Posted by: Blue Heavens | 2 August, 2007

Walt Disney acquires Club Penguin for $700 million – Bubble?

I can say I’m an ardent follower of Jeremiah Owyang’s blog, and of course I’ve learnt of the acquisition of Club Penguin by Walt Disney for a whopper $700 million here. The main thing that caught my attention in his article is the word “Bubble”. This is one helluva word that internet entrepreneurs fear the most, when the word “Burst” appears right after it.

Well of course the amount in this acquisition is simply ridiculous from an onlooker’s perspective, but you certainly cannot omit the numerous possibilities that lie in the purchase of Club Penguin. Disney did not just simply buy the game, but the rights to the characters, the players, the parents, and the influence over them. Imagine the profits when Disney starts branding the penguins; You’ll see Club Penguins merchandise flooding stores all over the world, you’ll hear kids everywhere talking about it, you’ll soon be viewing Club Penguins cartoon shows on your television, and even on the big screen! Imagine how much Disney would make, having bought an established “online toy” which is probably a fast-growing infant to them that they see a lot of potential in.

The success of Club Penguin lies in a few factors, the gameplay, the cute portrayal, no cost to start playing, the online virtual world that is to kids what SecondLife is to grown-ups. Ultimately, the main power of the game lies in its platform, Flash, of which it is portable to the different and numerous online game platforms on the internet. Just from a personal experience, I have younger relatives (aged 8 to those as old as 18) demostrating to me how the game is played. The interesting thing is that they didn’t know what the address of the main game site is, but they accessed it thru Miniclip, supposedly the largest online gaming network, and apparently the most popular online game site right here in Singapore.

I still think that there’s gonna be a bubble, but it will take a while for the common folks to start throwing in money blindly after the lesson they had 7 years ago.

Here’s some info on the acquisition:

Anyone interested in reminiscing in the dot com timeline can come here.

A later article here states the acquisition as $350 million, but notice the discrepancy between the amount in the sub header and in the body of the article. So which one is true??

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 27 July, 2007

From the old Autograph Books to the Social Networking Sites

Had a meet up with a few primary school classmates about 2 weeks ago. It was a nice decade after we’ve graduated from Class 6A, Ai Tong School. Incidentally, all the people who turned up were from NUS. Talked about how our lives have been and speculated about how the other ex-classmates are living their lives. 😛

Well the main point of this post is to talk about the change in technology which has disrupted our lifestyles so much. As a student for this past decade, I’ve experienced the start of the internet boom, the usage of ICQ, MIRC, Yahoo and its Messenger and Chat, Geocities and other hot stuff then that I might have forgot. And throughout this period, I had to tolerate the usage of the Apple Macintosh that I was using… However, the main talking point in school is not about computers, not about the internet, but about popular offline “toys” like Magic cards, DragonBall cards, Ping Pong in Dodgeball style, sparring erasers, spinning pen tips, playing soccer (for guys), zeropoint (for girls), custom style D&D games, and of course, the craze about autograph books as a memoir of your friends in the school…

The basis of comparison is with me and my brother, who is a decade younger than me. So on this decade anniversary of us graduating from the primary school,  we whipped out the autograph books to remind ourselves of the fun and cheesy things that we wrote back then (kinda like a time capsule), and to find out who else have we left at the back of our minds. But well, my brother doesn’t have an autograph book and doesn’t care about the effort to keep in contact with his classmates cause they can simply use Friendster (Myspace not as popular).  In this case, the purpose of using Friendster would then be different. For people around my generation or older, the main attraction then was the ability to discover social networks and connections in the circles around us, and the chance to search and connect long lost friends to keep up to date with them. For that, I applaud the power of these social networking sites, because if the world were to remain stagnant and technology levels were to remain the same, I will definitely have lost contact with my ex-classmates, given that their addresses might change, their email addresses (if they had one then) might change, and most importantly their phone numbers would have changed (no one then had the luxury of getting a mobile phone and even pagers were rare for students our age).

Fyi, we reconnected through a mixture of MSN contacts, Friendster accounts and Facebook (which the whole gathering started off). Imagine the difficulty in reconnecting in a small country like Singapore as compared to larger countries like US and China. For this, I’m thankful to technology, to Internet, to email and of course to the respective founders of the social networking sites (tho it’s getting too much now).

