FIR Interview: Rossi Mitova, CEO and Co-Founder Farmhopping, at #LeWeb London

FarmhoppingBridging the gap between farms and city people who are interested in sustainable farming is the central idea behind Farmhopping, a global web platform to support small sustainable farms and communities by giving them an opportunity to access additional funding, launch natural products into new markets and converse with a pool of dedicated, supportive customers.

FIR co-host Neville Hobson met with Farmhopping CEO and co-founder Rossi Mitova at the LeWeb London 2013 conference on June 5 to hear her vision for Farmhopping, the power of communities and the role social media plays.

Mitova explains how Farmhopping can solve two of the main problems faced by farms: finding and reaching customers and securing financing.

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About our Conversation Partner

Rossi Mitova“Hello, my name is Rossi Mitova and I am the founder of Farmhopping. I graduated in investment and financial risk management in London. My future was predetermined. I was to start my career in the financial world where endless 100 hour working weeks in the City awaited me. I can’t say I found this prospect really exciting and I nurtured my passion for the outdoors with sports such as skiing and kite surfing.

“One day Michael took me to the farm in Kresna and I realized that being in the mountains and around animals is something that makes me feel exceptionally close to nature. I made a choice then and there: I left my corporate future behind and I took the road less travelled. I realize however that this is not a decision that everyone can take so I thought why not allow people around the world to be part of this amazing lifestyle without having to quit their jobs?

“And this is Farmhopping.”

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Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future interviews, in the online FIR communities on Facebook, Friendfeed and Google+. You can also email us at fircomments@gmail.com; call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: @FIRpodcast. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

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This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music – On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

FIR Interview: Festicket Founders at #LeWeb London

FesticketFounded in 2012 by Zacharie Sabban (CEO) and Jonathan Younes (CTO), London-based start-up Festicket wants to make attending music and other festivals as easy as booking a package holiday online.

Would-be festival-goers browse a curated directory of music festivals, mostly in Europe (eg, Leeds, UK;  Roskilde, Denmark; Sziget Budapest, Hungary). For a given Festival, you can preview music from artists playing at a festival of choice via SoundCloud.

Then, in a single purchase, you can book a festival package – tickets, transport and accommodation – eliminating much of the frustration associated with buying tickets online for festivals: dealing with multiple providers and purchasing procedures, separately organizing travel and accommodation, etc. By consolidating this process, Festicket also intends to open up the festival-booking market to an even wider audience.

In this FIR Interview recorded at the LeWeb London 2013 conference on June 5, the two co-founders of Festicket tell FIR co-host Neville Hobson about their business model and how it works, what they were looking to achieve by being at LeWeb London, and how their service could be of interest to businesses.

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About our Conversation Partners

Zack SabbanZack Sabban is an ex-investment banker turned into a festival guru for the sake of delivering the unique turnkey solution for all festival goers around the world, Festicket.com.

While he was a student and later a banker in NYC and London, Zacharie travelled the world to fulfil his passion for live music. He attended countless festivals and concerts around the world where he realized the need for better access to information.

His creativity, social network, and his amazing experience of music festivals are a competitive advantage for the growth of Festicket. Zacharie supervises all the operations and development of the company.

Connect with Zack on Twitter: @zacksabb.

Jonathan YounesJonathan Younes, a graduate from Paris’s Ecole Nouvelle d’Organisation Economique et Sociale, is a serial web entrepreneur in charge of all the technical developments of the Festicket project.

Jonathan is also co-founder of playlistnow.fm and with Festicket he will continue to make the web a better platform for all music fans.

Jonathan’s design and technical knowledge is essential to Festicket’s success on the web.

Connect with Jonathan on Twitter: @jonyou.

FIR online communities
Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future interviews, in the online FIR communities on Facebook, Friendfeed and Google+. You can also email us at fircomments@gmail.com; call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: @FIRpodcast. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

To receive all For Immediate Release podcasts including the weekly Hobson & Holtz Report, subscribe to the full RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music – On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

FIR Interview: Jeremiah Owyang on The Collaborative Economy

Altimeter Group: The Collaborative Economy

Jeremiah Owyang joins FIR co-host Shel Holtz for a discussion about Owyang’s latest report for the Altimeter Group on The Collaborative Economy.

