René Seifert

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

Archive for the 'Media' Category

Kulturempfehlungen.de ist live

Web 2.0 macht vor keiner Nische halt. Jetzt wird auch die Hochkultur davon überrollt bzw. davon aufgerollt, und zwar mit einer neuen Plattform Kulturempfehlungen.de

kulturempfehlungen.de

Wie der Name schon suggeriert, dreht sich alles um Kultur, und zwar in der ganzen Spannweite von Musik, Literatur und Film. Wie ich auch gut unterrichteten Kreisen erfahren habe, wird demnächst auch Kunst, Design, Architektur und Bühne hinzukommen.

Eine erste Vorauswahl wird von der Redaktion getroffen, dann macht die Community weiter und kann CDs, Bücher und Filme bewerten und empfehlen.

Leadership Forum: How NASSCOM just doesn’t get 2.0

After the gala dinner “Salaam Mumbai” on Friday night, I made my way to the airport and had a relaxed night flight with Swiss Airline to Zürich where incidentally Rattan Tata was two seats away from me. The landscape here couldn’t pose a bigger contrast to the previous three days in hot and humid Mumbai. On the snow covered slopes of St. Moritz (Switzerland) I found some time and focus to reflect on the conference.

Piz Nair (3057 m) in St. Moritz

These three days at the NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2009 have – like my previous two attendances – been tremendously inspiring with phenomenal speakers like John Chambers (CEO of Cisco) as the starter and management guru C.K. Prahalad for the grand finale. Moreover, and that’s what I love deeply in Indian culture, if you know on Day 1 some people, on Day 3 you will know many people thanks to the cordial introductions which those some will make for you to the many. The strong impression which the evening events left on me, is the result of a long-term effort putting these choreographies for the shows with all the awards and dancers together. All fine, and I am quite sure I will attend next year again, that’s for the red cross in the calendar February 9th to 11th 2010.

Yet, and that’s where it really loses me, that in spite of the professional organization of the event, India’s IT-industry association NASSCOM simply doesn’t get it what this beast Web 2.0 or Communication 2.0 or Innovation 2.0 or however you want to name it, is about. Ironically, the two top-speakers I mentioned above where teaching and preaching how it works, what it means and how it positively impacts the outreach of an organization. Specifically, C.K. Prahalad mentioned in his talk that he sees a huge opportunity to consult companies in “social architecture”. NASSCOM should be the first customer.

So in my perception, NASSCOM is still stuck in the mindset: “Uuups, there is this something called Facebook, Twitter, Web 2.0 – and we have to do something with it.” The result: Applying the old mindset (which again Prof. Prahalad was pointing out as the biggest obstacle) onto these platforms and forcing the existing command & control structures of its organizations on these platforms. And it just hurts, because it just doesn’t work this way and thereby gets stuck in the old format (sorry for the blurred quality of the pic).

C.K. Prahalad: Impediments for Innovations

Examples:

  • NASSCOM is running “a blog”, hu-ha-hu a blog, how fancy does this sound with a few “bloggers” writing for it here and identifying themselves on the event with a badge “NASSCOM – I’m blogging” plus some through the audacity to have their hair grown over the tip of their ears. Nothing to object, but this has nothing at all to do with blogging. What NASSCOM in fact does, it hires a few people as editors, thereby controlling the message and pushing it “out to the world”. I wonder if the world cares when the oracle has spoken. (When I got the offer by Avinash Raghava from NASSCOM to “get an account also write for us”, I politely declined. I prefer to write what I think on my own blog.)
  • NASSCOM in on Twitter, check out what came out in the last three days of the conference under http://twitter.com/nilf2009: It’s nothing but pushing one-directionally micro-links of these same messages out. Moreover, using the account name NILF2009 carries a fundamental and obvious flaw: It terms that NASSCOM easily understands, it’s simply not “scalable” as for 2010, 2011 etc. there have to be a new accounts over and over again with losing all the old followers and starting from zero. If I was a cynic, I could argue: With the 36 follower at the time of writing no harm done. Note by the way, the absence of NASSCOM’s interest in conversing by only following back 10 people.

