Busy times… sort of a personal update.

18 Jul
18/07/2009

Never before my job has been so close to disruptive markets and technologies and I absolutely appreciate it. To me it’s a great privilege being able to deep dive into some of the most amazing new technologies that are currently available.

Brainstorming ideas on how to leverage and take them to market with my peers is so much fun and I’m very much aware that doing this as a job which allows me to feed my family is something I should never take for granted.

GrandCentrix

Many of you have been contacting me over the past couple of months asking me to reveal details about my new company. Well, I had to be quite for various reasons. Number one: We’ve been in negotiations with Venture Capital firms. VCs typically do not allow you to talk about the stuff you’re planning while you’re talking to them. It does not feel right – as quite obviously founding a new endeavor is something you’re very likely proud of and want to talk about everywhere – but hey, money rules and so we’ve been quite.

This will change shortly.

We’ve managed to find what we’ve been looking for. We are currently in the final steps of sorting out some subtle details. Expect the GrandCentrix website to launch someday next week.

GrandCentrix-Logo-300x220Many fellows, most of them enjoying a secure but pretty boring life working for IT tycoons, warned us that starting a new company in the current economic downturn might be risky. Sure, it is. But one thing I learned during my years of entrepreneurship is, that if you really believe in something, you are going to overachieve more than you thought of would be possible.

I’m glad to report that GrandCentrix managed to win its first customer even before we officially launched! I’m again not allowed to disclose any names but it’s a wonderful first customer to have. A customer who has defined quality standards in her industry more than once and pioneered an entire field in the entertainment industry.

As the Chief Technology Officer of GrandCentrix, I’m obviously quite involved into this project and that partially explains, why 24100.net experiences a bit of a lack of attention. I promise I’m trying to get better, soon.

The Next Web

The Next Web is one of Europe’s most successful technology centric blogs. I’m extremely proud of being one of its regular authors and have to admit that some of my attention and some of the posts which would have made it to 24100.net now get published over at The Next Web.

The team at The Next Web, its founders Boris and Zee, and all the other authors are outstanding. They are smart, visionary, focussed, open minded, thought-leading and bring to the table many different view points, which I particularly enjoy. The conversations we’re having, the start-ups that approach us with first-to-see stuff and all of the eco-system grouped around my work there, is so much inspiring, I love it!

tnw-logoClose friends keep asking me how I cope with the distraction working on so many different projects might cause. However, I believe this is a totally wrong perspective.

The opposite is true: I believe in order to add value to a team running a technology centric company that strives at constantly delivering the biggest value to its customers, you have to make sure that you’re getting a fair amount of insight into leading-edge stuff.

A good example are my journeys into Twitter land.

I’ve received emails from former colleagues asking me why I’ve been jumping right onto this geeky, first-mover service that nobody takes serious. The answer is simple: In my former professional life I’ve been working in the customer care/contact center industry. Unfortunately, innovation in this area comes down to pretty basic stuff, as most customer service organizations are mainly driven by cutting cost and not by enhancing the customer experience (even if they tell you so).

twitter-iconMany good and many bad things have been said about Twitter. One thing is sure: It’s a new communication paradigm. It might be geeky. It might not be mainstream. It might be Web 2.0, Web 2010 (as Robert Scoble uses to say) or all about the real-time web. But it for sure is a new communication paradigm.

If you’ve got children (I’ve got a 10 years old) you will be very well aware that things are changing. That the telephone is by far no longer the most important communication tool of tomorrow’s consumers.

My conclusion: If you want to lead innovation in the customer care industry, you simply have to look into how communication evolves. And that means you’ve got to try out Twitter. You’ve got to play with emerging video communication platforms. You’ve got to look into Google Wave.

Besides this: It’s fun. It’s inspiring. It keeps you young. And it’s ultimately giving you a competitive advantage that will likely leave the big ones behind (keeping in mind their implicit inertia).

As the saying goes: Failing to prepare means preparing to fail!

Google Wave

The media has been a buzz about Google Wave. Analysts predicted the end of email. Google Wave, as does Twitter, establishes new ways to collaborate, communicate and share. That’s why I’m there, too. Trying to get a feeling for the good stuff and the things that need improvement. Always trying to sort out which parts could be applied to real-world problems my customers are facing. How to integrate and leverage the technology stack that’s evolving over there.

Google Wave has not yet been opened to the public. I’m one of approximately 5000 other lucky folks, that have been granted early access. Should you be one of those lucky Wavers, please do add me: I’m 24z@wavesandbox.com. (No emails please, I’m not monitoring the mail part of that account.)

While I primarily use Twitter, FriendFeed, Google Wave and other tools to apply learnings to the services we create for our GrandCentrix customers, sort of a really fantastic byproduct is getting in touch with all of those outstanding smart folks from all over the world.

24z-google-wave

Quite obviously these services are predominantly used by people who think alike and simply love technology as much as I do. As many services evolve around some sort of communication, getting in touch with others is a key aspect. Actually the Wave shown above is a fairly typical example. I did not know Scot Gardner before. We just happened to be online at the same time, adding comments to the same Wave and we got in touch.

Scot runs a cool blog (Geek Outpost) and I really enjoyed sharing parts of my Google Wave adventure with him.

These sorts of things happen all the time. I’m an absolute believer that if you contribute to communities and openly share your passion, they pay back will all be yours.

The iPhone

You did not expect an article from me, without mentioning the iPhone, did you?

For once the iPhone plays a pretty important role for what we do at GrandCentrix. Our business is not 100% Apple focused, but as the iPhone is the most significantly growing smart phone of our times, it definitely is important for us.

20060727-minority_report_gestural_uiTogether with my team at GrandCentrix we are currently working on a revolutionary new user interaction paradigm that will provide users with an unprecedented way of navigating an (entertainment) application.

We hope it’ll impress our customer (yes, the one I’ve been referring to before) as much as it does all our beta testers, boys- and girlfriends, young ones, mamas and papas. The GrandCentrix website will have all the glory details around the October timeframe. That’s also, when the first application based on the technology will be available on the App Store. Stay tuned, it’ll be well worth your time.

Looking for a new job?

I almost forgot to mention: We will have great job openings available at GrandCentrix. If you’re passionate about technology, consider yourself being one of the best in your field and are tired of working in a process overloaded  environment with a boss that might be good in Excel but not in many other things, feel free to get in touch. (For now use the Contact option available here.) More info on specific positions will be available via the GrandCentrix website shortly, but I’m also happy if you just briefly let me know you’re looking for a new opportunity today.

Just explain briefly what you’re up to these days, what you do best and don’t forget to link in some references.

We are happy to welcome home office arrangements and working with an international team is something we consider beneficial.

But be warned: GrandCentrix is truly agile. If you’re a big fan of waterfall project plans and buzzword dominated meetings, GrandCentrix might not be your ideal place to work at.

Anything else?

As for my professional life, 2009 has by far been the best year for me, since leaving the corporate world in 2004. Privately, I’m enjoying my time with the love of my life – who in many ways forced me to do exactly what I’m doing these days – and our 10 years old boy is doing extraordinarily fine.

office01We’ve recently completely reworked the home office, which is now serving as an office for both of us, taking away some of the loneliness that sometimes goes along with writing detailed updates like the one you’re currently reading late in the evening.

I’d like to thank all of my readers, subscribers, followers and Wave peers for keeping me motivated and the many good conversations we had.

Hope to read, meet and talk to you soon!



2 replies
  1. Harold Kuepers says:

    Great to see your work is paying off. Still wonder what the new company is about. We will see…….

    Good luck

    Reply

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