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


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



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.



 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 |


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 |


BNoX - Barcamp Brussels

This Saturday I was for some hours in Brussels. A short night-before phonecall with Clo, a former colleague of mine at Skynet, got me over to the Brussels Barcamp (since I was travelling in I could only be there for 2hours). When there, she invited me to do a powerpoint karaoke – a presentation of slides that you have never seen before. Fun to do, not prepared – a good lesson in self-relativation, with a video that I will enjoy watching even more in 10 years or so.


Someone asked me afterwards why I would do something like this. True, I am only a couple of days per month in Brussels anymore. But let me explain you why.



Creativity and entrepreneurialism unleash the passion in people. Initiatives like Barcamp are not only great to present your thoughts, findings, ideas or realizations – they create an atmosphere of shared searching and discovering. About 2 years ago, Peter Forrett – the organizer of Barcamp Brussels – presented his ideas to the Skynet team for some support (back then was still CEO of Skynet). We supported the idea completely, because Skynet is company that lives on the creation of new ideas: from free internet to ADSL, from consumer to corporate solutions, from portals to interactive television, from search to permission marketing… but also because we thought that sometimes you have to role to support initiatives that enable creativity in Belgium. Barcamp1 was born.



Clo was one of  the persons I did quite some effort to hire at Skynet. It hearts a bit to see that see is leaving together with some others, but seen my switch I understand completely and all people are going for what they believe in. They are not leaving Skynet, they are going towards something else.


I believe that creativity can only thrive when you are a passionate believer of what you do. When I was very young, my grandfather told me something I would never forget but only understood some years later.

He told me the following: “Bart, in your life you are going to have to deal with some difficulties. In whatever you will do, you will meet people that are better than you. In studying, playing football, managing or whatever. There is always someone better. Except in one thing,… and that is being yourself.’

I think we can all do incredible things, if we are not acting, if we are not doing things for the sake of public performance, but because we truly believe in them. Clo’s blog (bnox.be) can be pronounced in different ways –but for once let us read it as ‘Be No X’. Be no number. Be no actor of public expectation. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. Just be yourself. Just like my grandfather told me.

I will try to bebart.be.


Thank you Clo for a short but good time at Skynet. We’ll meet again. Thank you Peter for the effort in getting it organised. Keep it up. But thank you most of all the participants of daring to share. That’s the only way forward.





What a fascinating weeks it have been. Even during my free days, femke found me studying, discussing, trying out and getting a grip on new media. From understanding the strategic directions in radio to gaming, from freetv to pay-tv, from new web to renewed web. Besides that, the cultural, usage and media differences between the Benelux, the Nordics, Eastern Europe or Greece are fascinating.


This week it is the yearly mipcom and milia fair, and not unsurprisingly the focus was very much on new media. There was a lot of talks about technology, but even more how to bring great content in an intriguing way. Or how to convince viewers to become users, and vice versa. Yep, everyone wants “viewsers”.


I had some good discussions, with all kind of persons. Thanks to the one guys I had a discussion with Joseph Jaffe – who wrote an interesting book named “life after the 30 second spot”. I don’t necessarily agree with all he says – and I actually think he doesn’t either - but he has some interesting views. But Cannes saw the arrival of Joost, Bablegum and other P2P platforms, Endemol, Fremantle and BBC presented interactive and digital formats and concepts – and some doubt arose related to the relevance of IPTV. Last year a hype, this year nearly a footnote. Good to see that Belgium does great – I once spent a lof (A LOT) of time to launch BelgacomTV, a bit unfortunate their speech got cancelled this week.


Everyone is embracing the digital world. Finally.


And one interesting and recurring notion: experimenting is back in town, and that’s a great ignite for innovation!




Wise words on a tuesday afternoon


Today I attended a part of the workshop organized by Immovator named cross-media café (about digital innovation in radio). Pretty OK, interesting concepts, although unlike Dutch mentality people were avoiding questions, being quite fuzzy about numbers and were clearly still searching for the right services and models. 

It’s ok to be searching, just say so. Acknowledgement of not knowing is a starting point for collaborative search.


