Moving on


Dear all,

it had to happen one day. I have moved to www.flyingchaz.com

hope to see you there.


13:00 Gepost door bart in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (4) | Tags: flyingchaz com, bart becks netlog, skynet, love |  Facebook |



Living in the center of Brussels again, and wasn’t expecting to have a party in front of my door all night long. Marocco has gained victory over the Belgian football team 1-4 in Brussels, and ofcourse this will be celebrated by the Maroccan community. 
Normally these celebrations occur ever 2 years during the European and World Cup’s football, but one must say this is kindof fun and I am actually somewhat happy for them. I would not have celebrated anything, whatever the Red Devils would have performed.

Well, I am going to treat myself tonight to a movie from the BelgacomTV library. I discovered Warren Beatty’s 'Heaven can wait' earler this week, and must say both Belgacom and Telenet digital TV have a pretty good movie library for the moment. Quickly ran to the night shop for a couple of cokes, and ofcourse the shopowner was mocking the poor Belgian team.
The only thing I could respond is that I was rather confident that Belgian cyclists would beat Marocco's at the ‘Ronde van Vlaanderen’ in some weeks ☺

I am also working on a new blog, should be ready next week. Had to get into CSS, tables and getting to use different tools on a Mac, but it’s going to be pretty OK as all is pretty standard and themed, so you know what platform I am going to.


01:34 Gepost door bart in Vrije tijd | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: marocca, becks blog, heaven can wait |  Facebook |


Mr. Claus, Plugg, Belgian Talent

Over the last days, I have seen and encountered so much young talent. I believe that we are seeing a new revival in dare and will. Look at our sport women. Or Humo’s Rock Rally, where 14 and 15 year old demonstrated a musical inspiration that is amazing. Or others in cycling, fashion, arts, etc etc. Even in business we are living a revival.

Today we had a nice conference in Brussels named www.plugg.eu – and even if the content of the seminars was not overwhelmingly good, the start-up creativity in Belgium is starting to florish.  I have met so many people over the last weeks that feel stuck in their job, and want to create. A day like this inspires all. No-one is to judge besides yourself. As posted here before.


However, the day got a totally different feeling once I heard that Hugo Claus passed away... It is now 4.30 am, and I am watching vrt news edition – and it feels like a sad dream. But what inspiration has he given, dare shown, inspiration given, with his opinions and leading opinions ... Difficult to express, he would have done it better.

And then I see a newsitem about Belgian politics. And now I became even sadder. But in a different way. It's an angry sadness. The role of a political leader should be to make things better and do good for society, to help those in need, and to shape a perspective for the current and future generations. The current complete lack of interest in creating a perspective is ashaming. What one does with his or her own life is private, how they un-inspire the next generations is irresponsible, and very sad. Creating perspective and inspiration to youngsters is a key element for every (public) figure or person. I wish I could say one party is different, but unfortunately I cannot ... .

Let’s hope that the youth is strong enough – and that their maturity in music, arts or business pulls through in politics and results in screaming: “if all the disgusted ones go, there are only disgusting ones left – and we won’t let that happen”.

At a day that should be a festivity for entrepreneurial business in Belgium, it has become a day that Mr. Claus left us. I have made a couple of personal choices over the last months, on a day like this it feels so easy and right to have taken them. Let's just do what we have to do.


05:47 Gepost door bart in Actualiteit | Permalink | Commentaren (3) | Tags: hugo claus, plugg, belgian politics |  Facebook |


Charlie B in Paris

Hi everyone,

Charlie B is doing amazing, and all is running smoothly.
I did take some time to jump into my new venture and get to know my new colleagues a bit better, move from Amsterdam/Munich into Brussels, finish all I had to finalise, and be a lot with my incredible baby boy & Femke..

Thx to everyone for the warm wishes and messages.

We are just back from Paris, and Femke and her sister (together with the kids) had decided to spend the week-end there.  Travelling from Brussels to Paris takes 1h20, and there is wi-fi available on train now.  Damn, travelling has become so easy.

This was our little dude’s first trip, next ones are Amsterdam and Stockholm.
You may not read about them here anymore though, this is probably my last post on this blog. 



02:39 Gepost door bart in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: charlie b, paris, netlog |  Facebook |


Help - 23andme

Hey everyone,

thanks so much for the wishes, gifts and cards. Charlie looks like he’s having fun on planet earth, mum is amazing and dad is simply very happy.

For those I haven’t seen or spoken, all the best in 2008. Professionally, my focus will be to contribute to creating social solutions based on technology - but more about what I am up to later.

Combining both of the above (creative technology and Charlie) bring me to a service live in Europe since a couple of days: www.23andme.com. I’ll just quote that: “ 23andMe, Inc. is a privately-held company dedicated to helping individuals understand their own genetic information using recent advances in DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools. 23andMe enables individuals to gain deeper insights into personal ancestry, genealogy and inherited traits. 23andMe was founded in April 2006 by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki.” I initially discovered because Google invested (Anne W is Sergej Brin’s wife), but this is another huge step, even if the barriers have not been established yet.

Also, I am trying to make an overview and insight in entrepreneurial web, media and/or technology start-ups, specifically from Belgium. Could you help me via sending a mail to me [bart.becks at gmail.com] if you have seen or contributed to any of the above? 

thanks a lot in advance,bart


Charlie B. Becks

Hello everyone!

Bart says: “Charlie B. Becks is born December 26th, 3.97 kilos, 56 cm. Mama Femke is a heroic angel. Love and a wonderful year end to everyone. www.charliebecks.com

Charlie B. thinks: “ My name is Charlie. My daddy made me a simple 5 pager, so I asked his friends Lorenz and Toon to produce me something more modern, also because another friend - Ph Charles R. – put him somewhat under pressure. See my netlog on http://nl.netlog.com/charlie , send an email to me directly via charlie.b.becks@gmail.com or gimme a call on my personal mobile (only girlies under 3, send me a mail first).

ama Femke smiles at her 2 boys, takes one in her arms, and thanks everybody for the sweet wishes.


We own the night.

Hello everyone,

our boy is taking it easy and still residing in mommy's belly. There is an advantage too. This year we lived between Amsterdam and Munich, and travelled a lot, so we were somewhat short of time to prepare everything. But now we as ready as we can get.

Plus i had the time to finish these books:
the God delusion, by Richard Dawson
a biography of John Endemol (the founder of Endemol) - and mainly about the human relations in the begin and end period before some became a millionaire
- Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, by Robert Reich – who served as Minister in the Clinton administration from 93 to 97
Twenty Love Songs and a Song of Despair, by Pablo Neruda
- How Life Imitates Chess,
by Gary Kasparov. Even if the book wpn't win a Pullitzer, you can read his drives and believes and the parallel between chess and poitics

I enjoy trying to capture the cross-fertilization between different domains.  That's why I (rather obsessively acording to femmie anyway) had thrown myself on studies in History of Classical music for 3 years – analyzing the lifes and creative processes of composers.
Begin 2008,
Jan De Cock is opening in the MOMA in New York, and while having a drink some weeks ago, his dare to do different is remarkable and is something that left a deep impression on me, that I can learn a lot from...

And if you have some cinema time left: go see American Gangster (I love Denzel Washington in these kind of roles gangsta' roles - like in Training Day) , We own the night (with the amazing 'black soul' Joachim Phoenix, who reminds me so much of Greg Dulli) and Eastern Promises (see Vigo Mortensen’s sauna scene!).

