Links of the day | 在网上找到

Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience – – Qualcomm to launch commercial version

”No one at Google is Returning Our Calls” – DIGITS to DOLLARS – an opportunity for Jolla?

7 Pieces of “Damn Good” Creative Advice From ’60s Ad Man George Lois | Co.Create | creativity + culture + commerce – 5 pieces of obvious advice but worth restating. An idea that can’t be expressed through brevity isn’t a good idea. Listen hard – consulting is about telling clients what they know most of the time. Go to the museum for inspiration and know what is happening around you (thats what the renaissance in this blogs name references). Pay attention to the zeitgeist and trust your instinct. One bit that surprised me was to start with words first which was interesting coming from a designer

Alibaba to Offer Telecom Services in China – (pay wall)

Yu E Bao’s future may offer clues on reforms

China’s banks are on the rise

European consumers happy to buy Chinese electronics brands

Latin America steps up where Bloomberg left off | WSJ – in regulating Big Food

RSA takes one for the team, but which team? – I, Cringely

How to opt-out of Auto-play ads on Facebook mobile | whatleydude

Get ready for the New Year – 100 Things to Watch in 2014 | JWT Blog

Consumers Look to Disconnect from their Online Lives – Euromonitor International

Tumblr’s Traffic Is Probably Not Tanking – Business Insider

Flash data on UK online Christmas portends poor numbers?

Earlier in the month I saw numbers that indicated that the savings of UK consumers dipped to their lowest level in forty years.
So I found this information about smaller e-commerce sales in the UK during December. The smaller volume but better basket value could be indicative of a professional e-tailing marketers. What if, those savings weren’t spent on material goods but instead Christmas groceries? It indicates things are worse than the economic figures make out.

More information
UK Online Sales Slowdown For Christmas Whilst Eurozone Sees Significant Expansion According to Computop

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Busy day for Irish stores on St Stephen’s Day – – driven largely by China ex-pats

Putting people first Ethnographic research: Facebook is basically dead and buried with UK teenagers

With $200 Million in Revenue, South Korea’s Top Messaging App Is All Smiley Faces – Bloomberg – more ubiquitous than Facebook

A Triumph for Transit in Cincinnati Could Mark Major Policy Shift | – move towards urban living

Crystal ball-gazing: 2013 how did I do?

As with a number of previous years I put my head together and came up with three predictions for 2013, now is the time when I measure how I did. Unlike previous years I made less predictions than I have done in previous years, so the only way I can beat my 85.7% prediction rate from last year is by being completely right.

It’s the economy stupid

I felt that the economy would be a key shaper of technological trends in 2013; I predicted a wider use of messaging services like Facetime or Skype and there seems to have been an explosion in OTT messengers as consumers move away from more expensive SMS to richer alternatives. In addition China Mobile has looked to address the needs of the global Chinese and Hong Kong people, as well as those who have connections there like me with its Jego application designed to provide a Skype-In like service at minimum cost.

  • A large section of the web is ad-supported from Facebook to news sites, companies generally reduce advertising spend in straitened times. Yahoo! during the bust saw advertising revenue declne by a third, which gives an idea of what could be in the pipeline

  • The launch of Windows 8 has gotten off to a slower than expected start, part of the reason for this is that consumer PC purchasing cycles have been extended from four-to-five years. Now part of that could be because we don’t need to buy ever more powerful computers all the time if we are using them primarily for web-related tasks, but it could also be because incomes are tighter. Tablets like the Apple iPad could be what economists would call substitute products (like using margarine as a cheaper replacement for butter)

  • This is also likely to mean that new ways of selling us televisions like Sony’s innovations in creating 4K displays will have a slow adoption rate because we don’t want to buy films we have on DVDs and Blu-Ray yet again, so technological upgrades will starve media cash-cows

  • I would expect household discretionary media budgets to be squeezed which is probably why Sky has looked at a la carte online video models in the UK

One aspect of the technology sector that is ripe for a restructure in the current economy is venture capital firms as many of them who invest in ‘easy innovation’  have a raison d’être that looks increasingly uncertain. Web-based start-ups are increasingly been bootstrapped together by the technically savvy; Kickstarter allows for the trial of consumer hardware concepts.

