“In the past you were what you owned. Now you are what you share.”
– Charles Leadbeater
After my first experience on the Internet, I saw the enormous opportunities it had to offer. I developed an unremitting fascination with this new world. The Internet granted me access to unexpected sources of information. After growing up with the telephone and fax, I already found email to be brilliant. We set up one of the first Dutch companies with its own webmaster, a college dropout who did not learn much at school, but all the more with us. He stuck around after his traineeship with us, and he is now known as one of the leading Web developers in his league.
I literally subscribe to all developments of the Internet. I scan a couple of hundred weblogs daily; am active on Twitter and several other social networks, like Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn; but also use YouTube, SlideShare, Netvibes, and more. I met my current wife through a dating site. As an Internet entrepreneur and trend strategist, I gradually became a much sought-after speaker, and I do consulting work for the government and private sectors. We integrated the Internet into our business processes in such a way that we shielded ourselves from the current economic crisis and never stopped growing. Thus, it helped us to make (always difficult) decisions when saying goodbye to old formulas and business units.
Our growth is invariably the strongest in the formulas wherein the Internet is optimally connected to the physical world. A prime example is how our new meeting and coworking concept, Seats2meet.com, has shown excellent growth due to a practical and inexpensive social media strategy. It has caused a change in our business scheme: we have become, rather than a provider of physical meeting spaces, a global player in offering serendipitous software systems that connect places and people.
The Internet has changed my life dramatically – and not just mine. One and a half billion people are active on the Web every day. That is a quarter of the world’s population. Second only to Canada, The Netherlands has the highest Internet user density in the world. After printing, the music industry, movies, radio, and television, the Internet has become a real mass medium. The main difference from its predecessors is that it really is a medium for the masses. The Internet has brought about a social upheaval. The circumstances are evident: huge technological developments on one hand, and a financial-economic crisis of confidence on the other. The Web connects our computers together, and thus, also our information. In addition, it connects people anywhere in the world. Certainly, now that it is becoming more mobile, the Internet is paving the way to Society30.