20th August, 2011
In 11 days, I will be leaving my good friends, Ballou PR. I will be off to Italy for a break for however long. When I’m back in London, it will be a chance to start fresh with new ideas, new ambitions and new people.
I’m at a stage where I want to experiment in terms of career choice, and feel that I should enter a role that involves more strategy and planning, and more technical in terms of content creation.
We’ll see what happens. You’ll be first to know.
Will email die? No. 11th March, 2011.
Will email die? No.
11th March, 2011.
It’s an old debate, but still something I’ve been thinking about lately. Several people in technology seem to believe that email is reaching its imminent death in the next year or two, a notable example is Facebook’s revamping of its message system. Some of the reasons they think it will die seem a little dramatic - apparently a majority of the internet uses closed networks such as FB, text messages or forums as their primary source of personal message exchange. Other reasons are spam, filters and people changing their addresses frequently.
Here are several reasons to why I don’t think email will die for while:
1) How do you sign up to a service without email?
2) You can’t expect people to give up over a decade of checking their emails regularly for messaging services that are hosted within a closed network such as Facebook. Several generations have taken time to adapt to email, making it one of the few things they know about on the internet.
3) Think of Bolter and Grusin’s theory of remediation, or Marshall McLuhan’s work on how we use technology. The former two believe that we seek new forms of media to maintain and protect the previous technology. We use email because it’s similar to a physical letter, but in a much faster and digital form - why do we want to change that?
4) Do you really want to force your family or friends onto a social network just so you can communicate? Everyone has an email, no force required. Do you really believe that in the whole world, email is deteriorating at a fast enough rate to claim it’s falling behind private messages?
A lot of this ‘email is dead’ talk sounds like a massive sales pitch for social networks or services that don’t work through email. I like the personal feel of logging on to my Gmail account every morning to see my emails without distraction - and I’m sure many of you feel that way too.
Sony Xperia Play - Another N-Gage?
15th February, 2011.
Announced a couple of days ago, the Xperia Play will have a 1GHz and will run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). It has a multi-touch LCD screen and a 5MP camera, boasting a 5-hour long battery during full-on game playing.
In essence, it’s a great idea and a cool phone - but here’s the problem: so far it can only play Android games and PSone ports - PSone? Really? What about PS2? The PSP is capable of playing PS2 quality games whereas the Play is stuck with PSone, a console that faded out almost 10 years ago. Bringing over Sony exclusives such as God of War or Metal Gear Solid would be a great selling point - but I suppose they’re scared of stealing share off their PSP. Although credit to Sony for encouraging game devs to be creative with their content.
The Play will supposedly have optimized apps made and released through the Android Market. Is it worth paying a premium for a phone that will cost more than the Nintendo DS that will play mobile games? Games that are quite lacking in depth in general and will have slightly prettier graphics than a ported version on an iPhone or normal Android phone? You can buy joystick add-ons for most phones for under £15.
Anyway, I can’t see this phone kicking off. Like the other Xperia models, they went from being expensive phones to bargain phones within 5 months last year, where as Samsung, LG, Motorola and even Nokia were able to maintain high prices for their smartphones. I hope this succeeds, but I can just see it becoming another N-Gage. I notice that a lot of people play games on their smartphones because it’s an extra option. Take that away, they’d still use the smartphone.
11th February, 2011.
Nokia’s Partnership with Microsoft and the Leaked Memo
“The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.”
In case you haven’t read it, Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, apparently sent out a memo regarding the company’s poor response to the rapid growth of the smartphone market. I read it here.
It was a well written memo and gives Nokia a reality check. The world’s largest handset makers are falling behind in terms of innovation, OS and strong market-leading smartphones. Back in the day, everyone owned a Nokia because of their robust designs and solid usability. These days, their smartphones are the size of TV remotes, just suck, or are overpriced as they are priced similar to the iPhone - minus the fact that there are barely any apps, slow OS and lack of a strong bridging software like iTunes that easily allow phone management.
But anyway, what I admired most from this memo is the way he opened:
There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.
As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.
He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times - his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behaviour.
We too, are standing on a “burning platform,” and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.
Today, Nokia announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows Mobile 7 to their handsets. I see this is a bad move - Android and iOS are here to stay, where as WM7 is still quite behind. Android will simply grow exponentially, especially since Google bleeds out innovation - as Elop said himself:
“Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.”
So why join a slow growing OS rather than one that is constantly improving and offering countless new technology? Sure, it’s better than the current interfaces that Nokia use, but to catch up with the times, Android is the way forward, especially if you are rapidly losing market share and barely have any presence in the growing smartphone market.
Nokia could’ve joined a market leader to reposition themselves and to take back lost ground from LG, Samsung, Motorola and HTC, but instead, they opted for someone with an OS that’s trailing far behind the pack.
I’ve been using Quora for a couple of weeks now, and must say, I love it! It’s basically a question and answer site, but is currently in quite a closed community, so the Q&A’s you get are quite high quality.
I’ve asked a total of 5 questions, and have always received an answer within an hour or two from someone in that industry or an expert. It’s great to see so many people who are able to provide in-depth or high quality answers.
The network is growing everyday quite quickly. The question now is whether Quora will be able to maintain their high quality Q&A’s with the influx of new members. Right now it’s doing well, but time will tell whether it will begin to get diluted and simply become a marketplace/channel for companies to do their work.
