What an end of the week!

A week ago I left on Thursday night from Moscow to Kiev, invited by Ukrainian networker-deluxe Denis Dovgopoli to speak at iForum (www.iforum,ua) on Friday. iForum is Ukraine’s largest IT conference, I was told. Indeed, the conference was fairly big – 3500 people attended according to Denis.

Though iForum is hard to compare with the likes of WPP’s Stream 2010 in Greece, with over 300 online superstars gathered for three days in Club Med, the conference was a useful experience for many.  A lot of time could be saved as practically “everybody” was there. In the afternoon panel discussion Going Global, with fine

audience_iForum_Kiev_2011_Bas_Godskamoderator Dmitry Repin, participants – Vlad Voskresensky, Alesha Jenko and Gennadiy Netyaga we talked about the do’s and don’ts of international business expansion, dividing business in a few categories and wondering where the differences lie between national and international entrepreneurship. In fact, all businesses need local knowledge, strong partners and excellent staffing.

I also grabbed the opportunity in the second panel discussion on e-commerce with Igor Ashmanov and others to invite members of the audience to come and work for the Samwer Brothers’ new startup project, Russia’s  fastest growing e-commerce fashion store, selling all across Russia. (Mail me if you’re a top talent! J)


The whole day was pleasantly spent on networking and talking to old friends.

A lot of traffic to Ukrainian sites is from Russia, so opportunities to buy cheap clicks here seem a good extra way to add to online acquisition…

There was a facebook afterparty in Club Stolitsa where I met some brilliant programmers and friendly mojitos. I love Kiev!

Back in Moscow a dynamic week started full of hustle and bustle in the online scene of Russian e-commerce – worth a reality show.

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Attended WPP’s Moscow version of the Stream un-conference yesterd. Stream Moscow 2011 is a smaller, localized follow up of the traditional event hosted by WPP’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and Yossi Vardi in Club Med near Athens, Greece.  About 100-150 people attended, the Digital Elite of russia’s internet scene. My dear friend Esther Dyson (EDventures, serving on both the boards of WPP and Yandex) and Mark Read (CEO of WPP Digital) hosted the Moscow event, in the posh Ritz Carlton.  Outside snow was falling which made stark contrast with Stream Moscow’s older brother, the big Stream --- three days of casual mingling and mindsharing with the hand-picked top 300 peers of the global digital scene.  I was there the last two years in October,  with pleasant temperatures near 30 degrees.

It was good to finally meet Yuri Milner, albeit it very brief, the founder of Digital Sky Technologies (DST), shareholder in Groupon, Facebook and Zynga and large stakeholder in whose IPO he realized end of last year.  Yuri is very upbeat about e-commerce and believes there is a lot of space for niche players, like shoe sellers… <


As I’m now responsible as CMO for driving sales for the Samwer Brothers’ new Russian e-commerce project ( that was good to hear. It re-confirmed what Sir Martin said half a year ago in Greece. The best sectors to be in are Digital, Data Analytics, and BRIC. I’m in all three -- that’ a hattrick! Mark Read added that Russian will soon be the largest online market in Europe, the reason for WPP to explore more ways to improve the digital share in media budgets.

Milner: “…all you have to do is simply hang in there for the coming 10 years and follow the flow, er… Stream!”.


I loved the group discussion we had in little rooms about e-commerce however there was not anything new said and I couldn’t stop noticing I was talking the most --- a lot of companies that are still thinking what their next step will be in the direction of e-commerce. Met some nice research people and saw charismatic commercial director Alexey Tretyakov of Yandex again after my last contact when I worked as CMO/dep. CEO at  in 2008/2009(at the time Russia’s largest e-commerce company).  Esther startled the attendants, including IKEA’s e-commerce manager with the need-to-know statistic that 7 out of 10 Europeans have been made in an IKEA bed…

The head of economic affairs of the US Embassy initiated a discussion about privacy concerns where about half of the attendant stated that in Russia it’s safer to give Google your personal details thsn the Russian government…

Alexey hosted the session about the Future of Display Advertising after Esther’s e-commerce break out session. I stated that I don’t like display as it’s insane that performance based marketing still needs to get hundreds of thousands of banners to get 1 sale; that’s too much noise, too much digital waste. Where are the CTRs of 15% with amazing conversions?!  A lively debate that, due to time concerns as Yuri Milner had to leave for a another appointment  has to be continued over a good glass. Still, the Russian crowd was much more silent than the colourful bunch of Western internet passionados that crowded the scene at Stream 2010 in Greece. But that will change no doubt in the coming years.

A nice girl Caroline from SoundCloud (“it’s the Flickr for sound”) had some interesting ideas about crowdsourcing for musical artist and shared the sound of bats making love on her iPhone to get attention from the crowd.

A few Dutch people in the mostly Russian crowd: Annelies (CEO @ SUP/Livejournal) and MediaEdge’s Head of Search EMEA. Annelies, ArakadiyVolozh (CEO of Yandex) and myself were the only attendants of Stream 2010 in Greece, (0.8% of all people, according to the booklet).

News 360’s Chief Business Development Officer, a startup similar to SkyGrid, had some ideas about how to better convert e-commerce customers via news updates, as they generate emotion. Unfortunately they focus on the US only, at present.

A Swedish competitor of Efficient Frontier, context advertising bid management, was mentioning several times that they’re not looking for clients; at 2AM I already received their company presentation. Soft persuasion, or digital tenacity? 

And then the night fell. All in all, a really nice initiative. Thanks to Mark, Esther and of course dear Victoria Pattinson for organizing!

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The internet is an accelerator. It blows up existing sectors and when the dust settles all has fallen back on earth --- better sorted, more efficiently organised.

People in the online scene, the "Internet sector" have for many years been evangelists. Disconnected sociopaths propagating a new digital hyperconnected lifestyle. Now they're the thought leaders, proficient in riding the wave, sourcing the niche, converting the disbelievers, leading the flock.

I enjoy the rolling tide, the splendid wave of digitisation. But --- all these computer screens each and every day, the mobile displays, all that other tech stuff it should never wipe out the beauty of a walk in a forest. An Apple versus an apple. :-)

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Bas Godska on a panel Go global on a Startup crash test 18 in Kiev (January 2010). 



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startup_school_Bas_Godska_picIn his interview by Alyona Popova, founder of on-line StartUp School , Bas Godska shared with some tips for startups. Whatch to learn more!                                                                                                         

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idcee_bas_picEvent - IDCEE-2010 in Kiev, Ukraine (October, 2010) - investor's day. Bas took part in a panel discussion - "Pro" an "Contra" of copycats versus disruptive start-ups".

Below is a brief interview after the panel discussion with Mike Butcher from TechCrunch, Elena Masolova from Darberry/Groupon Russia, Fabio Cannavale of Bravofly Group and Honor Gunday of Payment Wall.

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Interview (in Dutch) of Bas Godska as dep. CEO and CMO of by Vincent Everts for and


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Interview with Bas Godska in Owox (November 2008)


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