Happy year-end to all.



Bart Becks leaves the SBS/ProSiebenSat1 Group

Hello everyone, 

What I had explained to my colleagues some months ago, has been officialised today: I will not move permanently to Munich, and hence will leave the ProSiebenSat1 group at the end of 2007, but I will remain linked to this great company as an advisor. Here you can find the official press release. And finally, I am very happy with my succession: Thomas Houge, one of my trusted colleagues who is also in charge of new media in Norway, will take over. He survived a Muse concert with me, so the rest should be easy J

When ProSiebenSat1 acquired SBS Broadcasting, I was very grateful to have been appointed Senior Vice President for New Media and Innovation for Scandinavia, CEE and the Benelux. But from the start I explained my doubts into the relocation, and the different compromises this meant to me. John Goossens, who unfortunately passed away a little over 4 years ago but who remains a guide for me, once made me swear to always follow my heart and dreams and give it all. Munich isn’t the city Femke and I want to be at this moment in our lives, and by moving there I have to give up to much of the things I believe in, while being too far from the ones I love.

Some months later, I confirmed my destiny is elsewhere. It has been a truly amazing year, and if the last 18 months made something clear – it is that I want to keep on working internationally in the domains of technology, media and communication. Where exactly I want to live is not that important, as long as it is Brussels, New York, California, Milan, Paris, London, Rio or Madrid/Barcelona. Courtesy of my Femke ;-)

Do I already know what I will do next?Well, it is getting form and should be concrete very soon, possibly even tomorrow morning. It will be a mix of things, with 1 specific focus. But more in a next post.

And now, back to preparing the birth of our son.
He’s already late at his first appointment. That promises



CrossMedia cafe - I love Amsterdam - Joolz Bloom

 The CrossMedia café in Hilversum (Amsterdam, Netherlands) is a bi-monthly media gathering discussing new trends in Media in Netherlands. Monique Van Dusseldorp, the organiser of the event, does a really great job – and she is also behind the wonderful PICNIC creative festival in Amsterdam. Today I was invited to be part of a panel  discussing the new media developments of ‘traditional’ media groups together with colleagues from the public channel (Erwin blom – someone much liked by many in the Dutch audience, and a very passionate guy) RTL and Sanoma.

I won’t repeat what has been said during the panel – but I think it can pretty much be summarized by Erwin’s nice presentation. Or read the report on one of the best blogs in digital trends - Frankwatching.

While being here – it reminds me how amazing Amsterdam is. I am so thankful that Patrick Tillieux – CEO at SBS and now COO of the new Prosiebensat1 Media group – gave me the opportunity to discover this city by inviting me to join the SBS Broadcasting group about a year and a half ago… By the way: Patrick and the CEO of our group Guillaume de Posch will receive the price of Belgian International Managers of the year at the Trends CEO summit in a couple of days.

To end with something completely different: after an indepth online research - our choice went to the Dutch design of the Joolz Bloom. I can know honestly say, after a night of reading user reviews, that I am ready to open a chain of baby strollers… Damn, there are a lot of these things…

Ten days to go before baby Becks says Hello world J




On the plane this morning from Brussels to Stockholm I ran into one of the first persons that ever worked for me at Skynet. He has a successful international career in an international technology company. On top of that, I will have a quick dinner at the Stockholm airport this evening with another former Skynet colleague who needed to give a speech in Sweden. What an incredible amount of talent we once gathered at Skynet… but more about that in one of the next posts.

Anyway, when reading the newspaper, there was an article about the lack of entrepreneurship of Belgian students, Apparently Belgium is ranked last (last!?) in a study on the ‘western world creativity’.

The main reason would be that universities don’t encourage or support to start your business.

Well, I can totally believe that. I had the pleasure of attending studies or courses in University of Hasselt (then still LUC Diepenbeek), Universities of Liege, Vlerick in Ghent and Antwerp, plus some time at Columbia and Harvard in the US. Yep, even if I had to work and lend a lot – I wanted to learn as much as possible at a certain moment, hopefully for my entire life.

Truth being told and looking back on it, LUC/University of Hasselt (where I stayed for 4 years) didn’t really encourage risk-taking. I had a great student time (especially off the campus) and education was pretty ok, but a educational facility that encourages no sport, culture, entrepreneuship or politics lacks ambition. They are doing much better now. But would I be 18 again, I would probably leave after 2 years or so. Hell, they even managed to organize exams until the day after the Rock Werchter Festival. No joke: the Monday after probably Europe’s best 3 or 4 day festival there was 1 (crucial) exam. For this reason only one could boycott the school. That said: the school could be the perfect example of creating a multi-disciplinary intercultural school, establish a mini-Europe of Hasselt, Liege, Maastricht and Aachen and become a perfect test ground for research, start-ups and collaborative entrepreneurialism.
Damn, I would like to help to support that one day to do something back to the region I love so much.

Top of mind - here are some more possible reasons: 
- Once you start a job in a corporate environment, all incentives to create disappear. Great salaries, comforting social security, company car: ‘hey, we are all in a comfort zone.’ Why risk anything?
- There is not a lot of support to take the risk. There actually are many initiatives – you probably should hire an ‘initiative programs’ manager to really understand all government programs, but this should be at the center of our attention. High taxes, an insecure future after 60 and few effective government support that really work. The risk is part of the fun, but when I see how Scandinavian companies and universities are working together…
- We probably celebrate and ban companies and their leaders too much. Just look at technology alone: Option, Real software, Ubizen, Lernhout&Hauspie – all of them won prestigious Manager or Company of the year awards… People that start and fail are doomed. So different to a culture where this is cultivated.

Over the last year I constantly hear that Belgian’s are great managers but poor entrepreneurs. There is probably some truth in it, even if we are the country of small business, where true innovation could come from.  But we have all the elements at hand to build something amazing, being at the heart of Europe and with knowledge of any imaginable domain.

Entrepreneurs make that a country remain on the edge of research. Employment creates prosperity, and in our welfare system it is going to be crucial since employee and corporate taxes fund the sustainability of our prosperous country.

I admire people that create. That Dare. That dare to dream and give it all they have. I have talked, read and reflected about it so much over the last weeks and months, and the conclusion after today’s encounters with friends colleagues confirms the same: what holds us back? Why are we afraid to give up “security” before we are even 45? Even if it can be a choice which I respect, but why do young (university degree) managers nearly always choose the sure and well projected path, and not the risky but adventurous road of daring to follow our dreams? I would like to know the percentage of young graduates that choose a career in consulting or finance, to switch to an operational managerial function 5 to 10 years later to become CEO or Director when they are 50.

It doesn’t only have to be creating companies, but my generation doesn’t enter the risky world of politics a lot either. Nor do we discuss a sense of duty towards society and do what we idealistically believe in so much. I once heard Mark Eysckens (Belgian Minister of State) say that it is better to be an ideologist without illusions than an illusionist without ideology. Yeah yeah, sounds like the back of a calendar quote– but why do we, the post-baby boom generation, remain so nice, good and modest? I read about the explanation that we are the unlucky ones, after baby boomers we need 2 salaries to afford a house; we have unsure retirement plans and whatever… Give me a break.

Anyway - no judgement of anyone meant. Accept myself maybe.



From Munich to SFrancisco/LA and back...

