Category Archives: Digital

Turning 40 halfway to death_675

A Man Turning 40

Believe me. This is the 21st draft of the same article.

When you are asked to write a report about some other people / or company stuff, it is (relatively) easy. You just report it. Word by word. That’s it. You are done.

When you ask yourself to write something about your real self, for real, then it takes more than 30 drafts (I still got 9 spare) in order to get it close. Coz it is about YOU, coz it REALLY matters.

About ME. What is that latest about me? Within the past 4 months: I broke my leg. I travelled around the world (literally & physically) (and I’ve promised I will update you about that someday). I almost got killed by DVT. I quitted my job. I lost and then gained some weight. I’ve started a new venture. And I turned 40. All in an assorted order.

Depends on who you are, you might pick up a different focal point, all alarming. Say for example: turning 40. I still remember twelve years back when Jacky Cheung had that movie about Man Turning 40, and I was completely lost. Now I still don’t get those girls that he got in that movie, but I understand the feeling about that life stage.

Another point about quitting my job vs. gaining weight: I have to admit that I had proven the direct positive relationship between the relaxedness (without the crazy and nonsense job) and the weight.

But this is not the point. The point is… I don’t know… I just feel that it is all different now. It has to be different this time. A difficult time. Coz there is no other time. Coz this is 40.

What about 40 anyway? I know. you heard about 80/20 rules? You can apply this to anything. Everything. In this case, so, there is 20 something you can’t and you ain’t gonna control, so it leaves remaining 80 to you. 40 is exactly the half way. And if you draw a bell curve discarding that 20 outliner, then the point of “40” would end up to be placed at the peak.

So, what’s so wrong for being at the peak? Bad News. All things are going downhill from now on. What a shit feeling! So depressing. But you know what? I won’t settle with it. I won’t settle with this feeling. I am looking for something else. Something else from my family. I got my lovely wife, I got Jacob and Chester, and they are doing better than me. And it seems that it is meaningful to work towards them. So the curve goes up again, and again, and again, against the bell curve.

If I extend that logic to the outer world, the direction is that I am caring about the next generation in general . My mission is to enable + empower the next generation to do their best. (For example, let’s stop using Windows / Microsoft for the next generation…)

Suddenly, I feel so good about my future.

Hope you feel the same. Hope you will support me. Please. This is why I started KeptMe. Partly to help the next generation, and partly to save me from going down the depressing side of the bell curve. Tell me how you feel about this. Tell me if you buy in or not. And if you are, please send me your blessing. And if you don’t, please send me your comments. Appreciate it. Million Thanks.

So I Write

So I write.

I write because I feel that I need to remember my story.

How long should I write for? I don’t know. But I don’t get much time.

So I stopped.

I stopped. And I felt regret. I felt regret that I missed that memory. I missed that story. I missed the moment that was good, that was worthwhile to remember. I missed a good story for me to tell others. The Story that’s matter.

So I asked myself: How could I help. How could I improve the way of how we capture our memories and form our stories.

And you know what? That’s my story.

我唔會買 iPhone 5s / 5c

iphone5c今次唔係搵笨,我真係唔會買 iPhone 5s,亦唔會等人買俾我

原因實在很簡單:因為蘋果造這對機都唔係賣俾我既。

貴版 5s 除了金色外殼、指紋識別、快 A7M7、膚色閃燈、大光圈等小進步等,其他就原地踏步。平版 5c 更利害,就是將原本的 iPhone 5 換上顏色膠殼,電池長了兩句鐘,減價一半,講完。在產品來看,這是最懶的進步。

但這對機的出現絕對有策略性意義。金色貴氣或平價膠色都是衝著祖國同胞而來。今次中國大陸還要在頭一水便來貨(香港作為「轉口港」的唯一意義都沒有了),更聽聞蘋果已搭上中移動,要與 Andriod 系的小米、華為、聯想(當然還有三星)等在中原爭長短(還有 Windows Phone 的 Lumia 520)。贏中國,贏世界。

我嗎?我仍會考慮去等 iPhone 7。在這之前,如果我在手的 iPhone 4s 與 iPhone 5 都瓜掉,我或會肯用零機價換部綠色膠C來一用。

Yahoo! New Look on Mobile

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced the new Yahoo! welcome page yesterday (this may jump to other page based on your locale setting).

To understand the change this time, let’s look at it from the good old days of the Yahoo! Directory age.

From top left we have the first directory created by Jerry and Dave, and then later on became the most familiar page of my year (I still remember how I tried to submit my little GeoCities page page onto the Yahoo! directory), and then evolved into the maze-like landscape full of landmines (ad banners). It was so unusable, because we simply don’t want to start from what Yahoo! wants to tell us anymore, but rather from what we want to seek from Yahoo!

And that’s when Google came in and crushed Yahoo!.

Yahoo_BeginningYahoo_OldYahoo_BeforeYahoo_Mobile

Imagine all these screens on mobile devices. They are either unreadable or are diverted to an uglier m.yahoo mobile site for some local adaptation, which sometimes is an even worse experience. Or, for the US main site, they simply forward the traffic to the App download page (as shown in the last image above), and that experience is not united and streamlined either.

For this reason, I haven’t come in to Yahoo! page for a long time. Not just because I simply can’t find anything from that massive page anymore, but also because I don’t even start from that directory.  To be honest, Google.com is not my Homepage either, because I simply don’t start from any page any longer. All I do now is start (desktop or mobile/tablet ~ which is more than half of the time) with a search term at the Chrome bar and land on the search results directly, or click on referral links from emails, Facebook links or Tweets.

Yahoo_New

With this angle, I understand the rationale behind the Yahoo! repaint of their Welcome Page. It is not a big upgrade, but it fundamentally changes a few crucial items:

  1. It focuses very much on the newsfeed as the core real estate space and search, prominent search bar at the top . News and Search are the two main reasons that  users visit Yahoo! So now they cut the clutter and make it a bit more obvious to deliver on this objective upfront, and that’s great!
  2. Since Mobile and Tablet access will soon (or has already, at least for me) surpassed desktop access, their Responsive Design rather than a stripped down version of the m.yahoo site is the way to go, and that’s great too.
  3. They allow users to login with their Facebook ID or Yahoo account. Yahoo! is never in the Social space, and it makes sense to “outsource” this effort to the greatest social platform.

I still don’t have a winning verdict on Yahoo! and Mayer, but looking at how they are addressing mobile use  (news can be read on full-featured www.yahoo.com on Smartphone rather than a stripped down m.yahoo version), I am looking forward to seeing the next outcome of this continuous improvement initiative.

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.)

“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”.

iA_Writer