Category Archives: Innovation

Bol.com Techlab podcast on Data and Data Science

Bol.com’s Techlab podcast features various episodes on way of working, including the ones below:

You can find a full list of episodes on

Bol.com Techlab podcast on Way of Working

Bol.com’s Techlab podcast features various episodes on way of working, including the ones below:

You can find a full list of episodes on

First episode of the bol.com TechLab podcast

Today we released the first episode of the bol.com TechLab podcast. The subject of this first episode is our Kotlin adoption journey.

In this podcast, we share our experience with you to learn and entertain. Peeking behind the screens of IT and Tech in general at bol.com. Showing you our approach to IT, e-commerce and retail platforms. We have a lot of fun creating the podcast episodes. It is awesome to talk about all the interesting software we create and the innovation we can achieve with our development community.

Our next episode will feature our experience with forecasting using modern data science technology. I can promise you that will be an interesting discussion too!

Two interesting reads on team structure and focus

(Re)discovered two interesting reads on team structure and focus this week that I like to share.

Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners

pioneer, settler and town planner The Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners approach help structure organisations and teams. It takes into account how activities and practices move from chaotic (poorly understood, uncertain, constantly changing, rare, future source of worth) to more linear (well-defined, predictable, stable, common, cost of doing business) and how organisations contain a mass of these activities and practices. Understanding this and using the right methods and tactics is important to creating a balance between the unstable but potentially high margin activities (chaotic) and the stable and low margin (linear).

McKinsey’s Three Horizons of Growth

McKinsey’s Three Horizons of Growth are all about keeping you and your teams focused on growth and innovation. This strategy framework requires you to categorize your goals into 3 different ‘horizons’. You can also split the activities of your team to the three types of activities that are related to fulfilling the goals for the different horizons. In that case, a team could spend (as a rule of thumb):

  • 70% on activities that are most closely aligned to your current business.
  • 20% on taking what you already have, and extending it into new areas of revenue-driving activity.
  • 10% on introducing entirely new elements to your business that don’t exist today.

This helps ensure that you consistently balance your focus between the needs of today (horizon 1), the future state of your business (horizon 3) and the steps that you need to take to get there (horizon 2).

Travis Law

Travis’s Law:

Our product is so superior to the status quo that if we give people the opportunity to try it, they will defend it and demand its right to exist.

Travis Law is a quote from a speech by Travis Kalanick founder of Red Swoosh and wider known Uber. In his CEO role at Uber, there have been quite some scrimmages with local governments and unions. This law is one of the strategies what Uber uses to influence the outcomes of these discussions. They have been pretty successful with it.

Will it work outside Uber?

There is one other company that comes to mind that faces similar discussions with unions and governments that has used this approach successfully: Airbnb.

Some background

In a Havard Business Review article on Uber (and it’s assumed illegality) it is stated:

What’s more, Uber’s most distinctive capabilities focused on defending its illegality. Uber built up staff, procedures, and software systems whose purpose was to enable and mobilise passengers and drivers to lobby regulators and legislators — creating political disaster for anyone who questioned Uber’s approach.

Related laws

In a way, this is an extension to what Peter Thiel stated in Zero to One:

As a rule of thumb proprietary technology must be at least 10 times better than its closest substitute in some important dimension.

Where Thiel focusses on the product development part, Travis goes from the demand. The demand from users that is used to overcome obstacles, like protectionist rules and laws and unions acting to protect jobs and actually sometimes more investments and lobbies by unions.

Presentation Applying “web scale” patterns in the bol.com back office

Codemotion web scale pattern presentationThis week at Codemotion I gave a presentation on web scale patterns and how we apply them in the bol.com back office services. Codemotion is the biggest tech conference in Italy and one of the most important in Europe.

The presentation shows how we go from business goals to software patterns. The following patterns were covered: CQRS, event sourcing, polyglot persistence and micro services.


Presentatie Agile schalen op basis van best practices

Net als de afgelopen jaren heb ik afgelopen vrijdag een presentatie over Agile Architectuur gegeven. Kern van de presentatie dit jaar is dat bij het schalen van Agile vooral de problemen/uitdagingen die je onderweg tegenkomt aangepakt moeten worden en niet klakkeloos een framework gaat implementeren. Aan de hand van voorbeelden leg ik uit hoe we dit binnen bol.com aanpakken.


Book – Holacracy

HolacracyIk kwam een mooie samenvatting van het boek Holacracy van Brian J. Robertson tegen. Eerder schreef ik een review over Getting Teams Done. Waarin holacracy (en de variant Spark) beschreven wordt als een methode voor teamproductiviteit, net als GTD dat is voor individuele productiviteit. Mijn ervaringen met de holacracy variant Spark beschreef ik in deze post.

De case die vaak gegeven wordt als holacracy adoptie beschreven wordt is Zappos, maar er zijn veel meer cases beschreven.