Always open

I’ll be on holidays for the next 2 weeks and although I won’t be traveling that much – that’s what I do at work :) – there will be no blogging. See y’all again later.


Archive deepdive

A couple of days ago Mark Goren tagged me, asking to do a deepdive in my blog’s archives and look up 5 posts that have a special meaning for this blog in some way. I didn’t want to focus on only those posts that were maybe the best for me, or the best in traffic so I stuck to ‘special meaning’. Here they are:

The art of being Belgian
I wrote this one after reading the book with that title, and though it should be one of the posts of this list. It was the first review of a book I did on my blog, I added some of the Belgian character to it as well and since it was picked up by the book’s publisher on their website it learned me even more that everyone’s opinion counts.

Naked Conversations
Although not on purpose, another book review (and really, I don’t do that much of them). This one I found interesting since I was amazed to get a comment from Shel Israel on this post and it would lead us eventually in having a conversation over email. It didn’t end here, as I set up a dinner with Shel and Rick inviting a couple of bloggers in Belgium and it was a great experience of the things that happen in this community.

How Influential are you?
This has become a little bit of a series as I’ve written quite a few posts that belong to this theme (here, here and here) and there are certainly more to come. I’m very interested about the question around influence, how you can measure it, map it, … and for that reason I did write my opinion down on it on a few occasions. And given my interest, many of the offline conversations I have are around this little theme as well. There’s also one person that has some great thoughts to share on this as well, that I hope to interact with on this matter and that is David Armano. David, if you have some spare time? ;) He wrote that fantastic post around the sphere of Influence for instance, exactly what I was thinking.

Everyone is a customer
A bit linked to the subject before, ‘Everyone is a customer’ is the title of the last few presentations I have given related to social media, blogging and brands and outlines some of the content of these presentations. Although the presentation itself was always adapted to the time and location, I like to keep the title. It refers to a case that I do always use in these presentations and that show the great effect of brands listening to their ‘customers’, you can read about that one here.

Not enough drama?
This post is an outsider in many ways. To begin with, it has driven far more traffic to this blog than any other post I’ve ever written. Even only on the first day it brought nearly 8.500 visitors to this blog and many thousands followed the few days after making ‘Cross The Breeze the n°1 blog on for a day or two. It learned me that this can happen to anyone, but given the fact the post was a bit off topic, I learned as well that it doesn’t mean people stick to your blog after.

I found this a tough task, but fun to do anyway. Going trough over 500 posts thinking which ones were special in some way is not really easy and I’m sure that I’ll think of another one or two in the next few days :) Anyway, I’m going to pass this along to Ine, Tom and Veerle. Hope you too will find some time to go through your archives, I’m interested to see your top five.

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After Dell, we get HP Hell

Laurent – a colleague here in the Belgian office – told Philippe and myself an amazing story about HP’s support for PC’s. This was so bad that we both had the same reaction, send me an email with that story so we can blog about it. Read it and weep! After that, link to the story to make sure they notice.

Here’s the story from Laurent:

“I bought a 2.5 years old HP Presario 2500 laptop on Ebay. I bought this for my girlfriend during her maternity leave so she could stay connected, even while “imprisoned” at home. I took the opportunity to initiate her to the joy of IM and she pulled her mother and half her family into the service. I also showed her how to use Ebay , which  was a bad move though, as  she spends all our money on baby clothes :)

A few weeks ago, the “h” touch died. I checked on the web and apparently it’s a common problem with this model (or at least, people have been vocal about the “h” touch). But, ok, she could live wit tat, h is not tat important is it? ;) Yesterday night the whole keyboard stopped working. “e” gives “w”, backspace, delete and enter don’t work… that was the end of my wife surfing the internet and having fun with her family every night.

So, arriving at the office today, with all the references in my pocket, I surf to the HP website to find an after-sales/customer service number I could call to solve this asap. It’s not critical, she does not need the computer for work matters, but it has become really  important in her life and I don’t want to let her without that. Ok, number found..doh, a 0900 billed 0.74€/min…?? Ok, the computer is probably not guaranteed anymore, but still. 

First call, robot voice spelling me a huuuuuuge (this is stupid by the way, who can possibly remember that?) url I could check to read about HP privacy policy, press 2 to get someone answering, wait wait wait, at least, a friendly human voice. The guy asks for my postal code so he could give me phone numbers of companies that could repair my laptop. I hung up the phone after he had given 3 numbers.

  • 1st number : unknown (you know, that Belgacom lady that tells you that number does not exist)
  • 2nd number : yess!! It rings!! Bad luck for me, that company does not repair computers from people, only corporations
  • 3rd number : unknown again (same Belgacom “lady”)

Hmmm, ok, I have an issue there. Back to my 0900 overtaxed number (again 2 minutes waiting time to get that humongous url spelled), press 2 to get someone answering, a lady now. I do the postal code thing and she gives me a 03 phone number. I kindly ask her to give me a # close to my place (why asking for the postal code otherwise? 03 stands for Antwerp and that’s not even close to where I live) and she tells me that’s the only one she has (??) The number? : 03.382223366. For those of you who don’t know, Belgian phone numbers do not contain 8 figures. And that’s what I told her of course. She puts me on hold “to check sir”… the line was cut after 10 minutes waiting time :-/

Back to the HP website, a bit angry and bored, I see a small link allowing to estimate what the repair price could be. If I can not get the contact of someone who can help me, maybe at least I could figure out how much it would cost. Click, click, click, my computer model? of course I have the reference,  click click again : 389€ estimated repair price…but nowhere I could type what type of reparation I needed, so how can that estimation be right?”

