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 ( — 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


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.

Two Star Bloggers I Follow: Jonathan Schwartz & Mike Dillon (formerly at SUN)

Monday, 15 February, 2010

Two star bloggers I follow have moved, you can now follow them at Jonathan Schwartz (SUN former CEO) & Mike Dillon (SUN former GC).

You can also follow Jonathan’s tweets. decision (part 2) and China’s Foreign Ministry & White House responses

Thursday, 14 January, 2010

For the record, I will list the China’s Foreign Ministry response to  David Drummond, Google Chief Legal Officer in Chinese and then English, both from Xinhua, the Chinese government officially approved, sanctioned, and mandated news source for all internal Chinese websites re the decision (yes, it is illegal to quote or use any other news sources).

From 新华国际 “2010年01月14日 (外交部网站) 姜瑜就谷歌、海地地震、印度逮捕中国工程师等答问“,

问 [Question]:中国政府对谷歌公司宣布可能退出中国市场,不再和中国政府合作对网络内容进行审查有何回应?美国国务卿希拉里·克林顿要求中国对谷歌网络被攻击作出解释,中方对此有何回应?

答 [Answer]: 我想强调的是,中国的互联网是开放的,中国政府鼓励互联网的发展,努力为互联网的健康发展营造良好的环境。中国的法律禁止任何形式的黑客攻击行为。中国同其他国家一样,依法管理互联网,有关管理措施符合国际通行做法。我还想强调,中国欢迎国际互联网企业在中国依法开展业务。


From Xinhua “China says its Web open, welcomes Int’l companies“,

China’s Internet is open and welcomes international companies, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday, just two days after Google issued a statement saying it might quit China.

Spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing that China encouraged development of the Internet.

“China’s Internet is open,” said Jiang. “China has tried creating a favorable environment for Internet,” said Jiang while responding to a question on Google’s possible retreat.

“China welcomes international Internet companies to conduct business within the country according to law,” she said. “China’s law prohibits cyber crimes including hacker attacks.”

Here is the thing, China’s constitution is supposed to guarantee freedom of speech too but that hasn’t exactly done Prof. Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) any good, has it? A sentence of 11 years imprisonment right on Christmas 2009 for signing Charter 08 along a few hundred other Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists.

So the bottom line is that we will need to see what the discussion between Google and the Chinese government comes down to.

Now Google has made a strong stand, I hope Google will make the right decision to be transparent and make the right choice between “good” and “profit”.

See my decision – part 1.

P.S. What the Chinese based companies are saying now have little creditability in my eyes as the only way for them to survive is to obey the Chinese government.

In fact, I will go one step further and treat all Chinese companies’ spokespeople and senior executives as mouthpieces of the Chinese government. I will be very surprised if they suddenly decided to grow some political spine right at the time when spinelessness is the best way to stay profitable in China and be friends of the Chinese government.

P.P.S. For the record from NYT “Follow the Law, China Tells Internet Companies” (emphasis added),

After a day of silence, the Foreign Ministry said that China welcomed foreign Internet companies but that those offering online services must do so “in accordance with the law.” Speaking at a scheduled news conference, Jiang Yu, a ministry spokeswoman, did not address Google’s complaints about censorship and cyberattacks and simply stated that “China’s Internet is open.”

The remarks, and those of another high-ranking official who called for even tighter Internet restrictions, may speed Google’s departure and increase friction between Beijing and the Obama administration, which has made priorities of Internet freedom and online security.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mathew Ingram leaves G&M to join GigaOM

Friday, 8 January, 2010

Om Malik and Mathew Ingram talks about the decision.

I think this is a great lost for G&M and wonderful gain for GigaOM. I guess I can now link to Mathew’s stuff without worrying if it will be hidden behind G&M’s paid wall a few days later.

Social Business

Tuesday, 17 November, 2009

Cool presentation by Stowe Boyd, Social Business.

Nice quotes, “The Individual Is The New Group”, “A Village, Not An Army”, “Small Talk Is Big Again”.

President Obama Holds Town Hall with Chinese Youth

Monday, 16 November, 2009

President Obama Holds Town Hall with Chinese Youth (video from White House). Good town hall session,there are some interesting questions from students and people from the internet, for example,

  • Taiwan relations
  • firewall in China, and access to Twitter

Rent the Runway – Netflix for Haute Couture

Monday, 9 November, 2009

Rent the Runway Founders

Interesting article from New York Times “A Netflix Model for Haute Couture” (emphasis added),

Rent the Runway is a recession-era twist on the Internet rent-by-mail model, which has been used for things like textbooks and video games in addition to movies. Unlike those utilitarian items, however, the dresses offer a touch of Cinderella — on a budget.

Julia Harris, a 27-year-old graduate student living in New York, turned to Rent the Runway when she needed something chic for a fall wedding. For $50, she got a fuchsia Catherine Malandrino number with an elaborately ruffled bust that would have cost $495 to buy.

