Kinepolis meetup

My old friends at Kinepolis invited me over for a blogger meetup 2 weeks ago, something they had set up together with Proximity BBDO (represented by the one and only ‘Druppels’) and Adhese. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but given the fact I worked at Kinepolis myself for some 7 years I had more than enough reasons to go check it out.

I don’t really want to cover the content of the meeting (as others have done that already) but I was mostly interested in the approach of the company towards the community. And the commentary after.

Kinepolis
Photo by Dipfico

I once wrote a post called ‘not for sale’ and featured it in my side navigation since then. And then people started asking me why I don’t like advertising on my blog… I tell them to read it again, it’s not what I’m saying. The whole social media approach, the whole thing about being more consumer friendly, about engaging in a conversation, … is something that needs to be in your soul so to speak. A lot of companies get some recognition because ‘they get it’ whereas they just started using social media technologies to do one way communications. Sigh. I like genuine innovation, genuine openness… and yes even when you could argue about why it didn’t come any sooner.

Kinepolis is a company that gets it, maybe late but they showed me they do. Why? Because of the genuine openness and honesty of the conversation we had with the Kinepolis management during the meetup, including their CEO. The 20-some bloggers present at the event will probably agree, when was the last time you had such an open conversation with the CEO of a company the size of Kinepolis? Very curious to see how this will evolve, I guess that’s where I still can go wrong. At least the goodwill is there…

Looking at the commentary after the event I realized even more people don’t seem to make the distinction between ‘I approve how they did this’ and ‘I will now believe whatever they say without thinking’. Did I buy everything they said at that event? Did I think they are now all saints? No. But they did show in a very honest way what their plans are and how they want to have this conversation. I liked that a lot. And for the naysayers, if you really care about this just tell Adhese about it and there’s no reason why you couldn’t be part of this.

There were only 2 things I missed really, one being some more food and the other one a demo of the big screen gaming they do because I always loved that. There’s really nothing that beats playing COD or other on a 24 meters wide screen in full THX Dolby Surround sound ;)

Live Mesh blogger meetup

Not long after we organized our blogger meetup in the Coach and Horses to chat about the new release of Windows Live there’s yet another blogger meetup organized by Microsoft at the same location – this time for Live Mesh and cloud computing. Here are the details:

Where: The Coach and Horses pub, 29 Greek Street, Soho, London W1V 5LL
When: 11th December from 6pm to 8pm (and onwards for anyone that fancies it)
Who’d enjoy this? Anyone who’s interested in discussing cloud computing with two of the leaders from Microsoft

These 2 leaders are Angus Logan (Sr Technical Product Manager on Live Services) and Jeff Hansen (GM for Live Mesh) will be present to discuss about cloud computing and Live Mesh for all that are interested. Steve Clayton and Steve Lamb have all the information on his blog and here’s the link to the wiki for signup in case you would like to join.

I won’t be there myself unfortunately but if you are interested in cloud computing and you’re in London that evening I would think this is a good meetup to go to.

Blogger meetups

Little over a week ago, I was part of 2 blogger meetups I wanted to highlight here as well. The first meetup was in Stockholm during SIME and was co-hosted by Microsoft and SIME. We both agreed it would be a great idea to have some small side-event during one of the breaks, a dialogue between the bloggers present at the event, both from the audience and speakers. It was a bit unfortunate the only room available was a small cinema theatre, forcing it a little into an audience vs. stage setup but I enjoyed the meetup nevertheless and only wished we had more time. I was happy Thomas Crampton was willing to moderate the mini-event and that also Joi Ito and Dave Sifry agreed to participate, and of course that so many people turned up for it.

Untitled
Click on the image for the video, only part 1 available but will update once that changes.

I like the way Johan Ronnestam described it on his blog:

“Absolutely one of the better takeouts from this years SIME (so far) even though I think it could have been more of a meetup rather than a ‘listenup’.”

I think we had a great set of topics that we wanted to talk about with all the bloggers (personal vs corporate blogging, sponsored content, blogosphere dead or not, …) but we only got halfway through it. Definitely a format I will try to replicate at other events since most of the feedback was really positive. And Joi, thanks for the nice photo!

The day after we had a blogger meetup in London with the purpose to have a discussion around the new version of Windows Live that was announced the night before the meetup. I had organized the event in the Coach & Horses (Soho) which was a nice location for it, although some wifi improvements are in place ;) We had Ryan Gavin and Jeff Kunins over from the Windows Live team and Redmond to give a rundown of the new stuff which sparked quite a bit of discussion so that was quite fun as well.

WLMeetup

The photo above was taken during the dinner after the presentation, but as you can see the discussion is still pretty much ongoing. From left to right you see Scott Lovegrove, Chris Overd, Neville Hobson and Ryan Gavin. Also present were Paul Walsh, Robin Wauters, Pieter Dom and Jamie Tomson. Too bad not everyone who accepted made it to the evening, but we’re definitely going to organize evenings such as this one again on several different topics so hopefully they can join us next time. In case you are interested in joining discussions like this, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at kris [at] crossthebreeze [dot] com.

