Blog dinner with Shel Israel and Rick Segal

Saturday I went to a blog dinner in Belga Queen, an excellent restaurant in downtown Brussels. What follows is a short summary of what I have learned from some of the participants.

Photo copyright GridSkipper

Shel Israel. "Writer, Speaker, Nice Guy". Lives in California. Co-author of the book on corporate blogging "Naked Conversations" together with Robert Scoble. His next book will be titled "Global Neighbourhoods". Earlier in the week, Shel visited Ireland and the UK, and I enjoyed reading this on his blog:
I've also enjoy the comfort I've felt in Brussels today and now here of being a passenger in cars that drive on the right-hand side of the road as the good Lord intended them to be. Driving or being a passenger in Ireland and England is disconcerting for me, occasionally terrifying. Drivin in the left seems to me to be a crime against the natural order of things. I know this is true. If you observe people on the streets of Dublin or London, Cork or Brighton as I so recently have done, you will observe that they keep to the right. When people self-organize they follw this pattern. When they conform to laws, they drive on the left.

Rick Segal. Venture Capitalist from Canada. One of the ventures he has invested in is B5 media. I didn't have the opportunity to talk with Rick, but according to this blog report by Bert Van Wassenhove, Rick sees a lot of opportunities in Second Life, a virtual world where you can buy and sell virtual goods and services. Companies like Leo Burnett, Reuters and Starwood Hotels have already bought virtual property in Second Life.

Photo copyright
Simon McDermott, founder of Attentio, a Brussels-based startup that monitors brands in the blogosphere and in social media. Typical customers are multinational companies with a brand values of 100 million dollars or more. Attentio reports on performance of the brand in social media. Brand performance is benchmarked and compared to performance of competitors. Attentio is doing some research in cooperation with KU Leuven to automate the qualitative analysis of brand mentioning. I had a little chat with Simon about Blogium.

Geert Desager, trade marketing manager at MSN. He has a marketingblog, Brandopia. We chatted about Adcenter and its competitors. And we discussed some interesting capabilities of Live Search.

Kris Hoet, marketing manager at MSN. Kris has a marketing blog too, 'Cross The Breeze, and also blogs on Molblog, a Dutch group blog on marketing. Kris invited Shel and Rick to Brussels and he was the driving force behind this blog dinner. Microsoft has an excellent approach towards bloggers: a long-term approach with open communication and regular information sessions. Kris is currently implementing this "influentials" programme in other European countries. Kris mentioned a-n interesting site on consumer electronics and gadgets: TechDigest.

Tom Mertens, developer from Microsoft: "MSN Spaces is cool, but if you want to have your own blog on your own webspace, try DasBlog: you don't need a database, and it's totally based on XML and Microsoft's .NET technology.

Photo copyright
Veerle Pieters, graphic designer from the great city of Deinze. Her blog on web design is one of the most successful blogs in Belgium. One of the things I must try is Crazy Egg, a system to monitor where your visitors are clicking and to determine the "hot zones" in your design. Veerle told me she was experimenting with it.

Veerle showed me some buttons and pins she and her friend Cindy Li have designed.

On the left, a design by Veerle for her company Duoh. Veerle: "The stockings are a theme that often return in my work. I like frivolity and naivety in my designs. At the center, a design by Veerle and Cindy for (site not yet operational). "We'd like to start a portal for geeky chicks, women that are gadget freaks, who are addicted to Flickr and so on". And on the right, a design by Cindy which I find particularly original: a "Utopia" in which the Linux pinguin, the apple from Apple and the butterfly from Microsoft's MSN are living peacefully together.

Other bloggers that were present at the dinner: Miel Van Opstal, David Boschmans (Microsoft), Jean-Philip De Tender (VRT), Ine Dehandschutter, Pietel, Peter Forret, and a few others whose names I didn't catch (update: François Lamotte, Damien Van Achter and Beatrice De Mahieu- thanks Kris).

Picture galleries of the event were made by Pietel, Coolz0r, Veerle and Shel.





"excellent restaurant", for sure, although I prefer the nearby Samourai, but this kitchen will not please all Belgians. And if you insist Belgian fare, then Belga Queen is THE place. Everything, yes everything is Belgian, even the wines (apart from the champagne) comes from Belgian winery owners. Eric Jans, I'm sure it's your favorite eatery!


Simon McDermott


Hi Luc, it was great to meet you. I think the day was lovely and for me an great opportunity to meet some real Belgian bloggers ;). I have been checking out the Blogium service, perhaps we could talk more about this in the future?

Just to clarify companies with high brand values are frequently drawn to services like our own but the cut off point is not necessarily ¤100M in brand value. There are companies that have lower brand value than this that buy the service for media monitoring covering both mainstream and social...


Hiten Shah



We are working on that, should be much faster in the coming days. I'll be making a post on our blog about it, once we are happy with it.




I've tried Crazy Egg but I removed it after some days because it slowed down the loading time of my site. Maybe I'll give it another try when their server performance has improved.


Hiten Shah



I just noticed this post, and the comment Veerle made to you about Crazy Egg. Please contact us and we'll set you up for an extended account.