The Icing Room: Be creative and decorate your own cake!

Looking for a special gift for your mom this coming Mother’s Day? How about a personalized cake of your own?

Something like this, perhaps?

Mother's Day Cake - The Icing Room

Or.. you think you can do better?

Visit The Icing Room and pour your creativities on the canvas in the form of a plain cream cake! The Icing Room is a first first-ever specialty concept shop that offers Design-It-Yourself (DIY) cake decorative services (The Icing Room, 2014).  At The Icing Room, you can turn a simple plain cream cake (in various sizes and flavors) into a special personalized cake created with a touch of love and well wishes made by your own hands. The concept is closely linked to co-creation business strategy where customers are involved in the final products their receiving by physically decorating their own cakes to their styles and likings. Continue reading The Icing Room: Be creative and decorate your own cake!

Blendle: Blend & Combine All Your Reading Needs

We all want to keep up to date about the news of the world. To do this, you might subscribe to a newspaper you appreciate or look online. However, free online news usually isn’t thorough and with a subscription to a newspaper you pay a lot for a lot of articles you might not even read. The latter point was exactly what Marten Blankesteijn thought was wrong with this system and what he sought to change. Blendle was born this way on the 15th of December 2012 and after a silent start, he teamed up with Alexander Klöpping and Blendle truly kicked off.

How does Blendle work? Users simply create a digital wallet and buy the articles they want to read digitally via the site. Whenever they select an article, between the 0.10 and 0.89 cents are deducted from their wallet, of which Blendle as an intermediary receives 30% and the publishers receive the rest. Amongst others, there are Dutch quality news papers such as NRC en de Volkskrant and magazines such as Elsevier available to choose from, and users have to option to like articles and reactions to the articles.


In order for this platform to work, the strategy for this two-sided market needs to be right. Continue reading Blendle: Blend & Combine All Your Reading Needs

8tracks: Music to my Ears

“Music is all around us, al you have to do is listen” [1].

This quote from the movie August Rush pretty much sums up the music industry nowadays. The media through which we can listen to our favorite songs and newly released albums are ubiquitous. There’s the radio, television music channels, and digital services such as Spotify, iTunes store, and Youtube channels. In case these options do not satisfy the music listener there is always the cheaper option to download it, which happens to be illegal.

However, many services in the music industry seem to suffer from declining profitability. People do not listen to the radio anymore and even iTunes is experiencing falling sales because people prefer streaming services over ownership [2]. Pirate bay has been banned. This means that people need to find other sources for satisfying their hunger for (new) music.

Luckily, there is 8tracks. This online music platform is growing rapidly since David Porter launched it in 2008 [3]. It was featured as one of the best websites in 2011 by TIME [4] and is ranked number 32 globally in StartupRanking based on internal and external links, estimated audience factors and mentioning in social media [5]. The graph below gives an indication of the speed with which 8track’s social influence is spreading.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 22.17.54


What is it?

Continue reading 8tracks: Music to my Ears

Collective Hyperintelligence or Hypercollective intelligence?

What does it take to create the smallest pieces you can find on this earth? Either you can jump in your self-made time machine and travel to the birth of our universe or, for the pocket money of 6.4 billion Euro, you can purchase 27 kilometers of tunnel underneath the Jura mountains in Switzerland and France, buy 9593 magnets, 1232 dipoles and 392 quadropels (1). Now you only have to find a smart brain and you will get yourself a private science lab, similar to the CERN in Geneve, right?

Wrong! It was not the billions of tax money or the finesse of one Harvard student, which makes the ‘world’s most ambitious scientific experiment’ a successful story (2). It is the fact that more than ten thousand qualified researchers from all over the world have collaborated in the experiments conducted at that giant laboratory (3), most of them physicist and engineers. Solely the largest experiment, ALICE, involves a scientific community, which, in my opinion, could refer to itself as the world’s smartest melting pot. 1200 researchers from 131 different institutes out of 36 countries make it possible to crash two tiny little substances with immense speed into each other, just to make them break apart further and to tell the physicists something about the history and future of the world (4).

Scientists working on-site at the ALICE detector
Scientists working on-site at the ALICE detector

Continue reading Collective Hyperintelligence or Hypercollective intelligence?

Part 1 Anoniem Anno Nu: pricing strategies

Poster of AAN

Being the son of one of the Netherland’s most famous auctioneers, Pieter Jan Glerum has never been a stranger to fine art and its inherent elitism. However, it was exactly this inaccessibility to the masses that made Glerum come up with a website that would allow anyone to anonymously send in his/her artwork, and the masses to show their support for the work through social media. In short, Anoniem Anno Nu (AAN) brings democracy to the world of art.

AAN is a wonderful example of co-creation through crowdsourcing – as anyone can sell their art and, equally, anyone can vote and buy the art – and the two-sided market (or platform) – as it brings together artists and art enthusiasts. The difference between the two-sided-market and the traditional value chain is that the prior allows networks of users that are attracted to each other come together. As such, the more users the platform attract, the more revenue it can generate. Here lies the crux: AAN currently has nearly 1.300 likes (or followers), which hardly makes it profitable.

What to do to increase the amount of users and profitability of this platform? The answer can be found in Eisenmann, Parker & Geoffrey’s (2006) article ‘Strategies for Two-Sided-Markets’ that was published in the Harvard Business Review: a business model suggestion, if you will.

Facebook page of AAN, with likes & comments under sent in art

The first problem: getting the pricing right. Continue reading Part 1 Anoniem Anno Nu: pricing strategies