After a dinner with the now Maltese part of the family, I found this picture from last year’s holiday. Dinner at the Villa in St Julian. Wonderful holiday, and one cannot help but wishing for sun, sea and sailing again!


one of many family dinners

I can’t recall the last time winter hit the low countries with such a vengeance. With the exception of snowing, the temperatures have plummeted to -4 degrees, with even my bike giving up its ghost (well the breaks that is). Instead I was in for a long and cold walk back from the gym this morning. Having had my exercise of the day out of the way, I can now focus on other matters. Sebastian is coming home in a moment and I expect we will put together the Minecraft lego box which has stood unopened since Christmas.


morning view


It won’t be long before you see the kids skating on the canals I suspect


Ever since packing up my belongings some 2 years ago, I stopped reading books and turned to documentaries. I can easily get through 2.5 documentaries on a daily basis (the 0.5 attributed to the fact that I fall asleep to one and start off in the morning at the point where I succumbed to sleep). Documentaries in all honour, I sorely miss my library and today is the day I have decided to re-enter the wold of bibliophiles. The first one I am waiting to devour with gusto is The Spy by Paulo Coelho.

Madame Zelle….it’s you, me, Gnossienne No 5 and a glass of white. It’s a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance.


Saturday afternoon pleasures


10296_66cm_ 001

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

~ Max Ehrmann

That has become the mantra of today’s Internet age.

But how do you disrupt? And if you one day wake up (and smell the coffee so to speak), how do you respond?

Here are 10 disruptive business models behind some of the most well known companies and brands today, as covered by Jo Caudron and Dado Van Peteghem in their book Digital Transformation.

Further you’ll find 7 strategies on how to respond to disruptors if you are finding yourself on the wrong side of the fence, as enumerated by IMD’s Professor Michael Wade, co-director of the IMD Leading Digital Business Transformation course.



The Subscription Model (Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, Apple Music) Disrupts through “lock-in” by taking a product or service that is traditionally purchased on an ad hoc basis, and locking-in repeat custom by charging a subscription fee for continued access to the product/service.

The Freemium Model (Spotify, LinkedIn, Dropbox and tons of online and mobile games). These disrupts through digital sampling, where users pay for a basic service or product with their data or ‘eyeballs’, rather than money, and then charging to upgrade to the full offer. This works where marginal cost for extra units and distribution are lower than advertising revenue or the sale of personal data

The Free Model – Yes remember how it all started! (Google, Facebook) Disrupts with an ‘if-you’re-not-paying-for-the-product-you-are-the-product’ model that involves selling personal data or ‘advertising eyeballs’ harvested by offering consumers a ‘free’ product or service that captures their data/attention

The Marketplace Model
(eBay, iTunes, App Store, Uber, AirBnB) Disrupts with the provision of a digital marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers directly, in return for a transaction or placement fee or commission.

The Access-over-Ownership Model (Zipcar, Peerbuy, AirBnB) Disrupts by providing temporary access to goods and services traditionally only available through purchase. Includes ‘Sharing Economy’ disruptors, which takes a commission from people monetising their assets (home, car, capital) by lending them to ‘borrowers’.

The Hypermarket Model – another golden oldie (Amazon, Apple) Disrupts by ‘brand bombing’ using sheer market power and scale to crush competition, often by selling below cost price (loss-leader – remember the cheap printers but oh so expensive cartridges?).

The Experience Model (Tesla, Apple) Disrupts by providing a superior experience, for which people are prepared to pay.

The Pyramid Model (Amazon, Microsoft, Dropbox) Disrupts by recruiting an army of resellers and affiliates (see affliate model and marketing) who are often paid on a commission-only model.

The On-Demand Model
(Uber, Operator, Taskrabbit) Disrupts by monetising time and selling instant-access at a premium. Includes taking a commission from people with money but no time who pay for goods and services delivered or fulfilled by people with time but no money.

The Ecosystem Model (Apple, Google) Disrupts by selling an interlocking and interdependent suite of products and services that increase in value as more are purchased. Creates consumer dependency. AKA Lock-in, also to be compared with the walled garden model.



