wrong and you have to listen to your gut feel. Just make sure you know these are the two people in the world that want nothing but the best for you and their drive for that is love! Once you know that, get on your own two feet and show that you love them by proving them wrong (sometimes).

Please let me know what you think of these ten lessons in the comments below and share them if you like them!

P.S Saskia and Bob, thanks for the picture!




Empathie bij KLM ver te zoeken

(dutch) KLM twittert vaardig maar doet (het) verder niet zo aardig #fail

Ik heb de laatste tijd een aantal negatieve tweets over KLM geplaatst en omdat ik me normaal verre houdt van dergelijke negatieve energie wil ik deze graag even toelichten.

Sinds ik in 2006 begon met zakelijk vliegen heb ik praktisch al mijn vluchten geboekt met KLM (uiteraard om mijn frequent flyer miles te sparen) en over het algemeen was mijn ervaring met de dienstverlening goed, zeker in de lucht. Echter het laatste jaar heeft KLM mij meerdere keren dusdanig teleurgesteld dat ik besloten heb niet meer met KLM te vliegen in de toekomst.

Als luchtvaartmaatschappij heb je in deze tijd een aantal contactmomenten (touchpoints) met je klant. Contact kan lopen via de website, de telefoon, aan de balie, aan de gate, in de lucht en via een van de sociale media kanalen. KLM blinkt uit in haar online klantenservice. Simpele vragen maar ook zaken als het omboeken van een ticket zijn binnen een paar tweets geregeld, fantastisch! Helaas mag van de rest van de organisatie van KLM weinig empathisch gedrag verwacht worden. Hierdoor werkt het online customer care team perfect als het gaat om bij brand de sirenes uit te zetten, maar niet bij het doven van het vuur. De rest van de organisatie is te log en hecht geen waarde aan loyale klanten. Graag licht ik deze harde uitspraak toe met een tweetal voorbeelden:

De klant als nummer bij KLM

Dat binnen grote coöperaties de klant als nummer wordt behandeld zal geen verassing zijn. KLM staat voor mij echter synoniem voor star, stug en onbuigbaar. Zowel telefonisch, aan de balie als via de email houden KLM medewerkers zich schuil achter regeltjes, ticketnummers en voorwaarden en zonder naar de mens achter de klacht of vraag te kijken. Het afgelopen jaar heb ik dit o.a ervaren met:

  • het (om)boeken van tickets (nee meneer, u kunt uw ticket niet omboeken naar een latere datum en nee ik ga u geen geen korting geven als u deze vlucht wel helemaal betaalt, er geen gebruik van maakt (zodat wij hem opnieuw kunnen verkopen) en daarna alsnog een nieuwe vlucht bij ons boekt).
  • het zoeken van stoelen voor lange mensen omdat 14 uur naar Mexico Stad klem tussen je stoel zitten geen pretje is (nee meneer, ook voor mensen die langer zijn dan 1.95 hebben wij geen gratis speciale stoelen, voor ‘slechts’ 172 euro meer zit u wel comfortabel)
  • Verloren Frequent Flyer Miles (nee meneer, ook al was u maar één maand te laat met het boeken van frequent flyer vlucht, uw miles zijn vervallen)
  • etc etc

De KLM servicebalie

Afgelopen mei vloog ik samen met mijn vriendin naar Mexico Stad. Wij hadden bij ons: twee koffers van onszelf, een extra koffer van een Mexicaanse vriend (á 120 euro) en twee mountainbikes (ik bespaar jullie het verhaal hoe onwillig de KLM medewerkers zijn, zelfs als je met twee hele grote dozen tussen alle poortjes, die open kunnen, door moet manoeuvreren). Nu heeft KLM de regel dat voor ieder extra stuk bagage je moet bijbetalen (normaal ongebruikte ruimte in het vliegtuig en dus bijna pure winst, maar OK). Nu wil het geval dat de dozen met de mountainbikes allebei twee kilo te zwaar zijn. Dus de KLM dame in kwestie vertelt ons dat we voor beide dozen nog eens 100 euro extra moeten betalen bovenop de 200 euro die we al betalen per doos. Ik slik even en geef haar aan dat onze andere koffers gezamenlijk 5 kilo onder het gewicht zijn we al een behoorlijk goede klant zijn (zeker met deze bagage) en vraag haar of ze een uitzondering kan maken helemaal omdat onze fietsdozen volgens KLM voorschriften helemaal dicht getapet zijn en we niks meer over kunnen pakken. Haar reactie is, en ik citeer: ‘Meneer Zwerink, hoe denkt u dan dat ik morgen aan mijn manager ga uitleggen dat ik twee bagagestukken die te zwaar waren voor minder omzet mee heb laten gaan?’ op mijn reactie:’U zou kunnen zeggen dat u twee mensen aangenaam verrast hebt met uw coulance en daardoor loyaliteit voor het leven hebt afgedwongen met een investering van slechts 100 euro op een vracht die in totaal nog onder het toegestane gewicht is gebleven’ komt helaas geen antwoord meer, we moeten betalen en snel ook, wie denk ik wel dat ik ben..

Hierna hebben zowel mijn vriendin als ik besloten om niet meer met KLM te vliegen. Jammer van mijn net weer opnieuw gespaarde miles, jammer van mijn transatlantische vluchten als Digital Nomad maar het zij zo.

Heb jij soortgelijke ervaringen met KLM? Gedeelde smart is halve smart dus ik hoor ze hieronder graag! Ik vond tijdens het plaatsen al wat medestanders



Poking life..

Found this citation of Steve Jobs worth sharing with you!

