The Corporate Story – The GPS for communications strategy


I wrote a blog about the corporate story for effectgroep (in Dutch). In short, the corporate story tells the story of your company, without the boring mission, vision and who remembers the third. It’s a story that touches people and is the base for all your communication. By solidifying your identity, you get the employees and customers you deserve.

Door het verhaal vast te leggen, zorg je ervoor dat iedereen hetzelfde vertelt. Sterker nog, een corporate story is een self-fulfilling prophecy. Een bedrijf dat consequent hetzelfde verhaal vertelt en leeft, krijgt vanzelf de klanten, partners en medewerkers die daarbij passen.

Want to know why you need one and how effectgroep produces a corporate story? Head over to



As an information addict, you want to have control over your own news. On the other hand, you want to be surprised. So it’s important to have a ‘healthy’ media diet, with predictable sources and curators who surprise you. My solution? RSS, with a lot of content collectors among my subscriptions. Below are my favorite sources. If you read all of them, you’ll find most of what I link to yourself! The list may be updated…

Tech news/Apple

Daring Fireball: John Gruber has been dishing out intelligent commentary on tech as a whole and Apple in particular since the beginning of the millennium.
MacStories: iOS, Mac and shortcuts from the master.
Six Colors: Jason Snell is a journalist turned indie blogger.
Stratechery: Insightful, theoretical observations on the big players in tech and beyond.
The Verge: High-quality tech reporting.
The Wirecutter: Like the Consumentenbond, except I usually agree with their conclusions.
Tweakers: Best (only?) Dutch tech site. Great forum as well.

General news/background

De Correspondent: Beyond the daily news (Dutch, paywall).
The Correspondent: See above (English, paywall).
DUIC: De Utrechtse Internet Courant: The online Utrecht newspaper (Dutch).


Colossal: Art, inspiration, beauty. Often surprising.
FiveThirtyEight » Features | FiveThirtyEight: Data, visualizations, predictions.
FlowingData: All about the visualization of data: creative communication. Always a surprising source of inspiration.
Learning By Shipping: Steven Sinofsky’s Tweetstorms end up here.
Seth’s Blog: The demi-god of marketing (Seth Godin) has been blogging daily for a loooong time.


Fokke & Sukke: These two birds have been going at it for decades. I just love how Randall Munroe’s mind works.
De Speld: Dutch satire to trigger the mind. Does get repetitive.


Agile Blog: If there’s news about 1Password, I need to know.
ATP World Tour: Did you know you can get all the news about men’s professional tennis?
DuurzaamBedrijfsleven: Sustainability news in Dutch.
Without bullshit: On better non-fiction writing.
Digging the Digital: The ramblings of Frank Meeuwsen. Scripts, software, ADHD.

Anything I’m missing? Let me know!

Tools – Text Expansion


If you’ve known me for a while, I’ve probably bothered you to use a Text Expansion program. Since my efforts have not yet resulted in many conversions, I’ll try to inspire you here…

These programs help you typing oft-used phrases, correct spelling and can even be smart in the way they help you. In this article I will share the way I use TextExpander, but you can substitute this with a lot of other programs (for some reason, more for the Mac than for Windows). It’s one of the best reasons to use a computer instead of this:

Image: “Selectric II” by Etan J. Tal – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Wth[ What the Hell is Text Expansion

A Text Expansion/replacement system lets you set abbreviations for text that you type. This combination is called a snippet. So, I type the abbreviation, and my ‘special key’, the [ and the computer spits out the right words, numbers or sentences.

Wth[ What the Hell do you need this for?

Well, you don’t need it of course. However, it can help you save quite a bit of time. My simplest example is my name. Whenever I have to type it, I key in mxv[, which expands to “Marnix van de Veen”. That’s 14e[ fourteen characters saved. If you count pressing the Shift button, it’s even more! By the way, anything italic that ends in [ in this blog post was typed using a snippet. Below are some simple snippets everyone should use in my opionion (text between parentheses is optional) and I’ve used Sherlock as an example:

sh (initials) Sherlock Holmes (full name)
s (first initial) Sherlock (first name)
st (221b) Baker Street Street
pc NW1 6XE Postal code
net (the) Netherlands
You know the drill
em e-mail address
url homepage
iban new way too complicated bank number
iphone iPhone
kr, Kind regards,

Longer snippets

Using these snippets will not only save you time, but also prevent spelling errors. That’s a great start. But… Text Expansion can do more! You can create multi-line snippets, so I can quickly type my e-mail signature sig[:

Marnix van de Veen
+31 6 19 410 888

If the field accepts html, I’ll use sigh[ instead:

<p>Marnix van de Veen<br>
<a href=""></a><br>
+31 6 19 410 888<br>
<a href=""></a><br>
<a href="">@m_a_rnix</a></p>

See? That will give me nicely formatted html… This works in any program/browser/environment.

Special characters

You can insert special characters into your snippets. This means when I type kr[, it doesn’t just expand to “Kind regards,” , but also inserts a ‘return’, so I’m starting a new paragraph after that. The same goes for tabs, and you can even choose where to put the cursor when you’re finished. So when I have to type a http: etc, I type h[ instead, and get and my cursor will be inserted at the right place.


TextExpander is smart. Ever need to insert the current date? Just type t[ and you’ll get 6 augustus 2014. Need a different notation? ymd[ gives 2014–08–06. W[ gives me the current week. Atm[ At the moment that’s 32. I can never remember that one. 


Most of you know I’m not a coder. I can’t remember html for the life of me! I do most of my typing in Markdown (something for another blogpost), but when I need an html link I type link[, and I’ll get  with the cursor in between > and < and my clipboard contents pasted in between the “s.


When I start a new motivation letter for a job opening, I type moti[ (en is for English, I have a Dutch snippet as well) and get the following. The cursor is on the line below “Dear Sir/Madam,”. You see the date, multiple lines and cursor positioning.

Utrecht, Augst 6 2014

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’d love to show my skills and enthusiasm in person.


Marnix van de Veen
+31 6 19 410 888

Getting started

As with all timesaving apps, it’s impossible to implement everything at once. So start simple. What are the things that you type most often? Start with just 5 snippets. My recommendation:

  1. Your name
  2. Your company name
  3. Your personal e-mail address
  4. Your work e-mail address
  5. ?

See how this works out, and expand from there.


There are many Text Expansion options for the Mac:
– Built-in text replacement. Just go to System Prefererences >[ ➔ Keyboard >[ ➔ Text and you can create simple snippets. No fancy stuff. They sync to your iOS devices over iCloud. A great place to start!
– TextExpander by Smile Software ($34.99). The old guy. You cannot go wrong with this one. Also syncs with an iOS counterpart which will get a lot better with iOS 8.
– TypeIt4Me by Ettore Software ($19.99). Has most of the tricks of TextExpander. No iOS counterpart though.

I haven’t really looked into the Windows side of things, but this Lifehacker post should get you started.

Thats it! Have you got any great snippets I should use? Which of my ‘boring’ tools should I cover next? Let me know in the comments!

A headshot of Marnix


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