Links of the day | 在网上找到

Saying a third of mobile searches are local, Google brings “Promoted Pins” to Maps – but still no development platform for third party integration. Google Maps is still behind Baidu Maps in this respect

Samsung will no longer make Android Wear devices, all in with Tizen OS [Update] | 9to5Google – as Benedict Evans said: Samsung is (probably) giving up on making Android Wear watches. The Apple Watch is only a partial success so far, but Android watches don’t seem to have worked at all

I, Cringely Apple and Didi is about foreign cash and the future of motoring – I, Cringely – as ever thought provoking, Bob Cringely’s take on Apple’s Didi investment

EXCLUSIVE: The Dirty Advertising Practices of the Industry’s Biggest Brands, Bloggers — The Fashion Law – the legal challenges for influencers of becoming native advertising formats

Anti-EU Campaign Offers A £50 Million Prize For Whoever Can Predict Euro 2016 – BuzzFeed News – smart data capture

Spotify Now Lets Brands Sponsor Its Popular Playlists | IPG Lab – history repeating as consumer brands used to sponsor radio programmes like P&G’s recession era ‘soap opera’

BNP Paribas in partnership with Luc Besson’s next movie, Valerian and the City of a thousand planets – really interesting execution from a French bank BNP Paribas

Secrets of WeChat and Weibo Feed Stream — China Internet Watch  – (paywall)

Hoffman Fabrics | Stussy – great background on the Hawaiian shirt, my favourite picture has Tom Selleck as Magnum in the background

PDF Decrypter Pro (Windows & Mac OS X) – Remove PDF owner password and restrictions – Download FREE – handy app to have on tap

PayPal is shutting down its Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Amazon apps | The Verge – its an Android and iOS world

The Gawker | Peter Thiel Post in a wider context

Silicon Valley veteran financier Peter Thiel was behind the financing of a court case that Terry Bollea “Hulk Hogan” filed over a sex tape. An extract of the video was published by Gawker Media.
Hulk Hogan
What Bollea did was stupid. As a veteran celebrity he must have realised that any kind of compromising position would be a tempting pay check for even his closest friends. The behaviour ran of the risk of endangering any commercial endorsements or media deals that he may have had in place. Usually commercial deals of this nature come with a good behaviour clause – I’ve had these clauses in every celebrity and influencer endorsement I’ve been involved with.

Bollea does have a family who would be caused considerable embarrassment by his actions. And it could be argued that secretly filmed sex between two consenting adults isn’t really newsworthy or pertinent for public consumption.

Gawker Media did what growing media empires have done in the past  and conduct ‘yellow journalism’.  Content of a puerile or sensational nature had been the stock in trade of William Randolph Heart, Joseph Pulitzer, Rupert Murdoch or William Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook). It isn’t morally defensible and it isn’t clever, it is an indictment of the audience.

Gawker did do the public a service, shining a torch on Silicon Valley in a way that hadn’t been done since the early days of InfoWorld’s Notes From The Field column and the book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date. The problem was that both of those were pre-smartphone and pre-Internet era portraits of the ‘Valley; back when it really did have foundries manufacturing microprocessors.

As an external observer and someone who has done PR for similar companies in the past. I would argue that the relationships between journalists and the Silicon Valley technology beat had become sufficiently docile that media didn’t provide the reader with insightful analysis of what was really going on.

It is the kind of relationship that the US military struggled to have in Iraq and Afghanistan through the embedding process. Instead of MREs and sharing the emotional highs and lows of action; San Francisco journalists got executive access and invites to the same social mixers and conferences.

Valleywag shook up media practices. Although editorial teams won’t admit it; the likes of Recode, TechCrunch and The Information took note.

Peter Thiel is the most interesting person in the cast of the Hulk Hogan court room drama. Thiel is known for his wealth and unique take on libertarianism. I won’t go into is Thiel right or wrong as none of the parties including Mr Thiel deserve our unreserved sympathies.  It all just makes me want to re-apply hand sanitiser before using the internet.