However, I thought that of the Chief Editor of the VPRO (a Dutch public radionbroadcaster), which I expected to be the dullest, was very innovative – placing content and audience truly at the center of reflection. I heard this customer hadn’t been since a long time, but he was definitely there. I also discussed with some others afterwards part of what he said: “ Sometimes people don’t want to do things, just because it is considered hip or because they didn’t invent the hyped idea.”


A participant of over 60, who is admired for his ability to innovate and create and having built successful business for years, concluded after a discussion I had with him about the above: We should never do something just because it’s considered hip. But if it makes sense, go ahead and embrace it. And if you have someone in your team who does nothing but criticizing, and that same person does not come up with any other innovative ideas or ways to get them, kick him out of your organization as soon as you can. Constructive critics are the best ones to have around you in a team, negative critics the worst. Let him go. If not, he’ll create nothing than negativism about ideas, services, peoples – his mission will be to pinpoint and stop stuff for the sole reason of getting organizational power. On top of that – it will draw into your company’s culture. So take it from me: if you ever see someone like that – be tough because the backside is deceit and probably defeat.


Interesting words from someone who did quite some remarkable things in business life – actually life in general I understood afterwards (hadn’t met him before). Yes, discussions here in Amsterdam are so straightforward. So intense. Somewhat unlike most presentations this afternoon. Remarkable Amsterdam. Even on a Tuesday afternoon.



22:21 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: immovator, amsterdam, radio, wise man |  Facebook |


The incredible DLD conference in Munich, Germany

From Sunday to Tuesday I attended the DLD conference in Munich. DLD means Digital, Life, Design – and was (surprisingly for me) one of the best conferences I attended over the last 5 years. Similarly to the incredible Google Zeitgeist in California, DLD programmed a conference very widely: from art to science, from technology to media, from profit searching to environmental care. Plus with a vision that all of the above don’t need to be in contradiction.


On top of that, the incredible Herr Burda and his Leiterin of Burda Frau Steffi were incredible hosts at this 1500 attendees conference. They made us all feel part of something special, introduced us to each other, and had a daring vision about the future. And there is the young but very talented Sebastian, just off school, but an incredible talent to watch who organized many of the practical and social elements.


I was the European representative that discussed audience fragmentation and evolutions in media, advertising en entrepreneurship. Fantastic panel, with 4 great American expert leaders, although I find we can and should be more proud of what we Europeans are currently achieving.


I met and talked with some fantastic people like Tariq from Netvibes, Craig Newmain (Craigslist), people from Yahoo, Marissa Mayer from Google, Caterina Fake from Flickr/Yahoo, Beth Comstock from NBC, Walt from Wall Street Journal but also Nicolas Negroponte (MIT), James Murdoch (BskyB), Niklas Zenstrom (Skype, Joost), the chief designer of BMW, …. So much sharing, caring, talking, searching – so different than those narrow self-defending ones we all go to regularly.


I am alive J And a bit trapped in this snowstorm here in Finland today…



Vegas Part 2: NATPE

Early up to attend Natpe Mobile, the mobile congress of the Television industry. NATPE stands for National Association of Television Programming Executives, and it’s quite comparable to Europe’s Mipcom. A cool dinner, where speakers of the conference are invited by the Natpe Board, PwC and KornFerry. I learned quite a lot about the television and studios view, methods and way forward on mobile productions, be it via sms, DVB-H or others. Very international participants: mainly US, but Asia and Europe well represented. Interesting!


Today I spoke on a panel, to discuss IDTV and digital media in general in Europe. Over 20 questions from the audience, that’s always a good sign. I attended this one together with the VP innovation of Telefonica, the person in charge of content from Microsoft, and the marketing director of Thompson – while the moderation was done by Marcel from PwC who lives in Hong Kong since over 20 years. Afterwards got invitations to speak in Hong Kong, Spain, NY – but I declined to avoid having a full time job doing speeches. Time to do some work.


Overall, very good conference, and some sessions were real eye openers, such as the TV network bosses explaining first run series, vertical integration, syndication and digital distribution. Although I’ve been dealing with the media industry to launch services across different media, I’m now looking from inside the industry towards the world of movies and its different windows, series, programming, platformed distribution and the challenges they are facing. Interesting to see that the Media industry doesn’t quite know how to deal with, or what to expect from, telecom companies and internet companies. And vice versa. I’m happy I understanding one somehow, and getting to understand the second.


