Six Sigma Black Belt

After obtaining the Green Belt I continued working on the certification for Black Belt Six Sigma. The project delivered was very well appreciated, and there are so many details that were welcomed onto the analysis and definition stage.

For those who want to work on this type of organization, my recommendation is to do it when you are engaged on a real Six Sigma project. It makes the study more dynamic, it’s more easy to translate the concepts to real life and enables you to practice some of the tools, recommendations…


Strava heat-map

When I discovered the global Strava heat map I was doing the same thing that the day I installed google earth on my computer: looking for places. The only difference was what to look for: some years ago it was NYC and now it’s the tourmalet road.

So many things to investigate:

  • Countries where adoption is incredible, areas of world where there’s nobody with a smartphone for tracking a workout.
  • I expected more adoption in US, France and Kenia.
  • The use in UK and Netherlands is massive.


Bikes and cities

I read an article about the the positive impact ofthe use of the bike inParis after the people receive a monthly compensation for going to job by bike, promoting a set of behaviors that benefits the whole city. This made me think about bike adoption in cities.

I´m becoming olderand I am able to lookwith perspectivethe evolution of cities I visited 10 years ago.This week I was,in this order,inBerlin, Amsterdam andBarcelona. I will focus on the quality of lifeof those livingtherein terms ofuse of the bike10 yearsagoand today.


Berlinhas not changed, so many people use the bike. It was 2003 the first time I visited Berlin, in summer; This time in winter. You can see childrenarewrapped in their coatsthat canbarelymovethemselves, but here theyare. Herethe motto is:one street, onebike lane.

In Amsterdam there aremore bikesif possible, insome areasit is the maintransport, you can find piled bikes, wood-bikes, fat-bikes. exclusive city-bikes.I asked if they still have the problem of biketheft,and they still have it. Ifthisenormous lovefor the bikes that Dutch people have you apply their knowledge ondesignonthe bikes, the consequence is easy:you have all kind of bikes.They have in The Hague a race of fat-bikeson the beach. 10 yearsago The Netherlands wasa pioneer in theuse of the bikeand today they still are on top of the list (atleast I think so).

Barcelonawas thebig surprise to me. The first timeI visited it there were only onebike laneon Diagonal Avenue andinthe sea-port area. Now you can find thousand of bike lanes, a municipalbike service, lots of bikesparked on streetlights The changeof such a largeand complex city as Barcelona cannot only be measuredby the existence ofbike-lanes, but you can see the change (maybe others do not agree with me). Bikes have won some space of the streets to the cars.

In contrastI look atMadrid,and I see nochange, the cars still ownthe streets.

Banks and software companies

Imagine a bank that offers you a saving money application linked to your account, with different methods as kakebo, denying you to buy something if you surpassed the limit.

They can organize that information, analyze it, build risk assessments on the market, sell the data… Whatever!

Banks should start to compete in the digital arena more aggressively to avoid others to take their business. They should take seriously what is going to happen in 5 – 10 years.

My improvement initiative is not moving

Plan a strategy is easy if you assume that all stakeholders are going to accept the changes immediately. But this never is the case; to remove these hurdles you have to plan how to face these change stoppers.

Other factor to take in consideration is speed: In the same way that when developing software you have to measure the speed of development of your team, when implementing changes, you have to evaluate the speed of changes.

Escalation through the hierarchy is the answer ; in this way you align behaviors, and this enables you to accelerate the speed of changes.

Well nice summary of an ideal simplified environment, but what happens when the authority is not acting? when things are escalated and they are not being attended; you feel your initiative is not a priority in the head of the guy leading the show…

Link your initiative to his/her need.It is the only way the management reacts. After 3 months pushing the speed of changes without success I found the way to speed it up like a rocket. I was able to get the attention of the boss of the guy leading the show with respect the opportunity on such customer. This has made the “change initiative” is now a priority for the guy leading the show. Now I guide the visits to this customer and add my changes to the todo list, having a better speed on changes.

