The Everything and the Nothing

What makes things vibrate? It is common knowledge that every particle has its own frequency and that everything “vibrates”. It is not so strange then to consider why human beings like music and why they consider it one of the most complex manifestations of the human spirit. Music IS vibration itself. So it seems that while we make music, we feel more “in tune” with the rest of existence. We “vibrate” along… The quizzical mind will then ask: “What happens with all these individual particles vibrating? What makes  them keep vibrating altogether?” Perhaps I look at this from a slightly philosophical perspective, but I like to think that everything vibrates because it NEEDS to. The inexplicable need for people to always want what they don’t have. For mountains to rise and cancel the sea. For water to come tumbling down the hill, “needing” to fill up that empty valley. All…

The power of statistics

Statistics and data are very trendy in the business world. It is the thing that makes or breaks decisions. Everybody demands it and we all end up believing it. So why is statistics so important? It is not meaningful or effective if it’s taken out of its context, which is many times very complex and influencing. It is not even precise. What statistics gives us is something much more important: concrete proof. If we can get statistics to back up a gut feeling we have or a hunch about a situation, we’ve hit the golden pot. We have proof that our story is true, we have decision power and we can get people to listen, because the data backs up the story. No one will trust a manager who has a mere hunch or a gut feeling based on his or her experience. But everybody will start paying attention once the nice…

The fragile nature of complexity

In the last decades we have relied heavily on manufacturers to come up with practical solution to what we need. What we need today has not changed a bit from what we needed fifty years ago. We still need food and safety, the feeling of belonging and usefulness, and we still need to be accepted, recognized and esteemed. Instead, the thing that has changed is the complexity and the form of the means we use to satisfy our needs. But this increase in complexity has had an interesting effect: it also caused an increase in the number of (let’s call it) items or links involved in satisfying a need, thus increasing the interdependency of these items. Take communication for instance. In the old days what you needed to do to be able to talk directly to your aunt who lived 30 km away was a carriage, some luggage and two…

The business model dilemma

A business model has to have a big idea. It has to be rooted into the company’s mindset and culture values. It has to adapt to its context and even be flexible for handling future context changes. A business model has to be visionary. And it simply has to work well, or otherwise accept its failure and change course. When businesses decide on such important things as changing or taking up a new business model, it might be because there is some sort of crisis in the entire industry. A crisis caused by its decline, after it has inevitably reached the peak of its potential.  Established, successful industries keep doing what they usually do, because it still works and the cash keeps flowing. But when technological and social change enters the stage, a shift is bound to happen sooner or later. Surely, all players in the industry will try to take their…

The useless, plastic STUFF you get from Albert Heijn campaigns

So I go to Albert Heijn yesterday, I buy a bunch of stuff and at the “kassa” they ask me if I am saving for I don’t know what promotion. I tell them no, I’m not saving, but the bored girl at the register hands me 3 shiny plastic packages. I take them, just to be polite. I get home, I forget about those plastic packages, and the next day I rummage through my bag in search of my wallet, when I find them! the 3 shiny plastic bags! Well, my curiosity was piqued, so I open one and find… surprise! a plastic yellow pepper. I think this must be something for kids, like Kinder surprises, but I look at the thing and it’s not really something one would play with. I decide to open the second bag. Surprise again! I get a PLASTIC miniature of an Apple mouse jar.…

“The Wall”

I’ve recently been to the latest Roger Waters “The Wall” performance in Arnhem. And I’m calling it a “performance” or a “show”, because this is what it was. It was not a music concert, like it used to be when Pink Floyd were together. Its value was not in the music, which, I have to say, was merely mediocre as far as quality goes. The real value of the show was its message. And how the message was projected into reality. The show was a 3D “projection” in the true sense of the word. Its power stood in imagery and the feelings it evoked. But we have to ask ourselves: could Roger Waters have achieved the same effect 10 years ago? Most surely not. Today’s technology made it possible for this performance to come alive, grab the spectator by his shoulders and shake him well into consciousness. The whole show…

On the road, with a purpose

All this going up and down to Amsterdam makes me spend at least four and a half hours a day on the road and in trains. And this, although being unbelievably annoying for my system, is worth doing as long as the time spent travelling is used for something positive. It doesn’t matter that I’m tired at the end of the day, but as long as I get to think or do something positive while going to places, it’s worth it. It might be as insignificant as a nap of 15 minutes, or a positive thought. It might also be some new article for my blog, a couple of chapters read from an interesting book, or a few good lines written for my thesis. As long as I feel satisfied about what I’m doing, as long as I feel I did something positive, it’s worth it

CSR in Pharmaceutical Giants: a Hard Edge

Pharmaceutical companies tend to have a much more difficult time handling corporate social responsibility issues than other types of companies. The main reason is that they are heavily responsible towards the health of individuals and the society, while the social risks involved in the testing and consumption of drugs are also much greater than in other industries. These risks interfere with important basic physiological and safety needs mentioned in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs[1], thus placing the drug companies under pressure to provide safe and efficient drugs for people, while also maintaining the balance between the other two components of sustainable development: planet and profit. According to the “triple bottom line” approach[2] on corporate social responsibility, these three aspects (social, financial and environmental) determine the degree to which a business represents a sustainable organization. Following this line of thought, I will further investigate how pharmaceutical giants have been dealing with the…

MADONNA, reloaded

The result of a 3-month branding project with the purpose of repositioning the brand MADONNA for the 13 year-olds. Team members: Thomas Dotinga Ilze Balina Karen van Gelder Jossie Hunting Sabina Baciu Realized with the help and guidance of the Arnhem Business School lecturers – Antoine van den Berg and Kees van het Hof. Update On the 19th of May I presented the Madonna project to a panel of professors from partner universities of Arnhem Business School. The presentation actually got 3rd place in what they call the ABS Talent Awards and it made quite an impression. The Arnhem Business School will issue a news release mentioning our achievement within the next weeks. If you want to take a look at the presentation, visit http://prezi.com/b3unbooqmjaj/madonna-brand-book/

The Tyranny of the Operating System

The major operating systems that rule the market (such as Windows and Mac OS X) have been silently taking over the consumer’s freedom and privacy for the past 20 years. This takeover is basically an offense to human rights. It is much more cunning and subtle than other mass-control mediums, which makes it even harder to pin-point. Therefore the question arises: is the operating system fundamentally tyrannical? And what does this mean in terms of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) for large software corporations?

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