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Bucharest-Constanta-Varna road trip

I had pleasure of visiting Romania again and this time for holiday purposes. Last week I traveled with Blue Air from Helsinki to Bucharest. Overall, the service provided was polite and correct. Of course noways you have to pay for everything which is okay when you know it. I rented a car for week (105€ for Ford Focus) from Bucharest and drove to Constanta next day. When renting inform rental company before hand that you if you will go to other country like Bulgaria. They had paper works ready which was nice and I paid about 12 euros per day extra when not in Romania.  Constanta is old city with lots of activities for younger and older. Below a picture from the city beach area. Definitively worth visiting if in Black Sea area.

 

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After two days in Constanta I continued to Varna. Traffic is similar to any other country as you have those that drive well, those that speed and those that drive too slow 🙂 I was warned that road conditions are bad but in many cases they were better than in Finland. some potholes yes, so drive carefully in areas were you see them, but between bigger cities  2 lane motorway while in Finland we have usually one lane outside big cities. Of course, all the small roads even in country side have asphalt and beautiful road lights so you can drive in dark (some might do so it is safe) so that’s were the money goes 🙂

There is border crossing in Durankulak. I had my passport and car documents ready and so did the others and in 10-15 minutes I crossed the border. Overall, nice experience and fast 🙂

After crossing boarder and driving for while I drove down from the main street and landed to this nice place of Sea Paradise with White beach 🙂

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I stayed in the Varna close by (8km or so) beach resort of St. Constantine and Helena for 4 days. Lots of local families having their holidays but also tourists from other countries. Besides the beach resort, city of Varna has lots of things to see and places to visit.

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Already planning the next trip 🙂

B2B Social media review paper is out…

For a year or so I have been collecting and reading B2B / Industrial markets related social media papers that are published in top outlets. After the identification process I started more systematic analysis of what has actually been published on the topic ? and what do we know about the topic?

After this I started to wonder what lies ahead ? What the future could be ? Outcome is the now published in Industrial Marketing Management (article in press form). Especially academics that are focusing their research efforts to the topic might benefit from this news 🙂 Lets keep on researching 🙂

 

Wharton Baker Retailing Center, MSI and AMA CB-SIG conference

In June 22-23 2017 I had real pleasure to visit Philadelphia again. Well last visit was about 10 years ago 🙂

I attended the Wharton Baker Retail Center , MSI and AMA CB-SIG conference “Consumer Response to the Evolving Retailing Landscape”. During the two days we all presented papers on the topic and after revising the papers we submit the papers to Journal of the Association of Consumer Research special issue on the topic.

Our paper had really nice comments from Professor Barbara Kahn from Wharton School who is also one of the special issue editors and Professor Venky Shankar among others. The comments received will improve our paper on the online social shopping in the context of food recipes and grocery shopping/purchasing.

Jari Wharton Baker Retail MSI AMA CB-SIG

Thank you Dean & Prof.  Vivek Renga for taking the picture 🙂

I also met some really appreciated academics that are stars in their fields. It is inspiring to attend some of the conferences. We definitively keep on working with the ideas we had during the conference. What was also really interesting is that we also had two Wharton alumnus and others presenting who have developed multi-million dollar businesses in matter of some years.

Warby Parker company was among the three presenting their inspiring stories. Based on my interpretation the business model was originally similar to Michael Dells, Dell – direct to customer but then they moved also from online to bricks like Amazon. It was success with the clean and crisp stores. Besides the 99 dollar price they offer compelling customer experience through the customer journey. Really liked the idea. Cool company.

Besides enjoying the academic experience I also had time to revisit Liberty Bell and other bells and whistles in the Philadelphia or Philly as they love to call the city.

Philly city from Wharton

Here is the link for the presentation

Holiday trip to Tel-Aviv

In early May I was able to fit in my schedule four day trip to Tel-Aviv. When the temperature is close to 0 Celsius in Finland it is good time to travel. I try to pick countries and places that I have not visited before and Israel is one of those places. Now I can say that Tel-Aviv is beautiful place to visit with sandy white beaches. During the first day I walked from the North end of the beaches to the Old Jaffa – Old Town.

Old Jaffa

Besides seeing and experiencing the Old town also one of the oldest operating harbors in the world is place to visit while in Old town.

Of course you have some areas around the beaches that are less developed but overall I felt that Tel-Aviv was worth visiting. Usually I have lots of activities and I have full agenda for each day but I decided that I will not take the bus to Jerusalem even though it is close by.

View of the city Tel Aviv

From the Old town you will have beautiful view of the city. While in the airport I had discussion with UK based sales / dental expert who recommend the bus tour around the holy places. This will be in my agenda next time in Tel-Aviv. And of course a trip to the Dead Sea.

