Bullied bus monitor Karen Klein helped by Max Sidorov – One person can make a difference

Saturday, 23 June, 2012

Karen Klein (bullied bus monitor) and Max Sidorov (indiegogo campaign creator) on CBC

Jun 21, 2012, CBC News, “Bullied grandma in N.Y. bus video stunned by generosity – Toronto man’s fundraising drive for verbally abused senior nears $450K (with video)

June 22, 2012, CTV News, “Canadian campaign gives boost to bullied grandmother

* “Karen Klein gets an apology from bus bullies on ‘Anderson Cooper 360’

* “‘Well-wisher’ whose fund has raised $450,000 for bullied bus monitor gets his OWN site for donations

Max Sidorov - Lets Give Karen -The bus monitor- H Klein A Vacation! indiegogo.com campaign

It was really cool for Max Sidorov to create the indiegogo campaign (with an original goal of $5,000) to help give Karen a wonderful vacation. Sometimes (more often than we think), all it takes is one person doing the right thing at the right time to make the difference.

At press time (June 23, 2012, ~6:40pm MT), a total of $628,233 has been raised for Karen.

Karen Klein crowd funding campaign by Max Sidorov - $628,233

P.S. 22 June, 2012, CBC News, “5 cases of the spirit of giving going viral

Business Strategy: Apple, with its Final Cut Pro X, lets Adobe & Avid refight their Battles of Waterloo #fail

Friday, 1 July, 2011

Apple Adobe Avid refight Battles of Waterloo - pix 1

People don’t usually win by betting against Apple as Apple has shown the world so many great products in recent years. But I am going to join a critical Oscar editor and take my chance and bet my $1 against Apple. I say Apple may have materially damaged its Final Cut Pro brand/lovemark by giving Adobe and Avid some meaningful chances into retake some of the long lost market share. Assuming Adobe and Avid have good products and execute their plans well.

In fact, I am willing to go out on a limb and say Apple is giving “losers” Adobe and Avid new chances to refight their Battles of Waterloo in the field of video editing software. In the battlefield, your opponents are usually not too kind in letting you fight again and learn from your previous mistakes.

I think Apple has very much underestimated the influence of professional editors on prosumers and new beginning editors. For me, I remember years ago one of the reasons I took Final Cut Pro seriously and bought into it was because of FCP was being highly regarded and used by the professionals.

OK, NBA players have been locked out, but imagine if a brand of basketball shoes have been founded to restrict certain shots/moves by NBA players thus making them unable play their best games, will you still buy the shoes?

As my friend like to say, the following is my brand of poison/observations. Readers beware.

1) Adobe SWITCH Campaign

Apple Adobe Avid refight Battles of Waterloo - pix 2

Adobe is smart and quick to launch a Premiere SWITCH campaign (note: press release here50% off Production Premium or Adobe Premiere Pro “if you own Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer with offer code SWITCH. Offer ends September 30, 2011”) making its Production Premium software costing $850 and Adobe Premiere Pro software costing $400 respectively after discount. [HT Apple Insider] Update: See also PC World review of software.

2) Full function Production Premium group of softwares at significant discount

The Production Premium software has quite a number of useful & powerful softwares and can be a good fit for professional/prosumer FCP7 users. Given Apple‘s willingness to give up its professional users, it makes sense for professional to buy and learn it for risk mitigation/management purpose. Of course, at $850, it is a bit out of reach for people who can only afford the FCPX $299 prices.

3) Adobe Premiere Pro on SWITCH discount at $400. Why $400?

Now moving on to Adobe Premiere Pro, if Adobe is smarter, they should just lower its price to $299 to match the FCPX price for new purchase!

We are talking about business strategy to regain long lost market share! A market that has been dominated by Apple Final Cut Pro for a long time. I don’t understand why Adobe Read the rest of this entry »

Viral Campaign: ShitHarperDid.com

Sunday, 17 April, 2011

Plain and simple with some solid source reference articles about Sh*t Harper Did.

Stephen Harper thinks that what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger. Unless it kills you.

Stephen Harper thinks that what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Unless it kills you.

In 2008, Luc Pomerleau, a biologist at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, discovered secret government plans to weaken regulations & allow corporate food producers to conduct their own safety inspections. Pomerleau leaked the news and was immediately fired. Then the listeriosis meat outbreak killed 17 Canadians.

Read about Luc Pomerleau in The Ottawa Citizen

Here is their “Ben Mulroney Not Endorsing ShitHarperDid.com“.

Other videos: check out thisthis, and this one with some strong language.

Check out CTV news report of the viral campaign: ShitHarperDid.com. Now Toronto Q&A with the makers of shitharperdid.com,

Who are you guys?

