these are the posts tagged ‘work’:

what customer support is all about

(…) The customer who seeks out your help isn’t often looking to deplete your bank account. He is usually seeking validation, support and a path to feeling the way he felt before you let him down.

The best measurement of customer support is whether, after the interaction, the customer would recommend you to a friend. Time on the line, refunds given or the facts of the case are irrelevant. The feelings are all that matter, and changing feelings takes humanity and connection, not cash.” – Seth Godin

could you act human? i got neighbors.

summer light

well, crazy july is behind us, all the pinkness of building a website for young teenage girls fading with it. i css’d while listening to hannah montana, the jonas brothers and taylor swift, corrupting whatever poor sense of musical taste i had before (and dragging down those around me too!). i saw twilight, and then read (practically devoured) the 4 books and a half that stephenie meyer wrote on the series – all in the same week. i’m up to speed on all the cute idols for <16, their schedules and mischiefs. for a whole month, i was a giddy teenager all over again, but i actually had a lot of fun doing the site, and the last 2 weeks were pretty intense. i wish i could slip into this sort of focused working mode more often.

the website is a sort of portal, so it required a big infrastructure: drupal was our “community plumbing” system of choice. drupal can be quite messy and scary, with its panoply of modules, options and versions and it took me some time (months, actually) to get used to it, to motivate myself to learn it. right now, i can say i got over most of my grudges with it… and i even like it, a little. that stuff might not be straightforward, but sure as hell is powerful and i will probably use it again someday, if another big project comes along. for the small stuff, wordpress has my undying loyalty.

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on other news, our dealer found us a nice focus station wagon that we’ll officially purchase soon, as soon as we figure out insurances and other details. it’s pretty, and i’m already used to it since my family currently owns 2 of these. we weren’t pushing for a third one, but i think i’m secretly happy it turned out that way :)

it’s a nice car and though it is a little big for us, the size of the trunk comforts me, and i find myself making mental lists of the things we’ll be able to fit there. things like foldable bikes to use in the cities we’ll see, and ski/snowboard equipment. i’ve tried snowboarding once before, in a indoors place in shanghai and loved the feeling of it, so i’m looking forward for new tries (and falls). i think we’ll pick a nice country for that. :)

lunch at the company

i take all the pictures of food in the blog on the restaurants we go to for dinner, so today i thought i’d show something different: a typical lunch in the company. here it is:
lunch at the company

it’s basically a set of random chinese dishes with meat, fish, vegetables, tofu, etc that everybody shares. the ayi orders it from a small restaurant, and an hour later, the delivery boy brings it around and she screams “chi fan le!” :)

sometimes the dishes are good, sometimes they’re not, but since there’s some variety you can always choose the ones you like best. stuff in heavy sauce doesn’t make it to my dish, but in contrast, the beef strips and the curry chicken are a favorite.

my "plate"

we’re usually 8 people eating, and the bill is a grand total of 80rmb, or 10rmb per person (8 euros total, 1 euro/person). amazing, hein?

the bunker visit


at the place where i work, there’s a bunker, inside of which lays the facility that controls the gas in the whole netherlands. live. all of it. i mean, it’s possible to close all the gas entries in all the cities and knock down the country with a few clicks and dos-like commands. and still have an impact on neighbouring countries, since holland has a huge reserve of natural gas and is considered the energy roundabout of europe. pretty much as in a science fiction movie.

anyway, the bunker is an autonomous underground control room, built separately from the rest of the building, with very limited access and iris scan entrance. the people working there have received training up to 5 years and know they are being watched by the national secret services.

the air seemed to be reaching it through a dozen of anti-everything filters, it felt clean and fresh, slightly artificial, in a private hospital kind of way, but without the smell. the walls had pictures of 20 years ago, when the team still worked on another location, and also pictures of the process of building the bunker (and let me assure you, buildings construction in a country below sea level isn’t easy – but that’s material for a whole new entry )

beyond the computers, the network maps in the walls and the darts target, the focused look of some people and all the support facilities around the room, there were a couple of things that made me smile.
first, an aquarium someone brought from a mixing station somewhere, when they didn’t know what to do with it there. it was big, colorful and occupied the center of the control room.
then, on one of the walls, there was a real-time video stream from the garden outside. no sound, just image. people chatting, biking, unaware they were being watched. it gave the workers down there a meter, a view of the weather and the light outside. i found the idea so humane, so nice.

as opposed to the offices upstairs, the aura there was calm, focused. i mean, people smiled at me, the stranger being guided through them as they silently watched the screens, made calls and someone delivered some fresh made coffee.

and at that point, i understood i’ll never be one of them. can you imagine the look on her majesty’s face when someone told her the reason why the netherlands was without gas… was because a dispatcher spilled a cup of coffee on a computer? :|

i own the company!

featuring ana and her workplace, from the bevrijdingsdag (liberation day) festival, in the city park. warm days, blue skies, green grass and music in the air… feels like summer :D