Great quote from Kotler

At the press conference here in Sofia, Kotler answered the following upon being asked by a journalist whether he had ever made any statements in his books which turned out to be wrong over time:

Well, I would sound arrogant if I said I never made any mistakes…
and I’d be foolish if I told you what they were..
So I really can’t even think of an answer for the question.

Philip Kotler in Sofia, seminar and press conference

Two things:

  1. I’m extremely busy, so this post will be short;
  2. I’ll be able to go back to my marketing professor in Holland, after my placement, and tell him I had breakfast (or high tea) with Kotler.

Yesterday as I went to the Philip Kotler seminar I spoke about earlier to interview some of the participants, I was invited to stay and witness the seminar in the afternoon. Sweet.

Kotler signing books at the seminar in Sofia

Over here Mr. Kotler!

Note: you can use these pictures IF you include a link to this website. Do NOT infringe copyrights. I will find out.

Then today I went to the press conference, which turned out to be in the panorama restaurant of the Kempinski hotel here in Sofia. Very good service from the personel, as can be expected in a classy hotel like the Kempinski. It was just a round-table setting, everything was translated to Bulgarian also (to my annoyance), but it was pretty informal and comfortable to ask him a question. Also got a Bulgarian translation of Kotler’s book “Lateral Marketing” signed by him. Sweet. Maybe some day I’ll be able to read the book. More content another time, have to get all my stuff through to the radio first. Can’t post any real data on here before then. I’ll make sure to post the links to all the material as soon as they’re up on the Radio Bulgaria website.

Philip Kotler signing book at Sofia press conference

Oh, go check out my Photoblog, it has updates!

Notice there’s no picture for today yet. That’s because I’m joining a journalist from Hristo Botev to the CD presentation of the Bulgarian Pop Idols winner. We’ll see what’s more interesting 😉

Thomas Was Here

FUCCCKKK. Was I knackered yesterday. Only word I can use without adding more obscenities so early in this post. Let me run you through what happened. I have to be a bit brief, because well… I don’t remember everything, but most of it I do. Secondly, I can’t really be bothered to, because I’m in the middle of making a new mix. So let’s get started shall we 🙂

This is where concerned parents or other family members stop reading.

Day/Night 1
Thomas arives at the airport. At some point he calls me and asks me where I am… At international arrivals of course. Turns out I had to be at terminal 1 and not 2… Got a taxi. Found him. Went home. We drank Rakiya until 3 or 4 in the morning. I went to work only half an hour late.
Day/Night 2
First we went to one of my favourite bars in town: Bilkova Apteka. Ran into James, Pieter and two Belgian girls who were visiting the latter. We said goodbye, went to a restaurant… Decided to go to one more bar and have a cocktail… Decided to go to one more bar and have something stronger… You can guess what happened. Let me tell you anyway.

Thomas & Bulgarian dudes Uhhh…. Whiskey… and drums Iran

We were standing at a table, minding our own business after getting ripped off by the bouncers. Some waitress comes up to us… asks us if it’s okay if a group of Bulgarian guys come and stand at the same table. Sure. The Bulgarians come, introduce themselves… start buying whiskey bottle, after whiskey bottle, after whiskey bottle. We went to some ‘chalga’ (popfolk) place afterwards. Thomas and I got bored quick (I think). We went home… The next day I was only 1 hour late for work. But completely DEADDDDDD. Oh, and I found out that I took pictures of the Iranian embassy. Sweet.

Day/Night 3

I already told you I was dead. Went home after work. Slept. Then we went to a restaurant at about 9.30. Still didn’t feel very good. Didn’t really expect to go out. Then we listened to some music at my place… Chilled out… Went out anyway at around 1. First Chervillo. Nothing going on there. Then to Yalta. Great success!


Saw Sebastien Leger, GREAT DJ. Check out some of his productions here. Basically, we partied until 6.30. Drank a lot of whiskey. Party, party, party, party.

Day/Night 4
Needless to say, by now we were fucked. I think that day we got up around 3. Went outside. Had breakfast. Walked out of the restaurant and it was already getting dark. Shit. We chilled out at my place and went out to Club Pulse. There was a minimal techno party, but it was rather psychedelic. Haven’t really heard this type of minimal before. Pretty cool. Met up with Bobi, the DJ that took me to the psytrance party on Rila. After drinking a Shark (Bulgarian Red Bull) at about 2h10, I got a rather upset stomach and really wanted to go home before going to another club. In the end we didn’t go out anymore. Probably for the best.