I guess you all agree this is a terrible support experience. We all know DELL is listening, and looking at the comments on Philippe’s post about this they’re listening so good, that they even try to help on HP issues ;). What I want to know is what HP is going to do about this though. Are you listening HP?

Meeting of Minds

Yesterday and today it’s Meeting of Minds in Antwerp. I was going to go, but my agenda decided otherwise the very last minute which is a bit of a shame as I’m reading a lot of good stuff about it. Take a look for instance at what Clo had to say about it, she seems to have loved it so far. I’m trying to follow it a bit on Twitter, but that’s hardly the real thing is it…

Luckily, since Loic Le Meur was coming to MoM, we had a chance to reconnect. We went out for dinner Wednesday night in the renewed ‘Wok & Tandoor’ and had some interesting conversations around LeWeb3 and next year’s LeWeb, the new & exciting project he’s working on, Microsoft, …. and much more. It was good to meet again, too bad I had to miss out on the discussion at MoM on television 2.0… who knows next time.

A classic – no, the classic!

I’m sorry, nothing to do with classic advertising this time. Tomorrow it’s time again for one of the greatest sports classics you can find on this planet – the Tour of Flanders. Ok, this might not ring a bell with big part of my readers, but the Belgians will know for sure. And yes it’s a cycling event, but I can tell you that it’s a lot more than ‘just’ a cycling event. Come and see for yourself.

We’ll be guests again of Lotto in their tent by the Kapelmuur:


Hopefully witnessing something like this again:


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An inconvenient cartoon

Global warming is a hot topic these days (didn’t mean to do that) now everyone is very much aware of the bizarre weather this year. If that weren’t enough Al Gore made his ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘ about the matter and as you can see Matt Groening (yes, from The Simpsons) got involved as well. The truth is that I actually showed the best evidence about global warming more than a year ago, as one of the first blog postings I ever made on ‘Cross The Breeze. And for the fun of it, here it is again: the real evidence the earth is warming up!

heating of earth.gif

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Five things you probably don’t know about me

I doubt whether you really want to know this, but since you asked here are the “five things you probably don’t know about me”:

  1. Just like Claudine (hah!) my real name is a bit different from the one you know me by, it actually is Kristiaan. My parents weren’t allowed to name me just Kris (which they wanted), I don’t remember what the silly reason for that was back then. Anyway, nobody ever calls me Kristiaan apart from my mother when she’s really mad at me.
  2. I used to play guitar in a band called ‘Buttonfly’ which I had started with a couple of good friends. We were famous in our own garage and did play some small concerts where we lived. This was all a long time ago so no traces left on the internet of Buttonfly. I still have my guitars but sadly enough I almost never play on them anymore.
  3. Some people know this already, but a lot of people don’t so got to say it once more: I’m allergic to seafood, so don’t take me to seafood restaurants ;-)
  4. My wife and I have 2 sons, and Mathias (the oldest one – 4 1/2 years) was born 3 months too soon and weighted only 1.4 kilos at birth. He spent 3 months in the hospital before coming home, which was probably the toughest time out of our lives. He did well and it’s a fantastic kid.
  5. I love classic cars, but one big dream is to own a ’65 Ford Mustang one day. I always say that it’s the first I buy whenever I get rich since it’s just one of the greatest cars ever made. I’m thinking about a fun blog project about this theme as well, so expect more soon.

I tag Ine “global neighborhoods” Dehandschutter, Geert “I need to blog more” Desager, Luc “new logo” Van Braekel, Tom “I-Wizzard” De Bruyne and finally let’s include someone from the Independent Republic of Wallonia as well ;-) Damien “blogging the news” Vanachter.

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Nine million

I wanted to highlight this initiative of MSN Belgium (NL) supporting for UNHCR. is an organization that supports the 9.3 million refugee children in the world and for this MSN has set up an auction together with Ebay, selling some interesting signed items. Items being auctioned are:

  • Signed Michael Owen English team football shirt
  • Signed Gigi Buffon Italian team football shirt
  • Team Anderlecht Madonna Football shirt
  • Signed CD from Texas’ newest opus Red Book
  • Unique signed photo from Charlotte Gainsbourg

Support and make your bid at the Ninemillion auction on Ebay.

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Congrats Coolz0r!

I just needed to say this. Miel – aka Coolz0r – just wrote his 1.000th post on his ‘Marketing Thoughts’ blog and I’m impressed of the stats. Not that it was a big surprise, because I know Miel is writing for a quite big international audience but still, kudos for Miel.

For me this is one of those examples where you see what passion and a lot of time can bring you today. Chasing good advertising & interactive best practices from around the globe, blogging 24/7 (almost) mixed with some good writing and with the understanding of linklove (which is not always returned), I guess this is only a beginning. Miel, I’ll talk about it to my Russian colleagues so you get that geo-dot on Moscow too ;-)

Miel also writes at InsideGoogle, InsideMicrosoft & I-Wisdom.