NILF 2009 Twitter

  • NASSCOM has set up a community “Emerge” of its own using CollectiveX to have its members and the delegates respectively interact on that platform beyond the face-to-face meetings. So far absolutely a right move. Yet, it stops exactly there as the old mindset dictates that one must own, control and monopolize the conversation. This platform is not bad at all, but it is not exactly the comfort that Facebook offers. So where is the Facebook-group of the conference where there are not just the better features for interaction, but more importantly where EVERYBODY is already around. When I asked new acquaintances on the conference after receiving their business cards if they were on Facebook, in 80 percent the answer was “yes”.
  • NASSCOM is taping all of the keynotes and most of the panels on video. Why in this world is there no channel on YouTube to put these treasures out? The same applies to the presentations where NASSCOM-president Som Mittal mentioned at the very end that most of them will be available for download. Thank you very much, had I known that before I would have not written my fingers off with taking notes. Just see this slide from John Chamber’s presentation on YouTube’s impact on his organization.

Cisco YouTube-Usage

  • NASSCOM, and that brings me to the last point, is acting in an era of connectedness entirely disconnected in all the separate, distinct and isolated silos of activity. The moderately talented moderator who regularly stumbles in just presenting what the presenter is going to present is of little help either in that context. Where are these closed feedback loops of someone qualified on stage continuously bring the pieces together?

But let’s take a step back and not get stuck in doing the same mistake of bashing single flaws here and simple formats there, but re-draw the big picture of what this all is about: It’s about providing the delegates with a profound and sustainable experience of the event in terms of learning, connecting and participating. Beyond that, the message should get out of the “echo chamber” and travel as far and as fast as possible to anybody who could be a relevant stakeholder. As part of a communication strategy, NASSCOM perfectly includes the press in the process. But here the story ends. Where NASSCOM entirely fails, is getting real word-of-mouth out by engaging into a CONVERSATION. A conversation by definition requires at least the same amount of listening as much as of talking yourself.

Attend a conference of O’Reilly like the upcoming Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco next month (I will be there, too) and you see how it can be done differently by pulling all levers and connecting them. Attendants can twitter questions upfront which the moderator will use for his interview, he will suggest tags for pics and videos which will be uploaded etc. Furthermore, the conference organizers will invite impartial bloggers equal to traditional press which will, of course, write on their own blogs. The official conference-bloggers would read them, link to them, comment, retort, put things straight or, clearly, ignore trolls who are just out there for parasitic attention.

Or, visit the DLD-Conference in Munich where I moderated two panels a fortnight ago: There is a dedicated video-channel with all the panels. Also, from the organizers’ communication team someone will constantly watch what is being twittered in order to make improvements of the event “on the fly”.

Overall, if NASSCOM is serious about its efforts to move up the value chain towards products, it would require some colourful “Gondalization”, named after my friend Vishal Gondal from Indiagames, who won this year’s NASSCOM India Innovation Award for evangelizing his service in a novel way. Vishal was not the only one to wear an orange T-shirt in the dark ocean of seriousness. What is more, he has fully understood how Communication 2.0 works, he is a real blogger who has a tremendous network to leverage upon. This includes that NASSCOM would have to deal with posts like his Why Wipro, Infosys and TCS are “The Axis of Evil” for Indian start-up space which has garnered 120 comments. One of the major properties of Communication 2.0 is the ability to let go and have the network do the work from amplifying to correcting the message.

CIMG4308

It’s not about if Vishal in right in all he writes, or if I went too far with criticism in this post. That would be missing the point which John Chambers got so right as the bracket for this keynote: “If you agree in all I say, I have failed.” But listening to it from a position of equals is the starting point for a true conversation.