“It was so easy. You just wear it and drop it back in the mail to them,” Ms. Harris said. “I don’t spend $2,000 on a dress regularly, so it’s nice to be able to wear some of the more expensive brands I wouldn’t be able to buy otherwise. And instead of just buying one or two dresses for this season, I can still have a lot of things to wear.”

Rent the Runway was founded by two recent Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss. Ms. Hyman said she got the idea for the service last year after watching her younger sister agonize over whether to buy an expensive new outfit to wear to a wedding.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Shopper Marketing

Sunday, 8 November, 2009

Watched “The Future of Shopper Marketing“, an insightful speech from Andy Murray, Global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X. Here is an excerpt form Kevin Robert’s blog about the speech (emphasis added),

The presentation featured five key points (and a whole bunch of
arresting stories, insights, and examples):

  1. Put yourself at the heart of the customer (most companies try it the other way around)
  2. Navigate the experience of your customer from the “shelf back”
  3. Create ways for customers to participate and be involved in your brands and store experiences
  4. Explore the fringe/edge/margin for new ideas (Wal-Mart was a fringe idea, it came from Bentonville, not Chicago)
  5. Find new ways for manufacturers and retailers to collaborate authentically based on trust, transparency and shared goals

Enjoy the presentation.

Change the World – one percent at a time

Saturday, 17 October, 2009

Just read an interesting post “Change the World? Why Not” by Cameron Gallagher in Kevin Roberts’ blog. Here is an excerpt,

So today I’m really writing about listening to that one percent. You see, every day we make a million choices. And most of them get us nowhere fast. Why? Because most of the time we make the choice that 99 percent of us tells us to make, and that 99 percent is the loud voice of the status quo.

[…] If you don’t think there’s a roadmap, you’re wrong. It starts, and ends, with you. And to start, you have to have the courage to leave the status quo behind. You must find the courage to pull the dreams out of the box at the back of the proverbial closet in your mind and look at them. Accept that you want them and stop listening to the 99 percent of you telling you that they are not possible.

Cameron, Good luck in changing the world! It is the one percent in all of us that will change the world. Here is one of the quotes I love,

“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

Fraud Anti-Fraud Arms Race

Saturday, 17 October, 2009

Bruce Schneier on “The Commercial Speech [Advertising] Arms Race

AP’s Tom Curley @ Hong Kong Foreign Correspondence Club

Friday, 16 October, 2009

Here is the full speech (audio including transcript) of Associated Press’ President and Chief Executive in Hong Kong Foreign Correspondence Club. Here is an insightful piece by Jeff Jarvis laying out his arguments against Curley’s.

P.S. Interesting audience questions starting at time code 20:58. Listen to the first question and answer, hmmmmm.

Here is an excerpt from Curley’s first answer,

We really want to figure out how you’re going to market. We want to help you go to market, and want to be a part of it. But if you want to take our content, put it in an email, re-syndicate it, frankly, we’re going to ask for additional fees, and we want an upside. So in the past, it’s been a capped or fixed license approach. So I expect over the next couple of years there will be some wonderful negotiating sessions, and I look at some of my sales people over there [laughter], knowing full well who will take the burden of these conversations, tell them how much I appreciate what they do.

But this is a moment, and it’s not just about AP. It’s about all of us. And what you hear when you talk to the media leaders now is that if we don’t do it now, we are toast. So we are going to stand up, and we are going to go for it. And will we have all the answers immediately? I assure you we won’t. Will we make mistakes? I will only speak for myself and say, yes. But we have to try, and try we shall.

I just hope Curley’s mistakes won’t spell the end of AP. When news source from AP and Reuters are commodities, why can’t its customers go to an alternative source when AP doesn’t play ball?

Small c: The penis post

Friday, 16 October, 2009

I deeply appreciate Jeff Jarvis sharing his experiences and insights by chronicling his prostate cancer saga.

The Internet in Society: Empowering or censoring citizens?

Tuesday, 6 October, 2009

Very insightful talk, RSA – Evgeny Morozov – The Internet in Society: Empowering or censoring citizens?

While the western world applauds the internet as a force for empowerment, liberation and democracy, authoritarian governments in the east are working behind the scenes to manipulate the messages it conveys, says Evgeny Morozov

Note: Don’t know where Evgeny gets the stats, but having an army of 300,000 people leaving positive comments about the Chinese government for 50 cents per comment seems like a cheap way to manipulate public opinion. Sadly effective.

[via Richard]

Blogger payola – $11,000 FTC fine per post

Monday, 5 October, 2009

From USA Today “FTC issues rules to end ‘blogger payola‘”,

Bloggers — particularly “mommy bloggers” — must now disclose freebies or money they receive to review products or risk an $11,000 fine per post, the Federal Trade Commission announced today. It’s the first attempt to regulate what’s known as “blogger payola.”

The rules take effect Dec. 1. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from product reviews deemed inappropriate.

Here is Jeff Jarvis arguing against the new regulation, “FTC regulates our speech“.

This comment is so cute,

… the Smiley Face Act of 2015 will require that all satire be clearly labeled with either a “;)” or the phrase “modest proposal” somewhere in the relevant text. ;)

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