jbellendir's blog

The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Cities around the World

After traveling to more than 40 countries, I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite restaurants and bars, from the various cities I have visited.

These places range from dive bars to hotel bars, and from your local little ramen shop to Michelin star restaurants. Have a browse through my list of favorites and see what you like. Those that know me, know that I never steer one wrong on food.


Amsterdam: Read more »

Google Maps is a Growing User Review and Business Directory Service

Yelp and Tripadvisor are probably getting a bit worried with Google pushing their map service more and more (or at least they should be). Google Maps already has pretty much, every known business on the planet listed. Try it out, search the name of an establishment with the name of the city it's in. I'm guessing 9 out of 10 times, that place will come up in the results. What you may have started to notice is that users are reviewing these places right through the Google Maps app. I have been using Google's star/save feature for years now. This feature was once limited to only the web browser version of Google Maps, but Google has recently rolled it out to their mobile app platform as well. Awesome!

So whenever you are traveling or hanging around town, you can search for a place you just saw or visited and then star it, to save to your Google Maps account. The cool thing is that your iphone/android Google Maps app is now synced with your Google services account, so it syncs across devices that use Google Maps...basically the data is stored within your Google services account and displays on Google Maps anytime you are logged in. So while I'm on the run, I star something and then when I open up maps.google.com on my laptop, later that day, all my starred locations show up. Read more »

Evernote - Going Digital!

I have recently started to get addicted to this app/online web tool called Evernote. I decided it was finally time to consolidate some of my files stored on Dropbox, Google Drive, my personal file server, and local HD on my laptop. We have so many options these days when it comes to digital tools, we start to become overwhelmed with choices and our saved information (our photos, documents, notes, etc.) become time consuming to actually find. You don't know where to find your files, because we don't actually even know where to start looking.

I have since started to organize things once again. I had gone down the route of using Google+ to have a free online backup of my 60,000+ photos, and when I found that their service had absolutely no tools to manage your photos (no sort feature, search by dimension/filesize, etc.), I decided to move away from the service and simply keep the files on a local hard drive with a offline backup HD of the files. I find this works the best. With the cheap cost of HDs these days, you can easily store all your files and then periodically take a backup of all your files to another HD and then store that device disconnected from your network and PC. 

DigitalOcean - An Incredibly Easy to Use Cloud Hosting Provider with Superb Customer Support

I have finally moved away from using shared hosting...and man does it feel good! And if I knew how easy and cheap it was, I would have moved on a long time ago. But then again, DigitalOcean wasn't really around 5-10 years ago.

So what is DigitalOcean? DigitalOcean is a cloud hosting provider built on simplicity and community. Both of which, are the reasons I decided to go with them. I have changed hosting providers several times over the years, mostly due to extremely poor (or nonexistent) customer service and unreliable servers/support technicians.

The most recent was GoDaddy.com. Yes, they have 24/7 customer service, but absolutely NO way to email them. Also, the support people are fairly useless when it comes to troubleshooting or supporting anything other than password resets and how to connect to a FTP server. I can no longer count how many times I was told to do something completely incorrect by the tech support person. And only after wasting hours on an issue and on the phone did you MAYBE get lucky and have your issue escalated to a more senior person that could actually support you. Read more »

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

One of the books on my recommended reading list is "Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works" by Roger Martin and A.G. Lafley. It's a very interesting read and I highly recommend it. Roger Martin and A.G. Lafley talk through their experiences at P&G and explain what strategy is for (winning) and what's it's about (choice). If you are interested in how to implement the Playing to Win framework in your organization, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book. 

Just to give you a taste, have a watch of this Harvard Business Review webinar where Martin shares key insights from his book, Playing to Win. He also talks through real-world examples and explains how anyone in business can win with the right approach. 


Purchase the hardcoveraudio book, or kindle version on Amazon.com today!

The Room - an iPad Game Review

Wow! Where shall I begin? I have to say that this game is hands down the best game I have ever played on my iPad and it has seriously raised the bar for game developers on the iOS platform. The Room is the first game that Fireproof Games, the game company behind this masterpiece, has created for the iOS platform, and we are all impressed! I have to say, they executed their first game project flawlessly. Just about everything in this game is perfect, from the in-game graphics which were beautifully done, to the engaging nature of the game and just the right level of difficulty. Difficult enough to keep you challenged and engaged for hours on end but not too difficult to frustrate the user to the point where they put down the game to never return.

With any game like The Room, the biggest challenge for the game designers is how to create the level of difficulty that is just right. It needs a perfect balance, and that's what separates a good game from an amazing game. And the guys over at Fireproof Games somehow pulled it off! They used subtle hints that you could select as you progressed through the game and when you were close to figuring out the next step. The hints would only appear when you were examining a certain section of the puzzle to make sure you had actually done some leg work in solving the riddle first...loved it!

How to Create an Emotional Connection With Remote Employees

Over the years, working in management roles in global companies, I've come to learn a few things about managing remote employees. Specifically, how to best motivate remote employees and how to keep them engaged and part of the global organization.

Managers at global headquarters are often thrown into a role where they inherit remote employees and simply don't have a clue on how to manage them. Managing someone under the same roof and managing someone half way across the world from you, takes a completely different set of management skills and techniques. Unfortunately, most corporate managers rarely get training in this area, and the ones who suffer tend to be the remote employees. I came across the below article when browsing through Flipbook the other day. If you work in a global company and manage (or work with) colleagues outside of your home country, I highly recommend giving this article a read. 

How to Create an Emotional Connection With Remote Employees

I have a few books I recommend reading as well: Read more »

Gap Minder - A Fact-based Worldview

If you haven't heard of Gap Minder, be sure to check out this very cool online tool. Gap Minder helps you visualize various data sets to better understand the world around you. In their words, "We are a modern “museum” that helps making the world understandable, using the Internet."

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