I wanted to rest some days in San Francisco, but getting there makes one want to become an entrepreneur immediately. You get into conversations like: “my first 4 companies all failed, the 5th I sold for 240m USD, and now I have just started another one…”.
During a dinner with some friends over there, someone convinced everyone: “if you are born between 1970 and 1980, and you haven’t once done or participated in a start-up, you haven’t really lived. Quite the opposite of what the Belgian universities preach.


Then- against everyone’s advice - I decided to spend some days in Los Angeles. It was very last minute booking, and everyone tried to convince me to stay in SF, but once something is in my head…. Being back from LA, I can truthfully say that ... I LOVED IT! I booked a hotel in Hollywood, took the tourist discovery hop-on/hop-off, strolled Rodeo drive, slept a bit on Venice and Malibu beach, and ran into a friend (I guess the only one I know around there) in the WhiskyAGoGo, the bar on Sunset strip where the Doors once used to be the house band. He took me to Chateaux Marmont bar, we ate at The Standard (from Ocean’s Eleven), to the infamous Viper Room and some other cool places. And I met up with some guys from the Hollywood studios, and had fascinating discussion about the future of Hollywood. I’ll be back, too!

I love San Francisco’s internet and technology fever, but also LA’s movie and music drive. Combining technology, media and communication with an internet flavour have and will always be my passion I guess.

Then via Brussels to Oslo, and had some meetings with the great Norwegian team. Thomas Houge, the head of new media Norway, is not only a great thinker who achieves great things, but over the last year is becoming a good friend. Together with some Norwegians we went to … a Muse concert (yes Marc, now I am officially a groupie). Concert was ok, but nothing will beat the London tapes with my father and good friend Luc Van Utterbeeck.

After that I had meetings in Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich and Berlin. Today I initially wanted to go the MTV awards in Munchen , but instead we decided to go the Belgian coast.

Still dreaming of Hollywood, we went to the movie from Michael Mann with Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Gartner named ‘The Kingdom’. There was a lot of publicity for this movie in Hollywood, but it didn’t help here. The 22h30 movie at Koksijde Studio (5 screen movie theatre at the Belgian coast) attracted 2 (TWO) visitors: femke and me. 300p room for us alone. And yes, we enjoyed this private screening ;-)



H. Essers - enterprize of the year

I was walking down the
Sunset Boulevard in LosAngeles when a friend of mine sent me a message that H. Essers Groep was elected Belgian company of the year! H. Essers is an innovative transportation company that has (partnered) activities all over Europe, realizes approximately 250mEUR with 2000 employees.

You might wonder why the hell I talk about a transportation group?

Yes, the company is founded and run out of Limburg, my beloved state in Belgium where I was born and raised. And it is true (for me) that your historical home tends to become more precious the more time you spend abroad.

But the main reason I am happy about this links back to the CEO of the H. Essers group, Ivo Marechal – my first ever boss. After university, I decided to follow an MBA in the French speaking part of Belgium. To finance part of it, I took a summer job at a steel construction company named Altro Steel, led by Ivo and his partner. What started out as a four weeks summer job, turned out to be become a full year 2 days per week job, that allowed my to finance my 4 days/week MBA studies. Combining work and studies was pretty tough, but I was glad both turned out well. In that year, I graduated with honours, had my first work experience and on top of that did freelance jobs in communication and technology. It was an amazing period..

But the most important lesson of that period was inspired by Ivo Marechal. I started as an administrative help, but actually became a flexible help for the entire company: from making an operational planning to welding and assembling in the factory, from analyzing international expansion to driving to the local shop to buy office material or get sandwiches for everyone, from driving to a construction area to check progress to helping out to draft a sales plan. After some time I knew everyone in the company.

It was great to see a company grow from a few to over a hundred in a year –but the lesson I got out of it, and will always try to honour is: it is not important what position one has in an organisation, but the way one embodies it.

Bravo Group H. Essers, Bravo shareholders, Bravo and thank you Ivo Marechal.



3 months in Munich

Hey all,

Since the beginning of July, from the moment that ProSiebenSat1 acquired SBS to form the new ProSiebenSat1 Media group, I have been living between Munich, Amsterdam and Brussels.  

I had never even thought of making a city trip to Munich, but over the last few weeks I discovered the city intensely. Although it is not the most vibrant city in the world and it’s a definite benefit that I followed German as a third language at University, I can honestly tell that my top6 of the moment looks like:
  • the Oktoberfesten, mostly know of it Beerfesten with Lederhosen. This year a total of 6 million people attended and drank over 6 million liters of beer. Fun to watch and do, and see how a seemingly folkloric event is actually an intense social highlight
  • the rock band Nine Inch Nails came to the Circus Krone, one of the concert halls in Munich. Next I will go to is Interpol mid November in Tonhalle.
  • kind of the opposite: we watched the Flying Dutchman opera from Wagner in the magnificent Munich Staatsoper (kind of symbolically, because my friends named me like that since I lived in Amsterdam and I am flying a lot around Europe this year)
  • shopped in the Maximillian strasse and had a prosecco in one of the Italian bars
  • walked in the Englischer Garten, and see the weird surf experience
  • discussed in the numerous biergarten and other places the controversial history, and understand that there is an active conscience and discussion, and this debate left a deep and very self reflecting impression on me
Again, Brussels, Milan and New York feel more like ‘home’ to me, but I recommend everyone to come over here for a couple of days in a Gemutliche atmosphere, and drive on to the Garmin Partenkirchen or Kitzbuhel - both approximately 1 hour away – to get your head in the clouds. That's probably where it should be more often!



24:Crossby, Stills, Nash and Young, Washington MCI Center, April 6 2002.

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.


see also:

25. u2 http://becks.skynetblogs.be/post/4860761/25-u2 



Facts of life - things I always wanted to tell you

Hello everyone,
one of the following personal stories is incorrect.

1. It is now undeniable and beautifully visible: Femmie and I are going to have our first baby. The baby should say Hello World somewhere begin December. Like for probably many of you, this miracle of life is probably the event of our lifetime, and you cannot believe how much we are looking forward to it. We will make sure though that the baby will have Brussels as city of birth.

2. SBS Broadcasting Europe was acquired some time, to be part of the newly creation pan-European group ProSiebenSat1 Media Group (click on the most recent PDF to get a good overview). 

The official announcement related to my new role sounds like:
Bart Becks, 35, will head the Innovation and New Media International unit. He will be responsible for the overall coordination of international new media services as well as for the development and international implementation of new services of the Group, in particular online, mobile, idTV, music, licensing and merchandising. Bart Becks previously worked as Senior Vice President New Media at SBS Broadcasting.” 
International here means Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe and the Benelux. Group is International plus Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

3. I will leave wonderful Amsterdam in some months and will have lived in this invigorating city for a small year. Although Femmie isn’t the biggest of fans, my personal opinion is that Amsterdam combines a cosmopolitan atmosphere with an in-depth rest thanks to it watery surroundings.

We will now move to Munich, and although we don’t know the city very well, it was chosen by a magazine as the best city in the world to live in, and first impression is great.So after studying and MBA, I will now be living an MBA (Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam) – but deep down I will probably remain a Brusselse Limburger in love with the world. 

4. The Simpsons movie got released some time ago. There is an accompanying personality test that matches your personality to one of the characters. I turned out to be … Lisa… In my entire life, when pronouncing my name people verify by ‘like Bart Simpson’? I will now have to adjust by answering ‘Phonetically yes’, but…
Truth being told, there are some things we share. 