“Slumdog Millionaire”: Best Fiction ever set in India

It couldn’t have been more authentic. After sitting sitting in Bangalore’s well organized INOX-cinema at Garuda Mall, it was after midnight that I stepped out of the theatre and into the empty streets of Bangalore. For the first time in 5 years that I watched any Indian movie, after seeing Slumdog Millionaire, I had this feeling of “this is so real.”

Sure, the narrative is fiction, I loved the book by Vikas Swarup already, but the way the movie is set into India is a cinematic and cultural masterpiece. The director Danny Boyle has accomplished the herculean task of studying Mumbai, India and their people in such detail before coming up with this perfect representation.

When I wached the scenes set in Mumbai with its buzzing streets, crowds of people, views of the Dharavi slum which I had seen so many times for real, it sent a shiver down my spine. Yes, torture at Mumbai’s police is commonplace. Yes, there are sleazy underworld dons, of bigger and smaller calibre, like depicted in the film. And yes, the way how the characters interact, from the game-show to the streets reminds me of watching uncountable conversations in my host country.

It’s together with Gandhi the best movie ever set in the subcontinent which appeals to a global audience. Well deserved that it has won aleady acclaimed awards and has been nominated for 10 Oscars.

Exactly that, conversely, could be the reason that the movie has been received with criticism from the incumbent Indian movie industry, more commonly known as “Bollywood”. Especially, its Godfather, Grand Seigneur and Eternal Hero Amitabh Batchan has his own view:

If Slumdog Millionaire projects India as a third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations. It’s just that the Slumdog Millionaire idea, authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a westerner, gets creative global recognition.

Deep down in such a statements lies Bollywood’s innate inferiority complex. Although churning out more films per year than Hollywood, the international community has still refused to acknowledge the outcome as serious cinema. If you ever watched one, then you will certainly not be surprised. Apart from the colourful dancing scenes, which by themselves tend to raise eyebrows, if one had one wish it would be having one’s brain temporarily amputated. Only then it would be no issue to follow the non-existent plot over 3 hours and suffer from characters who are their own caricatures – at best.

Therefore, receiving such a remark from Mr. Bachan, should prove to be the ultimate accolade for one of the best movies. It is in some way also a piece of art which drives globalization forward and is set in an environment which even 5 years ago would have been considered irrelevant for broader appeal. If you’ve never been to India, the movie will for sure delight you. If you’ve visited India before, the experience will in addition evoke memories with oscillating emotions.

(Not sure if I can keep up writing this week, will be off to Mumbai tomorrow for the Nasscom Leadership Forum, fly directly to Zurich and hope to stand on the skiing-slope of St. Moritz on Saturday noon. Have a great week, anyway.)

Videos of my DLD Panels “E-Commerce” & “Mobile” live

So here we are with the videos which got taped last week during the two sessions I moderated during the DLD in Munich at the new format “Technology Enables Success”.

Panel “E-Commerce”

Panel “Mobile”

Link: Mobile - Panel 3 - TES

Thanks to all the great panelists with their profound knowledge and enthusiasm which they displayed during the conversation and which they display every day to run their businesses successfully.

DLD 2009: “New Realities” meet “Old Excellence”

DLD 2009 - New RealitiesAnother 3 days of DLD 2009 are over and I still feel primed by all the inspiration from this event which I consider the finest of its sort in Europe. I also explained here on video after being asked :-) The subject "New Realities" couldn't be selected better given the global gravity of circumstance we are currently in.

What impresses me every time anew at DLD is the consistency how the organizers carry its top-level theme through all the bits and pieces of the conference-experience. Overall, the panels were phenomenal, with a few people's intellect and speed of thought being in particular astounding like Marissa Meyer from Google, Max Levchin from Slide, Carlos Bhola from Celsius Capital and Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook. Mark was announced as the "surprise guest" as the very end, came, sat 3 feet away from me – unassuming and down-to-earth in the speakers' lounge – before going out on stage for his interview with David Kirkpatrick. 

