Geen categorie

The new silk road as intended by China's Belt and Road Initiative

The Chinese ecommerce and the new Silk Road

The Chinese ecommerce and the new Silk Road 386 230 Cordny

Chinese ecommerce is booming. Ecommerce platforms like (B2B) and Taobao Marketplace (C2C) are serious competitors of eBay and Amazon. But it has to keep a keen eye on its domestic competitors like Tencent and That’s why it is interesting to see Alibaba is becoming the exclusive distributor of Salesforce in China. But first, why is TestingSaaS interested in Chinese ecommerce?

China and the ancient Silk Road

As you maybe have read in an earlier post, I am a huge fan of ancient explorers, especially the adventures of Marco Polo and his Silk Road and China adventures. When the Chinese president Xi Jinping announced in september 2013 he wanted to initiate a new Silk Road I got intrigued. I am no trader, but interested in how China was going to do this challenging endeavour.

One Belt One Road

To build a new Silk Road you have to design a new infrastructure. China wants to do this on land by roads and train rails , but also by sea. This initiative is called One Belt One Road, in 2016 wisely renamed Belt and Road Initiative, because it is not one transportroute. There are many, like the ancient Silk Roads.

Why the New Silk Road?

The Eurasian countries were the main part of the ancient Silk Road, They were the corridor between Europe and China. But, because the New Silk Road is also maritime, China partners also with sea-bordering countries like Sri Lanka, Turkey, but also the Netherlands.

That not only changes the geopolitical landscape – China gets more power – it also has financial effects. Through its investment banks, China provides loans to its partner countries in the New Silk Road. What happens when the project is not profitable and the partner country ends up with a long term loan, a loan-trap? Interesting, but not the subject of this blogpost, so we will carry on.

China’s ecommerce and the New Silk Road

Through ecommerce customers can buy goods via the internet. These goods have to be shipped and delivered. By the New Silk Road, Chinese and Western ecommerce companies can deliver the goods by roads, rails or by sea. Mind you, the Belt and Road Initiative is initiated by China, so their interests will be their priority, but that does not mean western companies can not profit. Let me illustrate this with, China’s wholesale B2B trading platform.

The New Silk Road connects Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba to the West

This summer I read Jack Ma’s biography. (It’s an Amazon Link 😉 ) Jack Ma is co-founder of the Alibaba Group, a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company specializing in e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology. One of its companies is, China’s largest integrated international online wholesale marketplace. And not only for Chinese brands, but also western. Brands like Philips, Apple but also Adidas, Burberry and many more.

Why are these western companies interested? Well, it’s all about the money.

Not only is China a highly populated country with a lot of consumers. Jack Ma knows this and wants to enable the Chinese to buy goods easier through ecommerce. Next to that he also made a traditional Chinese Day, Singles Day, every 11th november, a spectacular consumer event, with a lot of international celebrities, getting a boost from China’s expanding middle class and a massive online population.

In its 10th year, the annual Singles’ Day event got 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in merchandise sales. That is a lot and that is why the western companies like Philips etc. are very interested in working with Alibaba.

Why Salesforce and Alibaba?

Alibaba recently became the exclusive seller of Salesforce’s cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software suite in the Greater China region. It is a win-win situation for both sides.

Salesforce will definitely increase its revenue in the Asia-Pacific region by partnering with Alibaba. China is a highly populated country, with a booming increase in ecommerce companies and all these companies need a solid CRM solution in the cloud.

Alibaba will also benefit, because it does not have a CRM solution of its own for Small and Medium sized businesses. Salesforce will fill this gap. Next to that, Alibaba’s biggest Chinese competitor, Tencent, owns WeChat, a messaging solution with pay capabilities. It is an all-in-one e-commerce and CRM platform for companies. With Salesforce, Alibaba can make a fist against Tencent.

Ecommerce: The Silk road journey continues

Observing the Chinese ecommerce ambitions (Alibaba, Tencent, etc.) I see the New Silk Road, initiated with the Bet and Road Initiative, is playing a big role. By creating an international solid infrastructure (sea and land) China will create a new Silk Road, but now for modern products.

