Archive for decembrie 2007

A parallel action, held under the same umbrella as NetCamp, NetStart-up was a competition for ideas of online business. Throughout the day, 20 such projects were presented, debated and evaluated, in the end only five of them entering the grand finale. Must admit it was a bit of a frustration not being able to attend both events. Yet, recently someone said it’s a sign of quality and top-class organizing to put up several events at the same time and place in order to give the audience an alternative. For me, it was a haaard choice, but I had to go with NetCamp.

1. Cătălin Teniţa, No Prime Time

NoPrimeTime is a distribution system for ads integrated into online video content. It’s implemented, it goes well, good for them.

2. Emanuel Gal, Vertimo

Presented as a „project made out of ambition” [condenscendent giggle] as to prove that good shit can come out in 20 days, Emi’s project is an agregational system of rental ads, sewn up from various such sites. It detects duplicate and expired ads, it’s kind enough to look for you (through e-mail alerts or RSS) and it’s the ombelico del mondo for people interested in renting a place. If only it would be better taken care of by its innitiators as at the present moment it’s a bit chaotic in its results, thus unusable.

3. Alex Brie, maibun.ro

An interactive network revolving around social places and the feedback regarding them, born out of Alex’s need to „know where to take out his girlfriend„. Unfortunatelly, it seems a bit of a redundant project on an online scene already hosting such sites, as metropotam or sapteseri. Good luck to him.

Brie, Gal & Oane

4. Vladimir Oane, CaptainGo.com

A service that responds to the need to find a hotel and make reservation without headaches. A good ship with a rotten smell on the sailor department. Vlad, with his fellow pirate sidekick Lavinius, looked as if they owned the island and were surprised to see that people were actully questioning their idea. Maybe someone should tell them, over a glass of rhum, that you can’t be a bitch with a jury or with the audience. When you try to sell an idea, you undress yourself by all the spasms of arrogance and irreverence. When you’re on the stage, making a presentation, the rule is „the other one is always right” and „accept feedback, don’t fight it”.

5. George, eRepublik.com

eRepublik is, and I quote: „a massive online multiplayer simulator of a nationalistic world”. A bold project, but which requires great attention in the intricacy segment and the scalability issues.

The jury was represented by five brave Internet specialists (what does that even mean?):

  • Rachad El Jisr, fondator, iMedia
  • Calin Fusu, Managing Director, Neogen
  • Orlando Nicoara, Managing Director, MediaPro Interactiv
  • Mihai Seceleanu, Managing Partner, InternetCorp
  • Vlad Stan, Managing Director, Vodanet

Moderator: Bobby Voicu, Blogger & Consultant Blogging – Does he have this written on his business card? Is this what Mr Bobby presents himself as? „Hi, I’m Bobby and I’m a blogger and consultant blogging„. „Uhm, hello to you too, I am X and I have a life & occupation that *do* exist„.

Matched against a set of criteria the jury took into consideration (team, potential market, aplicability, monetization, presentation), the project of our good ol’ skipper Vladimir was considered to be most suitable for a successful implementation and a future investing, also suitable for receiving the 1000 euros prize and some credit. Goodluck to them, may they grab some communication skills and a bit of modesty on the way.

There goes. This was NetCamp. Good job, guys, thank you, Cristi. It was an interesting event. Another folder of nice memories is now closed.

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The last suite of speakers went a bit too specific on us. Talking about the new economical reality, they tried to portray the online opportunities and successful business models today. A lot of numbers and mathematical sweet-talk in our ears.

Nir Manor, CEO Onmax-Emerp

Nir, lovingly observed from the public by his enchanting wife, delivered a message regarding a series of key-points in online marketing. Holding two case-studies up as examplificatory panels, Nir talked about the idea of incumbent unit as a valid business alternative (Exhibit no. 1: online brand turned into classical newspaper; Haaretz & The Marker) and about the concept of involving the client in the business process, of creating demand and a sense of safety (Exhibit no. 2: iForex.com, a financial service supplier: self-activation for new clients, discounts for online registrations). Must admit I got lost on the way.

