NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — It’s certainly not unusual that a stand up comedian like Tim Washer would be producing absurdist viral videos. What is surprising is that the IBM communications executive is doing so for his straight-laced corporate employer. He appeared at a Business Development Institute seminar on corporate social media practices last week. There, he championed the cause of creative absurdity in corporate marketing. And he warned the audience that fear and rigid thinking were the greatest obstacles to their companies’ social media success.
Here is a new entry to the long list of Quotes I Love,
“Why think about a half full or half empty glass when you are next to a lake?”
Well, a blog friend needed some positive energy/support, so I took time to send along a few messages earlier today. And then, to my surprise, this friend asked if the above quote of mine, written as part of the encouragement, can be reposted. Of course! And it made my day.
Once the half full/half empty problem is reframed, it is no longer about the water in that damn glass. It is about opening our eyes and realizing one is standing next to a lake.
Thanks to the kind help from a few encouraging blog friends, I have ventured into writing more blog entries in Chinese (中文寫作). Which is why you may be seeing less blog entries here. Feel free to check out my Chinese blog (加燦指點) if you can read Chinese.
While I am not comparing myself to the economist Steven N. S. Cheung (張五常), whose main accomplishment at the end may be his efforts in bringing some western economics ideas and analysis into China, but he has set a good example. I think it helps to write in Chinese if I want to share some of my insights with Chinese in Hong Kong or other places.
As an aside, I am proud to be a Canadian as I think our multicultural and diversify mixed of cultures are our key assets in this new connected world. We don’t have the military power of US, we don’t have a large foreign currency reserve like China, but we do have so many different cultures living relatively well together and a government reasonably respected in the world (a bit diminished under P.M. Harper).
I will continue to post entries in this blog but please check out my Chinese blog (加燦指點) if you can read Chinese.
Many things in life is not as simple as it seems. The recent flip and flop of Facebook’s changing of it Terms of Service is an example of a Pandora’s Box that is now opened and has some serious implication.
For Facebook, it has been forced to take the high road and created a Facebook group for concerned users to help draft a “Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities”. So the genie is now out.
More interestingly, this Fox news article is reminding us the Terms of Service we may have agreed to already if we are users of gmail, LinkedIn, Monster.com, Apple iTune, YouTube, etc. It will not surprise me if some of these services’ TOS will eventually be tackled and forced to change some draconian provisions. Strategically, since Facebook has already invoked the high ideals of a “Bill of Rights”, it makes sense to sort out the TOS with Facebook first. Like other negotiations, whatever Facebook set as a standard can be easily used as a benchmark to try to get compliances with other companies.
In the upside down world of social network. The straw that broke the camel’s back may end up helping the camel gains strength to lift the world and teach users around the world to organize and help change “routine”/”standard” industry practice.
A friend suggested these kind of draconian provisions are not new and users have been agreeing to them for years. I thought about this a little. I suppose my reply is US had slavery for years, and then “suddenly” the practice of slavery become unacceptable to some. In our social network age, the original post that pointed out the TOS issue became a lighting rod which focused all the negative attentions onto Facebook and forcing it to address the problem. But you see, with Facebook’s initiative to draft a “Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities”, people around the world have been taught an important lesson of the power within them.
Call me naive, Suzie White, Corporate Counsel for Commercial Transactions, should be credited and thanked for opening Facebook’s Pandora’s Box and triggering an avalanche of change. It is about time the extreme and draconian provisions of these TOS be removed/rephrased/reworded. Again, it is paradoxical that an act to maximize a private corporation’s legal protection may have launched a movement to reduce corporations’ legal protections to a necessary (and minimum?) level.
P.S. Some entrepreneurs or business investors may be wondeing what all the big fuss about TOS. And how dare “customers” are complaining about things like TOS when they are not even paying a cent for these great services.
I am happy to tell my friend that he is wrong now that Facebook’s new Terms of Service (TOS) is dead. With the Pandora’s Box opened, I believe the straw that broke the camel’s back will paradoxically make the camel even stronger as it now knows better that its “master” may not be always right. Pushing the idea one step further, the minds of powerful private corporations can be changed when enough force and determination are applied by large users community.
Lack of a better name, I will put these kinds of studies, observations & analysis under the temporary label of “Dynamic Law and Economics” (borrowing from Coase‘s “Law and Economics“). “Dynamic Law” because of the short-term and seemly dynamic and short term nature of these contractual arrangements.
