Archive for July, 2007

A revolutionary entertainment experience

July 11, 2007

21 years ago…

It’s totally cheesy but it was already all about people connection… You said web 2.0?

No headquarters, no hierarchy

July 10, 2007

I had the chance today to hear a brilliant presentation by Charles Leadbeater. I wrote down a few key messages:
– Give people tools, see how they us them and only then, build your business model
– If you treat users as (just) consumers, you won’t be able to make them help you to innovate
– The most innovative organisations (based on free collaboration) today have no headquarters and no hierarchy, they are much quicker in innovation than any big fixed rigid organisation
– Succes may lead to conservatism. If you have a history of succes, you may tend to repeat what led you to succes.
– If you want to see your way into the future, act as you were a new entrant with low budgets

Ola bem dia

July 9, 2007

I’m in Lisbon today for the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solution sales kick off 2008. After the usual loud R’n’B music, the “Wow, look at this”, the “Make some noise to show how much fun you’ll have”, the “give yourself a big round of applaus” and a few “that’s a FANTASTIC achievement”, we had a short opening by Marc Bresseel and a 45 minutes speech by Chris Dobson, our sales VP. I won’t (and I guess, I may not) go into the details of what have been said this morning but on statement of Chris Dobson’s presentation caught my attention: “Internet doesn’t change people behaviour (…) technology change, not behaviours

This is an interesting statement but I still haven’t figure out if I agree with that. We may tend to exagerate the impact of internet on what we are but I think that some of our behaviours are the result of our internet experience. We have friends we have never seen, we are expecting brands to listen, we want to consume media on demand, we don’t perceive advertising as we used to do, we participate, we contribute, we share, we aggregate, we syndicate and we engage. Is that enough to call that a major behaviour change? And what kind of users are impacted?

I would love to read your opinions about this.

Link love meme

July 8, 2007

Toby tagged me for the 8 random things game (thanks Toby): The idea is to list eight random facts/habits about myself. I don’t know what kind of curse is waiting for me if I break the chain. 

(You can fin the complete rules on adjunct whore.)

Here’s my list:

– I used to be a problem child: 4 highschools is 6 years

– Long story… but a (very decent) picture of me and my wife appears in a book called “cybersex”

– I’m a Lost and a Seinfeld freak

– I sometimes cry when I finish a really good book

– My favorite musicians are Captain Beefheart, Can, Nosfell, Tindersticks, Curtis Mayfield, Daniel Johnston and Velvet Underground

– Whenever I can, I play basketball with my 8 year old son. The only reason I still manage to beat him is the fact I’m much taller

– I’m a procrastinator

– I’m conviced that corporations are unable to change no matter how hard they pretend to try

Now, according to the rules it’s my turn to tag 8 bloggers: Pieter, Tara, David, David, Joseph, Tim, Mark, Phil, what about you?

Don’t break the chain 😉 :

Ryan K (Iowa) : “I tagged 8 people and was hired THE SAME day by a big company”

Christina K (New York): “A few hours after tagging 8 people, I met the real coke light delivery man in the lift of my office. Believe me…this really works!!!”

Luc D (Brussels): “A few days after tagging 8 people, I won the lottery of $ 50”

The marxist blogosphere

July 6, 2007

The web 2.0-power-to-the-people cliché made me realize that we could summarize the social media phenomenon by using 3 major concepts of Marxism.

Proletariat: Joel de Rosnay renamed it ProNetariat and opposed it to “infocapitalism”. The pronetariat is basically us… all the people that are (trying to) own the means of (information) production. In marxist theory, the goal of the proletariat (aka the working class) is to displace the capitalist system and change the social relationship through a period called the “dictatorship of Proletariat”. The social media era resembles somehow this marxist concept: the working class became the networking class but basically there is a class struggle between Pronetariat and infocapitalists who both seek the mastering of the means of information production.

But the comparison has 2 major limits: The first discrepency is that in the networked world, information is not a scarce resource at all, the second is that the control of the means of production is not linked to the profit (for the moment)

Class consciousness: “Class consciousness refers to the self-awareness of a social class and its capacity to act in its own rational interests”. We, bloggers, start to be aware of our influence power (and if I may say, we often overestimate it), more as a group than as individuals. We come from a society were physical power was replaced by economical power. Here comes the time of informational power…

Infrastructure and superstructure: The infrastructure is the sum of the means that allow production and the superstructure is the sum of subjective elements meeting the infrastructure. It’s funny to look at the evolution from that perspective. The infrastructure of social media (forums, broadband connections, XML,…) is there for a long time but the subjective elements were not there yet.  Our subjectivity gave a new sense to the infrastructure.

Those comparisons may seem a little far stretched… and they are. We could also find analogies between the web and the very opposite of marxism like, for instance, the libertarian deregulation philosophers and their spontaneous order theory.

Even if this might seem trivial and useless, I think it’s interesting to use that kind of filters to think about our media from a different angle.

PS: I have groucho marxist tendencies. Here is one of my favourite quotes: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

I’ll do better next time

July 4, 2007


As usual, I spent my evening thinking about the weakest aspects of my presentation and how I’ve could done better. I’m a little disappointed by my explanations on scale-free networks and I make plans on how I will rebuild the speech with more subtleties next time.

But overall, I’m happy about last night. I think (I hope) I wasn’t ridiculous in front of all the beautiful minds and brains of the audience and that my presentation had a few thought-provoking moments.

To illustrate Microsoft belief in real life-networks, I used a quote of Francis Bacon (I initially believed it was the painter but it’s the philosopher) who once wrote “Friends are thieves of time”. I wish I had spent more time with my fellow bloggers last night: Luc, Pascal, Caroline,… and I regret I hardly or didn’t had the opportunity to chat with Maarten, Dominique (who posted a great piece of feedback), Valérie, Steven, Pieter, Tanguy, Bert, and many others. I also realized we just forgot to invite some major bloggers like for instance, Robin (our blogger database needs serious improvements). Hopefully, we’ll have new conversation opportunities real soon.

The permanent revolution

July 3, 2007

I just created my account on slideshare. In around 30 minutes, I will present the slideshow below at the second Microsoft Belgium circle of media where we gathered journalists and key Belgian bloggers. Most of the slides aren’t self-explanatory but I trust your interpreation and imagination power 🙂

As told previously, it’s my first presentation to an audience made of experts. I’ll tell you in my next post how it went.

Virtuous circles (of media)

July 1, 2007

I decided to call my new presentation “the permanent revolution”. It’s probably already a cliché and it’s something we’re all very excited about. It’s even a condition for our marketing blogs to survive. We need change and innovation to feed our blogs. I’m not sure that advertisers are always as excited as we are. Our message often remains: Incredible things are happening now but you ain’t seen nothing yet! Some advertisers tend to wait the next big thing, maybe thinking that after that, the innovation pace will slow down a little… but it won’t.

Where will the permanent revolution lead us? IMHO, the web is a matter of virtuous circles. The major trend is more and more integration of the services and the gadget mashups we see poping up everywhere today are the biggest sign of what the web will become. I already mentionned photosynth that could lead to the first real-virtual world (a giant mashup of flickr and second life). Like Marc Bresseel explained at the IAB Interact forum, Photosynth is the result of a virtuous circle made of Simplified authoring, improved search and improved metadata. If this product is marketed properly, it simply could change the way we are experiencing the web.

The “première” of my presentation will be tuesday at the “circle of media”, where Microsoft invited a lot of journalists and a bunch a very bright Belgian bloggers. It’s the first time I will talk about our media to a very informed audience… Wish me luck.