Joy of Business Case Study Authorship – iStockphoto US$50 million Calgary success story

Friday, 28 May, 2021

Let’s walk down memory lane. Almost 15 years ago in November 2006, I had the joy of writing and publishing my first business case study about iStockphoto, a Calgary based company acquired by Getty Images for US$50 million in cash in February 2006. If was amazing meeting, interviewing and learning from iStockphoto founder and first employee/ex-president to write the case study for the site Startup Review thanks to its editor Nisan Gabbay.

Before I repost my 2006 case study, let’s put “Stock Photo” in a bit of 2021 fun context by sharing screen captures of search results of “stock photo simu liu”. Yes the same star Simu Liu of Kim’s Convenience and Marvel Superhero Shang-Chi fame appeared on the covers of way too many accounting textbooks if you ask him! HuffPost article “Simu Liu Was A Stock Photo Staple Before He Was A Star” quoted Simu screamed well in an adorable tweet, “PLEASE STOP USING MY FACE FOR YOUR ACCOUNTING MATERIALS!!”

Here is a version of the iStockphoto business case study that I rediscovered thanks to the trusty internet archive. I hope you learn as much as I wrote it in 2006 and as I re-read it now in 2021! 15 years have gone by since I conducted the interviews and wrote the case study, it is an insightful read even for me now in 2021, if I may shamelessly say so. Enjoy!

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iStockphoto Case Study: How to evolve from a free community site to successful business

written by Kempton Lam and Nisan Gabbay, posted on November 26th, 2006

Note from Nisan Gabbay: I am pleased to announce that this week’s case study is the first to be authored by a Startup Review reader, Kempton Lam. Kempton is a management consultant who specializes in assisting start-ups. Please see Kempton’s background and blog for more information. Kempton followed the same process that I take in creating these case studies, and I served as editor to ensure that the format is consistent with the Startup Review format. If you’d like to become a guest author for Startup Review, please contact me.

Why profiled on Startup Review

iStockphoto is both an online community for photographers and a source of high quality, low-cost stock photos. As of October 2006, iStockphoto’s stock photo library contained ~1.1 million images contributed by 23,000+ photographers. In 2006, iStockphoto expects to sell 10 to 12 million photo licenses from this library, at prices ranging from $1 up to $40 per image. iStockphoto’s success opened up a new market segment for stock photography, catering to customers who could not afford traditional, high cost stock photos from the likes of Getty Images and Corbis. This success caught the eye of Getty Images, who acquired iStockphoto for $50 million in cash in February 2006.

Interviews conducted: Bruce Livingstone, founder & current CEO of iStockphoto. Patrick Lor, first employee and ex-President of iStockphoto. Paul Connolly, independent consultant specializing in digital media and the stock photography market. Special thanks to Kara Udziela and Yvonne Beyer of iStockphoto for helping to support the creation of this case study.


Key success factors

Offered a free alternative for a previously high cost service

iStockphoto established the market for “microstock” photography by providing high quality stock photos at extremely low price points. iStockphoto’s innovation was offering all its photo licenses royalty-free, available via easy download over the Internet. The notion of high quality photos licensed for free was a game changing development in the stock photography market in 2000. iStockphoto enabled the distribution of photos from budding and semi-professional photographers to reach a large market for the first time. iStockphoto also drastically reduced the cost of stock photography for a slew of customers (graphic designers, small businesses, non-profits, etc.) that could not afford traditional sources of stock photography.

As iStockphoto increased in popularity, hosting and bandwidth fees for the site grew proportionally, forcing a decision upon Bruce as to how to pay for bills approaching $10,000 per month. Bruce opened the discussion to the iStockphoto community, ultimately allowing the community to determine an acceptable solution. In February 2002, the community decided to charge $0.25 per photo mainly to cover site maintenance fees, with 20% of charges going back to the photographer.

iStockphoto has since gone through several iterations of its business model, but continues to offer photos at a relatively low price point. The first iteration occurred in 2004, when iStockphoto officially became a for-profit entity. At that point iStockphoto charged 1, 2, or 3 “credits” (priced at $0.50 per credit) for photos of different sizes, offering a 20% commission to the contributing photographer. Today, iStockphoto offers photos at a myriad of price points and has a more robust photographer commission structure. For example, photos are offered at price points of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, or 40 credits (priced at $1 per credit). Commissions vary from 20% – 40% based on sales milestones reached and whether the photographer grants iStockphoto exclusive use of images.

Fostered a loyal and active community

iStockphoto was started as a hobbyist site by founder Bruce Livingstone and it remained so for several years. The fact that iStockphoto wasn’t created as a business venture from the start was a big factor in iStockphoto’s success. In many ways it parallels the start of another popular online community, Craigslist. Just as Craig Newmark’s personality has had an influence on Craigslist, so too has Bruce’s personality and passion for photography had an influence on the iStockphoto community. Bruce was always a core user of the site, and as such attempted to nurture the needs of its users.

iStockphoto consciously fostered its community from day one through forums, emails and face-to-face meetings. iStockphoto has many active online forums where new users can post questions and get help from experienced users. These active forums have made the iStockphoto community welcoming to new users and engaging for experienced users. Secondly, iStockphoto makes a point to provide very prompt responses to user questions submitted via e-mail. Even as CEO, Bruce routinely takes the time to send emails to users to offer encouragement or help. Thirdly, iStockphoto hosts a series of trips (called iStockalypses) where users can shoot photographs of interesting places and share knowledge about the stock photography trade.

