Yesterday, I was at the official launch party for Kroodle, the first social insurance company that is completely paperless and uses Facebook for everything. The party was pretty damn awesome. Who said insurers are dull?

It was a little more than a launch party, because there were a lot of interesting speakers and the theme of the day was social media based entrepreneurship. Compared to the other people there, I’m not much of an entrepreneur, myself, yet, but it was still one of the most inspiring events I’ve been to in a while. The main event though, really, was Chris Hughes, best known for being one of the co-founders of Facebook or, to pick a quote from the day ‘the kid who launched Obama’. I was super excited about this, so I did what I do best and painted his portrait. More on that later.

If I were to sum up what I’ve heard, I’d say that integrity is the most important thing when it comes to entrepreneuring on social media (yes, I did just turn that into a verb). Big data is important – but the way we interpret it, is much more important. We can get to know our target audience so much better thanks to social media, but what we do with that information, that’s key. So, in the future, things can get more and more tailored to our needs and wants, if we do it right.

I’ll just quickly summarize what stuck with me for each speaker and add some awfully bad pictures that I took on my phone while I was really far too busy being really excited:

Edial Dekker (Gidsy)

Eliad Dekker
Funnily enough I do not remember the context of this quote. But I liked it.

Gidsy is an online service that matches up those who offer activities and those who want to do one! It was recently bought by GetYourGuide: “We’re teaming up with GetYourGuide, the world’s leading online platform for tours and activities, to help change the way we travel and explore. Want to join the adventure?”

Edial talked about the importance of Facebook to their service, how they tried working without it for a week and how that was not a good idea. Interesting, of course, that activities without facebook got less bookings.

Duncan Stutterheim (ID&T)

Duncan Stutterheim
What I probably liked most about his talk was that he – very down to earth – admitted he doesn’t use social media. It makes me wonder how much social media entrepreneurship requires you to ‘be a brand’ on social media, on a personal level. Clearly, if your product is awesome, you don’t have to be on social media.

It was really inspiring to hear Duncan Stutterheim talk about the major shift that his business (ID&T organises huge dance parties worldwide) experienced when social media entered marketingmix. The numbers about reach are absolutely mindblowing, but I can’t cite them here as I forgot to take a photo of the presentation (yes, stupid, I know!). His presentation also remarked upon the importance of good content (which, in his branch, is more often than not created by the partygoers themselves).

Rob Wijnberg (de Correspondent)

Rob Wijnberg
I liked his talk, because he expressed such a refreshing and different view on the news.

Rob talked about his upcoming journalism platform called de Correspondent (I’ll let you smarties translate that one). It was mostly about how we as humans consume news. Did  you know that we spend about two years of our lives reading/watching/listening to the news? How much do we actually remember? As far as I understand it, the Correspondent will focus more on the big picture than actual small tidbits of news and instead of just following the news, we’ll be following the reporters as they write about and report on their journey towards, or even into, that bigger picture. I think it’s an interesting approach. I’m down for it. The question I didn’t ask is: who will decide on whether or not these journalists are actually doing a good job?

Marjolijn Kamphuis (Foodzy)

Marjolijn Kamphuis
I love people with a sense of humor about what they do.

Probably my favorite talk of the day was given by Marjolijn, who talked about big data. I didn’t particularly learn anything new – but her presentation was witty and snappy and fast and delightful. Life should not be about the big data, but we should use the big data and combine it to tailor information, and services. Mash ups are good! I’m not as good or snappy as Marjolein though, so my summary sucks.

Chris Hughes (Facebook, The New Republic)

AND THEN… I turned into a geekynerdfangirl because Chris Hughes was announced and gave a speech and I was there to see it. I could of course go on to summarize what he said, but since it’s only ten minutes, I feel you would be better off just watching it and having the full experience:

After that, an interview followed, and Chris talked about Facebook, the Obama campaign and The New Republic. When asked what his plans for the future were, he said he’s staying where he is (at The New Republic) because he loves what he’s doing. And that’s the key, isn’t it? I’d write more on this, but it would be a very long blog.

Chris Hughes

After that, he stayed. So, I, along with a small group of others who were all very patient and polite, went over to talk to him. I didn’t really talk all that much. I was a little starstruck. I must have mumbled when I shoved an envelope a little clumsily in his direction, said something about art and asked him to sign it. I’d also forgotten my sharpie, so was instead fumbling with a ballpoint pen that wasn’t really all that suitable for signing things, but hey. I felt a lot better, though, once it had registered in my brain that Chris Hughes is really only human and he sat down so I didn’t have to look up at him from my chair. He asked me what my name was, and I said ‘Oh dear’ because my name does not really work in American brains. So I ended up just spelling it, and he wrote it down on something other than my painting, all smiles and crinkly eyes, and then he signed his portrait.

Chris Hughes painting signed

When I said I had a copy for him as well he seemed delighted. It made my day. There is nothing better or more rewarding than giving art to people you’ve painted and having them look at you like you did a great job.


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