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Tag: Personal

Hi all,

over the last weeks, I have been fascinated by different aspects of music. Here’s 4 of them:

1. 2 weeks after seeing him give an incredible concert at Rock Werchter (Belgium), I sat a couple of seats next to Neil Young just before he gave his speech at the Fortune Brainstormtech in California. From the future of music, to political engagement and green tech – Neil Young is busy with them, next to recording a new album. Scoble described it well. On his interviewer’s question ‘Where do you get all the energy?’, Neil quoted his lyric stating “It‘s better to burn out than to fade away”. Let’s burn!

2. At the Stanford startup summit, MC Hammer, Chamillionaire and Quincy Jones III gave one of the most inspiring discussions I witnessed in my entire life. Music is more alive and around than ever, but the record label industry is dead and buried. But these artists know what they are doing… Chamillionaire (Grammy award winning hip hop artist), knew more about targeting online audiences, myspace & facebook, twitter, mobile than most of the CEO’s I know… Here’s the video from AlwaysOn.

3. In Irvine (a town between LA & San Diego), I took Charlie B and Femmie to a Rod Stewart concert. A few weeks earlier – I was at a cafe in Brussels, and when everyone was out – the owner unplugged the cd/ipod player and hooked on his computer. We had an evening of live youtube extracts – and I discovered a lot. One of the highlights was a live concert by The (Small) Faces, with Ron Wood and Rod Stewart. When I saw that there was an open air concert in an amphitheatre near LA, I though it was a great idea to take Femke and Charlie B there. I have some noise limiting earphone for Charlie (photo below). Won’t share much more of the concert (let’s keep it at the statement that I wish I had some noise canceling earphones too…). Yep, concert was crap.

4. Last week, we came back to Belgium for some weeks, and going to Pukkelpop is one of the main reasons. The Editors and The Gutter Twins were my favorites, BoysNoize, Girls in Hawai and Elbow the most surprising, and Soulwax/2ManyDJ’s trying to hard again.
Here’s a good video summary.
But the highlight was spending a lot of time with Jan & Jeroen, my festival soulmates. Love you guys.

Music was my first love…


Hi all,

over the last couple of weeks 2 remarks and questions continuously returned here in California:

1. “what a great stroller – where did you get it?”
2. “social networking in Europe – is there anything else than bebo, facebook and myspace ? ”

1. about the stroller:
Charlie B drives around in a Joolz Bloom, which are indeed great wheelz for my little dude. Main advantages: it drives incredibly smoothly; the baby sits high (so no car expulsion too near); it’s very easy to fold and put in back of car, bus or on a plane; baby can sit in either directions; and the design is pretty cool and technologically advanced. I discovered it in Amsterdam and bought it in Maastricht, a maxicosi fits on it (for the Europeans) and then the ultimate test: YES – I would buy it again and can recommend it to all (I’m a freakin’ ambassador for these guys). Picture below, more info at Joolz Bloom corporate websites.
(Yep, one’s life completely changes when a little baby enters your world. All the rest fades away in importance…)

2. European social networks:
There’s a wide variety of social network, and their success differ all per country and often even per age category. It’s less clear than the US where the situation with MySpace leading, Facebook coming, a series of verticals and Ning having an enabling role. (yeah yeah, I’m simplifying it a bit)

UK is somewhat comparable to US, with Bebo playing the lead role in the 14-24 generation and Hi5 having a good growth rate (their global growth is pretty good across different countries for the moment).

But the other main European markets are clearly lead by local players, such as StudiVZ in Germany, Skyrock in France, Hyves in Netherlands or Netlog in Belgium. Some of them are now starting to expand across Europe, with Netlog doing well in the 14-20+ segment in some countries.**

But since it appears to be interesting for some, and I have to give a couple of speeches across Europe on the topic anyway – I will draw up a little report based on official stats of the main European countries. Give me some weeks to get the data and doublecheck them – and check regularly or mail me if you have a precise question.


( **disclaimer: I was President International at Netlog and still hold an interest in the company)

Hi all,
took my little dude to his first festival: Couleur café in Brussels center. Charlie was mainly wondering, often smiling, and … beautifully sleeping (see this photo). Damn, I love my dude and my little Femke.