The iStockphoto site itself has many features that help to get users engaged with the service. For one, it provides transparency around how active certain members are with the site, specifically around number of photos uploaded and number of paid downloads. This enables new users to learn from the success of power users, providing examples of the types of photos that get the most traction. iStockphoto also creates a sense of positive psychological exclusivity amongst users by only approving photos that meet certain quality standards. This process helps users improve their photo taking skills and makes them feel that they have “earned” their place within the community.

Emergence of low-cost “prosumer” digital SLR cameras

In the winter of 2003, the Canon Digital Rebel (a 6.3 mega pixel prosumer digital SLR camera) became available at a price under $1,000. Both Bruce and Patrick viewed the availability of these cameras as a turning point for iStockphoto because they created a great influx of high-quality photos. iStockphoto was in a great position to capitalize on this emerging trend through the infrastructure they had developed over the previous years.

Took measures to ensure that submitted photographs met quality standards

As the popularity of the iStockphoto service grew, the number of photos submitted exploded. At the same time, customers came to expect a certain level of photo quality from iStockphoto. As such, iStockphoto developed detailed guidelines for what constituted acceptable photo submissions. iStockphoto views this both as a quality control mechanism and a means to provide feedback to photographers. iStockphoto takes time to explain to contributors why their photos are rejected. According to Patrick, sometimes a new user may only start with a 25% acceptance rate but with constant feedback and guidance are able to improve their acceptance rate to 75% – 90% within 6 months.


Launch strategy and marketing

iStockphoto was originally started as a hobbyist site in May 2000 by Bruce Livingstone. Bruce created the site as a means to share and publicize his portfolio of photographs. Initially seeded with 1,600 of Bruce’s photos available for free download, the popularity of the site prompted Bruce to open the site to other photographers who also wanted to contribute their photo collections. This transformation took place 6 months after initial launch, creating a thriving community of contributing photographers.

Bruce initially marketed the site by word of mouth, telling friends via e-mail. One of Bruce’s friends, web design guru Jeffrey Zeldman helped publicize the site from its early days by blogging about it and using iStockphoto images in magazines like Macworld. Mr. Zeldman’s influence in the designer and photographer communities was highly instrumental in popularizing the use of iStockphoto for royalty-free stock photos.

As the iStockphoto community evolved, its photographer base served as the main marketing vehicle. By promoting their own iStock photos, these photographers create publicity and word of mouth marketing for the service. iStockphoto provides them with some interesting marketing tools (like free, customizable business cards) to help them self-promote their portfolios. Today iStockphoto has 23,000 photographers that are the cornerstone of the company’s marketing efforts.

Later on its lifecycle, iStockphoto began advertising its service on the Internet, in print, and at trade shows. An extension of this advertising strategy was to maintain good long-term relationships with influential book authors within the design community who could provide increased awareness for the iStockphoto service.


Exit analysis

iStockphoto was able to support its operations for many years from the revenue generated by photo sales. However, during business planning in late 2005, the company realized that they needed about $10 million to meet their future growth expectations, including $3 million for hardware expansion costs. With this new capital requirement, the iStockphoto management team sought venture funding for the first time. After securing a term sheet from a VC, management became hesitant that this was the best option for the company. The team feared that they would not be able to maintain product control or nurture the community in the same fashion that iStockphoto had been built upon. Thus Bruce decided to seek other options, and contacted Jonathan Klein, CEO of Getty Images. After some positive conversations regarding company strategy and cultural fit, iStockphoto was sold to Getty Images in February 2006 for $50 million in cash. This represented a valuation substantially higher than the valuation placed on the company by the proposed VC investment. Hence the sale to Getty Images made both financial and cultural sense for Bruce and the rest of the iStockphoto team.


Food for thought

I was surprisingly struck by the parallelism between iStockphoto’s company history and evolution, and that of another successful online community, Craigslist. Both began as a hobby fueled by the passion of their founders: for Bruce it was photography and for Craig Newmark it was local events. The popularity of both services grew beyond anything the founders had envisioned, largely driven by creating a free service where only high cost options existed before (high end stock photography and print classifieds respectively). Both grew to a point where the services had to be sustained by incorporating small fees into the service, all with the support of the community itself.

Some great lessons can be learned by the examples set by these two successful companies. For one, the needs of the user base will tell you when is the right point in time to add fees, rather than implementing a revenue model prematurely. For iStockphoto, as the level of sophistication of its users grew, so did the necessity for more advanced pricing and commission models. For Craigslist, they began charging for some categories of online classifieds to improve the user experience. In both instances, it was actual user needs that drove the revenue model and timing of the revenue model.

Secondly, you have a sustainable company on your hands when you have created or contributed to the financial livelihood of a segment of your users. One reason that iStockphoto has such an active community is that their power users have personal, financial ties to the overall success of the company. For example, the top iStockphoto photographers have had hundreds of thousands of their photos downloaded – that’s real money that iStockphoto is putting into the pocket of its users. eBay and Google are probably the best two examples of Internet companies that have also created significant personal wealth for individual users. iStockphoto has created it as well, albeit on a much smaller scale. Can you create a service that contributes significant personal income to your users? If you can, chances are you’ll have a successful service.

On a separate note, both Bruce and Patrick credited much of their success to having great mentors and advisors involved with iStockphoto. Both Bruce and Patrick have been reading, learning, and applying business concepts and ideas from the business guru Guy Kawasaki for years. After meeting Guy in 2003, he became a close personal mentor for the iStockphoto management team. Having great advisors and mentors can be critical to the success of any company, but particularly a start-up. No entrepreneur can possess all the skills and experiences necessary to succeed themselves; it helps immensely to have the right mentors to act as a sounding board.


