Monday, October 29, 2007
If you want more visual bite, click here. Please forgive me if I mixed up some while some are not in sequence. I was too bewildered and still am.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Anyway, I don't know if this is only happening in Malaysia or it happens more in Malaysia. That clients need to be pacified by numbers to such extent because there are a lot of great ethnography work being employed overseas just so they have a tab on what's really happening in the world beyond the boardroom. Data provides knowledge but true understanding comes from being with people. I hope one day, everyone gets that.
Back to Projek Kami. I must really applaud 8TV and Nokia for taking this stance. I think it's a brilliant and refreshing projek and speaks right through to the hearts of creative individuals. The film is raw and real and although I haven't the luxury of following it every week but every time I did, I enjoyed it. I think it's very courageous for an international brand like Nokia to take this stance because not all foreign brands can blend into local culture in such a meaningful manner. And for those brands who are afraid of jumping into the indie bandwagon because of the absence of those precious numbers or the endorsement of a world-established research house, well guess what? Here, have them all.
Please give me your feedback on this if you have any. I want to hear different opinions about this subject and I definitely want to improve.
p/s: The Kami series is a brilliant product, but guess what? It's not the only needgap in this whole Indie culture. If you're ready for your bit of creative expression, mail me and we'll bounce ideas and off walls :)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This is my obsession. The most muscular body in its class. Scratch that. I meant in every class.
"Some people are blinded by their own vision, unable to break free from the fetters of their own visual limitation. But this one defies everything."
If you haven't seen the new 1 series films, then please do.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Honestly, watching these two videos really made my butt itch. There's so much we can do! I mean, the question is not whether we can. It's how. Sparks is open for collaboration. Let's rock the net!
Information R/evolution - explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information
A Vision of Students Today - thinks about how students learn, what they need to learn for their future, and how our current educational system fits in
Monday, October 15, 2007
First of all, Honda does not condone hiring family members simply because it isn’t a family business to begin with. If at all, its family consists of all employees and shareholders. Secondly, contrary to popular myth, Honda was founded by two legends with poles-apart-personalities. Soichiro Honda was a highly meticulous engineer who could build anything if only he could see it once while Takeo Fujisawa was the shrewd businessman whose management skills and strategies reverberated through the decades, both making Honda a grand exemplar of a Japanese automotive empire. Because of them, the early Honda was a company which strived on differences and thus was born the practice of waigaya, a closed informal discussion of anything and everything amongst executive directors with concern to Honda’s every step whether it was an internal or external issue, in engineering technology or business strategy. In this way, I could see why Honda was deemed as a unique automaker right from the beginning. It wasn’t just about cars. It was a cult – the Hondaism, the corporate belief that they are not here to sell cars but dreams. The notion of ‘We are not drivers but believers’ really stemmed from the fact that Honda started out as a dream to conquer racetracks because it was racing that inspired continuous product and corporate advancement which automatically generated publicity. Such was Honda and Fujisawa’s unique management style which was dubbed the way of Honda. Although each had their own area of expertise which boundaries were clearly respected respectively, they also had the courage to admit each other’s shortcomings and lean on the other for advice and know-how. In today’s world where autocratic capitalism and dictatorship rule, I’m not so sure if such management style still prevails.
What I found highly captivating about this book is the highlights of both Honda and Fujisawa’s management ideals which can be priceless lessons to any business managers. The list is endless but the few which really stood out (and which I think Sparks can learn from) are:
1) When you achieve a great milestone, it should help you to churn higher quality products and not the excuse to command a higher price tag – although I’ve only spent a measly 6 years in business and communications, this line appears to be a real myth to me. The trap of successful businesses has always been (and will always be) greed. That is when executives decide to compromise quality in an attempt to decrease production cost to subsequently improve margins or simply to jack up the price with a famous brand name but with no real substance. However, in the case of Honda, following the above direction set by Takeo Fujisawa, Soichiro Honda with his team of engineers subsequently invented the CVCC technology which encompassed a great 230 patents in Japan and abroad, with design specifications and engineering know-how that has even the most powerful makers (GM, Ford, even Toyota) to come begging for knowledge impartment. This to me is a clear sign that when you concentrate on your passion and what you do best, the mechanism of the universe will somehow miraculously click in your favour.
2) Honda believes in sangen-shugi which translates to The Three Actualities, which is the principle of going to the actual site for firsthand knowledge, focusing on the actual situation with firsthand understanding and making decisions based on actual facts which are prevalent at that moment. A lot of big corporations I know tend to skip any one of these three steps citing lack of time or manpower as a reason. This really reminds me to keep focus on the essence of Sparks and its ethnography work because understanding comes from finding out what’s really happening out there in people’s life instead of relying too much on impersonal data.
3) When you’re in the slumps, sometimes you’ll be forced to make important and strategic decisions all at once such as to increase cash flow, upgrade production and pump up the company morale – All. At. Once. Honda’s advice would be, “When things are at its worse, you need to project the highest and by hook or by crook achieve it” which to me is quite true. When things are at an all time low, the only way is up. The question becomes how high do we aim for?
4) Honda is committed to producing the finest people and needless to say only the finest people will get poached, which is how Hondaism, like a virus will infect the world. Talk about guerilla tactics.
Honda has a tradition to choose those who do not seek to lead, to lead. After the reign of Honda and Fujisawa, there were a string of successors who sought their advice from time to time on many corporate related issues. Both ‘masters’ took the time to plan and groom their successors; two to take after engineering genius Honda and business guru Fujisawa. The heritage of dual management continued until the reign of President Nobuhiko Kawamoto, who was also nicknamed ‘Hitler’ for obvious reasons. I can’t help but wonder where Honda would be today if the dual management style still exists. The one person whom I felt was highly overshadowed, a true gem within the rubble was Shoichiro Irimajiri. He was the person who oversaw the building and first production line of American Honda, which is also the first Japanese automotive production on American soil. Dubbed as the ‘Prince of Honda’ by many, I can’t help but muster great respect for Irimajiri because of his undying passion to be part of the automotive industry even after being forced to leave the company. As a boy, he was first inspired to build planes but due to unfavorable circumstances of post World War 2, he decided to channel all of him into auto-racing instead. And because of this enduring flame in him, he’s still committed to lighting dreams by giving lectures to science and technology students whom he hopes one day will continue the legacy of what Honda is all about, which is to show the world that it can be the world’s greatest car maker not just on civilian’s road but on every racetrack as well. Such is the power of dreams.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Anyway, while I was nosing around, I stumbled into this shop called Pavillion (no, nothing to do with the one downtown) which sells really cool (and expensive) kitchen utensils. Yes, the rustic tin colander you see on Jamie Oliver's show? That's RM113. That's right. Now we're talking. A walk, a hop and a skip away, welcome to the world of expensive kitchenware in Robinson's. Just a blog back, I was talking about preparing ourselves for a sudden kitchen makeover. At least in the homes of the young and affluent. Single Income No Kids, Double Income No Kids, Double Income New Kid, whatever you call them, looks like this overseas educated England speaking bunch will be playing 'masak-masak' in a very fancy way. Alessi is not cheap but it says a lot sitting on the table top, doesn't it?
Monday, October 1, 2007
I've been venturing into the kitchen of late, thanks to Jamie O's influence, who's probably one of UK's most renown celebrity chefs right now. I think why the Jamie Oliver brand is so appealing is because of his down-to-earth style of cooking and sharing of his homemade creations with viewers and fans. Needless to say, he's role in social innovation within the food industry also drew a lot of media attention worldwide.
The surge of food blogs in Malaysia over the past two years suddenly made everyone seem like a professional food critic. Some of these blogs are followed by a legion of fans while some are drawing thousands of ad Ringgit per month. Now my question is, will these blogs ever reach a saturation point? I mean after awhile, everyone would have blogged about a certain certain makan place at some point. Then what happens after that?
I think there is a great opportunity for foodie blogs to evolve into something bigger and more communal like iFoods.tv, locally. When every self-proclaimed food connoisseur in Malaysia have tried and tested every possible dish in Klang Valley (or beyond) (and I'm exaggerating), then the time is ripe to move into food creation (from thought creation). Although statistically speaking, the numbers of men cooking is still small but there is a visible trend of young singles living alone or young married couples without kids venturing into cooking - as an interest, not as a chore. They may still opt to eat out on a weekday (I mean, who wants to be near the stove when you've already felt that much heat at work right?) but on weekends, they may possibly go shopping and cook at home. I've had newly wed friends who are still trying and testing their hand in home cooked food. There's definitely something warm about it - men cooking for their ladies and ladies cooking for their men.
If this is a trend, then there will be huge opportunities for:
1) Kitchenware designed with masculinity in mind, using super sturdy and tough steel material that works like a Bosch tool rather than mom's favourite pot. That is IF more men are venturing into the kitchen, even if it's on weekends. While it is sweet and thoughtful to invite a lady over for a weekend dinner, Man would want to look impressive and not pretty in mom's apron.
2) More food communities like this one to inspire bloggers to do more food and share, and foodies to blog about their original culinary experience.
3) Recipes are no longer given like in the good old Kuali-days. Nowadays, people don't even need measurements! If you watch how Nigella cooks or how David Rocco prepares a meal, everything is according to the cook's guesstimate. There are no recipes and measurements on supers. So expect to see more similar videos floating online, produced by amateur cooks.
4) More social dinners amongst the young singles and/or young married couples who have their own place. A time to catch up with friends and strengthen bonds at home instead of outside.
5) More specialty shops selling suave and imported kitchenware from Europe due to the growing appreciation in product aesthetic of new home owners. The best time to showcase these products would be during the social dinners mentioned above.
These are just some of the related microtrends that could be fueling the new food phenomenon, should kitchen be the new hang out place. Now if you don't mind me, I have to go back and cook up a storm at work :)