Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

I don’t know what it was about this week, but I ended up looking at a whole pile of time lapse videos:

First up slow motion footage of summertime in New York, this doesn’t give you a real feel of the humidity in New York

Next a time lapse video that zooms pans and warps time in Pyongyang, North Korea

Pirate Jams put together a mix of late 1980s to early 1990s tracks and their own recordings that sampled many others for i-D magazine and came up with this joyful mix

The Vinyl Factory put together 20 tracks as an introduction to the early balearic sound for generation-z

Burberry put together a great video showcase that shows how they use the Tencent WeChat / Weixin platform or as they put it Burberry and WeChat have created a series of creative collaborations and platform firsts that leverage WeChat’s unique functionality and responsive content capabilities.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Meet MonsterMind, the NSA Bot That Could Wage Cyberwar Autonomously | WIRED – what happens if it gets spoofed and attacks an innocent third-party?

Why Robots Aren’t the Bellhops of the Future | Motherboard – If you happen to have a rich person handy, ask them: luxury is an interaction with the world, not a thing. I certainly don’t say this as a rich person

London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites • The Register – the case law around this could be interesting

Cor blimey: Virgin Media pipes 152Mb fibre to 100,000 East Londoners • The RegisterThe company has suffered a number of DNS outages recently and refuses to let either the media or its customers know just what the problem is

Sony Says 10 Million PlayStation 4 Game Consoles Have Been Sold Worldwide – that is a tremendous leap forward for PlayStation, I hope that they can keep up this momentum

Colgate’s Unseen FDA Pages Flag Concerns Over Triclosan – Bloomberg – Triclosan looking controversial

YouTube generation V research – males 18 – 34 years old. Self-serving but useful (PDF)

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Why Ebay Tells Manufacturers in China What You’re Searching For – The Atlantic – interesting thoughts around authenticity and nostalgia

Guest post: has doing business in China just got too risky? | FT – don’t overreact (paywall)

TD Bank Boost Customer Advocacy via ATMs | VisibleBanking.com – nice iteration on the Coca-Cola campaigns of recent years

Oakley Disruptive by Design | Designboom – interesting how Oakley is trying to now associate itself with design goodness, rather than being disruptive designers themselves now

Forget :) Baidu’s Simeji App Captures Teenage Hearts in Japan – Bloomberg – interesting how traditional media is still a major driver of memes and trends

Hacker’s own guide to the exploit | Pastebin - I found it really interesting that Google was do important in the process

Huawei to slash low-end mobile phone models: executive | WantChinaTimes – interesting move, probably struggling to compete against other Shenzhen businesses living on razor thin margins

Photography in the Brick Lane area

My friend Ian and I took a trip around Brick Lane and he helped me to get to grips with the move from Pentax to Canon systems.
Brick Lane shop front
What I saw was a cynical appropriation of street culture to try and make the area cool rather than allowing it to naturally evolve it felt like a giant council-funded youth club. At least there was good coffee around the route.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Here’s The Difference Between Working At Facebook, Google, And Microsoft — According To Someone Who Has Worked At All Three – some cultural insights at different companies. Interesting how stack ranking doesn’t seem to have turned Microsoft into a pressure cooker

The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup | Business | WIRED – great interview with Stewart Brand

Chilling policy announced for China’s instant messaging services | WantChinaTimes – not really surprising, China has already tried to implement real name policy for cell phone SIMs and Weibo accounts. We’ll see how successful it actually is

JWT Launches ‘Forever Faster’ for Puma | MediaBistro – we were watching this advert in the office this morning and didn’t make any sense beyond being mildly entertaining

Reckitt Benckiser and Facebook announce partnership to get digitally closer to consumer – nine year partnership. In the space of nine years Geocities went from vibrant community to graveyard and MySpace relaunched twice – it is a bet against disruptive innovation

An Insider’s Account of the Yahoo-Alibaba Deal – Harvard Business Review - interesting view of the deal from Sue Decker

Survey: YouTube Stars More Popular Than Mainstream Celebs Among U.S. Teens | Variety – self-serving data points

20 of 21 provinces probed engaged in property-related corruption | WantChinaTimes – openness by the Chinese government

Weibo user solicits pics for ‘most beautiful bosom’ contest|WantChinaTimes.com – could you get away with this on Twitter, I doubt it

15 specialist social network apps in China | Techinasia – interesting set of applications

China Online Shopper Spent $12.5 Billion Buying from Oversea E-tailers | ChinaInternetWatch – which is especially interesting given the ubiquity of UnionPay within China

New Strategy as Tech Giants Transform Into Conglomerates | NYTimes – I would have thought that Microsoft and Cisco where already at conglomerate status?

