Category Archives: Events

Duncan Stutterheim on the Business of Dance Music

Duncan Stutterheim, founder of Dutch entertainment enterprise ID&T, gave an intimate talk at the Amsterdam Dance Event in October.

ID&T has been around since the early 90’s, and is one of the largest electronic dance event organizers in the Netherlands, with events such as Sensation, Mysteryland, and Tomorrowland in its portfolio. Stutterheim recently announced that the US entertainment giant SFX acquired the final 25% of his company.

Here is a video we made of the talk, where Stutterheim discusses house music, success and failure in merchandising, changing trends in music, and going global.

On the impact of house music on the scene:

“And then the house music came, and I never experienced a fight ever in my whole life again. Never. And that feeling of being together and laughing and always having fun…and then, everybody was dancing. Then, a guy could just dance by himself and that wasn’t strange. Where a year before if you danced by yourself, it was like ‘what is he doing?’. So I think that was the whole change. To be exploring that new world, and the first new steps, and exploring yourself.”

On changing trends and nearing bankruptcy:

“And then we made a decision–we have to change. Hardcore is going down. Let’s take Mysteryland from a night festival to a day festival. We moved to Amsterdam. But from 40,000 tickets, we dropped to 15,000 tickets. We lost nearly 1 million Euros and nearly went bankrupt. We were lucky to have some funds left from the music business. But we did it, and the second year we found the new beautiful site where we are now, and then we went from 13,000 tickets back up to 40,000 and sold out again. So those were big changes and steps for ID&T.”

When asked about limits:

“I think the limit of electronic music…there is no limit. Because it’s getting easier and easier to make the music. There are some producers in the office already who are 13 or 14, with tracks, and you’re going ‘wow!’. With the electronic distribution of the music, there’s no limit. With the creativity, I also think there is no limit, because if you want to organize an event, if you really want to do it now, next week you can organize an event.”

Texas Innovator Finds Alternative Universe in Amsterdam

It’s 8:45 am, cold, and rainy, and William Hurley is riding to a press interview on a bicycle, wearing a suit. Not something you normally do as a guest of honor brought to tour a major city–unless that city is Amsterdam. And he thinks it’s brilliant.

Appsterdam International Genius–Whurley

In December 2012, Appsterdam and the City of Amsterdam Economic Affairs invited William Hurley (a.k.a. “Whurley”) to receive the International Genius Grant. He is the second recipient of the honor, which brings one of the “world’s smartest and most interesting people” to share knowledge and learn about the creative, business, and technology opportunities in Amsterdam. Last year’s recipient was Dom Sagolla of Twitter fame.

Whurley is co-founder of Chaotic Moon in Austin, TX, which develops mobile apps and launches hardware and software innovations. He is a leading authority on open source, open innovation, and augmented reality. He is also a popular public speaker with a lot to say about the business of innovation and how to make cool stuff as quickly as possible. For example, the Board of Imagination, a mind-controlled skateboard that he made with his team in a few weeks, and The Smarter Cart™, the “shopping cart of the future,” which follows you around the store and makes suggestions for what to buy. Both have been featured on TV shows like The Gadget Show and Gadget Man.


Austin and Amsterdam

Whurley is also an established member of the Austin “Silicon Hills” tech scene. He came to Amsterdam with hopes and ambitions for increasing commercial ties and cultural relationships, having recognized the many obvious similarities between Austin and Amsterdam. “In both cities, there’s an openness to international trade, a liberal atmosphere with a high level of social contentment, and the arts and sciences are highly valued,” he said.

He also noted how similar the people are in the two cities–creative, open-minded, and progressive. “By the second or third day, I stopped feeling like I was traveling, because everyone I met reminded me of someone back home. I felt like I was in an alternative universe version of Austin.”

As an avid cyclist and skateboarder in Austin, Whurley especially noticed the ubiquity of bicycles in Amsterdam. “I thought there were a lot of bikes in Austin, but, wow! The extent of the cycling infrastructure here and the way it’s integrated makes such a huge difference. If we had this number of bikes in Austin with our existing infrastructure, it would be chaos.”


A Week in  Amsterdam

Along with plenty of time on the bicycle seat, Appsterdam and the city scheduled Whurley for back-to-back meetings with some of the most innovative companies and people in Amsterdam. They also put him to work–giving talks and lectures, and interviews with the media. (See the full schedule here.) His days were filled with a variety of activities around the city, from hobnobbing with app makers and people in the Amsterdam startup scene, to visiting the Waag Society’s FabLab to check out the 3D printers and milling machines.