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 22 July, 2007

Girl Hanged Herself Over Fake Harry Potter Spoilers

Taken from http://martinaquino.wordpress.com/2007/07/20/teenage-girl-kills-herself-over-fake-spoilers-of-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows/ 

Apparently a girl in the PHILIPPINES has just killed herself over fake spoilers of harry potter and the deathly hallows! 

OMG.  That is so SAD!

I’ll put down all I can remember from the radio news  report.

 The news report said that the girl and her mother had downloaded from a website what they believed to be the legitimate copy of “Harry potter and the deathly hallows”

It was actually a fake book (My own personal opinion is that it was most likely a sick sort of fanfiction) in which Harry potter and his friends meet a gruesome end.

 The girl’s mother said that her daughter was very “crushed” by the news and locked herself in her room.  When the girl’s mother came up to call her for dinner she found that her daughter had hanged herself in her closet using rolled up bedsheets and a nightgown.

The news reporter interviewing the mother then said that the girls room was filled with all sorts of Harry Potter toys, models, posters, dolls and the six books

—————————————————

What the crap is with the Harry Potter craze?? I would never know cos I for one have never been thru the crazy idolizing and worship craze. But it took a life!!!!! I remember watching the news a few days ago (or was it yesterday) about the queueing scene where people literally cried being finally “awarded” with the final instalment of Harry Potter, and I said to myself that these people are mad… And now this!!!

 Well another issue is the credibility of the online sites over what some of them claim to be “authentic” and “genuine”. Well, I bet you that there’s at least one person in your life that has warned you against the reliability of online information? I would still advise you to stick to that for the time being…

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 16 July, 2007

Renault R26 Megane Hatch

For one reason or another, I’ve been visiting the Renault Service Centre so often nowadays (5 times over the past 3 weeks), such that I’m their regular customer.

Was there 3 times for 2 faulty electronic sensors and 1 damaged wiring connection, of which 2 out of the 3 faults are caused probably by me driving over an umbrella on the road. The last 2 times were because of this lorry that cut into my lane too early, and the hinge of the rear entrance to its metal container actually brushed across my left side mirror and rendered the cover broken.

Well that aside, this beauty was what I found myself staring at while I was waiting during one of the 5 times I was there…

The fierce looking cub… Renault Megane Hatchback R26, inspired by the Formula 1 racing car.

Renault R26 1

This is the interior of the small beast.

Renault R26 2

A comparison table featuring competing hatchbacks including the Golf GTI and R32. (Click on the image to open the original sized photo)

Renault Comparison Table 

A glimpse of what happened to my car…

Accident 2

 

Accident 1

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 10 July, 2007

Creativity vs Education (vs Society)

Have you ever realised that the smartest talents the world has ever seen have had warped educational backgrounds? The most famous being the story of Einstein, or in the modern days, the dropping out of Harvard that led Bill Gates to build the system that I’m using currently.

Sir Ken Robinson spoke about education that undermines creativity. He talked about teachers in a normal education stream restricting the creativity of students with the normal ways of teaching and discipline control.

I agree and don’t agree to that.

I agree to that statement that the classroom kills the special talent that a kid might have, as mentioned by Ken, but I believe that the education system, the school, the classroom and the teacher are not the only culprits in keeping the cat in the box. A few other factors come in here.

Society, especially that of Singapore, has made it such that the common requirements of education is not based on something that deviates from the normal subjects based on a goal towards industrialization, as Ken described about the coming about of the modern education system. Such that with this societal demands and stereotypes, the parents, the relatives, the extended family, the friends of friends are part of this societal massacre that kills creativity. There exists the social pressure that a kid should go the “normal” way, take up as many science subjects as possible, do the common courses in college, especially law, medicine and engineering. However, i think that we should totally dispose the notion of science = good and clever, arts = lousy and stupid. Otherwise, where would Singapore find the successors to film makers like Jack Neo.

