I like: Kin logo

Whilst I won’t be dashing out and getting myself one of the Microsoft | Sharp Kin phones. I did like the Kin logo. The logo seems to be completely unrelated to the devices.

Microsoft Kin logo

There is a noticeable stylistic similarity to the S|Double Studio logo from Shawn Stussy‘s new clothing label.


And the S|Double logo reminds me of Asian seal designs used to sign documents and mark the ownership of artworks.


This is roughly what my given name would look like on a seal in Chinese characters.

What would Apple sound like?

Reading Steve Jobs rationale for why Apple’s mobile devices don’t support Adobe Flash I was reminded of the tone-of-voice of Apple’s usual communications. They are about as sincere as the greeting you get when enter a Disney store, you feel like you are being played. If ever there was an example of the Cluetrain Manifesto truism of public relations does not relate to the public Apple’s PR team would be it.

They don’t even show much grace under fire.  I discussed it with a colleague and thought that they may be shooting low in order to make the Steve Jobs key note look better. But I am not sure that is the case. They lack quality, specifically a human element and a thoughtfulness to their tone-of-voice that runs through their products and services, its like they are written by Microsoft technical support.

  • Does Apple need to write press releases in the rigid format for product launches and enhancements in the usual cookie cutter press release style? No, because they are likely to be covered anyway.
  • Would additional smarts in communications be wasted? No, on the contrary it would further enhance their reputation.

I am not talking about more disclosures or inclusive approach to communications, but a human, smarter, measured and analytical approach and voice.

HP | Palm deal thoughts

That HP rode in as a white knight took me a little bit by surprise. I tuned into the conference call to find out more about the deal. I have bullet-pointed out my thoughts below:

  • Is HP executive Todd Bradley the right person for the deal? He was CEO of the company in the early noughties when it should have been sorting out its OS issues, the Palm OS looked tired even back then
  • Is HP overpaying for the company? There isn’t that many people interested in Palm and analysts had set a target share price of zero. Is this price as much about emotion as assets?
  • Why is the Palm WebOS going to live up to HP’s faith in it?
  • Much was made of Palm’s cloud services technology in the webcast, but how many extra servers or services will it actually sell for HP?
  • SKUs. I was alarmed at the amount of proposed device variants HP was envisaging in the future on the call with possible support in differing form-factors for Micrsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Android and WebOS in personal devices. Add into this memory or colour variants and you are looking at product range bloat similar to Sony consumer electronics range

Links of the day

MediaPost Publications Why PR, Start-Ups Don’t Always Mix 04/28/2010

ACTA year-long impounding of suspected fakes could hurt businesses | Pinsent Masons LLP

3 Creative Ideas to Use Google for Link Building Search | Search Engine Journal

UPDATE: 38 Infinity Ward Employees File Lawsuit Against Activision Over Royalties, Alleges Devs Held “Hostage” – G4tv.com – Activision has lost already. If they lose the case they have to pay damaged and will find it hard to get talent. If they win, they will find it hard to get talent.

How I Met Your Motherboard: Tales of Early Computing – I love the idea and the visual design of this

MediaPost Publications Social Lubricant For Frictionless Web 04/28/2010 – on the new Facebook changes

AOL Sells IM Service ICQ To Russia’s DST For $187.5 Million | paidContent

Art. Lebedev Studio Worldwide Store

Nestle, Palm Oil and Social Media, Oh My! | Search Engine Journal

Did Microsoft Just Step In To Help HTC Fight Apple? Or Are They After Android Too?

Eric Schmidt On Google’s IPO: Bad Press Made Us More Money | paidContent – no such thing as bad publicity

Energy Risk Ranks Third – businesses increasingly concerned about energy shocks

IAC’s Match.com Challenges PlentyOfFish’s Dating Stats | paidContent

Slashdot Apple Story | Apple Bans Online Sales In Japan

MediaPost Publications Pop-Up Power: Retail’s Recession Invention 04/28/2010

When Members Dont Have Time To Participate In Your Community – FeverBee – The Online Community Guide

Cool Infographics – Cool Infographics – 10 Tips for (journalists) Designing Infographics

::Track This Now:: Track articles across the world on a map – nice mash-up

Mark Gray on Vimeo – inspirational space programme footage

Monocolumn – Battle of the New York newspapers [Monocle]

Murdoch news wire pursues ‘hot news’ claim | Pinsent Masons LLP – interesting concept, could this be used by PR people to hit media that break embargoes?

Enemy Lurks in Briefings on Afghan War – PowerPoint – NYTimes.com – the money quote “It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

Japan to develop own mobile app platform | Mobile Entertainment News

Bill Would Extend DMCA-Style Takedowns To ‘Personal Info’ | Techdirt – this could go horribly wrong as the law and judiciary try to wrestle with what is personal information

On The State of China Intellectual Property Enforcement And Cars. – China Law Blog: a blog about Chinese law and the legal issues of doing business in China. – rapid acceleration to world-class status

I like: Speedo 1:1 triathlon kit

Speedo 1:1 triathlon kit, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

I love this window display by Speedo which evokes childhood memories of Airfix and Revell model kits which came on similar frames (but at a much smaller scale). It’s a smart, playful idea which gains maximum utilisation from the window space.