Mădălin Matica, Director of European Operations, DotCommerce

Short assertion from the moderator: there are two important concepts in online business:

  1. always stay on beta (and I give you.. Google)
  2. work on progress

He later suggested a book title worth every word read: „Founders at work: Stories of startups’ early days”.

Mihai Crăsneanu, founder, Grey Juice Lab

Mihai talked a bit about entrepeneurship and ways to do it with online grace. He defined the main coordinates of the success problem:

  • defining what you want to be
  • careful about placement (scarcity = attention; Spiderman3 and Sony, sitting in a tree..)
  • solve a problem better (gmail or hey, hey, wait a minute, Mr Postman?)
  • be your first customer
  • think outide the customer segment (as Esther Dyson said, web 1.0 equalled nodes, but the 2.0 is all about the qualified connections, all about the supremacy of the Link)
  • do more, better, earlier; don’t be impressed by America (..?! I must admit, I blushed with shame hoping that no-one else in the room heard the undignified and gratuitous comment)
  • find new ways to do business (take a look at the bold decision of Rupert Murdoch, WallStreet, to replace paid subscriptions with free access)
  • move into the Internet cloud

It all goes under the umbrella of two possible business models:

  • find & solve a problem
  • be appealing to the world
  • sell


  • find something cool
  • create & spread a problem

The general pattern is to create value for someone, to monetize and to afterwards invest for more value. Long live k-ching!

Oana Şolcă, Web Shop & Web Care Marketing Manager, Orange Romania

And the super prize of YAWN with frosted cherry on top goes to Oana! Good job, gurl, you were an inspiration for all the lads and ladies out there who thought they could never get on stage and read from a screen some elaborated results and intricate graphs they did in gymnasium at a boring Math class. e-payment, online sales, credit-card payments, web care, statistics, yearly evolution. I feel like I know Orange better than I know the insides of a lady’s Gucci bag. One should never know this much information. One will never *need* it.

Dragoş Mănac, Lead Operations, SNS

Thank God for Dragoş! With his daisy fresh tone and a dettached confident manner of speech, he managed to bring some common sense on stage. With a sizzling ironic touch and pleasant episodes of humour, Dragoş talked about how one could go miserably wrong online. Stating that „vision without execution is halucination”, what he tried to do was to give a more practical aura to the whole theoretical side of an online business.

  • partnership (choose the right people)
  • technology (try consistency: ability to use the same platform for many aplications)
  • consultants (look for experience)
  • communication
  • resources (have a full and honest financial picture)
  • success (learn the management of success)
  • focus („The best thing that can happen when you have a great idea is to find another one”)

And then NetStartup came.

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The second panel of speakers tried to tell a story, under the guidance of wizard Sergiu Biriş, entrepeneur, Trilulilu. A story full of mystery and uncertainty, of risks and courage. They spoke about „Myths, opportunities and difficulties” through a series of successful examples about conquering the realm of Web 2.0. Every such cruciade always took place in terms of grabbing the beast by its multiple heads and trashing it into bits and pieces of uh’s and oh’s. The rating and the number of views, the turbulence and the network buzz all got together under the name of success and changed history as we know it.

Rodrigo Sepulveda Schulz, Co-Founder & CEO of vpod.tv

vpod.tv is a simple idea: an online television with user-generated and professional content, a manner of dressing traditional media in new media clothes and not make it look like a tacky transvestite. The frenzy took over like a newly developed survival impulse, as we were shown other examples of such virtually-pimped-up channels of traditional mass-media:

Rodrigo, son of Sepulveda, knight of vpod, talked with a deep and penetrable voice. Every word fell like the head of an enemy:

  • screen convergeance (TV disseminated onto every screen there is: computers, mobile phones, etc)
  • USP (focus on a Unique Selling Proposition)
  • peers (learn from them –> slideshare.net)
  • standards (don’t be a rebel, adhere to standards, they’re there as sidekicks meant to ease our life: industry standards, programming frameworks, software methodology, processes, stress testing)

