香港 | hong kong | 홍콩

HKG rollercoaster

Reading Time: 3 minutes


It has been an interesting few days so far in Hong Kong. I have been drenched in tropical storms, spent the afternoon with what seemed like half of China at the Ocean Park water centre and enjoyed the future retro coolness of the Toyota Crown taxis.

Shopping – Hong Kong is famous for its tailors like Raja Fashions, but with their tailors coming to the UK to take measurements and supplying garments by express mail from Hong Kong you don’t need to come here to take advantage of their service. Looking at the shops here Hong Kong-ese are very brand obsessed. In terms of streetwear: Bathing Ape seems to be the dominant brand on the people here.

BAPE wear costs the same as the BAPE shop in London. A surpising amount of the Chinese wear premiership tops. I have seen Chelsea, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Norwich City over the past few days; but thankfully no Manchester United. Electronics is about the same price as home, maybe a bit more expensive than discounters like Morgans, eXpansys or EmpireDirect. Louis Vuitton accessories take on an almost religious experience for the Hong Kong native with the shops looking more like places of worship.

Taxis – London has its black cabs and Hong Kong has its red (or blue cabs for Lantau) with silver roof sections that remind me of the two-tone Ford Capris, Escorts and Granadas of the 1970s. These Toyota Crown Comfort models are descendants of the classic Toyota saloon cars that used to appear in the Yakusa films of the 1960s and 70s with big chrome grills and boxy styling. Inside the cab, the black vinyl interior would be right at home in the 1970s with the exception of the digital meter. However this retro styling is deceptive. The cabs have automatically opening doors to let out the passengers and mostly run on LPG (liquid petroleum gas – which is supposed to be more environmentally friendly than petrol).

Getting a licenced taxi here is cheaper than getting an unlicenced gypsy cab in London. With most of my journeys costing just a few pounds. The only cheaper transport is the famous Star Ferries that cost 2.20 HKD (about 15 pence) to cross from Hong Kong island to Kowloon.

Culture – Hong Kong doesn’t have the diversity of cultural outlets that London has, however it does have a lot to offer: the Hong Kong Art Gallery has a small but quality collection of Chinese art that is as good as the British Museum Chinese collection. Clubbing seems to be on a much smaller scale and way behind the UK. I saw one event advertised in July where they brought over drum and bass DJ Fabio to do an event.

Street life – Personal space is something that takes a bit of getting used to. I went to a water park yesterday and found children and adults zooming in and out of my personal space with the speed and dexterity of London bike couriers weaving through logjammed traffic. Children are generally better behaved than their counterparts in the UK. There is a park and childrens playground close to the apartment I am staying in that is free of both vandalism and graffiti. There is a homeless problem here, but it isn’t as visible as in central London, I only really noticed it when I went to Kowloon.

Weather – Although Hong Kong usually is 35 celsius plus during this time of year there is rarely a blue sky. Clouds boil up and there is often a deluge during the evening, so getting anywhere requires the cheap taxi service unless you want to get soaked to the bone. I found that five hours in the heat is enough to knock me for six.

书评 | oprah time | 서평 商业 | business | 상업 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 工艺学 | technology | 기술 思想 | ideas | 생각

Bill and Dave by Michael Malone

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bill and Dave were better known now by their surnames: Hewlett-Packard. It is familiar to consumers as a brand of printer, laptops and digital cameras sold in supermarkets up and down the country. Some may remember that they had a Watergate-type moment recently and a woman CEO who made a dogs dinner of things.

I visited Boeblingen (near Stuttgart) – the European headquarters of Hewlett-Packard in the late 90s and left deeply unimpressed by a large but seemingly directionless technology behemoth. We were on the cusp of the internet, while they were talking about printing brochures on demand. While this was happening the best internet search engine at the time, Alta Vista, had been built by their long time rival Digital Equipment Corporation.

Malone in his book Bill and Dave gave me a better appreciation of Hewlett-Packard. He brings into perspective how important Bill Hewlett and David Packard were to the technology sector and modern business practices.

From a PR perspective, I found facinating the way Bill and David self-consciously built their own personal legends which helped support and extend the HP Way. The company’s culture was built, extended and modified in a deliberate, planned manner unparalleled in any other company. Their culture was what PR people would now call thought leadership – which feels very now given the start of interest around brand purpose.

Bill and Dave wrote the book on corporate reputation without the help of big name agencies and invented the elements as they went along, combined with a wisdom worthy of Solomon. More book reviews here.

在线 | online | 온라인으로 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 消费者行为 | consumer behaviour | 소비자 행동

Well that’s blown it

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Notice on the door

I read Tom Coates post on flickr and made me think that I had seen a seminal moment in the world of PR and social media.

In fact, the last time I felt like this, was in April 2000 when I had just done a meeting with an incubator fund and had been confronted with the realisation my pension had gone up in smoke as the inmates were running the tech sector asylum.

Basically it boils down to this: PRs have fcuked up: as an industry we’ve managed to alienate one of the UK’s most prominent bloggers.

Tom is a super-smart and occasionally grumpy web technologist / user experience maven. He was one of the UK’s first bloggers and runs a thriving online community. He is very well-connected and it is likely that we’ll see a backlash from his peers.
We as an industry forgot some basic things:

  • Bloggers aren’t journalists. There isn’t the same contract of supplying content and receiving copy. Reading Tom’s blog it is blatantly obvious that there are limited opportunties for PR, at the very best you could hoped for was to be a fellow traveller in an area that Tom has an interest in
  • We’ve only thought about our own (or our client’s) agenda
  • We broadcast content out there, like pellets from a sawn-off during a payroll job. It’s not big and it’s not clever
  • A company doesn’t own the platforms of employees that happen to be bloggers. I will write about my employer only when I want to, when I’m proud of something they or I have done, not when I’m asked.