Jargon Watch: Vertical drinking

I hadn’t come across this phrase until I heard a senior policeman complain about the relaxation of the licensing laws by the Labour government. Instead of a continental European-style civilised cafe society, the laws brought a veritable Pandora’s box of social ills in the UK: binge drinking and violence. Much of this is reputed to be down to bars which are optimised for consumption and profitability. In the same way that business meetings held standing up are more efficient, the same is also true for drink consumption. According to a New Stateman article I found:

Drinkers who stand consume more than those who sit down, so take out the chairs and tables and encourage “vertical drinking”; remove all flat surfaces and ledges so that drinkers have to hold on to their drinks; those who talk drink less, so turn up the music.

The nature of standing up is the vertical and vertical drinking. The Standard (Hong Kong) has a great article on the impact of vertical drinking.

Brand demolition: Godiva milk shakes WTF!


Godiva milk shakes WTF!, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

What is it with beverages and brand distruction? On the one hand you have Starbucks trying to convince us that their VIA instant coffee is as good as their brewed and expresso-based coffees. I noticed this as I passed the Godiva shop in Covent Garden this evening. Godiva is a premium chocolate brand originally from Belgium. So why do they have a milk shake like drink which looks like it could be served at any Costa Coffee shop? There is nothing wrong with brand extensions but there is something off for me with the way that the ‘chocolixir’ is presented.

Links of the day

Dictionary.com Illustrates How Search is Becoming More Diversified | WebProNews – pretty impressive mobile application usage figures.

3quarksdaily: Unceasing fascination with Japan, immersion in literary culture and the pleasures and sorrows of the “thrown” life – fantastic interview

apophenia » Blog Archive » Harassment by Q&A: Initial Thoughts on Formspring.me

UK Music Sales Rise On Digital Growth, But Subs Play Small Part | paidContent:UK – iTunes owns them. Record labels still not making enough money, but then there is no such thing as enough

Whoops — Facebook Is Once Again Overhyped – I still stand by a lot of what I have said in the past  and security scare stories won’t help the Facebook cause: New Zealand Hacker Is Selling 1.5 Million Facebook Usernames and Passwords

AOL Isn’t The IM Leader By A Long Shot – Skype, QQ and Live Messenger are the leaders

Five reasons iPhone vs Android isn’t Mac vs Windows – O’Reilly Radar – interesting stuff here from O’Reilly Radar

Book on Samsung Divides Korea – NYTimes.com – interesting reaction to the book. Samsung hasn’t taken legal action

Focus On…Japan – interesting take on the Japanese PR marketplace

Qiyi, Baidu’s Hulu, Consolidation in China’s Online Video | DigiCha

I, Cringely » The T Word – Cringely on technology – Trust.

No, I cannot help you create a social media strategy! – its something that should be pervasive thoughout your organisation

things i’ve learnt from social media | blankanvas

Très Bien Shop – cool streetwear

T-post, the world’s first wearable magazine. – fantastic t-shirt designs

Innovation: One web language to rule them all – tech – 22 April 2010 – New Scientist – quick overview of HTML5

Get rid of the crappy stuff: the importance on paring back

Great powerful anecdote  on video from Nike CEO Mark Parker. Click to see the video at Fast Company.

Oprah Time: The Irish: A personal view by Tim Pat Coogan

Tim Pat Coogan is better known for his Irish historic biographies, but The Irish: A personal view is an interesting collection of essays from the early 1970s reminiscent of of the New Journalism style of Tom Wolfe pre-Bonfire of the Vanities or The Right Stuff.

Wolfe and other exponents of new journalism who covered low and counter culture movements. In his book, Coogan deals with the everyman: the farmer, the factory worker and the publican. He also utilises establishment figures from the clergy, businesspeople, politicians and paramilitaries to help tell his story. He unmasks their insecurities and the apparent craic of events like the Listoonvarna festival is portrayed with its angst, longing and desperation exposed. He strips Irish society of its green-tinted lacquer and shows it unadulterated, but in the process becomes part of the story.

The society crippled and protected by its deference to clergy was very different from modern Irish society rocked by child abuse scandals, discount airlines, overly ambitious property speculators and rampant political corruption.

Its a good read if you want to understand the genesis of modern Ireland before the Celtic Tiger-hype.

I like: Design icon SAAB 92 maybe reborn

Saab 92 1950, originally uploaded by Stig Baumeyer.

