Thursday, 10 December 2009

Development Teams across cultural boundaries

I have been part of many development teams from all over the world. As I migrated from team to team, I see the good mix of experiences and background that each team member contributes to the team. Apart from contribute to the team in technical manner, they also contribute to the team from a personal perspective. The current team that I am working on has 10 different nationalities. As I am being expose to people from different cultural backgrounds, my personal growth advanced a bit more.

Lets hold that thought for a moment and think if a team will work better or worse if each of the team member is from a similar cultural background. I mean, would the team stand a higher chance of delivering the project successfully? would the team deliver a project on time?

I really don't have a clear answer for this. From my observations and from events from the world at large, the evidence points to a NO answer.

Imagine a development team where the team members have been together for more than 25 years, speaks the same dialect of the language and graduated from the same University. Would such a team work?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hack girls?

I just came across a story on Hack a Day where Yahoo hired some strippers for their Hack event in Taiwan just recently. Judging from the quick manner which an apology got posted and the response from, it sounds like Yahoo made an unpopular decision by hiring these strippers.

Is this just an over-reaction? Perhaps it is the environment that it is in. I have been to many trade shows and conferences, Cebit, E3, etc. and guess what, the booth hosts are they because 1) they look good and 2) by looking good, they attract people to the booths to talk about the products. They even use the same techniques on webpages, have you ever noticed that when you click onto the technical support page, they usually is a picture of a hot looking girl/guy smiling holding a phone.

Do get me wrong, I don't like the exploitation of women and events like the Hack is absolutely not the correct occasions for this.

I reckon the guys leaving the Hack will be yelling out Yahoo! OK, lets move on....

Friday, 30 October 2009

The cost of setting up to live in an another country

Relocating is always a significant event in anyone's life. It is ever more so if the relocation is to another continent. We recently start our relocation from Melbourne, Australia to Leichlingen, Germany. We are still in the relocating process, but are getting close to finalising it all.

The cost of the relocating is extremely astounding. Before we actually shifted, I did a budget on what I envisage we would needed to spend for the shift to be successful. Needless to say, I totally underestimate it. Some of the assumptions that I made during the formulation of the budget proved to be totally false.

The following are the major ticket items that we have encountered during the relocation.

Cost of renting a house. In Germany, the cost of renting a house is much, much higher than in Australia. The cost can be divided into two catergories, administrative and constructive. Overall, I estimate that it has cost close to about $20,000.

For the administrative, you will need to be paying for the real estate agent's commission (2 x monthly rent), the security bond (3 x monthly rent), the rent (1 month in advance). For a typical house, this is a total of about 6500 EUR.

For the constructive side, the houses in Germany is usually bare and it need to be kitted out with lighting and a kitchen. Yes, I mean the kitchen. This could easily cost up to 2000 to 3000 EUR.

Cost of transport. We managed to get a car, an old car but driveable and suitable for the family for about 5000 EUR. However, it is the incidental cost that caught us out. This includes the conversion of our Australian driving license to a German driving license, (1000 EUR for my wife and mine), the car taxes (400EUR for my diesel car), the insurance (400 EUR per year) and registrating it in the your town (100 EUR). It is certainly not cheap to own a car in Germany.

Cost of appropriate clothing. The winter in Germany is totally different to the winter in Melbourne. For the kids, they will need to "upgrade" their winter clothing. The clothing includes their shoes, coats and jackets, thermal underwears, hats and beanies, gloves and mittens, and the list goes on and on.

I think that we were fortunate that our relocation occurs in European summer. It just means that we can delay the cost of the appropriate clothing until the winter time.

Thursday, 29 October 2009


I have decided to restart this blog as I starting to feel the need to write. However, I have evolve this blog from a personal fianance blog to something that I can write about anything. I guess time will allow it bias it towards a certain theme.

In the meantime, I hope that you will join me on this ride...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

I'm going for a spell....

It has been blast and now my time that I have available for writing articles for this blog is getting smaller and smaller. I am having too much fun with the kids and my wife. So I am taking a spell, or a break from writing any more articles.

I have a few thankyou to say before I close off.

For those who reads this cheaps as chips regularly, I thank you for readership.

For those who subscribes to cheap-as-chips via RSS or email, thank you for subscribing.

I hope that all that have ever read this blog has gain something out of it.

See you at another time in the future.