Can you tone it down please?

Tuesday, 15 March, 2011

“AOL Asks Us If We Can Tone It Down” by  Alexia Tsotsis TechCrunch is an interesting article to read if you claim to be an independent journalist/reporter/blogger and ever be in a similar situation when someone ask you “tone it down”.


The Lady Gaga zero-awareness-to-ubiquity time-warp

Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

For the record (emphasis added) from Adage, “Gaga, Oooh La La: Why the Lady Is the Ultimate Social Climber – Leveraging Digital Media and Creative Partnerships Makes Artist a Uniquely 2010 Pop Star”
By Andrew Hampp
Published: February 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) — As far as breakout musicians go, few artists have had quite the zero-awareness-to-ubiquity time-warp of Lady Gaga. And as far as brands go, few marketers of any kind have leveraged social media the way she has to drive sales of their core product — in her case, albums and digital singles.

Lady Gaga, with her army of nearly 2.8 million Twitter followers and more than 5.2 million Facebook fans, can move product. Since fall 2008, her digital-single sales have exceeded 20 million and her album sales hit 8 million, all at a time when no one under the age of 60 buys CDs anymore (see Susan Boyle breaking the record for highest first-week album sales last year). Now, she’s being courted by marketers to do the same for their products.

Gaga’s rapid ascent to the pop-culture stratosphere is often compared to Madonna’s, right down to their shared beginnings in the downtown New York club scene before their big record deals. But what makes Gaga’s star status, particularly in the marketing community, so uniquely 2010 is that she has achieved as many milestones (if not more) in 18 months than her idol did in nearly a decade. Madonna’s notorious endorsement for Pepsi in 1989 — cut short after her controversial “Like a Prayer” video aired on MTV — came seven years after the debut of her first single in 1982. Within a year of her out-of-the-box rise to fame in September 2008, Gaga had already lined up Virgin Mobile as a sponsor of her Monster Ball tour; created her own brand of headphones, Hearbeats by Lady Gaga, with record label Interscope; and landed her own (cherry pink) lipstick as a spokeswoman for Mac Cosmetics’ Viva Glam, benefiting Mac’s AIDS fund. And by January, she was tapped by Polaroid to become the brand’s creative director, hired specifically to create new products and inject life into a brand that hasn’t been hip for years — save for maybe a popular reference in Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”

Old school meets new media
How did a 23-year-old singer/songwriter achieve so much in so little time? Two words: social media. Sure, Gaga had a fair share of old-school artist development — radio play — to become the first artist to score four consecutive No. 1 singles from a debut album. But she’s also put a new-media spin on her distribution strategy. Read the rest of this entry »


Shop till you drop @ 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Sunday, 21 February, 2010

An excerpt from Andrew Willis’ “The Shopping Olympics” (emphasis added),

Vancouver crowds have embraced the Games, and Olympic merchandise, with a passion that borders on frenzy.
Shoppers are lining up at 5:30 in the morning to get into an Olympic superstore that doesn’t open until 9. During the day, they wait up to 90 minutes to get in. The retailer expected 10,000 customers a day in the downtown Vancouver store. Late last week, under sunny skies, up to 50,000 shoppers went through the doors.

Half way through the Games, Hudson’s Bay Co. is selling Olympic-themed merchandise at three times the expected rate. More than 20,000 transactions a day are being run through its tills. […]

The top selling item is the red mitts that Ms. Brooks is pitching: The Bay has moved 3 million pairs, with 100,000 a day selling since the Games began. The chain will soon run out of inventory, as only 3.5 million mitts were knitted, and the retailer has decided that it’s too late to make more. The No. 2 seller is Olympic hoodies, with 2 million sold at $50 each, followed by lumberjack-style rally scarves, a $20 purchase.