How is this going to affect the Western ecommerce? Time will tell.

Shoe dog, a TestingSaaS review

Shoe Dog – a must read for SaaS entrepreneurs

Shoe Dog – a must read for SaaS entrepreneurs 1399 2153 Cordny

A quote from Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, Phil Knight, Scribner, 2016

“So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.” 

‘Shoe Dog’ is a great book for entrepreneurs.

It shows how Phil Knight, together with other running geeks – remember Apple- started Nike with its forerunner Blue Ribbon Sports.

And it is not always rainbow and sunshine, it is brutally tough, financially and personally.

Why did I want to read ‘Shoe Dog’?

The last years I follow a lot of podcasts about entrepreneurship.

One of these from Ryan Serhant mentioned ‘Shoe Dog’ as a must read and I thought ‘Why not?’

Well, it was not a mistake. Why? Let me explain.

Why is this book also relevant to SaaS entrepreneurs?

From marketing to founders, to managing and product, this book will help you understand what it really takes to build a successful solution. Here it is a shoe, but it also could be a SaaS app. And it also shows, next to your product, you need your marketing. The product does not sell itself.

Next to that, it is not only technology you sell, you sell a service and there should be a need for that service.

As an athlete Mr. Knight saw this need and took action. Against all odds, but always iterating, with the customer experience always upfront. That’s what SaaS entrepreneurs also must do. 

What do I like about this book?

It’s a boy’s book about starting a business you are passionate about.  

Full of entrepreneurial adventures.

Everybody is against it, you hold on against all odds, and at the end you ‘win’.

But still, there are personals costs, like not having all the time for your children and at the end losing one. That’s tough, that’s a life lesson, it’s not only business. Family and friends count!

Therefore it is also a ‘coming of age’ book where Mr. Knight describes his life and at the end looks back at it. It’s not only glory, it’s not only misery.

Mr. Knight never brags, he shows how he did business and it was never easy.

As a starting business- and middle-aged man (😉) I recognize a lot of things I also did in my younger years. However, I also learned that I still can do a lot.

Next to the starting a business part, I also like it because it  an insight in Japanese business and culture. It shows how an American started a million dollar business with japanese partners, just 15 years after World War 2. That requires courage and stamina.

And even after Nike and Onitsuka’s business relationship ended bitterly Mr. Knight’s admiration for Japan continues.

What do I not like about this book?

I’m not a runner myself, so I had to get used to Mister Knight’s fascination for running. 

But hey, I am reading a book written by Nike’s founder. Then you have to get used to the running virus. 

Maybe I even start running myself this year. It is a solo sport, you run against yourself. 

As an entrepreneur, that sounds very familiar.

At the end Mr. Knight mentions Nike, since the seventies, has been accused of using sweatshops to produce footwear and later on, apparel. He counter argues it, stating Nike has made improvements and it is way better than when the Nike factories started in Asia.

For me, as a person, it was not necessary to have this in this book. But, because it are his memoirs, and Nike is Mr. Knight’s founding baby (as TestingSaaS is mine), I can imagine why he mentions it. Nobody likes to have his baby criticized.

What I learned from ‘Shoe Dog’?

It is all about passion, but if you do not persist and work with the right people, your dream, to work with your passion, will not come true. It is not only rainbow and sunshine.

You will have to do things you do not want to do, like long negotiations, setbacks, paying taxes (even if you don’t have to) and keep a constant eye on your finances. 

Founding a business is one thing, maintaining  a business is a whole other ballgame.

But still, keep the passion and do not get tangled in daily hassles.

Otherwise you get burned out. And that experience I do not want to have anymore.

Final remark about ‘Shoe Dog’

‘Shoe Dog’ is a great entrepreneurial ‘coming of age’ book.

It gives an insight in how an ambitious guy from Oregon started a shoe business and became one of the sneaker giants.

And I envy Mr. Knight. Not because of his success. No, because he still had one person who could see his struggles and success, while doing what he likes best.  

There is one person who is not here to see me doing what I like and even make money.

I wish my dad saw me now.

