If you had seen the ragtag nature of the Occupy protests in the UK, the orderly city tents underneath the HSBC building Hong Kong looks genteel by comparison.
It seems to be part of a wider social concern springing up there which manifests itself in concern about local independent shops, the power of supermarkets and the excess produce thrown away by supermarkets that could have been beneficial to the less fortunate in Hong Kong society.
More information Hong Kong: are you a friend of the earth? Not if you shop at a supermarket – Jessie Tao’s blog
Spotlight turns on Hong Kong graft agency – FT.com – (paywall) the ICAC is the jewel in the crown of Hong Kong. It is unfortunate that there isn’t a similarly robust service to fight corruption and graft in other countries like the UK and Ireland – we wouldn’t have needed the Mahon and Leveson investigations
Those of you interested in cloud computing would have noticed that Google Apps has earned ISO27001 certification for information security, which is a counterpoint to concerns about the secure nature of web services. Admittedly there are some who could point to flaws in the ISO27001 standard from an information security standpoint – but it is an independent standard and so is as handy a benchmark as any.
However, there is some aspects of this news that need to be reflected on. The certification only covers the paid-for business offering, not the consumer accounts that you may use to share editorial calenders with clients or your average email account that gets hacked by state actors. This limited certification of services in itself is a tacit admission of the insecurity of Google consumer products which are used by many knowledge workers – your author included.
Why Microsoft Killed Windows Live – It’s basically admitting that “Windows Live” branded products cannot compete with Facebook, Twitter and other successful online services. (So why did Microsoft launch a new social network this month, named So.cl? Yes, exactly…)
Even though this is an admission of defeat in the battlefield that is the Web, Microsoft still has some very successful Web properties. Hotmail and Messenger were singled out by Chris Jones as market-leading web products
QRcodes give advertisers the opportunities to be creative in the ‘noise’ through minimising the data enclosed (for instance using a URL shortener) and careful positioning of the data within the square.
Swiss luxury watch brand Jaeger LeCoultre uses some carefully placed watch components in their QRcode and the complexity of QRcodes to human eyes (rather like the visual complexity of a watch movement). It was a subtle understated modification of a QRcode that fitted right in with the brand.
Want to build a creative QRcode? QArt Coder is a good place to start
Larry Page did a fifteen-minute talk at Google’s Zeitgeist conference in London. Many of the usual suspects appeared in terms of Google’s strategy:
Google+ is about helping to improve context like people based on a social graph
Knowledge panels is about improving context around information – the kind of questions that kids would have would do particularly well on this
Search is ‘about taking actions‘ which is even more important on mobile – a tacit acknowledgement that Siri was going the right way
Android was developed because Google found it hard to develop for a multiplicity of other platforms and form factors in mobile – having to deal with over 200 different devices. It’s ironic then that some Android devices
Where to focus the big bets: the tooth brush test – do you use it as often as your toothbrush (at least twice-a-day) – high customer touch products, monetisation gets worked out later
YouTube – doubled revenue every year for the past four years
‘A healthy disregard for the impossible‘
The video of the talk is on YouTube, so it may not be available to all readers.
Google+ wants to be your new Flickr | VentureBeat not likely to happen whilst I have 1000s of photos on Flickr, use it for my blog image hosting service and Google+ doesn’t offer similar things cheaper. Also Flickr’s APIs continue to enjoy developer usage
The New York Times ran a feature on how men were starting to take jobs in traditionally female sectors because these jobs offered relative stability, better pay and more opportunities than many traditional male job roles. These traditional female roles were called pink collar roles, in a nod to the ‘blue collar’ roles of the traditional skilled and semi-skilled working class occupations. The research cited by The New York Times came from the US Census Bureau and the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota.
Yahoo! have released a browser for iPads which has some innovative ideas in terms of the way it handles and displays search from the browser chrome. Quite apart from the fact that Yahoo! has had some business issues that have dominated coverage, is this user experience enough to move Yahoo! out of its older, poorer audience niche? Initial impressions of some commentators have been positive, I am less convinced of it as a breakout application:
It wouldn’t be that hard for others to replicate
Despite the user experience it is still at the mercy of Bing’s search quality
Even if it does work, Yahoo! will still struggle to monetise effectively, Microsoft’s search advertising offering has struggled to monetise advertising inventory as effectively as Yahoo!’s historic Panama platform; let alone Google
If it does break out, it would mean that:
Bing (which drives Yahoo! Search) would be more important for client sites
Content would need to be rethought to be more visual, and able to make an impact at the large thumbnail size Axis uses to display visual search
All of this is academic of course until sufficient consumers come on board to make Axis a viable client channel.
I went to Salesforce.com’s Cloudforce event in London’s Excel Centre. Salesforce.com transforms the enterprise technology space, but its marketing was a distinctly old school technology marketing event which feels like it has some old-time religious revival fervour.
The demo that most impressed me was of Activision’s customer service, which was focused around a repository of customer information (which could be interrogated) to provide a seamless pragmatic multi-channel customer service response.
The power of being able to get product and business insight out of this data in addition to the customer service should not be under-estimated. This video is on YouTube so may not be available to all readers.
Technology venture capitalists have been going through a lot of change since the dot.com bust, with disruptions to their model including start-ups needing less cash and Sarbanes Oxley suppressing the pipe line for early exits via an IPO. As innovation (ok web services) has become cheaper, it has attracted a wider range of entrepreneurs than bright (usually male) engineers with an idea. A new class of angel investor has filled some of the slots that venture capital firms would have traditionally filled.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of the cornerstones of Silicon Valley culture. Eugene Kleiner (the Kleiner in KPCB) was one of the traitorous eight who where responsible for much of the modern semiconductor industry as we know it. Venture capitalism like technology start-ups have traditionally been very male orientated environments have had to change as society and the companies that they fund change. Junior partner Ellen Pao is one of the most prominent women at KPCB with an impressive track record and range of qualifications.
News sources in the US published that Ms Pao had filed a sexual discrimination suit against the company with a number of allegations against a senior colleague. This has had reverberations throughout the industry:
KPCB is a flag carrier for the venture capital industry
Venture capital companies rolls are being questioned as there has been a flight of capital from ‘hard’ investments in areas of innovation like biotechnology and the next generation semiconductor technologies – which impacts negatively on the global competitiveness of the US
Venture capitalism already feels out of touch with the kind of start-ups that it looks to fund, stereotyped as a preppy gentleman’s club
Female entrepreneurs are less likely to want to work with KPCB limiting the company’s access to some of the hottest start-ups
What’s the PR opportunity?
The opportunity for PR agencies is to sell reputation repositioning to venture capital companies:
Making them look relevant
Positioning them as open, inclusive organisations
Venture capital companies have historically under-invested in brand building and marketing in general, so there maybe an education process required.