We are a million dollar ad agency. Wait, no we’re a socialist-communist-liberal conspiracy unit. Wait, no we’re scruffy hipster types. Wait, no, we’re an oft overlooked, disregarded and actively ignored demographic of Canadian voters who want attention by swearing so you’ll ground us. But then at least we’ll be part of the cool swearing kids, right? Those kids smoke. Actually we’re a group of young Canadian artists (comedians, musicians, filmmakers and designers). […]

What are you hoping the site will accomplish? Read the rest of this entry »

Review of documentary PEACE plus interview with director Kazuhiro Soda

Friday, 22 October, 2010

Peace - Pix 01 - cats_confrontation

Since last year, I’ve grown to enjoy and admire Kazuhiro Soda’s observational documentaries very much (love Campaign & Mental). In the summer of 2009, DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival in the border city of Paju, South Korea, commissioned Soda to make a 20 minute-short documentary about peace and coexistence which has now grown into a full length documentary.

Background and serendipity of PEACE

Soda originally wasn’t too keen on the idea of making a film on a board topic like “peace and coexistence“. But while shooting footage of his father-in-law and mother-in-law because Soda has always been interested in their work (respectively running an affordable taxi service for the elderly and disabled, and running an non-profit organization that sends home helpers to houses of the elderly and the disabled), Soda got the idea of making the feature-length documentary PEACE. Soda’s observational documentary style was key because he prohibited himself from doing any research or meeting prior to shooting to avoid having preconceptions.

The film was partly financed by DMZ KIDF and it was scheduled as the opening film for DMZ KIDF.

Film trailer

Film synopsis (emphasis added)

What is peace? What is coexistence? And what are the bases for them?

PEACE is a visual-essay-like observational documentary, which contemplates these questions by observing the daily lives of people and cats in Okayama city, Japan, where life and death, acceptance and rejection are intermingled.

Three people and stray cats are the main characters.

Toshio Kashiwagi runs an affordable taxi service for the disabled and the elderly, having retired as a principal at a special school. Meanwhile, he feeds a group of stray cats everyday. However, there is a growing tension in the cats’ peaceful community because a male “thief cat,” an outsider, is trying to invade it.

Toshio’s wife, Hiroko Kashiwagi, runs a non-profit organization, which sends home helpers to houses of the elderly and the disabled. But, her organization is facing financial difficulties because of budget cuts from the government. At home, she has been grumbling about the way Toshio feeds his cats.

As a professional caregiver herself, Hiroko regularly visits 91-year-old Shiro Hashimoto to help his daily routines. Living in a mice and tick infected small apartment, Hashimoto is spending his final days thinking about his own death. His memories of being drafted to World War II come back to him while dealing with Hiroko.

Film review + interview with director Kazuhiro Soda

Peace and coexistence are big and abstract ideas that are difficult to turn into a documentary without being too semental and corny. I think Soda’s observational documentary style worked well in dealing with the theme without making it a hard sell. The audience was able to experience the theme through the daily lives of three main characters and a group of revolving stray cats that Toshio feeds.

Peace - Pix 02 - toshio holding_chiro

Peace - Pix 05 - hiroko_kashiwagi1

To my surprise, I found out during my interview with Soda that Toshio and Hiroko are actually Soda’s father-in-law and mother-in-law! Both Toshio and Hiroko were totally natural and engaging on screen. Soda “kinda forgot that they are the in-laws”, and in turn, the in-laws forgot that he is their son-in-law for the most part. [note: By the way, Toshio and Hiroko also played an important role in connecting Soda with Dr. Yamamoto, the doctor in Mental.]

Through the eyes of Toshio and Hiroko, we got to also see how the elderly and disabled in Japan are being treated and the challenges they face.

The stray cats


Peace - Pix 04 - thief_cat3

Toshio’s stray cats kind of started this film as Soda has always been interested in Toshio’s feeding of the stray cats. And as the serendipity of documentary making will have it, Soda noticed the new cat (the “thief cat”) had conflicts with the existing cats. Read the rest of this entry »

MonopolyVote.ca campaign – Is this a win-win for Calgary (other cities), Monopoly, and other stake holders?

Tuesday, 26 January, 2010

The Monopoly Canadian edition has created itself a successful promotion campaign by creating the website MonopolyVote.ca for residents in different Canadian cities to vote to have their own cities be added to the board game. The campaign is reported in CTV Calgary tonight and CBC earlier and reported in CTV Edmonton.

Is the campaign a win for Monopoly?

This is an absolute and unqualified YES! The effort of creating the website and the limited marketing cost to get the press release out and other associated cost is tiny when compared to the free TV air time given for free by TV stations involved. Plus these coverage are BETTER than paid-advertising because they are reported as NEWS!

Is the campaign a win for Calgary (and the other cities involved, Edmonton, Toronto, Halifax, etc)?

