The 5th anniversary of the Spaces Summit – Podcast

    From how it was born to what it is now in 45 minutes One of the things that make us really proud about working in Tech at bol.com is our annual Space Summit. Our internal tech conference by developers for developers. And maybe you can recall we had quite some interesting episodes, blogs and videos about it and some of the talks given there in the last 2 years. This year is a special edition! We celebrate our 5th anniversary!! In June 2018 Peter published an article on Linkedin with…

    Read more

    Spaces Summit goes virtual – Organising our internal tech conference

    Spaces Summit in corona time means Spaces Summit goes virtual. Maybe you remember from last year that we have an annual internal tech conference at bol.com. Given the measures, in place, we can’t come together. So, we go for a digital online equivalent. We wanted to know what it takes to organise an event like this? But we found out there’s an even more important step before. It’s getting the answer to the question “what are we going to do?” Many people and organisations who are organizing conferences, meetups, summits…

    Read more

    Spaces Summit 2019 – Part II

    Three years ago, a group of enthusiastic engineers gathered together during the Friday drinks. They wanted to interact more in the growing organization. Learn more from each other by sharing cool stories. The plan for a bol.com tech summit was born, they called it Spaces Summit.   Three years later the 3rd edition in succession is organized by a dedicated team of committed engineers. It’s the 13th of June and the Techlab Podcast team is on the Spaces Summit 2019 location to give you an impression of the Spaces Summit.   In the previous episode of the podcast we interviewed one…

    Read more

    Spaces Summit 2019 – Part I

    Three years ago a group of enthusiastic engineers gathered together during the Friday drinks. They wanted to interact more in the growing organization. Learn more from each other by sharing cool stories. The plan for a bol.com tech summit was born, they called it Spaces Summit.   Three years later the 3rd edition in succession is organized by a dedicated team of committed engineers. It’s the 13th of June and the Techlab Podcast team is on the Spaces Summit location to give you an impression of the Spaces Summit.   We interviewed one of the committee members to tell you the What, Why…

    Read more

    Spaces Summit – Launching for the 3rd edition

    On June 13th, we organize the third edition of Spaces Summit: an internal tech conference for and by bol.com IT. From the start of the idea three years ago at a “borrel” (Friday afternoon drinks), Spaces Summit has become the biggest event inside bol.com IT to get inspired, learn, share knowledge, show off and get together as a community . This third edition will again be bigger than last year: a total of 500 attendees (150 more than last year!), an unusual afternoon keynote, inspiring talks on a variety of subjects, good…

    Read more

    Part 3: Talks Spaces Summit v2.0

    Last June, Spaces Summit was organized by and for bol.com employees. At Techlab, we want to celebrate this event by highlighting two presentations every month. This month, let’s get meta, and talk about organizing a conference. After that, we’ll go full geek again and look at Kotlin, to cure the Java headache you probably didn’t realize you were having in the first place.

    Read more

    Part 2: Talks Spaces Summit v2.0

    Last June, Spaces Summit was organized by and for bol.com employees. At Techlab, we want to celebrate this event by highlighting two presentations every month. This month, we will look at two exciting presentations about aptly-named testing frameworks: Spock, and Karate.

    Read more

    Part 1: Talks Spaces Summit v2.0

    Last June, Spaces Summit was organized by and for bol.com employees. At Techlab, we want to celebrate this event by highlighting two presentations every month. This month, we will look at the challenges of moving our server infrastructure to the cloud, and, also important, how to use the cloud for pouring cold beer. Talk #1: Going to the cloud: Forget EVERYTHING you know! Speaker: Maarten Dirkse Genre: Way of working Slides Abstract: bol.com is moving to the cloud. When you’re doing so, what should you care about? Can you handle the…