Whilst I was right about the economy, I completely missed how it would radically change the tariff models of a few mobile telecommunications providers, notably T-Mobile US and 3UK – both underdogs trying to carve out market share in straightened times.

Advertising overall seems to be remarkably robust, at least in the UK this year. However when one looks at some of the hot new platforms like the OTT messenger services what is striking about them is how they are not looking to advertising spend for their revenues instead looking at selling platform services like: official accounts, m-commerce or digital commerce (gaming and stickers) to consumers.

Tablet sales to consumers have gone well, the market helped by lower cost Android tablets as well as the iPad, and PC sales have continued to decline according to IDC. In March their predictions of a tablet computing shaped showed PC usage being made up of just under 50 per cent tablets by 2017.
IDC Data March 2013

By December this year IDC dialed down its predictions for tablet sales growth a notch from earlier on in the year, but it still represented some 53 per cent growth compared to 2012.

Microsoft has put some of the blame in low adoption of Windows 8 on the radically different experience and is experimenting with bringing back the start menu. Microsoft has also worked at trying to blur the lines between tablet and PC, something I am less convinced about though this may change with the right industrial design.

In terms of ultra-high definition or 4K TVs interest was more muted than for internet enabled TVs according to Google Trends. Interestingly Blu-Ray was showing a bigger decline in interest as consumers presumably cut back on content consumption and streaming offered an adequate substitute.

I put 3D TV in the mix as the hot area of a few years ago to benchmark against. 3D did much better in the cinema as part of an immersive experience than at home. And I would question how much smart TVs are actually used for web browsing given their ‘lean-back’ user case. There was some rare good news for Sony in the search trends with it’s branding being the one most cited by consumers searching for 4K TV.

In terms of 4K there are currently a lot of adoption barriers:
High price – most 4K TVs at launch were over 10,000 USD in price.

Scarity of content to take advantage of it, no broadcast services are currently planned so getting the content available into the hands of consumers. Sony talked about a streaming service when launching it’s 4K TVs. However streaming over most internet connections wouldn’t allow for an immediately watchable experience, according to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu:

A one hour compressed 4K film is about 160GB and would take seven and a half hours to download on a 50 Mbit/s

An eight-layer Blu-Ray disc could hold 200GB of data; again this may not be enough for a full feature film and definitely wouldn’t be suitable for the kind of ‘binge viewing’ that consumers seem to do with Netflix and their peers.

Dataxis thinks that there will be 2.2 million 4K households worldwide by the end of the year. It is no concidence that NPD DisplaySearch is predicting the greatest growth opportunity for 4K televisions being in the more dynamic Asian markets that have seen sustained economic growth:
NPD DisplaySearch predictions on 4K TV
NPD DisplaySearch talk about a longer decline in television sales due to hyper-competition, low margins and extreme market seasonality.

Consumer media budgets being crushed has offered an opportunity to Netflix and their peers who are bringing  downward price pressure on media content for consumers due to their competition. The cable companies don’t seem to be addressing this effectively at the moment.

My predictions about funding of companies, seemed to have at least some validity:

  • Jolla used a crowd-funding-type model to pre-sell it’s new handset
  • Oculus VR which was founded using crowd funding got second stage funding from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz

The struggles that Kleiner Perkins Caulfield  & Byers (KPCB) have gone through recently are at least partly due to the fact that venture capital models don’t work particularly well with ‘hard innovation’ involving basic scientific research needed in areas like clean technology.