Showing our love and support for the athletes and our Canada, the $10 red mitts were priced right and worked like magic. I hope the red mitts will help provide the athletes with needed funding for the years to come. I will see if I can get some numbers from Hudson’s Bay Co. after the game is finished.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Red MittensVancouver 2010 Olympic Red Mittens


The 3,000th ideas Revolutionary post

Sunday, 21 February, 2010

Screen shot 2010-02-21 at 12.27.11 PMWow, this is the 3,000th blog entry! That means, good or bad, I have written and posted 2,999 entries before this one. Many blog entries are short and take minutes (sometimes 10-20 minutes) to research, write, and post. Mind you, even the short blog entries are meant to meet the same writing standard I laid out here. Some entries take longer to research and add some cool audio/video contents. And I’ve known to spent hours on doing the needed research to write just one sentence with proper supports/grounds.

Take my yearly trip to report on the happenings at Banff World TV Festival and nextMEDIA (which I’ve tagged with “bwtvf-nextmedia”), it means driving for a few hours out to Banff and staying in Banff for a few nights to report. Of course, I enjoy every moment of it! Special moments like listening to Oscar winning writer/director Paul Haggis tell his chair story and how he broke into TV was priceless. And I had a ton of fun interviewing Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and attending Doug Ellin (Entourage) insightful chat. Plus even doing some legislative reporting re Bill 44 with Minister Lindsay Blackett.

Another priceless bonus in my blogging is the many new friends I’ve made as a result. I have not had the pleasure to meet many of these blog/virtual friends yet. But I have talked to some over Skype/phone. And then some, through my work in interviewing them, have become closer friends.

Thanks to my blog friend Eva’s suggestion, I have created a video for this post. Allow me to sandwich the video between two quotes I love. I hope you will enjoy the short video and the quotes.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

“To me young has no meaning, it is something you can do nothing about. Nothing at all. But youth is a quality, and if you have it you never lose it.” — a comment made by Frank Lloyd Wright in an interview with Mike Wallace

Thanks a lot for your support for my first 3,000 entries and I look forward to your future support. As usual, feel free to leave your feedback/suggestions/ideas as comments or email me.

Have a great day! And here is my virtual high-five to you!

Go Canada Go !!!

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Red MittensVancouver 2010 Olympic Red Mittens


Terence Tao (陶哲軒) – Fields Medalist

Saturday, 20 February, 2010

Don’t ask me why but I find it fun to follow advanced mathematics and computer researches (almost and very often beyond my limit of understanding). I find some enjoyment in learning about some of these advanced stuff.

Anyway, the following is an old-ish 2007 UCLA presentation “Structure and Randomness in the Prime Numbers” by Terence Tao (Fields Medalist) was interesting to watch. In particular, starting at time code 38:05, Terence started to talk about Green-Tao Theorem (2004).

I actually laughed quite hard, in a good way, at the 42:22 point, when Terence mentioned the guaranteed upper bound of 2**2**2**2**2**2**2**100k. Establishing an upper bound beats infinity. :)

You can download and read his latest blog book “An epsilon of room: pages from year three of a mathematical blog” (PDF). And I’ve subscribed to Terry’s blog to read more about his “research and expository papers, discussion of open problems, and other maths-related topics”.

The video “Math Prodigy Terence Tao” is a lot of fun to watch, even, lets be honest, it looks and smells like is an UCLA Math department informercial. :)

P.S. With a bit of research, I just realized that I wrote about another Fields Medalist Grigori Perelman in 2006 in the blog entry “Will he take that million dollars?”. Yes, I guess I pay attention to advanced mathematics. :)


21 more blog entries till my 3,000th post

Wednesday, 17 February, 2010

Recently, I have been thinking about what to write in my 3,000th post which is only 21 posts away.

– I’ve thought about inviting some blog friends to write a few words and post them, but that will take some coordinations and will take some time from the blog friends.

– I’ve written quite a bit about myself in my 2,001st post in Oct 2008, so I don’t want to repeat myself.