Anyway, I highly recommend you check it out. If you need an invite, let me know!
My Graduation Day. 13th January, 2011.
I got up at 7 to calmly get myself to look smart and to smell nice for my graduation. I made my way to the university to pick up my gown and to meet my family for early preparations and photos.
As I walked through the Goldsmiths corridors, I began to feel a bit nostalgic, as this university really gave me one of my best years. There’s always a feeling of ambition, innovation and emphasis on students to be themselves. The lecturers were full of knowledge and really made an effort to illustrate it.
As I was about to walk across the stage when my name was announced, I could see my head of course smiling and cheering us on, as we were the MA Brand Development virgins - the first ever class.
I felt so proud as I walked across. As I got to the end of the stage, I couldn’t hide my smile and felt proud of myself, my class and the institution.
Although I was only at Goldsmiths for a year, I really learnt new things and challenged my own values. People were so interesting and open to sharing their experiences. The classes and essays really made an effort to encourage all students to just let their ideas run free.
I’ll really miss the place, and would be open to do another masters in the future. One thing that will always stick with me is that you have to express your values and to be comfortable to argue for it, but in an open and flexible way. As mentioned during one of the closing speeches - “As soon as you give up on what you stand for, that’s the day you begin to die.”
Anyway - that’s the summary of my masters graduation. I’ve attached a pic of me from yesterday morning, where I look awkward.
12th December, 2010.
My thoughts on Amazon and Wikileaks.
So you might have heard of Wikileaks - “an international new media non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and news leaks.” (Wikipedia)
People have been attacking and boycotting Amazon for removing Wikileaks from their web services, known as AWS. Basically, this provides cloud computing services to clients. They recently announced that they removed Wikileaks’ contents from their services due to breaching their terms and conditions. I fully agree with this move, since it’s stated clearly in the T&S that:
“you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.”
“When companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere.”
I am for what Wikileaks represent, but there is a clear crossing of the line, as their documents are all stolen or obtained in some dodgy manner. Amazon, like most large brands, need to protect their brand identities and ensure that brand associations are kept at a suitable level. If anything, I think they are being morally superior as they are, in a way, helping to protect more people than harm them. There was no government influence in this move, as the T&S were there before this whole thing blew up all over the media, and has led to web attacks.
It should also be noted that Amazon and Amazon Web Services seem to operate independently, as they both offer different services…. something people seem to ignore. One of them sells goods, and one of them holds and stores data. They have to respect and protect their own credibility and terms of services, as well as respect their responsibilities to legitimate clients and consumers.
Some users used the Wikileaks book that’s on sale on Amazon as an opportunity to slag off the retailer - again - Amazon.com is a retailer and not a data-holding service, therefore is a different scenario from AWS removing Wikileaks from their servers.
Global companies these days want to operate away from controversy as it just makes their own lives more difficult. Most of them don’t work with governments, but they also don’t work against them. I don’t see it as a bad thing that so many companies such as PayPal are withdrawing their relations with Wikileaks, as it is important for them to protect their profitability, relationships and their own rules. They don’t want to be the ones known to fund illegal activities.
On one side, it is morally correct that Wikileaks do what they do, but on the other hand, they are also potentially affecting the lives of a lot of normal people who are just doing their jobs. You can argue that more people are being affected by the actions of certain governments in countries like Iraq, but there are other sensitive documents that aren’t the same.
Anyway, I find it extremely frustrating that people are raising the debate of free press, when a lot of what Wikileaks do involves theft, hacking and spying, while countries like the USA have virtually 100% press censorship that is completely influenced by media moguls and politicians. The press should be dissecting themselves first, before questioning the moral position and actions of companies and Wikileaks.
A very interesting outline of London’s ambition to become a cultural metropolis. Here’s a link to the full plan.
Two-year snapshot: what we’ve delivered so far
Since May 2008, we’ve delivered the following to ensure the success story of London’s arts and cultural sector continues:
London is one of the world’s biggest melting pots. We recognise this fact and promote a wide range of cultural events. The Mayor is committed to engaging a more diverse range of communities through new festivals such as Story of London and events like Vaisakhi, London Film Day, and St George’s Day in Trafalgar Square.
As well as events for London’s various communities, we are working to find more positive activities for young people so that they can reach their full potential. The Mayor’s Music Education Strategy includes a major fund for music services and an annual schools music festival.
Through the London Development Agency, the Mayor has given funding tomajor cultural developments like the Tate Modern extension, the restoration of the Cutty Sark, the new British Film Institute and the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton.
As part of our commitment to building a lasting legacy for London’s hosting of the Olympics in 2012, the Mayor has committed £2 million to develop art and cultural commissions for the Olympic Park, to encourage tourism to the area.
Loyalty card for Londoners
London is a city filled with hidden cultural gems and the Mayor wants all Londoners to have the access and opportunity to enjoy these. We are developing a Londoners’ Card scheme, which will use new technology to allow Londonwide access to culture.
More jobs in the sector
Enhancing our status as a cultural metropolis also requires us to encourage more Londoners to work in the cultural sector, which has traditionally relied on unpaid internships and volunteers. The Mayor recently launched a pilot scheme in partnership with Renaissance Museums to encourage museums and galleries to strengthen their internships and widen opportunities for Londoners from all walks of life to enter the cultural sector.