DLD 2009: Forum

What in my feeling makes DLD stand out from other conferences is the ability to bring a true community to life: the event management is perfect, yet not clinically polished. Conferences in Germany in particular tend to be stiff. In that regard an international crowd brings in a relaxing element. But above all, with the inclusion of lifestyle and arts, both on the panels as well as throughout the conference area, the organizers manage to set the tone for a warm, informal and approachable setting. Here, by the way, the pictures I took from the conference. 

DLD 2009

On another note I am aware that this year human drama took place as the number of participants was almost reduced by half. I received countless requests from people "if I couldn't do something" for them to get in since they saw me on the speakers' list. I would have loved, but this was beyond my control. On the other hand, I have to admit, that perhaps this very reduction of size contributed to a more intimate and personal atmosphere which allowed for easy approaching of anybody you wanted to talk to. In that respect, it reminded me of Clay Shirkey's explanation in his book "Here comes Everybody" that the perceived group cohesion is negatively correlated with its size. 

Aenne Burda Award

Just on one critical note: The co-chairman Yossi Vardi is an amazing person, appears to be a genuine good-heart, made it in life and is fully entitled to display both his deserved independence and extroverted personality. Yet his appearance as the moderator of a high-calibre panel with Chad Hurley (YouTube), Samir Arora (Glam) and Mitchell Baker (Mozilla Foundation) was a disaster. If there is nothing left than having the audience do the "tarzan cry" and ignoring his guests on stage, then there is something going wrong. But here's the video, so go ahead and form your own opinion. 

Yesterday afternoon, in a new format called DLD-TES (technology enables success) by Burda Digital I had the honour to moderate the two sessions about E-Commerce and Mobile. The first one was the easier one as it was fairly straightforward to build a common thread along the four panellists where technology makes a difference in their strategies. Mobile is a hell of complex issue where we had to spend half of the time not just describing what each of the panelists' companies do from a tech-standpoint, but also explain where and how the panelists' companies are intertwined (a lot in fact, I swear). Overall, I had a good feeling on both panels and the feedback so far was also ok. From what I heard, the sessions have been taped on video. Once I get ahold of the URLs, I will happily share them here. 

Thanks at this point to the organizers to make this event happen again where "New Realities" met "Old Excellence" of DLD. Thanks in particular to Marcel and Steffi (picture below), Rupert and Heiko as well as Tobias. 

Marcel Reichart & Steffi Czerny at DLD  2009

Busy preparing for DLD Moderation

Temperature-wise, it makes quite a change: Last week in Lapland at -32° C I could not have thought of stepping out in shorts and T-shirt and enjoy it like I did yesterday on my terrace in Bangalore. Unfortunately there is not too much time to hang out in the sun as I have quite a tight travel schedule in the next days. 

Tomorrow, it's going to Delhi for the "Regional Integration Event" (=RIE 2009), a congregation of all Indian Chapters of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO). These events used to be always a blast in terms of enthusiasm, bonding, speakers, learning and fun. Last year it happened in Bombay, to be precise in the lately heroic Taj Mahal Hotel (see my blog post here). 

Unfortunately, I will only be able to stay for the whole Saturday and leave one day earlier, as my bed for the night to Sunday will be in LH 761 Delhi to Frankfurt in order to make it on time at 2 pm for the opening of the DLD. In my view the finest conference of Digital, Lifestyle and Design in Europe, featuring digital innovation in a broader context of science and culture. 

Like last year around the subject of "India", I will have the honour this year to moderate two panels within the newly created format "Technology enables Success" which will take place on Tuesday afternoon. "My" two panels revolve around mobile and e-commerce, whereby we will focus on the critical role of technology as a strategic differentiator for business. The good thing for the audience is that I am not alone, but will have four distinguished thought leaders on each panel from big incumbent players to new start-up which intend to disrupt the current landscape – guess what, by technology.