Reference articles / additional reading

Additional thoughts on iStockphoto at Kempton Lam’s blog.

“The Rise of Crowdsourcing”, Wired, June 2006 (the paradigm shifts initiated by iStockphoto and others)

“2006 Fast 50 nomination of Bruce Livingstone”, FastCompany.com (a glowing nomination, and a long list of supporters’ endorsements that make for a fascinating read)

“Interview: Bruce Livingstone, CEO istockphoto.com”, Decker Marketing blog, January 2005
Nice interview with Bruce who has some insightful responses on what makes the istockphoto different from the competition and why it was initially successful.

“The stock photo community”, DesignMentor Training website
Has a few detailed paragraphs on Bruce’s background and how iStockphoto got started.


“Some days, we write good stories. Some days, we just write paragraphs around great quotes” – New Quote I Love

Wednesday, 26 August, 2020

Here is a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

Some days, we write good stories.
Some days, we just write paragraphs around great quotes from insightful young men
Today was one of the latter days” – Doug Smith‘s tweet on 20200825

20200825 TorStar story by Doug, “After the Jacob Blake shooting, some Raptors wonder if the NBA needs to send an even stronger message” (excerpt) Read the rest of this entry »


More David Cronenberg

Saturday, 30 May, 2020

More video interviews with  David Cronenberg. Quote I LOVE, “To be faithful to the book, you have to betray the book”.

Cronenberg on Cronenberg (~1 hr 27m)

David Cronenberg SHIVERS on CBC | David Cronenberg Virtual Exhibition

David Cronnenberg : Lifetime Interview 1986 (The Fly)

2014, “VIGGO MORTENSEN & DAVID CRONENBERG | In Conversation | TIFF Bell Lightbox 2014

David Cronenberg on Jonathan Ross – an episode of Tonight with Jonathan Ross, he interviews director David Cronenberg about his new film Naked Lunch. Read the rest of this entry »


Maya Lin – Great minds of our time

Monday, 25 May, 2020

As I’ve been doing some #ThoughtExperiments for a “Covid19 global memorial”, I can’t helped but be inspired a lot by the amazing Maya Lin‘s design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial! After learning more about Maya Lin, I’m totally adding Maya to my long list of Great minds of our time  Here in this post, I capture some great videos, etc that I’ve come across and try to learn from.

Posted 2016, American Academy of Achievement, Maya Lin 2000 (interview conducted in 2000) (~62 minutes)

Via “The Film Archives” Youtube channel posted 2015, Maya Lin: Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Architecture, Biography, Design (2000) (~57 minutes)

2017 TIME, Maya Lin On Being A Female Architect: ‘I Didn’t Want My Gender To Become An Issue’ | TIME (~3 minutes)

2018, WoodrowWilsonCenter Youtube Channel, The Battle Over a Vietnam War Memorial (~18 minutes)

2014, Maya Lin, Architect and Artist: Talks at GS Read the rest of this entry »


#Obit is Never For – Another poem by Kempton Lam – Poem2 inspired by Mr. #JerryStiller (92)

Monday, 11 May, 2020

Obit is Never For – Poem2 by Kempton Lam inspired by Mr. Jerry Stiller (92) (1927-2020) – (version 1.0) (original Tweet thread version 1.0) (20210217 update: ver 1.2 posted on Reddit)

Obit is never for the dead as the dead seldom read.
Obit is for us the living
to grieve,
to pause,
to rethink,
to laugh,
to learn,
to redo,
to do,
to learn how to live on forever
in hearts & minds of others.
For what is important is not what we own,
it is what we leave to others.

==== Notes ====

* 20200511, NYT Obit:

“Mr. Stiller and Ms. Meara’s swan song as a team was a series of web-only video clips produced by their son and posted from November 2010 until March 2011. Each clip lasts about two minutes and consists of the two of them discussing a single topic. One topic is obituaries.

In that clip, Mr. Stiller says he is “shocked” that The New York Times might have already prepared their obituaries and wonders whether the newspaper is “up to date” on his having worked with Veronica Lake in a production of “Peter Pan” (about six decades earlier). And Ms. Meara reveals that years ago Mr. Stiller had persuaded The Times to publish her father’s obituary by falsely claiming that he had written material for their comedy act.

Mr. Stiller’s agitated response: “What you just said is going to get us in trouble with The New York Times! I may never get an obit!”

He needn’t have worried.”

* 20200511 Ben Stiller’s tweet, “Thanks so much for the incredible outpouring of love and appreciation for Jerry. I know how much it would mean to him. And he would have loved this beautifully written obit in the ⁦@nytimes ⁩.”

* 20200511 Jerry Seinfeld’s tweet, “Jerry Stiller’s comedy will live forever.” Another tweet photo of the comedy album “The Last Two People in the World”

* 20200511 “George Shapiro @georgeshapiro So sad that Jerry Stiller left us at the young age of 92. There was no one sweeter than Jerry. He was a joy to work with and brought countless laughs to the set of “Seinfeld”. One memory was so vivid with him & Julia breaking each other up doing “You want a piece of me” bit (Red heart)”

* 20150526, Guardian, “Anne Meara obituary – Actor and comedian who teamed up with her husband, Jerry Stiller, to form a favourite American entertainment duo”

* 19950201, NYT, “THEATER REVIEW: AFTER-PLAY; When the Dinner Conversation After the Theater Gets Crazy”

* 20110105, “Theater Talk: Stiller and Meara Extravaganza, Pt. 1 of 2

* 20100114, “Theater Talk: Stiller and Meara Extravaganza, Part 2 of 2

P.S. In life, it is ALWAYS up to us to learn whatever we want to learn and what we think we can learn. If we think there are nothing new to learn in life after age 60 (or whatever age you think that is), then we will indeed learn nothing because self-fulfilling prophecy is as powerful as you think it is!

