Dear readers, what a treat today! Lip-sticking is going international!
For some time now Jane has been exchanging emails with a most delightful (there's Jane's favorite word) young man from-- out of this world. You understand, Jane's world is on solid U.S. ground, sad to say-- but our Smart Man Online today, Hans Henrik who authors the (public)Mind blog, is from Denmark, and he has some interesting things to say about Americans, about blogging, and...about his family.
Are you getting the sense, dear readers, that Jane is serious when she says the new millennium is not just for girls--or boys--it's for all of us, and that the young people today are leading the way. ALL of Jane's Smart Men Online have commented on their families and/or pets-- the things in life that make life worth living. (We're happy to say that blogging makes it on their list, too!) Read on and learn a little something about life with a great Dane -- and we aren't talking Scooby-Doo!
Lip-sticking: It's truly a small world when two people of different ages, different genders, and different worlds can come together for conversations on the things that make people - well, people. We met you through the Pro Bloggers Association, Hans, and are mighty glad we did.
You bring a unique perspective to the world of blogging, partly because you're from across the ocean (we are geographically challenged so we're not sure which ocean...can you remind us?) but mostly because -- we think -- you're uncorrupted by the world. You're always outspoken, but in an informative and positive way.
So...to begin, tell us how you got connected to the Pro Bloggers?
Hans: Well, I¹m from Denmark, a little country in the north part of Scandinavia. Maybe you know The Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Andersen, The Vikings or LEGO? I hope so! Many foreigners, especially Americans, think that Denmark is the capital of Sweden or LEGOland (ouch! Jane hopes Hans is joking...oh, look...he is!) Of course that¹s a joke.
But anyway, we are a little country with a historically big impact. Way back in history Denmark "owned" Sweden, Norway, parts of England and Germany. It was also a Dane who discovered Greenland . Shakespeare once wrote about Denmark, as well as Hamlet. Maybe you're familiar with the sentence "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"?
Denmark is poor on raw material and historically we have been forced to investigate and explore the world. I think it¹s one of the reasons why I crossed the digital boundaries and "moved" across the Atlantic Ocean. (thank you, Hans.)
In fact, I started writing my blog in Danish but discovered very fast that the relations I could "jumb into" were far more interesting when writing in English. By doing so, a whole new universe opened up.
One of the "universes" was the Pro Bloggers Association. For a while I¹ve been following Paul Chaney¹s weblog and when he suggested the formation of an association, I asked him if I could join. He was very kind and has shown real and great leadership in the formation of the group. I¹m proud to be a founding member.
I see a weblog as a communication tool, a tool for igniting conversations. Not only in a PR or a Communication Department perspective but in an every business process perspective. My aim in joining the PBA is to help broaden the discussion to Corporate/Business blogging as externalized PR.
I hope and think I¹ll Succeed.
Another consideration was the representation in the group. I wanted to be the "voice" from Europe, from Scandinavia, from Denmark. (we are fortunate to have you.)
Lip-sticking: Give us a two sentence focus on what your blog is all about-- don't forget to tell us when you started it and what blog tool you use.
Hans: I started blogging almost 3 years ago. I heard about the phenomenon for the first time back in 2001 but at that time I didn¹t understand what it was all about. A personal diary? Yes, I admit, at that time I thought so.
I use Movable Type and with help from good friends almost anything can be done. It's not complete, but it¹s a spare time project for me and it¹s fun.
What is my blog all about? Well, I think the topics covered are of less importance than the relationships I can establish through my blog. On my blog I write that "I believe in the network as a catalyst, as my consciousness, as a part of me. With PublicMIND I try to expand the dimensions for what I am, can and will be."
For me, that's what blogging is all about.
Lip-sticking: One of the on-going arguments across the net, between bloggers and non-bloggers, especially as blogging pertains to business, is whether you can measure ROI with blogging. What's the return on investment for your blog, and...does it matter to you?
Hans: If the question is -- I¹m getting rich on blogging, the answer is "No!" Until now it is the experience of blogging which matters, and that I¹ve expanded my network internationally. I have come across some possibilities that never would have crossed my way without my blogging.
I¹ve made new friends, I have received very good feedback, I¹ve got new perspectives on matters that interest me. And yes, ROI matters, but not always moneywise. Sometimes I spend many hours blogging, so I have to see some results doing so. Otherwise I would prefer to do training, instead.