This speed is not stabilized but people have a sense of urgency on the need to change: their bonus is now at ‘risk’.

The tactic is simple, there is customer meeting every 2 months, so we prepare the meeting with customer feedback + changes. This is the way to get the things done: the agile sprint principles applied in an improvement plan.

My problem will come again when top management disappears 🙁

Amsterdam, design

Design, design and more design is what you can find in so many corners of Dutch’s cities. All of them developed with high quality and nice style.

My preference is the home design of furniture, how they play with the space of a room and how the ergonomic aspects are present in all details.

First time in winter, and I have to say it was not horrible at all, but 4 days is enough for me to make me an idea about how cold weather impacts on lifestyle.

Berlin, again

I spent some days in Berlin , working and having only the nights to enjoy the city. Dinners in a Russian restaurant and a glass of wine in an Italian winery was just an example about the opportunities you have.

First time in Winter; and we were lucky of enjoying sunny days combined with a nice snow storm during the night that dress the city with a beautiful white.

Running 13 kms around the city enables you to know new streets, stop in shops to look up at some designs, build a better map of the city in you mind and know where the people go.

Nice trip!

Zurmo, campaigns execution: typical problems

When working with massive Zurmo campaigns of marketing, I have learned some tips I want to remind.

Rows and columns report

This article summarizes so much well what to do. Important the point that says: It is important that the report that you create has to be “rows and columns report”.


Once the template, the list and the campaign is ready, I have to launch the following Zurmo Jobs:

  1. Generate campaign items: with one execution is enough.
  2. Process campaign messages: click several times till the whole list is added. In my case the job only includes 100 records per execution.
  3. Process Outbound Email Job: this one took some minutes to complete the execution.
  4. Mark campaigns as completed: in this way you ensure there will not be any other e-mail being sent from this campaign.

Time limit

Script will run at most for 500 seconds (8,3 minutes, so if it continues running, check it).


After executing the Process Outbound Email Job, sometimes I have received this error message:

Attempted to send the message 1 times but an error occurred: Error Code: 0 Error Message: Expected response code 250 but got code “”, with message “”.

the root cause is the password of the e-mail address in the configuration is not right.

Un-subscribed people

When someone is un-subscribed from a campaign, it is convenient to remove from the list and set the status of that contact as “no campaigns”. In future lists you should not include the contacts with this status, and if you use the same list the data will be clean (you will not disturb your customers).

Shopify sitemap.xml

Shopify sells that they generate and refresh sitemap.xml file on all their stores, so I was not paying attention to it.

My fault was to add it on Google Web Master tool. It is curious that the file contained only 4 link entries. I checked 24 hours later that all entries of the site were added to the WebMaster tool, so now it’s fixed.

Hadoop, Pig

My learning on the basic concepts of Hadoop continues.

Pig has 2 basic elements:

  • Pig Latin, it’s a data flow language used by programmers to write pig programs
  • Pig Latin compiler: converts pig latin code into executable code. Executable code is in form of MapReduce jobs or it can spawn a process where virtual Hadoop instance is created to run pig code on single node.

Pig works along with other Hadoop elements as HDSF, MapReduce Framework, YARN…

You can create Macros in Pig Language, you can also access to the piggybank to use standard code.

The main difference between MapReduce V1 and V2 is the existence of YARN

Pig vs. SQL

  • Pig Latin is procedural, SQL is declarative.
  • In pig you can have bag of tuples and the can be duplicated; In SQL on a set of tuples, every tuple is unique.
  • In Pig you can have different number of columns.
  • Pig uses ETL natively; SQL requires a separate ETL tool.
  • Pig uses lazy evaluation. In RDBMS you only have instant invocation of commands.
  • In Pig there is not control statements as “if” and “else”.
  • Pig Latin allows pipeline developers to decide where to checkpoint data in the pipeline and you can store data at any point during a pipeline. Most RDBMS systems have limited or no pipeline support. SQL is oriented around queries that produce a single result.Apache_Hadoop_Ecosystem