So the preparation these panels besides day-to-day business is keeping me quite busy. As I learned from old school moderation of 10 years in radio: Lots of preparation allows for lots of spontaneity. So I am siphoning through the CVs of the panelists, calling each and every one up for a small up-front chat, reading up on their companies and piece by piece formulating questions and ultimately some common thread to spin a meaningful conversation on stage. 

Moreover, besides all the facts, atmosphere is essential: Relaxing the situation from the very beginning with everyone involved. That's something one could really obeserve from the new U.S. president during his campaign which got a name I really like: "No drama Obama" :-)

Watched the Movie “Outsourced” in Bangalore

Took a break from work and went out for a little stroll through Bangalore, the mood is different on Sundays than during weekdays. For one, it's more crowded, yet less hectic. People have time for shopping and in economically challenging times even more so for just for window shopping.

Brigade Road in Bangalore in Twilight

So I saw many couples walking hand-in-hand, but also the usual scenes from India with men walking hand in hand. I have gotten so much used to that view in the last 5 years that I didn't even realize until my comrade Dirk was killing himself laughing during his India-visit.

Ya, ya, T.I.I. (=This is India), and also this billboard for Levi's. 

Brigade Road in Bangalore in Twilight

Explaining such a picture to some new visitors to India has proven to me one of the most difficult pieces as it runs with the biggest possible contradiction. On the scale from 1 to 10 in rating India's openness to talk about sex in public, I'll give it a straight 1. There is hardly any more prudish country in the world. Yet, in a layer that is so far away from reality that it is impossible to conceive, almost everything goes. Take Bollywood where you have beautiful, sexy half naked woman dancing under the rain-machine.

But you will never see any Indian woman walking with a short skirt in the streets. That's why I call Bollywood "fiction of fiction" as even in a obviously fictional setting, reality gets skewed to a point where there is sufficient attachment to create recognition with the world, but then moves beyond it where it tickles unspoken desires that are too removed to be ever satisfied. So it doesn't pose any danger to existing norm and order. 

Then, finally after a long time of failed intentions, I watched the movie Outsourced. I really enjoyed it a lot as it packs all the possible cultural shocks that India has to offer into a lovely story. The American manager Todd has to outsource his procurement-centre to India, goes through all the Western struggles before he not only finds his peace with India, but even a likening of her people. Even more so as he falls in love with Asha, a young lady he has been training in the call-centre. Here is the trailer:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Unlike the movie Darjeeling Limited which i liked a lot, yet had to label non-Indian, Outsourced comes as close to Indian reality as it can get. Just to get two minor things right: There are not too many "Ahsas" around in call-centres who would engage in any (hidden) relationship with their supervisor and Auntie would never ask a visitor if he was homosexual. (See above "prudish", and by the way Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature".)

Minor things hardly worth mentioning. I believe that for those who have been to India already, the movie will provide a very rich context and bring many memories back. For those who haven't, watching the movie might create the desire to have onself "outsourced" to the subcontinent – at least for a limited time during holiday.

Come, come all, Mother India with 1 billion opportunities is eagerly awaiting you :-)

Viren Khanna and the Internet changing Bangalore Nightlife

Internet penetration in India is still relatively low, only around 30 mn of the Indian 1.1 bn population are online, growing at a fast pace of 27 % p.a. Yet, as everything in India, one has to put things into a context before making a conclusion, one has to put a frame around what one ist going to say. The context that I'd like to narrow down is the increasingly affluent group of people who like going out for a good night's party in Bangalore. Indians usually in their 20s, and a bit elderly expats in their rather 30s (like me ;-). Although the "good night's party" in Bangalore is strangulated by a curfew at 11.30 pm including a no-dancing policy whose zeal of enforcement reminds me rather of the Islamic police in Iran that in the allegedly "biggest democracy in the world", one thing has changed for the better in the last 1.5 years or so. 