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that have made my day this week:

Some nicely presented data insights on China’s post-90s generation, who are the most likely people to drive China’s next stage of economic growth through domestic consumption.

It isn’t often that you see an interesting accessible presentation on online analytics, which is the reason why I thought I would share this one

An interesting documentary on the relationship between ‘young people’ and brand interactions on social media. In many respects it reminds me of the way that I used brands as a teenager all be it in a real-world setting through consumerism.

A great drone-eye view of Hong Kong

The soundtrack of my week was a mix by Graham Park that he remastered and published online. He played the set at The Hacienda on February 1, 1992. It is a great snapshot of The Hacienda before a myriad of troubles finally closed the venue down. The set marks a time of eclecticism; with deep house, proto-progressive tracks and breaks all being played in the same mix; which would be largely unheard of in a club for the best part of 20 years.

Nominated in diaspora category of Blog Awards Ireland

Unfortunately there is no voting process I could ask you to game at the moment :)
blog awards ireland

A content desert?

I started thinking about the idea of a content desert for a few reasons:

Experian Marketing Services put out a really nice whitepaper out in June as part of their ConsumerSpeak series called Millennials come of age. One graph stood out to me; the split across generations between traditional and digital media consumption.
media diet
On the face of it, two things struck me, consumption of online media increased between millenials and generation X – but not in a way that makes them radically different – . There was also a marginal increase in overall consumption between generation Y and generation X. Is this due to media literacy, less commitments or they were having to work harder to get a similar amount of value from their media consumption?

We had a focus group in the office looking at the personal media consumption habits of 18 – 24 year olds with an interest in sport. One of the things that came out of this was that they would only buy a magazine about their favourite sport if they were getting on a long plane journey. They thought it was ‘too expensive’ to spend £4 on a magazine. A colleague who sits near me loves the magazine and gets a lot out of the long form articles published in it. He uses these articles as social currency, in the office and with friends. However the panelists that we met felt that they could get everything they needed from sources that they perceived to be of equal quality via free online media.

This stuck with me for a few days, then I realised why I kept churning it around in my mind. It reminded me of the kind of dialogue and decision-making process that was made by poorer people around food and nutrition. A mix of skewed value systems and economics brought a food desert into these areas.

I wonder if we aren’t seeing the same thing in the media industry, whilst we know that Buzzfeed and their ilk provide easily-consumed low-quality content usually about first world problems or childhood nostalgia – are generation Y merely getting the media that they deserve? Will there be a content desert?

A few things give me hope that there may not be; Vice Media is building the global news network that is defining the 2010s in the same way that Aljazeera defined the post-9/11 world and CNN defined the end of the cold war. Although you could argue that with Vice the bill is paid by branded entertainment on behalf of sponsors like Nike and Intel.

Television has entered a new golden era in dramas; will media companies take the opportunity to reinvigorate factual programming?

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Google Under Pressure as Modified Android Phones Take Off | TheNextWeb – 20 per cent sounds on the low side to me, given that Google services are basically unuseable in China, then there is the Amazon side of things and the Yandex app store in Russia which I suspect is part of a wider fork of Android there

Social Media, Indonesia’s election, and the growth of e-commerce | CampaignAsia – (paywall)

Service activity at worst level in nearly years, HSBC says | Shanghai Daily – HSBC’s PMI index skews towards medium sized businesses and includes no state owned enterprises

Apple Hires Former Social Media Director Of Nike And Burberry | Fast Company – but his job title is digital marketing director Apple Retail

Procter and Gamble to Divest 100 Brands – Analyst Insight from Euromonitor International – interesting analysis

McDonald’s hit by social media disaster on Instagram | Marketing Interactive – live and learn I guess, though disaster is a bit strong

Why Coke’s experiment with vitaminwater turned sour | Quartz – interesting to see Coke acknowledging the change on its blog

Reflections on digital China

wearesocial put together some of the best slideware together in terms of macro-dgital numbers country-by-country.

Slides and numbers only tell some of the story, so I wanted to reflect on some of the data points in the slides.