Half of the conference was about online, interactive television, mobile tv, user vs professionally generated content, etc. Europe is a lot ahead of mobile and IPTV, US is clearly leading on online streaming, on demand services and other models. Interesting period coming up, cool to be part of it.





First days in Amsterdam

Damn, what an amazing city. First days in the new office, function, city, industry, … Much to create, willingness is huge. Over the last weeks I stayed in various hotels – am becoming quite an expert ;-)


If anyone would care to go to Amsterdam – try to find last minute rates for The Pulitzer (yep, the one from Oceans 12), the Krasnapolsky and Hotel de l’Europe. The Lloyd hotel is pretty cool and arty, but no window isolation in any of the rooms means that I can hear the bikers as of 6am… Didn’t sleep a lot – but still very cool atmosphere at Lloyds.


One of the first days, I attended the New Year’s drink of IAB Holland, Ipan and 212amsterdam. Weird, in any Belgian event I entered and knew about half of the room. Here I arrived, knew no-one of the 400 persons that were there – so decided to buy a beer to another lonely arriver. Soon, I met some colleagues from IAB Europe (hey Jeroen), the editor of Marketingfacts, a cool and inspiring digital media site (hey Marco), and a lot of other cool guys. I’m feeling welcome already!


But I’m really amazed by the vibe of Amsterdam. Something’s happening; it feels a bit like San Francisco, though different and not yet fully happening. Brussels is more rock’n’roll, but Amsterdam is much more confident, creative and open.


Yep – we (Femke and I) both like Amsterdam, though we still see Brussels as ‘our beloved Brussels’.






Hey all,

another one to stop talking about apple, and it confirms my belief in future employment of tendencies. More on that later.


Waw - an iPhone. Just released at macworld - see engadget for full review, pics, transcript of Job's speech (with E.Schmidt/Google and Jang/Yahoo as co-presentors0.


amazing. stay foolish, despite many s.o.'s





Let's follow our hearts

Dear reader, colleague, friends,

to whomever may read.


My last post of the year … What is more relevant than combining the breakthrough service of the year (youtube clip), with the company that confirmed against all odds (Apple) about the thing that matters most (your heart and mind).


I’ve been swept away some time ago about this speech by Steve Jobs. I agree so much – and if you haven’t seen it yet, please take some minutes to look & listen.


May 2007 be a good and healthy year for everyone. May we all remain hungry, stay foolish, dare to dream and follow our hearts.



22:18 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: newyear, becks, apple, jobs, hungry |  Facebook |


 Person of the year



Time chooses you, us, everyone as the person of the year. Every blog will probably run the story, so I’ll save you my comments, which will be near identical all others. Yep, it's a changing world and it has only just started.






Dare to belief

Hey allemaal.


De laatste dagen hier en daar wat over mij geschreven door een aantal veranderingen. Vrij juist en correct, behalve misschien eentje van vandaag. Titel: “ik doe alleen wat ik graag wil doen” ... Nogal arrogante titel, en eigenlijk niet wat ik wilde meegeven.  ‘Ik wil doen waar ik in geloof”. 1 woord en toch een wereld van verschil. Voor mij althans.


Ik denk niet dat iemand enkel en alleen kan doen wat hij graag wil doen. Het leven is zo simpel niet. Maar ik denk wel dat iedereen moet streven naar wat hij wil doen en waar hij in gelooft in zijn leven, enr zullen altijd elementen in zitten die minder leuk zijn. Jammer genoeg zie ik soms mensen die wegkwijnen in hun job, of die weinig perspectief hebben of creeëren. Maar vanuit de schrik van verandering blijft men in zijn eigen hoekje, dat dan dikwijls een hokje wordt ...


