Freitag could even improve their story

Friday, August 23th, 2013 by hinrich


Yesterday I received my new "old" F77 bag. I must say, it looks like they do put effort into these bags. But the smell is quite irritating. According to Freitag this is going to fade away within a few weeks. One of our kids promptly identified the shoulder strap as a used car seat belt...

While the company story is very prominent on their web site, the accompanying product documents, etc., I think they could even go a step further and e.g., provide the buyer with a picture of the original tarpaulin, possibly the kind of goods that were transported with the truck, how old it was and how many kilometers it has been on the road, etc. All these pieces of information are easily captured nowadays (even at the source = the suppliers of their materials). At the same time, those seemingly minor details could increase the attachment to their products and even increase the warm fuzzy feeling of contributing to recycling.

And it would certainly provide you with a fun alternative of starting a conversation vs. talking about the weather...

Posted in Green

Papa has got a brand new bag

Sunday, August 18th, 2013 by hinrich


I have been searching for a while for a suitable bag for getting my laptop and my notebooks to work and back. Having tried a number of different ones, I have now settled on a F77 bag from the Swiss company Freitag. That they give a second life to used car seat belts and used truck tarpaulins is nice, but I am most curious to see how durable and useful the bag will turn out to be.

Once I had ordered the bag I got a confirmation email. And I must say, they have put effort into this one... Here is what I got to read:

Hey there Hinrich

In our comfy office-lounge, our beloved gramophone stands beside the heavy leather sofas, where we sit and try to look intelligent, and right next to them sits our 70-inch news-ticker screen. The arrival of your order was just displayed on it in amazing ultra-HD quality. We’ve had a look at your order and want to raise our glasses in homage to your excellent choice.

Now, we’re just enjoying the last sip of our dry martinis to the sounds of «Papa's got a brand new bag» and are about to arrange all the necessary elements for shipping your order.

As soon as the paperwork is ready and your product has been shipped to lovely 's-Hertogenbosch, we will let you know by email.

Until then, we send you debonair greetings and many thanks.

Your auto-reply service in Zurich

Posted in Green

Scientific peer review of research concepts

Thursday, August 01th, 2013 by hinrich

Black Hat

I regularly hear people complain about meetings. They can be inefficient especially when one or more people are present wearing a black hat / basically just criticizing without contributing to solve an issue.

As I have been co-author of a number of scientific articles and I am currently busy with another one, I just realized that - like many other authors of such articles - I was thinking about the peer review process. Who will be reading the article? What will they criticize?

Similar to how Edward de Bono attempted to improve brainstorming with his concept of the six thinking hats, I am wondering whether we are not wasting a lot of money and time by using the wrong order in our peer review process of scientific research.

Why don't we have a scientist come up with an idea/concept and have that peer-reviewed first? Once such review process has established what experiments should be done to test a certain hypothesis, the next step is only to review the results and execution. This will avoid the reviewer lottery where you never know whether a reviewer will agree with your point of view or whether you will get a reviewer assigned who will only criticize your work.

And instead of replacing the old system with such a concept, introduce it as an option. Allow people to continue with the old system, but generate the opportunity for researchers to surely get their work published by providing them with a peer-reviewed-concept-token that tells the journal editor that the approach is solid. Then editors can still decide whether the content and/or results are suitable for a given journal.

Because criticisms can always be found in scientific research...

Posted in Science