The summer school itself was really well facilitated. The food was amazing, the dorms were clean and the classes were interesting. I never did anything with statistics. Although this was a big part of the summer school I managed to tag along by reading up on things after the classes were over.
With only 2 weeks you obviously can’t become a full fledged data scientist but you can get a solid understanding about what you can do and why its important.
During the summer school we worked with Python 3, Pandas, MongoDB and IMB’s SPSS Modeler.
Wroclaw is a beautiful city that really captures the story of Poland over the last couple centuries. During the summer school there were a number of activities you could sign up for. We however only participated in two; the city tour and the boat trip. This was because we wanted to study after the lectures.
During the weekend we went to visit Auschwitz. I never imagined that a place could make me as quite and sad as I was here. It’s just horrifying every step you take.
Jordi and I both got selected as one of the T500. A list with the most ambitious, talented people in the Dutch digital scene. Everyone on this list got tickets for The Next Web conference in Amsterdam last Thursday and Friday.
The conference was held in the Westergasfabriek, a truly awesome location for an event like this. Everywhere throughout the park there were amazing food & drink stands. You had to link your PayPal to a special wristband in order to buy anything (which was a bit infuriation since wireless payments are already a thing everywhere in the Netherlands and I don’t see a point in reinventing that with a wristband).
During the conference we met a lot of interesting people and attended some inspiring talks.
Stop Wasting Your Time with Fake Productivity
The best talk I attended to was from Jocelyn K. Glei: Stop Wasting Your Time with Fake Productivity. It was about how we prefer to do the easy things first because it gives us a sense of accomplishment. She wrote an interesting book on this subject named Unsubscribe (which I am reading right now).
If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It
DJ Hardwell also gave an interesting talk about how he growth hacked his career. He is the first DJ to use bleeding edge technologies like Blockchain. Many times before he has set a trend that others first find weird but will later follow. An example would be that Hardwell was the first DJ to posts livestreams of his performances on YouTube.
What disappointed me a bit was that most of the other talks didn’t go into much detail and started at the basics every time. I don’t think that’s necessary since most attendees have a tech background.
Aside from that we had 2 fun and interesting days!
Instead of spending Friday at the office we went to B. Amsterdam for the Hacking Healthcare Hackathon. A 24h contest in which groups have to create innovative solutions for the healthcare industry.
We decided to build an app for people with Dementia. With this app they will be able to see to who they are talking to.
First we import contacts from the users phone and upload them to the Microsoft Cognitive Services API (Faces and Emotion). From there on we are able to identify which user is in frame and present information about them. We also show Facebook pictures from the user you are looking it, to bring back some memories.
After an amazing pitch by Stein (one of our team members) we won the first prize! In the following 8 weeks we will be working with Amgen to incubate this idea.
Last Saturday morning at around 10:00 AM we flew from Schiphol airport (Amsterdam) to San Francisco International airport. We won this 6-day trip with FindIt at the Dutch Open Hackathon 2016.
Throughout the following days I will try to add to this post.
We flew with KLM so the flight itself was pretty decent, proper food and lots of new movies (I watched Inferno & Money Monster). We flew over Iceland and Greenland the weather was clear so I managed to snap some really cool pictures! Here is my favorite one.
Upon arrival we took an Uber to our Airbnb mansion in Mission (downtown San Francisco). If you ever happen to be in San Francisco, Uber is probably the best way to get around. If you’re with 3 or more people its about the same price as other public transportation (train, subway).
After dropping our stuff we went to Palomino (a restaurant near the Google offices in the bay area). After we had some good food and met up with someone Nick knew from Germany. After being awake for more then 30 hours I fell asleep in the restaurant. Luckily Jordi an Nick woke me up when they wanted to go back to our Airbnb. Quite embarrassing…
We woke up with a bit of rain today. After we got up we headed to Pier 33 (the pier where the boat to Alcatraz departs).
If you ever want to go to Alcatraz I recommend you buy your tickets a couple months in advance since its impossible to just get tickets there.