Still learning from Ms. Anne Meara and Mr. Jerry Stiller (1927-2020) as their loving words and insights will remind in my heart and mind for the years to come!

P.P.S. SATC S06.E14 “Miranda’ Family
In this clip: Anne Meara, Cynthia Nixon, David Eigenberg, Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis.

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 10.46.01 AM - Stiller and Meara (part 1 of 2)


What If the Slowest Horse Win in a Burning Racecourse Challenge? #Covid19

Monday, 13 April, 2020

Slowest Horse Wiin Tweet Challenge + Co-opetition book

Slowest Horse Wiin Tweet Challenge + Co-opetition book

(#GameTheory Part 1 of 2) The #Challenge: 🔥Fire🔥 struck @KemptonParkRace Course during imaginary (NOT real) 10-horse race! Instead of Fastest horse winning, the SLOWEST horse will WIN this race! 9 horses have human jockeys. 1 horse is ridden by #covid19. Suggest an idea to save ALL humans+determine a winner at the same time?
#TeamHuman vs #TeamCovid19 Challenge #FuckCovid19 (version 2.0)

#MySolution: So my solution is first recognizing the name of the game is suggest ***any idea***. Any idea including changing the “game itself”. So I suggest this (there may be other ways):

Instead of everyone standing there, including covid19, waiting to find a winner (the slowest horse) while being burned. Tell everyone to switch horses. So one of the human jockeys have the covid19’s horse. In fact, send the best of the human riders to ride covid19’s horse to try to “win” the race , guaranteeing it will NOT be the slowest.

And the other 8 human riders’ jobs are, well, think of it, can do anything! Doesn’t matter. I originally think of the 8 riders working together trying to block covid19 from riding to cross the finish line. But then as long as covid19’s horse get pass the finish line the 2nd, then well, it won’t win!
The core #OutOfTheBox idea is to change the game that they are playing. From riders riding their own horse to try to be the slowest. To riders riding others’ horse and to “win” to race fastest.

I saw this idea some years ago but adapted it to this challenge.

If we Think #TeamHuman vs #TeamCovid19 Challenge …
the idea is once we realize #TeamHuman should really work together. who “win” in terms of inventing or discovering a vaccine (making lots of money), who “win” in terms of making a lot of ventilators needed by the world (again making boat load of money), etc DOES NOT matter that much because all humanity wins! We just want to get #TeamCovid19 to lose.

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Think about it some more. Once the idea of suggesting the 9 jockeys and covid19 switch horses. The game is OVER for covid19. It will take super stupid humans to let Covid19 win. Because they have to let covid19’s horse to be the slowest which I hope #TeamHumanity is NOT that dumb to have let happened!

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Yeah, it is game over when covid19 horse is first to finish in this new game! And in fact, it is game over for covid19’s horse to finish from 1st to 9th. Just, please, the human riders don’t let covid19’s horse to go 10th because that means covid19 win.

So by changing the rule of the game, or putting the game in a different mindset, all humans win. Instead of everyone sitting at the racecourse waiting, waiting, waiting to be the slowest …
Kinda like an anology for we different countries (China, Taiwan, USA, Iran, …) fighting each other while covid19 infecting and killing us 24/7 non-stop around the clock and around the world! Super horrible!

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In Game Theory, there is an idea call Non-Zero Sum game. And if we don’t like the game we are play, we can and should just try to change the game! Remember, in real life, we can strive to create Win-Win games and play those instead!

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(#GameTheory Part 2 of 2) Years ago in my MBA school days, I took a class in Negotiation. In the first class, we MBA students were put into groups of two and told to conduct an negotiation exercise. At the end of these group exercises, the professor asked what negotiated outcome we came to at the end.

My classmate J (I don’t want to embarrass J but I think there is nothing to be embarrass of) and I came to a result that has such a massive big differences in the whole class! Basically, I “gained” the most advantage over J on the surface! The professor and the whole class likely came to the simplistic conclusion that I managed to majorly and royally screwed J.

My professor and my classmates were WRONG if they thought I had screwed J. I only play WIN-WIN games even then!

I, at the time, had done some “for fun” studies of negotiation by reading some business books and articles about negotiation. I was NOT merely playing the basic game of the single negotiation task that the professor assigned the whole class.

I explicitly and deliberately CHANGED the game that my classmate J and I were playing by expanding it. I suggested, which J and I agree to expand the figurative “pie” we were playing by making it 30x or 100x times bigger than before.

So effectively J and I were making a ton more $$ (or whatever) when the game itself was expanded massively.

I wish my MBA professor was more knowledgable and recognized that I was playing a different game. But then the professor had a course outline and stuff to cover so she missed a good #TeachableMoment.

Anyway, by me Turning the professor’s Zero-Sum game into a NON-ZERO-Sum game, it makes a world of a difference!

As a funny aside. I was such a rebel that the class paper she assigned us to write, I instead wrote about something else. She scored me badly like a “B-“ or something which is OK. I got to write about the more important things I learn about Negotiation which I LOVE and the ideas were from the great book:

“Co-opetition: A Revolution Mindset that Combines Competition and Cooperation” by business strategy, and game theory professors Adam M. Brandenburger and Barry J. Nalebuff.