The important idea here is not just what Facebook’s users have managed to do to reverse Facebook’s TOS decision in this one case. It is the wider implication of what large group of customers & clients have collectively learned and know what they can collectively do to change the minds of large corporations. You see, in Facebook’s case, if is a *private* corporation own by very limited number of investors and investment funds.
May be “Dynamic Law and Economics” contains some new ideas & concepts, or may be not. But I sense something fresh ways to look at the design and consideration of contractual arrangements. Will see if there are any substances in my thoughts here.
Facebook Caves To User Pressure And Promises Bill Of Rights – Channel Web
Facebook’s about-face: Change we can believe in? – CNet
Facebook says Oops, (we) did it again – Reuters
Facebook Backs Off Controversial Content-Rights Policy Changes – MTV
Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use – NYT
Special acknowledgment to Suzie White, Facebook Corporate Counsel for Commercial Transactions, in opening up the Pandora’s Box and showing us why the old ways of drafting Terms of Service is broken. And why, in some cases, allotting the drafter of a contract the maximum protection may, paradoxically, not be the best approach.
I’ve created a new blog call “加燦指點香江” for me to write more about news or issues relating to Hong Kong (China, or Taiwan).
BBC is reporting “A potted plant at a cafe near Tokyo, Japan is entertaining customers by writing a regular blog about its feelings.” A video and more details on how the plant blog here.
Thank you so much for reading some of my last 2,000 entries as I still can’t believe I am writing my 2,001 blog entry after started my blog on July 29th, 2006.
Some of these 2,000 blog entries were short and quick to write while some were more in-depth and took a lot of time to research, prepare, film, edit, interview, produce, and write.
As I wrote previously, this blog is my humble attempt to try to enrich the lives of those who read my work, and enriching my own life at the same time. Now, writing a blog is quite different from making 2001: A Space Odyssey but I am still very proud of my small accomplishment.
In this rather personal entry, I am going to write a lot about myself but I will also share with you two things,
- a secret in living forever, and
- a tool that I sometimes use to pierce into the souls of some people.
Training of a Curious Mind
Early Education: Was I that lazy?
I was an excellent student in grade 1. In fact, I ranked third in a class of thirty or so boys (I attended an all boys school). The unfortunate part was that grade 1 was also the high point of my earlier educations. For some reasons (was it my laziness?), my grades just kept sliding lower and lower for the years from grade 1 to grade 9.
With my grade 9 scores so bad, and studying under the Hong Kong education system, meant that I was forced to study the so-called “Arts” subjects like history and economics in grade 10 (the smarter boys were all studying “Sciences“).
Now, studying subjects that I hated didn’t help improve my grades at all. The sad chapters of my early education concluded with me failing almost every subjects in my grade 12 class.
Fortunately, my early educational nightmares ended when my loving parents sent me to Toronto for my grade 13 education. Essentially giving me a fresh start. It is worth pointing out that the public high school tuition fees for foreign student at the time was probably higher than University tuition.
Now, I will always be grateful to my teachers and the flexibility at Forest Hill CI in allowing me to practically take any subjects that I like as long as I feel I can handle them. And handled them I did. I took grade 13 physics and aced it. I took all three of the most advanced grade 13 mathematics courses and aced them also. I ended up with an over 90% average and got accepted to University of Toronto on a scholarship to study Commerce.
University, Work, University
Undergraduate University Computer Science Education
Now, I am going to jump into warp speed and be brief so that you (and I) won’t be bored to death with my long-winded history. (big smile)
If I have to pick one quality of mine that has served me well, I will have to say it is my curiosity. And I applied that to the fullest in my first year of undergraduate education at U of T. I took different interesting courses that allowed me to specialize in Commerce, Psychology, Mathematics, Computer Science, and even Economics (if I wanted to). At the end, my instinct and love of Computer Science won out and I pursued a computer science degree at Toronto and graduated with high distinction.
And I am still proud to have been taught by some great U of T professors including,
- Computer Science professor Stephen Cook who took time to answer real or/and naive questions from me (like some people, I thought I had a way to solve NP=P).
- Economics professor Michael J. Hare in ECO100.
- Computer Science professor Songnian Zhou in CSC468 Operating Systems (who later founded Platform Computing).
- In particular, I want to give a special thank to a very kind math professor (Prof. Abe Igelfeld) who took time and patient in allowing me, a high school student at the time, to audit his Calculus class for the whole summer before I actually started my formal University education. I enjoyed the short walk after class to chat mathematics with him. [Feb 17th, 2010 Update: Just called up Prof. Igelfeld and had a great chat with him. He is still the fun to talk to professor that I remember from years ago.]
