26-06-07

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.

 

bart.

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