Over the seas in all degrees

Markus left yesterday in direction of the Pacific south east. He’ll take a few days off. Until July, actually. Taking the opportunity to get away from the usual life is a great idea in my eyes and I wish him all the relaxation and inspiration he’s hoping for. I wonder, though, how long it will take until the urge to code on some ideas kicks in. I guess I’ll find out on Twitter or his vacation blog.

Private yes, but professional?

We’re a distributed company and not all of our work is done by the owners or employees. We also hire freelancers and last week, I gave delegating some work to a VPA a try. I contacted Strandschicht and they assigned me an assistant from Romania. He speaks good German, as Strandschicht requires for all their VPAs. I have to concede, though, that his first job left me only 80% satisfied. First, he promised to do the work on Friday but when I contacted him on Saturday, he apologized that he had to do another client’s job first. He then actually got to work on my assignment on Monday. Overall, he did well. Where he left a bit to desire was where he came back to me with questions that were already answered in my instruction email. And, most annoyingly, in three of the emails I had him write to our clients, he forgot to change the salutation. Big doo-doo. I consider people’s names very important and just can’t accept that three clients got greeted with “Dear Mr./Mrs. -“. I’ll still have to decide how to proceed from here. (Please, tell me in the comments how you would!)

Office space

I’m writing this weeknote in the “S-Office”, as I lovingly call the Starbucks in the Freiburg city centre where I spend a lot of time working (Mayor, of course!). Although I have a great workplace at home, I need a bit of variety from time to time. And when Amalias’s home all day (like yesterday, to recover from a cold), there’s not much working without disturbance any more. Unfortunately, Starbucks isn’t that quiet a place sometimes, either. Every now and then, there are days when all tables are taken and patrons are bustling in and out. Even my trusty Etymotics earphones can’t provide a complete shield against the flurry then. That’s why last week, I signed a contract with a company that rents office space on an hourly basis. All I have to do is to reserve a room in advance on the online calendar. Yesterday, I used the office for the first time and really, it’s great to have a quiet space to retreat to while at home, three kids are trashing the place while their mothers are having tea.

International business

When we started DrupalCONCEPT last year, we targeted our domestic market first. Now, business gets more and more international. And it’s not only our Drupal hosting clients that are distributed over the world, our IT infrastructure is increasingly, too. A growing number of clients demands minimal website response time regardless where in the world their visitors are coming from. The standard solution for this is a Content Delivery Network (CDN), a network of globally distributed servers that deliver content to the website visitors most nearby. Most CDNs work on static content only, but we need to deliver page content locally, too. That’s why we decided to build our own infrastructure: a network of caching servers all over the world. This week, for example, we’ll deploy a caching satellite in Brazil. It’s a great example for our main business objective: Delivering top-of-the-line IT solutions.