One conversation. 275 voices.

When 2 guys come up with an amazing and unique idea and manage to deliver it, what do you do next? Do something even more amazing? Exactly :)

The Age of Conversation learned me a couple of things:

  • If you’re passionate about something, any kind of collaboration can work. Look at how someone in the US and someone in Australia figured out how to get a book written by a 100 or more people living all over the world.
  • When you’re sharing a passion with other people, it creates a bond that you didn’t imagine to be possible in a situation where you’ve actually never met most of these people. I’m pretty sure that everybody who was part of the original Age of Conversation will testify to that.
  • The internet enables conversations globally, but nothing beats meeting people in real life – hence why some of the same people driving the AOC are now also driving the Blogger Social event in NYC. I’m not sure how big the overlap is between the 80 Blogger Social attendees and the AOC, but believe me when I say it’s big.
  • Even if the length of the article is about the same as a regular blog post, writing for a book is harder than for a blog. Now this may seem very logical to most of you, but it became really clear when I did my writing for the AOC.
  • The term ‘conversation’ is not overused at all. I’ve mentioned before how powerful it is as a metaphor and as long as it takes to make sure more people get it… we’ll have to continue the conversation.

The last point is also a good intro the the AOC v2 as all participants voted for “Age Of Conversation: Why don’t people get it?” and this time 275 authors will contribute to the book, more than double the amount of last year. Hopefully we can duplicate that effect as well on the proceeds of this book which all go to charity.

Here are all the 275 contributors, myself included:

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brent Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley, C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Doug Hanna, Doug Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, Gi Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Reginald Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Eric Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Helipern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Berg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkins, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Raj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, R.J. Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

Flanders

A bit more than 3 weeks to go to Blogger Social in NYC, a unique gathering of mainly (but not only) marketing & advertising bloggers from across the globe. With just over 80 attendees and a fun agenda of events this is really something a lot of us are looking forward to for many months.

There’s one downside to it though, and that is that it takes place the exact same weekend as the Tour of Flanders, the classic of all classics in road cycle racing if you ask me. The race, first organized in 1913, is an experience of its own and (trust me) appeals to everyone who is up for a heroic day of sports. With many steep hills, often paved with cobblestones over a distance of approx. 260 kilometers… it sure isn’t just a race like any other.

I’ve watched the race on television for as long as I can remember, most of the time with a bunch of friends, and for the last few years we’ve been going to the ‘Muur van Geraardsbergen’ (or ‘wall’ of Geraardsbergen) to watch it live, courtesy of Lotto. With several thousands of people at the key positions of the race and close to a million people over the whole length, the ambiance is incredible.

Ronde 13  IMAGE_030

So not this year, and the Social will rock for sure, but a part in my heart will miss this raceday a lot. I’m sure Tim ‘Masiguy’ Jackson understands ;)

Here’s a great ad from Het Nieuwsblad (newspaper) for their upcoming coverage of the Tour of Flanders.

Like who?

Every time I go through my RSS feeds there are a few bloggers that keep amazing me with what they do. Somehow they stand out (more) and they are good at something I wanted to be good/better at as well. So here is my list, I wish I was a bit more …

… like Thomas Hawk, because then I would also be able to take these amazing photos like Thomas. Just take a look at his Flickr account, or sign up to his feed if you haven’t done so already. My Flickr account (which I recently start using) is here by the way.

… like Hugh Macleod and not only because I would be able to draw funky cartoons. Hugh is one of the smarter people I know and a natural marketer, it’s in his blood. Just take a look at ‘How to be creative‘, ‘The Hughtrain‘, his work for Stormhoek or his recent thoughts on ‘Social Objects‘ (and his cartoons of course). I’m happy Hugh is a friend though, so at least I can pick his brain once and a while ;)

… like Shel Israel because he’s a nice guy (as everyone knows) and because he has written a book with ‘Naked’ in the title. For the same reason I also add Ine Dehandschutter here. She’s just a really nice lady… although she hasn’t done anything naked yet on a cover, but who knows :) I’m happy I got them introduced to each other once, and I still hope “Global Neighbourhoods” (featuring Ine) will be written one day.

… like David Armano / Alain Thys (his blog) for their creative thinking, and maybe even more important for the ability to present creative thoughts in a very clear, visual way. Make sure you sign up to the Slideshare feeds of these guys as I bet you will use some of it at least once. That is here and here.

Ewan McIntosh, because he has some of the most refreshing views on technology. As a researcher for education, I admire the way how he can look at services such as Twitter (and many more of course) and come up with the most interesting ideas to use these.

Having written all this, it looks like the perfect start for a meme. Now I don’t take part in every single meme that comes around either, but I do hope that the following people would share a few names of bloggers they admire for a certain reason. So here we go (and make it global): Gavin Heaton, Nir Ofir, Marcus Brown (not only your alter egos alright), Valeria Maltoni and Tamara Gielen… would you do that for me? ;)