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This episode is 2021 Techlab Wrapped. Inspired by one of the platforms that host our podcast Spotify. It is the end of Season 3 and the end of 2021. Time to look back and to look ahead. 2021 Wrapped and maybe a glimpse into 2022. What the episode covers We look back at 2021 by the numbers. Top 3 lists Top 5 countries We discuss the topics and episo…
 
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 epis…
 
If you are a regular listener to the podcast or an e-commerce watcher, you know “the season” is very important for us. It is a yearly recurring theme in the podcast. You are probably also aware that uptime and responsiveness of our app and website are crucial. And you might have noticed that enabling our software engineers to perform at their peak …
 
In this episode, we virtually visit the AI for Retail Lab and dive with two members into the world of recommendations. The AI for Retail (AIR) Lab Amsterdam is a joint UvA-Ahold Delhaize industry lab and conducts research into socially responsible algorithms aimed at the retail domain. Think of developing models for recommendations and managing goo…
 
Warehouse mechanization is a part of our IT landscape where our IT meets the physical world. It is one of those places where we encounter that while we could scale our IT almost indefinitely in the cloud, the physical world and warehouses don’t work that way. As you listen to this episode you will learn how the world of IT has to adapt to the physi…
 
Some aspects of software engineering are easily overlooked. In the book The Programmer’s Brain some of these like reading code, thinking about code and collaborating on code are at the centre. In this episode, we talk to the author of this book to guide us through these aspects. To improve your coding skills it is good to know how your brain works.…
 
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 m…
 
In early April the latest version of our Retailer API was launched. Given the importance of the API for almost 15.000 partners this was again a major step. Over the years the retailer API became the heart and soul of our ecosystem. But this path wasn’t always that obvious. It took vision, decisiveness and perseverance to get this far. In this episo…
 
Engineering Productivity With the growth of our engineering community, the need for more focus on engineering productivity is clear. We invited two experts to discuss this topic with us. We actually got to this point when one of our listeners pointed out one of the products we are using for this and how awesome a topic that would be for our podcast…
 
How interaction resulted in a guest appearance “We like interactions and feedback”, that’s what we say in our outro. The guest of our show reacted to one of our podcasts earlier this year. We reached out to him and invited him to the podcast. Why? Because it’s good to look in the mirror. Check our stories with the outside in view. And that’s exactl…
 
How Data Science supports us to predict the unpredictable Just like for any store, forecasting is an important tool to support the business and its profitability. At bol.com we have worked on several major iterations of our forecast. One of the hosts worked on a large leap in forecast performance over 8 years ago. You can check some another leap we…
 
Why build an open-source FTP server in Rust? Sometimes, I must admit I’m a little dazzled by all the languages, frameworks and stuff our engineers work with. So, when our guest of today explained to me some of the intriguing aspects of the language we will be discussing in this episode I had to stretch my mind a little. I managed and could follow h…
 
Who is the Podcast Guest? This will be a bonus episode. Maybe not that tech-related but instead you will listen to a very energetic, passionate and inspiring person: The Podcast Guest. Who knows a lot about asking the right questions and working in teams. And following one of the topics of our last episode, a lot of curiosity is involved. We invite…
 
What is the key competence of our business analysts (BA) We talked about domain knowledge, tech affinity and building bridges between stakeholders and software engineers. Sometimes the business analyst is almost seen as a project manager. Aligning with product owners is key in this role. Every business analysts within bol.com fills in this role dif…
 
Next level leveraging cloud computing We moved 70% of our services to the cloud and new services start in the cloud unless… Time to dive into a topic brought up by our tech leads. Want to know how you can maximize your cloud benefits? Alexandra wrote a blog post on Horizontal Pod Auto-scaling, HPA. It triggered us for this episode. Maximizing cloud…
 
Writing an article is reflection, publishing it is getting feedback Learning from our colleagues. That is important to us. So, we were delighted when we found another great piece of this on LinkedIn, Elinore shared. to inspire others who are thinking of transitioning from tech into a leadership role or are just curious about my experiences and thou…
 
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 l…
 
Data Maturity Model as common ground, Data Literacy Model to measure the level of speaking, writing and reading data To state as a company we want to become more data-driven is the first step. To truly understand what this means and define a common ground to discuss the progress is the second. Back in the eighties, the Capability Maturity Model was…
 
Supporting products with KPI’s and OKR’s We had previous episodes on how bol.com is moving to a product organization. In this one, we’ll dive into how to measure the success of these products and set objectives for them. Including measuring whether we are getting the desired results. Being the data-driven company that we want to be we asked our dat…
 
Every time I look at you. I see myself. I’m so proud of you. For you help make me what I am. A better man. I’m just so proud of you. ~ Lyrics by Alain Clark A special episode comes with a special opening. In February we had an extraordinary occasion during our onboarding. Father and Son in the same ‘virtual room. Father started as Software Engineer…
 
The why and what of our Software engineers on Duty Let’s be honest about this, nobody likes to be woken up at night to react to an alert whether it’s a text- or whatsapp message, (automated) phone call or traditional pager. But every company taking his 24/7 run seriously has to organize their on call duty in a scalable and sustainable way. Initiall…
 
Don’t miss our story of the introduction of the Tech Leads During the podcast, you will find out what Tech Leads are and why we need to build this community of Tech Leads at bol.com. You will learn how we approached this and avoid hiding the Tech Leads in ivory towers. The two tech leads and an IT director share best practices and pitfalls (and wha…
 