The boat trip was about 25 minutes. When we arrived on the island a ranger gave us some info about the island (it’s a national park after all).
As a child I played a lot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 on the Playstation 2. It had a level on Alcatraz and Pier 39. It was a pretty nostalgic moment for me to see those “levels” in person.
After walking to the top of the island there was an amazing audio tour in which former inmates and guards told their stories.
As we walked through the prison you kinda felt how the mood was 54 years ago. After we completed the audio tour we went to a small theater that presented the history of Alcatraz as an island. This itself is pretty interesting as well because most people think about the prison when they hear Alcatraz but its so much more then that.
You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else that you get is privilege.
Upon returning to the mainland we decided to pay a visit to Pier 39. This pier has sea lions, waterfront dining, street performers, live music, shopping and more.
Top of the Mark
After such a long and fun day we decided to wind down the day with a cocktail at the top floor of the Mark Hopkins hotel. From here you could see the entirety of San Francisco.
Today started off with a lot of rain (again). Nick and I decided to buy some buns at the local bakery. It’s weird to see how much difference there is between the price of food here. Going out for diner is really expensive everywhere, however buying bread at a local bakery costs almost nothing.
After a little while we headed over to a shopping centre were we did some work and met up with Startwise (a really interesting startup that builds a platform for crowd-investments).
Later that evening we met up with Jeroen Ransijn, a dutch developer who moved to San Francisco a couple years back. During our diner we had some really interesting conversations about our products and startups in general.
Today we woke up to sunshine albeit a bit too late. We overslept. Good thing we had a really fast Uber driver to Startup Grind in Redwood City!
Startup Grind is an event for entrepreneurs hosted by Google. The centre of the was completely closed of because of the conference, there were multiple stages. One in a cinema, one in a old court hall and one in a theater.
During the conference we attended to a lot of interesting talks, even a couple by the CEO’s of Tinder and WhatsApp.
After a successful day at the conference we went to a meetup from Marketers & Founders. We we’re a bit late but still managed to get in, the talk itself was about how to grow your startup using social media campaigns.
Then we headed over to La Taqueria in the Mission district (close to our Airbnb). We had some really nice Mexican food and went to bed after that.
Startup Grind was a 2-day event, so we started of there. In the afternoon we decided to leave the conference and visit Facebook, Stanford and Google.
Unfortunately we did not manage to get a tour inside Facebook because our contact there wasn’t on site.
After our minor setback at Facebook we decided to head over to the Stanford University. We were able to buy some awesome merchandise at the Stanford bookstore!
Unlike Facebook, Google was rather friendly to visitors. They also had a merchandise store in which I bought a new back pack. We also took some pictures with the famous Android statues!
After our visit to Silicon Valley we headed back to San Francisco, there we went to China town for diner. Afterwards we had some cocktails and went to bed.
Our flight back to Amsterdam would take of at 2 PM local time. But we didn’t pay a proper visit to the Golden Gate bridge. So we decided to get into an Uber and pay a quick visit. We were there for about 5 minutes to take some quick pictures.
Upon arrival in Amsterdam I decided to visit our Office before heading back home. While my jetlag could not have been worse I am really glad to have done this. It was really nice to see how they managed to keep everything running without us being there!
This weekend we (Re: Software) threw a small party to celebrate the opening of our new office in De Bron.
We bought a lot of our furniture of IKEA. The first thing we assembled was a GALANT Filing Cabinet. It had some really weird lock system that took us a little while to understand. After spending 3 hours setting up the file cabinet we were kind of afraid to setup the rest.
However luckily the rest of the furniture from IKEA wasn’t so hard to setup. We went with the BEKANT Desk and the RENBERGET Office Chair (which I already regret since its a pain to sit on for more then a couple of hours).
We also managed to get some furniture from family and friends, some plastic chairs, a lunch table and a couple of small plants.
We think that this office is a good place to let our company grow into what we want it to become.
I want to end this post with a huge shout-out to everyone who helped us setting all of this up in the last few weeks (especially my grandpa Adriaen Daalmans).