10 years of working in software
I then worked in the software industry for 10 years and in two of the largest safety & mission critical software projects in Canada. And I have learned many important lessons from these projects. More about these projects in background & cv.
Graduate Business Education (yes, I have an MBA)
I took this time to learn some new and important skills for management consulting and to be an entrepreneur. Although the assigned work were extensive and time consuming, at the end, I fully enjoyed the learning experiences and still keep in touch with some good friends from that time.
Trying & Learning to be an “ideas Revolutionary”
In the last few years since I received my MBA, I have worked on various business consulting engagements, blogged extensively (2,000 of them), made a film festival screened and Library & Archives Canada collected documentary, created and posted various online content (including interviews with a wide range of people from business leaders, young entrepreneurs, to up and coming artists and established filmmakers). And I am proud of all these work and consider them very important to the skills and knowledge that I bring to a consulting engagement and to a business opportunity.
I call this phase of my life – Trying & Learning to be an “ideas Revolutionary“. Of course, this is not the end of my “trying & learning” but is it perhaps the end of the beginning.
From this day forward, I feel I am confident to call myself “chief ideas Revolutionary” while I promise to keep trying and learning.
My “Reason alongside Passion” is of course inspired by Pierre Elliott Trudeau‘s “Reason before Passion (La Raison Avant la Passion)“. To me, in this new age of “open source, creative commons, community production, social networking, digital democracy, …”, reason can no longer be permitted to have an unfair advantage over passion.
I submit we need to have “Reason alongside Passion“. Yes, we need “Reason” together with “Passion” in equal parts and weights to guide us to a better tomorrow. We have to see and utilize the strength and power of reason together with passion.
a secret in living forever
We don’t physically live on forever. We will all die some day. The secret to living forever is to try to have our good work and good deeds live in the minds and hearts of others who we have touched positively during our limited time on this earth.
For me, knowing I’ve tried to make the world a better place to live is my secret to living forever.
Piercing into the souls of some people
Well, I sometimes accidentally or deliberately show my idiotic self to people. While I run the risk of being branded as an idiot, I also gained a valuable opportunity to see how some people will do or say. To me, it is a quick and cheap way to see people for who they really are. To me, good people will try to treat you kindly and with respect even in your moment of weakness or when you acted like you were a total idiot/ass.
Warning: Using this tool may turn you into an idiot in the eyes of some people (potentially forever).
Yes, as Jeff Jarvis has noticed, there has not been any posting on the Newspaper Association of America official blog since the last entry on May 29, 2008. It is indeed worrisome. And when I started counting, I was amazed there were only 14 entries in eight months (2 in Nov 07, 1 in Dec 07, 1 in Feb 08, 2 in Mar 08, 4 in Apr 08, 4 in May 08).
I am not sure if the Newspaper Association of America (a nonprofit “representing the $55 billion newspaper industry”) gets the internet or blogging at all?
I am a big fan of CBC and I love what The Tea Makers (a blog about CBC) had been trying to do in the past (making CBC better). So I am happy to see the blog back under new management. Thanks fake Ouimet/Joe Clark for taking up the blog.
The traditional Chinese medicinal properties associated with Ku Ding include its ability to disperse wind-heat, clear the head and the eyes, and resolve toxin, thus being used for common cold, rhinitis, itching eyes, red eyes, and headache.
- For the life of me – Mountaineer chronicles his Everest rescue by Calgarian Andrew Brash and defends those who left him for dead
- Quotes from Yves Saint Laurent (1936 – 2008) * “I participated in the transformation of my era. I did it with clothes, which is surely less important than music, architecture, painting … but whatever it’s worth I did it.” (2002) * New York Times slideshow and obituary
- “Asset-backed insecurity” – an interesting piece about sovereign-wealth funds by The Economists
- Poor People With Checks – nicely done video “Checkmate“
- ABC Blesses Blogs, Endorses Embedding
- Owning the Clouds [via Cory
- Supreme Court of Canada to Hear Keays v. Honda Canada Inc.
- Dean Kamen’s “Luke Arm” Prosthesis Readies for Clinical Trials (with video) [via TED]
- A new hope? – from CBC anonymous blogger Ouimet – nice intentional (?) reference to this. (smile)
- Beijing Olympics athletes allowed to blogged – BBC – I’ve no idea that the IOC are into the business of censorship or deciding what can be published or not.
- No More Tasting: It’s a Bad Year To Be a Internet Domain Name Registrar