By In #SxSW

The Hyperloop: rethinking transport


Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn explained how the Hyperloop will propel you in a low-pressure, near vacuum tube on a comfortable air-cushion. The technology is completely run by computers, and is human error, bad weather and nasty earthquake proof. The Hyperloop will make hopping from city to city a very fast, very comfortable, and reasonably cheap experience.

Los Angeles to San Francisco

The first Hyperloop traject is a route running from the Los Angeles region to the San Francisco Bay Area, in parallel with the Interstate 5. The first projections foresee an expected journey time of 35 minutes (!), meaning that passengers would silently whoop the 600 km at an average speed nearing 1000 km an hour, and hugging a top speed of well over 1,200 km/h.

Help travel suck less

Ahlborn believes the key USP for the Hyperloop is helping city hopping suck less. He is convinced that at this moment no one actually enjoys travel anymore. No one looks forward to taking a plane or a train. No one looks forward to the journey, everyone counts down to arriving. He believes the Hyperloop will disrupt all this.

Green energy

Ahlborn claimed also that the Hyperloop project will generate more energy than it consumes, and will run on a healthy green cocktail of wind, solar and kinetic energy. He also announced that construction will begin later this year on a 7,5 km stretch alongside Interstate 5 in Quay Valley, California, somewhere halfway between L.A. and San Francisco.

Virtual windows

To avoid people getting claustrophobic, the Hyperloop will be fitted with “interactive panels”, virtual windows that will project landscapes through “motion capture technology.” These screens will actually shift perspective based on your position. On the window screen, other information will augment the experience: distance travelled, Hyperloop map of the trajectory, and current speed.


Musk and his team relay heavily on a crowdsourced team of more than 500 contributors to design, kick off and execute the west coast Hyperloop project. Crowdsourcers from MIT won a national university contest to help design the Hyperloop people carrier.

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By In #SxSW

Virtual Reality: Robert Scoble’s new future

Well, we all know that the geeky evangelist, and blogger Robert Scoble is a passionate man. Since years he’s traveling the globe, (on Rackspace’s dime) to go and find the newest platforms, apps and technologies. This journey has gotten us memorable pictures of Scoble using his Google Glass in his shower, and finding the man on about every stage, from Timbuktu to South Africa.

Leaving Rackspace

It hit the techspace as a bom, Robert Scoble is leaving Rackspace to take on a new challenge in a leading role with UploadVR. He is very excited, claiming at #sxsw that VR is actually the most orgasmic revolution that hit the tech industry since the introduction of the Apple Macintosh. VR is very much in the same line as the videos and blogging he’s always done , but he is convinced that augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR), combined with 360 movies and live streaming will dramatically chance the communications space.

The dreamy smile

Scoble points out that most of the test users of VR and AR have a “Holy shit, this is amazing”, dreamy smile on their face. “You realize this is mind-blowing,” he told the bloggers at his keynote: “I knew this was going to be industry shifting, utterly significant, and I wanted to be very deeply and personally involved in it”


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By In Social Media

Collaborative Economy Honeycomb

It was great to meet Jeremiah Owyang again at #SXSW. The founder of introduced the third version of his Collaborative Economy Honeycomb. The Collaborative Economy, the passion of Owyang, enables people to mostly get what they need in life or business from each other. A new trend that is extremely disruptive for most industries and businesses. Uber, Airbnb anyone?

Honeycombs are resilient and extremely solid structures that enable access, sharing, and growth of resources among a very demanding and resourceful group of empowered people. Jeremiah’s latest version of the Honeycomb framework, visualizes how the Collaborative Economy has grown exponentially  to include new applications in Reputation and Data, Worker Support, Mobility Services, and the Beauty Sector. Owyang’s Honeycomb is slowly, but surely taking on the very nature of a real hive….


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By In #SxSW

Forget the battle for the wallet, try the battle for the heart

Many agencies and their clients are still struggling to click in the social and digital piece in the complex jigsaw of media. The result is a constant firing from the hip of boring and uninspiring banners, mastheads and click buttons a go-go. The consumers try to shield themselves from this relentless onslaught with stealth-modus, ad-blockers and fake profiles.

