Reflections on 2013 and Season’s Greetings

So 2013 has been a strange, but exciting year. If changing jobs after 13 years in the same place doesn’t blow away the cobwebs, then nothing will.

Open Knowledge Foundation online Christmas party: We were treated to carols, christmas outfits, tales of cheese eating and show & tell of Christmas presents - this is shabby man in the picture!

The Open Knowledge Foundation online Christmas party: We were treated to carols, christmas outfits, tales of cheese eating and show & tell of Christmas presents – this is stabby man in the picture!

I now work at an organization where I am no longer an anomaly. It’s a global, virtual organization and we are technically all remote workers. All business is carried out online, in the cloud, virtually…Most of the tools we use exist solely online. Collaboration and community working are everything.

Many of the remote working trends that I once commented on now feel so normal that they aren’t even worth a whisper.

Most of you will be familiar with the concept of culture shock – when you visit a new country and find the new ways unusual and odd. I’ve travelled a fair amount and my most vivid memory of culture shock was when I returned to England after over a year abroad in Japan. Suddenly that culture that I had identified with felt unfamiliar. Starting my new job and being immersed in remote working culture felt a little like that. I was so used to being the one who was different and justifying my culture that when that culture became the norm it was me who felt out of place.


I joined the Open Knowledge Foundation in May this year. The Open Knowledge Foundation is a worldwide network of people passionate about openness, using advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and enable people to work with it to create and share knowledge. We believe knowledge can empower everyone, enabling people to work together to tackle local and global challenges, understand our world, expose inefficiency and challenge inequality and hold governments and companies to account. It is a young, vibrant movement that is a lot more than just its virtual organizational structure and to be honest I’m still adjusting. Call me old (I celebrated a big birthday this year!) but it’s taking a while…

But life is about change. I visited Berlin last month and was lucky enough to have time to visit the Berlin wall and the Eastside Gallery. Below is one of my favourite sections: “Wer will, daß die Welt so bleibt, wie sie ist, der will nicht, daß sie bleibt” or “He who wants the world to remain as it is, doesn’t want it to remain at all.

The Eastside gallery

Nothing stays the same; we must embrace change.

Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed joining the Open Knowledge Foundation and working on the LinkedUp Project and Open Education Working Group. My hope is that I’ll start to feel a little less like a foreigner as 2014 progresses, less like a foreigner but more like an explorer!

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2014 to you all.

my son

My son Zak as the angel Gabriel in his school nativity


4 thoughts on “Reflections on 2013 and Season’s Greetings

  1. Merry Christmas Marieke – hope you have an AWESOME time 🙂 See you at the Bristol Open Data meetup in Jan..

  2. Thanks Matt, you too! I didn’t want to blather on about old colleagues too much but I really miss people. It’s always great to have some faces from my old world in my new one 😉

    Also really looking forward to the open data meet up in Bristol – it’s about time the SW got a taste of the action!

  3. Thanks for the kind and open reflections!

    Yes, though I’m not quite as in deep as you, having gotten the feeling of working with/for a global network/institution, is entirely great, and really quite fitting given the Open context 🙂 Feels like one has family all over the world 🙂

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