Day/Night 5
We woke up and were still feeling very poor. Figuratively, because Bulgaria is cheap. Had a rather interesting experience at a very Eastern-European public restroom. I went in (upset stomach), took some toilet paper from the “Pay Now Please”-lady. Went to the toilet. Discovered the first one I picked didn’t have a lock. I looked around… None had. Fuck it. I picked another one anyway. So when I was about done, after having to hold the door closed with my arm the whole time… (stop reading now, skip to the next paragraph) I decided that to wipe my ass, I would have to find a new way to hold the door closed. I got up, leaned against the door. I coughed. Then someone walked over to my door and started pushing it. I pushed back and said “Ne”, which means “no” ;-). Well, obviously this guy wanted something because he started whispering some shit in Bulgarian while he kept pushing the door. After about 5 seconds he stopped. I finished up, got out. There he was… waiting for me it seemed. He said goodbye to me in Bulgarian… Then said something else. Instead of ignoring him, I asked him if he spoke English (I was so tired, I had no clue what I was doing really). He held out his hand to introduce himself… Damn. I shook his hand. His name was Vladimir. My name was Bas. He said goodbye again, walked past all the empty stalls and entered the one I came out of. I washed my hands. With a lot of soap.

That night we went to meet up with James, Emil and Pieter and had dinner with them. After that Thomas and I went to an alternative bar in Studentski Grad and saw a Bulgarian band called Wickeda and the Whiskey Avengers from San Francisco. Had a lot of fun and drank a lot of whiskey again.

Whiskey Avengers

Day/Night 6
Today we got up at 10am and went to Vitosha mountain, just outside Sofia. Well… that’s what should have happened. Instead, we woke up at 11. Looked outside. Didn’t like the weather. Told each other tomorrow is another day and went back to bed. I sent some people in Holland a card. By this point the whiskey had gotten to our heads (even though I hadn’t drank any that day) and we thought we were VIP’s. We went to a bar and had cognac and a cigar.

We then proceeded home, because we didn’t want to be home late again. Thomas wanted to go to Vitosha the next day and I had to go to work… Alright, one more bar then. Two big whiskeys… At some point Thomas went to the toilet. I decided to talk to the first person on my right. I started talking to a brown-haired girl. About 10 seconds into the conversation (or maybe 3) the girl told me she knew me… Uh oh. So I went “Ohh!” but had to swallow the “now I see”… So I went quiet… and asked her from where. She told me and then I remembered. The protest for Burma I organized. Cool.

We stayed around for a while. Were introduced to a bunch of people in the bar since it was somebodies party. Went home late, again. Watched a film. Fell asleep on the couch, I think. Next day: probably half an hour late for work or so.. Don’t remember.

Day/Night 7 — Thomas’ Last Night in Sofia
We had to party. Of course. So we went to Studentski Grad. Went to a club called Jim Beam and got drunk again… on whiskey of course. I don’t think there’s much substantial to add. Except that Thomas didn’t manage to get a bus to the mountain and was followed around by stray dogs in a suburb of Sofia.

Bas & Thomas, drunk again

It was a very good day 🙂

Adios Day!
Lost the count and can’t be bothered to scroll up. This day Thomas got on his airplane and flew back to Holland.

The end.
Maybe you can imagine now how I feel. I feel pretty good since I finally have some time for myself. Working on a mix which will be up soon. Enough typing, enough chatting. Leka vecher i priaten hlob.

Check out the picture gallery on Picasa.

Philip Kotler in Sofia

Philip KotlerThe past week or so, in between all the partying, I’ve been trying to arrange for me to attend the Philip Kotler seminar here in Sofia. Now I really wanted to attend, since it was a great opportunity to do my job as a journalist and learn about marketing at the same time… Kotler being one of the most important names in marketing of all time. It turned out to be completely full, even for journalists. So I decided to see what I could do then… Three things, it turned out:

  1. Go to the hotel where the seminar is to hold interviews with some participants. The organizers helped arrange this.
  2. The day after the seminar I’m attending the press conference.
  3. Interview with the organizers!

It’s not the same as attending the event, but this is as close as I can get. Hopefully I’ll be able to pose a good question for the press conference, but I’m not exactly a press conference veteran so we’ll see how it goes.

A busy week and a trip to Plovdiv

It’s been a long week. Last Saturday night I was waiting for my parents to arrive at Sofia airport. On my way to find a bus or a taxi to the airport I find out it’s snowing! So I go to the airport, stand between a crowd of Bulgarians waiting for people to arrive. After about half an hour they come out and after another half an hour we manage to get ourselves into a taxi. It was kinda strange to see them walking into Bulgaria, into my life here. It had the same type of ‘shock’ effect as when I took a taxi into Sofia upon my arrival here in Bulgaria. The first night they crash at my place, the next day we try to find somewhere to have breakfast/lunch, which turned out to be a bit tougher than I thought. It didn’t suck as bad as the long walk to their hotel though 😉 From there I went straight up to the airport to pick up Janneke. The crowd that was there now was about 3 times as big as the day before. We went to my place and later that day met up with my parents to have dinner.

