Aquila: How do you connect the last billion?

While we’re all happy within our connected lives (and sometimes look to get disconnected as a sign of pure luxury), there are still countless people that can only dream of drinkable water, and enough food… let alone an internet connection.

However, big companies as Facebook and Google are trying to hook up the last billion people. Google-X guru Astro Teller is experimenting with high-altitude air balloons, while Marc Zuckerberg is investing in solar-powered planes that can stay in the air for months. He just announced that his Aquila unmanned plane is ready to beam down internet connectivity from the sky. The size of a Boeing 737, but at just about the weight of a car, Aquila can transfer data at 10 gigabits per second through high precision lasers.

Picture this, from more than 10 miles up, it beams down ultra-high speed internet on a target smaller than a dime.
Efforts like this will enable information technology in remote areas… and will help educational programs like MIT medialabs Nicholas Negropontes One Laptop per Child initiative.

My question is why it is private companies like Space-X that take us to Space? Why is it Google and Facebook that go lengths bringing connections where there were no connections before? Why do we need the Gates foundation to invest in life saving technologies?

Last time I checked what my government was doing, they were very busy collecting taxes…

VIDEO: Coca-Cola’s Journey to Successful Content Marketing

In this video interview, Doug Busk, group director, Digital Communications and Social Media at Coca-Cola, talks about storytelling and how the company has used this strategy to engage consumers, create conversation, and drive sales.


interesting: go for the deeper story…

Visual content…

Stay creative, look for great people!

My dearest little one,










I’ve been waiting so long for this first moment that I was convinced it would never happen… but, there you were. Like a little astronaut. Floating in your own private space, connected with your very own mothership. Six centimeters of cosmic miracle. A small piece of fast growing art only recombinant DNA from your mom and me could cook up.
I could see you were having a good time in there, as you bounced and danced around. Smaller than my watch, you clearly pack already enough energy to propel a decent sized Easter egg in an orbit around Saturn. I understand now why your mom says she can feel you moving from time to time.
All of the sudden there is so much I need to do. Grow up a bit for one, but not that much that I forget how to fly. And install your cradle. And read a book ‘becoming a dad for dummies’. Mentally prepare the cat for co-habitation. Choose a good name. I need to rent a baby somewhere, to practice that pamper ritual everyone is talking about.
Can you feel me when I touch your mom’s belly? I can feel you. I will start reading to you. Silly things with elves, disc worlds, planets, hidden valleys, one eyed pirates, crazy parrots and stardust. I’ll explain the world to you –its round you know, and it smells like spring right now- .
The world is also warming up a bit, and there is 7 billion of us worried and upset about that. You will be part of the generation that will bring us a solution. But do not worry about that yet.
Your cozy little galaxy is all set until end of October. I’ll be there when you decide to leave it. I honestly can’t wait…

J’ lui dis qu’elle est belle, comme un fruit trop mûr
Elle croit qu’ je m’ fous d’elle, c’est sûr
Quand j’ promène mes mains, D’ l’autre côté d’ son dos
J’ sens comme des coups de poings, Ça bouge
J’ lui dis “t’es un jardin”, “Une fleur, un ruisseau”
Alors elle devient, Toute rouge…


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Content marketing- Let’s get it right: Owned. Paid. Earned.

To fully wield the possibilities of content marketing, it’s important to get the fundamental basics right. Way too often, content strategy, paid amplification and social (earned) interaction are not, or badly linked from the very beginning.

To maximize return on investment, it is crucial to start with clear definitions in this online, interactive environment. Definitions that might be different from the common use or understanding.

Owned: is your complete online powerhouse, ranging from your website and your blog to your social channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Meerkat etc. Creating successful content begins with a basic insight: what does the consumer want from your brand. Most often brands know what they want from the consumer, and build their content strategy on that. A deadly and quick recipe for failure.

It is smarter to concentrate on the expressed needs and expectations of the consumer. Once you have identified these needs and expectations, you can create story-lines that bridge the gap between your brand-essence offering, and the expectations and interests of your target audience.

Reaching out with pieces of content that answer the well-defined needs and interests of your consumer is an ideal starting point for a long term mutual understanding, and a foundation for future interaction and conversation.

Most of the best practices presented at #SxSW show how a strategic view on the owned ecosystem consists of the owned website and/or blog in the center of the content-solar-ecosystem. The owned social presence gyrates around this, and sparks the ecosystem with clever inbound links, SEO references and visual snacks that guide the consumer to the center of the system.

Paid are the purchased media actions you take to get people to your content, or content to the people. Content that is not noticed and not found is like the sound of a falling tree in a desert forest: one might argue it did not happen. Paid enables the communications architects to drive tailored traffic to every single bit of the content ecosystem, or to launch any piece of content in an orbit towards any place an identified target might be. The rocket-fuel is advertising money, pure and simple.

The cleverest paid strategies are carefully plotted to get the targeted consumer (identified and relevant) as deep in the owned ecosystem as possible. They have also one other thing in common: reach is less important than relevance and accuracy.