5. Femke and me are together now for quite a while. In order to celebrate our 4000th day together, I adopted a pup named
“Famke”, which will be trained now to become a guide dog to the blinds, via a Dutch organisation named Adopteer een Pup (not Pub!). Not only was she very happy with my little present, but she really couldn’t believe that I had managed to remember the exact 4000th day! 

As said, one of the above is incorrect – and it is not the first!



Pukkelpop is amazing


For the last 20 years, I think this is the first year that I could not attend the entire 3 day festival.
I had a workshop abroad on day1 of the festival, and friday required me to finalise some files, calls and some rather urgent work to be done before the week-end.

So in order to be able to go in the afternoon of day2 and all of day3, I pulled a near all-nighter (think I put my computer asleep at 4.30am on Thursday night) and started again around 7.30 am Friday morning.
 But so glad I did.

That said – Pukkelpop is every year again an amazing festival, not only because it resides in wonderful Limburg, but there are so many performances on 8 stages that each year again I discover new music.
This year I ‘lived’ mainly around the Dance hall.

My favourites of Pukkelpop 2007:
Goose, Sonic Youth, Casius, Justice, parts of Arcade Fire, parts of Sophia, (very small) parts of Tool, parts of the Shins, Felix da housecat, Juliette Lewis & the licks

Smashing Pumpkins, TrenteMoller, Cocorosie, The Streets, Spoon, Kings of Leon 

Things I wish I had seen (heard people raving but didn’t know them or choose something different):
Patrick Wolf, Loney Dear, Hanne Huckelberg, NineInchNails, Almond Hammer Jr 
No links – just google, youtube or myspace them. 

best of the Festival:
Jan, Jeroen, Aksel en Martine, Luc en Arianne, Lex, Mango en Wendy, Wim, Marc en Marianne, Michel, Clo, Stephanie, Peter, Gunther, Stijn, and so many many others I talked, laughed and (god forbid) even danced with. Only my little Femke wasn’t there this year. 

See you next year. See you every year. 11 months and 29 days to go to enter the perfect world again.

15:32 Gepost door bart in Muziek | Permalink | Commentaren (1) | Tags: pukkelpop 2007, goose, hasselt, love |  Facebook |


25. U2

Hello world,

We had such an amazing trip this year. 
But first for something different: someone left parts of a Stones concert from “somewhere” on my voicemail (no idea who) – and from their tourdates it looks like it was in Scandinavia, France or Germany. And yesterday evening I was dining with Edwin, someone I know from Bilzen but never got to really know until we met here again in Amsterdam. And now we will both be in Moscow and going to a muse concert together half October – go figure J The only thing is that my little femmie won’t be able to come as she can’t fly anymore … 

That said: this week the Festival of Festivals is there (Pukkelpop) - and I should be at least there for the week-end. I got so many mails of sms’s of friends if I would be there, and it is true: since I live abroad concerts are probably the easiest things to meet up, and I really look forward to seeing you all. That said: some weeks ago a friend asked me about my most memorable concerts – and had to think about it. But here comes a list of “my top 25” concerts. If you were also there or like to go – pls send me a mail or comment, maybe we can go together one day. 

Here’s a list that that didn’t make the top 25 (but these concerts were fantastic though):Front242, Sisters of Mercy, Robbie Williams (even if good fun), The Scene, Daft Punk, Metallica, Noordkaap (last concert in AB was great though), Soulwax/2manydj’s (even if Femke got us tickets from the afterparty together with LCD Soundsystem), Interpol, RHCPeppers, Beethoven’s 9th, Zauberflote January 2nd in Berlin (even if this version was load of fun), Millionaire, opera in Sydney (cool operahouse, bad operaversion), the various Rock Herks or Lummenrocks, Tina Turner (with Sas not Fem – insider), Goose, Queens of the Stone Age (even if amazingly great), and many many others. 
I have choosen my top 25 if the moment, location and concert were great. 

Numero 25: U2 at Werchter, Brussels and RotterdamI have seen U2 at Werchter, at Boudewijn stadium, and some other venues. But the most memorable lasted only for 10 minutes. When I still worked at FNAC, Femke and I (together with 2 colleagues) got invited by Compaq for the MTV video music awards in Rotterdam in ’97. U2 opened the show with Discotheque, and it was amazing – even if I wasn’t a big fan of their Pop album. We ended up at the after party, had a talk with Skin from Skunk Anansie (didn’t recognize her at first) – but mostly had lots of fun because it was the first time we ever were at this kind of shows. When we returned to our hotel- I convinced Femmie to walk back instead of taking the taxi, and then we ended up in a rainstorm J  


The tour awaits no-one

The tour the France never created a huge amount of emotions this year. It could have been about the small differences between at the (remaining) top - can you imagine riding 3553.9 km, and than have 3 cyclists within 30 seconds? But this year it was about something else.


Let me give you my opinion.


1. last week-end Eric invited me to ride the Eddy Merckx route from Meise (not the one from Ruien), around Brussels. Eric has become one of the persons I became to trust very much, and he is also one of the few people that are completely honest to me. So besides the usual shouts that should lose a couple of kilos and that I should exchange my Bianchi for a 'real' Eddy Merckx, we went of to ride 75km. The Eddy Merckx route takes you through some magnificent views and parts of Brussels, but I thought Eddy Merckx deserves a better designed route around Brussels.

Morale: cycling is one of most demanding and most beautiful sports in the world.


2.yesterday I read 2 books on cycling: Memoires van een wielerverzorger by Jef D’Hont, the notorious story of a 'soigneur' explaining the drugs in cycling, and the amazing ‘the tour awaits no-one’ by Mart Smeets, presenting the work of 9 photographers with fantastic guiding stories. The dirt and the beauty of the Tour in 1 afternoon – sport is emotion. Both books evoked quite the opposite sentiment, and I’d recommend everyone to read them.

Morale: the tour has always been full of people that use drugs, and its ability to create emotions is unprecedented.


3. after the dismissal of Vino (how similar to Landis can it get: a big breakdown followed by a heroic win…), Rasmussen (if you become unfindable during 3 weeks before the Tour starts in the most controlled sporting event of the world, you are a fraud or a fool, but anyway you must get out – bravo Rabo for consistency), Cofidis and some others – the Tour became a true thriller. With some luck, the most important prices go the new generation: Contador, Boonen and Soler.

Morale: A new generation takes over, and they may have a different perspective and impact.


4. many newspapers, sponsors, … will leave cycling for what it is. I applaud sponsors like Lotto, Rabobank or others that create so much youth support, that they both would have deserved a winner. Related to the ones that boycott because ‘this is untruthful’ and other reasons: well, we didn’t stop covering the Iraq war, although truth and honesty weren’t exactly the key values in that dispute.

Morale: keep the faith, this sports needs sponsors and media to exist


5. the positive minded argue that the sport is cleaner than ever before, and that only some of the top cyclists take drugs. Well, this ‘top’ is becoming rather broad (Basso, Ulrich, Landis, Vinokourov, Rasmussen, …), but also I think that the problem will definitely remain with the 'lesser' talented. OK, the toppers are and will always be cyclists – and take drugs to become the best.

But imagine for one instant if you are a 29 year old professional cyclist, and you are at risk of loosing your job because others are better – and the ones that are as good as you became better, got lucky, or … use drugs now and then. You are now confronted with 2 choices: stop your cycling career, or enter into an anonymous, very hard labour nightshift in the uncertain automobile sector. Still think only the toppers use??

Morale: we are far from having a clear sport.