Who dares wins!

an example of a mind map

How mind mapping helps the starting SaaS entrepreneur

How mind mapping helps the starting SaaS entrepreneur 750 500 Cordny

This article describes mind mapping and its advantages and disadvantages

Yes, finally! You decided to become a SaaS entrepreneur.

Your head is full of ideas. Now you want to write them down. For yourself, your bank (you need money!), for your website (marketing!!). You stare at an empty paper. You can’t write anything down. Just words, no sentences, no story, no plan…
Now what? Did you know I was in a similar situation when I started my business as a SaaS software tester and content marketer.

But then I remembered something from my high school years. I was not an ace remembering big chunks of texts. My former biology teacher told me I should try mind mapping. This way I would remember the text better, and more importantly, distinguish the essentials from the details.

What is a mind map?

Wikipedia defines a mind map as a diagram used to visually organise information. A mind map is hierarchical and shows relationships among pieces of the whole.

Develop a mind map

Remember your empty sheet. Write down your central theme, eg. the name of your company, in the middle of the sheet and encircle it as a balloon. Now place around this central theme the connected sub-themes: finance, marketing, sales etc. Also encircle these subthemes. Connect the central theme with the sub-themes by drawing branches. Doing this, a diagram is generated and a visualization of your SaaS company is seen on paper.

A very creative way to put your thoughts on paper. As I said earlier, I had trouble remembering large chunks of text. By mind mapping I could visualise this text and remember it. But it is also a great way to put your thoughts on paper, giving it more structure, and also be creative.

Let your thoughts flow, there are no boundaries, except the boundaries of your sheet of paper.

Advantages of a mind map

For a starting SaaS entrepreneur mind mapping has many advantages.

You will see in a glance the connections between the central theme and its many sub-themes. Because you will see it as a whole, the text comes to life making it easier for your brains to process.

Turning the text into a mind map makes it more easier for you to remember it. Associations are made between themes, which improves remembering it. Very handy when deciphering the tax rules.

By visualizing you are more alert, improving the creativity process. Especially beneficial when making your business plan and your thoughts are going all the way.

Mind mapping saves time! By mind mapping you are summarizing your thoughts, which is beneficial when writing a plan or pitch.

With mind mapping you will discover more associations. This encourages you to go on, thinking out-of-the-box. Maybe you will invent a new online sales technique?

This is just a brief list of mind mapping advantages. There are many more….

Mind mapping, are there also disadvantages?

Mind mapping is a creative process. It takes time to master it. But when succeeded, it will save you a lot of time.

Mind you, a mind map is a ‘visual summary’ of YOUR thoughts. Another person has other thoughts and therefore another mind map.

When working in a team always compare the mind maps. Let’s be creative together.


Mind mapping can help you start up your company. It takes time to master it, but by creative ordening your thoughts on paper, it will also save you a lot of time. At a glance you will see associations between themes and it wil help you remember important things more.

You can share your mind map with other people. Take in mind, it is a visualisation of your thoughts, which are very personal. Therefore mind maps of other people are different, although they address the same subject.
Try mind mapping, you won’t regret it.

And let me know your findings.

Is Salesforce a shark in the cloud?

Is there a shark in the cloud?

Is there a shark in the cloud? 1024 683 Cordny

Huge news! Tableau gets acquired by SalesForce! A shark deal in the cloud?

It is a $15.3 billion all-stock deal, marking the biggest acquisition in the company’s history.

Not only awesome for Tableau, but also for Salesforce, as it continues to diversify beyond CRM software and into the analytics niche.

And, by doing this deal, Salesforce will also increase its business customer base with 86,000, including Verizon, Schneider Electric, but also Netflix!

“We are bringing together the world’s #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform. Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers. It’s truly the best of both worlds for our customers–bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world,”

Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce

Salesforce also has most of these customers. But now it has a cross selling opportunity. It can sell Salesforce to Tableau shops who are not using Salesforce yet.