  • China boasts a mobile penetration of 91%, however many people have two or more phones which means that mobile phones aren’t quite as ubiquitous as the number appears
  • Desktop internet usage still occurs in internet cafes, often inside a factory complex like Foxconn’s facility in Shenzhen or off the high street of major cities where gaming is a popular pastime, this puts a slightly different complexion on the European-looking numbers for Shanghai and Beijing
  • One thing that is noticeable about Chinese broadband internet connections is that whilst they have bandwidth (which averages just over 3.45MB/s according to the slides), it also has a lot of latency – due to the systems put in for local legal and regulatory compliance. Latency is important because even a small amount (just 0.025s) can adversely affect the call quality on a voice over IP call
  • Mobile internet is very popular, partly because it is the only internet access that a lot of people have. The popularity has come at a price for mobile operators including infrastructure costs (so they have banded together to build a joint network of base stations) and reduced SMS traffic (WeChat’s rise has reduced SMS to just 2% of its former value)
  • QQ has 808,000,000 accounts, at least some of these are actually business accounts. A Chinese business operating on e-commerce will have a QQ IM account for synchronous communications and file transfers, alongside an email address (which will get checked less frequently) and a phone number
  • The search market statistics quoted show user promiscuity in their search habits, partly due to the fact Baidu had taken a more measured approach to mobile search
  • The e-commerce numbers fail to show the market dominance of Alibaba with its TaoBao and TMall retail platforms. TaoBao alone has half a billion registered users, the vast majority of which would be in China
  • WeChat has some 600M domestic registered users. Again some of these accounts will be corporate accounts, there are many inactive accounts if these numbers are to be believed. Each account will be attached to a mobile phone number

Links of the day | 在网上找到

How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil – NYTimes.com - A few years ago, the company was telling brands to increase the number of people following their pages. Now it says fans are largely irrelevant. Until late last year, it was promoting the power of ads in which people’s likes and comments about a brand were turned into endorsements sent to their friends. After legions of user complaints — and a class-action lawsuit — Facebook switched gears again. Now it boasts about its ability to pinpoint potential customers on their cellphones and Facebook.com based on its data about them. (Paywall)

Jimmy Lai describes Occupy Central organisers as ‘having no strategy’ in leaked email | SCMP – no one is asking who is leaking this stuff and why

Rakuten: Viber has 608 million registered accounts, is the future of our company – I really like Rakuten as a business, but I think that they are putting too much faith in Viber. I have an account on Viber but seldom use it

TfL Propose Scrapping Text Payment For C-Charge | Londonist – interesting move reflecting decline of SMS and feature phones

China boots Kaspersky and Symantec off security contractor list | The Register – Symantec I can understand, but Kaspersky was an interesting move

Every company is becoming a data company – Quartz – its a bit like saying every company became an electronics company 20 years ago. People still think of them in their categories, except where the category has been marginalised – a car will still be a car even if it now features an onboard data centre and cloud connectivity

Diane Von Furstenberg To Launch Fashion Jewelry Line : News : Fashion Times – interesting move particularly in light of global jewellery sales dropping overall

Exclusive: Hackers Infiltrate Chinese TV Station | Foreign Policy – it was a foolish prank at best. But it is interesting that digital television is vulnerable to hacking like this, classic digital interruptive move

P&G to shelve majority of its brands | Marketing Interactive – interesting move, one that Unilever did a number of years ago. It follows on from them apparently getting rid of marketers

A new creative tool to help your Facebook ads | Marketing Interactive – optimise ad visuals

Color-changing ‘Stained Glass’ Made With Energy-storing DSSCs | Nikkei TechOn! – interesting materials for experiential stuff

With the launch of its CDN, it’s clear Apple is just as webscale as Facebook or Google — Tech News and Analysis – the interesting thing about this is that Apple still is working on the assumption of a ‘dumb cloud, smart device’ philosophy because it recognises that even when it’s at the last mile networks are imperfect. This is in stark contrast to Google

This Box Can Hold an Entire Netflix | Gizmodo – storage and power density on this is huge

There’s Good News About Ford’s Hardcore New Truck | TIME – interesting that Ford has gone with an aluminium monocoque

How one judge single-handedly killed trust in the US technology industry | ZDNet – interesting American op ed. The problem is that American exceptionalism is now affecting American digital commerce

Now that it’s conquered recruiters, LinkedIn is going after salespeople | Quartz – I thought that they had doubled down on sales people a good while ago?

New Confectionery Data – What is it Telling Us? | Euromonitor International – interesting dynamics including cost of cocoa

Bits Blog: Judge Rules That Microsoft Must Turn Over Data Stored in Ireland | New York Times – I thought that this was the case anyway with the Patriot Act? (paywall)

New indoor positioning system lets you do Batman-like echolocation on your phone | ExtremeTech – this could be invaluable for app augmented retailing

Get on Up James Brown – Discover Who Sampled Mr. Dynamite: – like this timeline Universal Music did in conjunction with whosampled.com

Five for Friday (I actually mean Sunday) | 五日(星期五)

A rather late edition of things that have made my day this week, in a break from the norm I thought that I would focus on just one thing, mainly because I can’t shake it from my head.

