My Bookstore

As a child it was one of the greatest treats when my mother took me to the bookstore. I loved reading and still do. Bookstores at that time were very different. Yes, they were not online… They mostly were small and not self-service. The shopkeeper would recommend books for his customers. I have to thank him for developing my taste in literature and my love for books.
You might wonder why I tell this story on a post about my life in Silicon Valley. The connection is simple. I was at the Martech conference today - the marketing technology conference in San Francisco.

There were around one hundred companies exhibiting. Most of them offered solutions for Internet companies helping them to understanding their customers better and marketing accordingly to them. Their solutions tried to copy what the owner of the bookstore in my childhood did so brilliantly.

We are all concerned about privacy on the Internet. And right so. The Internet enables companies to analyze in detail what we are interested in, what we are doing, even anticipating what we might want to buy and much more. There are even dangerous sides to that from identity theft to hacking your passwords.

On the other hand the same tools allow us to have a much better experience while surfing. We would only to get the e-mails we were really interested in and we would be pointed to websites we were happy to find out about.

Any marketing technology needs a responsible and respectful way of dealing with customer data. We all need to have the option to opt out and surf anonymously if we prefer to do so. We also would not like the bookseller to tell others about our passion for Russian romantic novels.

Let us come back to classical music. Our industry is not new to marketing and selling online. When you have bought a ticket online once during a holiday in Paris you can be sure that you get a newsletter at least once a month even though you are living in New York. If we want our audiences to enjoy classical music we need to deliver the relevant information to them. As an industry we have a lot of work ahead of us on that. As HELLO STAGE this is one of our top priorities.

As a side note, I was proud to see a great young Austrian company being overrun by potential customers at Martech. 7Sheep is a marketing automatisation tool but with a personal touch of a very experienced team. They also spent three month at Plug and Play as part of the Go Silicon Valley Initiative of Advantage Austria. Many relief organizations around the globe work with it. Arts organizations might want to check them out.

Bernhard is the founder of HELLO STAGE. He is probably the first opera singer pitching an Internet start-up in Silicon Valley. Before founding HELLO STAGE in Fall 2013, Bernhard was the CEO and Artistic Director of the Wiener Konzerthaus. He held several C-Level positions in European technology companies with EUR 100+ million turnover. See www.bernhardkerres.com.

Bernhard is currently working for HELLO STAGE in the Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley, a leading accelerator for start-ups. He writes about his experience in the innovation hot bed on this blog.
Author: Bernhard Kerres
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