Archives for posts with tag: los angeles

It’s amazing to experience the transformation of downtown first hand. We’ll look back in 10 years and will ask: Downtown LA looked THAT terrible at one point?

Los Angeles always gets a bad rap when it comes to preserving historic architecture. It’s very true when you look at Hollywood. Most of the architectural landmarks are gone. If you grew up in the 40’s you wouldn’t recognize today’s Hollywood. The opposite is true of the core of downtown LA. The same buildings you see in this clip, are still around and they’re revitalizing the whole core as we speak. At last.


I used to live in real cities: Hamburg, London, Honolulu. Then I moved to Los Angeles. Within a few weeks, I understood that Los Angeles is not a city, it’s a conglomerate of disparate communities. The majority of Angelenos live a pod lifestyle. From home pod to work pod to entertainment pod.

We have communities within our pods but it’s hard to experience Los Angeles as a cohesive community. (Except when the Lakers are winning the NBA title.)

Creating a cohesive Los Angeles experience

I’m following closely the emerging technology of location-awareness and believe it will help create hyper-local experiences. It’s not about creating a separate, virtual reality. It’s about creating a layer on top of our human experience. Combining both thoughts resulted in this idea:

“The Los Angeles Soundscape app tries to communicate the uniqueness and local identity of each small community through music/sound composed by local musicians/artists from that specific community. The app is location-aware and will change based on your location; community soundscapes will overlap and interact in dynamic ways, yielding a unique experience with each listen. The app is best enjoyed while driving (car/bus/bike) but will respond to slower paces as well.

The vision is to create a musical Venn diagram placed over the urban landscape of Los Angeles, at any time you might multiple tracks playing in your ear, colliding in surprising ways. The roads you take determine what you hear and we expect users to discover new neighborhoods, experience the local spirit and inspiration of the specific soundscape.


The ultimate objective of this is to encourage Angelenos and visitors to explore this amazing city outside of their typical routes and tourist spots. And help transform the sprawling suburbia into a real community.”

Let’s get it done

The project was submitted to Kickstarter, a funding platform for innovative projects. It’s the perfect platform to really explore what forms art can take. The site accepts pledges starting at $1 and you can get special values starting at a pledge of $10. Even if you don’t give money but like the idea, a mention would be appreciated.

Check it out.

Beautiful video showcasing the beauty of Los Angeles.

The city had it rough this week. A freak storm left a quarter million people without power for more than 24 hours. Many houses were destroyed, some areas looked like war zones. But it’s all cleaned up, the sun is shining and we go on with our business as if nothing happened.

An enjoy the beauty of Los Angeles.

You arrive in Paris and you are surrounded by beauty.

Not so much when you arrive in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles isn’t a city.

It’s an aggregate of small communities.

You decide what communities fit your style. Hipster, Beach, wanna-be writer, gritty, blue collar, white collar – the list is endless.

Franky, Los Angeles can be quite ugly.

But, when you open your eyes and mind, Los Angeles can be a real beauty.


My favorite airport in the world is in Amsterdam. And my least favorite airport is LAX. I do anything to avoid that horrible experience. What Amsterdam gets and Los Angeles doesn’t understand: an airport experience represents a brand experience.

Imagine traveling to Los Angeles for the first time in your life: Palm Trees, Sun, Beverly Hills, Hollywood. The dream of a lifetime. And then you land at LAX. You leave the plane exhausted, walking down dark hallways, paint peeling off, the smell of a non-ventilated locker room in your nose. Immigration makes you wait in endless lines for hours, the lights reminding you of an interrogation room. Everything screams: “You’re not welcome.” Finger prints, thumb prints, a photo: Is this Rikers Island or LAX? By the time they graciously let you in, your luggage has been offloaded from the conveyor belt. If you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, your luggage is gone. Now it’s time to stand in another line: Customs. Finally, you’re done. A refreshment would be nice, right? No luck. The arrival hall is bleak, nothing for you to do. Except leaving. Time to stand in another line: for a cab, the rental shuttle or the bus. When your Los Angeles adventure begins, you already have an impression of this city: It smells, they don’t care about people and their needs.

Compare that to Amsterdam: immigration takes a few minutes, the building are well-lit, everything screams: “Welcome.” Customs is a breeze. I’m greeted by open shops, restaurants, ATM’s, rental car counters and easy access to cabs. My arrival experience turns into a real Amsterdam experience within minutes. Amsterdam airport enhances my travel experience. LAX diminishes it. Amsterdam airport accentuates the Dutch brand. It communicates modern values. It communicates to me an open society, a dynamic community that welcomes me immediately.

Like it or not: We’re all in the experience business. It used to be enough to have a decent product, a good price, an accessible place for me buy it, coupled with a good promotion. Let’s count the money. Not anymore. You need to create experiences. It can be a Redbox experience: Give me a movie for $1 now. It can be a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class experience: Treat me like a rockstar. But it has to be an experience.

People often confuse experiences with flashy things. That’s why so many companies continue to build these monuments to Flash as websites. Because they want me to experience the brand. More often than not, the best experience is getting a task done on my terms in the shortest time possible. The metrics “Time Spent” should be considered a warning sign, not a success metrics. Brands should rather focus on “Task achieved in”. Companies need to focus less on making things efficient for them, more on making all brand experiences more efficient for each of their customers.

Take a look at your store: What experience are people getting out of it?

Your website. Does it only serve your purpose (sell, upsell, cross-sell) or does it serve your customers?

Your marketing. Are you just talking about yourself or do you help people, add value, make their lives better?

Which brings me back to LAX.

Times are tough, no money, no budget. I’m not asking for a billion dollar renovation of LAX. I’m just asking for changing our attitude when designing these places. Paint is not that expensive, let’s make the hallways a little bit more brighter and colorful. Let’s have all school children in Los Angeles paint pictures about their community and hang those up in the Immigration area. Let’s have a close look at line management in Immigration and Customs. Let’s have volunteers help people with their paperwork before they meet the Immigration officer. Let’s create an experience of Los Angeles as a community, as a place where we welcome the world. Is that too much to ask?