René Seifert

Entrepreneur, Global Citizen, Flat World, Internet, Web 2.0, Innovation, Start-Up

Archive for August, 2006

In the beginning was …

… the word, goes the famous biblical saying (John 1:1). Ignited by this spirit, the concept for the Holtzbrinck eLAB -blog I mentioned yesterday has progressed nicely. We are so far clear what we want to express, how we want to structure it, whom to involve and set a realistic expectation level:

Becoming the premier choice for smart people who want to see a good idea be transformed into a great company. A destination for entrepreneurs who want to develop a concept further in an environment of trust and experience supported by a powerful network. You might realized that I did not mention “money“ or “funding“. Right. Sure, cash is available as well, otherwise it would not be possible to get a good idea off the ground, but eLAB is not a VC. Call it incubator, or accelerator that is constantly improving on its key competency of evaluating ideas, failing as fast as possible to focus resources to the next task at hand, and successfully bringing promising concepts in the most sustainable manner „from lab to land“.

At the moment I am working on making that happen in a sort of „editorial concept“ which includes manifold stakeholders and multiple authors to contribute on a regular bases and next executing efficiently on getting the platform up and running soon.

As a funny and purely coincidental parallel, yesterday I gave a newspaper to Vikas Kumar, reporter at the Economic Times of India who is covering the topic of blogging CEOs. Somehow, he found his was to me. The key question was of course if there was ever an immediate “impact” (deal, sales) based on my blogging. I replied that this would be exaggerated, but interestingly quite a few people are reading the blog before meeting me for the first time. Expectedly, they would google my name and my name would appear in the hit-list at in the first place with my blog. And looking through it, they would see that I am “real”, find people whom I have met and understand roughly what kind of topics drive me. It is at least a nice starting point for a conversation, at best it provides and additional layer of trust when entering into a business relationship.

Blogging on Blogging

At the moment I am quite busy working on a comprehensive concept for a client-blog of Holtzbrinck eLAB which is supposed to go live soon. And I can tell it is a huge advantage that I have been doing blogging for quite some time myself. From the experience, my key learnings for putting together a blog for a client summarized in six bullet points:

• Less is more. A blog is like a monster which once created needs constantly get fed. So start frugal with much more content in the backlog so that you don’t run into the trap of declining postings both in quality and quantity once the initial enthusiasm has evaporated.

• Build a roadmap: There are so many cool and exciting features you can integrate in your mostly vertical structure left and right of the content, but usually you will only need a few important assets: latest postings, full-test search and categories. Ideally, take the effort to write together what you would like to have and treat your blog like a perpetual beta: Better get started soon, get a hands-on experience and incrementally add bells and whistles: Flickr picture inte-gration, blogroll, Rollyo shared links etc.

• Define your content vision: You certainly have an idea what you are going to publish. Define purposeful categories which will help you in the first place classify the content for your users, and in the second place remind you what you actually intended to cover. But feel free, no better feel obliged, to re-think your concept from time to time.

• Keep a nice mix: Especially for a corporate blogs, the angles to cover interesting topics seem almost limitless. Try to identify the key topics, possible authors and set up some intervals for a purposeful “editorial structure” so that you don’t build a “hangover” towards one direction. Moreover, don’t drop the guard for the ease of too many quick & dirty postings which a low generic creative impact.

• Blogs are conversations: Identify the key bloggers in the domain you are targeting, read their blogs on a regular bases and make their content part of your own postings by referring and extending your thoughts. Also be prepared to react quickly to comments where taking a stance is required. That’s something, no editorial planning will be able to cover.

I will keep you updated when the blog is going live.

Cool Geotagging Tool: Blockrocker

Because “Everything happens somewhere”, how the claim of Blockrocker puts it, itr has developed a cool and – once you grasped the concept – easy and intuitive service. In the essence the idea is that most things do have a location which is obvious for pictures taken or outside videos. But it must not necessarily be restricted to that: A link on the social bookmark manager delicious can also contain a geographic meaning with respect to the content that it deals about. And finally, and that’s what I tested myself beneath, also a blog entry can have a geographic context. Admittedly in this posting the Bangalore-context is weak to artificial as I am just sitting in Bangalore writing without any true context on the city, but I guess I should not behave that Über-German and just give it a go ;-)

See this post’s geographical context.

