Google is everywhere

Once again, it was a Google-day. The latest tech news could yesterday be found at the hardware event of Google. Even I, who isn’t always that keen to try new high-tech products, was listening very carefully and got the desire to try these products. Google always seems to make life easier and more pleasant and that’s exactly why so many of us like the company. We love simplicity that turns out to be highly effective. Google embodies this. But I still remain curious how the majority of our populations will react and whether they will adopt the new Google hardware. Because it’s not about getting geeks to use your product, it’s about convincing the entire world.
That Google is everywhere can also be seen in the graph that accompanies the following tweet by Larry Kim. On any subject where innovation can make an impact, Google can be found. It’s remarkable in how many sectors Alphabet is active and with good to great results. Google is one of the biggest and newest giants in the world. They are internet’s baby. For many persons, especially elder ones, they even are the internet. And yet, this is not satisfactory for this giant. It wants more, and that’s why we can’t be surprised when they invest in Hardware.

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Create now!

Create something, every day!

It's a trap, and I fall for it myself quite often. You don't really create something on your day. You're busy just performing the tasks people expect you to do but nothing is something you're really passionate about because it isn't truly creating content. You don't create something that you're really proud of. That's something we all forget too often. The world in which we live did not just pop up, it's been created, and every day new creations arrive. You should be one of the creators. Not just because you can gain money or success, but because it will make you happy. Just like Mark Hatch, author of "The Maker Movement Manifesto", Chris Dessi, writer of the enclosed article, is an advocate of people who create something. Why do they create? Because of the pride en satisfaction they gain from it. You can find it in small places as well. Even with writing this blog post, I'm creating something unique. A unique piece I could be proud of, at least if you like it. It's a piece in which you put a little bit of yourself. A piece that might make you feel better. By creating something, you're taking control of a small piece of the future and isn't that something we all desire? By creating our own content (written, audiovisual, ...) or product of art, we leave something from ourselves on this planet. We're just positioning ourselves a little bit more in this world. We make it more beautiful, in our own way, with our own creations.

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Time for inspiration : pitch decks & art

Art via the internet of things

Art, in the broad definition of the word, have been the resource of inspiration to mankind for several centuries. But art also evolves accordingly to the era it's created in. Our era is one of high-tech discoveries and new applications from older ones. One of these applications is the Internet of Things (IoT). More and more, we're evolving to a hyper-connected world. Art will also find its way in this world because the possibilities of it are limitless. Opportunities are there for artists to create a whole new world. An artist does not longer have to constrain himself in time and place. With the Internet of Things, the hole world can be his playground. This article will dive even deeper into the opportunities of the synergy between art & IoT as well as actions that have already been taken in this field.

Pitch decks from start-ups when they were still starting up

Another widely recognized source of inspiration is learning from other people's work. Let the following webpage be such a source. It may be hard to believe nowadays but once upon a time, companies like LinkedIn and Airbnb used to be small start-ups looking for investors. This is the place where you can find their first pitch decks. Perhaps those might inspire you to start your own story and create your own first pitch deck.

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Taking opportunities : the open internet and you as your coach

An open internet

At this moment, the internet seems to be one of the most important discoveries ever made. it's also one which has not yet reached its full potential. That's the task for the following generations. An open internet must allow this following generations to actually do so. In this article, the founder of Reddit does not only describe the needs of his ideal internet, he also encourages us to fight and work for and with the opportunities that the internet is providing us. This is an article which is meant to be a motivator. So I also advise you to definitely read his remarkable vision.

Finding a coach : perhaps you should start with yourself

Everyone understands that he should learn from other people who has different experiences. But you might have your own experiences which could be useful. One should never rule out himself when it comes to finding a coach. You do own interesting knowledge which could help your professional career move forward. Don't let it be unused. This article provides guidelines on how to drag this knowledge out of your own brain and hereby becoming a better version of yourself.

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Millenials & leadership : Good combination?

What’s holding millennials back?

Numerous articles were written on the pro's and con's from this new generation flooding the labor market: the millennials. I'm one myself by the way. We're ambitious but yet we realize there's more in this world than just making money. The impact of our jobs is probably the most important factor we encounter when we're deciding if we like our job. In this job, apparently, most millennials think they are leaders although they aren't. We still, as a generation, need to get those desired promotions in roles of leaders. This articles shows us which we traps we regularly step into. I also have to be honest. I do recognize myself in some situations. It's a well written article and it's excellent for true leaders to gain insight in how millennials think and act.

How to become more effective as a leader with ritual questions.