Strategic masterminds reduce the avalanche of mostly useless big data that results from everything is measurable in true actionable intelligence that fine-tunes the tactical plan, and re-adjusts the efforts permanently. The ability to shift from carpet-bombing to sniping is often the result of a critical factor: true intelligence.

Earned is how your content gets spread, distributed and published on places you do not own, and that you did not pay for directly. People coming to your content-ecosystem, and sharing your content on theirs. Influencers mentioning your content in their ecosystem. Your content being discussed in comments, on news-sites and influential blogs. Your products being used and mentioned by your consumers on their owned and social channels.

To realize this, the credibility and the authority (aka influence) of the brand must first be established. Secondly, the content must be appealing, relevant, interesting, catchy… and easily shareable. Content-ecosystems with content that is not one-click-shareable, deal with locked-in content syndrome and will never foster, or live up to their expectations.

The best-in-class examples of earned all show a clever way of linking the attention back to the core of the own owned ecosystem… a true gravitational pull to the center.

Through the earned part of content marketing, a big portion of the true engagement can be realized. Conversations, remarks, comments, references, word of mouth and back-links provide an in-stream of attention that has a unique quality: it is earned.

The fact that Facebook, Twitter and others increasingly claim their business model has nothing to do with earned (and organic, and viral) does not mean this earned section does not provide value, or is not important.

United it conquers, divided it fails

The value of return on investment of a good content marketing system, can only be established by measuring the performance of the Owned/Paid/Earned system as a whole. The three components need to be carefully aligned to work, much as a DJ masters multiple tracks to create the one sound that makes the crowd go bananas.

Moonshots: make it 10 times better, by failing early, hard and often

We choose to go to the moon in this decade. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.” JFK

A famous quote from President John F. Kennedy that kick-started the run on the moon for the American nation. When he launched this ballsy statement, the Space program was barely able to get a small dog or a testosterone crazy astronaut a few meters into orbit. Still, it rallied a whole nation behind a vision, an idea… and on July 20th 1969 Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, just in time to deliver on Kennedy’s statement on time. More than 250.000 people made that happen.

Moonshot management

I’ve been a big fan of moonshot-management ever since. Way too often managers at all levels try to fix things. An incredible amount of smart, highly paid, top hot shot time is invested in fixing things, in getting stuff ‘up to the next level’ – in other words: mostly wasted. Taking a step back, and concentrating on the destination instead of the journey or the vehicle guarantees better thinking. Tessla and Edison did not concentrate on making a better candle. They focused on light, and came up with lamps. Ford did not waste any time on finding a faster horse, or a lighter carriage, but built an automobile.

Google X: Area51 for geeks

Google has its own Area51 solely dedicated to moonshot thinking: Google X is the silent think-tank that came up with Google Glass, Google’s self-driving car, and a worldwide web of internet-distributing hot air balloons.

Astro Teller: Captain of Moonshots

It’s led by Dr. Astro Teller. He currently oversees Google[x], Google’s moonshot factory for building magical, seemingly impossible ideas that through science and technology can be brought to reality.

Here is the surprising truth: It’s often easier to make something 10 times better than it is to make it 10 percent better. Because when you’re working to make things 10 percent better, you inevitably focus on the existing tools and assumptions, and on building on top of an existing solution that many people have already spent a lot of time thinking about. Such incremental progress is driven by extra effort, extra money, and extra resources. It’s tempting to feel improving things this way means we’re being good soldiers, with the grit and perseverance to continue where others may have failed — but most of the time we find ourselves stuck in the same old slog. But when you aim for a 10x gain, you lean instead on bravery and creativity — the kind that, literally and metaphorically, can put a man on the moon.” Astro Teller

The art of failing often, hard and fast

Astro Teller (nomen est omen) believes failing hard, fast and often is important. It allows learning, creates data to re-adjust to, and delivers a mental kick for doing the right thing.

“If you do not fail at first, your ambition was simply not high and hard enough. You make a ton of progress by making a ton of mistakes. The longer you work on something, the more you don’t really want to know what the world is going to tell you. The longer you put off that learning you will unconsciously put off that news because it is disheartening to hear that what you have been working on is not working.” Astro Teller

Throttle back, aim for the moon

We should do it more often: throttle back on the execution, throttle back on the day to day that keeps our best people deeply entrenched in the sticky mud of deliver-on-time-on-promise-on-budget. What is our moonshot? What do we want to achieve? Where do we see our client in four years? Do have the nerve and the vision to tell clients where they need to be in 5 years? What does an ideal agency look like in 2020?


Grab that moonshot, that far-away idea. Believe in it. Nurture it. Retro engineer your way back to today: your path is set.

If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re clearly doing the wrong things”. Larry Page

Find a big problem, aim for a radical solution, and now go create the science and technology to make it happen. Kennedy proved it: it’s not that difficult. Just ballsy :-).

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