“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

“The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

“I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”   — Steve Jobs

You can change your life, there are no boundaries. Just listen to your heart and fo it. Reach inward and step forward!


‘The noble art of pitching’ or ‘Startups are focussing on the wrong things’

When someone says to me: ‘Give me the elevator pitch for your idea, you have thirty seconds’ I always feel sorry for that person. If all you have for me are those thirty seconds, how are we ever going to work together. In fact, if that is the way you live your life and try to find the right ideas to invest in, work on or work with, I am sorry but that is not going to happen. Human connection is made in a different way and so are great companies (I also discussed this topic with Dave McClure on Twitter during Startupbus 2012).

In the startup community there is just too much focus on preparing the right pitch, saying the right things on stage at a Startupweekend or creating awesome slides. I start doubting more and more the purpose of pitching. In my opinion startups would benefit more from thinking about their first customer and actually creating an awesome product instead of putting a lot of time and energy in preparing the perfect pitch. A good pitch means you can sell, a happy customer means your doing something meaningful, what would you rather do? People remember you for the actions with which you make their dreams come true, not all the business school stuff you do or say.

In other words: commit acts not ads!


The 10 Human victories

Last week I wrote about the 10 human regrets: the top ten of things people regret most when they look back at their lives. I also promised to give you the 10 human victories: the top ten thing people are proud of when looking back over their lives:

1. You reach your end full of happiness and fulfillment on realizing that you are all used up-having spent the fullness of your talents, the biggest of your resources and best of your potential doing great work and leading a rare air life

2. You reach your end knowing that you played at a standard of concentrated excellence and held yourself to the most impeccable of standards in each thing that you did

3. You reach your end in noisy celebration for having the boldness of spirit to have regularly confronted your largest fears and realized your highest visions

4. You reach your end and recognize that you became a person who built people up versus one who tore people down

5. Your reach your end with understanding that while your journey may have not always been smooth one, whenever you got knocked down you instantly got back up – and all times never suffered from any loss of optimism

6. You reach your end and bask in staggering glory of your phenomenal achievements along with the rich value you have contributed to the lives of the people you were to serve

7. You reach your end and adore the strong, ethical, inspirational and empathetic person you grow into.

8. You reach your end and realize that you were a genuine innovator who blazed new trails instead of following old roads

9. You reach your end surrounded by teammates who call you a rock star, customers who say you are a hero and loved ones say you are a legend

10. You reach your end as a true leader, knowing that the great deeds you did will endure long after your death and that your life stands as a model of possibility.

When you are reading this list, please realize that the this top ten is not comprised of physical things. It is made up only of results. Results of actions and decisions people take every day. Every day, you get a chance to make sure your top ten of human victories will look like this when you look back at your life. My mission right now is to enrich my life and the lives of others by travelling through Central- and South America with the love of life while leaving a trail of simple acts of kindness. Simply helping people with the things I can do in a part of the world that is completely new to me. Unconventional? May be so. Impossible? Not at all. Beautiful? Every day!

So, how are you going to ensure that this list above will be yours?


The 10 human regrets

Imagine you are lying in your death bed looking back at your life. What would you regret the most? In his great book ‘the leader who had no title’, Robin Sharma writes about the 10 things people regret when they reach their final day. I have summarized them here for myself but also for you, to ensure these won’t be our last thoughts when our final day comes. Next week the essential follow up: The 10 human victories!

The 10 human regrets:

1. You reach your last day with the brilliant song that your life was meant to sing still silent within you.

2. You reach your last day without ever having experienced the natural power that inhabits you to do great work and achieve great things.

3. You reach your last day realizing that you never inspired anyone else by the example that you set.

4. You reach your last day full of pain at the realization that you never took any bold risks and so you never received any bright rewards.

5. You reach your last day understanding that you missed the opportunity to catch a glimpse of mastery because you bought into the lie that you had to be resigned to mediocrity.

6. You reach your last day and feel heart broken that you never learned the skill of transforming adversity into victory and lead into gold.

7. You reach your last day regretting that you forgot that work is about being radically helpful to others rather than being helpful only to yourself.

8. You reach your last day with the awareness that you ended up living the life that society trained you to want versus leading the life you truly wanted to have.

9. You reached your last day and awaken to the fact that you never realized your absolute best nor touched the special genius that you were built to become.

10. You reach your last day and discover you could have been a leader and left this world so much better than you found it. But you refused to accept that mission because you were just too scared. And so you failed. And wasted a life.

Now that you know this, what are you going to do with it?? Let me know! I am living in Mexico now, preparing to continue my travel toward Ushuaia the southernmost city in the world!



If I were a teacher…

…I wouldn’t be teaching the same stuff year after year. The world is changing too fast to be teaching the same things

…I wouldn’t be wondering why all my students are staring at their cell phones during my class. I just told them to do so

…I wouldn’t be teaching in a dull class room. True learning doesn’t happen in class rooms

…I wouldn’t be teaching and preaching my knowledge. I would be facilitating their talents

…I wouldn’t be called teacher. Educator or facilitator comes first

…I wouldn’t be trying to fit the students into my frame of reference. Who am I to think my vision of the world is the only one

…I wouldn’t be treating my students as ‘one group’. They are not factory workers

…I wouldn’t teach them do everything the same. I would encourage them to embrace change

…I wouldn’t tell my students to sit still. I would encourage them to get up and make a dent in the universe

…I wouldn’t want to know how ‘intelligent they are’. I would want to know how ‘they are intelligent’

…I wouldn’t be having a job. I would be an artist and students would be my art

…I wouldn’t be alone. You would join me, wouldn’t you?


(Feel free to add your ideas about what you would do different if you were a teacher…)