Well, it is not that straight forward. It is unlikely tourist will want to visit Calgary (or another winning city) simply because they are on a board game. And it is not like residents in that city need Monopoly to remind them their city is great or nice to live in.

In fact, one may be successful in arguing the winning city that beat off other cities may be HATED by residents in those losing cities. (smile)

Is the campaign a win for the city politicians (or former politicians) involved?

Well, the answer to this one is easier. It is an unqualified YES because mayors/city councillors (or any former city politicans) can appear to help promote the city and promote themselves at the same time! Why not?! (another smile)

Is the campaign a win for the TV news shows who air these kind of “NEWS”?

Well, some may argue that fluffy news like the MonopolyVote.ca vote is a “feel nice” story for the city and doesn’t do much harm. But at the same time, marketers are getting smarter these days and can find very innovative ways to dress up their advertising, marketing and promotion campaigns as “news-look-alike” and then issue them as “news” where they often get reported as news as those smart marketers planned.

Is the campaign a win for the viewers who watch these “NEWS”?

Well, if the viewers simply watch these “NEWS” without thinking about the potential hidden agenda, then people may get brainwashed at the same time. And that can be bad in the long run.

On the other hand, if the viewers watching these “NEWS” realize these “NEWS” are actually advertisings, and then decide to expose these types of “NEWS” and talk about these tricks, then may be viewers can learn to immunize themselves from these so-called “NEWS” in the long-run. And TV stations will learn to filter out these kinds of “NEWS”.

Forewarned is forearmed. Feel free to share your personal experiences in the comments.

Postscript: This reporter is very keenly aware of the irony in the additional publicity created by reporting of the website MonopolyVote.ca.

If this reporter was Monopoly’s marketing consultant, the only worry would be the media completely ignoring this campaign and say nothing (good or bad) about it.

So, in a game of Monopoly, the constant winner is the ultimate owner (Hasbro) of Monopoly! (big smile)

Interview with Soda – documentary director of Peabody-award winning “Campaign”

Thursday, 31 December, 2009

Peabody-award winning documentary "Campaign" by director Kazuhiro Soda

Campaign” Trailer on YouTube

Filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda’s observational documentary Campaign is a fascinating film about one candidate’s campaign in the strange world of Japanese election. In the following Skype video interview, Soda and I chatted about Campaign, the Peabody-award winning film I love, and his latest project temporary entitled Theatre.

By the way, you can watch the full documentary Campaign online at PBS POV. Highly recommended.

[HT to Mad Dog for introducing me to Soda’s film]

The following time codes and descriptions will give you a quick way to revisit a topic that interests you the most.

Time Codes for Part 1:

0:00 Soda’s Peabody award experience and of being told on April 1st
0:53 How did Soda convince “Yama-san” and the LDP party to let him shoot the film?
2:05 Why Soda knows the film is going to be interesting before he shoots? The traditional political party of LDP vs the liberal and Bohemian “Yama-san” (this is a great story, you need to hear where Yama-san went to for honey-moon)
3:45 More about the conflicts b/n LDP and Yama-san
4:39 What makes this story interesting
5:05 Soda’s advice to new filmmaker to film an election?
6:13 Soda’s idea of an observational film and how to make an interesting documentary.

Time Codes for Part 2:

0:00 How many hours of footage did Soda shoot for his films (Campaign, Mental, and Theater)?
1:10 An update on “Yama-san”
2:38 Talking about Soda’s editing process.
3:55 Does Soda write a script when he is editing?
5:38 Soda’s process of creating/finding logic & POV.
7:10 What does Soda focus on when he shoot?

Time Codes for Part 3:

0:00 What happens in the editing room
0:37 When to start and stop recording/shooting? For example, when shooting Campaign, Mental, and Theater.
3:34 What kind of equipment Soda used to shoot? Shot three films with Sony HDV Z1.
5:15 What is Soda’s advices to people who want to make a documentary? (very insightful)


Apr 29 update: Here is a photo of Soda when he first met Yama-san at Tokyo University. Soda was only 18 years old.

Canada “Take Back the Beep” Campaign ?

Thursday, 13 August, 2009

It’s been two weeks since I started “Take Back the Beep,” a campaign to flood the four big wireless companies with complaints. I want them to eliminate (or make optional) those time-wasting, redundant, airtime-eating, 15-second recorded instructions that you hear every time you leave a message for someone (or call to retrieve your own).

To my delight, the campaign has taken on a life of its own. It’s been written up on 28,032 blogs; I’ve done a number of radio and podcast interviews; and the carriers report that “thousands and thousands” of complaints have poured in.

So this US campaign started by NYT David Pogue seems to be effective. I wonder what is the situation in Canada? Are we as bad and need the same campaign?

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