What I find most interesting about Thiel’s actions is the way it signifies a cultural shift in Silicon Valley that I have talked about for a good while.

It is hard to believe that within living memory San Francisco was a port city with fish canneries that attracted drug addled misfits drawn by everything from its freewheeling culture and access to drugs. The Santa Clara valley to the south was fertile farm land that grew apricots and prunes. Fruit brand Del Monte started right here. The area grew up as Stanford University and the scientific developments of the late 19th to mid-20th century science revolutionised the US military.

Silicon Valley had a reputation for doing things differently. The mix of academia, counterculture and defence expenditure created a unique culture that evolved over time. The collegiate work environment founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard had much to do with their background in education at Stanford. The HP Way, a set of values guided the company for over 60 years until Carly Fiorina’s tenure as CEO.

Bob Noyce came to Silicon Valley to do pioneering work at Shockley’s lab, however poor man management meant that he became a last minute member of the traitorous eight and went on to found Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. In both of these businesses he founded a relaxed culture that was decades ahead of its time and similar to a modern day worker. If you work in a cube farm rather than offices – you can likely blame that on Noyce.

Whilst the enterprise software businesses like Oracle and chip companies like AMD mirrored the hard driving sales teams of their East Coast counterparts at IBM, many Bay Area companies were made of something different. Counterculture had seeped into the industry. The hacker culture of sharing software and the transformative nature of technology brought forth the Home Brew Computer Club and a missive from a nascent Microsoft CEO complaining about early software piracy. Steve Jobs had talked about how his LSD experiences had helped him do the things he did at Apple. Wired magazine was founded by former hippies like Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly. There was a very good reason why The Grateful Dead were one of the first bands with a website.

I interviewed with a H-P employee back in the late 1990s who told me how had bought his ‘dancing bears’ tie and Jerry Garcia mouse mat from

The hippies in Silicon Valley brought their ‘back to the land’ ethos and doing their own thing. It is a form of libertarianism, but not one that Thiel or Uber’s Travis Kalanick would likely recognise as their own.

This was the libertarianism of the pioneer who ventured westward or the outlaw biker gang that yearned for the same freedom. The key difference is that the hippy technologist build their frontier to carry onwards, not having to worry about the Pacific ocean and instead going to new realms in code and network infrastructure.

The counterculture ethos could be seen even in web 2.0 products like Flickr which freely allowed customers to move their data or build their own apps on the APIs that the development team used.

Facebook is a marker in time for when the cultural tone of Silicon Valley changed. The hippies were out and the yuppies had taken over. Brogrammers and zero hour working for ‘Uber for’ applications that provide labour as a service.

The Gawker court case marks a similar milestone event in Silicon Valley culture. Thiel’s actions brought a number of his peers out in public to support him. Silicon Valley stops sounding like yuppies and more like the titan’s of the gilded age that would brook no disrespect and governed riches in the face of massive inequality. The Bay Area version of the American dream is dead for the secretaries and engineers who will no longer become financially independent on share options.

Customer service, once seen as a a way into start-ups is now a purgatory. I used to have a client in the late 1990s who worked their way up through a chip company from being in admin when the business was a new start-up to running marketing communications and PR across EMEA in the space of 10 years or so. That progression just wouldn’t happen now, the gilded class have their compliant (if at times resentful workforce) and now want a more respectful media.

The seeds of destruction are already sown for the gilded class. Innovation has moved East to the other side of the Pacific. Baidu is likely to be a leader in deep learning, driverless vehicles and innovation. The leading drone brand is DJI based in Shenzhen – rather than being designed in California and just assembled in China. Networks infrastructure leader Huawei are showing the kind of smarts marketing Android smartphones that Silicon Valley hardware makers would have had a decade ago.

Tencent has shown how dangerous it could be with the right marketing smarts. It already has as good software design chops as the Bay Area. Facebook Messenger bots have been on WeChat for years. If you haven’t done so give WeChat a try, just to see what the application looks like.

A compliant sycophantic media won’t help the gilded class build the financially successful future Silicon Valley in the same way that an inquiring body of journalists could do.