Holiday trip to Sarajevo, Podgorica and Dubrovnik

I had really relaxing holiday to Balkans. I landed Dubrovnik and took my rental car and drove through Balkans to Sarajevo. Sarajevo with its history and fame as little Jerusalem is place to visit for those looking for mix and match of history and modern (in the New Sarajevo).

Sarajevo

I visited many of the castles and some of the pictures taken are from those strategic positions within the city. I enjoyed the 1h or so run in Sarajevo but warming for those who like to run, terrain is challenging up and down up and down you go 🙂

 

From Sarajevo I continued to Podgorica in Montenegro. Just before the border there were lots of places were you could go rafting.  Road conditions were ok until about 20-30 km before the border when almost all asphalt ended and the road narrowed to almost one car lane.

Rafting

 

Podgorica is rather small city that is discovered in days but its surroundings with the mountains and monasteries have sights for extra days.

Scenery Podgorica

From Podgorica I continued to Dubrovnik. Well that was my plan in the morning when I left from the hotel room. The road that I took had a crew of workers widening the road that continued down the mountain so it took few hours more when the whole road was closed for 2 hours. Locals did not speak that much of English when were waiting in the queue but I understood that the other road to Dubrovnik was under maintenance as well so it was better to wait. This incident reminded me that it is always beneficial to have extra water and chocolate 🙂 in your car.

 

Dubrovnik out of all the cities visited was most commercialized and the hotel I stayed had Finnish tourist groups. Old city is the place to visit and narrow streets that go up and down within the city are nice exercise for you 🙂 Harbor is active within the old city and there are plenty of cruises to close-by islands.

Dubrovnik

 

Narrow streets

Around the Old city you can find Game of Thrones tours and T-shirts advertised. I wondered if Croatians like the show that much that they want to advertise it all over Old city. Later back in Finland I realized that the series is partly filmed there (Game of Thrones locations). 🙂 as you might have guessed I am not fan of that show.

 

EIT-digital seminar on social computing

On May 29th I was invited by Timo Nyberg from EIT digital to give talk on Social media in business for selected members of the Helsinki Bourse Club. Rather broad topic covered multiple selected issues from one of my social media slide decks (Slideshare link).  Social media has been widely applied in both B2C and B2B markets. Practical examples and digital analytics seemed to be very interesting for the audience. What was interesting that during the presentation we actually ended up discussing data science and data based management rather than social media, which was of course interesting for me too 🙂

 

 

Branding in the truck industry – product irreplaceability

Our 2016 research article “Brand and product attachment in an industrial context: The effects on brand loyalty” has been out via Industrial Marketing Management journal (IMM) for a year now and has been cited 15 times.

Together with my colleagues Dr. Giuseppe Pedeliento, Dr. Daniela Andreini and Dr. Mara Bergamaschi we focused our research efforts to truck purchasing and especially how owner-operators are purchasing heavy trucks and if attachment to trucks influences purchasing process. Survey research design, with 317 owner-operators of heavy  trucks, was adopted and process was led by Dr. Pedeliento and Andreini.

As a result we show that attachment to products also industrial markets is phenomenon that managers and scientist should be aware. We showed that product irreplaceability , i.e. feeling that e.g. Scania truck cannot be replaced by e.g. Volvo, was found to be a direct driver of brand loyalty. This research continues the attachment research and truck industry context that has been interest especially for Dr. Pedeliento since his Ph.D on the same topic.

Sharing Economy

I was privileged to share my ideas of digital transformation and sharing economy at the OP-Bitfactor joint seminar. We have witnessed a steady growth of sharing economy services / platforms emerging from the U.S. including  AirBnB and Uber. In Europe, sharing economy companies going global is rare phenomenon. Especially in Finland we have slowly started to launch some of the car sharing services like Share It Box Car. Still, these have not gained huge popularity. In Helsinki region, 30% or so of the youngsters don´t have a license to drive (Kaleva) so it is difficult to share a car. And in the less urbanized areas the car is usually around 11-years old (Trafi).

Below you will find link to my full presentation on digital transformation, which some will find familiar while latter part of the presentation focuses on the sharing economy.

 

 

Digital Transformation in the Food Industry

It has been long time since my last post. We have been busy with structural changes at the University of Helsinki. Additionally, I have been involved in running up an EU project with my colleagues from Aalto. Deadline for submission is next week. We have also received all of the over 40 submissions to our special issue “Dark side of social media” that we are editing for the Internet Research.

April 13th I had a presentation at out Viikki Food Science seminar. I presented my ideas on the Digital Transformation in the Food Industry. You can find the presentation from my Slideshare account. The key idea is that the three core process are transformed though digitalization. Digitalization or digitization is not specific to the food industry but all industries are impacted. Some more than the others. I have been teaching this at Helsinki School of Economics and other universities since 2009. It seems that the topic is becoming more popular. Soon I will hopefully post about our new publication that was accepted to Industrial Marketing Management.