So, only 12,4% of the millennials are in a leading position. This means that other leaders are in different age categories. But even within these categories, large differences exist. One of the traits from the effective ones turns out to be asking ritual questions according to this article. This should keep your mind sharp and will enhance the urge for inspiration. What have I learned today? Wen was I doing good? When was I doing bad? Those questions are very important for self-reflection. They help you become a better leader. No one is born as the perfect leader. Especially because leadership capabilities change over the years and are dependent on different situations. It's how you act on your specific environment that can give you the name of being a great leader. Asking those ritual questions help you act right in that specific environment.

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Digital & Marketing : What will the future bring?

The agency of the future

Digital marketing is still relatively new. The agencies who got involved in this matter are still very much in transition, on their way to new best practieses. Those still have to be created. This article will touch several factors one has to encounter while building out a marketing agency for the digital world. Those have to build future-proof because that's where they have to be successful. Those future however still remains uncertain. Capabilities which we don't know at this time will turn out to be essential knowledge in this future. That's the main point an agency has to take into account. That's the understanding an agency got to have in order to exist and survive in the following years.

A community for online trust.

An important issue in marketing is gaining trust from customers. How to gain this trust however should not be something that is only envisioned by the marketing department. It's an organization-wide consideration if you want to do it right. Especially in regard to the rise of a peer-to-peer economy. Trust becomes one of the main selling points. That's because trust is crucial in such companies. How can one trust another consumer? Trust comes from reliability. An online community is crucial to guarantee reliability and hereby showing trustworthiness. Peer-to-peer companies should not only be answering questions on legal matters or the best user interface. They also have to find answers on how to build an as strong as possible online community. This community is detrimental for trust and makes people into the car of an unknown, non-certified peer. This goes against human instinct. It's one of the first lessons we learn as a kid : "Don't get into the car of a stranger". Now, here we are getting into strangers' car because of an app called BlaBlaCar. All because of trust.

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Welcome, I’m a video marketeer


Dear folks,

Today, it’s Monday September 26 or else known as the day the first takeaway appeared. These takeaway’s will be your daily portion of free marketing & management ideas. It will always be a selection of articles I stumbled upon the previous day. So I collect them and point out the highlights so you can chose those articles that matter to you. In this way, you’ll be able to start your day with a lot of motivation and inspiration and we all know that this will only contribute to you inspiring others. A simple but clear goal of this section. Ready? Set. Go!

How to Use YouTube?

My latest position was those of a video marketeer. This is how I gained expert knowledge on YouTube and online video marketing. All too often, companies make stupid and unnecessary mistakes in this field by a lack of knowledge of the YouTube-platform. They put some content on YouTube but don’t even take the time to professionalize it like they do with their website. This is just a way of letting opportunities slip right through your fingers. I’m jealous of the infographic in the post I share. I would have been proud to be the creator because it’s pretty good and extensive. It gives you a great resume of how you should use YouTube. So, everyone interested in online video marketing go and check it out.

Where are you your most productive self.

In This same job as video marketeer, I was working in a co-working space. It’s an experience I would certainly recommend. The old view of just having an office for your employees should be dead. Most people don’t need them anymore and will look for alternative ways of working that better fits with their character. Let them look for these alternative ways. Letting them a choice could have great results on their productivity. Every person has different needs and demands. Especially in where they work. Giving them the ability to personalize their work place will create more productivity since they will, most of the times, knows what works best for them. This could be working at home, at a local coffee bar, or still at the office. But letting them choose is the key factor to improving productivity.

How do you work more effectively?

Not only the place where you work determines productivity, the way you work matters as well. A place where a lot of people will look for the most effective way of gaining knowledge is at the university which is at the start of a new academic year. Most of the times, they will chose between pen and paper and their laptop. Apparently, the old-fashioned way would be the more productive one because you’re already processing the information a lot more while writing (because it’s slower) thank while typing. All right, go and find your pen and paper back, dear students!