The Block Strategy. Using all means available to inhibit the disruptor. These means can include claiming patent or copyright infringement, erecting regulatory hurdles, and using other legal barriers.

The Milk Strategy. Extracting the most value possible from vulnerable businesses while preparing for the inevitable disruption.

The Invest in Disruption Model.
Actively investing in the disruptive threat, including disruptive technologies, human capabilities, digitized processes, or perhaps acquiring companies with these attributes

The Disrupt the Current Business Strategy.
Launching a new product or service that competes directly with the disruptor, and leveraging inherent strengths such as size, market knowledge, brand, access to capital, and relationships to build the new business.

The Retreat into a Strategic Niche Strategy. Focusing on a profitable niche segment of the core market where disruption is less likely to occur (e.g. travel agents focusing on corporate travel, and complex itineraries, book sellers and publishers focusing on academia niche).

The Redefine the Core Strategy. Building an entirely new business model, often in an adjacent industry where it is possible to leverage existing knowledge and capabilities (e.g. IBM to consulting, Fujifilm to cosmetics)

The Exit Strategy.
Exiting the business entirely and returning capital to investors, ideally through a sale of the business while value still exists (e.g. MySpace selling itself to Newscorp)

As in the case of anno 2015, I was glad to see the back of its successor. I went to bed well ahead of midnight, looking forward to waking up with a new year ahead. I certainly wasn’t going to venture out as long as 2016 was on the prowl.

As many with me…I’m sure, I still need time to assess this most strangest of years and given plenty of data points supporting the capriciousness of recent months, I will not attempt any predictions for the New Year. With that resolutions are out of the question too.

On a good note the last weeks saw some time with the family, long walks in bleak winter landscapes and city exploration a la Maastricht. A well deserved break before the intensity of January sets in again.


feeding the geese is a yearly tradition


it was a happy reunion 🙂




freezing cold but stunning landscape


New Years Eve menu



celebrating at Chateau St Gerlach saw the opportunity for dressing up


food tasting


…and some shopping too


a little bit of Vienna in Maastricht


Chateau St Gerlach as the sun sets


long walks in the dunes closer to home


Castle Brederode


and other sightseings…

A very quiet but wonderful Christmas with family. A belated Merry Christmas to you all x


Christmas tree and presents are all set


Kids are enjoying themselves


Oysters as entree


followed by a smorgasbord of turkey, bellinis, roast potatoes, salmon, foie gras and pate


time for unwrapping the presents


Mystery gift


My James Bond


at 10 pm the feast was over and I was….well exhausted 😉


As a perfume connoisseur I couldn’t have asked for better presents…Mitsouko by Guerlain, Cuir de Russie by Chanel and Bandit and Fracas by Robert Piguet


You can take the gal out of Sweden but now Sweden out of the gal, right? In this case it happens to be so true, on many levels. Some are better suited for another post and post recent period. But going back to the topic I wanted to write about – Swedish Christmas. It is a period of great anticipation, baking, decorating and of course a lot of food consumed with family and friends. As an expat I have probably fallen behind the bandwagon somewhat on keeping up with these traditions, but others sticks and are repeated on an annual basis. For now the Christmas tree is up and Sebastian and I took the opportunity to make ginger bread cookies (pepparkakor) the other day. What they lacked in shape they made up in taste certainly 🙂


dough and forms came from France but pretty similar to what we have at home 


ready for the oven


final result


Christmas tree with the results of a few shopping sprees

What to give a girl who has all? Probably not exactly what was on the list for Santa, but it was practical as it was bonding. We set out to IKEA to buy new curtains, clothing rack, mirror, scented candles and other kitchen and bathroom paraphernalia. This in addition a new vacuum cleaner and cleaning items which was sorely needed. Bleach ranked high. Effectively we spent 10 hours on 55 m2 but the result was even above our own expectations. And I can’t help but say I’m proud. And most importantly, bathroom and kitchen cleaning skills have been restored to this student nest.


a clean. organised and heavenly scented living room


the study turned walk in closet