Joining forces with Salesforce will enhance our ability to help people everywhere see and understand data. As part of the world’s #1 CRM company, Tableau’s intuitive and powerful analytics will enable millions more people to discover actionable insights across their entire organizations. I’m delighted that our companies share very similar cultures and a relentless focus on customer success. I look forward to working together in support of our customers and communities.

Adam Selipsky, CEO Tableau

Salesforce knows customer data is important for business. With Tableau it can give its customers insight in their customer data.

Are the sharks on the hunt?

Salesforce buying Tableau seems a reaction on recent buyings by other big tech firms. Google bought Looker last week for $2.6 billion. Looker is a unified platform for business intelligence, data applications, and embedded analytics. And Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016 for about $26 billion. Ok, a few years back, but it’s about billions here, not pennies.

Are the big tech companies behaving as sharks, hungry for analytics?

It seems so. Analytics, and its predicting capabilities, is a growing field.

The big techs want to have the best in their stocks to deliver a complete quality package to their customers.

A shark deal in the cloud, do you agree?

workshop Chamber of Commerce: Going digital with your company

Going digital, a Chamber of Commerce Workshop

Going digital, a Chamber of Commerce Workshop 620 413 Cordny is a great website to find meetups in your neighbourhood.

This way I found out the local Chamber of Commerce (CoC, Dutch Kamer van Koophandel, KVK) was going to organise a workshop about how to go digital as a business. Or in marketing slang: How to digitally transform your business. ( Digital transformation!!)

Interesting, because this also affects my business TestingSaaS: Helping clients create content by testing their software.

Better yet, it was going to be a holographic workshop where speakers were present as holograms. This way the CoC could do this workshop on multiple places.

Awesome because I am an early adopter of this kind of technology, see my VR and AR posts.

How to Digitalize your Business

Here is the list of the presentations and the holographic speakers:

  1. The future clients are already there( Steven van Belleghem –
  2. This also works – Hans Engelsma (
  3. How to use videomarketing? – Britt van Smeerdijk (
  4. Internet marketing for more results with your business- Tonny Loorbach (
  5. The golden rules for today’s networking – Rob B. Tol (
  6. Use data to get satisfied customers – Jos & Dorien Beks (
  7. How to keep it secure? A story by a hacker – Thijs Bosschert (Ethisch Hacker)
  8. Customisation for the masses = Money! – Jos Knulst (

All these speakers are very experienced in digitalising their business, and as you can see they come from different niches: hairdressing, video, marketing etc.

A pity they were only present as holograms, engagement was not possible, but, together with the other attendees, I enjoyed myself and there was enough time to engage with the other attendees.

the Workshop Take Away

Every workshop has its homework, so all attendees received a canvas sheet with the take aways from every presentation. Great material to study when back at home.

Thank you for an interesting and engaging evening.

Chamber of Commerce, great holographic workshop, let’s go for a second one!

A week for TestingSaaS: a wild kayak ride!

Last week: full of DevOps, info security, Mac Forensics and CES2019

Last week: full of DevOps, info security, Mac Forensics and CES2019 1180 604 Cordny

Last week was a wild kayak ride for TestingSaaS:

  1. Writing an article on common logging challenges in the cloud for the DevOps content engine Sweetcode.
  2. Attending in Utrecht at Thursday (meeting a lot of nice people!)
  3. Start preparing a Mac Forensics course for eForensics Magazine in december
  4. Helping Dutch startups like TicTag and CoVince with their contentmarketing for CES2019.
  5. Content writing for the B2B platform where businesses are connected automatically based on mutual interests: BPConnect.

And you know what? I love it!
All these activities lead to new ideas and activities, it never stops.
It’s busy, it’s been like a rough kayak ride, but I help companies grow through my content and marketing.

And that’s what counts!

With my curiosity in SaaS, DevOps, Security and data science I write articles, case studies, blog posts, courses and much more.
And as a bonus, I even test the software I describe, so you have Quality Assurance and contentmarketing in 1 deal!
Even better, I do this as a Service with a monthly subscription.

Do you want to know more about the TestingSaaS Testing&Content deal?

Call me:  +31 (0) 6 12 18 52 62

Let’s launch your IT-company or -product with TestingSaaS , have a great week!

who dares wins!