    Read more

    Spaces Talk #6: Making Demos Great Again

    At this year’s Spaces Summit, I presented a talk on Streamlit: a new web application framework in Python, which is perfect for making data science demos. About the talk As Data Scientists, we often need to quickly prototype ideas and showcase those projects to the business. Yet, Python scripts are not very visually appealing and Powerpoint is not always suitable. You also don’t want to spend weeks setting up that throw-away, unmaintainable Flask application, just for the purpose of showcasing your idea. Fortunately, there’s a solution to all of these…

    Read more

    Spaces Talk #5: Super Mario’s Dive Through The Gitlab Pipelines

    Spaces Summit is our annual internal bol.com conference for IT, by IT, and friends: Two fun days of inspiration, knowledge sharing, bragging, and community. This year, our 4th edition, was our first digital version of the summit. All our summits are recorded and published on YouTube, free to watch for everyone. Check https://spacessummit.bol.com for all info on all our summits and their recordings. As one of the organizers of Spaces Summit 2019 and 2018, as well as mentor of the 2020 organizers, I’m proud that we were able to very…

    Read more

    Spaces Talk #4: From prototype to production. A real-life cloud story.

    This year the bol.com Spaces Summit was held virtually and Anastasija and myself, Quiran Storey, presented a talk on a topic that is close to our daily work “From prototype to production. A real-life cloud story.” About the talk All things start out as ideas, or prototypes, and our R2D2 is no different. In this talk we will give you a glimpse of how bol.com’s self-service cloud provisioning tool came to be. But also how it is constantly evolving from a proof of concept to a full-on production system. We…

    Read more

    Spaces Talk #3: How to work the climbing ladder?

    I, Asparuh Hristov, a Data Science Craft Lead at bol.com, believe that my working experience actually helps my other huge passion: Climbing. Sure, my work leaves a limited amount of time for actual climbing, but at the same time improved the quality of this time spent practicing my hobby tremendously. During the Spaces Summit 2020 digital conference from bol.com, I did a talk on “How to work the climbing ladder?”. About the talk “Your job should be your passion” has been repeatedly questioned by work/life-balance “gurus” with the argument that…

    Read more

    Spaces Talk #2: Introduction to Sociotechnical Architecture

    I’ve had the great pleasure of giving a talk at the Spaces Summit 2020, the internal bol.com Tech conference. About the talk Maximizing the impact of our products is more than just thinking about their technical architecture. Doing so would lead to just partially optimizing their potential impact. Instead, we need to follow an approach that also recognizes people (i.e. the teams building the products) as a central element in the design space. This way of co-designing is termed “Sociotechnical Architecture”. In my talk on this topic, I first lay…

    Read more

    Spaces Talk #1: They took our jobs!

    Spaces Summit is our annual internal bol.com conference for IT, by IT, and friends: Two fun days of inspiration, knowledge sharing, bragging, and community. This year we had our first digital version of the summit. My name is Asparuh Hristov and working as a Data Science Craft Lead in the Forecasting team, I keep encountering people that believe Machine Learning can automate all existing jobs, including Data Science itself. I hope that this talk can bring a bit more of understanding what Data Science is, which steps can be automated…

    Read more

    Stop Smashing your Keyboard! Zoom out! Think!

    TL;DR: this article discusses in detail my presentation at Spaces Summit 2018. I talked about the need to stop smashing our keyboards and “blindly” focus on “high-speed”, and start thinking about what we are doing, why and how we are doing it.

    Read more

    Load testing with Locust – Podcast

    During the recording of this episode, we are in the week of Black Friday. An exciting week for people hunting for bargains. And also for a lot of our colleagues. Whether that is from a commercial point of view or an engineering one. All the eyeballs on our website, bring a lot of traffic. And consequential a lot of load on our systems. In this episode, we focus on one aspect of preparing for a large load: Load Testing. In this episode, we are going to talk about Load Testing…

    Read more

    Understanding customers using their search queries – Podcast

    Imagine you want to buy something. You go to bol.com and you start typing the article in the search bar. Automatically you will be served suggestions and as a result, you want a limited number of articles from our 30 million products catalogue. You select the product you want, press the buy button and there it is, at your doorstep at the selected moment. Sounds simple, right? Inspired by a talk of our guest of this episode earlier this year, we wanted to find out what’s behind the search bar.…

