Archive for the 'business' Category

Cobase is on YouTube

Cobase is on YouTube!

At Cobase we are launching a series of videos to promote Concept, our online service for construction projects. This is the first one.


Cobase is out there

A couple of years ago, my business partner Martin Birch and I started to put together an idea. Today you can see the results. It’s called Cobase and it’s just seen the light.

It’s about Concept, a software product for the development of complex building projects; it aids with the co-ordination of architectural and engineering technical issues within large, distributed teams. It’s about saving time and misunderstandings. It’s my third start-up. Wish me luck!

Check it out here.

Are you Serios?

I have just read “Addressing Information Overload in Corporate Email: The Economics of User Attention”, a white paper by The Radicati Group. Their motivation makes a lot of sense: we receive a lot of email these days, and there is not way to quickly tell the wheat from the chaff in your inbox. The “urgent” or “low priority” flags are often overused or not used at all, so they means little. And even for those who use them consistently, they only give you three levels of importance.

Once you remove all the marketing babble, what these guys propose a continuous scale to grade the importance of an email. The sender states how important an email is in a scale from 0 (zero) to potentially infinite, and the sender sees it when she received the email. It’s easy to sort your inbox on the importance column and prioritise emails with higher importance values.

I know, I know. There is the issue that email importance is modelled as a currency. Every time you compose a new email and state how important it is (using an importance unit called Serios), your “balance” is reduced accordingly. For example, if I send an email valued in 20 Serios, my Serios balance is reduced by 20. Since my balance is finite, I must think twice before allocating very high importance values to an email.

Continue reading ‘Are you Serios?’

Wrong priorities?

My Nokia 6288 has been acting up for some time now. It resets randomly a few times a day, which is quite annoying if you happen to be in the middle of a conversation or typing a text message.

So, when Vodafone came up with the BlackBerry Storm, I thought I would have a look at it. It starts at 19 € if you sign up for the top flat rate voice and data contract, which may be a bit over the top for me. But I am still willing to pay a bit more for the machine if I like it. What I would really like to own is an iPhone, but there are two reasons why I can’t: first, only Telefónica sells the iPhone in Spain, and I will not enter into business with Telefónica under any circumstances (well, maybe I would if my life and the life of my loved ones’ were depending on it); secondly, my colleague Sara Atán owns one and she says it’s got a few glitches and functionality shortcomings that I am not ready to live with. So, no iPhone for me. Shame. It’s pretty. So Apple.

Continue reading ‘Wrong priorities?’

Wirfs-Brock responsibility model, ISO/IEC 24744 and organisational roles

This is why I love my job. I get to do all this experimental stuff and I get paid for it!

Okay, let me explain.

We are undergoing some reorganisation at work. In case you still don’t know, I work at a research lab of over 40 people where I try to apply software engineering to cultural heritage. Most of my workmates, however, are archaeologists, historians, anthropologists or soil scientists. Anyway. A few weeks ago we decided that we should define a few key roles that people should be playing at the lab. How do you define a role? Mmmmm… Well, ISO/IEC 24744 says that a role is a collection of responsibilities that a producer can take, where a producer is, usually, an individual in an organisation. I like ISO/IEC 24744 because I believe it can be applied to much more than software development methodologies, and the definitions are quite good. The fact that I was a key contributor to it has nothing to do, of course.

Continue reading ‘Wirfs-Brock responsibility model, ISO/IEC 24744 and organisational roles’

But we work in summer

More on the August paralysis. El País, today, full-page ad. An oncological hospital in Madrid advertises its services using the tagline:

We work at normal pace in summer

This is not a small note at the bottom of the page. Rather, this sentence is in large type, at the top of the page, acting as what we could call a marketing differentiator, i.e. a fact or property that makes this product (the hospital) unique from its competitors and hopefully attractive to the potential clients.

Isn’t this sad? This is not a video shop, for Pete’s sake. It’s an oncological hospital! And they use a full-page on the Sunday El País (imagine the cost!) to make the proud statement that they work at normal pace in summer.

This country just sucks.


I have started another blog. Yeah I know!

I named it Laetril and it’s in Spanish. My goal is to discuss a variety of topics on the way we knowledge workers carry out our jobs, and I decided to start it after a few (Spanish speaking) friends and colleagues asked me about related issues that I have been mentioning here and in some informal chats.

I am aware that by writing in Spanish I am making it hard for some of you out there; however, writing in English would make it as hard for some others. And since NEH is already in English, I thought that a Spanish-language forum would make sense.

So here I am. Have a look at Laetril!

Follow me on Twitter