According to The Local SAAB’s new owner Spyker wants to release a retro version of the SAAB 92. When SAAB started out in car manufacturing it was as innovative as Citroën or Volkswagen. The SAAB 92 was their first car. It is hard to believe that car was from the 1950s was iconic as it was way ahead of its time with a drag coefficient of 0.30 (how cleanly it cut through the air and that number is better than most cars on the market today) and a small economical two-stroke engine.

The small efficient car started SAAB’s long association with rallying. The SAAB 92 was directly derived from SAAB’s experience as an aircraft company and the legacy can be seen in subsequent models including the 93, GT750, 95 (not the 9-5) and 96.

The more I think about it a retro-modern SAAB 92 looks more like the future of the car.

Links of the day

Did Microsoft Hire Consumer Watchdog to Attack Google? | Techrights – really really stupid, surprised Frank X Shaw wouldn’t stomp on this practice if it turns out to be true

Windows saves the day, but rest of Microsoft business mostly blah – good business unit by business unit numbers breakdown

The Pitch HK: Chui Sui Central: Advertising’s well and alive

DJ Tutor – The Home of DJ Training online – nice community and equipment review site

WPP highlights investment in digital for future growth – Brand Republic News – Brand Republic – integration on media buying across online platforms. Digital is currently 27% of revenues

Semantic web workshop kicks off PR ontology project | Wadds’ PR Blog – Wadds, Philip Sheldrake (who managed to remember meeting me at Internet World a decade ago) and Stuart Bruce have written about what a meeting I attended last week.

Foxconn retail joint venture in China to start operations at end of 2010 – interesting move that could position Foxconn with the springboard to launch as an own brand a la Acer or ASUS in the future

FSI Language Courses – Home – fantastic language learning open courseware

Altimeter Report: Social Marketing Analytics (Altimeter Group & Web Analytics Demystified) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang

Your Mom’s Guide to Those Facebook Changes, and How to Block Them – good stuff here to protect your privacy re Facebook Like

24 hour market – really nice idea, empowering street markets with e-commerce

PR Communications: 3 Tips For Social Media Monitoring Analysis

Make: Online : Backcountry tiramisu – I love the irony of this

Microsoft’s Bing/MSN Results Truly Horrifying — Loss Rate Balloons To ~$3 Billion A Year

The Real Story Behind Adobe’s Failed Mobile Strategy

Yahoo wants to do what Facebook did, only slower – as the FT said: sounds familiar and unambitious

TelecomTV | Secret treaty will impose draconian US Internet-blocking legislation on rest of the world – telecoms news site attacks the ACTA treaty draft

Driving seat: Mflow

I have been playing with Mflow for a little while and made a few attempts at trying to write a blog post to explain what it does and how I felt about it. Mflow now have a video that explains really well what it does. The application is really nicely developed and relatively intuitive to use.

What I find the most interesting aspect of mflow compared to say Last.fm is the amount of celebrity recommendations available on the service; a kind of web 2.0 version of DMC’s buzz chart.

29 things: how Wikipedia works and how to get involved in the process for having a post changed

I deliberately left my post on the mark-up language for Wikipedia out of the 29 things meme because I didn’t want to encourage PR people altering their clients Wikipedia entry – if anyone thinks that as an implicit message from my previous post then they are wrong. You will be caught, there are great free tools out there which will expose you as surely as night follows day. If you do not believe me have a play with WikiScanner.

Wikipedia is based on the likes of you and me writing posts. A key part of this process is that every point or fact made is verified (links to third party sources: news articles, academic papers, company websites). In order to make sure that this works, there is a disputes procedure and a body of editors who go around fixing grammatical errors, resolving editorial disputes between contributors, locking contentious posts that are likely to be vandalised and deleting posts that don’t meet the community standards of Wikipedia.

Every Wikipedia page has four tabs at the top of the page:

  • Article – the default tab
  • Discussion – about the page where readers can express their opinion as to the quality of the content, the article relevance and quality of references
  • Edit this page – where you can add, amend or edit content on the page
  • History – a record of who has made what alterations to the page

This is the starting point. If you have a problem with a post, for instance that it is factually incorrect, I would suggest put in a concise comment of the issue in the discussion section together with links to independent content that verifies the the points that you make. If you need to escalate the process further read this page very thoroughly. Generally people want just what you want an accurate source of reference, keep it professional and neutral in tone when you are disputing content.

Posts in this series

29 things: the basics of how to record audio

29 things: how Wikipedia works and how to get involved in the process of having a post changed

29 things: how to tweet

29 Things: Understand the nature of conversations and their appropriateness for your client

29 things: how to use Google for fun and profit

29 things: how to use an RSS reader

29 things: how to organise a PR account

29 things: how to embed pictures and video

29 things: how to create a link

29 things: how to touch-type

29 things: how to manage your communications platform

29 things for PR people

This was the post that started it all: 29 not-very-technical things that every PR person should know