Roel van der Ven

I help build stories and like to think of the future.

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On diversity and the stories we’re being told

I’ve always been fascinated by stories and what they do with us. Our thoughts, our characters, our experiences. Stories shape who we are and who we’re becoming. I was really inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who opened my eyes with her talked on the danger of a single story.

A single story emphasises on how we are different, rather than how we are similar.

I think that’s a brilliant phrase to live by. Never trust the single story. Try to learn more by viewing something from other perspectives. And know that as long as you know only one story, you should withhold your opinions and prejudice because they might portrait you as a single story.

With everything we make in this world, be it a product or a service, we should consider: are we building something real or is this going to be perceived as another single story?

Update: This travelers report on North Korea is an apt example...

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ALB + Blogotheque + a drone = a music video in 1 take

Technology and music are two of the most important things that keep me inspired. The people behind Blogotheque have been my heroes for a long time, but no they made a leap into the future by filming the band ALB with a drone.

The whole video is shot in 1 take, which reduces the chance of “catching your breath”. Without switching context your brain keeps processing what it sees, thus keeping you on edge for the whole length of the video.

Here you go, hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

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Run River North - Excuses

I haven’t been able to post anything lately because of a new and interesting adventure. I’ve joined, more about that later.

This post is about Run River North, who released an amazing music video with their new song called Excuses. Every once and a while you see and/or hear something what makes you think: “Yes. This is it”. Well, this is it.

The video combines a lot of ideas that have been applied and tried out in film and other music videos, but here everything seems to come together in this incredible funny, creative story. Enjoy.

Excuses by Run River North on

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NPL Acoustics

After a splendid Music Hack Day London in 2011 we were lucky to be invited to a small tour in the National Physical Laboratory of London. Ian Butterworth was so kind to show us around and illustrate the impressive effects of the acoustic chambers they use for testing.

These recordings have been sitting around on my SoundCloud account for ages and I am finally posting them here for you to enjoy. The quality is not great since I recorded these with an iPad, but you should be able to get a pretty good impression.

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Atoms for Peace - Before your very Eyes

Yesterday Atoms for Peace released the music video for their track “Before your very Eyes”. Mister Thom Yorke can be a music industry defeatist all he wants, but I’ll be inspired by his works forever.


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Good reads: Product Management

A while ago I selected a bunch of articles that have impressed or inspired me and I thought would be useful sharing. At that time I figured I could regularly post an article with resourceful or inspiring articles but I didn’t realise I needed the time to read them all myself and let them sink in so I could think about the actual value.

Starting with this post I want to theme this series with a certain topic, which helps me to maintain the quality of this series but also enables me to create a valuable resource of knowledge and learnings that will hopefully be useful for you as well.

Product Management

This list resembles a collection of articles I’ve read the last 4 months, some of which turned my perspective on building (and iterating on) products completely upside down.

  • Your app makes me fat - About giving users what they actually care about, in stead of demanding their attention...

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Seams - Quarters

When working in a great team you work with great people. Folks like Jami, who escalated his music hobby to a serious career next to his dayjob as product manager at SoundCloud. He recently released his first full length album called Quarters, which is a great listen.

Check out the music video for ‘Rilo’ here:

And listen to the full album here:

If you buy the full album at you’ll get an exclusive set of postcards showcasing the 4 locations where the album was made.

I think it’s incredibly inspiring but also comforting to see Jami release his music. He has done quite some shows and has kept steadily working on this, while also embracing the internet as a platform to distribute his work and engage with fans. His album was released via an exclusive feature over at HypeMachine, he has been posting updates on his Tumblr and Facebook fanpage about the progress and when you buy...

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Mighty Oaks - The Great Northwest

My good friends Mighty Oaks have been working incredibly hard and it’s paying off. They’ve been playing at some festivals, touring together with CHVRCHES, The Lumineers and played a support act for Kings of Leon this summer.

Here’s a video of a recording they did together with Cardinal Sessions. Enjoy.

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Listen to some Halls

Noortje pointed me to Halls. Quoted from

Halls is the solo project of 21 year old South London musician Sam Howard.

Formed in London, UK in early 2010, Halls worked on material that would appear on the debut EP “Halls EP”, released in January 2011, which was described as having ‘ambient soundscapes buttressed by skitter-step beats.’

There is something incredibly mesmerizing about long slow harmonics in big spaceous buildings, especially when performed in a church, so here’s Halls performing in a church.


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Space Oddity

This is a story about the coolest astronaut in human history.

If you haven’t heard of this man yet, his name is commander Chris Hadfield (53), who was the first Canadian to walk in space. Helped by his two sons, he harnessed the power of social media to give millions of people access to space, to the incredible views he was seeing and share basic scientific experiments like showing that you can’t cry in space.

He slowly turned into something like a space celebrity, amassing a huge crowd on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit while doing an IAmA.

After someone coined “Space Oddity” on the Reddit thread, commander Hadfield tweeted three days ago:

Here’s the video in it’s full glory:

Summing it all up

  • ...

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