    Read more

    Sociotechnical Architecture to maximize impact

    In this episode, we touch a field that we don’t explore that much, Architecture. To be more precise: Sociotechnical Architecture to maximize impact. In a way, it’s strange since Peter Paul has worked as an architect for quite a while. On the website of our guest, esilva.net,  it’s called “co-design organizational and technical systems to maximize impact”.  We think there is so much to explore in these words Sociotechnical Architecture so we asked Eduardo to join this show. <picture source> We discuss what it is and also, why it is…

    Read more

    Site Reliability Engineering; that’s music to my ears!

    Site Reliability Engineering, or SRE, is seen by a lot of people as the next logical step in developing DevOps capabilities. SRE takes concepts from software engineering and puts them to use in an operations context. Over the last 3 years, we have been experimenting with SRE approaches and gradually integrating them into our DevOps way of working. In this episode, we share the experience we gained on our journey. Guests Bart Enkelaar; Software Engineer and SRE advocate in bol.com and external speaker and friend of the show (SRE during…

    Read more

    Creating a paradigm shift for bol.com marketing attribution

    This year at Spaces Summit, the bol.com annual internal IT conference, I presented a talk about the work our team, Team SmartAds, has been doing in creating a new marketing attribution truth for our platform. About the talk How do we verify that we are using our marketing budget effectively? As bol.com, we are spending a considerable amount of our budget on digital marketing. Because of this, we need to be able to allocate this budget in the most effective, data-driven way possible. The four main methods for determining marketing…

    Read more

    Shifting gears to maximize your personal productivity

    Welcome back after the summer holidays! Hope you were able to enjoy an awesome break. We took some time to prepare some great podcast episodes for you. Holidays, always a nice moment to reflect on things. One of the things might be your personal development and productivity. Saying yes to too many things, do these things add to my personal development, how do you keep track on all these commitments, how do you ensure you don’t drown and eventually don’t be productive at all. Sounds familiar to you these questions?…

    Read more

    Looking back at 55 episodes

    We changed roles for this unique episode. And why is that? We are going to look back on the first 55 episodes. So, Peter Paul and Peter will be the guests of this show and Niels Kuiper and Bruno Lauwers will be your host. Our motto is ‘sharing is caring’. So, practise what you preach and share the podcast journey as well. That was what we had in mind. We share how it all started over a year ago. We dive into the learnings and memorable moments. We were asked…

    Read more

    Video: My Chaos Engineering presentation

    During the spaces summit this year, I did a talk on “Chaos Engineering: Why we should embrace chaos”. About me I’ve been working as a software developer since 2008 and have been at bol.com since 2016. I’m passionate about code quality: clean code, testing, reliability, etc. I recently learned about chaos engineering and I think it might be the next new tool in our developer toolkit to improve our code quality even further! About the talk Chaos engineering is the practice of doing experiments on your system to gain insights…

    Read more

    Women in tech encourage inclusion in tech

    Update 11th march 2021 This week started with the International Womens Day. #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021 We wanted to start a new experiment so that’s why we started the experiment with this episode. We want to add automated transcription to our posts. Podcasts are a great way to share knowledge but unfortunately people who are deaf or hearing impaired are excluded. That is not what we want. Introduction Once again we are sharing our diversity and inclusion stories. We discuss how women in tech at bol.com encourage inclusion in tech. The idea…

    Read more

    How is life with Jim van der Waal – Product Manager at Onefootball

    Almost a year ago we spoke to Jim van der Waal, a former colleague and now working as a Product Manager at OneFootball. Back then he had just delivered his presentation: “Scary close to autonomous teams” during the Spaces Summit 2019. Recently Jim posted a range of blog posts, with topics like: Product Owner vs. Product Manager: what is the difference? Making SLO’s fast Product Teams: striving for Autonomy & reaching for Business Agility Which triggered questions like: Would the teams be fully autonomous now? How are things with Jim? What did…

