Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why Asians are the best digital experience designers?

In fact they should be because East and South Asia dominate global internet usage.  Quite amazing that all the tech stuff and content are coming from the West though.  I mean even Africa has higher users!  Maybe that's something to do with penetration instead.  The more people use it compared to those who don't, the more quality stuff we get?  I think we have to rewire our thinking.  Internet is not about being advanced or developed.  It's about enabling solutions.  We should get out of this follower mindset right now.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The real difference between Malaysia and Singapore today.

Source: Google

That's the difference.  Malaysians who go to Singapore, can't afford the night and Singaporeans who come to Malaysia, all enjoy themselves :'(

This is a very far-fetched hypothesis.  Please take it with a pinch of salt. Don't be too serious otherwise statistics becomes shitistics :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What happens to the strategic planner with the advent of data and marketing automation?

Second day in the digital summit and I swear that I've met agency groups who see Strategic Planners as an endangered breed.  And they rejoice to hear from one.

Strategic planners - a dying breed?  Well, that depends on where you come from.  In Malaysia, and specifically Malaysian strategic planners - yes, they're high on the list of extinction.  And if data intelligence is going to drive the client's business from now on, then how do we survive?

On the contrary, this. Is. Our. Moment.

Was reading Superforecasting on the plane and came across this very interesting paragraph:

"When the scientist tells you he does not know the answer, he is an ignorant man.  When he tells you he has a hunch about how it is going to work, he is uncertain about it.  When he is pretty sure of how it is going to work, and he tells you, " This is the way it's going to work, I'll bet, " he still is in some doubt.  And it is of paramount importance, in order to make progress, that we recognize this ignorance and this doubt.  Because we have the doubt, we then propose looking in new directions for new ideas.  The rate of the development of science is not the rate at which you make observations alone but, much more important, the rate at which you create new things to test."

Take that principle, apply it in planning. Ever come across a planner who struts in and is cocksure that his idea was going to work and everybody else's is going to fail?  Well, that's not a planner.  That's just plain bossy.  Jokes aside, it is true that we must be able to differentiate ignorance and doubt.  And it's always good to have a pinch of doubt in everything we work on because before we are planners, we are human and we must recognize that as humans, our knowledge will always be limited.  Hence, why there are always new ways to be tested, novel ways to do things.  Data, interestingly will help us to reach there and get our answers faster.  Because data does not only show historical behavior, it can also be a rich base for predictive modeling.  And that's essentially what we do isn't it?  We evaluate where the brand is today and project the highest potential of where it can be in one year, 3 years, 5 years time.  And then we work out the kinks on how to get there, considering everything good and bad that could possibly happen under the sun between now and 5 years later.  Predictive modeling helps us to close our doubtful gaps, even if not 100% and advise plans which are a lot more grounded and risk-proof in such a fast paced environment.

Account planning was half strategy and half creative - there was always something subjective albeit calculated in our proposal.  Because we were weavers of culture and we understood the fabric of people.  So we have and will always stand proudly to represent the consumer's voice in the parliament of marketing.  That human intuition will and should never go away.  It can only be made more powerful with data analytics and machine learning.  To quote Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner, "To reframe the man-versus-machine dichotomy, combinations of Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue may prove more robust than pure-human or pure-machine approaches".  The computer learns patterns and can probably spew a million positions in a few seconds, while the human mind can only project to as far as 10 steps ahead. But the computer will never be able to understand context as well as a human and there's where we trump. Honda said it right, Man Maximum, Machine Minimum when it comes to their engineering philosophy, because at the end of the day it is about the 'human taste'.  And THAT, was coined in the 40s.  Likewise, the machine might have hundreds of best variations but it still lacks our God-given creativity - the nature to start fresh without the burden of history. The even better news is, they will help us to be faster and more efficient as a planner.  In levels never before - we can make decisions overnight or in a blink of an eye.  Ten years ago, if you wanted a complete brief in 3 days, you must be out of your mind!  But today, 24 hours is possible with the right tools. But don't you dare test it on me.

Machine will never replace us. They're our friends. And they will help us to reconcile our client's brand and/or category back into the world where it happily belongs, in speed we've never been able to before. We shouldn't just wait and embrace it.  We should create it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

What would 'Perfect Education' look like?

I am convinced that in order for human to advance, we must always consider 'balance' in our everyday life.  It sounds like some Buddhist Zen philosophy but reality is that is how nature has always taken its course.  Which to me, education should not be a field that is an exception to this law.  If at all, it should be the most important one to embrace this because as we all know, education is the fabric of any modern development.

To me, 'Perfect Education' should look like this, where X marks the perfect equilibrium of technical skill (what is) and thinking skill (what if):

Too often than not, traditional education tends to focus on the 'what is' - the technical aspect of any field of study.  While this is important as logic tells us; before you meddle with science, you better know your compounds - it teaches the individual of what had happened, what had been discovered and how the world is currently working - but not necessary what can happen, what is yet to be discovered and how the world should or could work.  But if we apply 'what ifs' thinking into the equation, learning becomes something else.  It spurs us to question what had happened and how we can change that.  This is the thinking skill, we so desperately need.  Do bear in mind however, a school that teaches only 'thinking skills' - usually dubbed as 'creative', seems to produce students best in fields which don't require a lot of technical knowledge.  It's missing a lot if you ask me because no society is built without technical capabilities.

Although I'm not a big fan of moral police, but if I absolutely have to add another dimension to this so-called 'Perfect Education', it would be 'ethical skills'.  This is an area of contend, even for me, because personally I believe that there is good in human if only they are taught to 'think'.  The greater the ability to think, the greater the ability to connect ideas - good or bad.  Unless, the person is pure evil, there is no way an individual will choose to continue building on a series of bad ideas!

What kind of education is this framework applied?  Any.  In nurseries, in schools, in colleges, in professional courses, in corporate training and in life.  That's how lifehack came about anyway right?  What you do previously and how you can hack it to make it better.  Same principle.