3000 minutes V2

The first version of 3000 minutes went live some time ago. It worked quickly, contained a lot of valuable and funny content and looked good. Customer feedback suggested we could win a few points on the intuitiveness of the website. So Reinout Tiekstra overhauled the design and Arjen de Vries (das Blitz) and Michiel Bodewes (in orde) rewrote some of the code. The new 2.0 version is virtually foolproof. Which means that even if you’re not that smart: you’ll be able to use it. Especially with the intro and instruction video by Laurieke Kooijman and Maurits van der Boon (Ritz Cinemaworks).

So dig in: click around for some of the great tips that Groningen insiders can give you and make your own weekend timeline.

Bright #52: Tesla Model S and autonomous driving

Guess what just fell on my doormatt? Bright issue #52. And I wrote my biggest article so far for it; Some modern cars are able to drive themselves. But do we want them to? And does the law allow it? 5 pages on autonomous driving and a serious disclaimer! But that’s not all: I wrote about the wonderful Tesla Model S as well. Milan Vermeulen shot the photos with the assistance of Willem Jan Keddeman. And of course there’s more than just “Rutger Middendorp Genuine Product”. A nice photo serie on AirBnB homes. Mars One gets some love and Laurent Chehere’s floating houses are featured. In a newsstand near you or available at Bright Store.

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3000 minutes live

The first project of Jack + Stella and my biggest project of the year so far has gone live. 3000minuten.nl lets you select a tour guide that will show you lots of stuff you can do in one weekend in the city of Groningen. Don’t like a particular suggestion, swipe in something else. Michiel Bodewes (In Orde) and Arjen de Vries (Das Blitz) did a wonderful job building it. Mieke Lindeman made most of the photos. Ottelien Belzer helped me out with some of the content. In the upcoming weeks we’ll be tweaking the content and the interface. So let us know what you think.

Bright #51: Renault Zoe, LaFerrari and tax tips.

Bright #51 is out. With an interesting and entertaining article on online shopping and what happens to returns. And believe it or not: three, drie, drei, tre articles by me. A short and sweet one with a big image of the LaFerrari to start off. The car featured in the cockpit section this month is Renault’s commendable Zoe. A micro Nissan Leaf with all the gadgets, but not the price tag. The story is about the car, but also the resistance the electric car faces from old school car journalists and well… most other people. Finding it hard to trade a little comfort for a substantially smaller CO2 footprint.

So not surprisingly I also wrote a piece that calculates how much tax reduction you can get when buying an electric vehicle. Fellow car journalist Tony Vos helped me out with photography for the Renault Zoe. Albert van Deel added some knowledge and calculations to the tax reduction piece. Thank you both!

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Soigneur x Canyon x me

When I was asked to write something for Soigneur magazine I was both thrilled and hesitant at the same time. The good thing: Soigneur is the most beautiful and interesting new magazine I had laid my eyes on in years. The bad thing: I know very little about cycling. Mercifully they were looking for an outsider and the story had to be about the design winning Canyon Speedmax CF bike. A bike that I had spotted a good year earlier in the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen and that had really caught my eye. So the angle was there and I got photographer Martijn and me a nice Jaguar XJ-L to get us across Germany in style and comfort. We spent the better part of a day at the store, factory and design center of Canyon to talk about the history of the company and the development of this fantastic looking bike. Now I am proud to say that my article finds itself laid out beautifully over 8 pages in Soigneur #3. So thank you Martijn & Martijn @ Soigneur for giving me this opportunity. You can buy Soigneur #3 or a subscription at the Soigneur Shop.

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3000 minutes

What would you advise someone to do over a weekend in your home town? If someone’s got 3000 minutes to spend, what shouldn’t he miss? What hidden treasures are on the must see list? At Jack & Stella, we came up with a facebook app that will advise visitors to Groningen on the many things to see and do. Frits Zernike, Stefan Nieuwenhuis and other freaks, geniuses and celebrities will suggest their 3000 Minutes of Groningen in the app.

And there’s joyous occasions to visit. The Hanzehogeschool Groningen is celebrating it’s 215th birthday this year. The University it’s 400the next year and the city itself it’s 975th birthday in 2015.
What is a must see according to you?

Benz or Beamer

Or something completely different. I came away mightily impressed by the BMW 320i EDE after a three week test for Bright. Quick, stylish and frugal. But it is a bit… Bayerisch? German? Exact? Non-poetic? Roger Muskee shot this video. I drove the car and talked. Go see for yourself.

 

The Holy Grail: Plastic from wood

Design agency G2K asked me to delve into the stories of the Eems Delta region. Not far from where I live, renowned for it’s harbour and chemical industry. But these stories weren’t about black smoke, polution, chemical spills or environmental disasters. Quite the opposite. I was given a list of 10 people that were involved in the most riveting stories about recycling, reuse and sustainable thinking in the area. I’ve met people that make a coal substitute out of paper waste, that deliver their excess heat to their neighbours as fuel and someone who has made the building blocks of plastic out of wood. I am currently writing these stories for a beautifully designed promotion piece for the region. You’ll see it here first.

Adidas Speedcell Basketball

Over a year ago I got to make a fool out of myself at ‘De Toekomst’, the training facility for the Ajax soccer club. Adidas launched their miCoach soccer shoes and I got to sprint, kick a ball around and underachieve amongst journalists who had played soccer since they were kids. So I asked the miCoach product manager when a launch for the basketball version would be. Unfortunately they weren’t going to do a big launch in the Netherlands. But they did send me a couple of shoes to test. And I did. I tested the speedcell and the miCoach Xbox game. Camera and editing: Geschikte Gasten. Thanks to: Allart, Wim, Jelmer, Reinout, Paul, Gert, Chris and Age.

Congratulations: Bright #50 is out.

Bright issue #50 just came out. Quite a feat for the magazine that started in 2005 as a dutch blend of Wallpaper and Wired. In issue #7 (march 2006) I was interviewed as the founder of Nieuwe Garde. Not long after I was asked to write for Bright.nl. My first blogpost was about the Creative Industry. Numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 were all about cars and they grew out to be my most important subject in the following years. Up until the Hyundai Veloster Turbo that is in this issue. Congrats to editors Erwin and Corrie! Here’s to the next 50.

The Five Star Expedition

One of the most impressive press introductions I have witnessed so far is the Range Rover 2013 introduction in Marocco. An awe inspiring country, two full days of driving, fantastic diners and hotels and an impressive car. On this five star expedition I couldn’t bring the Schwung Visuell boys, so I had to handle the camera myself. So the end result is not as visually stunning as the usual Schwung collaborations  but you get a sense of the car and the country nonetheless.

 

Off topic #5: Postpone judgment

The most critical rule for any brainstorm is this: postpone judgment. Make a clear distinction between diverging and converging. Or in plain English: first come up with a lot of ideas (silly, serious, stupid, whatever), then select the best one. But don’t try to select the best one while coming up with the idea.

Why? Because it gives breathing room for new ideas. If you feel you are not judged for what you are thinking, you allow yourself to think more freely. The silly ideas become stepping stones for serious ideas. An add-on bonus is the great atmosphere you get when every person joining in the brainstorm speaks freely.

Being a critic is easy. So leave the easy part for the end.