The report focuses on the impact on business of the movement toward people sharing products and services, disintermediating the manufacturer or service provider. Airbnb – a marketplace for individuals to rent out their own properties so people don’t need to use hotels – is one example. Another is ZipCar, the US-based service that lets people use a car only when they need it.

According to the report, “Every car-sharing vehicle reduces car ownership by 9-13 vehicles; a revenue loss of at least $270,000 to an average auto manufacturer. The cascading impact to the ecosystem has far reaching impacts to auto loans, car insurance, fuel, time impacts, environmental impacts, auto parts, and other services. For corporations, the direct impact is that consumers can now purchase one product, and share it among many others, reducing revenue in traditional business.”

In the interview, Owyang discusses the key points of the report and shares several examples, along with a discussion of the ways organizations might embrace the disruptive nature of collaboration to remain viable and profitable.

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The report is embedded below (and available on Slideshare):

Bonus: video recording of Jeremiah’s plenary keynote presentation on the first day of the LeWeb 2013 conference in London on June 5, 2013, in which he presented The Collaborative Economy:

(If you don’t see the video above, watch it at YouTube.)

About our Conversation Partner

Jeremiah OwyangJeremiah Owyang is an Industry Analyst on Customer Strategy and a Partner at Altimeter Group. As author of the blog Web Strategy (rated by Edelman as top Analyst Blog since 2008), he focuses on how corporations connect with their customers using web technologies.

Jeremiah hails previously from Forrester Research as a Senior Analyst focused on Social Computing for the Interactive Marketer and takes pride in launching and managing Hitachi Data Systems’ Social Media program in 2005 2007.

Jeremiah, along with the Customer Strategy team, has published numerous research reports focused on social business. He has been frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today, and he is a frequent keynote speaker at business and technology conferences around the world. He also served as the Intranet Architect at World Savings (now Wells Fargo) and was a user experience professional at Exodus Communications after receiving his Marketing bachelor’s degree at SFSU.

After work, he spends time with family, gets in some exercise, and travels to tropical beaches. Jeremiah was pleasantly surprised to find that his small, white, furry dog Rumba is active on Twitter.

Connect with Jeremiah on Twitter at @jowyang.

FIR online communities
Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future interviews, in the online FIR communities on Facebook, Friendfeed and Google+. You can also email us at fircomments@gmail.com; call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: @FIRpodcast. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

To receive all For Immediate Release podcasts including the weekly Hobson & Holtz Report, subscribe to the full RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music – On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

Taking LeWeb to another level

LeWeb

The announcement a few days ago that the LeWeb conference has been acquired by Reed MIDEM marks a significant milestone in the evolution of an annual event that has become the public networking platform of choice for big business, entrepreneurs, tech start-ups, politicians and anyone else with a keen interest in where the international internet ecosystem is going and who’s taking it there.

LeWeb is unquestionably the leading European conference focused not only on the web, but also more broadly on that fascinating intersection that connects people, tech and possibilities. It was founded by French entrepreneur, Loic Le Meur, as Les Blogs.

I remember the first one in April 2005 in Paris, in which I participated. There were a little over 250 people there (see some of the photos). I moderated a panel discussion on podcasting at Les Blogs 2.0 in December that year. That second one had over 600 people.

With the event renamed as LeWeb in 2006, things have scaled up hugely over the years since, in line with growth in internet use, awareness and mainstream penetration. It took a big step forward this past June with the first one outside France – LeWeb London.

LeWeb 2012, held last week in Paris as usual, had almost 3,500 attendees plus the thousands who participated from afar, virtually via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other places across the social web. LeWeb 2012 also used Google+ Hangouts on Air as an integral element of the conference (as they did for the London event), and I participated in three of those parachuting in, as it were, in live video from the UK.

So news that a big event producer, part of the Anglo-Dutch Reed Elsevier group, has acquired LeWeb doesn’t come as a surprise, From the press release:

[...] Commenting on the acquisition, Reed MIDEM Chief Executive Officer Paul Zilk said, “LeWeb fits very well with Reed MIDEM. We share the same ambition for developing premium international events where participants network and build relationships, do business, launch new products and discover the latest innovations.