I went to MBA school to try to learn, not just to get “good” grades. Good “grades” by themselves are pointless. Anyway, sorry my dear MBA professor for dissing you in this FB post so many years later. I bet you don’t remember me. And I didn’t name name.

Hope you are well and healthy in our covid19 time!


True Face of #Humanity, Deepfake of #Tedros #Covid19 #Avengers #InfinityWar #EndGame #TheEnd

Monday, 13 April, 2020

In “Humanity: Infinity War” against #covid19, Humanity got exactly one out of 14,000,605 futures to defeat #covid19! And we stupid humanity is now looping, wasting valuable #time fighting amongst ourselves so badly, that the movie production of “Humanity: Endgame” is basically being cancelled because we all (you, me, the smart people who made the deepfake video of Dr. Tedros & Xi Jinping, everyone of us) do not really deserve to have a slightly happier ending remotely like what “Humanity: Endgame” could have been.

At this rate, all we deserve is “Humanity: The End” as a sequel. And you know what will that movie show? You see, “Humanity: The End” is not even a brand new movie but just a duplicate copy of “Humanity: Infinity War“, so no one need to waste time doing another deepfake video. We just need to show half of humanity dead like Avengers: Infinity War. We all happy?

I wrote my first-person narrative documentary poetry “I am the F**King Virus” (now a short film), this is how I ended my poem, no one can accuse me of sugarcoating it:

//Unless Humanity stops her infighting and work together as One to end me now
I will be back//

It turns out my documentary poetry has been written based on solid provable science (so far) and too painfully real observations of humanity and how stupid we are!

#FuckingStupid

deep fake of Dr. Tedros, WHO (merging with Xi Jinping)

deep fake of Dr. Tedros, WHO (merging with Xi Jinping)

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Note: I wrote this post originally as a comment for a wise friend but I like it enough to share it publicly.

“I am the F**King Virus” – a #Covid19 Pandemic Documentary Poetry short film

(the “14,000,605” reference) Doctor Strange Looks into the Future| Avengers Infinity War )

xxx


I am the F**King Virus – a Pandemic #Covid19 Documentary Poetry short film

Thursday, 9 April, 2020

“I am the F**King Virus” is Kempton‘s first foray into Poetry, specifically Documentary Poetry (see note below), and even more specifically the form of Documentary Poetry short film.

==== See Director’s statement plus more reference notes below after the documentary poetry ====

I am the F**King Virus – a Documentary Poem by Kempton

(20200417 version 2.48163264128256512102420484096)

I am the F**King Virus

You covered me up. And let me killed thousands

Thank you. Xie Xie. Or is it Xi Xi

WHO studied me and recommended how to beat me

but few read her report so I infected 100,000s more

How do I say thank you in Italian, Spanish, German, Persian, French, Korean, and Trumpian

I am the F**King Virus

We shall fight on the beaches

We shall fight under the cherry blossom trees

We shall fight in the churches, mosques, and synagogues

We shall fight in close combat less than 2 meters apart (with no Physical Distancing)

We can stop fighting now IF you accept my price of 1.4% of you ALL
(mostly elderly, the weak plus some healthy young human beings)

I am the F**King virus

I am on the Edge of Tomorrow or is it Live Die Repeat Read the rest of this entry »


I am the F**King Virus – a #Covid19 Documentary Poem

Sunday, 22 March, 2020

20200413 Update: See this link for the latest text and video short film of “I am the F**King Virus – a Pandemic #Covid19 Documentary Poetry short film”. The following text is NO longer updated with any further changes.

20200403 Update: Kempton has now written his second poem, “We are Your Tomorrow, with love“, another #covid19 poem.

====

(Written Sat & Sun March 21-22, 2020 as the world fights the deadly covid19. My heart is broken. Witness data on two screens captured 4 hours apart this morning on March 22nd. I write without malice but with hope. Never Give Up! We can and will win this WWIII of Covid19 together! Inspired by poet & reporter Yuri‘s poem “I AM THE VIRUS“. Many thanks to Yuri for her encouragement plus wonderful feedback & suggestions for improvements. As I tweeted, “Life is too short so I’m going to make a fool of myself by attempting my first poem! I hope I won’t die of #shame before #covid19 kills me!” Will see about that.)

I am the F**King Virus – a Documentary Poem by Kempton

(version 2.481632641282565121024)

I am the F**King Virus

You covered me up. And let me killed thousands

Thank you. Xie Xie. Or is it Xi Xi

WHO studied me and recommended how to beat me

but few read her report so I infected 100,000s more

How do I say thank you in Italian, Spanish, German, Persian, French, Korean, and Trumpian

I am the F**King Virus

We shall fight on the beaches

We shall fight under the cherry blossom trees

We shall fight in the churches, mosques, and synagogues

We shall fight in close combat less than 2 meters apart (with no Physical Distancing)

We can stop fighting now IF you accept my price of 1.4% of you ALL (mostly elderly, the weak plus some healthy young human beings)

I am the F**King virus

I am on the Edge of Tomorrow or is it Live Die Repeat

You are now awakened. You want to act brave and play Emily Blunt or Tom Cruise

You have finally found those bottles of deathbed messages on your empty beaches

You finally care. WHO cares. Really. Always

Give up now. My first offer of 1.4% of you ALL is gone. Now my market price has gone up to 9% (thank you China, Italy, Spain, Iran, France, and the good old US of A)

I am the F**King Virus

I am not your “Chinese Virus”. But I love your infighting. Hatred is my Superman’s yellow sun

My name is COVID19. My friend WHO gave me that lovely name.
WHO talked to me, cared about me, and studied me when few had heard about me.
I am the Fun King of Virus. Your Holocaust 2.0.
How Game of Thrones should have ended.
Your World War III genocide of humans.