Next festival was Belgium’s most crowded one (4 days, 80.000 every day) – the Rock Werchter festival. First time ever the festival felt so ‘international’. Talked with Dutch, German, English and Italian visitors – really refreshing after being confronted with the local Belgian politics for the moment… Looks like the Belgian political generation has lost all of its assets: listening, adapting, working together, enjoying life and some common sense…

Anyway, my top TOP5 of the 2008 Werchter edition (at Jeroen’s request):
1. Radiohead
2. Gnarles Barkley (surprise of the festival for me!)
3. Neil Young (with this amazing version of Heart of gold)
4. dEUS
5. Zita Swoon

Few ‘musical’ discoveries, but loads of fun, great to see back a lot of friends, and spending time with J&J, my festivalbuddies for the last … 10 years I guess.

Now taking a few days off, then leaving for some time to SanFrancisco, but doing all to come back to the wedding of one of my friends.

Looking really forward to discovering and creating over there – and meeting quite some friends in the coming weeks. First time ever I am not going to Sillicon valley for a couple of days, but for a longer period and working, creating and discovering with people over there. And taking my little family with me all the time!

Keep you posted of what we’re up to :-) .



Jun 27

Hi all,

yes it is true – I will no longer be operationally active at Netlog, and will stop in the coming days.

I know it is quite sudden for most – but seen the sms’s and mails, I guess the news is in the open.

Some more information will follow in the coming days. All other activities continue.
Enjoy the w-e,


Hey all,

I decided to give ING Brussels @ Anspach a last chance – and they would now really move forward, and call me back latest Monday 14h. Damn, sometimes I am so naive… Ofcourse they didn’t call me back …

So just before switching to another bank, I decided to follow the advice of Barbara – and give a call to my previous bank agency in Limburg. The fact that ING Bilzen (at that moment BBL Bilzen) helped me out to finance my study earns still some loyalty. And yes, I was so right. All arranged in some hours, perfect service, professional follow-trough, and (difficult to imagine at this point): smiling faces.

So ING: send the Brussels Anspach people in training with Petra, Wendy and Michael – and everyone is going to be very happy! There’s probably good excuses for not answering request for more than 5 weeks – but there’s a limit to everyone’s patience.

But all ok now. Thank you Petra and Michael.


Wacht even

For the last 18 months, I did not own a car. When we lived in Amsterdam, bike-train-tram and plane did the trick. In Munich, planes and S-Bahns with an occasional taxi got me anywhere in world. But now that we live in Brussels, it is truly impossible to be on different locations across Belgium via public transportation. From the airport to home or to Ghent is OK, having multiple destinations in 1 day is just purely impossible.

So, somewhat against my will, I decided to go and buy a car. Choosing and buying were done in a week-end, ordering went smoothly. And than I went to my bank. ING has been my bank for the last 20 years. I have always been very loyal to ING for 2 specific reasons. The first one is that at some point I needed financing to pay for my studies, and ING granted it to me without much questions. I considered it a ‘belief’ and a good judgement, and am until this very day very grateful as it was a big help in my life. Secondly, my ‘initial’ bank was Bilzen, and the team over there was friendly, flexible, fast and extremely professional. 1 phone call and all was arranged and followed through.

But then I changed to ING in Brussels. For practical reasons mainly, there is an office about 100m from where I live … Initially it didn’t bother me to get all info and documents in French and English. Hey, we are all Europeans. It didn’t bother me that everything seemed difficult, took a lot of time. Hey, I have about 80 years on this planet, 1 urgent day less or more won’t change that much. And then I wanted a rather simple finance plan and an insurance for this new car. And this is really an incredible hassle… Either they forgot the appointment, or don’t call back, or are on holidays for 10 days and nobody else can follow through, or … Every document is in French, and guys: try reading the ‘small’ letters of an insurance of bank document. Everyday there is another problem and excuse…

Damn, I know the banking industry faces some tough challenges, but this is beginning to look like a joke. ING Brussels looks to me now like the Fawlty towers of the banking industry… And hell: I am an easy customer. Loyal, all credit/saving/some investments via them, 2 visits to the bank to pick up some cards and all the rest via the internet. But still: not worth a decent follow-up. Customer service at its worst… I give them 1 more day or I’m outta there. There’s limits to my patience.


