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Tag: neil young

We are at a 3-day event, organized by Fortune, named the BrainstormTech. It’s always great to be in San Francisco, but this location at Half Moon Bay is pretty incredible (good though that there are conference rates for the hotel though).

The first day started in the afternoon, and at most conferences this usually means 1 speaker during opening reception. BrainstormTech’s first afternoon already featured some pretty strong discussions and presentations, especially from the Marc Benioff (ceo, Michael Dell (Dell), Gary Hamel (Professor London Business School), Jeff Bezos (ceo amazon), and some others. During evening dinner, some bloggers got a stage – and it was entertaining though pretty ‘light’. There’s definitely something going on in blogosphere.

The 2nd day got sort of ‘disrupted’ by an enduring tooth ache, and I have already seen 2 dentist here to help me out (I’ll write a dentist recommendation post later on), and the 3rd day was again amazing, with speakers like Chris Dewolfe (ceo MySpace), Eric Schmidt (ceo Google) and Neil Young (yes, THE Neil Young), who talked about music, technology and green tech. You have the full program here.

I need some time to devour all the info, but here are my first take-aways:
- mobile is HOT, and the iPhone is the king in mobileland creating an entirely new application distribution and usage pattern (although Europe and Asia are way ahead of the States)
- a quite pessimistic view about entrepreneurialism in Europe (talent, capital, platforms and especially risk taking and appreciation), especially from the Europeans in the panel (Loic LeMeur, Martin Varsavsky).
Or let me phrase it differently: an incredible ‘fun, ease and potential glory’ of innovation and scaling out of Sillicon Valley (and Sillicon Valley only – as it is consider a ‘land’ on its own). It was also great to hear from Alex and Tariq, but especially Loic’s Seesmic has gained an incredible amount of traction in a very short period.
- software development has known very few innovation over the last 10 years, but a fundamental shift is about to occur (a panel discussion about the future of code with very smart ideas and opinions from Charles Simonyi)
- Saas, Paas, Aaas (inside industry acronyms) are gaining importance rapidly
- some social media details like: Facebook has now over 650 employees, MySpace does 800M to 1billion USD turnover and is launching a music platform in september, Hi5 is the strongest grower worldwide. European platforms like SkyRock, StudiVZ, Bebo are very well known – but others like Netlog or Hyves are completely unknown (unbelievable actually)
- the success and drive of Nicholas Negroponte’s project ‘one laptop per child’
- and probably the main message: simplicity rules on apps, devices, platform, … More about that in a later post.

It felt rather weird to enjoy Neil Young twice in 2 weeks: once at a rock festival in Belgium, and once at a Fortune conference in California. And damn: this 62 year old has so much energy that it inspires all of us to do so much more.

This kind of conferences gets you thinking. A lot!


In the list of my top 25 music concerts, number 24 was a last minute discovery.

Begin 2002, I worked for a week at the SBC R&D center in Austin, Texas in the US. SBC (now part of AT&T again) was at that moment the main private shareholder of Belgacom. The focus of the trip was to study and share experiences on broadband, FTTH and Video transmission over Broadband (we were looking at BelgacomTV technology already then!). We were a small Belgacom delegation, and one of the persons I remember to be there was Johan Luystermans, one of the brightest network and technology persons I ever met during my career.

At the very last minute before the return, I decided to stop for a week-end break in Washington (we flew from Texas via Washington to Brussels). And it was amazing, in 2 days I saw the White House, many museums, got lost often with this complicated mapping of streets, watched a match from the Washington Wizzards NBA team (at that moment Michael Jordan played there!), but I also noticed (the next day) a reunion concert of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Both were at the MCI center, now known as the Verizon Center.

I knew a friend in Washington who studied with me in New York, and he was able to arrange a ticket via a colleague at Ticketmaster. This was such an amazing CSNY concert – and I am especially a big fan of Neil Young: of his music, of his attitude and of his beliefs. Here you have the setlist – of a show that took more than 3 hours. Young went completely crazy at the end, you saw the fire in him, but also the incredble friendship between CSNY.
I was so impressed that I immediately called a good friend of mine- Baudouin Meunier, a former Belgacom colleague who is now at The Belgian Post and who is also very passionate about great rock concerts – to share this memorable experience.

Only number 24 on my list, but one I will never forget.