Category : Kiozk

Sketch to illustration

Zaanse Schans, Kiozk Amsterdam

Can an illustration ever get more Dutch than this? A few days ago I asked the same question on Facebook and as it turns out… Yes it can. The replies I got varied from adding tulips, a bike, perhaps some wooden shoes and yes, even weed to the illustration.

Of course the question was rhetorical, but still… we could add all these things to the illustration above, since we created the windmill-illustration ourselves.

Recently we wanted to refresh our newsletter style. After a little brainstorm we decided, amongst other things, to include a big illustration which covers the subject of the email. Last week we used this image, which obviously referred to our launch in Amsterdam. This week it’s the windmills, which refer to this organiser we added to Kiozk.

I didn’t create the windmill illustration myself. In fact, I can only dream of creating an something like this. Luckily we’re a team! The thing that amazes me most is that the windmill-illustration started with this simple sketch:

sketch-to-illustration-Kiozk-windmill

This makes me look forward to our next newsletter. Let’s see if you’re able to guess the subject based on this sketch (and perhaps learn a little Dutch along the way):

sketch-to-easter

Tulips, canal houses and… Kiozk

Kiozk Start in Amsterdam

Tulips, canal houses, Anne Frank, the Rijksmuseum, the red light district and coffee shops. These are things Amsterdam is famous for. Starting today, you can add Kiozk to this list.

No, I won’t mind. Really.

Of course I’m exaggerating and Kiozk won’t be as famous as tulips and canal houses anytime soon (if ever). But still, theoretically it’s possible… theoretically…

Why? Because Kiozk, the company I co-founded, launched in Amsterdam this very weekend. Now Kiozk can be used in our Dutch capital, something we’re thrilled about. As you probably know by now, Kiozk shows activities taking place at the users current time and location. This way it’s easy to discover new and fun activities nearby. While preparing the launch in Amsterdam, we literally discovered hundreds of great activities, many of them free of charge. Every day, there are concerts, expositions, boat trips, lectures, entertainment, events and much much more. It’s amazing how Amsterdam, a city I thought to know quite well, offers so many surprises.

A big surprise is the Civic Guards Gallery, located next to the Kalverstraat, one of the busiest shopping street of the Netherlands. It showcases 15 substantial paintings of the Amsterdam Civic Guards from the 17th Century. It’s not only free of charge, it’s also the only place in the world where paintings are displayed in the open air, with only a glass roof to protect them. 

Another great surprise is the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, located next to the central railway station. The conservatory offers several free concerts a day (!), which actually isn’t the only reason to visit the conservatory. As it turns out, the architecture is worth checking out too. The entire building is brand new and the auditoriums are simply beautiful.

There are many more surprises worth mentioning. What to think of free activities like a boat ride, a film museum or a city walking tour and paid activities like a tour of the Ajax stadium and a bike ride to typical Dutch windmills.

I know I’m biased, but you should definitely check out Kiozk.com when visiting Amsterdam. Oh, and follow me on Twitter (here or here) to stay up to date with Kiozk related news.

The end of organised sports

The end of organised sports

What sport did you do when you were a kid? Played football? Basketball? Tennis perhaps? I bet you quit doing this by the age of 18 (probably even earlier). Whatever the reason, you’re not alone. In the Netherlands 80 percent of all kids quit organised sports by the time they turn 18. In the United States the situation is even worse. A staggering 70 percent of all kids quit by the time they turn 13 (!). Dutch Olympic Committee NOC*NSF wanted to know why and what they can do about it. We helped them and turned our idea into a company along the way.

logos netflix cnn facebook twitterAs it turns out the answer to the first question (why do we quit organised sports) is fairly simple. And no, it’s not because we don’t like to sport anymore. Instead, the world changed, we changed. Because of the Internet our world slowly changes in an individualistic and on demand centric society. Want to buy music? Visit iTunes. Watch a movie? Launch Netflix. Interact with people? Use Facebook. Check out the news? Visit Twitter or CNN.com. These modern technologies change the way we live, the way we communicate and even change the way our brains work. We’re so accustomed to buying and doing things whenever and wherever we want that we can’t imagine ourselves to schedule anything weeks in advance anymore. Hence, we even start to treat our jobs like this. Many of us are allowed to do our job whenever and wherever we want, as long as our results are good. As it turns out this is exactly how we think about sports as well. We don’t care how we sport, as long as we get the result we want.