He then took out his fine polished swords and started waving them around the room with great agility, cutting the air above our heads in slices of revelation:

  • „be different” (then he showed us a picture of the mighty Orange Trousered Man, a mythical character that showed up at every event displaying his vividly coloured, totally in-fashion piece of wardrobe)
  • „eat your own dog food” (Rodrigo filmed most of the conferences he attended, making a statement out of his hobby-turned-into-a-successful-job)
  • branding (stickers, etc)
  • use online tools (twitter, etc. – some are believed to have seen Rodrigo gracefully twittering during the NetCamp conference)
  • go global from day 1 (watch out for that Cole Porter spell, the „night&day effect” of non-continuously audience; watch out for the „discriminating don’t”: hulu.com, available only from the US)
  • video: „there is no bubble”

Before going into the battle, Rodrigo looked us into the depths of our irises and punched down some last pieces of advice for starting up a business:

  1. solve a problem
  2. find the right peeps
  3. keep in mind that money are more important than your mother

Now click to the battlefield, my brave motherless warriors!

Eirik Solheim, Project Manager at Norwegian Broadcasting Corp.

Eirik came in a black armour, holding a flag of the „Blogging and social media” teritory. With a soft voice, he talked about the nordic world and how the battlefield there is always soaked up in beer and funky pop music. The vikings *are* ruthless people. :-)

Eirik told a story of traditional television becoming the shadowed side of the Moon in a universe where the internet wrapped everything up in its global user-friendly light. And as the classical television stood in a dark corner, sobbing its sad destiny of obscurity, it had an idea. It had the saving idea of adapting to a new environment. Because in a world where the user finds better video quality through an easier method (befriending with a pirate it’s a sinful nonalcoholic pleasure of the present), embracing the new line of things is the way to maintain yourself as a valid presence on the market.

„It was lonely to be a geek back in the 80’s, I should know.”

So the traditional television translated its content into the world wide web, making sure that it would afterwards promote its virtual alias. It put its stake on the interhuman relationships, on the social networking and its magic (information from user to user).

„The single most important characteristic of blogs is their usability.”

Television thought of rebranding itself, going online and updating. Through the democratization of products and distribution, communication strategies (open&direct dialogue, answering all questions in time), high-quality original content, usage of images and of a wide range language (English) and a lot of patience, traditional TV succeeded in becoming a virtual presence and, most important, an alternative to the virtual channels of communication.

As a clear and visual example of the way the NRK rebranded its way to success, Eirik introduced a good friend of his, Heinrich Stammler, a party animal with a small jiggly-wiggly out-in-the-open personality. His musical talents and bodily language made a frenzy among the youtubees and created a stirr in the new media world, gathering attention and interest, triggering prude responses of rejection and accusation. I must admit I would have second thoughts regarding marketing a serious (but not stiff) national media channel by using naked cartoon characters and humorous vulgarity. I understand the irony and the amusement behind the idea, still – after all the buzz and fuss – what remains in the minds of the people will be, as a youtoubee said, the memory of „little cartoon dicks flipping around”. I guess it’s just a matter of how you desire to be perceived by the mass of consumers.

It wasn’t hard for the traditional media to find the ability to reach to the public. The real challenge now is to do it with grace, subtlety and verticality, accordingly with its nature. [Eirik’s presentation here.]

Cristian Mezei, Managing Partner, Kondiment Konversion

Biriş & Mezei

You know how on everrhrrry conference there is this one dude who is far-far-far away from the subject in matter? How he didn’t get the idea of the conference or what’s expected of him? How he looks as if he got a phone-call invitation early in the morning and he looked around the powerpoint presentation he had on his hardware, maybe created for some introduction to a seminar or a speech for some rookies, and he thought with relief that he’ll get away with it. Well, there are times when the public of the conference isn’t *that* indulgent and when, in frustration, feeling that they’re not being delivered the product they were expecting for, they just don’t swallow everything they’re being served with.