I love sports. See you in Tokyo Olympics. Yes to “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, especially Faster. Like Bond, James Bond. Faster, Spread Faster

Time helps me kill you exponentially fast. But time is also fair. Time told me I cannot mutate faster to kill you better

I wish I am not illiterate. I wish I can read the WHO-China Joint Mission report, your letters/research papers in The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Stat News and so much more. I wish I could stop you from researching for cures. I wish there is no SOLIDARITY global megatrial. I wish I could stop you from “Testing, Testing, Testing”. I wish I could change my battle plans to fight you better. Most of all, I wish I could stop you from washing your damn hands. I wish, I wish, I wish. I kill, I kill, I kill

I am the F**King virus

I am COVID-19 of the House SARS, the Second of Her Name,

Reigning Fun King of Virus, Stopper of Flights, Builder of Walls, Destroyer of Alliances

Divider of United “PPE for Highest Bidders” States, Breaker of Supply Chains and Mother of Bats.

Unless Humanity stops her infighting and work together as One to end me now

I will be back

at 10.19.08 AM 20200322 (318,209 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,664, Total Recovered 94,700) - Screen Shot

at 10.19.08 AM 20200322 (318,209 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,664, Total Recovered 94,700) – Screen Shot

at 6.12.58 AM 20200322 (311,988 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,407, Total Recovered 93,790) - Screen Shot

at 6.12.58 AM 20200322 (311,988 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,407, Total Recovered 93,790) – Screen Shot


#covid19 daily press briefing 20 March 2020 – Live from WHO Headquarters (with timecodes to Q&As)

Friday, 20 March, 2020

#covid19 daily press briefing 20 March 2020 – Live from WHO Headquarters

List of timecodes to help quickly access specific sections where Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Dr. Mike Ryan, and Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove answered questions from the press:

0:00 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus starts press conference
11:52 Q1 by reporter from China state owned Xinhua News Agency
12:28 A1 Dr. Mike Ryan answer re implication of China has no new cases since yesterday.
14:07 Q2 from Iran re Nowruz [which means “new day”/Iranian New Year, a holiday marking the arrival of spring]
15:12 A2 from Dr. Mike Ryan
17:38 A2 from Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
18:48 Q3
19:24 A3 Dr. Mike Ryan
22:30 A3 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
23:38 Q4
24:16 A4 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
26:02 Q5 Email question from India
26:35 A5 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
28:08 Q6
28:35 A6 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
29:30 Q7
30:00 A7 Dr. Mike Ryan re lack of supply globally
34:55 A7 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
35:34 “Some countries are banning exports and that cannot be a solution”
37:00 A7 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove re recommendations on the use of masks on an individual level.
38:18 Q8
38:44 A8 Dr. Mike Ryan 41:00 These are the healthcare systems collapsing …
42:20 A8 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
43:22 Q9 from Greece
44:02 A9 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
45:00 A9 Dr. Mike Ryan
47:38 A9 & Concluding comments from Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus


Steve Martin and Martin Short – Brief But Spectacular

Saturday, 14 March, 2020

I LOVE the Brief But Spectacular series from PBS (and now also from CBC also). Because I’m a geek, there are TWO versions (in a sense) of Steve Martin and Martin Short – Brief But Spectacular.

Steve Martin and Martin Short on faux flattery and genuine compliments (4:45)

The enduring and spectacular friendship of Steve Martin and Martin Short (6:31)

Oh man, THANK YOU internet, here is “Jiminy Glick Interviews Edie Falco” (the “shhhh” comes at ~4:35 timecode)

Another bonus – Hilarious Steve Martin and Martin Short | 60 Minutes Australia

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The most personal is the most creative. – New Quote I Love

Wednesday, 12 February, 2020

Here is a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

‘The most personal is the most creative.’Martin Scorsese. As Bong Joon-ho, Oscar winning director of Parasite, quoted his film-making hero Scorsese in Bong‘s acceptance speech (~1:13).

#Oscars Moment: Bong Joon Ho accepts the Oscar for Best Directing for @ParasiteMovie .

#Oscars Moment: Bong Joon Ho accepts the Oscar for Best Directing for @ParasiteMovie .


#Oscars2020 Best Picture #Parasite #BongJoonHo

Monday, 10 February, 2020

Here are a few things I collected related to Oscar winning director Bong Joon-Ho and his Oscars 2020 Best Picture Parasite!

Tweet video via @TheAcademy “#Oscars Moment: Bong Joon Ho accepts the Oscar for Best Directing for @ParasiteMovie .” (LOVE Bong quoting and thanking Martin Scorsese in his speech, “The most personal is the most creative.” And also thanking Quentin Tarantino for spreading words of his works.)

The quote here.

Tweet video via @TheAcademy “#Oscars Moment: @ParasiteMovie wins for Best Picture.

Oscar Winers for ‘Parasite’ Full Backstage Speech | THR (Kwak Sin Ae, Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won)

BAFTA Guru: Bong Joon-Ho on Writing Parasite | On Writing

[SPOILERS] PARASITE Cast and Crew Q&A | TIFF 2019

via Directors Guild of America (2020 Jan 25), “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Award nominees Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood), and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) joined moderator Jeremy Kagan onstage for an in-depth discussion about their work.