3D-Printing is interesting, but isn’t the future of manufacturing as we know it

Over the past year we have seen a lot of interest in 3D printing. Guns (admittedly with all the sophistication of a backyard gunsmith) have finally fired rounds through themselves without taking someone’s hand off and they are even appearing in supermarkets to make 3D figurines of shoppers. McDonald’s are supposed to be in the process of evaluating 3D printing for Happy Meal toy parts. There is a company in Texas called Solid Concepts who made a replica of the Browning 1911 pistol via a direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) printer. Metal powder is deposited and melted using a laser.

Now for the reality check:

  • DMLS printers are expensive, a CNC milling machine could have probably been cheaper to do the job, the DMLS equipment would cost anywhere between 400,000 to 1,000,000+ US dollars.
  • Solid Concepts themselves say that making the gun would cost five figures (tens of thousands in US dollars
  • Printing is great for low volume items or rapid prototyping, but Solid Concepts themselves still have a tooling business for low volume to mass production of items

Metal materials aren’t just formed, but often heat treated. Many materials are extruded or laminated, their manufacturing process imbuing them with properties that 3D printing can’t match. Whilst the progress made this year has been interesting, 3D printing is more likely to be one of those technologies that changes things enormously in the long-term whilst being over-hyped in the short to medium term.

LTE is going to make more a of difference to your carrier than to you as a consumer, at least for now

This year saw the rise of voice over LTE, making life easier for early adopter carriers like SK Telecom in Korea. In many markets however roll-out has been far from universal making the impact of faster mobile broadband limited. In some markets like Hong Kong carriers are now worried about 3G spectrum being re-purposed for 4G services, which will disrupt their infrastructure.

More information
Past predictions in the series
Crystal ball-gazing: 2012 how did I do?
2013: just where is it all going?
China Mobile International launches VoIP Mobile Application to Grow International Retail Business – Jego offers the renting and binding of China Mobile numbers
Mobile tariff disruption
Three says arrivederci to roaming charges in seven countries.
Tablets as substitute technology
Worldwide Tablet Shipments Forecast to Slow to Single-Digit Growth Rates by 2017, According to IDC
IDC Forecasts PC Shipments to Fall by Double Digits In 2013; Volumes Are Expected To Stabilize Above 300 Million Units per Year, But With No Significant Recovery
4K TV and TV market dynamics
4K kicks off – Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu International (TMT predictions) – (PDF document)
Pavlovian Shoppers and The Demise of TV Retailing | DisplaySearch
Ultra-HD (4K TV) Will Be Mass-Market Proposition In Next Four To Five Years
2013 to be Breakout Year for 4K×2K TV; Market Forecast to Reach 7M in 2016, NPD DisplaySearch Reports – China Forecast to Lead in 4K×2K TV Adoption
Venture capital and other funding models
The first production batch of Jolla smartphones fully booked with demand from 136 countries | Jolla – (PDF document)
Onward to the Metaverse! | Oculus VR blog
The shakeup of Kleiner Perkins exposes the short comings of venture capital | GigaOM
3D printing
Create amazing ‘mini me’ versions of you and your family at Asda! | Your Asda
McDonalds Wants To Start 3D Printing Happy Meal Toys For Unhappy Kids | BusinessInsider
World’s First 3D Printed Metal Gun | Solid Concepts Blog
Questions Answered: 3D Printed Metal Gun | Solid Concepts Blog

Links of the day | 在网上找到

F-Secure won’t speak at imperialist lackey RSA’s conference • The Register

People Pick Up Their Smartphones Dozens of Times A Day; Downtime A Key Reason – but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right context for direct response advertising

Cameron’s porn filter blocks tech sites – Better you don’t know stuff | TechEye – UNIX and Linux sites as well

Hidali – amazing Japanese choreographer team who put together this great video for Respect the Aged day in Japan

How Many iPhones Can Apple Sell in China? – Businessweek – profit share rather than market share

Secret Handshakes Greet Frat Brothers on Wall Street – Bloomberg – is this more shocking than any other form of connection like a friend of Daddy?

US consumers shopped less | RTHK – guess a quiet Christmas for US retailers?