More information
The changing culture of Silicon Valley
Barbarians in the Valley
From satori to Silicon Valley by Theodore Roszak
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
Tech Titans Raise Their Guard, Pushing Back Against News Media – New York Times
Those Entry-Level Startup Jobs? They’re Now Mostly Dead Ends in the Boondocks — Backchannel — Medium

Links of the day | 在网上找到

The EU thinks this website is the key to fixing its weak e-commerce market — Quartz – surely there is some arbitrage play for ‘trumpeting’ deliveries in and out to take advantage of lowest cost parcel routing?

WeChat failed to go global | Techinasia – the thing I took away from this foreign campaigns was how similar they were to what I would have expected a foreign company to do in China. I suspect that they weren’t localised enough and Tencent didn’t think about a compelling hook

Housing crisis in China’s ‘Silicon Valley’: Huawei, other hi-tech giants head for cheaper cities as rising costs deter talents – also provides opportunities for start-ups to take up staff that don’t want to make the move

Nokia could cut up to 15,000 jobs | Telecom Asia – not surprising there would have been a lot of overlap between them

Adidas to Return Mass Shoe Production to Germany in 2017 | Business of Fashion – isn’t likely to be traditional adidas models like the Gazelle or Superstar as designs are adapted for the robot production line that Adidas intends to use

Why Huawei is suing Samsung over cellphone patents – Recode –  the amount of redactions in this document is interesting. The optics of the court case are trying to position Huawei as an innovator. Huawei will win in the Chinese court filling. The US one could be more interesting. If Huawei is considered to be abusing its position it could find itself in an EU court case though

A new study shows how government-collected “anonymous” data can be used to profile you — Quartz

Even Apple is acknowledging that the “iPads in education” fad is coming to an end | Quartz – which has to be worrisome for tablets in business surely?

Why Big Apps Aren’t Moving to Swift (Yet)

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that have made my day this week:

The 100 Soundscapes of Japan: A list of Japan’s greatest natural, cultural, and industrial sounds – the kind of project that the web was made of

Burberry explores Mr. Burberry’s narrative via GQ films | Luxury Daily – its a smart time for Burberry to use this to work out a new brand positioning in the light of changing luxury market dynamics and its brand consolidation for Burberry Britain etc.

I am a sucker for 1990s style CGI animation which seemed trippier and full of promise for an immersive cyber world that we would be able to one day jack into. This pre-film trailer for Regal Cinemas in the US is a classic example  of this. Play it on a big enough screen and it swallows you up without the need for 3D glasses.

WHER: 1000 Beautiful Watts—The First All Girl Radio Station in the Nation—Part 1 by The Kitchen Sisters on PRX – really interesting documentary on the US’s first all-women radio station. Some of the interviews are shockingly sexist in a way that couldn’t happen today

We know acne, we don’t know teens. – YouTube – nice bit of honest marketing by Clearasil

Consumer Packaged Goods innovation

CB Insights put together an interesting presentation on the changing landscape of the consumer packaged goods sector.

The key takeouts for me were:

  • The similarity to the technology sector in terms of startups developing a brand and selling out to a bigger firm
  • A key part of what they are buying is brand building – an activity that the likes of P&G and Unilever have excelled at in the past
  • Start-ups and partnerships focused on process improvements across all business functions from supply chain management to the final interface between customer and product prior to purchase
  • Premium is defined around consumer values towards the environment rather than ‘luxury’

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Satan’s Credit Card: What The Mark Of The Beast Taught Me About The Future Of Money – BuzzFeed News – interesting read on the human factors

Microsoft Acquires Leading Web-Based Calendar Company Jump Networks | Microsoft News Center – almost two decades of online PIM (personal information management) and email. I used Jump prior the acquisition and used to have the email address before Microsoft shut it down. It used to sync with my Palm device through a conduit on my work desktop machine

Surrey teen charged over Mumsnet hack attack | The Register – not sure how this would go down in terms of bragging rights on dark net forums…

Your next server will be a box full of connected stuff, not a server • The Register – Linux is just a poor copy of Unix anyway, still a place for BSD

The New Nokia

Microsoft finally let go of its licence for the Nokia license on May 19, 2016.
There is a lot of logic to this move:

  • Microsoft has already written down the full value of the business acquisition
  • It has got the most valuable technical savvy out of the team and moved it into the Surface business
  • It removes problematic factories and legacy products

For the businesses that have acquired the rights to use the Nokia name and the factories the upsides are harder to see.