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P.S. 20191231, Nerdwriter1 “Parasite’s Perfect Montage

“As Bong so memorably said in this clip, “We all live in the same country … called Capitalism.”” ===> Bong Joon-ho Discusses PARASITE, Genre Filmmaking And The Greatness Of ZODIAC

20200102 Guardian “Sharon Choi: how we fell for Bong Joon-ho’s translator

“Choi – a 25-year-old Korean-American, also a film-maker, currently living in Seoul – has only been working with Bong since May, when her skills made her an indispensable part of his team at Cannes. But her scene-stealing has shone a light on interpreting, an overlooked aspect of film’s promotional circuit, especially on the arthouse side. It is a high-grade post, combining two-way linguistic expertise, formidable memory skills (good for keeping hold of rambling directorial musings) and a head for PR. Ever-present, as Choi has been as Parasite does the rounds, interpreters sometimes become a mouthpiece for certain directors. The fresh-faced young man that Takeshi Kitano had on hand during junkets in the early 00s was very conspicuous amid the retinue of yakuza-like goons who would hang around the director during his interviews.”

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News Clippings 20200118

Saturday, 18 January, 2020

I’ll try to add to my collection of News Clippings regularly if I can. Here are a few added on 20200118:

– Vanity Fair, 20200111, “Greta Gerwig on the Lives of Little Women—And Why “Male Violence” Isn’t All That Matters – The filmmaker, who drew on Louisa May Alcott’s life and letters, dives deep into a particularly resonant page of her script.

“This discussion I’m having Amy and Jo have is, in some ways, my thesis. Or at least part of my thesis. Initially I was worried it was going to be too on the nose, this discussion of writing, but it seems to be something that people fold into the emotional arc of the story, that it doesn’t stand out in blinking lights, like, HERE IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. In any case, this discussion of the subject of fiction as either conferring importance or reflecting it, is at the heart of my understanding of the book. It is one of the reasons this book is the book that so many female authors and creators point back to and say, “That is my book; Jo March is my girl.” […]

The very last two lines, about Amy being wise, aren’t directly from the book, but they are an extrapolation of one of my favorite lines of Amy’s—she says, “I don’t pretend to be wise, but I am observant.” That was one of the lines that I underlined and put little stars and exclamation points around because it was another key to the puzzle of Amy. She has always been seen as such a bratty character, with no depth or backbone, and yet when I revisited the book, I found her to be amazingly insightful and compelling. I wanted her to deliver some knowledge to Jo—sometimes creators don’t know what they create, and it is essential to have someone else reflect it back to you. And then of course Amy’s response to Jo, “You were just too busy noticing my faults,” is me in conversation with the 150-year-old audience of Little Women. It’s me—Greta, the author—saying, “WE MISSED HER! SHE WAS WISE ALL ALONG!”

In some ways this entire scene is that—a four-way conversation between me, the modern screenwriter, Louisa May Alcott, the characters of the book, and the audience as it spans across time and space. And I’m saying, it matters what we write. It matters what we make films about. I can because Louisa May Alcott did.”

20191226, 92nd Street Y, “Greta Gerwig on Little Women: Reel Pieces with Annette Insdorf

20200106, THR Directors Roundtable, (I especially LOVE segments with Lulu & Greta) “Todd Phillips (‘Joker’), Martin Scorsese (‘The Irishman’), Lulu Wang (‘The Farewell’), Noah Baumbach (‘Marriage Story’), Greta Gerwig (‘Little Women’), and Fernando Meirelles (‘The Two Popes’) join Close Up with The Hollywood Reporter for this season’s FULL, uncensored Directors Roundtable.

20190529, CBC Radio As It Happens, “Remembering Velma Demerson — the woman jailed in Toronto for living with her Chinese fiancé

“Velma Demerson was a young woman in love with a baby on the way — and for that, she was jailed for nearly a year.

It was 1939 in Toronto and Demerson, a white woman, was engaged to Harry Yip, a Chinese man.

Police showed up at the couple’s home in May 1939 and arrested the then-18-year-old under the Female Refuges Act of 1897, a since-repealed law that allowed authorities to jail women for “incorrigible” behaviour such as promiscuity, pregnancy out of wedlock and public drunkenness.”

20200108 CBC News, Brief But Spectacular – Morgan Barense on Our Memory

“University of Toronto neuroscientist Morgan Barense has created an app called the HippoCamera, which mimics part of the brain compromised in Alzheimer’s disease. She offers her Brief But Spectacular take on how to improve our relationship with those suffering from memory loss.”

More info of Prof. Morgan Barense & her team’s research work at the University of Toronto.

xxx


Being happy isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have. – New Quotes I Love

Sunday, 29 December, 2019

7 Quotes from Star Wars Great Carrie Fisher That Will Inspire You to Push Forward Through the Galaxy - with book cover - Screen Cap

New additions to my collection of Quotes I Love. I and these are all from the wise and insightful late Carrie Fisher (1956 – 2016). All quotes found from this Inc. post so I seriously hope they fact-checked them all.