The Chopstick Brothers are a comedy duo with a film out in Chinese cinemas called 老男孩之猛龙过江 (Old Boy The Way of The Dragon).

In order to promote the film they released a single called 小苹果 (Little Apple).

Little Apple is an annoyingly catchy melody with simple chords and its own dance designed to appeal to plaza dancing ‘aunties’ (middle-aged women).

Here is a video of Little Apple plaza dancers, see the age range of the participants and how seriously this is taken

As the Australian news video  alludes to, these groups dance to music played on a booming system built into a porters trolley that seems to be accentuated by the hard concrete and glass surfaces surrounding ‘private public’ spaces where they perform.

Little Apple has an almost EDM quality so that it reproduces well on the these systems. Because of these characteristics Little Apple is similar to one of the annoyingly catchy summer pop records that tend to break in the west: Shanks and Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate, Los Del Rio – Macarena, Henry Hadaway’s version of Chicken Dance credited as The Tweets – The Birdie Song etc.

And like Psy’s Gangnam Style before it, it has morphed into a number of parodies and became a meme in its own right – with brands getting on board. At the moment the People’s Liberation Army are encouraging different provinces to create their own recruitment video based on the song.

My favourite version was shot in Liverpool by Shaun Gibson who uses the video to tell a tale from Journey To The West (the video is on Chinese site 56.cn so you need to be patient in allowing it to load).

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Surveillance Costs: The NSA’s impact on the economy, internet freedom and cybersecurity | New America’s Open Technology Institute – US think tank’s analysis on the NSA revelations (PDF)

Samsung Earnings: What to Watch | WSJ – unsold stock in China and Europe?

What Our Culture of Overwork Is Doing to Mothers | TIMEOne reason for the stall in gender equity during the 1990s was a change in typical work weeks and remuneration patterns,” wrote Youngjoo Cha, assistant professor of Sociology at IUB in a companion presented at the CCF symposium. “This period saw a significant rise in ‘overwork,’ the practice of consistently working 50 hours or more a week, along with a dramatic increase in the financial incentives for working long hours.

Content personalization roundup | eMarketer – white paper from eMarketer with handy slideware charts on loyalty, data analytics, retail, real-time marketing and email

Meet Intel’s SoFIA, the super-cheap smartphone chip created in Singapore – CNET – will Intel be able to do it though?

China’s rich are less likely to keep business in the family – unlike Hong Kong’s wealthy | South China Morning Post – similar approach taken by Mr Ren at Huawei

Jing Daily: Yves Saint Laurent invitation to kiss campaign – interesting make-up marketing campaign

A reminder of how ultra-cheap Androids are taking over in emerging markets — fast | GigaOM – it will be interesting to see if Microsoft can hit the price points needed

Qualcomm top exec Peggy Johnson said to be on her way to Microsoft | GigaOM – potential loss for Qualcomm on top of the current China problems

North American Robotics Market Posts its Best Quarter Ever | PR NewswireThis performance shattered the previous record for a single quarter, exceeding the fourth quarter of 2012 by 31% in units and 17% in revenue – so margins on robots are declining?

Smells Like Millennial Spirit: The three key cultural factors molding Millennial consumers – the more I read this stuff the more they sound like gem-x. Turmoil, smurmoil – try living through the cold war with Reagan’s hand on the nuclear trigger, rampant inflation and globalisation burning your job prospects into the ground

Tea-flavored toothpaste is helping Chinese brands edge out the competition : Shanghaiist – interesting given the 70% lock Colgate had on the market

OkCupid experimented on users and proved everyone just looks at the pictures | Quartz – people trust machine advice and buy with their eyes, what are the implications in this research for e-railers and advertisers?

There’s no longer any doubt that Microsoft is in China’s crosshairs | Quartz – no real surprise here, there have been warning moves for a few years. They didn’t listen, they get the slap. It will be interesting to see if Frank X. Shaw tries to spin this (I suspect he’ll keep very very quiet indeed)

Jargon watch: Makimoto’s wave

Dr Tsugio Makimoto is a technologist who has worked at Sony and Hitachi. He co-authored Digital Nomad with David Manners which was published in 1997 and seems to have been influential to executives in the semiconductor industry. The wave named after Dr Makimoto is a twenty-year cycle between custom design components and general components.

Like Moore’s Law it is used as a heuristic to try and understand what is happening within the industry. Dr Makimoto discusses it in this video below.  At the moment we are in the custom part of the cycle with the kind of silicon being created for smartphones like Apple’s and Samsung’s respective chips and we are due to see a swing to general purpose components from 2017 or so.