Anyway a nice and intelligently built service which will certainly help laying the path to more georeferential awareness in whatever we do on the web and also in “real life”.

What is Web 2.0?

As much as trends come and trends go, new terms get coined. Some survive, other go under as buzzwords. I caught myself quite often in discussions on Web 2.0 where I do take the stance that the way how we actively consume media is different than it used to be. Yet, I have heard often enough that Web 2.0 as a terms is as much inflated as the bubble in which we allegedly were in again. Here’s some food for thought in the lean-back couch-potato version from – again – YouTube with a few tech-startup execs making their case:

Sony’s Mylo with WiFi Access

Great stuff to enhance blogging by simply embedding videos. So Gizmodo has been quick on conducting a video review on the latest gadget Mylo (=My life online) from Sony. It’s 2 minutes something and definitely worth watching:

In my view gadgets like exactly these will be an important part of our digital lifestyle in the future. Personal, multimedia and of course online. Thus, WiFi is the only standard which is supported to not just chat/talk to your IM-buddies but with “Skype Out” to anybody else in the world. Alltogether, another overdue cool head-on attack on the telco-oligarchs.

Pope Benedict XVI gives Interview to German TV

As some sort of tradition, Pope Benedict XVI. has made it a custom that he gives interviews before he undertakes a major travel abroad. So he invited four German journalists in the forefront of his visit to Bavaria, his (and also my) homeland in the beginning of September. If you want to see the entire interview (it’s in German language), make sure you have the Real-Player installed, then click HERE:


I don’t hesitate to confess at any occasion that my admiration for this man is unlimited. Our by far brightest living German is sitting in Rome on the Holy See. Once you start reading the books he has written during his entire life, you will realize that deep conviction of his Christian faith in combination with a razorsharp intellectual mind. If you are a believer or not, one cannot deny the unparalled purity of his thought. What I mean with “purity” extends to two dimensions: one, the unblurred clarity of his mental agility to support an argument from the thesis to its conclusion as well as two, the unshaken principles of virtue of this humble and unassuming personality. People who had seen him speaking always came back stunned that Benedict and previously also the theologist Prof. Joseph Ratzinger speaks freely as if it is written. And that’s what you get to see in this interview: His answers are visibly spontaneous, but he follows them through with an amazing sharpness and refined structure of his words.

What I liked most from what he said is that he wants to refresh the faith in our single-sidedly enlightened western socities by propelling a positive message, to say what the church stays for instead of reconfirming the false perception that it stands for a “collection of prohibitions”. Furthermore, he is right to make the the point that the “clash of civilizations” which we are facing at the moment in the Middle East or in its most perverted form of the (thwarted) terrorist attacks, can hardly be met just by the excessive rational secularism into which we westerners seem to project the highest stage of personal freedom. By contrast, if we want to engage in a cross-cultural dialogue, Christianity is not a party in an “us against them”-conflict, but can rather function as a bridge in which other cultures will recognize the respect towards some higher being under which we submit our own demeanor. I could tell from many occasions when I got asked in India what my religion was: Whan I replied “Catholic”, all perfect, especially because Hinduism is a strongly open, tolerant and, say, “inclusive” religion. When I conducted the counter test and said “nothing”, “atheist” or “agnostic”, I could see total disbelief, even the attitude that I was missing out on something very important in my life.

There was just one passage which I did not like: I would like to stress up-front that religion is much more than the annoying debate of condoms vs. non-condoms. Yet, the Pope’s conclusion that just technical education and the recommendation of contraceptives in Africa have only lead to war and AIDS-epidemics, is factually flawed. He has a point, though, that education should not just pertain to skills and engineering, but should also extend to the formation of moral standards. Certainly Africa as the forgotten continent has certainly a long way to go for both of these objectives, yet ignoring the success of decreased infection-rates and AIDS-deads where sexual eduaction had been undertaken with rigour, is close to cynical.

Nevertheless, Benedict’s interview is a masterpiece and underscores his justified weight as a great religious and secular leader of the 21st century.

Pictures from Bangalore

Not really surprising, after living some time (2.5 years to be precise) in Bangalore, one gets used to a lot of things which also brings some sluggishness with it to take pictures at all. But today I had a camara with my and just as I was walking my path, took a few of them of M.G. Road, Brigade Road and Residency Road. The whole set is here, and here a small selection: