Innovation isn’t flying cars or VR glasses

Last Saturday we found a new apartment in Shanghai through ZiRoom (自如). The app has zero flair and is pure efficiency. Through filters we narrowed down our options, listed on a map in north Shanghai (screenshots are just examples). Most apartments have 360° photographs. We got an appointment in 10 minutes, and later that evening […]

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Being the center of attention

My mom often told me about me handing out candy on my birthday in kindergarten: hands and plate stretched far out, and my head turned around because I was afraid to look at people. Being the center of attention frightens me. It’s an irrational fear, but a fear nonetheless. The fear isn’t gone, but what […]

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Cruisers & cargo ships

In Amsterdam’s busiest shopping street is a big wooden door that opens into a corridor which leads into a church. Few shoppers notice the door, let alone pass it. But the transition is wonderful: you go from a crowded street, a cacophony, into the silence of a church, and leave the shopping street behind, if […]

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Marriage is a tree

Love isn’t like a flower, that withers every season. Love grows like a tree, branches upwards and roots downwards. One side ecstasy and fantasy, the other exposing our wounds and missing details. It grows both ways, it needs both opposite directions. And just like a tree, it leaves a ring for each year that passes. […]

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Strategy is specific, specifics are semantics

There is a difference between probability and possibility, between rationality and reason, empathy and sympathy, between dogma and ideal, strategy and tactics, differentiation and distinctiveness, supplement and replacement, and efficiency and effectiveness. To some, even the difference between whiskey or whisky matters — as with butter and margarine, or Great Britain and the United Kingdom. […]

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Longing

It’s a fair price to pay to live in Shanghai, but being so far from the Netherlands makes me long for it a lot. The feeling arrives suddenly. I thought I’d be immune to it but no. I walk through familiar streets in Google Street View, I look back at last year’s pictures, and I […]

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Old Captain Bar

‘Old Captain Bar’ (老船长) at 168 Gaoyang Lu in Hongkou is my kind of sad place. It has shiny brewing tanks in its interior, five eager staff in turquoise jackets and a singer doing hits from the 90’s and 00’s, but not too loud, so you can still talk. The television shows figure skating – […]

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Language is about people and advertising is about language

It helps my job to see advertising as a language. Even if it’s not literally a dialogue, you are communicating to someone’s mind, tapping into what they already know, feel or do. If any message wants to stand a chance to be understood or felt, it must relate to someone. And the process to get […]

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