“I haven’t ever changed who I am. I’ve just gotten more accepting of it. Being happy isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” – Carrie Fisher (1956 – 2016)

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Carrie Fisher (note: I fact-checked this one via Google books search with hep from this 2017 Quote Investigator post)

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” – Carrie Fisher

“Going through challenging things can teach you a lot, and they also make you appreciate the times that aren’t so challenging.” – Carrie Fisher

“No motive is pure. No one is good or bad — but a hearty mix of both. And sometimes life actually gives to you by taking away.” – Carrie Fisher

“It’s the most amazing thing to be able to forgive.” – Carrie Fisher

“I heard someone say once that many of us only seem able to find heaven by backing away from hell. And while the place that I’ve arrived at in my life may not precisely be everyone’s idea of heavenly, I could swear sometimes — I hear angels sing.” – Carrie Fisher


Two Observations about Fashion

Wednesday, 27 November, 2019

Emily Ratajkowski’s Latest Styling Trick Is the Key to Wearing an XXL Jacket - Screen Shot 2019-11-27 at 10.42.11 AM

Two Observations about Fashion: 1) I’v long “liked” and “followed” Vogue Runway and I think (if you love fashion) should too. Beats watching shitty news in HK, US, Canada, … and you need the balance!

2) Style is always what you wear that makes YOU feel comfortable and nice. Never about the BRANDS and definitely NOT about the price you paid for them IF my YEARS of watching the late Bill Cunningham‘s epic cool “On The Street” videos have taught me anything! 🤣👗👘 And please don’t get me started on beautiful 👠 shoes! I will tell you I miss my late French friend Laurent Jean Phillipe (bless his heart) who was a family friend of the designer Christian Louboutin.

P.S. Laurent, you left us too soon as I was counting on you to introduce us to Christian and some nice French food in Paris. Sure, my better half and I ended up eating at Adeline Grattard‘s one Michelin starred (2010 and still 2019) Yam’Tcha (thanks to your recommendation), and ended up having a brief chat with Adeline herself and had a nice and long friendly chat with Adeline’s husband Chi Wah at their take out store. But Laurent my dear, it was not the same without you being our personal guide! :(

See this 2015 post “Paris Calgary friends Google Hangout the day after Paris Attacks” which got us talking about that sad day in Paris and defiantly talking about food that led me to Yam’Tcha.

P.P.S. Another post with an extra bonus video at the end featuring Laurent and me video Hanging out (he in Paris and me in Calgary), “Christian Louboutin – Great minds of our time


#DailyPositive Bianca Andreescu vs. Elise Mertens

Wednesday, 2 October, 2019

#DailyPositive #GoBiancaGo #GoCanadaGo

20191002, Bianca Andreescu vs. Elise Mertens | 2019 China Open Second Round | WTA Highlights

20191002 (The Canadian Press), Bianca Andreescu wins 16th match in a row at China Open

After the world No. 6 beat Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 7-6 (5) in a second-round match at the China Open, Andreescu said she has to focus on stressing the positives.

“Today was more of a battle mentally with myself than anything,” said the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. “I felt like I was getting very down on myself. I expect a lot from myself in general, but I have to realize not everything is going to go the way I want it to.”

Andreescu fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set and then fended off a set point to beat Mertens in a rematch of a U.S. Open quarterfinal. The Canadian also won in New York last month en route to her first career Grand Slam title.

“I can improve on a lot of things, but I think the main thing right now is definitely keeping a more positive approach to things,” Andreescu said. “Even if there are 100 positives in something, if there is one negative thing that happens, that triggers something in me and I then I totally forget about all the positives.

“I just want to think of the positive as much as I can and just work with what I have.”

20191002 Ashleigh Barty vs. Zheng Saisai | 2019 China Open Third Round | WTA Highlights (For the record, Bibi will next play Barty, currently ranked #1 in the world.) Read the rest of this entry »


UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension (prorogation) hearing

Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Here are videos of the UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension hearing over three days from Sept 17-19, 2019 and some links to news reports.

UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension hearing – Day 1 – Part 1

UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension hearing – Day 1 – Part 2

UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension hearing – Day 2 – Part 1

UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension hearing – Day 2 – Part 2

UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension hearing – Day 3 – Part 1

UK Supreme Court Parliament suspension hearing – Day 3 – Part 2

2019, Sept 18, Mother of parliaments shut by ‘father of lies’, supreme court told – Scottish lawyer at prorogation hearing says Johnson government has proved itself unworthy of trust

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Dream big to get big! – Bianca Andreescu #SheTheNorth – new Quote I LOVE

Friday, 13 September, 2019

I have an extensive & detailed post about Bianca with links to tons of videos and articles so check that out for sure. Here I’m adding this new quote to my long list of Quotes I LOVE,

Dream big to get big! And don’t forget who you are. Don’t forget your roots! She [Bianca’s mom] has been telling me that ever since I was a little kid.” – Bianca Andreescu (2000- )

Bianca on ET Canada (timecode 5m34s)

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Something about “The Testaments”, Margaret Atwood’s much-anticipated sequel to her 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale

Thursday, 12 September, 2019

I feel guilty and must confess that I’m one of those very few Canadians that have neither read Canadian National Treasure Margaret Atwood‘s awards winning The Handmaid’s Tale nor watch a full episode of the famed TV series. But still, I’m fascinated about “The Testaments” and here I plan to collect some radio/TV interview, news, and book reviews.

20190911, Channel 4 News, Margaret Atwood on her sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, politics of fear and the climate crisis

20190909 Waterstones, Margaret Atwood reads from The Testaments

20190904, TIME (with a short bit of reading by Atwood), Margaret Atwood On The Sequel To ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | TIME

20190910, CBC News, Margaret Atwood unveils sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale: The Testaments

==== Book review ====

20190910, Guardian, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood review – a dazzling follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood is at her best in this Booker-shortlisted return, three decades on, to the patriarchal dystopia of Gilead

NOTE: I hope to add more in the coming days.

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