Whurley with his key to the city–made in the Waag Society’s FabLab maker space.


Talking with students at Hogeschool van Amsterdam.


Whurley at One More Thing Live broadcast in Rotterdam


Vaporware to Makerware

The biggest event of the week was “Vaporware to Makerware”. The event was moderated by Kerrie Finch of FinchFactor, who joined Whurley along with two Dutch innovators:

  • Daan Roosegaarde (Studio Roosegaarde) creates “interactive landscapes,” from women’s wear that responds to intimacy by becoming more transparent, to smart highways that are interactive and sustainable.
  • Antoinette Hoes (Tribal DDB Amsterdamis an expert in digital strategy for established global brands, who provided a corporate perspective for the discussion.

The evening centered around the rise of the “maker movement” and what it means for innovation and the way we create things. The topic was inspired by the maker culture in Amsterdam and the recent announcement that Wired editor Chris Andersen is leaving the magazine for his own DIY firm, 3D Robotics. The panel took questions from the audience, which covered everything from 3D printers, community access to tools, creating your own weapons, and what it all means for brands.

“I think the way we’re experiencing information and consuming things is going to evolve enormously,” Roosegaarde said on-stage. “We often talk of technology as if it’s mysterious, which of course it’s not. We are fortunate to finally be emerging from an era where technologies were both alien and rapidly obsolete, to a time when new materials and fabrication methods enable technology to be reliable and accessible once again.”

Hoes spoke of the impact that personal products being made at home will have on big brands. “The coming argument from your average customer is going to be ‘I’m an adult, and I don’t want to be beholden to anyone to buy what I want to make or have’,” she said. “But until the day that the material capabilities of the individual at home exceeds that of the big brands, brands will continue to have a dominant impact on retail commerce.”

The Panel: Daan Roosegaarde, Whurley, Antoinette Hoes.

They also discussed the more inspirational aspects of the emerging maker technologies. “It’s very important for people to understand that we live in the greatest time ever as makers–as people who have ideas,” Whurley said. “Never before has there been such easy access to technology, hardware, and being able to be creative. People who may not think they are creative, but who have ideas, are now able to take their ideas and make them into creations. It’s incredibly powerful.”


Experience the Ecosystem

Even with his packed schedule, Whurley always found time to talk to people. It was amazing how he brought out the tech and creative communities and stimulated discussion and ideas. After every presentation, people stayed afterwards because they wanted to keep the conversation going. Each night you could find people hanging out around the fireplace at his hotel, chatting with him until the wee hours of the morning.

“Everything is so close here, and people can just hop on their bikes or on a tram to get together on a whim to share ideas,” he said. “And that’s what makes Amsterdam such a perfect ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation. It facilitates ideas and collaboration, which I love to see, and it attracts a goldmine of energy and talent.”


Just the Beginning

On his last day in Amsterdam, Whurley and his partner Pamela were greeted with snow and an orange weather alert. By then they had fallen in love with Amsterdam and their OV-Fietsen, and they had a blast riding their bikes to Central Station–even through the snow and slush.

“Amsterdam is a perfect combination of the best parts of cities around the world: freedom, safety, tolerance, art, and business- and tech-savvy,” he said. “It’s also proof that committing to solid urban design principals has commercial, cultural, and health rationale.

“I now understand first-hand why for centuries it has been a place where people from around the world come to live, learn, and do business–and it feels like home.” (Appsterdam Mayor Mike Lee agrees.)

And on his way out of town, he was heard saying, “I’ll be back sooner than you know.”


Whurley and Pamela loving their OV-Fietsen, their main transportation for the week.


Whurley’s International Genius Grant Week

Sunday: Appsterdam Game Day, Trans-Dimensional Portal demo, tour of the Waag Society FabLab, dinner and networking with Appsterdamers

Monday: City of Amsterdam Economic Affairs meetings with local businesses

Tuesday: City of Amsterdam Economic Affairs meetings with local businesses, lunch with leaders in the business and startup world, presentation to Amsterdam Makers event, tour of THNK Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, dinner with leaders in design and innovation

Wednesday: Interview with, interview with Virtueel Platform, Appsterdam Weekly Wednesday Lunchtime Lecture, Appsterdam Meeten en Drinken

Thursday: Lecture for Strategic Management Students at InHolland University, presentation to students at Hogeschool van Amsterdampresentation to students and staff at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam INTERTAIN Experimental Research Lab, Vapoware to Makerware event at Pakhuis de Zwijger.