Forget the battle for the wallet

A big driver of the online communication endeavours of companies is stooled on one very clear central pillar: return on investment, and driving sales. Clearly, there is nothing wrong with that. Companies are no charity organizations, and in the end they need to use all possible techniques to secure their profits. However, the relentless push for conversion and closing the sale is making the consumer very tired and weary. Gary Vaynerchuck phrased it well: “there are way better ways to connect to me than slapping a banner on my iPhone. That is just stealing my time, and it is just pissing me off.” In the battle for the wallet of the consumers, the reality of the context of the consumer and the unwritten silent rules of the platforms are easily ignored, forgotten and trespassed.

Try the battle for the heart

A clear central theme at this year’s SxSWi is “emotional connections”. How can you look past the traditional display ad, and find a more natural and valuable way to connect? What does it take to find ways to add value, relevance and smarts? Why is it so difficult to be relevant rather than intrusive? Respectful rather than pushy? Why do we reach for the wallet rather than for the heart? The real battle in the online consumer space is not the direct sale, but the life time value. Is your company also prepared to invest in a real commitment with the consumer over time?

Rethink the value of endorsement

Tesla is thriving on the endorsement of its power users. They do not only add value to the brand by raving about their cool electric car, and bedazzle everyone with the steaming stats on how well the car behaves from 0 to 100 km per hour in ludicrous mode. They also offer their friends easy test drives, and important cash rebates. This only works if the driver has an emotional connection with his car that he is prepared to share. And for the friends they reach out to, the car experience comes with an emotional friend-endorsed quality seal.

The time of a quickie with the consumer is over. Are you ready for a relationship?

emotional connection

(this post as first featured on

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By In #SxSW

selfdriving, yes… autonomous? Nah.

Your car will only be autonomous the day you ask it to drive to work and it drives you to the beach.

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By In #SxSW

The FBI, your iPhone and your underwear

“Privacy is sacred. It’s a cornerstone of our society. A pillar of our constitution. But, to stop the bad guys, we can riffle through your underwear with a legal warrant. Why would a iPhone be more sacred?” Barack Obama

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By In #SxSW

SxSW 2016 – You may all go to hell, but we will go to Texas!

Davy Crockett, king of the Texan Wild Frontier strolled off for the fatal shoot-out at the Alamo mission on March 7th 1836, shouting “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas…


Famous last words that I happily cite every time I prepare my yearly pilgrimage to the slightly weird city of Austin in Texas. Austin will be hosting some of the most clever, crazy, unorthodox and fascinating social media and digital people this side of the Milky Way. It’s called South by South West, or SxSW. More than 50.000 social and digital media enthusiasts will attend this Texan Mecca of creativity, best cases, lukewarm beer, successful campaigns, endless discussions and creative sparks. Undisputedly, it is the biggest interactive gathering on this planet (and most of the planets around us, as far as we are aware). There is enough social brainpower in Austin between March 11th and March 15th to catapult a small Greek island in an orbit around Saturn.

30 years SXSW

Beer, rattle snakes… and you?

Once again we will confront tremendous heat, unbearable thirst, insane steaks, burning sun, and humorless rattlesnakes to be your eyes and ears on the ground. We will sacrifice long days and short nights, and be there for you when the next big thing hits the industry!
So… if you’re in Austin, let’s meet up and talk shop, trends, tools and stuff. Let’s exchange experiences, compare notes. Let’s social this social thing. If you pay for the beer, we’ll throw in the chicken wings… Let’s go for a wild BBQ night at the County Line on the Lake, and talk about connecting the dots, moving the needle and setting the bar in audience interaction.

As Crockett said: “Be always sure you are right – then go ahead.”

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By In Content Creation, Marketing, Social Media

FTC: disclose Native Advertising

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated its guidance on native advertising just before attacking the Christmas diner. With the guidance, the FTC tries to make sure to protect consumers from advertising in disguise.