Telecoms in China have little incentive to cut spam text traffic| – because they make money from it

The veracity of viral » Nieman Journalism Lab – just because something is shared, doesn’t mean that it’s true

Michael Wolff on Digital Media in 2014: ‘Pretty Damn Bleak’ | Digiday – depressing but not terribly surprising

4G MobileArgentine netizens call for looting of Chinese-run shops| – its the LA riots  where they targeted Korean shopkeepers and antisemitism all over again

Living Index – how EE claims tat 4G is changing subscriber consumer behaviour (PDF)

Bill Cunningham on futurism and menswear

Interesting two-minute video clip by Bill Cunningham, a fashion photographer for the New York Times who broke avant-garde designers in North America like Jean-Paul Gaultier and pioneered street fashion photography.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Jing Daily: Five trends for China’s outbound travelers in 2014

Weibo: Huawei, ZTE chase ‘cool’, Xiaomi chases Apple | South China Morning Post – following in this case looks slow and ungainly

Wikipedia introduces draft feature to give writers more time and space to finetune their articles – The Next Web

Information Processing: The dawn of genetic engineering? – Blade Runner style replicants next stop?

Picture quality might be an issue for HKTV | South China Morning Post – interesting that they are running an a game around the terrestial licence process and going straight to mobile OTT services and online delivery (paywall)

Trends in Social Sharing: The Rise of Pinterest | Gigya’s Blog – some interesting data on social sharing by platform

Spotiamp – nice ode to WinAmp

ongoing by Tim Bray · Is 4K BS? – yes you can do without them. They are also impressive close up, you can notice the difference in retina and normal screens on phones, however I do think there is a law of diminishing returns at work

Apple – Press Info – China Mobile & Apple Bring iPhone to China Mobile’s 4G & 3G Networks on January 17, 2014 – interesting that there is no pricing information yet

The Beauty Implications of a Chinese Baby Boom – Euromonitor International – expect more girl consumer power

“Backbreaking” OpenStack migrations hinder enterprise upgrades — Tech News and Analysis

Facebook Screwed Lots Of Retailers – Business Insider – and you are surprised because?

Differences Between US and International SEO: Interview With Andre Alpar | Search Engine Journal

Password Managers Exposing Passwords Everywhere – depressing reading

A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering: An update on Truecrypt

Chinese Students in U.S. Boost Luxury Car Sales – Businessweek

BitTorrent takes step toward secure serverless chat

Why Shell nixed a $20 billion gas-to-liquids project – – shale and fracking isn’t as promising as believed or as commercially viable yet…

Google’s changing recommendations on SEO for mobile – Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice

Daiwa Securities increases target price on MediaTek – The China Post – interesting contrast with Qualcomm

82% Chinese Netizens Held Credit Cards — China Internet Watch

China Mobile Payment User Behavior Report 2013 — China Internet Watch

HKT to acquire CSL New World Mobility in US$2.425 billion deal | South China Morning Post – (paywall)

The Christmas post

Odeon promotional postcard from the late 1990s
I hope that you all enjoy the Christmas you want. Come back and keep reading.

I don’t normally talk about work…

But when I do I try to make sure that it’s worth it. Here’s a little something put together for Christmas by Qualcomm China.

It’s on YouKu so needs a little time.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Tweets loud and quiet – O’Reilly Radar

Burberry Scales Back Social Media | L2’s The Daily – did social media make the brand too accessible?

China spent more on mobile ads than US in Q3 2013

Why is Asia so awesome at Facebook engagement?

