Tracey Emin exhibition in Bern

(c) Kunstmuseum BernYesterday I visited the Tracey Emin exhibition in Kunstmuseum Bern. Before I have been a bit sceptical about her work as I have regarded her more a publicity-seeking person with regard to the way she is presenting herself. However, already at the beginning of her 20-years retrospective I received another impression.

The exhibition guides you through her life by starting off with her CV read by herself in a video installation which moves around her apartment. Every single piece from her films, paintings to appliquéd blankets convey a very personal insight into her life with all its problems. These not only cover her childhood in her home town Margate or sexual experiences, but also her two abortions, among others. Things which used to be usually taboo topics in art.

It seems that her autobiographical art helps Tracey Emin to emotionally process all the traumatic experiences in her life. One example here is the video “Homage to Edvard Munch and All My Dead Children” (1998) that is staged at the same location as Edvard Munch famous “The Scream” (1893) – with the exception that her hearable scream is truly shocking.

The exhibition last until June 21, 2009 and is definitely worth visiting for getting a closer understanding of this unique artist.

Qype quietly launches online reservation for restaurants

Qype LogoSeems I manage only to write about long-awaited features from my favorite online apps in this blog. This time it comes from Qype.

I just discovered by accident a tiny link called “Book a table now” below the review of Cheyenne restaurant in Zurich Oerlikon. When you click it, a widget appears allowing you to actually make an online reservation in three steps. Not yet that powerful in its usability as e.g.  you still have to manually type in your address details though you are logged in, but definitely an important step in leveraging the presence of restaurants in Qype.

XING Map

I have not found this feature at many restaurants and, as far as I know,  Qype has not yet made a big buzz in releasing it. Furthermore, I found it interesting to see that this restaurant is not a premium partner, opposite e.g. to this one here in Hamburg that also has this feature. Hence, I am curious to learn if the business model behind this lead generation is already implemented and how deeply into the restaurants’ booking system this is already implemented.

And, of course, there can be even more useful features built around the profile of restaurants, such as their menu.

Location Mapping on XING – finally…

XING LogoJust explored on XING the new Map feature in my address book – something I have waited for nearly two years after having looked closer at location-based services and their possibilities to interact with social networks. Currently, this mash-up based on Google Maps just displays the business address of my own contacts with the possibilities to just display them by tags. Of course, XING has taken serious any privacy concerns and is just mapping the addresses which have also been released for me.

XING Map

As XING’s VP Product & Engineering, Felix Menden, clearly states in his blog post this is just the beginning of many possibilities to bring the dimension of location into social networking and hence increase radical the value of XING to its users. Beyond thinking of bringing this feature to your mobile while on the go, other possibilities include to connect it with users’ current and future locations. Platforms such as Plazes or Dopplr, among others, deal with this and would bring certainly value to business travelers.

Plazes (disclosure: portfolio company of my employer b-to-v) for instance just put more focus on developers with its platform plazes.net allowing them to use their API more efficiently, also beyond MAC address geo-targeting. Furthermore, the recent acquistion of Bluetooth-based location service Imity with Zyb reveals that mobile applications are becoming more compelling to users by implementing the most important feature location, and thus becoming real mobile social networks. More use cases we will see soon in this space – hopefully also on XING.

In Search for Ideas…

Just this week I received a call from a friend who is looking for a new idea to build up a prosperous business. Sure, in my job I am looking at quite some new business ideas. But as also my colleague Nicolas pointed out in his latest article on the b-to-v blog recently, the best ideas are those which add real value to customers. And you can do so best if you solve their everyday problems. Sounds easy, right?

How easy it is in fact, Index Ventures reflects in its website relaunch, which is based on a virtual snapshot of a town – at day and at night.

Website of Index Ventures

So just walk around with your eyes wide open to find the most successful ideas. For some who want to have it more precise, Max Niederhofer from Atlas Venture is writing up his 100 ideas for start-ups – so far the counter stands at four.

Merry Christmas 2007 and a Happy New Year!

Near Wangen in Allgäu
Near Wangen in Allgäu (Dec 23, 2007)

After I have not managed to blog this last year I at least want to keep up the tradition of blogging the theme of my Christmas mailing. For the upcoming days I wish you all some time to relax, to look back at the outgoing year and to make your intentions for the new one – of course only, if you belong to such kind of persons. For me these will also include that I will devote more of my time blogging. Here mostly about personal musings. Business-wise, we just set up a new blog at blog.b-to-v.com. However, important postings I will cross-link here as well.

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