Previously, due to the reason mentioned above, the entire nightlife was entirely fragmented across the various locations in Bangalore. No doubt, that there is nothing more boring that going to a bar or a club and having the impression to be almost the only guest. So today 23-year old Entrepreneur Viren Khanna seized the opportunity of aggregating the dispersed crowd. He made a deal with existing clubs and started to send out text messages to people of his address book on the mobile phone which he systematically grew with every event; a typical example of "building momentum". Since then, the so called "Viren-Parties" have become a synonym for "something is happening" at least two times a week in Bangalore.

Viren Khanna

In a not surprising quest to grow his business, he went on to organize fashion shows. What is more, the platforms of communication got enhanced as well, getting into the Web 2.0, an environment that the mentioned target group is very familiar with. For one, a group called "Viren's Nightlife Group – Blitzkrieg" on Facebook with 789 members at the time of my writing. For second, in order to provide a higher level of proprietary branding, a social network of its own, "The Ives Club". 

Positioned as a club for interns, trainees and expats in Bangalore, I was astonished in the first place about the technological sophistication of it and wondered what huge effort it would have taken it to engineer this monster. When I digged deeper into the souce code, it dawned on me that the platform entirely uses Ning, which allows you to "create a social network for anything". Co-Founded by Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape in the 90s, Ning is an amazing example of the Über-Plattform, as Marc elaborately explains in his blog-post on "The three kinds of platforms you meet on the internet". When I asked Viren how long it took to build The Ives Club based on Ning , he replied "It did not take me much long to stitch this thing together, but it did take me an extremely long time and a lot of fidgeting with CRM softwares, phpBB and 3 versions of it to find out about Ning and use it."

ives club

As the fundamentals of Web 2.0 go, these services become better the more people use them. So besides just having a distibution channel to annouce further events, the members among each other begin to interact before and after the events. So the shy ones for instance get the opportunity to address a girl onlline which they have failed to do while seeing her "in da club". Subject to some positive response he will be able catch up during the next party and prove that is is not that shy, though … 

I joined MumbaiAngels: Private Equity investments in India

 What I wanted to briefly write about already in the last few weeks is my engagement in an amazing group of entrepreneurs and top-executives in Bombay (Mumbai): The MumbaiAngels. What we would call a “Verein” in Germany, has the shape of an association of currently 40 individuals who have an interest in investing their money in prospective start-ups and early-stage companies in India.

The association has been set up one year ago, spearheaded by my friend Sasha Mirchandani who is a seasoned entrepreneur and currently the Head of India for BlueRun Ventures. How MumbaiAngels works is easily explained: We meet every 6 weeks in Bombay and three to five pre-selected companies would pitch in front of us: 15 minutes sharp followed by a friendly but critical Q&A-session by the potential investors. Each angel is entirely free to express independently interest in a particular company through a feedback form. At the end all the forms get aggregated internally whereby the level of interest in a particular company could (and maybe should) also help as an indicator of attractiveness from the “wisdom-of-crowds” perspective.

In the next step, say if 9 people have interest in a particular company, they would go along for a joint due diligence, deal structure into which each individual would invest the amount of money he or she wants to commit. Overall, from my experience of building up an incubator, I am quite impress about the level of maturity for the processes which are critical to come to terms from filtering interesting investment targets to having the investment in place.

The sectors we are looking at have not been defined too narrow, and right so. Ultimately, it should be something that scales well, because it either organizes and unstructured industry in India with its huge market potential behind, addresses a clear need or something which contains a technology-driven nucleus whose economics are prone to disproportionately fast distribution and foreseeable revenues. (My personal investment-appetite goes very much to the latter, certainly because I have some sort of expertise in the tech, media, internet and mobile-space.)

The advantage for entrepreneurs seeking for investments to address Mumbai Angels is manifold: The investors involved bring extensive experience in building and growing business to the table, where the Q&A session during the pitch alone can ask the right questions to tweak and turn something in the plan or model. Moreover, MumbaiAngels are far beyond just throwing “dumb money” at you, then sitting on our hands and waiting what returns we’ll receive. What we are looking for is an active role via ongoing mentoring, door-opening to customers or partners and access to capital for the subsequent rounds of funding.