TicTag’s answer to the smart lock

TicTag’s answer to the smart lock 800 533 Cordny

In the beginning of October, I was drawn to a Tweet on Twitter about families across the UK being locked out of their homes, after a system failure at smart security company Yale causing issues with the Yale Smart Living Home App.

Two days before Yale had warned customers “unplanned maintenance” was going to be done, which could cause some “connection issues”. However, on Thursday Yale updated on this, saying the Smart Living Home App is temporarily unavailable due to an “unforeseen issue” during the maintenance work.

This glitch appears to have prevented customers from being able to get in and out of their homes, and from being able to arm and disarm their alarms.

Although Yale claimed via social media nobody was locked in or out of their homes, damage was already done, and social media was flooded with complaints by angry Yale customers.

Why am I so intrigued by this story?

In May this year I went to the Startup Delta in Arnhem to meet and learn about the Dutch startup ecosystem.

Here I met Peter Heersink, founder and CEO of TigTag, a Dutch startup, revolutionizing the smart lock industry with its SmartTag, a smart sticker.

Imagine you have an office with an electronic door lock.

You do not want to use a smartcard or a PIN-code for entering or leaving your office.

What’s the best alternative? 

TicTag’s SmartTag embeds a unique 5-point identifier which gives the object you tag it on a unique ID.

TicTag’s plug&play software you can integrate in your existing app or website.

Open your app/website on your smartphone and select the tag with your smartphone. TicTag’s plug&play software will recognize the ID.

The TicTag API will send this ID to your server/database where it is verified with the object ID, saved at the server/database. If verification is successful, you can lock/unlock your office door. 

You only need your smartphone, the TigTag’s plug&play software on your app/website and the TicTag SmartTag to lock/unlock your office electronic door. 

Now let’s get back to Yale and its Smart Living Home App.

The main issue with the app was its temporarily inavailability leading to alarms going off all the time and people who apparently couldn’t enter or leave their homes.

With TicTag’s SmartTag you do not need a vendor-locked smart lock like you need with the Yale products. TicTag’s SmartTag can work on electronic doors from different vendors.

If your app/website can integrate TicTag’s plug&play you are ready to go.

You also do not need a smartcard and a PIN code anymore to authorize your entrance to your office.

No risk anymore of not getting into your office, because you lost your smartcard or forgot your PIN-code.

Your office, easy to enter with just your smartphone.

And secure, only people authorized and with the app on their smartphone have access to it.

Like I said, TicTag is revolutionizing the smart lock industry, with a sticker!!

Marco polo adventures mountains SaaS

To be a Marco Polo in the world of SaaS

To be a Marco Polo in the world of SaaS 275 183 Cordny

I like to travel.

I like books, especially adventure novels like Robinson Crusoe and Marco Polo.

I want to see the world, on- and offline.

I like to write about my experiences.

It was no surprise for my parents that I wanted to study biology.

Unfortunately, I am not a lab rat and, although I tried, I did not become a member of an expedition group to study wildlife in remote places. 

But I am a curious, stubborn biologist, so I started to study the online world.

I found out this is a jungle too, with the same economics and biology as in the real world. Here too, money is made and here too, it’s survival of the fittest. 

I decided to start a career in software testing.

Great stuff, I was allowed to break things and I became good at it.

Gradually I found out I like to work at IT startups, although I made heaps of mistakes, and still do!

Software testing is my passion, but I wanted to combine it with another passion: writing.

The blog TestingSaaS was born, eventually becoming the network TestingSaaS,

engaging with SaaS marketing and copywriting peers globally.

Meanwhwile I was still an employee, but my entrepreneurs blood was boiling, so this year I decided to fulfill my dream: combine testing and writing for SaaS companies with my own marketing startup TestingSaaS.

There is a time you have to dive into the deep and until now I have no regrets. 

Oh, it’s tough, with low monthly revenue, but hey, I’m Cordny, I am going the distance and succeed. Against all odds.

And revenue is going up!!

The last six months I learned a lot about entrepreneurship, marketing, SaaS, blockchain, security, chatbots, virtual reality, communities and a lot of other awesome stuff. And you now what, I love to write blogs, landing pages, one-pagers, case studies etc. So you have time do do your business and make money.

In my whole career I met wonderful people who want to help me succeed with my business. And I want to help them in return. That’s what business is all about.

Mind you, I will make mistakes, just like Marco Polo did,  but I will learn too and help companies not make the same mistakes twice.
I’m now, like Marco Polo, on a mountain overseeing surrounding mountains and valleys, ready for my next adventures.  

I can’t wait to start another week, do you want to join me?

Man wearing virtual reality helmet driving car

Virtual reality, where am I going and what will I see?

Virtual reality, where am I going and what will I see? 2121 1414 Cordny

Exploring new territories

When I started my company TestingSaaS in the beginning of this year I knew I was going to explore new territories.
One of these is Virtual Reality, in short VR.
During my search for Dutch VR companies I met Richard van Tilburg and Melanie van Halteren from the innovative startup CoVince.
Their mission? To make learning an adventure again.
How? To experience a personal learning journey by using mobile and VR technology.
You only need an app and a VR headset.

Together with the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences CoVince created a
personal learning journey where students can practice their presentation skills.
Interesting stuff, so I volunteered as a beta tester.

Beta testing the VR app CoVince

Great, what did I get myself into again? 🙂

Since a few weeks I test the app together with a VR headset CoVince very kindly shared with me.
I never tried VR and I experienced I have to do this alone.
Otherwise my girlfriend and our dog think I’m getting nuts. 
Being in a virtual space does not mean you do not have to mind the real physical space, ouch!!
However, it is quite an experience, with people in a virtual space talking and looking at you and even know when you do not look at them. 

It is not only a personal learning journey regarding presentations, but you also learn to behave in a virtual world.
As I already said, I am beta testing, so now and then I find bugs which I can register in a shared Asana board, and these are picked up very quickly.
Kudos Richard!
Like every mobile app test you have to be aware your phone has its unique features which are not always compatible with the software at hand. This makes mobile development difficult.

VR Software Development kits

As a software enthusiast I’m also interested in the tech behind VR, so I learn every day about the VR Software Development Kits (SDKs) like Google VR or the Augmented Reality SDK Vuforia for mobile devices.
For the coders, ff you have some C++ knowledge you can really try this out and you will see quick results, but beware, working with the SDKs is still a skill to be learned.

The journey continues

This VR journey with CoVince increased my appetite.
So, if you are an IT company with a VR/AR app to be tested, let me know.
I am happy to test.

See you in the Virtual World.

Where am I going and what will I see?

Whys is your company called TestingSaaS?

Why did I call my company TestingSaaS?

Why did I call my company TestingSaaS? 1024 768 Cordny

Since I launched TestingSaaS as a company in April 2018 every day I receive the same question:

“Why is your company called TestingSaaS?”

And every time I will give them this answer: 

TestingSaaS was created because every time I worked with a startup/scale-up as a test engineer I saw testing was underprioritized compared to development, leading to buggy products and clients walking away. I also saw many startups doing a lot of development, but less marketing, leading to insufficient traction and startups got broke. A shame, because their product was awesome, only poorly marketed.

As a test engineer, avid IT-blogger and community-builder I knew I could help these companies by delivering them parallel services in software testing and (content)marketing.

It’s a recurring pattern in my life, I never was a specialist, but always in between: bioinformatics, test automation, ..
That’s where for me the adventure is, like being on a rough coast between land and sea. That’s why I added this picture to the blog 😉 .

But the name TestingSaaS has nothing to do with marketing.

Oh yes it does! Every marketeer knows it has to test its copy / marketing material before sending it out to prospects. If you do not test you do not know if the prospect likes it, which is a lot of marketing money spend the wrong way.

As a software tester, testing is my daily job.

I can help startups and other IT-companies with testing their marketing efforts and help them choose the correct marketing strategy. This can be done in combination with principles and tools from data science. 

Now you know why I called my company TestingSaaS. 

It’s where software testing meets marketing!