Lip-sticking: So, we're curious...do you live in an apartment, or a house? What's your favorite room? What's your favorite breakfast meal? Do you eat your meals at your computer--chained to the keyboard--devoted to blogging? In your pajamas????
Hans: I live in an apartment in the middle of Copenhagen. (120 m2 -- we're not sure what this means, perhaps Hans could comment?) Nice, plenty of space for my little family-- Wife, little boy, 2 cats and myself. We dream of a little cottage in the countryside maybe as a summer residence 2 or 3 years from now.
Breakfast? Well, first thing in the morning is giving my boy breakfast, after that he takes a little 30 minute powernap. By then I¹ll make my self a BIG Café Latte, a little toast and that¹s it. And yes, now and then I¹ll read my bloglines "on the side."
Lip-sticking: Are there any blogging conventions or conferences popping up in your immediate area? Any you'll be attending? If not, any chance we'll see you over here this spring or summer?
Hans: The blogging scene in Europe is quite fragmented: a few academics, lot of diary-bloggers, and of course a lot in between. There has been some interesting Conferences over the last months but the focus is beyond what interests me. In fact I¹m planning to arrange my own conference but I need manpower helping me execute the thing. In fact, I registered European Blog Summit - but
nothing has happened on the site so far. If your readers can help me out, please give me a ping...hehehe. (readers...we hope someone will write to Hans and offer a helping hand.)
Lip-sticking: Tell us, in your own words, three things that make a blog different than a website. Then, tell us three things you think a website does better than a blog.
Hans: The world is about relationships -- everything happens in relationships. If you don¹t dare to be part of a dialogue, then you can¹t ignite or create relationships. On the other hand, if you do, you have every opportunity to create something that¹s bigger than yourself-- by blogging. That's what it is all about. For me at least.
Lip-sticking: We like to ask people about shopping online--what are your favorite stores online? What one thing, besides finding the right item, convinces you to buy from an online merchant?
Hans: Niiiice question! In fact I¹m chairman of The Danish e-commerce Foundation so I shop a lot online.
The latest shop I visited was Timbuk2 - I bought a bag for my brand new PowerBook; easy, convenient, and very fast. Got my bag in 7 days from San Francisco in the U.S.
Lip-sticking: Can you think of 3 good reason online merchants should blog? What about selling stuff on blogs...what's your take on that? Ads on blogs? How do you feel about them?
Hans: Again, its about creating relationships, It¹s about understanding the customers needs. Way to much product development happens without customer involvement. To much Marketing is done without understanding what the customers really want. Only a few in this world until now have an understanding of the importance of a more openminded market dialogue. Not only in a PR of a Marketing perspective, but also in product- and business design and innovation.
Lip-sticking: We hate to get personal...well, no we don't...but-- are you naturally bald? It's very sexy.
Hans: HAHAHA!in fact yes I shape "the rest" once a week. The story is sweet-- In my teenage years I fell in love with a wonderful girl. We were "honney¹s" for almost 7 years, then she left me. :-(
It was my own fault, I can see that now but that¹s a completely other story, and back then I lost my hair – almost over night.
And thank you for the compliment. I find your caricature very attractive as well. (Jane is blushing)
Lip-sticking: We see the 'for hire' link on your blog and the text explaining it--- all in Danish. For your English speaking friends, can you condense that page into three or four sentences and tell the world what they'll get when they hire Hans Henrik.
What will people get?
1. An entrepreneurial mind
2. Someone Passionate about what he¹s doing
3. A Good communicator-- at least in Danish!
4. A blogging evangelist-- not only for fun, but also for profit.
5. So, if you wanna make a difference, let¹s talk. Hire me and I'll prove #s 1-4.
Jane thanks Hans with a big hug...albeit, a virtual one. We here in the U.S., often get immersed in our little personal communities, forgetting that the big wide world has exciting opportunities beckoning. Jane loves Hans's description of blogging-- especially the use of the word 'iginite' -- and the little poke at American's self-centeredness. Some of us deserve that poke, others don't. What's best of all is that-- blogging makes it possible to break out of the box-- forget think out of the box! Hans has done it...shouldn't we be doing it, also? (Jane wishes to add one little note here-- please visit Hans's blog...he has such a winning smile that just doesn't come through in the picture posted here.)
What's not to like about that?