Viking Kings & Stardust Strings: Bowie, Bluetooth & GoGift Unite in a Cosmic Symphony of Connection
During the end of the Viking Age, there lived a very strategic and ambitious Viking king in Denmark. This king was Harald Blåtand (Harald Bluetooth), who in Jelling somewhere around the 10th century was a little boy, born as Harald Gormsson—the nickname Bluetooth came from a conspicuous rotting tooth that framed his smile with a blue hue.
Jump in our time machine to London, January 8, 1947. The tears of baby David Robert Jones resonate as lightning bolts of whimsical musical notes. Born was one of the most iconic and elusive artists of the 20th century. A musical chameleon we got to know as Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Laughing Gnome, and forever David Bowie.
Keep the fast-forward button pressed on your VCR, and we’re suddenly transfixed in the middle of the oldest running film studio in the world, in Copenhagen, and the year is 2023. A big blue circle shines bright against the red-clad backdrop of film history. A colorful scene, ‘GoGift’ it reads, a lovely logo indeed. A friendly GoGifter welcomes you to the leading gifting company in the Nordics and today a global gift, rewards, and incentives business with over 15,000 clients worldwide.
And what now? Why have we randomly been introduced to three entities from three different periods that have nothing to do with each other?
Well, because they have ALL to do with EVERYONE and EVERYTHING. It’s all about connections.
Harald Bluetooth may have been a Viking—yeah, those bearded badasses that made raiding villages look like a wild and rugged Scandinavian fashion show—but his fame stems not from his fierce warrior skills but from his unification of Denmark. Harald was the first Viking King to bring Christianity and unity to the Viking people.
The story of his influence includes a monk named Poppo, who convinced Harald that the Christian belief was the strongest and proved this to Harald by holding scalding hot iron and showing unscathed hands. So, of course, Harald was like, “Woah, Poppo, we have to share this power with the people.” Harald was immediately baptized and ordered all his subjects to follow one God. He began uniting the other Viking tribes in Denmark, and Christianity went viral. This was the way before social media; long trips on wooden ships and monks with names like Poppo to convince the crowd. Also: Harald’s tooth was still blue.
Harald felt he needed a symbol to commend his great accomplishment, so he erected a monument for himself in Jelling, Denmark, often called “Denmark’s Birth Certificate.” Put in simpler terms: big rocks with Viking code, famously known as the Jelling Stones, and now part of a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes two burial mounds and a small church. Bucket list idea, anyone? Anyway, the stones are covered in Viking runes, a symbol-based writing system, and they describe how great King Harald was—conceited much? Also: The "mounds" consist of dead bodies, specifically that of Harald’s parents—“Bluetooth’s” grave has never been found. Well, keep these stones in mind because we will return to them shortly.
But Bowie first. It’s 1999, and the world wide web is a technological and social phenomenon. Bowie’s music is helping everyone endure the glorified start to the era of information. He’s sitting with Jeremy Paxman, rocking a pair of smoky blue Lennon shades and a funky patterned shirt to compliment a discussion about his life in music and the Internet. This interview would go on to indicate how revolutionary the Internet would become for music and prove that Bowie was, in fact, a soothsayer (had he been a toothsayer, maybe he could have given Harald a hand). And what not better than to embrace all of it?
Being an icon in the music industry, Bowie took the rise of the Internet as a career opportunity to brand himself and reach even more audiences across the globe. He changed the music industry in many ways—from releasing the first major downloadable single, “Telling Lies,” to issuing Bowie Bonds, “cybercasting” a live concert online, launching his very own Internet Service Provider BowieNet and then BowieBanc (pioneering personalisation)—a true visionary: always venturing into fresh avenues of engaging with his audience and cultivating his brand identity.