Maar ja, vandaag schrik ik wel wat. ‘Femke, er staat niet wat ik wilde zeggen’. Uiteraard lees waarschijnlijk alleen ik zo’n artikel, en is het voor een journalist in een kort gesprekje onmogelijk om dat te weten. Ik doe er al 34 jaar over, en heb het al moeilijk om alles juist te begrijpen J


En je moet nogal wat geluk hebben in je carrière. Ik heb geluk gehad om bij Fnac de stiel wat te kunnen leren. Bij Skynet om Philippe Lemmens te hebben ontmoet, en om niet als directeur maar als manager langzaamaan in te groeien. Zo kon ik eerste heel wat leren van mijn toenmalige baas en toenmalig salesdirecteur van Skynet (en nog steeds goede vriend) Guy Bouckaert. Ik heb wat zaken geleerd van heel wat mensen binnen Belgacom: Didier Bellens, Jean-Claude Van den Bossche, Scott Alcott, John Goossens – allemaal heel straffe personen. Didier Bellens gaf mij als 30-jarige de mogelijkheid en het vertrouwen om skynet te leiden. En ik ben dan ook zeer dankbaar voor de kans die ik van hem kreeg, de samenwerking die ik door de jaren heen heb kunnen opbouwen en de vele zaken die ik heb geleerd van hem. Ik leer elke dag van mensen. Elke dag opnieuw, daarnet nog. Een les in relativering (danku D), in perspectief, en geloof in het goede. In les in geloog in idealen. Maar meest van al heb ik een leven met fantastische mensen die samen in iets geloven. Thuis, in familie, op bedrijf, in organisaties, bij vrienden. Dat is onbetaalbaar.


En dus ja, ik verander professioneel vanaf januari. Toch zal zal ik mijn hele leven lang met plezier terugkijken naar Skynet, naar Belgacom groep in het algemeen. Je zult nog veel horen van het onwaarschijnlijke talent dat binnen skynet zit. Nooit heb ik zo een groep talent bij mekaar gezien. En het begint zich nog maar net te tonen!


Maar laten we het ook allemaal relativeren. Vandaag gaat het goed, morgen kan en zal het een keer tegenvallen. Voor mij, voor u, voor iedereen. Het enige dat er blijft is de warmte die er overblijft nadien is de warmte. De warmte tussen mensen die mekaar graag zien, respecteren, proberen wat dingen samen te beleven en te realiseren. De warmte, misschien wel het beste middel tegen de maatschappelijke verzuring, is iets uniek. Dat gaat over jobs heen. Over bedrijven heen. Over generaties heen. Dus laten we allen mekaar geluk wensen in nieuwe relaties of huwelijken, baby’s, jobs, ervaringen of wat hij ook belangrijk vindt. Laten we mekaar zoveel mogelijk gunnen en helpen. Het gemeenschappelijke, maar ook ons individuele geluk zal er alleen maar wel bij varen ... En dat kan volgens mij als we allen blijven doen waar we in geloven!



10:22 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: becks, sbs, skynet, geloof, goossens |  Facebook |


 Bart Becks appointed Senior Vice President of SBS Broadcasting group

Hey all,

although I don't usually indicate professional Skynet news on my blog, I've received so many calls, sms's and mails that I'll post some personal news here as well.


After 8 fantastic years at Belgacom Skynet in Brussels, I will move to Amsterdam to work for the SBS Broadcasting group.


Hereby an extract of the complete press release:

"SBS Broadcasting Sarl announced today the appointment of Bart Becks (34) as Senior Vice President New Media of SBS Broadcasting Group, with a start date of January 1, 2007. The announcement was made by Patrick Tillieux, acting Chief Executive Officer of SBS Broadcasting Group.In the newly created position,


Mr. Becks will be responsible for the overall development and coordination of digital media services and revenue streams based on the internet, mobile devices, interactive television services and other emerging digital platforms across all of SBS’s operating units. He will be based in Amsterdam."


A successor was appointed, being Eric Brant, a great senior leader from Proximus. You can find more about it via the Belgacom press center.


No-one leaves a fantastic company and team easily – so it was not something decided overnight. This said, I'm really excited to go to Amsterdam and build out a new future within the SBS group. I sincerely think and wish for Skynet to keep growing like the past 4 years, and for everyone to find the same passion and pride! The direction team in place will surely lead in that direction.


More later.