Introduction Peter is very honest in this episode (the stage is not the place he is really comfortable at) and Peter Paul is sharing his first experience with Improv (is it a small trauma Peter Paul?). So time to talk about Improv, Improvisation Theatre and applied Improv because we do want to learn about it and we are really curious how this relat…
 
Introduction In July 2019 we had our first podcast episode on voice and Google Assistant. Back then Marieke and Marvin introduced us to the future of interaction by voice. In this episode, we dive into the potential of brand recognition. Many people in The Netherlands will recognize the voice we use in our commercials on radio, television and socia…
 
Introduction Another week another book discussion. Maybe we can start a second Techlab Podcast dedicated to interesting books? We got some great responses on the last week’s episode about team topologies and we had a good opportunity. So it is time for the Never Split the Difference – Podcast. In earlier episodes, we talked with YP’s about their si…
 
Introduction A lot of people involved in the design and structuring of organizations could learn a lot from the book Team Topologies. Our guest describes it in the episode a Domain Specific Language (DSL) for organizational design and evolution. The header of the website and the subtitle of the suggest that it is the way for organizing business and…
 
Introduction It sparked in the episode Interactive heavy applications we should record a podcast episode on TypeScript. Around the same time, we came in contact with Hackages. A company focusing on learning tech. Time to bring the engineers together and dive deeper into TypeScript. Typescript is mentioned amongst the 5 most promising languages in 2…
 
Introduction We want to share our approach to IT to learn and entertain you. In this episode, we are happy to have an external guest at the table discussing with our internal guest. GraphQL stands for Graph Query Language and is used for interacting with services from the frontend. We are talking about API’s here. Explore with us the possibilities …
 
Introduction No rhythm like algorithms. We have been talking in the podcast about programming contest before. For example, about our own Spaces Championship and Advent of code, which also takes place at the end of the year. Today we’ll be talking to some participants in the BAPC – The Benelux Algorithm Programming Contest. Like stated on the websit…
 
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; …
 
Introduction One of the purposes of this podcast is to share our unique bol.com culture with you. Traditions play an important part in culture. So, in this episode, we share a view on the evolution of a tradition. A tradition that underlines our focus on data. In this sales season, everybody in bol.com wants to know how we are doing, preferably Rea…
 
Introduction In this episode we are sharing something that is unique at least in the Tech Community here at bol.com. To become official F/OSS committer and eventually PMC member. Without spoiling too much, I think this contribution will make a positive impact far beyond the bol.com Tech landscape and serve in an enormous number of companies. Helpin…
 
Introduction Even if it doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to think about it when you work in a larger microservice landscape or have a serious big data platform…Proof data consistency in a microservice landscape. When we google this subject I already get 1.2 MLN results so there’s something going on here. To ensure data consistency several prac…
 
Introduction In this episode, we show a little of our front-end love. And our love for testing and enjoying the quality of a good front-end. It was time for that because the last time we talked about front end related stuff was quit some episodes ago. We are going to talk about Front End Quality in an interactive-heavy application. First, we discus…
 
Today we take a look behind the mask. The moment we recorded this podcast episode the 2nd wave of Corona is hitting The Netherlands. In the first wave, the Corona crisis was causing a lot of pressure and stress on our healthcare system and nurses & caretakers specifically. With a couple of IT Young Professionals, we are helping a great project call…
 
“This is how we do IT”, is the slogan of our Techlab site and podcast. Every now and then we reach out to external guests to learn from them and exchange ideas. We are really happy to have this external guest in our show to talk about “Let’s get ethical”. This multi-talent released her book ‘De bubbel’ mid 2019 after 15 years at Google, Spotify and…
 
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 im…
 
Bonjour ! Félicitations messieurs, il y a seulement deux semaines, que le bol.com application multilingue est disponible dans les app-stores. That’s how we started this episode. Congratulate our guests with the launch of the multilingual bol.com app. It was launched in the French-speaking part of Belgium, Wallonia. With this launch, over 5 million …
 
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. …
 
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 developm…
 
In this episode, we take another look, a fresh perspective on Data Science for Logistics. In earlier episodes, we talked about related topics like Forecasting and crafting a Picking Algorithm using Data Science. With the guests of this episode, we dive into two specific challenges in the warehousing domain, the cost-based selection is the first one…
 
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 mi…
 
Today we explore our product architecture. We have been talking with Jim van de Waal about product organizations. We spoke to our Agile at Scale friends about product organisations and Agile at Scale. Now it is time to talk about the foundation to build these on. We call this the product architecture. We believe that a lot of companies are in the s…
 
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 impai…
 
Ever since we recorded the podcast about Agile @ Scale, we wanted some of the people involved again in our show. We care about the topic. Think there is a lot to tell and learn. And it is of interest to a lot of our listeners. That is why at least we think it is awesome that this episode is about Innovation Rhythm – How to drink less coffee and ach…
 
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 differe…
 
In this episode, we are exploring a topic that is definitely work-related but not that tech-related: Dealing with stress in the tech sector. At bol.com we have at least twice a year an employee engagement survey. Some of the questions are about how the workload is perceived. If you look at the results they differ per domain. So, context is very imp…
 
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…
 
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