Brussels Jazz Marathon,
Vorig weekend was het weer all Jazz dat de klok sloeg in Brussel. Gezien mijn niet zo leuke ervaringen in Brussel de laatste tijd, deed het enorm veel deugd om te zien hoe er in het centrum weer eens onbezorgd kon gedanst en gefeest worden. Gaf me toch weer vertrouwen dat het wel goed komt met die stad van ons. Degenen die me beter kennen, weten dat ik al van jongsaf een enorme liefde heb voor de hoofdstad. Als klein meisje kwam ik aan mama’s hand naar Brussel, en voelde ik me als in een snoepwinkel – zo opgewonden was ik in die grote stad.

Maar de laatste tijd heeft de stad ook haar mindere kanten iets te vaak getoond, waardoor er toch een soort van haat-liefde verhouding is ontstaan. Maar bij deze dank aan de organisatoren van Brussels Jazz Marathon, zodat die vele positieve kanten van mijn stad weer even benadrukt werden.



Tentoonstelling van Veronique Branquinho gaan bezoeken in het MoMu in Antwerpen. Eén woord – TOP! Mooi gepresenteerd – off course – maar vooral heel sfeervol. Niet in het minst door de jukebox, met alle muziek die ze tijdens haar verschillende defilés heeft gebruikt. Fantastisch was het om eerst een nummer te kiezen , en vervolgens dromerig langs de verschillende silhouetten te wandelen. Ook de volledige gecustomize-de porsche was hilarisch en lijkt me een goeie reden voor de mannen om vrouwlief te vergezellen;
Ik had een hoop foto’s om mijn betoog kracht bij te zetten, maar helaas…. Gsm met alle foto’s is ondertussen gestolen, dus ook weg foto’s. Eén voordeel, jullie zullen het met eigen ogen moeten gaan ontdekken!


Social networking is getting quite some attention, and rightfully so. Even if there are discussion about the potential in different domains, many will agree that social networks have become amongst the leading media to reach the 14-24 generation. Internet and mobile are the leading media for youngsters, and social networks are taking a central part in both of them. Netlog has been getting a lot of attention of the last weeks. Toon & Lorenz, the 2 founders of Netlog, have done quite an amazing job envisioning a service many years ago that has remained pretty consistent over the last years… Some interesting reading and viewing: – Terzake (the Belgian ‘news’) made a video of a couple of minutes, see it on my netlog profile - WallStreetJournal already wrote an article some months ago – but also Realtid in Sweden, L’Echos in France, Vacature in Belgium but also in Germany or other countries arecovering us You can find some more on our corporate pages. Yes, this is a bit of advertising, but it is such an amazing story ☺ And Yes, we are hiring talent in technology, sales and marketing! Send me a mail, or give me a call – there is an amazing journey if you dare.


Toen Bart afkwam met het idee voor deze blog heb ik toch even moeten nadenken. Degenen die me wat beter kennen, weten waarom – gestructureerd berichtjes posten op een blog is nu echt niet mijn sterkste ding. Getuige daarvan ook mijn vorige blog, die wegens te weinig tekst vorig jaar al een stille dood is gestorven.

Ma bon, nieuwe blog – nieuw begin dus. En aangezien enige trots me toch niet vreemd is, wil ik natuurlijk ook allerminst onderdoen voor Becks Sr en Becks Jr – hoe graag ik hen ook zie!

Tweede issue, inspiratie… Waar vind je inspiratie als je al ongeveer een half jaar thuis bent om voor je kleine spruit te zorgen en dit ook nog eens de volgende drie maanden zult doen. Wel, juist – bij die kleine spruit dus en in al die kleine triviale dingen die we elke dag meemaken. Aangezien zowel Jr als ikzelf van nature nogal uithuizig zijn, zullen we de inspiratie af en toe wel een handje helpen.

Voor morgen ziet het er alvast goed uit, want dan gaan we een dagje naar Parijs. Voordeel van kleine (mannelijke) baby’s is dat ze nog niet kunnen zeggen dat een dagje winkelen in Parijs met hun mam totaal funest is voor hun mannelijke ego. Alhoewel het als hij groter is, vast nog wel ter sprake zal komen – daarvoor ken ik Becks Sr veel te goed.

Knuffels en tot morgen!

PS: vanaf morgen is het in het Engels, al klachten gehad van de redactie

Charlie en PC van Femke