So my take:

cycling is the most beautiful sport in the world, and I hope their leaders dare create a strategy and waterproof operations to clean up the current mess. I also hope that media and sponsors will remain loyal, because the new generations just might have a different attitude, and they may lead this sport to where it belongs: in our hearts, in our minds and in our legs.

Mart Smeets says in his book very often: the tour waits for no-one. Maybe, just maybe, it should wait a while for itself.



05:08 Gepost door bart in Actualiteit | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: tour de france, contador, boonen |  Facebook |


Dubrovnik – pearl of the Adriatic

Last week-end we visited for the first time Duvrovnik, invited by Andrej and Miki whom I had met before in Valencia, Amsterdam and Brussels. Femke and I had never been in Croatia before, and John from Adlink had told me it was so beautiful.


One reason to get here was to understand evolutions in CEE online media and what Andrej and Miki were setting up with NEO. They are working on interesting concepts, across all of Central and Eastern Europe. There are tremendous opportunities in these fast-growing markets, and a willingness to make something out of that – I already wrote about that upon returning from Hungary and Romania. We stayed in the beautiful hotel Belle-Vue, although truth being told this hotel only opened in February and has some ‘getting started’ issues: their spa, fitness and swimming pool were closed due to works but they charge like everything is perfect. The view from the balcony is incredible though, see Andrej’s blog to have a look, I read most of Robert Kaplan’s ‘Balkan Ghosts’ here.

We discussed 2 entire evenings/nights the evolution of social media, search, portals, tv, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. Femke even told me that it is weird but great to see men talking so passionate about their work. Yep, we love our jobs and maybe even more industries J But also music, politics, economy and all other subjects passed the conversation cloud.


The greatest part of the week-end was however kind of improvised. First we rented a kayak to peddle around Lokrum, a small island just near Dubrovnik. But then we chartered an amazing 14m sailing yacht, and left for a 9h trip around the Elifati Islands.

Ed Somers, someone I know from my hometown in Bilzen, told me last year that Croatia is not only amazing to sail, that is still relatively affordable, but also talked about how clear and beautiful Adriactic Sea is. And how right he was!


The sea is intense blue – and it is just amazing to dive of a boat and swim around, stop at an island to eat simply grilled fish and have a glass of white wine while enjoyng a sunset and listening to the sea (see flickr for some snapshots). In the evening, we wandered around Dubrovnik’s old city – now completely restored after the war. This UNESCO world heritage site combines a historic beauty with a young liveliness. Dubrovnik was an amazing business trip – but tourism is about to hit again though – so I suggest to visit quickly. And to a friend of mine who asked via SMS if the girls here are really so beautiful, Femke’s answer is: “there is a flight with Thomas Cook leaving tomorrow at 6am – and there are tickets available!’ J




yaght boat



Mijn 5 favoriete (actieve) Belgische coureurs.

Hoewel midjaarlijstjes niet echt in zijn, hierbij 'mijn' actieve favoriete Belgische wielerhelden:


1.      Tom Boonen

Het zal u niet verbazen. Niet alleen vind ik de Boon een sterke renner, maar ook de manier waarop hij fietst en met zijn constante favorietenrol omgaat maakt dat ik veel respect voor hem heb. Ik zie hem graag fietsen en hoor hem graag praten. Boonens eerste profjaren waren zo succesvol dat het nooit meer goed genoeg zal zijn, maar hij straalt iets sterk en toch menselijk uit. Over de voorbije jaren heb ik vooral genoten van zijn E3 prijs overwinningen, maar zijn Ronde van Vlaanderen (waar ik zoals elk jaar in Geraardsbergen stond) en natuurlijk zijn wereldkampioenschap (onwaarschijnlijk filmpje trouwens).


2.      Gert Steegmans

Hoewel niet al zijn overwinning mij evenveel smaken (en misschien was het bericht voor de supporters nogal hard), maar in alle eerlijkheid denk ik dat Gert wel eens onze man van de toekomst kan worden. Een palmares zoals Van Peteghem zit er zeker in. Vorig jaar heb ik de rit in de Tour naar vanuit Toulouse gevolgd, en hem van dichtbij (vanuit de wagen van de Lotto sportdirecteur) live kunnen volgen, en er gaat een ongelofelijk macht uit van Gert. McEwen heeft zeker een aantal ritten dankzij hem gewonnen, maar ik hoop vooral dat Gert in de komende 2 jaren nog wat zelfvertrouwen krijgt – en dan zal hij voor de komende 5 jaren een te duchten klant worden voor Touretappes, klassiekers en andere topkoersen. Uit deze fotoreportage blijkt ook zijn aanstekelijk wielerplezier.


3.      Johan VanSummeren

Vorig jaar tijdens mijn bezoek aan de Tour kon ik via Marianne, de zus van Johan Vansummeren (ook een wielervrouw, die andermeer BikeAway met hart en ziel organiseert) Johan Vansummeren even spreken. Het is iemand die ongelofelijk leeft voor zijn vak, altijd zich voor zijn ploeg inzit door weer en wind – en daardoor ook een zeer aimabel iemand. Misschien kan hij in de komende jaren als outsider (een beetje a la Axel Merckx) een ritje of semi-klassieker meenemen. Johan is voor mij het typevoorbeeld van een wielerprof, en hopelijk een voorbeeld voor vele jongeren. En ja, ook een Limburger net zoals Gert Steegmans J


4.      Philippe Gilbert

Ik hou van het temperament van Philippe Gilbert. Het is toch fantastisch dat hij zowel een Omloop Het Volk als eenTrophee des grimpeurs kan winnen. Gilbert doet mij af en toe denken aan een Tchmil. Je weet nooit echt hoe goed hij zit, maar hij is er telkens bij, maar soms ook weer helemaal niet. Ik hoop dat hij nog wat sterker kan worden, en verder uitgroeien tot een sterk klassiek renner, die ook de najaarsklassiekers en misschien ook de kleinere rondes aankan.


5.      Stijn Devolder

Stijn Devolder is onze grote hoop op het rondewerk. Devolder maakt een sterke evolutie door, maar ik hou ook van zijn eigenzinnige manier om ‘zijn’ programma te rijden. Niet te snel meefigureren in de Ronde van Frankrijk, maar verder groeien via de Rondes van Zwitserland en Oostenrijk. Devolder won dit jaar de Belgische driekleur na een sterk kampioenschap, maar kan tegelijkertijd ook klimmen en tijdrijden. Het is nog onduidelijk voor mij hoe ver hij kan geraken – maar hij kan in de toekomst zeker een top10 in de grote rondes halen – en ik denk dat hij wel eens een kanshebber kan zijn voor de L-B-L of de Amstel Gold Race.


Graag zou ik ook nog Thomas Dekker de Belgische nationaliteit geven (ik hou wel van zijn manier van fietsen) – maar laten we maar vooral heel content zijn: met Boonen, Steegmans, Vansummeren, Gilbert en Devolder staan ons enkele mooie en spannende wielerjaren te wachten. Nu maar hopen dat de wielersport zichzelf niet vernietigt en de moeilijk tocht naar een zuivere sport verderzet. Velen zullen het met mij eens zijn dat de wielersport de mooiste maar ook de zwaarste aller sporten is, en dat alle wielrenners een onwaarschijnlijk respect verdienen.



 Mijn gedacht over Gert Steegmans

For what it’s worth. Gisteren won Gert Steegmans de ‘Belgische’ koninginnerit in Gent, voor kopman Tom Boonen. Kon hij winnen, mocht hij winnen, waarom won hij eigenlijk?


