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SoundByte 241: When the going gets tough

24 April 2016

It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve returned from my bike ride way earlier than usual, mainly due to the winterish weather outside. There’s this weather saying “April doet wat hij wil” which fully applies to the current weather. I’ve seen everything this morning, from rain to snow to hailstones and even sunshine. Digging a bit into april weather proverbs it’s funny to see that it’s the countries and languages with the most precarious weather conditions that actually have the most weather proverbs.

DevCon 2016

Looking back at the past week there are multiple highlights, starting with Tuesday of course when we Luminis had our second developer conference. It was a pretty long day for me with the alarm clock set at 04:10 in the morning to transport and set-up the racing simulator together with Marcel, but it was totally worth it. Seeing that for the second consecutive year we managed to attract that many enthusiastic people who are really interested in what we want to share makes me really proud being part of Luminis. There was a great atmosphere with a really positive vibe, great talks and the food was excellent too. I would like to say a big thank you to the organizing committee without whose dedication and hard work this would not have been possible!

The conference started with a very inspiring talk by Chris Moon, one which will not soon forget. Surviving being captured by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and losing both his right arm and leg because of a land mine in East Africa he rightfully describes himself being on of the luckiest men alive. Within a year after his accident he managed to complete the London marathon raising sums to help disabled people in the developing world. After that he even became the world’s first amputee ultra distance runner. Chris Moon has determination and positiveness written all over him. Besides his impressive life story he’s also an exceptionally good speaker who manages to capture your full attention from begin to end.

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There are some lessons in his story I find particularly interesting since it’s precisely that attitude that is seen with most successful people. They have something in common in their mindset. They “Always look for the positive”, (or like Cruyff used to say “Elk nadeel heb z’n voordeel”), they “take ownership of the situation”, always “stay professional” and “never take things personally”. Surely Chris has applied these principles to the extreme but I think there’s great value in them for everyone. So this weeks song is actually the song that helps Chris through difficult moments when running the Great Sahara Run, a 250km run through the desert, also described as the toughest footrace on earth: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Although completely incomparable to the achievements of Chris Moon I do recognize that spirit and attitude when riding mountainbike marathons. There’s just no circumstance you can imagine will lead you to giving up, yet you’re really suffering.

Aftapwet

Wednesday I read a news article by the NOS about an upcoming ‘aftapwet’, legislation that allows the government to spy on public communication. It’s a law the Dutch cabinet has been working on for the past one and a half years. This kind of legislation frightens me. Earlier this month the MIVD (the dutch defense intelligence organization) reported that the Dutch defense organization, their allied networks and manufacturers of their equipment are more and more becoming a successful target for digital espionage by some foreign countries with military ambitions. At the same time the US senate members Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr are drafting an encryption bill that would require people to comply with any court order for data, and if that data is un-intelligible the legislation demands it to be rendered intelligible. This is basically a bomb under encryption as we know it. Luckily this bill is that extreme that it’s not likely it will make it into actual legislation but it clearly illustrates the direction governments are moving into. Basically there running into their own catch 22. They want to be able to fully spy on the public yet want themselves and the public infrastructure to be really really secure, which is a puzzle that’s impossible to solve. So I wonder about the true rationale behind these initiatives. Sure clearly it’s the (recent) terror attacks that are triggering them, but it’s really questionable whether weakening security and creating backdoors is really going to help in preventing these attacks, or is it going to run us into a lot of trouble due to the side-effects of these measures. It’s rather naive to think “they can’t do to use what we can do to them” and I strongly believe that anyone that wants to stay under the radar (communication wise) is actually able to. Not a nice thought, but that’s the way it is. There are some really serious future shaping battles being fought in the politics arena which I’m confident will have a great impact on our future, so that’s something to watch closely.

On a final note I’d like to end with one of the key messages of the keynote of Chris Moon at the DevCon which is: “be thankful for the things we have, love and live and don’t be dragged down by negative nasty people”. In the world we’re living in everything is happening so fast that we often forget to step back and appreciate the things life gives us. So please remember to appreciate the small things in life, be thankful and have a great week!

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