Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

Tic-Tac have put together a great tie-in with local Hong Kong independent musicians and music festival Clockenflap (Hong Kong’s answer to Glastonbury). Budding artists can submit their own video with a chance to play at Clockenflap.

FutureDeluxe did this great bit of CGI work for the adidas X Primeknit football boot.

Italian brand Stone Island put together this ‘look book’ video for their Shadow Project range. It has all the classic Stone Island design traits using adventurous materials and textures.

Bill Drummond (of The KLF) fame did this really good talk about how the iPod (and you could add smartphones) have changed our relationship with music

Amanda Murray directed this great documentary on the 1939 world fair in New York. It was something that was filled with hope and captured the imagination in the kind of way that inspires the innovators of tomorrow. The enthusiasm of those who saw it was palpable.

Contrast this with the lack of interest and hostility to this year’s world’s fair in Milan, Italy. Where are the dreamers of the future?

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Most Marketers Don’t Use Social Relationship Platforms | Forrester – I am not that surprised, Hootsuite’s user experience isn’t exactly intuitive for the PR people that I have worked with on campaigns and their pricing policy isn’t transparent – but more like feeding your wallet through a salami slicer

End of the Line? Messaging app in big trouble as active user growth stalls | Techinasia – really?

Flipboard’s Fanfare Fades as Executives Exit, Sale Talks Stall – Bloomberg Business – the writing was on the wall with Flipboard back when I ran into some of their people in Seoul a few years ago

Inside Innoway, China’s $36 million government-backed startup village – in just two years, Beijing city planners transformed a no-frills walkway in the city’s northwest into a symbol of China’s internet ambitions

Mossberg: The Apple TV gets smart | The Verge – wait for the next version basically

Hong Kong is the happiest place in China, according to WeChat posts – Hong Kong is home to the happiest people in Greater China, closely followed by Taiwan

The Architecture of Communication: The Visual Language of Hong Kong’s Neon Signs | NEONSIGNS.HK 探索霓虹 – great article on decoding Hong Kong signage design

(in)visible (de)signs | Designs that often go unnoticed – architecture of communication: the visual language of Hong Kong’s neon signs

A movement in the making – Dupress – some nice slide ware on maker economy

IBM to Buy Weather.com, But Not the Weather Channel – NBC News – surprised this didn’t happen sooner. Great case study for IBM, surprised if AccuWeather doesn’t receive offers after this

The Cheapest and Most Expensive Places to Live in Luxury in Asia – WSJ – the cost of living in luxury has come down in Mumbai making the Indian financial capital the cheapest place in Asia to live it up, according to a new report that examines the price of top-end goods and services

BMW Icons Guide. – I like the thought put into the icon design

Taxi groups unite to fight Uber with $250m start-up – FT.com – interesting meta taxi app (paywall)

On innovation

Back in the day I used to work agency side on the Microsoft account. Unlike a lot of my colleagues who worked on it full time, my workload was usually tangental to everything else that I had going on. My senior colleagues had worked on the business for a long time and became what you might term institutionalised. They had a definite dogmatic world view, which I was wasn’t comfortable with as I felt it lacked the objectivity required to give good client counsel.

That world view was baked into the descriptor of the agency, that we provided ‘innovation communications’, that is focused on communications programmes for innovative organisations. For certain people innovation became defined purely in terms of what Microsoft was doing at that time. For instance, winning a client that had a new business model would challenge mainstream ‘gourmet’ food brands like Kettle brand crisps (chips in US parlance) – saw colleagues berated over e-mail by senior leadership for bringing the wrong kind of innovation into their consumer brands part of the business.

Businesses change, no more so than the technology sector and agencies with anchored positions are left behind in spite of their loyalty as clients need fresh ideas.


Steve Jobs (WIRED Japan - August,1995).


I was thinking about at their dogmatic view of innovation when I read this quote from Steve Ballmer talking about Microsoft’s landmark investment in Apple back in 1997.

They’ve done a great job. They’re a company that’s done a great job. If you go back to 1997, when Steve came back, when they were almost bankrupt, we made an investment in Apple as part of settling a lawsuit. We, Microsoft made an investment. In a way, you could say it might have been the craziest thing we ever did. But, you know, they’ve taken the foundation of great innovation, some cash, and they’ve turned it into the most valuable company in the world.

It probably would have been enough to make a couple of my former colleagues extremely uneasy to say the least, especially given Steve Ballmer’s hard charging reputation. One thing that Ballmer misses is that even though Microsoft couldn’t vote with those shares, it was potentially as well-made a deal as Jerry Yang buying into Alibaba – if Microsoft had held those shares for long enough. Regardless of this, the Office unit of Microsoft more than made up for this investment with the amount of profit they made over the next few years on versions of Mac Office.

More information
Steve Ballmer: Microsoft investing in Apple ‘might have been the craziest thing we ever did’ | BGR

Links of the day | 在网上找到

REI to Close Stores on Black Friday and Encourages Customers to Go Outside | Time – smart for keeping things on brand, focusing purchases to their online channels

Oxford Professor Schools CalPERS: Contrary to Board Presentation, Private Equity is “Most Expensive Asset Class, By Far” – not terribly surprising results

Google Reveals Its New “RankBrain” Artificial Intelligence System – interesting focus on complex queries

IBM Opens the Door for Carbon Film NV Memory | EE Times – This latest work may well have solved the problems that have so far inhibited the development of carbon-based memory and opened the door to the possible use of oxygenated amorphous carbon

SMARTPHONES: Smartphone Price Wars Claim More Suppliers ~ Young’s Business China – consolidation at component level likely to affect smaller phone manufacturers, but will it cause more sensible component pricing?

WPP reports 3.3% hike in net sales for Q3 but UK revenue growth slows – WPP attributed to a “softening” in advertising, media investment management (media buying), data investment management (market research and CRM) and healthcare – interesting that this vertical in particular is soft (paywall)

Advertisers often don’t know what they are buying when talking mobile | Campaign – lack of context, intrusive formats and taking the piss on data connections (paywall)

On the sofa: No blood no tears

One of the best kept secrets in London is the free sessions put on by the Korean Cultural Centre just off Trafalgar Square. I caught the last film of the year to be shown at the centre. No blood No tears is a Korean heist story. Gyung-Sun is a former safe-cracker who has reformed and become a taxi driver.

Her husband is in the wind and left behind a lot of gambling debts that local loan sharks try to collect on. She doesn’t know where her child is and to cap it all Gyung-Sun has a difficult relationship with the police and her short temper.

A chance car accident brings her into contact with a petty gangsters moll and a plot ensues to rob the dog fighting arena where illegal gambling takes place. What ensues is a film that is part comedy, part Thelma & Louise and a healthy dose of ultra-violence that would be familiar to Hong Kong cinema and Tarantino fans.

Over the next few weeks I will be getting my fix of Korean cinema at the London Korean Film Festival. I can recommend from personal experience:

  • Raging Currents
  • The Man From Nowhere
  • The Classified File