Joost Plattel

Data-strategist, Founder & Speaker.

A talk about the many things a little experiment can teach you

On the 14th of March 2016 I gave a short talk at TEDxYouth Groningen, and the video is finally online! I've embedded the video below, it's in dutch but I'm sure the subtitles will be available shortly. My talk is about the all the photos I took so far at 8:36pm. I started without any specific reason, but found out that you could figure it out while doing it as well. I've collected over 5 years of photos and I don't plan on quitting any time soon.

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Fixing (LinkedIn) interfaces with Chrome plugins

Online services tend to change their functionality or interaction. Sometimes in a good way, other times in a bad way. Most recently LinkedIn made a little change in the way accepting (and replying to) invites works. I personally use LinkedIn as a address book and leave it alone at times, never inviting people but combing trough the invites. I used to reply with a text-expander snippet too see if a connection is valuable, but this seemed to be impossible lately.

Turns out, I wasn't the only one and Martijn actually wrote a bigger post on the problem. Ofcourse asking LinkedIn is the best way of complaining, but fixing it probably would take them a long time (if they decide to!). So I made a little chrome plugin that easily opens up to 10 new tabs all with a conversation without navigating through hovers and popups.

The plugin is seriously alpha software and way to loose configured, but I put it up on Github so anyone can use it! Disclaimer: I provide no support at all, if you still want it, find someone who can help you! 

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Making Waves

So far today has been enjoyable, until around noon when someone texted me with a url pointing to, showing an article about the Data Protection Authority telling me it is forbidden for employers to use wearables to track their employees (also on The research the article points to is actually two companies that run my dashboards. Before I get into details, let me state the following:

  • The privacy of an employee is of utmost importance! Employee first, employer last (or not at all!)
  • The Data Protection Authority is one of the most important organisations in regard to the coming technological expansion, we need them more then ever.
  • The grey area and boundaries existing the current space of law require meticulous investigation.

Now, if you've read the article carefully, you will notice it is still acceptable for a third-party to collect data with a wearable, but showing the data (in any way) to the employer is a no-go. This is something I totally agree with, but it conflicts partially with the requirements of a good employer to take care of their employees. A deeper exploration is required.

The connection between the employee and employer is not equal, which means the employer can force an employee. In my book, this is also a no-go. I've build my dashboards in such a way so this can not be done in any way.

I started developing the dashboards with a discussion in mind, and the first line in the grey area has been drawn. This doesn't mean the discussion is over, as technology and the workplace develop the grey area may solidify if we supply it with enough discussion and decisions. The article is a important step towards a better balance between privacy, ethics, technology and the workplace. Let's keep on discovering!

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Privacy & Gracefully revealing depth

Just a couple of days ago I read a post from Atlassian explaining some new features, but the most interesting aspect was that they explore gracefully revealing depth. To me this same concept can also be applied to privacy, ethics and more problems. Even though it's about functionality, the same can be applied to complexity.

As we are faced with interesting problems about privacy and ethics, would the way of gracefully revealing complexity work for making the right choices or settings the right parameters? I think it does, and that's why I started building gradual privacy, but it doesn't end there, the other way around is also fascinating, as some functions might not be thought of beforehand. This relates to privacy and transparency even more, could we cover all scenarios with these depths? Or how deep are these depths?

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Musings on transparency

I've been thinking about and exploring transparency a lot lately. As I'm building dashboards for employees, transparency is one of the key factors of integration within the workforce. But there are some funny things about transparency and this is why most companies and organisations are having difficulty adopting a transparant way of working.

  • Ownership is spread when sharing processes, this lessens your level of power, but this world is not just about ownership any more, access is what it is all about.
  • Transparency limits the degrees of freedom, when accountability is shown, you are less likely to choose a more adventurous path. Culture is key here, because if you do create a culture were failing is accepted, adding transparency to the mix might prevent people to make the same mistakes.
  • Sharing seems to limit choices due to shortening the feedback loop. But thinking about it, done the correct way I think it could increase choices.
  • The risks of transparency are not yet enough explored. It's a grey area in which the rules aren't yet enough established. The internet itself can be seen as an early precursor of what radical full transparency could be within a organisation. It can be used in both good and bad ways.

In my case, most of the situations involve data and technology in relation with transparency, ethics and privacy. It's a very big grey area in which there's enough discovery to be done!

Note: I've changed this blog a little to hopefully get me more into a writing mode... Expect more posts like these...

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel