Archive of ‘English’ category

Watch LeWeb live on the live stream

Today is the first day of LeWeb, the web conference in Paris that everyone is, or should be, talking about. If you can’t be there for whatever reason, fear not, you can still take part in all the talk. You can follow everything at LeWeb through their live stream.

This is the live stream for the Plenary:

This is the live stream for the Startup competition on Wednesday:

Getting ready to go – are you coming?

I am really looking forward to this. Tomorrow I’ll be leaving to LeWeb with Erno Hannink. Four days of Paris, I won’t have time to see the Eiffel Tower and only glance at the Notre Dame in passing, and I am over the moon about it.
I am really looking forward to the LeWeb conference this year. Naturally I will be writing about what I hear and what I come across. You can find my posts here and on pitchstops.com.

If you are at LeWeb and would like me to do a video interview or write about you, just come up to me and let me know. Give me a shout on Twitter and lets make an impact starting at LeWeb.

Get a free pass to #LeWeb!

Ok, I just couldn’t let this one pass. Today you can get yourself a free pass to LeWeb, the greatest Web conference in Europe. How? Just by convincing them you are the one who really, really, really needs to go. Head over to their facebook page and they will pick a winner each hour between 9am and 1pm pacific time. That means there still is time left to think of the most original, creative, reasonable, interesting, innovating reason for you to go.

Head over to the Facebook page and grab those tickets!

Read it and share it

Today I saw a tweet pass by about libraries and ebooks. Right away it triggered my brain. In the old days, I would share my books with my friends. I would read it and when I thought it was a good book, I would recommend it to others and often give it to them to read. In the old days, we all thought that was a great way of sharing great books. As a matter of fact, I am still reading a great book in that same way.
But now things are different. As sharing now means that I will have to create a copy of my book to give to you, sharing has become theft. Sadly this means that I am not allowed to share my newly bought ebook with anybody. Such a shame.
I can understand the reasoning most publishers will have. However, doesn’t this mean that we need to look for new ways to share? It could be time for a user generated library. One that I can commit ebooks to, which I can then share with a link to my friends. They should be able to commit the link to their ebook reader and read away. In the same way I would be able to browse the collection to find the book I would like to read. And to make sure the authors make a buck, I would be more than happy to pay something like €40 to be a member and to be able to read the books others are sharing. After all, that is what I pay for my ‘regular library’-card as well. It could all be so simple and we could still share what we love.

Google wave ripples and stops

Sad news today as the official Google Blog has brought the announcement that Google will no longer be developing Google Wave and that the plug will finally be pulled at the end of this year. The reason mentioned is the low adaptation of Wave by the community. As true as this is, the problem is not just with the community. I believe the problem runs deeper where Google has launched some great technology that just has not been developed far enough to be at a stage where everyone can use it. There are still too many flaws that need addressing, but if those would be taken care of, I believe Wave could have been a killer technology for Google offering organizations a whole new way of communicating with their target audiences.

Even earlier today I was still singing Wave’s praises. To my credit that was still some two hours before the plug was officially pulled. I still see Wave as a great solution to anyone who would be having customer interaction for instance. It would offer a great opportunity to receive a customers’ question, have the question travel the organization, post the answer and still have a log of all that has happened for future reference.
I could also see it replace email with collections of ongoing conversations instead of mails with cc’s, bcc’s, long quoted texts etc. I would have loved to see email disappear in favor of a technology like Wave as it is just so much more natural. Twitter for short interactions, Wave for longer ones where both can represent dialogues.

But alas, it has been decided that it will never be. Fortunately, everything connected to Wave has been opened up as open source technology, but large scale adaptation seems to be further off than ever now. Anyhow, I am off to my Wave inbox now as I have one awesome new project running and that gets managed from a wave. It will probably be my last, but at least I get to enjoy it for a little bit longer…

On the road to social finances

I love the road. Whether it is the open road for driving or the roads to the future. Last year, Ford and I teamed up for the pitchstops on the road to the Web 2.0 Expo. Today, I am happy to announce that Ford and I will be getting on the road again. This time I will travel to the Somesso conference in Zürich on the 2nd and 3rd of November.