The factories may be of use, however there is over supply in the Shenzhen eco-system and bottlenecks aren’t usually at final manufacture, but in the component supply chain.

There is still some brand equity left in the Nokia phone brand. I analysed Nokia along with a number of other international Greater China smartphone eco-system brands using Google Trend data.
There has been a decline in brand interest over the past 12 months for Nokia of 37%
Nokia still has comparable brand equity to other legacy mobile brands such as BlackBerry and Motorola
The brand equity is comparable to other value mobile brands. Honor; Huawei’s value brand has had a lot of money and effort pumped into it to achieve its current position.
But it’s brand equity doesn’t stack up well against premium handset brands from Greater China. The reason for this is that smartphone marketing and fast moving consumer goods marketing now have similar dynamics – both are in mature little differentiated markets. Brands need to have deep pockets  and invest in regular advertising to remain top-of-mind across as large an audience as possible. Reach and frequency are more important than social media metrics like engagement.

In addition to advertising spend needs to be put into training and incentivising channel partners including carriers.

They are entering a hyper-competitive market and it isn’t clear what their point of advantage will be. Given the lock down that Google puts on Android and commoditised version of handset manufacture, the best option would be to look for manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies  – like Dell did in the PC industry. But that’s easier said than done.

Garnering the kind of investment required to seriously support an international phone brand is a hard sell to the finance director or potential external investors.

Growth is tapering out.
The average selling price is in steady decline
This is partly because the emerging markets are making the majority new phone purchases.
Consumers in developed markets are likely holding on to the their phones for longer due to a mix economic conditions and a lack of compelling reason to upgrade.
All of the consumers that likely want and can afford a phone in developed markets have one. Sales are likely to be on a replacement cycle as they wear out. Manufacturers have done a lot to improve quality and reliability of devices.

Even the old household insurance fraud standby of dropping a phone that the consumer was bored with down the toilet doesn’t work on the latest premium Android handsets due to water-proofing.

More information

The answer to the question you’ve all been asking | Nokia – Nokia’s official announcement
Gartner highlights a more challenging smartphone sector for Nokia than when it “quit” in 2013 | TelecomTV
Nokia is coming back to phones and tablets | The Verge
So the Nokia brand returns.. with a Vengeance | Communities Dominate Brands

Supporting data slides in full

Links of the day | 在网上找到

What’s holding back China’s consumption growth? | South China Morning Post – Consumer sentiment has plunged in recent months, as the consumer sentiment index hit a 28-month low of 100 in March, versus 104.4 in February. Retail sales also increased more slowly than expected in April at 10.1 per cent, versus 10.5 per cent in March.

Fox ‘Stole’ a Game Clip, Used It In Family Guy and DMCA’d the Original – Slashdot – either its automated software (likely YouTube’s automated scanning) or exceptionally shady business practices – both of which are plausible scenarios when it comes to Fox

The Co-op returns to its clover-leaf logo from 1968 | Creative Review

We know acne, we don’t know teens. – YouTube – nice bit of honest marketing by Clearasil

Uber has pinpointed the moment you‘re most likely to pay for surge pricing — Quartz – feels really invasive but insightful

Lynx: can it convince consumers it’s about more than getting laid? | Campaign (UK) – nice summary and analysis of the Lynx/Axe advertising campaigns over the past few years (paywall)

Shipments of Chromebooks integrated with Google Play set to increase | DigiTimes – not great for Windows 10 consumer sales (paywall)

The answer to the question you’ve all been asking | Nokia – Nokia’s official announcement

Chinese brands best performers in China: consumer goods survey | China Daily – interesting how Chinese brands have managed to ford the trust gap

News UK unveils new in-house agency powered by WPP and The & Partnership | Campaign Live – next move from single client agency to ‘in-house’ agency a la Unilever’s U Studio?

