Week #626 & #627

Friday, February 17th, 02023 at 12:21 UTC

Week #626

We started the week-off late Sunday night with a Monday morning call with Australia. The team down there is growing and we talked about future plans. All of their customers have been easy-going and referrals, but as they grow, not all of their customers will be as forgiving. So we discussed how to “protect” ourselves a bit and offering a warranty or support contract as part of the custom software we develop. Another alternative is a subscription model. That moves the costs from an asset to an expense on the P&L for their customers.

The surveys are in full-swing! Last week, on Friday, we sent out emails to parents of compulsory and kindergarten school students (of the organizations taking part). For 10 days after, the first randomly selected parent has the opportunity to answer. In Week #627, if they do not, we’ll swap and let the other parent have a chance. This week, we did the follow-up SMS message. That usually helps to get a big bump in responses. Email is great. It is cheap, you can say a lot, but it also ends-up in spam and gets ignored. SMSes help punch through that, but they cost more and you only get 160 characters. We also send a second reminder email, a robocall to around ~8,000 numbers and a final email saying you have 24 hours left to answer.

Now that the parents surveys have started, we are prepping for the March staff surveys. This means contact both potential customers, but also sending instructions to all those who signed-up to take part. The survey system is rock-solid. This staff survey is our newest addition and we run this slightly differently than other surveys, so there is more work involved that we’re still ironing out.

XML turned 25 this week. It has been over 20 years ago we worked on our MSc Thesis about SOAP web services. XML, XSLT, SOAP were all new technologies and we wanted to explore. Time has passed and REST, with all its issues and limitations, have won out due to its easy of use and flexibility.

Week #627

We have entered the second wave of the parent surveys. This is where we do the swap-over. When we started, we randomly selected one guardian to take part in the survey. After 10 days and several forms of pestering, if they have still not answered, we swap over to the other guardian and let them have a chance to answer. Then we sent out our first email, a follow-up SMS (which for some with aggressive spam filters, might be the first point of contact), and a second reminder email also alerting them to an upcoming robocall they can opt-out-of. Next week, we’ll call, a final email, then whom ever is still below the response rate validity level will probably get a personal call to please take part.

While all these parent surveys are taking place, we’re also gearing-up for next month’s staff survey.

The Hyperion project deadlines are fast approaching. There is a lot of stress on getting things finished, but overall things are looking amazing!

Our newsletter ⪮Good Morning s02e02 went out. This month’s theme turned out to be ‘star-stuff’. You can always read it online, but if you want to have it delivered to your inbox each month, just subscribe.

Our project for the Australian concreters is nearly at an end. They are finding small bugs here and there, then every once in a while find a bigger one. Those tend to be less technical and more workflow. Things getting archived and invoice, but re-appearing, we suspect because someone un-archives it to track more time. Some coördination is in order.

We had a small internal project idea break through! We’ve been experimenting with resurrecting an idea from 20 years ago call ‘dirk’ and managed a quick and simple prototype. Of course the next thing is to immediately over-complicate it with ontologies. But we backed off and realized what it might be missing is focus, and by combining it with another data collection project with no real goal, we might be onto something!


Back in 02012, we were in San Francisco and went to a Creative Mondays meet-up hosted by TypeKit. Off the back of that we wrote about Being Passionate about your Work.

A year earlier, in 02011, we wrote about the Economists concept of the Big Mac Index as an index of buying power in the company.