Hier enkele scenario’s waaronder Steegmans had mogen winnen:


1.      Boonen had reeds in 2007 Parijs-Roubaix en de Ronde gewonnen, en had duidelijk de benen en vooral de moral om meerdere tourritten te winnen

Niet echt: Boonen heeft een off-jaar, en wij vergeven het hem met plezier. Zelfs in een zogenaamd ‘off-jaar’ steekt hij boven alle andere Belgen uit, en in zowat elke koers is hij een favoriet die zich laat zien, en de enige die de favorietenrol aanvaardt.


2.      Dankzij Steegmans heeft Boonen een aantal belangrijke koersen gewonnen, en dit is een verdiend cadeau’tje terug.

Niet echt: ik heb Steegmans niet gezien in geen enkele van de klassiekers, niet in de Ronde, niet in Proubaix, en zelfs niet in semi-klassiekers als het Volk of E3 prijs. Ok, hij heeft Boonen geholpen voor Brussel-Kuurne-Brussel, maar wat betekent dat nu, een derderangsklassieker. En Boonen heeft hem in Parijs Nice (meen ik) daarvoor al eens willen bedanken, maar Steegmans had de benen niet. Dus het hele seizoen heeft de zogenaamde ‘meesterknecht’ maar weinig meesterlijk geknecht. In Canterbury fietste Steegmans meer in de weg dan iets anders.


3.      Steegmans draagt reeds het ganse seizoen het gewicht van de ploeg.

Niet echt. Iedereen heeft aanpassingsmoeilijkheden, en dat nemen we er graag bij. Steegmans is een potentiele klassieke renner, en net zoals Thomas Dekker of DeVolder mag hij zich op ‘zijn’ manier voorbereiden. Maar hij mag niet weglopen met de Koninginnerit die het seizoen van meester kan redden (of het begin daarvan kan betekenen toch).


4.      het was een onduidelijke sprint, en mogelijks ging de rit naar een ander.

Steegmans en Boonen hadden Zabel en de rest op verschillende meters gereden. Steegmans haalde sterk aan, en iedereen moest uit het wiel. Achteraf hoorde ik eerste Steegmans verklaren dat ‘ik keek naar het wiel achter mij, en dacht dat Tom met hoge velgen reed, en degene langs mij had korte velgen’. Straffe meesterknecht als je de fiets van uw meester niet eens kent. Foei Gert.


Dus mijn opinie: het is een absolute schande. Zeker toen ik Steegmans hoorde verklaren ‘hij gaat met toch niet meer inhalen he’, En why not? Steegmans heeft nog niks voor de ploeg gewonnen, nog niks voor de ploeg betekent, nog weinig voor Boonen gedaan – dus met welk recht eigent hij dan de belangrijkste rit van het jaar naar zich toe?


Dat gezegd. De Boon komt er wel, hij had maar eerder moeten aanhalen en Steegmans wat minder moeten vertrouwen, en hij heeft groen en dat zal hem ook plezieren. En Boonen heeft een groot sporthart en zeker zogroot menselijk hart. Steegmans niet: dan had hij Boonen wel laten winnen, die daardoor op zijn gemak verder kon, de ploeg kon dragen. Stel u maar eens voor de McEwen 1 plaatsje dichter eindigt – waardoor Boonen de groene trui op 1 punt mist. Nu of in Parijs.

Maar Tom zal de groene trui houden, en waarschijnlijk meebrengen naar Balen.


Steegmans is trouwens niet de eerste dit jaar hoor. En ook vorige keer heb ik erover geschreven: Gasparotto die zijn kopman DiLuca aftroefde. Die won daarna de Giro – so end good all good. Hopelijk komt Boonen terug in het groen, dankzij een uiterst sterke Steegmans,


De druk ligt nu op Steegmans. Hij kan best ervoor zorgen dat Boonen een rit wint, of groen haalt in Parijs. Maar het zou wel eens kunnen dat hij tegen het einde van de tour een nieuw contract tekent als kopman van een andere ploeg. En dan wil ik zien of het nog altijd ‘de perfect foto’ is.


Update: de derde rit vanuit Waregem bracht exact wat ik ervan verwachtte: geen Steegmans in dienst van Boonen (jaja, ik weet dat hij even gevallen is), geen Quickstep in general – en Boonen moederziel alleen die wederom tegen een overmacht fietst. Hij was niet top. Wederom niet. Maar beter dan de rest van zijn helpers. En het is toch om gek van te worden dat de hele Quickstep trein 1 keer (just once) hem op een fantastische manier naar de meet brengt, en dat dan zijn meesterknecht hem opzettelijk klopt.


Not done Gert, zelfs al zijt ge van mijn lieflijke Limburg, and that in front of the Belgian VIP’s that have met for the 124th time last year. Gelukkig geven zij weinig om de koers, maar willen ze vooral op de eretribune geweest zijn en aan iedereen hun foto;s laten zien.


Update3: vandaag won Huzhovd, en hoorde ik dat er wat ruzie in de ploeg is. Maar ik geloof dat er nu eens degelijk zal worden afgesproken hoe het treintje van de Quicksteppers zal lopen. Het is nu eenmaal zo dat Steegmans een demarrage heeft om ‘u’ tegen te zeggen – en misschien moet men zowel Steeg als Boon uitspelen als kandidaat winnaar. En ik hoop dat zowel de Quicksteppers als de Lotto’ers nog een rit binnenhalen (liefst Boon, Steeg nog eens en Vansummeren in een overgangsrit waarin hij de kans krijgt).



09:20 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (6) |  Facebook |


2 Belgian week-ends

Rock Werchter is probably Europe’s best festival. Top organisation, program, crowd, whatever. But this year I enjoyed it for a different reason.


Living abroad makes some things more complex, and one of them is to keep in touch with Belgian family, colleagues, friends. I think I have about a hundred invitations for a lunch or dinner, but it is just not possible to do this in Belgium. When I am in Brussels professionally, agenda is usually pretty packed and I spend it with team and partners of SBS in Belgium, or in the organisations and activities in which I am active. When I am here in a week-end, I want to share all time with close friends and family, with Femke preferably a 100percent with me. Some may now that I love music concerts- and that I won’t miss Werchter for anything. But this year it was great to meet again so many friends, colleagues, people I know. It was a very ‘warm’ encounter. So great to see everyone back!

My personal (music) favourites: Muse (again), Goose (surprisingly good funky electrorock), Arno (‘nous sommes quand même tous des Européens’), parts of Metallica, parts of Pearl Jam, parts of QOTSA, the atmosphere of Bjork, … . I must say most concerts were excellent but very predictable. That’s why I already look forward to Pukkelpop, ‘my’ festival.


Our Brussels Saturday habit looks like this: we buy De Standaard, De Morgen, sometimes Le Soir and one of the sportpapers (usually HLN, who have a nice online version too), have standing lunch at the corner of Mer Du Nord/Noordzee at the Catherine place, read newspapers at a terrace. This week no different – but we added having a drink with my good friend (and former colleague) Alexis, talked with Bilzen friend Jean-Louis, then we went to the seaside and attended the opening of the new Kinepolis in Oostende (bravo Gilbert), where we also met many that we hadn’t seen in a while. Then a relaxing Sunday afternoon at Oostduinkerke (read great book), finished a project for work, watched the finish of the Tour and in the evening a movie at UGC cinema in Brussels.