Somesso focuses on corporate social media and this time has a very clear focus on the combination of social media and finances. And as Somesso is held in Zürich, it is a perfect conference to visit if you are into finances. So far, many of the main financial institutions will be attending to learn about the combination of social media and finances.

I know that many have their own thoughts on how social media should change the way in which we approach money. This is why I have chosen to use this trip as a platform to share these thoughts. This time you can climb in the back of Ford’s luxurious Galaxy to share your views on how social media could change the financial sector. Anyone and everyone with a clear vision on social media and finances is welcome. Naturally, we would love it if you have taken action on your vision and have a business that leads the way. If not? We would love to hear your vision anyway.

All the interviews we will record during the trip will be posted on http://www.pitchstops.com. I say “we” record as I will be joined on the road by Steven Kruyswijk who will be on camera duty during the trip. And besides posting the videos on the site, we will also be officially presenting them to the audience at Somesso, on stage. So, your thoughts will be heard by a very influential group of financial professionals. Another reason to take part.

For our last trip you needed to be present to take part. This time however, I have decided to broaden the scope. After all, the financial sector has had a huge impact on our lives over the past year. This has gotten a lot of people thinking about alternative ways to organize finances. If you have your own view, but cannot make it to the car, you can still participate. Make a short video of yourself of three minutes maximum, upload it to youtube and send me the link to the video. Yes, I will be screening the videos first, but all worthwile contributions will be added to http://www.pitchstops.com.

So, lets get shooting! The Pitchstops car will make its first stop in Amsterdam on Friday the 30th of October. After that we will stop in Antwerp, and possibly in Brussels, Luxemburg, Strasbourg and Zürich. None of these stops have officially been planned yet, so give us your ideas for a great location that does not take long to get to (from the highway) and get people to come join us in the Ford Galaxy.

The Ford Galaxy

Vodafone Mobile Clicks and the augmented reality of tears of joy

The room was dark and the heat got to both the presenting startups as well as the audience. The setting was the Vodafone Mobile Clicks finals at the Picnic festival in Amsterdam. Up for grabs was 150.000 Euro’s. A big amount in anyone’s book, but for bootstrapping startups the three prices would mean a lot more. IT would mean a new window of opportunity and the possibility to take their company a step further. Finalists Audioboo, Layar, Woobius, My Name is E, Rummble and Mobypicture battled in front of a very critical jury, but never lost that comradery that comes from being a startups together. The emotions ran high with tears for both victorious startups and startups that missed the top three positions. To Audioboo, My Name is E and Rummble all I can say is, guys you’re all on my phone and I loved your presentations.

A great addition to the pack of startups was Woobius, the third place winner. As the only one aimed at an enterprise market, Woobius aims for an audience that is rarely represented at this kind of event. It was awesome to see the surprise of the group, who saw themselves as underdogs, when they heard they could come up to pick up their third price. Congratulations guys and lets stay in touch, I will have some leads for you.

Mobypicture hardly needs any introduction. Mathys has been a friend ever since I met him and I just love his service. During the finale Mobypicture launched no less than 6 new features. An awesome step and something to be proud of. Your second place was well deserved Mathys and I love your passion for shoot and share.

One of Layar’s demonstrations for their new 3D technology is a rocket taking off. It could not have been chosen more appropriately. Since its launch, Layar has swept the world of its feet with its augmented reality browser. The world has been at their feet ever since. Maarten did a presentation which harnessed so much passion that it was impossible to beat. And the rollercoaster continues. Taking first price, the Layar team has seen a great reward for following its dreams. And for Maarten, the last year has been the ride of his life.

Congratulations to you all and I will be seeing more of all of you, I am sure.

Sorry, our product wouldn’t work, but theirs would

Sometimes, helping your customers means not selling them anything. Last week I came across a great example of that when I was in Dieppe, France. I had deliberately not brought any other electronics than my iPhone to make sure I would not do any work. And that is when you know you will run into another problem. My problem turned out to be the memory cards of our digital camera. When we drove into Dieppe on our first Saturday to enjoy the festivities around La Solitaire du Figaro, we noticed that we forgot to empty our Xd memory cards. As our camera is almost five years old, it is regarded an ancient relic of the days when 5 megapixel pictures were great.