– May be I will interview myself to talk about how I feel about the 3,000th post? That may be fun.

Love to hear what you think and your suggestions for my 3,000th post, just leave a comment or email me. Your ideas may help to inspire me when it is time to write that milestone 3,000th post (probably days away).


Southwest Airlines – From a loved brand to a damaged brand – Kevin Smith & Linda Rutherford

Tuesday, 16 February, 2010

For some mysterious reason, I LOVED Southwest Airlines even I had never been on a Southwest flight. You see, I live in Calgary and Calgary-based WestJet Airlines models itself after Southwest. Anyway, Southwest used to mean nice people and services at an affordable fare to me until this morning.

After reading how Southwest had treated indie director Kevin Smith based on Kevin’s account of the facts and Southwest’s account of the facts (by Linda Rutherford – VP Communications & Strategic Outreach), I believe Southwest made some serious mistakes, continue to make mistakes and refuse to right itself.

I am blogging about this because I think there are some important lessons to be learned here. Feel free to share what you think in the comment section.

Here is an excerpt from CNet (emphasis added),

This may be the best example we’ve seen yet of how Twitter and other forms of new-media mass communication are shaping that old industry known as public relations. Nobody walks around with a Twitter follower count or blog URL painted on his or her forehead, and many extremely popular bloggers still live in relative physical anonymity, which means that the customer relations business is like a game of Minesweeper–you can never be sure what might blow up in your face. [kempton note: This is and should be good for customers because the companies better start treating EVERYONE with respect and good services.]

PR and customer service are two different divisions of a company. But this incident shows how, in the Digital Age, the two are increasingly overlapping. With Twitter, many companies are conducting customer relations in the public eye, and a company’s response to a high-profile disgruntled customer may require dispatching the PR team. Good communication between the two is obviously key.

From Kevin’s Twitter account, here are the first few tweets about this mess here, here, here, here (note: language), here (language re $100 voucher), here, here (on another flight), here, here (with twitpic), here, here (armrest up or down), here (the Southwest public shaming), here (the sad story of the big girl 1/2), here (big girl 2/2), here, here, SmodCast (***audio***, Southwest go f* yourself, a great listen), here (Kevin retweet Southwest apologize because Smith has a platform, part 1/2), here (part 2/2), here (the Southwest non-voicemail), here (the joke), here (Kevin reactions to Southwest’s non-apology 1/2), here (sorry, but you are fat 2/2), here (funny pix), here (Kevin’s reaction), other airlines, the offered $100 voucher (but not accepted).

Here are Kevin’s last two video clips

and this one.

A few of the many videos from Kevin about this mess,

More news from

SF Gate “Is Kevin Smith two people?” (funny)Mercury News, LA Times “Kevin Smith and the unbearable fatness of being”, LA Times “Kevin Smith’s Southwest Airlines incident sets Web all a-Twitter”, Huffington Post “Kevin Smith Challenges Southwest: Bring Airline Seat To Daily Show And I’ll Sit In It”, Businessweek: “Fat Nation: Kevin Smith is Not Alone in Airplane Space Wars”

For the record, because of this incident, I changed from someone who has never flown on Southwest but love it and would love to fly on it some day

to

someone who never want to fly on Southwest unless I have absolutely no comparable other alternatives.

P.S. This Southwest incident reminded me of Warren Buffett’s message to Salomon Brothers employees (I think it is Salomon),

“I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear on the front page of their local paper the next day, be read by their spouses, children, and friends … If they follow this test, they will not fear my other message to them: Lose money for my firm and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.

Now the concerned Southwest employees have dragged the whole Southwest corporation’s reputations through the mud. And this news has now been reported not only in their “local paper” but repeated around the world. And this news has not only read by “their spouses, children, and friends” but internationally.

The best policy is to treat each and every single customer with full respect and do the right thing. Don’t lie because your lies to customers will be discovered and your apologies may only come after all the damages have been done.


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