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The spirit of the valley

Peter Hinssen, Harry Demey, Steven Van Belleghem & friends

Let me take you back to May 31 2016. We're in the auditorium of the KBC-tower in Antwerp. After Peter Hinssen and Steven Van Belleghem it's now Harry Demey's turn to convince and encourage everyone to take on their vision in life. Perhaps a lifestyle is even a better description of what they're trying to convince us of. It's the lifestyle you're now able to find in the Mecca for the modern, tech-savvy human being : Silicon Valley. It's a special atmosphere in the world of start-ups. An atmosphere of uncertainty, competition and highly critical thinking. But above all of this, it's an atmosphere of burning ambition to become the next big thing. You don't have to be the next big thing to be considered successful but yet it's the dream for most people present on this book presentation. This burning ambition is also lit up by the gentlemen in front of the audience. They excite with numerous examples of brilliant promptings. They also excite with numerous examples of hard work. With examples of innovations that could change the world. Could, but not yet, that's once again the factor of uncertainty. There's no uncertainty in the way these authors of this book talk and write. They know what they think, what they want and how to sell that. They're entrepreneurs in every meaning of the word. And so they wrote this ode to entrepreneurship which can also be considered a manifesto for starting entrepreneurs.

A little bit of history

To understand the present and future, history is often the best place to start. And so did the mentioned authors. They start at the very beginning : How to valley started to exist. It's a story about stubborn pioneers who never forget their vision on life. Pioneers that went after the things they wanted to have. It's a story about people choosing their own destiny and hereby not caring about the consent of mankind. Pioneers who thought differently from the majority of their co-inhabitants on the planet earth. Pioneers with their own values, norms and traditions. Values and norms that we're able to find back at the Stanford university which has been the starting point for several large tech stories. Traditions that we can trace back to a culture where each story seems to start with "once upon a time there were two friends in a garage ... ". It's a history about modern fairy tales. Fairy tales that often turn out to be too good to be true. But sometimes these fairy tales aren't fairy tales but inspiring stories. Sometimes they aren't myths but true legends that really happened. This fuels the hunger of young entrepreneurs. This makes sure there's a sense of encouragement we encounter with every new story that was based on the spirit of the valley.

The culture of the valley

Off course this book isn't just focusing on history because it's the culture that excites. Hinssen and co's biggest dreams seems to be installing a new Silicon valley in Flanders. They also realize we're going to need a different culture in Flanders. But dreams are there to be realized and so they write down every aspect which creates that specific spirit of the valley. The culture down there is one of an ecosystem in which entrepreneurship and courage are central in the rules of thought. It's the courage these companies are looking for, not knowledge. It's the courage to jump into a whole which no one sees. That's entrepreneurship. That's the spirit of the valley.

The spirit of the valley is foremost an ode to innovation. And we're talking about innovation in all its aspects. Both in products as labor conditions and other things. There's nowhere else where we experiment as much to achieve innovation than in Sillicon valley. Enterprises down there acknowledge the power these experiments can bring with them. Experimenting often means to get out of your comfort zone. This new environment often compels new and different people. New people you hadn't met yet but are detrimental to your success and who will be able to help and even do so. That's another feature from Silicon Valley : It's a huge environment of networks.

You'll never found a network this big of people who are trying to change the world. Nowhere else in the world you will see so many bright people in one place who also got the guts to think out of the box. This brings new and unexpected collaborations and those are the ones who often produce the best result. This book also calls out Flanders for such a network. It's not a coincidence Hinssen's brand new organisation is called Nexxworks. Such a network has a huge impact on a starting enterprise. Access to such a network is crucial to create a dynamic and successful ecosystem.

But we shouldn't take over everything from Silicon valley. For example, sometimes there's an unhealthy level of paranoia which often contradicts the company cultures they like to promote. There's the pressure of investors and the urge to sometimes sell there company before they should be sold. Even when it's an offer you can't refuse, building further on your company could create something extremely great. There's also the cheering of failure which I can't get. Don't understand me wrong : It's OK to fail. But it should never be required. Off course you learn from you're failures and you will come back stronger but there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing it right the first time. This last point is a mentality from Silicon valley which I would not like to follow.

The impact of disruption.

The world spins fast nowadays and what the norm today is won't be tomorrow. There's almost a new law to which we are subjected by Silicon valley : Nothing's certain anymore. That's also exactly what makes it so interesting to take the plunge and go along the spirit of the valley. You could be the rebel who takes over the establishment. You could be the miracle that changes an entire sector. Because there is no recipe that tells you how to disrupt a certain sector. Although there might be some guidelines, just the opportunity even excites. There are chances lying out there wide open and they facilitate disruption. That's how disruption happens. There's no point in standing still because sooner or later disruption will get to your sector as well. In the book, you can find numerous examples of sectors that were disrupted.