Stretching my French, I went around a mall to find a number of shops who were very willing to sell me a 2Gb Xd card for my camera. However, as a true Dutchman, I had found that prices for the card ranged between € 17,90 to € 34,95. So I decided to visit a last large electronics store to see what their offer would be. And I was rewarded as Darty did have the cheapest 2Gb card there. However, to my surprise I was approached by a salesman as I took the memory card off the rack. He asked me if he could help and what camera I intended to use the card for. I explained the situation to him and said that I needed to have a card as we ran out of space on the others. He assured me it would not work on my camera. Being stubborn, I decided that I wanted to buy it anyway as I had not seen any cards smaller than the one I had in my hands. But my salesman insisted that I wouldn’t buy it and he called a colleague over who went through great lenghts to explain to this foreigner where I could find a small photo store that would stock 256Mb cards that would suit our camera much better.

I came out of that store a happy man. Not only was I prevented to buy a product that would not work for me, I was also pointed at another store that would have the product that I needed. The two salesmen were great, because as I decided I was going to give it a try anyway, they insisted that I should not buy from them, but go to a place which suited my needs much better. And it did. As a result, next time I am in Dieppe and I need electronics, I know I will head out to the Darty store.

Travel made easy

Travel made easy
Lately I have been using public transport more and more. To help the experience, and to save some money, I bought myself an NS discount card. To my surprise the discount card is now loaded on an OV chipcard. A card which helps you pay for public transport around the Netherlands. Or that is the plan. Right now it just works in Amsterdam and Rotterdam on metro’s, trams and busses. Catching a bus today I decided to try the card as I did not have anything else on me. To my surprise it worked and paid my trip without me charging it beforehand.
Back home I decided to dig into what seemed to be a very customer friendly solution. I almost expected the NS (Dutch railroads) to have delivered a card with an automatic charging solution which would enable me to travel without having to think about recharging the card. Alas, upon further investigation it turns out that the NS has the possibility to charge the card, but they choose not to do it. So I dug into the NS site to find where I could switch on automatic recharging. But to no avail. Apparently the only way to do it is to register on the official OV chipcard site and to set the options for charging there. A missed chance for NS customer service if you ask me.

Lately I have been using public transport more and more. To help the experience, and to save some money, I bought myself an NS discount card. To my surprise the discount card is now loaded on an OV chipcard. A card which helps you pay for public transport around the Netherlands. Or that is the plan. Right now it just works in Amsterdam and Rotterdam on metro’s, trams and busses. Catching a bus today I decided to try the card as I did not have anything else on me. To my surprise it worked and paid my trip without me charging it beforehand.

Back home I decided to dig into what seemed to be a very customer friendly solution. I almost expected the NS (Dutch railroads) to have delivered a card with an automatic charging solution which would enable me to travel without having to think about recharging the card. Alas, upon further investigation it turns out that the NS has the possibility to charge the card, but they choose not to do it. So I dug into the NS site to find where I could switch on automatic recharging. But to no avail. Apparently the only way to do it is to register on the official OV chipcard site and to set the options for charging there. A missed chance for NS customer service if you ask me.