This said: I do miss my beloved Limburg. Next week-end not possible, but after I would prefer to spend all week-end in Hasselt, Genk and Bilzen. It may sound strange: travelling around Europe makes you see so many beautiful places, but none have the sweetness of Limburg.





Romania 2.0

Birds flying high, you know how I feel (poor sound, but notice an entire stadium singing). Still post-enjoying the Muse concert at Wembley… I know it’s a (too) bombastic show, but if anyone they can have it, they can. Here’s the start of the concert (poor quality, but it shows the intenseness of the show)– and here a nice summary of most of the concert (even if many of the highlights aren’t there…).


And now for something completely different.

Over the last 20 days I had a rather diverse but also quite exhausting couple of days at work. Take last week. In 5 days, I had meetings, negotiations or workshops in London, Brussels, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Brussels. 7 countries in 6 days… I was invited to go to the Ocean’s race in Valencia for the week-end, but it was more important to me to have a relatively calm week-end with Femke, some Brussels mates, read magazines and books, go to a culturel event in Antwerp, have an evening drink with my former Skynet management committee just outside Brussels, and talk to my sister and some friends in Limburg.


That said, the most impacting evening was probably Tuesday. After an entire day developing our digital business in Rumania and a dinner – I was confronted with 2 choices: go to bed or take a night discovery of Bucharest.


You guessed right – at midnight I asked one of the drivers of the hotel to take my through a tour of the city. Around 1am we stopped for a while in front of the Palace of Parliament, probably Bucharest’s most (im)famous construction. Standing in front of it and looking at the monumentalism around makes you wonder about the madness of this regime at some time. The cab driver (who used to be in Ceausescu’s army) explained me the past and current political structure, the feeling of the population after entering the EU, the growing scepticism, why the locals don’t visit the Palace of Parliament (that actually was originally named Casa Poporului – House of the People…), etc… Although this is a country that is experiencing growth in some domains (in the media business: over the last years media spending grew over 50percent in total, broadband connection grew a staggering 28 percent in one year, … - these are usually indications economies are growing) – it has infrastructurally been standing pretty much unchanged. Instead of talking about web2.0 (there was no real web1.0), the discussion is about Rumania 2.0: what should the purpose and drive be of this complex 22 million country?


Some days later I read that 15 persons have died in Bucharest because of high temperature… It isn’t the staggering number of Parisiens of some years ago, but it also makes you wonder in a week where me and my environment are talking about advertising awards, football transfers, epo or Werchter… Believe me that I am not downplaying (I’m also mainly doing all of the above). Just reflecting upon it for a moment. Rumania 2.0. Wish I can contribute a bit.




Father and me in London - life at its best

One of my favourite live bands is Muse. About 3 years ago, they accepted to play for the launch of the Skynet Music Club, an online music downloading service launched by Gunther Nonneman and Stijn Willockx, 2 former Skynet colleagues. About 1000 invitees attended this incredible concert, and afterwards I have a beer (okay okay, a couple of beers) with the band – and they were so young but so great. I still wear my Muse at the Skynet Music Club concert with a lot of pride!

Since then I saw them

-        in Vorst/Brussels (fun evening with Karen & Dominique from Happiness Brussels, backthen DDB agency),

-        at the incredible Beach festival (one of the best festival I ever attended with Femke, bravo Marc Klein) but also at Pukkelpop, at Werchter, etc…

Yep, I like them J


Muse is also a band that my father likes. He doesn’t like the ‘piano’ songs too much, but is pretty crazy about their riffs, rock songs and everything that basically makes a-load-a-noise.


When I discovered that Muse was one of the bands to open the new Wembley stadium, I had the idea to go there with my father. And a bit surprisingly but actually not – he said “okay son’. I don’t think I have ever been on a trip alone with my father ever, so going to London to attend a concert of Muse in the new Wembley looked pretty great. His sms the day before ‘London, the Becks’ boys are coming’ indicated what we felt: 2 days alone, father and son on the road.


So Saturday we took the Eurostar to London, and my Femke and my mother did all to make sure we got there on time to spend our “father-son’ week-end.


It was great. It was amazing. It is something I will think of a lot. We walked for miles and miles on Saturday, and took tourist busses and cabs on Sunday. Muse played an incredible concert in a sold out Wembley, where from the field until the roof rows everybody was singing, air-guitaring, hugging, dancing. It was a true victory. Go see them on YouTube- but try to see them live to feel what 3 guys can do.


My father and I talked about a lot, even though we sometimes enjoy the silence. The main subject was of course the baby to come J but we talked about music, sports, family, politics - life quoi ... Femke has a great week-end with her parents in Brussels, and my mum had a great party in Bilzen with many of the rest of the family (sorry sis for not being there, big kiss to Lientje and Liezeke).


It was such an unbelievable week-end. This is something that I wish for you all, knowing that it is not possible anymore for many. It was these kind of magical moments that remain top of mind for the rest of life. It is maybe even the kind of things that one lives for... It is definitely the kind of thing that I live for!





Its only rock n roll, but I like it – part 1.

Hey all. Over the last weeks I have been doing pretty much 3 things: worked quite a lot, took care of Femke and went to great concerts. As you know I don’t talk too much about work on this blog, I’ll share family life things with you later – so today it’s about the music.


Tuesday 29th I flew into NY. After a short night, had 6 meetings in 1 day in different locations (everyone who has been to New York will agree it’s a great achievement!). However, a couple of hours before I took the plane, I bumped into an old boss of mine – Scott A, who had been a fantastic the President of the Skynet Board for years. Scott has not only been a strong chairman and leader, but has become a personal friend over the years, who I trust a lot. He learned me a lot about leadership but also how to get things done in large organisations. He is probably the Belgacom leader that is most in sync with the internet business and generation, and thus has stimulated much innovation and creativity. He suggested me to have lunch in the Spice Market, a restaurant in the Meatdistrict. I suggested this to my dinner partners, who fortunately agreed.


At the restaurant, I ran into an old friend, who invited me to a concert by Roger Walters (Pink Floyd) in Madison Square Garden that same evening. I had seen that there was a show but it had been sold out for a long time. How about that for great karma J A 3 hours incredible concert with an amazing set list. Part 1 is a bit of The Best of pink Floyd, part 2 is the complete Album Dark Side of the Moon, the encore is from The Wall. Here some highlight clippings:


Mother  -  On the run  -  Sheep  -  On the run  -  Time  -  Money  -  The Wall


Full set list




June 5, I was one of the closing keynote speakers at the good IAB Interact conference (everything is taped here if you have some free time). Together with my friends and colleagues Mark Bresseel (MSN EMEA) and Zapatero (Yahoo Europe) we ended the conference, but other great speakers I was able to attend were Esther Dyson, Jaap Favier (Forrester) and some others. See all videos at youtube.


My SBS Belgian colleagues had organised an event to see the Rolling Stones at Werchter, and were so kind to invite me too. I have seen the Stones quite often, but I enjoyed the evening a lot because of the different set than usual, but also to get to know some of my Belgian colleagues a bit better (Hi Sofieke, Fred, Jo, Kristof, …). Kinda first Babybecks concert.


What I liked at both concerts is that the audience was 18-81, and there was an intense happiness at both concerts. You could say life is music, but let’s keep it today at: it’s only rock’n’roll, but I like it.