Friday: Interview with CiaoBasta, meeting with Alexander Klöpping from De Wereld Draait Door, tour of  Studio Roosegaarde in Gouda, One More Thing live broadcast in Rotterdam.


Media Links

One More Thing Live broadcast interview    (video)

Vaporware to Makerware event    (video) interview    (video) interview, pt. 2    (video)

Austin American-Statesman Article

Austin Chamber of Commerce Article

Profile on CiaoBasta

Urban Times Vaporware to Makerware Review

Urban Times Board of Imagination Article

Check out the Appsterdam Meetup page for more information on their events.



Creative Amsterdam Stage

Creative Amsterdam: Act Like a Startup

Tara Ross (Appsterdam), Gilles de Smit (22tracks), Steven Blom (TomTom Taxi), and Simon Neate-Stidson (Blast Radius)

The “Creative Amsterdam: Act Like a Startup” event happened at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam on 25 October:

In recent years the number of people starting their own company has grown and grown, despite an economic down-turn. During the time it takes to send a new creative concept around a big old company for approval, hundreds of start-ups have already dreamed up, launched and delivered their new product, campaign, program or app. They have done it well. And their success is inspiring!

At Creative Amsterdam: Act Like A Start-Up, expert brand builders from the creative industry discuss what we can learn, how to stay agile and why it matters.

Kerrie Finch hosted the evening, and she encouraged lively debate and questions from the audience and the among the panel. The audience also sent their anonymous questions through Twitter and text via SendSteps, which were then displayed on the big screens. (This got the questions flowing. People are more willing to ask questions when it’s anonymous.)

I was fortunate enough to be on-stage with a great line-up of speakers:

Simon Neate-Stidson, senior strategy director, Blast Radius. Neate-Stidson is a branding expert working on premium brands such as Nivea, Nike, and Air Jordan. He discussed the integral concept of becoming an “intrepreneur” in large, established companies.

Steven Blom, managing director and entrepreneur, TomTom TaxiBlom’s most recent startup is an app that finds taxis and shows fares and routes. The startup was acquired by TomTom, and Blom discussed the process of transitioning from an entrepreneur to working for a larger company.

Gilles de Smit, CEO and founder of 22tracks. de Smit is a former DJ who wants to bring latest trends of music to the masses through curated playlists consisting of 22 tracks. He discussed how powerful a brand can be, even from a small startup. His “22” logo has been adopted around the city, from t-shirt designs to major retail chain store window displays.

Kerrie Finch, founder of FinchFactor, one of the most innovative international PR agencies in Amsterdam, organized this 3rd installment of the Creative Amsterdam Update, along with her fantastic team. Their next event will be PR Salon #3: Best of Breed“13th November, at Pakhuis De Zwijger.



Start-up to Inspire

Review on

Photo by  Koos Looijesteijn.

PICNIC Festival 2012

This year, Appsterdam hosted the “App Ecosystem Tent” at the PICNIC Festival in Amsterdam.

The tent was outside the main venue at the EYE Film Institute, and we partnered with 12 different universities and businesses to put on a three-ring circus of business, education, and app-making. It was an exciting event with lots of energy and innovation happening in the tent.

Photo by Koos Looijesteijn.

Here was our Blurb:

Appsterdam returns to PICNICwith a closer look at the now bigger and better ecosystem of App Makers in orbit around the historic Dutch capital. Together with partners in business and education, Appsterdam is creating a three-ring circus of learning, commerce, and app-making fun. We invite guests and PICNIC attendees to meet the city’s App Makers and look at this exciting new economy from several perspectives. Share your ideas and dreams, get expert advice, and learn more about the role of apps today and in the future.

People got to learn new things, have some fun, make new contacts, and catch a glimmer of hope for the future.

Learning stuff in one of the workshops.


Making new connections during "Speed Networking"

Making new connections during “Speed Networking”


“I have a great idea!”


Data Visualization Workshop

Data Visualization Workshop


Open data app from Waag Society

Open data app from Waag Society


Open data app demo from Waag Society

Open data app demo from Waag Society


About to go onstage for the Pitch Contest

About to go onstage for the Pitch Contest