Last Thursday I flew to Duesseldorf (Germany) to speak at the Persgroep Advertiser’s Summit. I hadn’t been to Duesseldorf in several years and it was nice to be back there. The Persgroep is a Belgian/Dutch media conglomerate (mainly traditional media) that invited its top advertisers to a yearly event with speakers, good food & drinks and excellent entertainment.
I arrived on Thursday morning, but the rest of the group only arrived at 2 pm (they had their own chartered plane from Amsterdam, but I flew in through Frankfurt). That gave me some time to go for a sightseeing run through Duesseldorf. I ran along the Rhine river to the old city center of Duesseldorf, which was a very enjoyable experience after a night on a plane. The air was so clean and the views excellent. Once again I realized that this is what I miss so much in overcrowded and polluted Shanghai. You can’t have it all, but I am glad I often travel so that at least I can run outside a few times per month.
Some of the other speakers at the Summit were Christian van Thillo (CEO of De Persgroep), the editors-in-chief of Dutch newspapers AD, Volkskrant, Trouw and Parool, and communications guru Carmine Gallo (with a great talk about the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs). The overall theme of the summit was building brands, and I actually watched most sessions because they were so interesting. Normally at conferences I sort of zone out after a few speakers and start doing emails, but this time I stayed to watch most of the presentations and interviews.
Of course the food, wines and entertainment were also excellent. I had already heard from people that attended last year’s event that this sets the event apart from many others in the market, the Persgroep really put an effort in to give its advertisers the best of the best. Of course the hotel was great as well, we were all staying in the Hyatt in Duesseldorf (located in the trendy area Medienhafen). I was pleasantly surprised that the organization gave a me a suite – so big that I only found out on the morning that I left that the suite had 2 bathrooms, I had assumed that the door to the 2nd bathroom was a wardrobe or so. All in all the event was very well organized had some interesting participants. It’s an invitation only summit, but in case you should get invited for next year’s event you should try to attend.
After the conference was over my parents came to pick me up and we drove to Luxembourg to visit my sister. She moved there a couple of weeks ago (she is now working in the trust world) and I thought this would be a good opportunity to see her new working and living environment. We arrived around 7 pm at her office and had a beer there with some of her colleagues (I was actually surprised to see people still working at 7 pm on a Friday evening, so China is not unique in that sense). We then drove to my sister’s house, where we had a bottle of Pinot Gris on her terrace with a nice view over part of Luxembourg city and the valley. At night we walked around the old city center (with lots of bars and restaurants) and had a big Italian dinner there.
Saturday morning we started with a one hour trail run through the woods. Most of the run was either up- or downhill, which was quite different from my normal runs! But we took it very easy, so we all enjoyed it (we=my dad, my sister & me). Two of my sister’s friends had driven over on Saturday morning and they went shopping most of the day. Not my favorite pastime, so my dad and I decided to do some sightseeing and enjoy Luxembourg food and wine at one of the cities many terraces. I had not been to Luxembourg in many years and had forgotten how beautiful the city is. Very old with lots of magnificent buildings in a very hilly landscape. I liked it a lot and fully understand why my sister decided to move here!