IBM’s Zany Viral Video Chief – Overcoming Corporate Fear of Social Media

Monday, 21 September, 2009

From Adage (see video),

NEW YORK ( — 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.

See other videos here. See IBM’s “The Raised Floor” blog.

New quote I love

Thursday, 17 September, 2009

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?”
– Kempton

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.


Friday, 28 August, 2009

SoundCloud looks like a useful tool and it can be used in WordPress.

Half a million views

Monday, 1 June, 2009

When I started this blog less than three years ago, I had never expected it would reach half a million views (ever). Today, it passed 500,000 views. (note: I realize some blogs get 500,000+ views a day but they are big “stars” and I am not.)

This blog has nothing fancy, just my musing, ideas & things that I enjoy sharing with you. The following are the top 10 visited blog entries and stats, for the record.

  1. Bill Gates’ Daughter – chain mail hoax (34,348 views)
  2. Followup on the AAA BBB CCC DDD game (16,821)
  3. Norman Rockwell (10,514)
  4. AAA game with philosophical twist (7,668)
  5. NOBU Hong Kong – a restaurant review (7,171)
  6. Implications of Julie Roehm exit from Wal-Mart (6,045)
  7. Dyson sucks ! (the best vacuum cleaner) (6,017)
  8. Starstruck by Guy Kawasaki, Mary Pickford, PS-69 (5,819)
  9. Cashback – a wonderful short film (5,003)
  10. Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony: CBC vs NBC (4,282)

P.S. I never thought I and Bill Gates will be “connected” via that chain mail hoax. :)

The Memes of Hong Kong Ladies and Gents 「港女」與「港男」

Wednesday, 11 March, 2009

If there were a time that I have to write in Chinese, this would be it.

In this bloody war between the two sexes in Hong Kong, the fighting on the battle ground of the memes 「港女」(Kong Girls) and「港男」(Kong Boys) are getting nastier and nastier. Writing in Chinese will let me reach out to the most Hong Kong Chinese readers and to communicate with them directly in their language of preference on a topic that they are all very passionate about.

I am quite proud to have written “港女港男,早死早著!“, which I hope will be an insightful article even I deliberately picked a seemingly insulting title to make the article eye-catching.

Whether my insights help or not, I had a ton of fun writing in Chinese in a humorous tone and sharing my “insights” and unique perspective one the matter.

If you can read Chinese, check out my “港女港男,早死早著!“. Hope you enjoy it as much as I in writing it.

Recent Chinese Entries – 最新中文博客條目

Tuesday, 10 March, 2009

Here are some of my recent Chinese blog entries. Feel free to check them out if you can read Chinese.

Writing in Chinese (中文寫作)

Friday, 6 March, 2009

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.

Whats in Facebook’s TOS Pandora’s Box? – Thank you Suzie White

Friday, 20 February, 2009

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,, 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.

Facebook’s new Terms of Service (TOS) is dead – Time has changed

Wednesday, 18 February, 2009

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.

More reports:
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 backtracks on terms of use after protests – AP
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.

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg’s Skywalker Lightsaber: The Power of Terms of Services

Wednesday, 18 February, 2009

Imagine one day in the not too distance future, if Facebook was sold to or become a not-so-honorable marketer, then Facebook will have a set of very accurate and detailed profile of our preferences in movie, music, sports, TV shows, financial investment leanings, sexual partners, politics, food, etc. And Facebook even has all our personal photos and our friends’ photos all exploitable by Facebook.

Well, we (175+ million of us) have collectively fed Facebook with plenty of our personal information and intimate details and Facebook has shown us the claws of a marketing monster in its new TOS.

Facebook’s young CEO/Jedi Master Mark Zuckerberg has come out to reassure us his company is for good and not for evil. But when Zuckerberg said one thing and then armed Facebook with some powerful TOS, is he simply another Anakin Skywalker who ended up turning to the dark side and rise to become Darth Vader?

You be the judge. If you are worried, do something when there is time.

P.S. I started this blog entry with this following story but I decided to leave it at the end instead.

You see, I’ve enjoyed Reader’s Digest articles for years when I was young and thanks to RD, my English had a bit of Michigan accent for a while. But after CBC Market Place exposed RD as a sweepstakes crazed marketing monster exploiting its readers’ names & addresses and preying on its customers (many senior citizens), I’ve lost all respect for Reader’s Digest.

Now, I think Facebook can be a hundred times worst than the marketing nightmare that is Reader’s Digest. Facebook has all our personal details, and together with some powerful Terms of Services, it just granted itself legal ability to turn itself into a marketing monsters.

Facebook’s New Weapon of Mass Destructions (Terms of Services)

Tuesday, 17 February, 2009

Feb 18, 2009 Update: Facebook’s new Terms of Service (TOS) is dead – Time has changed


Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to reassure Facebook users that “On Facebook, People Own and Control Their Information“. I think his assurance is simply not enough and may be empty words designed to brush off our serious and justified concerns.

To share what I think, I left Mark a shortened version of the following comment,

Dear Mark,

I don’t have strong justifications to suspect that you mean Facebook users ill with the new Terms of Services (TOS). At the same time, your colleagues at the legal department have laid out some serious weapons of mass destruction on the table to “protect” Facebook. In my blog entry, I went as far as writing, “I submit, under the new TOS, Facebook may have the legal power and strength to win all legal challenges from past and current disputes.