We mentioned before that you should keep the runic stones and Harald Bluetooth in mind, and now we’re ready to make some connections (pun intended). It was rare to see so many tech companies working together during the mid-90s when wireless communication was getting ready to have its moment. But they simply couldn’t afford to invent systems and devices that were only compatible with their own companies' products (and annoy the hell out of their customers). So tech companies came together to create one driver of wireless connectivity compatible with all electronic devices. Their inspiration, believe it or not? Harald Bluetooth. Jim Kardach, an engineer at Intel working on the project, had learned about Harald’s story of unification, and it spoke to him and sounded way trendier than PAN (Personal Area Networking). We’re still in the 90s, so the cool factor was uber-important.
Soon enough, the “Bluetooth” project was all the rage. And the logo? Well, it’s actually made up of Harald Bluetooth’s initials. Do runes sound familiar? Take a look.
And all the while, Bowie was there being his revolutionary self; in 1999, the first Bluetooth specification was published. Bluetooth 1.0, it was called. And the first Bluetooth device was also revealed that same year! Don’t get too excited now; it was a hands-free mobile headset by Ericsson that nowadays would make anyone feel like an operator ready to hold the line.
Meanwhile, back in London, while Bowie plays guitar jamming good with Weird and Gilly, and Bluetooth is looking for good connectivity, an ambitious Danish man living in the UK is processing the potential of the .com era. He’s hard at work, and play, laying out the grounds to connect everything that’s happening to revolutionize how people use the Internet to continue making connections, creating relations and exchanging things. And in 2003, a small gift card business was established in Denmark, far from Jelling but close to the birth place of Henrik Ravn, now CEO of GoGift.
GoGift grew from a small gift card operation to a global gifting, reward and incentive company. The vision was to make gifting simple and accessible for anyone, anywhere. And for Henrik, it wasn’t just about the product but about the people. It was about embracing differences and creating memorable experiences with the power to make meaningful connections. GoGift found its meaning in spreading joy and appreciation worldwide and helping celebrate all types of life and work accomplishments.
So does this all make sense now? Let’s map it out: Henrik is from Denmark, born next door to where Harald Bluetooth’s unification brought together different communication standards allowing us to connect through our devices. And without Bluetooth, Bowie would not be playing on your wireless speaker. That’s all good, but it goes much deeper than this because these three entities all united through something more powerful, and that is a common connection to the concept of connecting people worldwide.
Harald brought the people of Denmark together through a connected belief, inspiring a whole new way of communication. Bowie transcended cultural boundaries and connected the world through his music and boundary-pushing creativity. He continues bringing people together to this day, fostering a sense of unity and shared experiences. Bowie’s influence extends beyond the music realm. His fearless exploration into expressive art and cutting-edge technologies drove him to collaborations across various disciplines, breaking barriers across the world. And if you've ever been graced with a Bowie peck on the cheek, count yourself blessed. However, a similar gesture from Harald, given his infamous dental woes, might not have been as delightful.
As for GoGift, well, we are inspired by people, and connection is the driving force behind everything we do, internally and externally. Also: Henrik is a diehard Bowie fan—and possible relative to Harald Bluetooth (Denmark is small, so you never know).
In the vast cosmic symphony of life, connections are the harmonious chords that interlace Bowie's creative artistry, Bluetooth's unification through communication, and GoGift's ability to bring people worldwide together through the power of gifting.
So, let's embrace the power of connections, for they are the magical notes that enrich our lives and create a world where Bowie, Bluetooth, and GoGift continue to inspire the exchange of ideas, empathy, and shared experiences across the world.
Since 2003, GoGift has been optimizing the gift card market, providing innovative gifting solutions to more than 15,000 businesses worldwide. For any global gifting, reward, or incentive need, GoGift’s got you covered. Learn more at global.gogift.com.
Harald Bluetooth: The King who connected with Europe and the rest of the world through power. https://www.thecollector.com/harald-bluetooth-viking-technology/
David Bowie: The ever-changing icon who connected generations through the power of music. https://www.davidbowie.com/
GoGift: Making meaningful connections through gifts that empower recipients worldwide.