The phenomenon of Hong Kong Strong

Brandon Li put his short film Hong Kong Strong on Vimeo last week. The video sprang up all over my Facebook feed as proud Hong Kongers shared the video. There were a number of things happening. The Hong Kong Tourist Board was having its strategy and spend challenged by some of the public and Wan Chai was shut down as a senior Chinese official arrived in the city for a three-day inspection.

Brandon accompanied the video with a description of how it was made. The film was boiled down from over 1.7TB of rushes.

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that have made my day this week:

Culture has taken a retrotastic pivot. Sony Pictures started its long hype campaign for the sequel to the iconic 1990s film Transporting.

Kevin Smith Is Making an Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai TV Show – Buckaroo Banzai is a 1980s cult film. Kevin Smith is just the kind of director that you would want to be behind it.

Lone’s Blacktail Was Heavy on R&S Records is an old time breaks driven rave-up from his forthcoming album Levitate. Shot down the road in Silvertown, the video has a look feels like Mike Leigh film.

Mr Robot will be returning for a second season

Finally as a public service to all you British middle class readers losing your shit that BBC recipes are going away I bring glad tidings from the inter webs. Some clever people have only gone and scraped them all from the BBC site and put them on a searchable site for you all Auntie’s Recipes – BBC Recipe search engine. No put down the pesto jar and calm down – breathe in, hold it and exhale.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

A recipe for disaster at the BBC | Broadstuff – really good guide for people outside the UK on what is happening to the public service broadcaster

Nokia back in mobile phone business | TotalTelecom – interesting move

This nifty device translates foreign languages in real-time | TheNextWeb – I would have to try it, I don’t believe it from what I’ve seen so far

Kevin Smith Is Making an Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai TV Show – I so hope that this is true

Why Snapchat Doesn’t Care About India — The Information – build for the markets were the advertising revenue and mobile structure make it worthwhile

North Korea’s new ad men try out pitches to new consumer class | Reuters – This uniquely North Korean style of advertising may have developed out of trade fairs, Abrahamian said.

As the “donju” have earned money in the unofficial economy, the flaunting of wealth has become more commonplace, especially in Pyongyang where those with access to political capital are often the wealthiest traders.

The advertisements seem acceptable inside shops, but not outdoors, Abrahamian said. During North Korea’s recent Workers’ Party congress, ads could be seen in several Pyongyang shops.

Out and about: Granny’s Got Talent | 헬머니

The Korean Cultural Centre has a fortnightly screening of films. The latest one that I went to was Granny’s Got Talent or 헬머니 (pronounced Helmeoni – a literal translation would be Hell Granny).

The premise is built around an old woman who is released from jail. She lost contact with her eldest son and tries to build that connection whilst living with her youngest son. The eldest son is a salary man with an over-bearing set of rich in-laws. The youngest son an inveterate gambler. To bail the youngest son out of trouble she participates in a Korean reality TV show based around cursing and chaos ensues. Veteran Korean actress carries off the role of Hell Granny with aplomb. I laughed so hard at some points I ended up crying.

The raucous bawdy humour works despite subtitles and has some amazing comedic set-pieces. But this rudeness is only the top layer in the story, where the viewer gets a glimpse at the hard life a strong woman had to live in a fast-developing South Korea.

The film works on a number of levels touching a number of distinctly  Korean themes including the obsession with hierarchy, its turbulent political past, the corrupt aspects of chaebols and the love of family (no matter how dysfunctional).

More Information
Movie page on Daum in Korean

Links of the day | 在网上找到

The smart home is stuck – Recode – interesting analysis

New Chinese online payment rules take HK e-shoppers by surprise | HKEJ Insight – looks like controlling capital flight measures

Xiaomi opens stores | Shanghai Daily – interesting pivot in distribution channels

Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to – The Washington Post – Nearly one in two Internet users say privacy and security concerns have now stopped them from doing basic things online — such as posting to social networks, expressing opinions in forums or even buying things from websites, according to a new government survey released Friday (paywall)

On Writing

This post was prompted by reading A Time To Write by Wadds, open it in a new tab on your browser and give it a read.
Cover on my old book
Given Wadds’ post I thought I would reflect briefly on my own process.