I am glad to be part of that fine group. If you are an entrepreneur seeking start-up capital for a venture in the Indian market, feel free to address me. I will see what I can do for you and what I can do for us – the MumbaiAngels.

Bryan Adams in Zurich: 7 Steps for a powerful PR-Campaign

Its neutrality, order and cosiness alone make Switzerland a worthwhile place to visit again and again. Moreover, Zurich with its 380,000 inhabitants small by usual cosmopolitan standards has a flourishing cultural life. The ubiquitously visible wealth of the city is certainly not an impediment to it. Yesterday, it was Bryan Adams who had a sold-out concert in Zurich whereby his management accurately planned a PR-appearance beforehand. The venue, Puls 5, is a worn down industrial manufacturing hall with high ceilings and old steel structures all which creates an honest ambience for an exhibition.

CIMG2631

The event “Hear the World” has been touring around various cities in the world for quite a while and is an initiative of Phonak, a Swiss manufacturer of hearing aids. From my own 15-year old experience in media, this concept definitely hails in the upper range of PR-formats. What most companies get wrong in PR is a too aggressive push of their company name or worse, its products. Phonak did well to put the emphasis on an issue which allegedly affects 15-20 % of global population: hearing problems, along with the stigma not really admitting to the problem or worse, not doing something about it.

As I write these lines, I realize how well this event platform was crafted: I never thought about the problem before, I even doubt that these numbers are in their severity as high or that this is one of the most daunting problems of this world today, but nevertheless the event left some sort of impact on me thinking and even blogging about the issue. That’s what you call successful agenda-setting which deserves at least professional respect.

The ingredients for the event could hardly be hand-picked any better:

  1. Take an issue worth alleviating (see paragraph above).

  2. Engage a VIP who is unsuspicious of being a sponsor-whore for everything: In this case Bryan Adams, a world-famous rock star who builds bridged between continents and generations alike and who – for his age of 48 years – looks extremely juvenile. Furthermore, what I was not aware of, Bryan Adams is also a highly talented photographer which brings us to the next point.

    Bryan Adams

  3. Make the issue tangible: Connect with the VIP, whereby keeping the message subtle: Bryan Adams has taken a series of pictures with musicians where he asked them if they would pose for something which reflects them hearing or listening. Apart from one (name undisclosed) all agreed and there you go with an exhibition of artistic big-sized black-and white photographs.

    CIMG2657

  4. Deliver immediate remedy: As these photographs are unique, they are or have been already auctioned off with the income going directly to several schools and institutions in the third world dealing with children who have hearing problems.

  5. Create an event-platform: The exhibition is open till Sunday, yet the gala-opening was clearly a highlight where Bryan Adams showed up himself, albeit with app. 10 minutes only very briefly, stating “no interview” and buggering off to his concert. Yet, if you have Bryan Adams for such an event, all the VIPs and wannabe VIPs will come all by themselves. Apparently, the hall must have been full with Swiss actors, models and celebrities (which I admittedly did not recognize). Food and drinks were excellent, too.

  6. Roll out the red carpet, literally: The presence of these VIPs will in turn attract the press which will thankfully cover such an event with many, many nice pictures its audience wants to see. (No wonder, the day after 2 major Zurich tabloids had the event and Bryan Adams on the front-page).

    CIMG2632

  7. Keep a low profile as the initiator: Phonak knows pretty well that 80 % of the people in this world long for its products as much as they long for Malaria. Yet, when they need it, they will notably improve their lives. Hence, the CEO of the company on stage was quite up-front to admit: “We want to create awareness for a problem that nobody wants to hear and talk about.”

That’s it. Good event, nice motives for pictures also from my side here on the Flickr-Set and myself last but not least looking at Amy and Amy looking at me.

CIMG2681

And what I now do hear very loud and clear is my friends calling for another round of Oktoberfest :-)

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