Monday, March 31, 2008

Paul Arden's words of art.

I truly enjoyed this book because it was quick, short, simple and takes you right to the essence of what Paul Arden wants to say. Perfect for busy people. Which by the time busy people finish the book, they wonder why they were so busy in the first place. Yes, this book is a complete paradox, which makes it all the more insightful.

Paul Arden reigned as the Executive Creative Director of Saatchi and Saatchi for 14 years, certainly managed to strategically kept to the agency's 'one word equity' policy. Although in this case, it's not about one word but it's about getting to the very essence of the message. It's almost like a career bible. A dummy's guide to survive in the creative business and at the same time, achieve greatness in a way many lack the courage to do so. Yes, even for veterans.

This book inspires and makes you want to share the golden nuggets of truth, not just about achieving work excellence but the basic truths of being human who above the lesser creatures, is blessed with an unlimited resource of imagination, the question is what have we been doing about it?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Corporate social accountability.

Many of these roads are being cut through the heart of Cambodia's forests and no doubt many logs are disappearing across the border into Thailand, before resurfacing as garden furniture in Europe - page 59, Lonely Planet Cambodia

This made me wonder. Where on earth (pun intended) does Ikea get its wood supply from? Is there an opportunity for corporations who are truly conscious of their social responsibility to tag and be transparent on the sources of all their material and ingredients? Would that make any difference to their brand and sales? Would consumers care? Not sure about this part of the world, but I'm sure in countries where Greenies are increasingly being converted, I think it will make a huge difference.

Can furniture giants like Ikea state with confidence their supply comes from a non-reserve forest? Can Nike say they've stopped exploiting third world children? Can Estee Lauder justify every single ingredient that went into their make-up?

Can we see more of this?

The team’s commitment to tackling environmental issues was demonstrated at the school. Firstly the changing of the light globes will save 44.8 tonnes of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions in 2007 - thereby offsetting the team’s entire carbon footprint for the (F1) race itself more than five times. Also on display at the school (Albert Park Primary School, Melbourne, Australia) was Honda’s revolutionary FCX Concept vehicle, the next generation of hydrogen fuel cell car which emits only water. The light globe changing initiative, driven and funded by the Honda Racing F1 Team, will reduce the school’s annual electricity use on lighting by approximately 70%, while saving more than $8,000 per year in electricity bills. - Honda (non-Italic mine)

And less of this?

Nike has caused fury among animal rights campaigners for launching special edition trainers made from crocodile skin. The £1,400 shoes, which have 18-carat gold lace tags, are on sale at the brand’s flagship stores around the world. The limited edition trainers were made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Nike’s Air Force 1 range. - ethicalcorp.com

Sigh. Some never learn.

Monday, March 17, 2008

AAM Smart Tracker.

Don't fancy having your car get stolen? Subscribe to the AAM Smart Tracker. But. Before you do that, watch the video from this link and see if you can spot anything amiss before continue reading.

Personally. I found the video really funny. In all its good intention to help devastated owners track and immobilize their stolen vehicle, they missed out one of the most important points of having a tracker in the first place. Yes, to retrieve vehicles but isn't it more important to nip the problem in the bud, which in this case, arrest the thief? So when that dude realizes that he can no longer drive away, he walks away? Hmm. That really says a lot about our policing efficiency, no?

Monday, March 10, 2008

A new breed of generation.


About less than a decade back, Malaysia was divided into 3 classes. The rich, the middle class and the have-nots. Today, as fourth generation Malaysians are popping out and growing up everywhere, we also begin to witness the birth of a fourth class. They definitely have a higher disposable income yet they're not exactly to be considered rich. They are probably stuck somewhere in between the rich and the middle class because they have everything the mid-class doesn't. Yet they don't have enough to retire at the age of 40 or truly live a jet-setting lifestyle without having to forego one or two of their designer handbags. Or gadgets. Or the few trips to that fancy mancy restaurant that charges a bomb for less-than-dynamite food quality.

“A small Lexus SUV could be a response to the urbanization of Gen Y buyers and empty-nest boomers. Toyota’s advanced product strategy group is studying a demographic trend - people who are sick of the suburbs, but who don’t want to give up the utility of their SUV. A small luxury SUV might be the right product for that environment,” says Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. president - Paul Tan

So is that what they're called? Gen Y? Who finally grew up? Empty-nest boomers? Another article I read:

The teenage kids of high-achieving wealthy parents (many of whom were first-generation immigrants) are chronic spenders. These are the HAVEs of America. Many of these kids have acute Affluenza and they neither work hard, nor aspire to achieve much in life. They HAVE everything. That resources in the world are finite - is a foreign concept to these kids. They all have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and hence have to be constantly entertained which creates new opportunities for marketeers to sell them new things. The iPod is a classic success story that has done a fantastic job of tapping into this segment, and its desire for the next “cool” thing. - sramanamitra.com

That's right. That's what they're so popularly (and endearingly) called in boardrooms - the Affluents. The consumer segment that everyone wants a piece of because they have the dough to spend but are not as difficult to convince compared to luxury markets. As long as you can convince them that they're cool. So if you take a look at your local TV commercial these days, you see cool ads for shoes, for mobile phones, for mobile service providers, for perfumes, for food, for beverage, for everything. So that's what happened? All brands are suddenly 'affluent' too? Hmm. So is that how we're defined now? We're either cool? Or not? If you're cool then you have it? Come to think of it, that doesn't sound like a new concept at all. I bet that's a classic 50s story - the rich Jock gets Blondie while the poor Geek gets bullied. We're more than half a century forward now, yet we're still running on the same concept? Hmm.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Are we depleting our protein source faster than we can say fish?

Awhile back, I was doing some research on agri and aquaculture production and market demand in various countries in South America. Honestly, I was appalled at the numbers (chart above belongs to Chile). We were chomping down a helluva of pesce if you know what I mean! In Japan, Tsukiji fish market (the world's largest) feeds about one third of its population daily, transacting approximately USD20 million which is equivalent to approximately 17,000 trucks worth of seafood load. Even for less than well-to-do countries like Cambodia, the Tonle Sap lake is dubbed the heartbeat of the country because it supplies fresh water fish to approximately a million Cambodians. Whoa. Hang on a minute. Does anyone know what's the reproduction rate of fishes? At the rate we're chowing down on them, they better be popping babies at F1 speed. However, after a bit more of reading:

The ability of the fisheries to naturally recover also depends on whether the conditions of the ecosystems are suitable for population growth. Dramatic changes in species composition may establish other equilibrium energy flows that involve other species compositions than had been present before (ecosystem shift). (For example: remove nearly all the trout, the carp take over and make it near impossible for the trout to re-establish a breeding population.) - Wikipedia

I realised that it doesn't do the fish community any good too if we keep eating one of their cousins and not eating enough of the rest. Hmm. God certainly is a strategic planner with a cool sense of humor.

I read somewhere that the 'haves' population consists only approximately 20% of total world population. 'Haves' meaning people who can afford to put bread (and fish) on the table 3 times a day. So can you imagine? All those nice scrumptious fish from all over the world are being eaten only by 20% of us?