Monday was rainy, very rainy. Almost Holland-rainy. No, just like Holland-rainy. Rain, rain, rain all day long. We managed to see a lot, but it cost a lot of energy to control my mood. When it rains like this, people here don’t go outside unless they don’t have a choice.

Rainy Sofia

On Tuesday it was back to work for me. More work on a presentation I’m giving this Wednesday. Lunch with Janneke. A few more hours of work and it was time to errr.. I kinda forgot what happened on Tuesday.

Wednesday it was basically the same thing, minus the lunch with Janneke.. plus I remember what happened that day. At some point Janneke and I met up with my parents, because they would be traveling through Bulgaria and I might not see them before they left the country, so I had to say goodbye. Janneke and I were planning to eat with my friends in Studentski Grad, but because the buses were so full and the taxi drivers did not want to go to Studentski Grad, we decided not to go. We ended up walking around, going back home, going ’round the corner to eat. I had some rakiya, which is powerful of itself, but this time I could feel it through my throat and throughout my body. Bad experience. Could not enjoy the drink. Ended up looking like a pussy who can’t even drink hard liquor. 😉

The next day I worked until around 1pm and then headed home. As I got home we grabbed our stuff and headed for the busstation. We were going on a trip to Plovdiv! Actually managed to book a private room in a hostel (Hikers Hostel), which was good. Hotels are expensive and don’t offer half the value a good hostel does. Met some Australians, Frenchman, Chilean, Canadians, Americans (one of which was a Lonely Planet writer (with an attitude)), Belgians.. That evening we walked around and saw some of what Plovdiv had to offer. Below are some pictures which you can click to enlarge. You can also go to the picture gallery.

Cat in Plovdiv Ancient theatre in Plovdiv Purple shoe sunset I’ve been framed!

Actually, I decided to let the pictures speak for themselves. Here are some more.

Plovdiv fresco Abandoned building in Plovdiv Plovdiv amphitheate

We stayed there Thursday and Friday night. On Saturday we went to the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria, called Bachkovo. Quite an interesting place to visit, although it was obviously the end of the tourist season and they didn’t really feel like having everything open the whole time (I guess we came around lunchtime). The up-side of it was that it wasn’t swarming with tourists, yet there were still too many for my taste.

Another update later, I have to get working on my presentation.

Bulgaria and the ‘euro’

After a big row about the spelling of ‘euro’ in Bulgarian, finally a compromise has been found. Bulgaria, which does not yet use the euro, will spell it as ‘eur’ even though their request to spell it as evro. It’s simply ridiculous that this was turned down. In Cyrillic spelling, the Western ‘u’ is spelled as a v. ‘Auto’ is spelled as ‘avto’, Europe as Evropa and there are a lot more examples. If I understand the language well enough, ‘eur’ would be pronounced as separate vowels instead of the ‘eu’ sound that we know.

Not allowing Bulgaria to use their own spelling is really quite foolish. Bureaucrats.

Rel over euro opgelost ( – The Netherlands)

Weekend Recap

What a weekend. Friday morning I left for Troyan with my colleague and her husband to make a report on an event there. Took a lot of pictures. That evening we went to have dinner with all the people who were invited to the event. The deputy mayor of Troyan sent a group of students to our table, since they would be able to speak English to me. I’ll get back to that one later. So after dinner, the group decided they wanted to go get a coffee.. I decided to go along and my colleague joined. So a coffee became an alcoholic drink and what became one alcoholic drink became many. Managed to not speak to any of the girls except one. I wonder if I disappointed the deputy mayor… Woke up early the next day to resume work, wondering when I would be able to sleep more than 4 hours (I’m on a sleep diet again).

troyan1.jpg troyan2.jpg rila1.jpg rila2.jpg

We left at around 1… Or started leaving anyway. I got back to my apartment, had about half an hour to get other stuff and buy food. Then I had to go to Bobi’s house, because we were going to a psytrance party on the Rila mountain. After about 2.5 hours of mucking about in Sofia, we were finally on the road. Was a tad hard to find, but in the end we found it… It was SO cold. During the night it got colder and colder, to a point where I did not want to remove myself from the fire anymore. Glad that Bobi could lend me his winter-jacket. At about 6 I grabbed my blanket and slept on the forest floor for about 2 hours. Came home on Sunday at around 12.30 I think. Slept until 8pm, when I decided to go get some pizza. Dead-tired still.. That’s why I’m keeping this post short. I’ll let the picture speak for themselves.