I don’t know what was I smoking when I also wrote and thought, “It is paradoxically the draconian power that Facebook, a private company, has decided to assign itself which may eventually lead to, hopefully soon, a back down to a more reasonable TOS.

A friend of mine thought the Facebook TOS outcry will die a peaceful death like other TOS protests that came before this one. My friend even told me, “The last memorable TOS boycott of a free service with a noticeable effect was Yahoo/Geocities in 1999.”

I hope my friend is wrong. I hope there are enough people who care about their rights and their personal info/contents to force Facebook to revert back to its old TOS for now until a more acceptable TOS is developed in consultation with legal experts (the likes of Larry Lessig) and groups of users.

As my free market economists friends like to remind me, Facebook is a private company and is free to do whatever it wishes to, and will have to acceptable all consequences it causes.

Best Regards,

P.S. Mark, It will be a good start if you simply direct your legal department to reword your blog posting right into the TOS agreement using the same powerful legal languages.

Ref: blog entry Facebook TOS paradox

For more reports and comments please see: NYT, Fox News, Bloomberg, CNet News, Forbes.


Suzie White, Facebook Corporate Counsel for Commercial Transations, put the weapons of mass destruction on the table on Feb 4, 2009 in this benign sounding blog entry “Update to Our Terms“. And their updated new terms here.


Feb 17 Update:

Facebook Terms of Service Paradox – Facebook owns our asses? Forever? Not quite.

Monday, 16 February, 2009

Feb 18, 2009 Update: Facebook’s new Terms of Service (TOS) is dead – Time has changed


Chicago Tribune asked, “Do you belong to Facebook, forever?” after The Consumerist’s post Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.”

Some people are worried, rightly so, that Facebook can end up owning our asses forever with terms like (emphasis added),

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish […]”

and important limitations from the old Terms of services removed (emphasis added),

“You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

and remain in the “Termination” section (emphasis added),

“The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.”

It is important that people are worried about the potentially unchecked power of Facebook, which as a private company can do anything it wishes after all. At the same time, I submit, in the age of social networks and blogs, Facebook may have just opened up its own Pandora’s box unwittingly.

The Facebook Terms of Service Paradox

I submit, under the new TOS, Facebook may have the legal power and strength to win all legal challenges from past and current disputes. After all, they didn’t hire some dummy to write and update its powerful Terms of Service. But I suspect any resulted and most likely lengthy legal disputes will generate such a negative vibe and protests in the Facebook users community towards Facebook that either users may leave in droves to different services or Facebook may have to end up changing its Terms of Service back to something much more acceptable to users.

It is paradoxically the draconian power that Facebook, a private company, has decided to assign itself which may eventually lead to, hopefully soon, a back down to a more reasonable TOS. Now, I am NOT a lawyer, and I don’t even play a lawyer on TV. But it seems to me, in a legal thought experiment within the social network context, the outcome of this Facebook TOS mess should be pretty close to what I suggested in the above Facebook Terms of Service Paradox.

I love to hear your thoughts on this.

P.S. I suppose there are many ways to launch campaigns to try to change Facebook’s mind if it didn’t do it itself, soon. Of course, Facebook, being a social network, seems like a great first choice to use as a tool to bring Facebook down from the heavens.

As an aside. For a company with not much historical profit to speak of, it is interesting to see how determine will it be in acting stupid and hurting its chance of ever making any money whatsoever in the future.

Time value of money is a well known finance concept. May be there should be time value of legal power as well. (smile)

加燦指點香江 – Canadian talks Hong Kong

Sunday, 11 January, 2009

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).

Japanese plant writes blog

Tuesday, 21 October, 2008

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.

2001: A Curious Mind – Reason alongside Passion

Friday, 10 October, 2008

Dear Readers,

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

As I am reading and reviewing Warren Buffet‘s biography “The Snowball“, I want to take this moment to take stock of my own education and training.


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.


Reason alongside Passion

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).

Imagining What Future of Newspapers?

Saturday, 19 July, 2008

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?

CBC Bitter Tea Maker is back!

Friday, 18 July, 2008

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.

P.S. Chinese Ku Ding tea (literally “bitter nail/spike tea”) is a Chinese herbal medicinal tea. I think Tea Makers is good for CBC. So here is a fitting quote from Wikipedia (emphasis added),

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.

Links: 2008-06-02

Monday, 2 June, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday WordPress

Tuesday, 27 May, 2008

Wonderful job Matt. Happy 5th Birthday to WordPress.

Links: 2008-02-17 Keays v. Honda, Luke Arm, CBC, Olympics athlete blogs, Internet domain tasting

Sunday, 17 February, 2008
  1. Supreme Court of Canada to Hear Keays v. Honda Canada Inc.
  2. Dean Kamen’s “Luke Arm” Prosthesis Readies for Clinical Trials (with video) [via TED]
  3. A new hope? – from CBC anonymous blogger Ouimet – nice intentional (?) reference to this. (smile)
  4. 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.
  5. No More Tasting: It’s a Bad Year To Be a Internet Domain Name Registrar

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