57 channels and nothing on

57 channels and nothing on
Watching TV is a particularly frustrating activity. I seldom really watch TV and if I do, it is frustrating. No, not because of the commercials. Simply because when I have time to watch the TV there usually is nothing on that is worth watching. It is amazing to see that TV schedules seem to be focused on making sure nothing worth watching is going to be on when I am free to watch.
The strange thing that we have grown to accept is that the TV dictates our lives. If you want to see a movie, you have to sit in front of the box at the time the programmers decided it has to be showed. I know people who have a television schedule. They sit down on Monday to watch this, this and this and then Tuesday is off, Wednesday it is this and so forth. In the Netherlands, having an evening coffee usually coincides with the eight o’clock news and nobody seems to remember which one claimed that timeslot first.
TV is an entertaining medium is the mantra. So, it is entertainment that you can consume passively. If it does not coincide with times you are available, you should get yourself a harddisk recorder the suggestion goes. Is that what we have come up with in this day and age? I have tried that with VHS and believe me, it didn’t work.
In my opinion, TV channels are a thing of the past. something that we need to get rid of as soon as possible. I want a TV with just one channel. My channel. A channel where I select what I want to watch and what broadcaster I get it from. So I might want to see the latest updated news broadcast at seven and then watch a movie, followed by an episode of a series and finishing the night with a documentairy. Or when I feel like something else, I want to be able to select that. I want to be the boss of my TV. I want to tell it what I want to watch when. And in my opinion TV broadcasters should listen to this trend more. I don’t just want to see the same program half an hour later, if facts change, I want to see an updated news broadcast. Commercials I am not bothered about, though if prompted I might want to pay a little money to watch a movie without them. But I want to be able to decide what I do with my time and when I watch what on my digital tv. My.Channel, please launch

Watching TV is a particularly frustrating activity. I seldom really watch TV and if I do, it is frustrating. No, not because of the commercials. Simply because when I have time to watch the TV there usually is nothing on that is worth watching. It is amazing to see that TV schedules seem to be focused on making sure nothing worth watching is going to be on when I am free to watch.

The strange thing that we have grown to accept is that the TV dictates our lives. If you want to see a movie, you have to sit in front of the box at the time the programmers decided it has to be showed. I know people who have a television schedule. They sit down on Monday to watch this, this and this and then Tuesday is off, Wednesday it is this and so forth. In the Netherlands, having an evening coffee usually coincides with the eight o’clock news and nobody seems to remember which one claimed that timeslot first.

TV is an entertaining medium is the mantra. So, it is entertainment that you can consume passively. If it does not coincide with times you are available, you should get yourself a harddisk recorder the suggestion goes. Is that what we have come up with in this day and age? I have tried that with VHS and believe me, it didn’t work.

In my opinion, TV channels are a thing of the past. something that we need to get rid of as soon as possible. I want a TV with just one channel. My channel. A channel where I select what I want to watch and what broadcaster I get it from. So I might want to see the latest updated news broadcast at seven and then watch a movie, followed by an episode of a series and finishing the night with a documentairy. Or when I feel like something else, I want to be able to select that. I want to be the boss of my TV. I want to tell it what I want to watch when. And in my opinion TV broadcasters should listen to this trend more. I don’t just want to see the same program half an hour later, if facts change, I want to see an updated news broadcast. Commercials I am not bothered about, though if prompted I might want to pay a little money to watch a movie without them. But I want to be able to decide what I do with my time and when I watch what on my digital tv. Broadcasters, please launch My.Channel.nl.

Real twitter love for your friends is…

Twitter love

I just had to put this up. Last night Marloes got her laptop stolen. A very unfortunate incident for anyone, but specifically for @Marlooz who makes her money live broadcasting and making video’s with her Mac. Twittering about it struck a chord with many and Michiel Berger started raising money to buy her a new laptop. Now that is twitter love. Rounding up your friends to mean something big to someone by doing something small. It is fantastic. Not because of the laptop, not because of the money. But because of people showing that online relationships are worth it.

If you feel like donating?  Check out @michielb’s instructions. (Btw. the laptop has been paid for now…)

Saving money but getting more done

Today is the day of the Cost Engineering Event 2009. First held in 2007 the event can pride itself on being one of the biggest events on the subject of cost engineering in Europe. Cost engineering can be described as the art of assigning value to that which has been or will be engineered. However, in every day life this means that cost engineering is the ultimate profession for people who want to get ‘bang for their buck’. A cost engineer is looking to maximize effect for every little bit of money spent. And that makes the cost engineer a great addition to any company.

In these challenging economic times, cost engineers can help companies stay afloat. Not only will they get a company as much as possible for the money spent, they can also control the spending better and work with engineers to redesign with a view towards reducing cost. But there is more… Well, there always is, right? But to see more, you should better go to the Cost Engineering website. I will be at the Cost Engineering Event 2009  for both days as account manager for Cost Engineering. We might have a seat for you if you give me a call.