All posts by Leonard Ng

Thank You My Friend

This is not a hard story. In fact, this is not even a story.

This is actually a statement to declare that I (we) got a friend. A True Friend.

Don’t get me wrong when you read this (I mean you, yes, you). I am not saying that I have actually been ignoring this point until now. The reason why I only blog about it out loud now purely because my blog-pipeline has been way too long, and is not moving. In order to move this card to the front, I have to deliberately drag you from the “Next” column to the “Writing” column today.

On my draft, I was going to point out all the special things that you accidentally or mysteriously matching me or my wife’s respectively, or all the tricky theories that only you have the wisdom and patient to understand, or even all the secrets that only 3 of us in this world is holding.

But I guess I won’t.

I am simply gonna tell you this: Thank You. Thank you for being the first (and perhaps the only ever) true friend that we have here in this part of the world; someone we can deeply trust without hesitation and exception, someone we can show our relax faces to, and someone who let us to be ourselves honestly and still achieve something great together. Someone who completes our circle. Thank you.

New Year Resolution on a Train

Now it is time to talk about my New Year Resolution. Obviously I am not in a hurry to make one. After all, this is Jan 6 already and I am still thinking.

Not that I am not a planning person. Or perhaps I am, just that I have a planning partner that drives our train.

Snow Train

Hmm… I used the term “train” instead of “car” or “ship”. Strange. There must be some hidden agenda behind this object. Well, I really don’t know. Does it mean that I see “lives” as a fixed route that all you could change is the speed (to the end)?

Perhaps. But in a way that explains how I don’t need to have a New Year Resolution after all. Perhaps we are not even the train drivers. Me and my partner are just some little train passengers who only have one decision to make: to stay on or get off, if and only if the train stops at that moment. A very passive and boring decision.

Hmm… now I know what’s my New Year Resolution for this year should be: Get off the train and start driving my own car!


(photo courtesy: Santa Fe)

The End of the World

I am now looking at the stars. I am pretty sure that the same set of stars was shining last year (as shown in the pic), the year before or 100 years ago. In their life spans, it won’t make a slight difference anyway. In fact, try to look back a million years later, most of these stars should be still shining at almost the same spots.

For some reason some people in our human life spans are worrying about the end of the world. The end of which world? Perhaps only in our little world. Oh, our “civilization” is collapsing? No problem, another one will emerge and replace ours. The earth is still turning normally. Just us, like the dusts on the surface, got “renewed” and “updated”. That’s not the end of the world. That’s just the end of us. Exactly like how Dinosaurs ended last time. And seriously the world doesn’t really care.

Or perhaps we could treat it like the way of how Matrix had its Multi-revolutions. In a way every “the end of the world” is just the reboot of another never ending loop. I would love to have the reboot eventually, but perhaps not tooooo soon, coz I still haven’t finished enjoying this round of the reincarnation cycle.

Google Maps Reborn

Google Maps iPhoneGoogle Maps iPhone app has reborn in the iOS App Store on 12/12/12. It should have been a big thing but surprisingly not that many people is aware of it. Or at least Google didn’t make a big fuzz about it. Interestingly enough, when I search for “Google Maps” on App Store, it didn’t even pop up in the first two pages. Bad SEO by Google or doggie trick by Apple?

About the product, my user experience on this so far is very positive. It is a mobile product and its design is optimised for mobile. In a mobile scenario we usually want to achieve a very focus objective in a very short time frame. For this case, we are not a tourist trying to appreciate the scenery. Therefore, we don’t need the 3D world in Apple Maps. (I love to view it in toilet when I am bored — and when I have WiFi, but that’s about it.) Rather, we often want to get to an unknown place via the best route. Google strikes for the simplicity around this clear user goal and that’s how it is better: With Google, things always start with Search, and so the unknown is not a matter anymore. And for the best route, they use TomTom.

I have been using TomTom for driving direction. I get the same instruction here as TomTom and Apple Maps because after all it is all driven by TomTom anyway. However TomTom does have the advantage of having the maps and routes in App because it makes the calculation much faster (and cheaper because no 3G traffic is required).

However, perhaps these points don’t matter too much after all. In reality, for the past few days I have used Google Maps 5 times and TomTom 1 time as my GPS. As requested by Jacob, I have also tried to use Apple Maps for around 30 secs and then gave up. (By the way I have also downloaded iMelway by Melway and Here Maps by Nokia and only touched them once.) My verdict is easy: I am on the road, driving. I need to be at a place that I don’t know, and that’s why I need a map. If I know where I am and where I am going, most probably I don’t even need a map. The reason why I need a map in the first place is because I need to start from Search. That’s Google. From then on, that’s all down hill. And that’s how Google wins. Start with User Experience. Start with Why. Cheers.

Google Maps iOSGoogle Maps iOSApple MapsTomTom iPhone
(The first two screens are the direct pages after typing Melbourne Airport at the search box in Google Maps. The results also cross-referenced to any saved Maps I have created on desktop with the same Google account. Brilliant! The third screen is Apple Maps, and the last one is TomTom.)

The Dilemma of the Story of Change

I have changed.

This statement by itself means nothing. People / lives / world is always changing. What’s the point to state the obvious? Except if this is not the obvious. Except if this is a story worth telling.

But here’s the dilemma: when I am so busy changing the world or got changed by the world, how on earth I’d have the time to tell a meaningful story? If I could have the time to tell a good story, obviously I am not that busy changing.

So that time has gone. The change is over. Was over. I am clam now. So that’s why I am typing.

“Do You Have Mobile?”

“Do You Have Mobile?”

Of course I do. I keep two smartphones and one dumb phone with me all the time. I also carry a tablet to work so that I can draw pictures (mostly infographics by the way) during meetings.

But most of the time that was not the real question I was being asked. When my colleagues asked for “mobile”, they meant “mobile marketing stuff”.

“What stuff?” you may ask. Exactly. Mobile Marketing could mean anything ranging from a SMS promotion blast, to a full blown m-commerce site, or anything in between.

To make the situation more confusing, we also have things like a responsive email design, a QR code printed on an outdoor billboard, or a click-to-call button placed on a website which provides a bit of mobile compatibility, but embedded in the traditional (relatively speaking) marketing vehicle.

To sum up, some of these items are referring to mobile as the channel that marketers reach out with, some of them are referring to the device characteristics that the end users are interacting with, and some of them are referring to the nature of geo-location.

This confusion continues as we move along with the mobile journey. This also explains why the one who holds the marketing budget is not embracing the concept of “mobile” yet: As long as people still treat this term as a buzzword to collect all the different kinds of “new” digital tools and features into one big basket, we can’t have a clear picture of what it really means.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? We had this 10 years ago when everybody was asking how to put things “online”. Now, it is even silly to have a job title like “Online Manager”. I am waiting for my own time to come when my title “Mobile Manager” becomes obsolete, and my mission will then be accomplished. Until then, we still have a lot of education, sharing and exploration work to do, and I will still ask you back “What is Mobile?” if you ask me the question “Do you have mobile?”.

iA Writer

I would like to start writing. Just write. Don’t care about what. Just write. The same feeling of how a guy get a new pair of joggers and has to go out and run a few miles, just for the sake of using the shoes. For me, it is the type-writer’s feeling. The feeling that I could write the full set Lord of the Ring non-stop in one night. All it is missing is the chuck chuck cling cling sound of the machine.

This type-writer I am using is called “iA Writer”. An awesome app on Mac, iPad and iPhone. Supports Dropbox and iCloud. Has a “focus” mode by dimming all text except the current line.  The ultimate illustration of “simplicity”.