December 2014 and January 2015 round-up

At the end of December, I was travelling and had limited access to the Internet. So, I decided not to write my usual monthly ’round up’ post. Nonetheless, I still took the time to reflect on how the month had gone; and, afterwards, on how 2014 had gone, and I was stricken by the difference.

The first half of 2014 felt like a never-ending race, with no break, no pause for breath. It’s weird because I remember being acutely aware of time and how it was flying by. And, yet, I wasn’t really aware of time as individual units. Hours merged into days, days into weeks, and so on… Fortunately, by the end of year, things had got much better and, of course, I am now on sabbatical (no, I am not on holidays – just a different type of work). Anyway, that desperate feeling of time passing by inspired me to make 2015 the year when I am very aware of what is happening to me and around me. So, I came up with this little project that I call ‘The 5pm project’.

The 5 pm project works like this:

  • I set a daily alarm on my phone. Mine is at 5 pm.
  • When the alarm goes off, it’s my cue to stop, take a deep breath and take in what I am doing, where I am, other people, the weather, etc.
  • I have also been taking a picture of what is immediately in front of me. These are very mundane pictures, often with terrible light – but it does not matter, because it is about recording the moment, not the image.

I have been looking through those pictures and this is what I was doing, between 1st and 31st of January of 2015, at 5 pm:

5pm project5pm project

It was nice going through these pictures, and remember what I have been doing this month. I do recommend having some sort of awareness trigger.

And, now for the highlights of December and January.


I did not start any new projects in December or January. Though, I conducted one more interview for the digitalisation in SMEs project, and read a lot about goal incongruence.

IMG_6402The sabbatical started with a bang. In the beginning of January, I presented at the HICSS conference, reconnected with former colleagues, and made new acquaintances and lots of plans for research and writing with the always-inspiring Jan Kietzmann. Upon returning from the HICSS conference, I had three days of intense coding and writing work with my colleagues Sarah Quinton and Tribikram Budhathoki from Brookes, Rebecca Pera from Politecnico di Milano and Sebastian Molinillo from University of Malaga.



It has been a very productive writing period. I submitted a journal paper in mid-December (wikipedia entry to follow), and nearly finished another one. I also worked on (and submitted) two co-authored conference papers, did some editing work on two co-authored books due to come out later this year, and finalised a report for a project sponsor.

During the three days that Rebecca and Sebastian were in the UK, we also made good progress on drafting a journal paper.


My own teaching finished in November, but I ended up covering for a colleague in December. I also did a guest talk for students at the University of Reading on using social media data for customer insight. It was an invitation from Dr Faten Jaber.

No teaching in January.


I am very keen to do some work on measuring influence, and in December I had some interesting discussions with colleagues in other subject areas about how similar concepts are measured in their fields. Then, in January, I did an intensive course on statistical analysis on SPSS, and started a MOOC on Introduction to Computer Science.


What were December’s and January’s highlights for you?

6 thoughts on “December 2014 and January 2015 round-up

  1. Always love reading your roundups. The 5pm project sounds really great. It’s a great way of documenting your life as you live it. Being aware of your immediate environment can be very rewarding. It really helped me during my poetry project.

    As for my December and January, two things stood out (apart from family life, which is a bliss every day): I got nominated and selected for a study trip to the US soon, focusing on learning about support for entrepreneurship. Keep an eye on Twitter for reports. Secondly, I got elected in the board of StartupDorf, an association to promote startups and startup culture in Düsseldorf. Some exciting projects in the works for this year.


      1. Yes, that’s right! I’m selected as one of the first Community Mentors for a Coursera course, called Beyond Silicon Valley. It’s about economic development with a focus on entrepreneurship, so it fits nicely with my new role at StartupDorf.


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