So, Cristian Mezei ManagingPartner @ KondimentKonversion should maybe have given this conference a second thought as to build something more meaningful than a superficial and simplist presentation or as to refuse taking part in something that’s beyond him. It takes a lot of courage and inner sanity to see and accept the fact that one is not good for a certain activity and to simply deal with it, beyond a overmagnified ego.

Cristian talked about „Web 2.0, A step back or one forward?”, a rethorical question he didn’t even bothered to illustrate. He rather explained as for a bunch of kiddies what the web 2.0 is (mash-up, focus on viral elements, etc), how the 1.0 turned into 2.0 (banner advertising into contextual advertising, editor publishing into user-generated content and so on and so on).

I found it amusing that, for a couple of times, Cristian made references towards his fellow speakers as to „his colleagues”, amusingly refusing to see the gazillikilometrical gap between them. Throughout the minutes of utter bore, Cristian turned on a spark in the numbed neuronal parts of myself. An amusing game of judges caught form between my seat-neighbour and I and Cristian was the first recipient of its special award. The great award of YAWN. May he make good use of it.

Sometimes, coffee break is bliss.

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Miel Van Opstal, Enthusiast Evangelist, Microsoft EMEA

Being an evangelist means you support and promote a certain technology. The birth of this funny term is closely linked to Guy Kawasaki, a cool dude that used to work for Apple and which I admire. Yet, this doesn’t wash away the ridiculous aura of the name which goes sky-high when it’s juxtaposed next to „enthusiast”, creating the impression of a brainwashed hyped-up individual. „I am John the Evangelist and I am here to reveal the infinite wisdom of.. iPhone.”



Miel is one of them. He is an „enthusiast evangelist” for Microsoft. Snicker-snicker. Excuse me. Although embracing the profoundly mature and authoritative title, Miel seemed to be a down-to-Earth realistic common-sensed guy, yet with a bit of a unstructured speech. He talked about online identity and how that implies notebooks of passwords, about FRAM (friendly spam) and how that can drive you on the verge of bursting out with affectionate fury.

Candid: „I won’t point any finger because I don’t know where to point.”

Related to the Marketing issue, Miel pin-pointed a sum of do’s the agencies & companies should keep in mind:

  • one company, one blog: don’t confuse the audience

  • open communication

  • no more fake promises to clients

  • one agency channel

  • „Pull, don’t push” (get the consumer to come to you, don’t suffocate)

  • „Would I like it if..” (empathise)

  • be respectful towards people

A rather unspecialised and non-powerful speech, with generalist touches. But he was cute and.. enthusiast.


Radu Ionescu, Managing Partner, Kinecto


Radu came like a storm and tried to telegraphically powerpoint a lightning message, stripping his speech off of all the unnecessary babble and starting launching simple and concise ideas flying in the room. 10 web 2.0 tools for advertisers:

  • tools to build

  1. used generated content (e.g.: Lipton)

  2. blogging for companies (in terms of „feedback” and „support from readers” – e.g. trilulilu)

  3. publishing (focus on content; e.g.: configureaza.ro – IT tips&tricks)

  4. video (e.g.: Business TV)

  5. endorsing (channel interest from advertising to contextual marketing, image association; e.g.: UPC and morse.ro)

  6. viral campaigns (e.g.: Budai Beer)

  • usage of existing channels

  1. social networks

  2. listen (observe virtual reactions and keep in mind web-feedback)

  3. participate (answer any kind of +/- interaction from clients)

You can ask Radu what the 10th tool was. :-)


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Alors. If there is something I have learned at the last event I went, it’s that – when you step into the virtual world – you have to go gl-ohh-bal from day one. That’s why I’ll try to write (and fail to do it with grace) my gl-ohh-rious opinions in English, hoping that Hugh MacLeod from the clan MacLeod will google his way towards me. Global, baby!

NetCamp was declared to be the first Internet Strategies and Developments Conference, once again organised by the restless people of Evensys (thank you, thank you for the invitation, even though I *might* have been a leettle mean about my post related to Inspire 2008 :) It was all in good intentions, the irony was aimed at other Marketing individuals). The 5th of December, an incessantly rainy day, at the fancy-fooncy Howard Johnson Hotel.

