Five things that impressed me this week:
JUploadr – an open source alternative to Flickr’s own Uploadr software. Whilst Uploadr is great for pre-filling in all the details of your pictures it can get a bit flaky and I got tired of trying to complete picture uploads several times.
The Greatest Trade Ever – I purchased the book because I had a lot of time whilst traveling to, and around Korea. I finally finished reading this book after coming back from Korea. The book was interesting because it provides a bit of the back story on the US debt crisis that reverberated around the world in 2008/9
It was interesting to catch-up with the team at Hammerkit at The Hospital which is trying to provide a mass-production solution for web services by encouraging template reuse – in a similar way to the way that software development companies use common libraries
Wadds and Earl launched their book Brand Anarchy that distills the wisdom of numerous communications industry experts from journalists to marketers, PROs and spin doctors
The sun on Friday meant that I finally had good enough weather to justify trying Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt – which is a kind of automat for a variety of yogurts and toppings
I didn’t have time to try many of the independent coffee shops around Seoul but did try a few in Gyeongju and Ulsan. Here is a little about two of the best that I came across.
Cafe 737 is a family-run coffee in the tourist town of Gyeongju. I loved it because of the vibe; as a third space it has a homely vibe that Starbucks can’t emulate.
The coffee shop greeter is an elderly golden retriever.
The restaurant itself is bright and clean inside with some nice touches including bric-a-brac, both English and Korean books and a selection of pot plants.
They make a mean cup of coffee and had great food to accompany it. I would love this coffee shop as a regular hang-out.
They have their own page on Facebook.
Cafe 57 is in the old town centre of industrial city Ulsan; the city has tried to spur redevelopment of the area by promoting businesses aimed at, and run by young people. This means that the area is full of restaurants, fashion shops and small coffee shops.
Cafe 57 has a clean minimalist interior with a black ash counter area and coffee bean roasting apparatus on the floor. What made Cafe 57 unique for me was the unswerving focus on making a great cup of coffee. It is not about a third space or a lifestyle expression of the consumer – it is just about making the very best cup of coffee available.
Watching the cup of ‘hand drip’ coffee being made by the owner was the experience of watching the craftsman at work. This was the best cup of Ethiopian coffee I have every had.
There was a great article by former Guardian journalist Bobbie Johnson on technology site GigaOM that I read this morning which talks about the inevitable censorship of online social media services like Facebook and Twitter. On the one hand this is potentially good news for law firms like Schillings who do reputational work but it isn’t good for the UK’s world reputation.
Yes the UK already has censorship; such as the D-notice, cinema classification board and the chilling effect of libel laws on old media.
But censorship for the good of (usually well-off) individuals rather than the national good puts the UK in a new category quite separate from more authoritative countries and will have a chilling effect on brand Britain in the eyes of many people abroad.
When one thinks about an aspirational Chinese middle-class or the very different legal structure and culture of American citizen; this will likely affect their view of the UK as a modern progressive state – which will then adversely affect UK economic activity. And if this isn’t important then why on earth do we have the huge carbuncle of the Olympics in the east end and the UK government investment over the years in the British Council or the BBC World Service?
Google and Twitter may struggle to resist UK censors – GigaOM
Archived from my blog for PR Week.
Korea has a lower minimum wage than the UK, like China, when you pull into a filling station your fuel is pumped for you by an attendant. However this doesn’t mean that you get table service in a coffee shop. Instead you buy your drinks and food, find a table and when your order is ready to collect a wi-fi pager usually shaped like a hockey puck starts flashing letting you know that you can collect your order.
This relies on a certain amount of social trust as you will have already put your bag down at your table may not want to take it with you to collect your order. Generally, Korea is much safer in the UK so this isn’t too much of an issue. It an example of how technology has mediated a semi-table service experience.