    Read more

    The Road to Devoxx

    In this episode, we talk about a way to be inspired and inspiring others, learn from each other and grow your network: Conferences! And more in detail our colleague’s road to Devoxx Belgium 2019. At bol.com we are challenged to present our stories inside and outside bol.com. Inside bol.com we have our great Spaces Summit and meetups, Outside we speak at several conferences. That seems more challenging to a lot of colleagues. Especially if it is a conference of 5 days, over 200 speakers and sessions and over 3200 attendees. And our…

    Read more

    Measuring 2.0 – Streaming measurements

    The big question in this episode is “How can we create 10 million personalized webshops? Tailormade for every one of our customers so it suites their needs best?” In short, the answering is Measuring 2.0. This enables us to measure more accurately how customers are behaving in our webshop. This enables to give them a more personalized experience. We are aiming for a feedback loop of 1 second. So 1 second after and action was performed by a customer in our webshop the data is available for service that handles personalization and recommendations. These…

    Read more

    Scary close to fully autonomous teams at Onefootball

    This is a special episode of the bol.com Techlab Podcast. It’s recorded on at our own Tech Conference the bol.com spaces summit. Directly after Jim gave his presentation about ‘scary close to fully autonomous teams at Onefootball’ we interviewed him. We had a great presentation at Spaces Summit with the Title: “scary close to fully autonomous teams”. Within bol.com we strive for autonomous teams because we believe that we will go faster, are more agile and we have more fun. But it is also great to hear from people outside…

    Read more

    Life of an IT Intern at bol.com

    At bol.com, we deal with a lot of complex, technical challenges. Luckily, we also attract a lot of people who like a good challenge. This blog features two of our valuable interns, who chose to do a project with bol.com to benefit both us, and their studies. Read about their experiences, and the fun they had while doing their awesome work.

    Read more

    Japanese cucumbers, boomerangs and utopias

    bol.com has two speeds of operation: “very fast” and “extremely fast”. In this whirlwind it can sometimes be difficult for teams to share knowledge or just talk about things they find interesting. A handful of colleagues decided something needed to be done about this. What better way, they thought, than to just organize an entire conference by themselves?

    Read more

    Service Mesh – a must have for a dynamic infrastructure

    Introduction Weaving a Service Mesh for Multiple Clusters at bol.com – that was the title for the presentation our guests gave during the virtual KubeCon and CloudNativeCon 2020 earlier this year. This triggered our curiosity. We have questions like what is this service mesh about? Why do we need it? How did we implement it? Guests Remco Overdijk; Tech Lead Provisioning Fleet / Expert System Engineer at bol.com. You might know him from the episode where we spoke about Kubernetes. James Brook; Cloud Solutions Architect at Google Hosts Peter Brouwers…

    Read more

    Advent of Code 2019

    The subject of this podcast episode is totally in line with the holiday season. Time for the advent calendars in many different formats. One of these formats is the Advent of Code 2019!   The bol.com Tech Community is participating in this event. In this episode, we talk with 2 participants and discover what it is all about. We explore what it could do. Our software engineers see it as a good way to sharpen their problem solving and a good exercise for the upcoming bol.com spaces programming championship. Some become really competitive. Guests Erik…

    Read more

    Prepare for the most wonderful time of the year – Season Readiness

    In this episode we dive deeper into the IT aspects of a business topic. How to prepare for the peak load of the season – Black Friday, Sinterklaas, Christmas and even Singles Day is included. That is traditional a period where the load of basically everything increases dramatically. The slogan of the Season Readiness project that is preparing for all this is “Deliver careless holidays for our customer”. During this period every piece of the puzzle must fit. When load triples items like scaling, reliability, page load-times, predictability, up-times and…

    Read more