Why I write?

Wadds describes his writing as a kind of mindfulness.  For me writing serves a number of purposes:

  • It cements things in my memory, a bit like revision at school
  • It helps me work out ideas and my stance on them
  • Its a good platform for experiments. I started off my blogging to work out how it could help clients that I couldn’t get media coverage for. This was back before social media was a thing. At the moment I am using this blog  as part of an experiment on LinkedIn Pulse as a source of traffic. More on that when I have a decent set of data
  • Occasionally decent conversations spark of these posts, some of my good friends are online
  • There is a more talented fighter than I, also called Ged Carroll. I like to have a clear differentiator from him
  • My blog is also a marketing calling card, I have got jobs from it over the years.

Wadds talks about why people don’t write, he describes it as effort and bravery. I suspect its a bit more complex. Yes life does get in the way for many people, but many of my friends have their own creative outlets: painting, photography, the art of social conversation, mastering video games to name but three.  For me writing extends out of curiosity, it is a natural progression – otherwise ideas would vanish into the ether.

In terms of bravery, Wadds talks about the willingness to share private or personal subjects. I generally don’t, the reason is quite simple. Growing up in an Irish household, my time was predominantly spent in the UK during The Troubles, I grew up with the idea of the pervasive, invasive surveillance state. I grew up with a personal perception of what could be called ‘operational security’ (Op-Sec). The future has finally caught up.


You can break my workflow down into four sections:

  • Ideation.  Ideas broadly come from reading something or the world around me. If it is something on the world around me, I will make some bullets in the notes application of my iPhone.  If it is a talk I will have likely recorded it using Olympus’ free dictation app for the iPhone. If it is from reading a book, I am likely to put post-it notes on the relevant pages with some notes and then flick back through this as I write a post. I have aversion to writing on the books themselves. I have found that I don’t get much out of reading on a Kindle, so only use that for leisure reading now. If  I am inspired by something I have seen, there will be a picture on Flickr, which also serves as the image hosting platform for this blog. I have about 46 GB of images in my Flickr account – it would take a major tectonic event to persuade me to move to another platform like 500px. I have a Twitter account with a set of lists that provide inspiration and use Newsblur as an RSS reader as well. Newsblur is invaluable. I am currently trying Breaking News, an app recommended by Richard Edelman and occasionally dip into Apple’s own News app. When I have online content that has spurred a writing idea I will notate it in my bookmark service
  • Writing. My writing method varies based on two criteria; the regularity of the post and the length of the post. If you’ve read my blog for a length of time you will see that there are repeating themes. Every two days is a collection of interesting links from around the web. These posts are based on content that I bookmark. There is a post on Friday for interesting creative or useful things, again this pretty much writes itself based on my bookmarks as I ingest the web. At the moment I am publishing slides of data that I have collected on a monthly basis, I usually write a bit of analysis on the some of the data that I have surfaced. This just flows out easily. For short irregular posts they are often a stream of consciousness with minimal editing directly into WordPress. Longer posts are often mind-mapped onto engineering squared paper and then written into Hemingway
  • Editing. Unlike Wadds, I don’t have an editor. I use Hemingway app as a machine-based editor. My fact-checking happens before words are committed to the posts in my reading around
  • Syndication. I syndicate my content using plumbing that I have put int place using IFTTT and WordPress’ own JetPack plug-in. When I syndicate to Medium and LinkedIn this is done manually.

Wadds’ talks about mindfulness in writing. I don’t necessarily think that its the same for me.  That feeling of being in the zone is something I get more from DJ’ing ironically, or focusing on a mundane task. Writing is more about making fleeting ideas permanent. It is also written with at least half an eye on my work.

More information
Olympus Dictation app
Twitter lists
Breaking News app