Click here for the Troyan gallery.
Or here for the Rila psytrance party gallery.

Young idealists… (Free Burma protest in Sofia, Bulgaria)

Pieter with rosesWell, it wasn’t big.. but at least I did something. The protest had 8 participants, but it’s probably the biggest protest the Chinese embassy has ever seen here in Sofia. As indicated earlier, I decided that it would be a good idea to get red flowers, because I had a feeling our presence would not be very strong. Turned out to be roses, because they were the closest to maroon red we could find. So we went to the Chinese embassy and went onto the steps to place the roses. Immediately a guard came out to ask us what we were doing, tell us not to take pictures and wanted to know if we had any permit to be protesting… Come on, it’s just 8 of us placing roses. So the only picture I have of us at the embassy is 1 second (literally) before that moment and you can see it at the bottom of the post. We stayed around for about half an hour, seeing if anything would happen. We saw some Chinese employee of the embassy looking at us and making a few calls. After a while we decided to leave the rest of the roses for the embassy employees with a note that said “For a free Burma”. Then we left.

If there is anyone from Bulgarian protest groups reading this, or has any experience (and knows how to get a permit), please contact me.

Click to enlarge!
Representing France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and Bulgaria.

Oh, and I realize now that i could use my contacts at the radio and TV next time. Great!

This proves that everyone can do at least SOMETHING. And it can be fun, I met two new people through it. STUMBLE IT to spread the world!

Protest for Burma, Sofia 2007

Since nobody is taking the initiative, I will. In the hope that people will find this post through Google.

This is the plan!

If you care about the situation in Burma at all… Please do the following.

Go find the Chinese embassy (search: China Embassy on Google Maps), and lay a maroon-red flower there. Preferably between 2 and 3pm today (but if you read this too late, any day will do – I plan to do it once every few days).

Why maroon-red? It’s the colour of the robes of the Buddhist monks who were imprisoned, tortured, mutilated and killed in Burma.

Why the Chinese embassy? They’re Burma’s main ally… THEY can do something about this situation, but so far haven’t.

Why only a flower? Because of the small scale of participation. If we can’t organize a mass of people to come together at the same time… Let’s at least do something.

The people in Burma were killed and abused while the world was watching. They’re blood’s not only on the junta’s hands, but on the hands of all who failed to act to prevent it. So please, do something!

If you’re interested in setting something up, please email me at baslife (nospam) gmail – com

Some news just got out: Injured protesters in Burma are being burned alive!!

When will I sleep…

What a weekend… I met up with Mitko, the Macedonian graffiti writer I interviewed at the Balkan Youth Festival. He stayed at my place for a couple of days, starting last Friday. I hadn’t really rested well, so when we went to a drum ‘n bass party at night, I was already pretty tired. About the drum ‘n bass scene here… Man, do they like loud fking drum ‘n bass. I love it too, but when I came in, they were playing loud already… There was no build-up or -down whatsoever. Bad DJ’s. Besides that, everybody was on drugs and they overused the stroboscope which is VERY annoying in an overcrowded room. Very dissapointing, I hope to see better drum ‘n bass parties here, since I heard Sofia has a good dnb scene, but I spoke to some people there and they told me that this is basically the average dnb party in Sofia. Utrecht 1 – 0 Sofia.

The next day we got up waaay too early (somehow we had managed to find our beds at 7am). We got up at about 11, so we were both pretty tired. I met some cool people though, friends of Mitko (he’s lived in Sofia for three years). Basically, we chilled out the whole weekend.. On Sunday I had a couple of hours alone, so I cleaned my whole apartment… you know… vacuum cleaning the carpets, moving around tables so I could place another carpet (it’s getting really cold here), cleaning bathroom sinks, toilet, putting one of those soap dispensing things in my toilet (how ‘burgerlijk’), making my bed, doing the laundry, wiping down my tables, doing the dishes, putting things in closets and drawers instead of having them laying around everywhere…

Then in the evening I got a CD of a local psytrance duo called Asoma. They’re really great producers and since they’re Mitko’s friends and he’s coming back in Oct/Nov, so I suppose I’ll be hanging out with them.

I’m just balancing on a very bad cold though, so today I’ll set out to buy at least a scarf and candles, and if I see anything good: a coat. Because I did not take one here.