Sunday night I arrived in Holland with CIC’s Sam Flemming for a short visit. My second visit to Holland in a week actually, so I am glad that I don’t suffer too much from jet lags. Sunday night started off with a dinner with friends of mine in restaurant De Belhamel on the corner of the Brouwersgracht and de Heerengracht. I took Sam along as well, and we had a nice dinner with several bottles of good Australian wine. During the dinner I realized that all of my friends had either worked abroad or are currently working outside the Netherlands (One just got back from an expat assignment for a Dutch bank in Beijing, one works for a private equity firm in London, another for an insurance company in London and the last one just returned from a stint at JP Morgan in Frankfurt). Holland is quite international!
Around 11 PM we walked back to our hotel, and we noticed lots of cars all around us blowing their horns, cars with people screaming while holding Turkish flags and people dancing in the street. I did not think much of it, but later I saw on the news that some parts of Amsterdam were completely blocked for traffic because of Turkish fans celebrating that their team made it to the quarter finals. Another proof that Holland, and especially Amsterdam, is very international!
The next morning I woke up with a bit of a hangover, due to the combination of a long dehydrating flight followed by a dinner with a bit too much alcohol. A nice English breakfast with lots of orange juice solved that and I went refreshed into my first meeting of the day. Sam had two meetings during the morning, before we went for a quick working lunch at VC firm Van den Ende & Deitmers. After lunch Dorrit Gruijters (the main organizer of the Chinareis2008.nl trip) picked us up for the China New Media Conference where we had to speak in the afternoon. Before the conference started I did two TV interviews with a Dutch news program (NOVA) and then I mingled with many of the particpants of the Chinareis that were present at the event. I was wearing a microphone from a TV program that was following me during the day, but totally forgot about it after a few minutes already – and also forgot to inform others. This led to a bit of an awkward situation with a person from a large US media company with whom I discussed a business deal that should have stayed confidential, but that was of course recorded as well.
The conference itself was quite a success. About 170 Dutch business people with an interest in China and New Media showed up, and the speakers gave interesting talks. The first to present was Tan Tze Kiat, GM of BBDO China, who talked about the trends in advertising in Asia. Next on stage was Sam Flemming with a presentation about the importance of Internet Word of Mouth, with among others some fascinating examples about for example the role of the internet during the Sichuan earthquake. After a short break I talked about online gaming in China and my expectations for the future (casual games will outperform growth rates of MMO’s, and mobile gaming will be huge), followed by Richard de Booij of Wannahaves who talked about his experiences of doing business in China (among others about his cooperation with Tudou.com).
Part 1 of the presentation that I gave on Monday, other parts see below this message
After the presentations Dorrit Gruijters presented the book that the Chinareis participants wrote about New Media and trends in China (in Dutch). I wrote the chapter about online games, but had not seen the book yet. I was quite impressed by the quality of most of the articles (I just read the book on the plane), and the great pictures in it. Not sure if the book is for sale, but if you’re interested to obtain a copy send a mail to info (at) interimic (dot) com.
The conference was followed by a drinks, finger food and a buffet, and I talked to many different people (I collected quite a stack of business cards). My dad was also at the conference, so I also managed to have a glass of wine with him. Always nice! Around 8 PM most of the participants went home, and the speakers and organization committee went for dinner at Singel 101 in Amsterdam. A very nice restaurant as well! Vincent Everts showed us his latest gadgets and Tze’s 16 month daughter managed to get our attention by first throwing Tze’s Blackberry on the ground (that disintegrated into several pieces that spread all over the restaurant – Vincent filmed it, so it might be online already) and later threw her iPhone in the risotto…
Around 11 PM Sam and I decided to go for some drinks. We ended up at one of Amsterdam’s nicest bars, ‘t Spui-tje in the Spuistraat, and had some drinks there. Around 1 AM we got back to our hotel room and I fell asleep almost right away.
I got up at 6 AM to do some work, pack my suitcase and have breakfast. At 8:30 I met with the producers of a Dutch TV program and after that I did an interview with a Dutch magazine. Then I worked on mails a bit before heading to Spill Group headquarters in Hilversum. After a couple of meetings there I went off to the airport, had a few drinks in the lounge and boarded the plane to Shanghai together with Sam around 6 PM. It was a short but very good trip. But after 8 intercontinental flights in less than 8 weeks I have seen enough airplanes. One more trip to the AdTech conference in Singapore next week and then I can hopefully stay in Shanghai for a while.