17:58 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: new media, ceo, sbs, skynet, becks |  Facebook |



I see sparkles in her eyes when she talks about her people. At 8 in the morning the phone calls now start, but she smiles whenever she hers the voices. The fairness of her concern strikes me, she really cares for her team in a way that I haven’t seen many do. I’m really proud of her. She is incredibly beautiful and has an incomparable soul. She’s married with me over a year ago now. She has a new job. And you cannot believe how proud I am. Idealism create happiness.



23:03 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Brussels Airlines


The new name of the Belgian airline company is known. The open options that remained were the emotional Sabena (the former name of the airline company that went bankrupt exactly 5 years ago) or the rational Brussels Airlines.


Thanks to some leaks it became known that it is Brussels Airlines, a good name in line with the name of the airport exploiter named Brussels Airport (formerly BIAC). In other words: the merger of Virgin Express (Belgium) and SNBA became Brussels Airlines.


Since I am, like many others, a 100% online airline ticketing booker – I immediately reasoned: the former company was name SN Brussels Airlines, and the URL was www.snba.be – so Brussels Airlines must be www.ba.be. However, this turns out to be ‘the Belgian Linux Integrator’. So I thought: “OK – but good: they think global”, and I typed www.ba.com – but this is the website of British Airlines … a major competitor for Brussels Airlines. And worst of all … I ended up booking a ticket on British Airlines …


This said: I think the resurrection of SNBA and now Brussels Airlines is an incredible achievement driven by great Belgian businessmen and the right government support. The new CEO of the new merged company is Philippe Vanderputten, a former colleague of mine. Philippe managed Proximus for many years. He is praised for his marketing knowledge (he previously worked also for Sarah Lee), but I personally enjoyed working with him because he is a great leader and people manager, based on strong values. So I really think he is the right person in this challenging period for Brussels Airlines.


Good luck Philippe and BA and bravo for relaunch. But ... take good care for your internet booking customers. The right amount of Search Engine Optimization, a customer friendly URL (nobody easily types URL’s of more than 8 letters, a few exceptions aside) and a great launch campaign via digital media will bring Brussels Airlines at the top of my mind.



00:13 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |



A short tale.


This week-end I’ve seen quite some friends: met Bilzen guys, met fnac persons, saw a Brussels dude, a friend from Liege, and will go golfing with a former colleague who is now a competitor.


It made me wonder how companies change the human relation. People expect us to be not friends. Even if we worked together for many years, we're not supposed to have good relations. Weird how corporate life sometimes expect individuals to give up personal feelings and values. And it’s also quite bizar how great conversations with these friends have been. So Mark from msn and Philippe from Telenet and all the others: hello – hope all is going great and may you realize your beliefs.


Long live the Friepitors (Frie(nds)+(com)pe(ti)tors).



00:06 Gepost door bart in digital media | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


The opportunity of doubt

Somewhat faster than expected, digital media are becoming mainstream media. And both the traditional and the new media players are struggling with it.


Looking towards Belgium, it’s becoming fascinating:

§        tv broadcasters are struggling to enter the digital media: the tragedy of ceo of the vrt of these last weeks is probably the best proof that it’s not that simple

§        newspapers are being attacked on their audience, but also on their business models: advertising and classifieds. Their audience is being attacked by news sites, since no human being waits for the morning to know about news: the internet has become the number 1 source for news seekers. But also the classifieds are under attack: it’s no hazard that eBay launches a classifieds service in Belgium as a world premier. But also some start-ups are attacking fiercely

§        digital tv is growing fast, very fast … and thus also the shifted tv-viewing is gaining attention

§        but also the new ones are not having their best moment: yahoo is experiencing launch difficulties with search technology, with ad display targeting, but also with holding on to digital talent. Interesting opinion here from bloggingstocks.com.


And in all this storm, suddenly Newscorp has begun to attack fiercely. MySpace & Jamba, their 2 main acquisitions – have led to the weird evolution that the most visited internet domain is suddenly being run by … a tv company. And the same might happen on a mobile domain. Newscorp got it. Audience behavior and distribution modes are changing, and their using the current financial and audience strength to guarantee their place in the future.

Just read their press releases to see where the focus is!


The war for digital media talent is starting. I expect many start-ups, traditional media people leaving to find a new story, but also new media people to lead the new story at more traditional places.


Yep – it are fascinating time, and we will all benefit of it!!