Final note : be agile

The last part of the book is full with tips on how to handle disruption and how to incorporate the great aspects of the spirit of the valley. I won't spoil them here. I don't like that. You'll have to read the book to get to know them. You'll have to know dutch I guess since I can't find an English version. If you're able to read it, do so. They are masters in telling their stories and encouraging others to follow their vision. Not only in front of an audience but also in the way they wrote their book. They challenge you to create disruption. They dare you to take the plunge and to challenge the establishment. In Antwerp, we have our story of Brabo and Antigone. It's kind of a rip-off from the story of David & Goliath but that doesn't make it less interesting. These stories also show the spirit of the valley. It's the opportunity for small guys to be smart and to defeat the large established giants. This is the image you picture after reading this book. You'll feel self-confident and you believe in your chances of changing the world. As said before, it's an ode to entrepreneurship. Such an ode requires the demand of continuing entrepreneurship in your generation because if we want to keep evolving as a society, we should never stop creating entrepreneurs.

Start with why

Simon Sinek


Why I started this website or how I failed at the job I loved


It's Fridaystart-with-why September 2nd , 9:50 PM. In the headquarters of Born in Antwerp I'm listening to a showcase from the upcoming website on discovering great musical artists : HumanHuman. Hanging Valleys is playing a set which I normally don't like, at all. However
 now, it's perfect. It's fuzzy, it's dreamy. And I do want to dream. Moving away from reality. Because that reality is that I've lost that same day the job which I've passionately loved for a few months. And I don't feel that sad about it. On the contrary, it feels right. I'm sad but I understand that this was the best and perhaps only right solution. However, the past has gone by so I look at the future. In the meantime, I ended up at the street and I'm now watching over the Kattendijkdok towards the MAS in Antwerp. The road is wet because it's another rainy day in Belgium. Just right for the day I had. But the next day, the future starts and on that moment I know for sure: I'm going to start Ideawatch.


Let me start with why

Allright, this review will not follow the usual pattern. It doesn't have to. Most of the times, practice is better than theory and so I'm glad to provide you with an example of Simon Sinek's golden circle. I will apply it to this website. What I do is clear : This is a website on which I post articles in regard to marketing & management. How do I do this? I build a pleasant website, collect interesting ideas en present them in a great way. But without understanding why I do this, you'll never capture the full meaning of the ideas and content I share with you. Why do I start this. I want to inspire while being inspired. That's my definition of happiness.

Inspiration lies in ideas because they're the basis of everything. Off course, execution is often more important than the idea itself, but the fundamentals will always remain the basic ideas. They're the fundamentals for every treasure on earth and thanks to the internet we have unlimited access to those ideas. But the massive amount of ideas can be daunting. That's why I'm here. I want to be a guide. A guide through knowledge. Simply because I like this knowledge and I believe others will do too. I want to inspire with ideas. Just as Simon Sinek.

Introduction to the golden circle

Where did I get introduced to this passion for ideas? There was always a small burning flame within my body. It became an Olympic fire in the job I just lost. This is where I was introduced to the golden circle of Simon Sinek. These rules of conduct in strategic communication subscribe a lot of added value to the why. The existential reason of an enterprise is the core of the current economy with which you can truly bound customers. We're not interested in hard sales arguments. We're interested in visions, in ideas. We no longer just want a product, we want a story. We're addicted to inspiration. Only when you're inspiring, people will love you and you can stay great in the long term.

What went wrong?

Finding your why can be extremely hard. It's the difficult balance between a fuzzy dream and a tangible and understandable why. First, to express it externally, you must truly understand your raison d'être. If you don't understand it, you can't express it. I couldn't fully grasp the why in the company I worked for I must admit. You think you do, but you don't. Visions and unique selling points aren't always as obvious as we would like to believe. This comes from our difficulties to being truly open to one another. Only when you're able to communicate clearly, the why will come to the surface and the company will thrive.

Since I couldn't fully understand the why, I felt back on how and what. Only with a lot of personality you are able to disguise this because then ... you are the why. That wasn't the case. A lack of sales led to a lot of frustration. Frustration in an employee because he can't give back to the company what he wants and the company needs is an extremely vicious circle. There are no winners. You're no longer doing a job you love but one that is keeping you busy. The ideas disappear, creativity is replaced by short term hard sales goals, the pressure rises and so does frustration. You are no longer able to see the bigger picture, the why, in your story and so you're no longer on a mission but you're just filling your time. Just doing your time has never lead to a successful organisation, passion does. But when the passion disappears because the frustration is taking over, it's time to prepare your exit. For both parties. 

This shows the importance of why, not only in external communication but also in internal communication. More than about sales, Simon Sinek understands what is truly driving people. He understands what people desire. Mankind wants a story, a vision, everything else are just details. Details can change. A vision shouldn't. That's why you can't afford to lose it.