“Loic and Geraldine Le Meur are true international internet entrepreneurs and they have done an outstanding job in building LeWeb. Thanks to their expertise and Reed MIDEM’s strength in international events, I am convinced that together we will take LeWeb to new heights.

“LeWeb’s strong position in digital innovation and entrepreneurship is relevant to Reed MIDEM events and to the global portfolio of our group, Reed Exhibitions.  We see many opportunities and synergies between our shows and LeWeb

Congratulations to the Le Meurs and, indeed, to Reed MIDEM for a smart acquisition.

And a final word from the LeWeb 2012 wrap-up blog post:

[...] We’re so honored to have so many truly talented entrepreneurs from all over the world join us for LeWeb.  Next up is LeWeb London in June. LeWeb is a unique event that draws different tech communities, but will always have the same high standards for speakers, attendees and the event as a whole.

I can’t wait to see where Loic and his new colleagues will take LeWeb next.

Domino’s Pizza: You’ve come a long way, baby!

dominosleweb12

One of the learning examples of how some businesses go through a baptism of fire in addressing a genuine crisis, and the role social media plays in fuelling discussion, online and offline, is the experience of Domino’s Pizza early in 2009.

That experience revolved around the acts of two employees at a franchise store in the US who videoed themselves doing some disgusting things when preparing customers’ pizzas, and uploaded the videos to YouTube.

Domino’s name was all over the embryonic social web in a rapidly-escalating crisis that assaulted their reputation and shook consumer confidence and trust. All that was compounded by the lack of an official voice of Domino’s in the conversations until a belated entry to participation via Twitter, culminating in an apology by the CEO of their US company published on YouTube (that video is no longer public as Domino’s has marked it as private, for a reason I’m at a real loss to understand).

There was a financial cost from this event as Domino’s attributed a decline in revenues that year partly due to the effects of this crisis.

A trashed reputation and no trust do have a real and negative financial impact.

What a difference three short years makes.

Take a look at this enlightening presentation at LeWeb in Paris this morning by Ramon de Leon, the marketing mind of six Domino’s Pizza stores in Chicago (ie, not representing Domino’s the corporation).


(If you don’t see the video embedded above, watch it at YouTube.)

Ramon is the best example I’ve seen that represents the key to a company genuinely overcoming the obstacles to becoming a social business – the attitude, belief, energy and sheer passion of individuals who will change their worlds.

It’s people like Ramon who can make a company like Domino’s Pizza become a credible example of a social business.

#RamonWOW !

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Explore the Internet of Things at LeWeb via live video

lewebparis12

The winter 2012 edition of Europe’s most influential and popular tech/startup/venture-capitalist event known as Le Web begins in Paris tomorrow December 4.

According to Loic Le Meur, LeWeb founder, more than 3,000 people from around the world are expected to be there for the duration of the conference and networking extravaganza which runs until December 6.

The theme is “The Internet of Things” which the event intends to explore from all angles.

We will see the hottest new technologies, learn how entrepreneurs are adapting and talk to industry visionaries about whether or not they think this next version of the Internet is truly the second Renaissance.

As always with LeWeb, the speaker list and list of official bloggers are impressive, all of which surely adds promise to do justice to the strong desire and intent to explore the Internet of Things.

If you can’t be there physically, you can be virtually via the live video streams at the LeWeb channel on YouTube. Two streams will be available to access, free of charge, both offering high-definition video.

Following the experimentation with Google+ Hangouts on Air we saw at LeWeb London earlier this year, that live and recorded video tool will play a big role at LeWeb Paris.

lewebhoa

The published schedule currently shows eight planned live Hangouts on Air with speakers during the event, in addition to Hangouts that have already taken place prior to the event and whose recordings are on LeWeb’s YouTube channel.

Not only that, there are plans to include participants from around the world, just as LeWeb did in London, like the ones I took part in. I’m in the programme to be “parachuted-in” virtually from the UK as part of Hangouts for this event although I don’t yet know which ones or when.

Stay tuned, as they say.

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