Earlier in the week I tweeted a picture of my office and said something like, ‘the heart of Silicon Canal’. This was not a joke! If you head more or less due south from my place you’ll find Booking.Com. Head off in a northwesterly direction and you will find ING, who placed and ad this week for someone who could look after the: ‘Design, build and operation of web-scale distributed based systems in general, and Docker-based micro service architectures specifically’.
Now, head in a sort of northeasterly direction and you’ll come across Adyen and TomTom. On the way you will pass the Beurs van Berlage, which is where GOTO Amsterdam is held.
Throughout the canals you will find lots of innovative companies, too, like Cloud9 and Guerrilla Games.
Smack bang in the middle of all of this you will find us, Container Solutions. And so you can see that when I said we were at the heart of Silicon Canal, I wasn't actually joking.
Does It Matter? It does, actually. Container Solutions want to move away from me-too consultancy that involves hourly rates, procurement departments and - horror of horror - estimation. We want to do this because the raft of problems we are solving for our customers require creative thinking. So Silicon Canal does matter because we can't achieve what we want to achieve without the support of like minded people and organisations.
Taiichi Ohno said that it “was not enough to chase out the cost accountants from the plants. The problem was to chase cost accounting from my people’s minds”. It’s not fair to say that an obsession with costs is a Dutch thing - that’s a bit of a stereotype. What is fair to say is that technical services companies, and their clients, have gotten themselves into a bit of a muddle. In a mutually reenforcing loop, consultancies and their clients have focussed on costs and in an insane drive have reduced their collaborations to generic, bums-on-seats services that cost ‘as little as possible’. (About €85 per hour.) The consultancies are simply there to provide small cogs for the machinery of larger organisations. Insanity.
The continued creation of Silicon Canal, and the continued work of Container Solutions, is meant to reverse this insanity. And we must reverse it as we want to help our customers to stop thinking about costs and cost accounting and start thinking about innovation, risk and learning. Silicon Canal is part of our mission because we can't achieve what we want to achieve, namely innovative solutions to society's most gnarly problems, without it.