Confused and confusing
A study from stated the obvious: consumers are utterly confused about what is advertising, and what is not. They have difficulties to detect native advertising within ‘real’ editorial content. The key-findings of the study:

  • On nearly every publication tested, consumers tend to identify native advertising as an article, not an advertisement.
  • Consumers often have a difficult time identifying the brand associated with a piece of native advertising, but it varies greatly, from as low as 63 percent (on The Onion) to as high as 88 percent (on Forbes).
  • Consumers who read native ads that they identified as high quality reported a significantly higher level of trust for the sponsoring brand.
  • 62 percent of respondents think a news site loses credibility when it publishes native ads. In a separate study conducted a year ago, 59 percent of respondents said the same.
  • 48 percent have felt deceived upon realizing a piece of content was sponsored by a brand—a 15 percent decrease from last year’s survey.

While this might look as great and fab to some advertisers and their agencies, it is clear that the FTC is not amused. Their guidance clearly aims to over time enforce a guarantee that native advertising is very clearly labeled as such.

Shared responsibility
The FTC puts the responsibility of correctly labeling the native advertising as advertising jointly to the advertisers, their agencies, and the publishers that own the content platform, be it on- or offline. It expects not only that the commercial piece is clearly labeled as such, but moreover that the visual presentation of the native advertising piece leaves no doubt for the consumer that it is “different” from the regular content.

Ethical behavior
FTC put out a guidance in the US that is completely in line with its view on the commercial use of influentials and bloggers: asking for complete transparency and disclosure. The FTC guidelines and policies historically become textbook best practice guides real quickly in Europe.
Personally, I think that as well the advertisers, the agencies as the publishers have a moral duty to disclose, and be fully transparent. Duping the consumer into thinking that a piece of content is genuinely editorial is just plain wrong. There is room enough to be creative with native advertising without having to dupe the consumer in any way.

FTC guidelines on real time advertising
FTC guidelines on real time advertising


(This post first appeared here)

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By In Social Media

David Bowie on the Internet…

The Internet is an alien life form“, David Bowie predicting the huge impact of the internet on art, creativity and society…

So long Starman!

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By In Social Media

MBP expands: These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. (Ben Kenobi)

Ach. One of the perks of being in charge, is that you can handpick your team. A year after the launch of my MBP squad, I’m so happy to announce we’re expanding –again-. As I am notoriously difficult, noisy, sceptic, challenging and overall impossible-to-live-and-work-with, finding the right talents was not a small task.
But, here they are, the brave souls that gave a kidney to join MBP. They all pack enough energy to propel a pound of meat in an orbit around Saturn just by fluttering their eyelashes. They have brains the size of asteroids, and ideas so fresh it will freeze your Jacuzzi over. Heck, if I had found these people earlier, Pluto would still be a planet, regardless of what Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks.

Salma Haouach joins as a Business director and as content strategist. Solvay-trained, Salma has an extensive background in content marketing and storytelling. With Moroccan roots, she is the energetic woman behind and the mesmerizing voice of “Dame de Pique” (Every saturday on Arabel FM -106.8 FM-).
Thaïs Smeekens reinforces our French Community and content management. Thaïs comes from Baby Boum, where she was in charge of both the B2B and B2C communication strategies, social media, press relations, partnerships management, video production, web design, brand development and customer relations.
Adrien Duchateau joins as creative director. He is a multidisciplinary designer focusing on brand identity, and web & mobile interface. An online wizard on digital creation, he will strengthen the team on all visual creations, digital imagery, and visual concepts. Strongly versed in mobile development and design, Adrien is able to create his designs from the ideal perspective for digital creations: mobile first.
Julien Denotte brings his designing skills in image creation and infographics to the table. He is a passionate believer in visual attractive snack-bites that offer great stopping power, and loves translating a good brand story in an attractive infographic. In his world, an image definitely beats a thousand words.
Ergin Arslanbas started as a creative consultant. An unorthodox video communication specialist, he will be a corner stone in MBP’s YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram endeavours. Ergin, from Turkish ancestry, kicks ass at Achterklap ,one of YouTube most popular channels.

Every MBP’er is as well a top-notch leader in his speciality, as a crucial addition to the team. Content is a science, and experience teaches us it takes a slightly mad team to make it happen. We’re all geared up for 2016. To quote Olivier Blanchard: “Pray that we never become your competitor’s secret weapon.”

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