So, what results do we want? To meet other people? Sure, this used to be a primary reason, but it’s not our goal anymore. We see other people 24/7 on Facebook, hang out with friends and love to meet new people. For this, we don’t need sports anymore. Instead, most people use sports to stay in shape, lose weight, gain muscles, feel healthy or simply to show off (yep, those people exist too). The fact of the matter is we can achieve these goals without organised sports. Of course, playing football in a team is lots of fun, but it needs to fit my schedule. I want to practice it whenever and wherever I want, I only care about the results.

You must think I’m exaggerating. Do we really think like this? Well, yes. What are the most popular sports for students and (young) professionals? Jogging, running, cycling, swimming or the gym. Yep, these are all individualistic sports which can be practiced wherever and whenever you want. This is exactly why starchitect Rem Koolhaas loves to swim. He travels the world and has a schedule which doesn’t allow  fixed moments to sport. But he can swim whenever and wherever he wants (every city has a swimming pool). Another example is Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, founder of The Next Web. Every once in a while a tweet comes by where @Boris proudly presents us with his running time (“2,15 km at a 5’11″/km pace”). As is the case with Koolhaas, Boris sports wherever and whenever he wants and reaches his goal while doing it.

Most of us travel a lot less, but the idea stays the same. I for example love to bike. On quiet days I sometimes bike for hours, on busy days I don’t bike at all. So, why always sport on the exact same time and location every week? The world doesn’t work like that anymore. Heck, my brain doesn’t work like that anymore, which obviously is bad news for all traditional sports clubs like tennis, football and basketball.

After we discovered the problem we came up with a solution. Together with Dutch Olympic Committee NOC*NSF we created a website which offers organised sports on demand. As you know, we branded it kiozk.com and tested the idea in Groningen. Amsterdam is next. Kiozk essentially is a long list with sport activities based on the users current time and location. Think of activities like ‘play tennis for an hour’, ‘join our basketball team for training’ or ‘try Taekwondo’. Users browse the list of activities and there’s always a sport which can be practiced.

Sounds great? Well, not so fast. To our surprise most organised sports clubs couldn’t be persuaded to join Kiozk, not even with the help of Dutch Olympic Committee NOC*NSF. The most important reason not to join? Most clubs were unhappy about the idea to offer sports on demand. As someone put it, “we’re in the business of memberships, we’re not interested in someone who joins our club just one time.” This forced us to let go our sport-centric model and approach other organizers of activities, not related to sports, as well. With huge success. We now have museums, lot’s of nightlife, lectures, tours and big events in Kiozk. Suddenly some commercial sport clubs saw the potential and also joined. Even FC Groningen, one of the most well known professional football clubs, is now part of Kiozk. Ironically we now have everything but the traditional sport clubs. It seems they continue to deny what’s happening.

Desktop en mobiele Kiozk

Let’s hope the organised sports soon realise their way of doing business needs to be adjusted to again excite students and (young) professionals to join. We still love organised sports… Their system just doesn’t fit in our world anymore.

kiozk accenture innovation award and exchange

Accenture Innovation Exchange

Last week, the 2013 edition of Innovation Exchange took place in Amsterdam. Accenture, which organized the event, provided seven of their partner companies with a list of hundreds of Dutch innovative startups. This list included Kiozk. Three companies were interested in us and invited Kiozk to the event.

This gave us the opportunity to present Kiozk to three amazing companies. And, it’s the first time I attended such an event, which made it even more exciting. We met great people and got introduced to more than just three companies. I’m excited about the future!

kiozk accenture ABN Amro Sanoma Wegener Vodafone KPN

Kiozk by the numbers

I wrote about my company once… just once. Today I’m gonna double this because, well… I wrote another post about Kiozk.com. This time it’s about the numbers.

kiozk activities in Groningen

60

We now have 60 organizers in Kiozk. Some of them use Kiozk to organize just a single activity, some of them dozens and a few actually over a hundred activities.

9

The number of activities in Kiozk this Sunday. Here’s a quick run through: At midnight the day starts with an event in a nightclub, A few hours later an exposition and local market can be visited, you can take a tour with a ranger and cheer for Jong FC Groningen, the pupils of a major Dutch soccer club. These are just five activities which means there are four more. It’s enough to fill the day for sure.

1000+

We recently hit the milestone of 1000 activities organized with Kiozk. Keep ’em coming!

53

This is really cool, it’s the number of activities created in the past two days.

1

The number of cities we’re in. Currently Groningen is the only city in which Kiozk is actively scouting for organizers and users. This means all numbers mentioned above apply to just this one city. Oh, I really want to double this number. Just think of the possibilities…

Read more about Kiozk (here) or check out the real deal (here).

kiozk family of websites