Nike Launches Christmas-Themed Shoes for Kobe, LeBron, and Durant – Businessweek – is the market being over-exploited

Can Companies Keep Their Entrepreneurs In-House? – Corporate Intelligence – WSJ – basically not much chance

微视 8秒无限欢乐 – Weishi is a Chinese application similar to Vine that makes 8-second videos, connects into your WeChat account. It is being promoted by having celebrity accounts on there

Google Glass Lead: How Wearing Tech on Our Bodies Actually Helps It Get Out of Our Way | Wired Opinion |

Yahoo Introduces New Style Of Flickr Embeds To Seed Content Outside Of The Site | TechCrunch

Facebook, Zuckerberg, banks must face IPO lawsuit: judge | Reuters

China Mobile chairman says still in talks with Apple on iPhone deal | Reuters

Beyonce Sells 1 Million Albums on Apple’s iTunes in Five Days – Peter Kafka – Media – AllThingsD – non-piracy aspects at work here. Music has become devalued as background rather than something to be actively enjoyed. The music industry focuses on blockbusters rather than the tail

oDesk and Elance Merge to Create One Big Freelancer Company – Liz Gannes – News – AllThingsD

Sources: Target Investigating Data Breach — Krebs on Security

Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning – attack the microcontrollers not the CPU

The man who invented the karaoke machine never patented it – Quartz

One chart that shows how you pay for free apps with your privacy – Quartz

FedEx thinks Amazon’s drone plans are hilarious – Quartz

This company is betting millions that you’ll use cartoon bears instead of English – Quartz – the bit they don’t seem to get is that stickers are a social lubricant rather than a language per se

Between a quarter and a third of everything on the web is copied from somewhere else

Observations from the UK: infantisation of British popular culture

Maybe it has been a reaction to the hard times that have befallen the UK over the past few years but their seems to be an infantisation of popular culture in the UK. It hasn’t gone down the kawaii route of Japanese culture, but what I can only describe as infantisation.
Onsie in ASDA
One-piece romper suits called onesies (think Teletubbies) have gone from being something that can be ordered online via a specialist merchant to something that can be picked up in your local supermarket. One Direction’s popularity goes back to teen pop a la The Osmonds back in the early to mid-1970s; but with fans that are far more manic in nature. People are trying to create comfort and safety where none exists.

Other posts in this series
Observations from the UK: Pay-day loans, pay-day backlash
Observations from the UK: austere Christmas advertisements
Observations from the UK: making cinema advertising count

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Amazon Web Services Announces Upcoming China Region for its Cloud Computing Platform –

Critics and viewers fear for the future of Hong Kong’s golden TV tradition | South China Morning Post – travel and cookery programmed infotainment are considered to be low quality cheap content in place of quality dramas

BlueFocus acquires majority stake in We Are Social – Campaign Asia – China building out effective marketing communications conglomerate. Congrats to the guys at We Are Social

APAC mobile advertisers go their own way: News from – more about awareness less about online or offline conversion

Sina Weibo’s Rapid Expansion in E-Commerce | L2’s The Daily

The Challenges and Opportunities of CRM in 2014 – Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice

Price matters, but behind other factors in Deal Seeker analysis [VIDEO] | Marketing Forward

The evolution of the customer lifecycle | Experian Marketing Forward

Judge Leon explains why the NSA uses everyone’s metadata

Jetstar Hong Kong unveils animated series | Marketing Interactive

Why Our Online Persona Is Needier Than Our Real One – Corporate Intelligence – WSJ

Luxury labels shift focus from Hong Kong to Shanghai|

26 charts that surprised me in 2013 – Quartz – Europe on for a at least one lost economic decade

首页-ROARINGWILD ONLINE STORE – Shenzhen-based streetwear brand

Elevator Pitch: IDG’s Phil Sanderson bets on gaming despite Zynga debacle – SiliconValley.comBefore 2008, there were only six merger-and-acquisition exits in gaming above $200 million. But since 2008, there have been 19 M&A exits and valuations above that level, with a median valuation of $500 million

Digital Evangelist: Will the real BT stand up? – Ian on BT

小米路由器 MIWIFI——小米官网 – there is something about the Xaomi router being presented as a kit that I like

BBC Online Briefing: Understanding Audiences at the BBC looking at multi-screen usage

Russian consumers eschew bling | WARC

Internet of Things: Six Key Characteristics | Blog | design mind

The US economy may never be the same after the Great Recession – have western economies lost their ability to grow quickly? My guess is yes until they change their structure to one that works

China may actually be the most materialistic country in the world

U.S. Worker Output Rises at Best Pace in 4 Years

A reviled Chinese baby formula company is rebranding with organic noodles

Samsung – Uneasy in the Lead – – Samsung’s sales are equal to about one-quarter of South Korea’s economic output. Samsung Electronics, the flagship, posted $190 billion in sales last year — about the same sales as Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook combined.