As I was climbing my way up in the transparent and awfully silent elevator, I started getting the jitterish feeling of imposture. What was I actually doing there? What did I have in common with all those virtually successful people and their work? I slided to the Grand Ballroom hoping that I’ll make myself small and that no-one will notice me and the „I-don’t-buy-into-the-blogging-stuff-you-get-all-fussy-and-egoish-about” red sign on my forehead. Little did I know that at the end of the day I would discover a totally different perspective on the whole phenomenon.

The first panel of speakers revolved aroung the idea of „New Internet challenges and oportunities”, bringing Dragoş Novac (entrepreneur, Metropotam, a somewhat charismatic dude, with a humourish-blinky-blinky persona) in the position of moderator of the discussion.

Hugh MacLeod, Marketing Strategist, Stormhoek

The event started with its main attraction, in a high pitch note. „Kula Kula Kula„, yelled Hugh MacLeod, in effort to wake us – and himself – up. A bit touched by the lack of support from the public (probably thinking: „my God, people, why won’t you stand up, clap your hands and yell hippish incantantions at 9 in the morning?„..), Hugh started talking a bit about himself. I found it terribly amusing and somewhat childish that he didn’t present himself as a „Marketing strategist”, but as a „blogger and cartoonist”. Every little boy’s dream.

He then began talking about the concept of „web 2 point 0” and the marketing possibilities it contains. He took off with a thesis: the web 2.0, understood nowadays as the cheap easy global media, has its roots back in the nineteen-seventeen, in the South Pacific. After placing the microscopic seed of mistery and curiosity, Hugh proceeded into his virtual-marketing journey, sharing with us a couple of stories of „success on the web” that he crafted. Englishcut.com, the site of a London tailor who started (at Hugh’s suggestion) sharing some of his stories on the web, in an honest and kind manner, by doing so financially tripling his business. Or Stormhoek, a South African vineyard who found its glory through a suite of clever steps Hugh put into practice: a campaign giving out free wine for bloggers, cartoons on wine labels, discount vouchers @ Thresher (a drinks retailer in the UK). Soon, Advertising Age placed Stormhoek in the Marketing 50 top. An interesting road, yet with a touch of chance. I don’t believe that the Stormhoek affair represents a strong enough support to attest the fact that MacLeod is a Marketing Strategist. I am not a believer in the fact that he could web-brand *anything*. I am patiently waiting to be corrected, Hugh. :)

After revealing his personal book of experiences, Hugh went into the depths of conceptual talk. Remember Kula? He jumped back in 1917, all the way to Malinowski, an anthropologist who got stuck in Papua New Guinee, thus embracing the way of life of the locals. The mistery of the annoying name was trashed into bits of laughter as he evoked the tradition the locas had, to boat their way to a neighbour island for the sole purpose of bringing to their tribe a string of sea-shells with a historical and emotional meaning for them.

Starting from the Kula-incident (but he could’ve went even further in time, to the dusk of human communities), Hugh defined the future of Marketing as the act of sharing social objects.

  • Flickr? Social network created around pictures as social objects
  • iPod – a social object (it stirrs uh’s and oh’s, it gathers people around it, it triggers passionate discussions)
  • Microsoft: the Blue Monster cartoon turned into stickers, T-shirts, etc.

So, it’s not the product you sell, it’s the story around it. Because people don’t care about objects, *people care about other people*. In the end, Hugh didn’t give me the impression of a „Marketing guy”, but rather of a witty „blogger and cartoonist” whose luck and creativity inserted him into a couple of successful projects.

Oh, did I mention he’s SO Scottish? With a very jeansy-messy look, sustaining a speech with his fly open, screaming his alveoli out, loudly joking. Lovely. :) Oh, and did I mention that I chit-chatted with him (poorly, of course, I’m not crafted for small-talk)? Or that I will someday be famous, giving the fact that I own a Hugh-MacLeod-pimped-business-card? Life is sw33t.

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Bucharest, Romania
decembrie 2007
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