Colleague sourcing - IAB Interact and EACD, Brussels

Over these last moths I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at many conferences: from LasVegas, to DLD in Munich, from Istanbul to Sydney, but also in Rome, quite some in Amsterdam, London, Budapest, and other countries like Spain, Austria, France etc. Most been about digital media, innovation and entrepreneurship, the convergence of media and telecom, future of advertising, the impact of internet on life, media and internet in Europe, etc. although the strangest was probably end last year in front of 30 or so 15-16 year olds in a technical school about my view on education, career and the link between both. Seeing so many talented speakers everywhere makes one feel humble, but also motivated and kinda happy…


But nothing yet in my beloved Brussels. My friends of Insites had organised a session on Youth Marketing, but I was unable to be there. So I am happy that I can finally be back in my beloved Brussels.


In the coming weeks I have a double treat:

1.     on 4 and especially 5 June, IAB Europe is organizing the European Interact conference. I look forward to being one of the closing speakers with Mark Bresseel – now Sales Director EMEA, Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, and former kinda competitor when he used to run MSN Belgium and me Belgacom Skynet - and Rodriguez Zapatero, who is Sales Director Yahoo Europe.

2.     on 12 June, I will be on a panel of the European Communication Summit. I will on a panel titled “web20 and the internet revolution: shared by everyone, owned by no-one) together with Dorothee Burkel (VP Marketing Communication AOL), Guy Nielsen (SVP corporate affairs from Aegis) and Ph Borremans (the new media lead for IBM EMEA).


Both conferences have amazing line-ups, programs and participants – so would be great if we see each other there.


And believe me, speaking looks like fun but it is week-end work. No time during the week to prepare the speeches and I am still in the conviction to give each one as if it was my last, so it takes some time to prepare. And the hours at the conference must be recuperated in the evening hours. But I love it.


You cannot believe how much I have learned. By speaking, because like blogging (and I do agree with Bruno Seghers here), it is getting your story straight and reflecting beyond day to day business. By listening, because there are so many bright people out there with amazing stories. But most by talking and exploring. So many people are willing to share, and this industry of internet and digital media have so much impact on nearly every aspect of our life that it’s impossible to stop speaking about it. And it is often the same rhythm: 1st time you say hello, 2nd time you say we met before, 3rd time how and what are you actually doing, and then you ask people opinion about – well – whatever.


We are in an era that we have no final answers or solutions yet, only explorations. But these explorations are needed more than ever to progress. Let’s call it colleague-sourcing for now.




19:23 Gepost door bart in Web | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: iab, iab europe, eacd, brussels, colleague sourcing |  Facebook |


Jeff Buckley

Today Belgium (amongst other countries) celebrates Jeff Buckley with a concert ‘an evening without Jeff Buckley’. Although he tragically sailed into his death at the age of 23, Mr. Jeff Buckley had a huge impact on many of us. His voice danced between strength and fragility, pulling all of us into his heart and mind reaching music.


In one of today’s newspaper, Stef Kamil Karlens talked about him. I had the pleasure of talking a bit with Stef Kamil and his partner Laurence, and they made me think. For me, Stef is not only one of the most gifted musicians Belgium has ever had, but also one of the most giving. There is so much warmth in him, and it reflects on all around him. Much like Jef, and if I wouldn’t be on this plane to New York, I would definitely be in Ghent at the Night w/o Jeff Buckley where Zita Swoon will also be playing.


It reminds me also of my wedding with my Femke. At the city hall, we were aloud to play some music. And the 2 pieces we had that afternoon at the magic Grand Place in Brussels (everyone that lives in 1000 Brussels must marry there, before you get any wrong ideas) where we played Jacques Brel, Hallelujah from Jeff Buckley (a cover from the great Leonard Cohen) and Victory from Daan.


I must be somewhere in the middle between London and NY now – and although I managed to forget my iPod, I fortunately had backup all my songs on a portable hard disc, and am now near tears in my eyes listening to Buckley’s Grace.


Goodnight everyone. Goodnight Femmie. Goodevening NY!



Google-kerke (or PolderGeist)

Last week-end I spent a couple of days at the Belgian sea-side, in a beautiful place named Oostduinkerke. We have been coming there for about 10 years now, and it remains wonderful, each time again.


Femke wanted to view the exhibition named Visually Hungry in Knokke, so I decided to bike from Oostduinkerke to Knokke, via a small detour. Although it was about 90 km (and I had expected to cycle 50 or 60) it was amazing. Totally alone through little villages, small roads in a perfect happiness. A nearly 4 hour during enjoyment.


From Sunday to Tuesday I had the honour to be invited to Google’s Zeitgeist, a conference with an incredible line-up and atmosphere just outside London. Speakers such as Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, Hans Rosling from gapminder, James Murdoch (CEO BSkyB), Chad Hurley (founder youtube), young but fascinating Josh Bear, Kevin Roberts (CEO Saatchi n Saatchi), and about 50 others …


Panels discussed the future of branding, entertainment, digital youth, but also entrepreneurship (one of the best session I ever witnessed in my life), education or green technology. It remains weird but also so normal to have a drink with let’s say the founders or bebo, youtube or so many others. But you cannot imagine how much I have been brainstorming, re-thinking, discussing and questionning so much over the last days...


It was truly amazing, again. Bravo and thank you Googlers for having us and for creating an atmosphere of exploration.






In only a couple of weeks, the digital advertising delivery landscape got completely re-written. Google started off by acquiring Doubleclick for 3.1 billion USD. Yahoo and WPP followed immediately by buying respectively Right Media for 680million USD and 24/7 media for 650million USD. Somewhere in between AOL bought AdTech.

And some hours ago, Microsoft acquired Acquantive for 6 billion USD. In just a couple of weeks.


Over the next days I’ll be attending Google’s Zeitgeist conference- with an amazing program and participant list. It looks like a great moment to reflect on what is now, next but also how the industry is blending completely.




18:50 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: google, yahoo, microsoft, aol, wpp, zeitgeist, 247 |  Facebook |

The Belgians are better?

A couple of days ago I attended a literary evening in Amsterdam. The SLAA (Amsterdam foundation for literary activities) organized a 2 day program on Flemish Belgian writers. The first day got titled ‘The Belgians are better!’. Being a Belgian living in Amsterdam, I couldn’t resist ;-)


While walking there, I ran into a friend who works for Microsoft. We talked about how great Amsterdam is to live in, about Microsoft trying to counter play Google, and about this literary festival.


He ended by a summary (of which I had already heard half, but anyway):

'We live in a really crazy world:

The best golfer is a black guy,

The best rapper is a white guy,

The French think the Americans are arrogant,

Microsoft wants to use antitrust against Google,

And Belgians think they are smarter than the Dutch.'


The evening was great: Tom Lanoye, Bart Koubaa (thanks for the beer!), Yves Petry, David Van Reybrouck en Arjen Fortuin had a very interesting discussion, and of course it had nothing to do with Belgians being better. They explained their view of the differences between Belgians and Dutch society, about the differences in reading culture (it is true that the availability of so many great bookshops makes you read more), about having to adapt words to make them understandable in the other culture - even if we speak the same language, and mainly Tom Lanoye talked about the difference you can make by taking a (political) position and opinion.


And looking back at 2006, he probably has a point. StudioBrussel (the coolest of Belgian radios) creating social responsibility by raising 2.5m euro (and winning 2.5 million hearts!) in a project named ‘Music For Life’: Tom Barman organized concerts all over Belgian and there are others, and Humo (more a lifestyle than just a magazine) provides free with their magazine with a DVD of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.


One used to say that art should have the sideline perspective of society, but in Belgium they seem to be the very engine of social conscience.