Observations from the UK: making cinema advertising count

Cinema advertising is one of the most targeted ways of reaching younger people and I have used it as a vehicle to target parents through buying adverts in mothers-and-baby screenings but it’s hard to know what the impact of cinema advertising actually is. – is a smartphone application that allows consumers to answer questions posed by a programme embedded in adverts prior to the film trailers. is interesting because it can track ongoing engagement across campaigns over time on an ongoing basis, and is likely to be only downloaded by the most motivated and regular cinema-goers.

The quiz when I was saw it was sponsored by Sony PlayStation meaning that the application competition was probably self-liquidating at the very least. From Sony’s point-of-view participation numbers give a proxy measure of reach and attention at the time the segment was running.

Finally it helps the cinemas, providing evidence that with the right campaign, cinema can drive a mobile call-to-action. From there is is up the advertising agency and media buying agency to demonstrate return on investment on behalf of their clients.

I am surprised that clients, haven’t integrated mobile search into cinema campaigns before in that way that I have seen done previously on out of home advertising in the UK or on television advertising in both Japan and Korea.

Other posts in this series
Observations from the UK: Pay-day loans, pay-day backlash
Observations from the UK: austere Christmas advertisements


Links of the day | 在网上找到

Archaic but widely used crypto cipher allows NSA to decode most cell calls | Ars Technica – and shows how much still happens over GSM rather than UMTS, let alone LTE all around the world

MediaPost Publications Gen X, Gen Y Value Brand Friendships 12/16/2013

Havas Worldwide Prosumer Reports

sticky | VIMN Insights

Millennials’ Digital Behavior – comScore, Inc

Generational Marketing Guides – The Millennials Infographic Breaks Down Gen Y (GALLERY)

American Millennials

Meet the BRIC Millennials | JWT Intelligence

Accenture | Seamless Retail for Millennial Consumers Getting it Right – PDF document

The Millennial Consumer: Debunking Stereotypes | Boston Consulting Group – PDF document

Telefonica – Global Millennial Survey – PDF document

Beijing to expand OTC market to qualified SMEs| – this is really interesting as it provides a larger amount of investment opportunities for Chinese consumers. It isn’t without risk, but expect it to take off

Las Vegas Sands drops Madrid plansLas Vegas Sands asking for the resort to be exempted from Spanish rules on smoking – interesting the way they were concerned about instability in EU regulation and the smoking argument indicates a possible desire to get Asian consumers

Arianespace orders rockets | RTHK – at least Europe is keeping up it’s presence in space

Red Bull to sell in mainland – makes sense given the brand presence Red Bull has already in Formula 1 etc

China linked to carbon-intensive energy future | Wall St Cheat Sheet

GM Cashes Out as Peugeot Chases China Deal – interesting move when China becomes the pre-eminent partner for European automakers

Japanese Mobile Market — a Brief History | PixelBits

How Retailers Using Facebook’s Custom Audiences Can Track Offline Sales

Flush with cash, Oculus plans ambitious new VR headset | The Verge

Data point: Erosion of anonymity has consumers on alert | JWT Intelligence

EE to invest £275m on voice calls and VoLTE trials in 2014- The Inquirer – is this a catch-up or a factor for differentiation?

Facebook self-censorship: What happens to the posts you don’t publish? – Facebook still records the data

How PepsiCo Dreams Up New Products in China | AdAge China – include a hard to replicate aspect to the product