Profiling. Or social classification in this case. This is somewhat linked to society and the education system that I have mentioned above. Coming from a marketing point of view, the social profiling of school children should move beyond the science and arts categorisation currently used in schools. Anyone outside that, ends up in “special” schools for the mentally retarded. I understand that coming from a government or education ministry’s perspective that such a profiling is easy and simple for classifying the courses, the education streams and the subjects. However, this is causing more of a bottleneck such that everyone is thrown into the same bottle, where those who do not fit in try to get out of that “clique”, out of the bottle, where in the process of getting out, they are competing with quite a few others doing just the same thing. So, the successful ones climbed out of the bottle which presents them with a chance to showcase themselves in the other arenas, whereas the rest are still squeezing themselves out of the bottle neck, still stuck in “no man’s land”.

I understand that the education syllabus is changing in Singapore. With the creation of the through-train courses, the integrated programmes, the sports school and everything, I agree that it allows more breathing space for creativity, but it also creates elitism in the “science and art” area, but I guess that’s another issue on its own.

We should come up with more effective methods, so I urge you to push ahead with whatever LOGICAL and RATIONAL movements that will ultimately improve creativity, improve education styles, which will in turn drive Singapore on all fronts other than from the economical and pragmatic stance that the Singapore government took to build the country in the early days. With the economy stabilizing, it’s time to work towards the sociological end and push for a more dynamic education system.

Standardization is good, but it’s time to focus on things which are unable to be covered in the standard categories.

End of my thoughts….

Here I bring you Sir Ken Robinson, presented by TED in Feb 2006.

This article that Shuwen wrote is quite true. You can easily find someone just along the street having more than 2 electronic gadgets on him nowadays. People carry laptops, PDAs, handphones (often more than one), mp3 players etc….. such that it is really a challenge for marketers to reach out to the customer. With the buzz about continuous partial attention (coined in 1997 by Nathan Torkington of O’Reilly Radar), as opposed to multi-tasking, how much information does a consumer actually retain?

An example that I can bring up would be television. This technology has been around for a few decades, and the machine has evolved from your simple black and white screen to today’s HDTV. TV channels have also multiplied. For marketers, this would mean more money and effort to be put in to reach a critical mass. As Mark Stanilewicz, Interactive Marketing Leader for Asia, P&G, put it, previously it would take 4 channels at a peak time slot for a marketer to reach out to 80% of the viewers, but now, it’ll take him more than a 100 channels to reach the same mass.

There’s always a limit to how much information a consumer can absorb, with the increased amount of “distractions” everywhere, how much do you actually need to capture his few seconds of attention today?

Digital Marketing: Don’t just use it, MAKE USE of it!

link

Many companies spam through Instant Messaging, emails and SMSes or simply set up a digital portal or a corporate blog, for the sake of it. When such websites gets virtual cobwebs from lack of commitment and updates, it simply reflects the organisation’s waste of efforts and a blind pursuit to ride on the web 2.0/3.0 or whatever-that-comes-along-wave.

Which company do not know by now that the new media is a hugely potential channel to reach the consumer? With a certain amount of push within the organization, there is bound to be action taken to involve themselves in the web. But how much of this effort is efficient?

They fail to understand that the more connected the consumer is, the harder it is to reach him. With the proliferation of companies flocking to get themselves a .com or upload another commercial on Youtube, you must really damn well stand out and shine among the virtual clutter and grab ,specifically, your target audience’s attention. Televisions, newspapers, print, which are channels that are once considered highly cluttered, when compared to the internet, they are really not so cluttered anymore!

The internet has endless potential, but its still not magic. The key point is HARNESS, in which this case the web is simply a TOOL. The one who can take charge and make smart use of the tool will emerge the winner.

Taken from Shuwen’s blog.

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 1 July, 2007

I Live in a War-Ravaged Era

Wasn’t meant to be that way, but I feel that I have been transported into a time and place of cold hard war.

This is what’s on the ground floor of my flat…

groundstorey2

groundstorey1

I stay on the 12th storey, or what’s left of it…

12storey2

12storey1

In wars, banks are the one to be gone 1st…

bank2

bank1

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 27 June, 2007

You! – A Massively Overused Vocabulary Expression (MOVE)

Together with the new media, IDM (for a Singapore context), Web 2.0, or anything 2.0 for that matter, I would say the word “YOU!” has been seriously overused. I bet the MOVE (Massively Overused Vocabulary Expression) is all started from when Times magazine intended to highlight the change of focus to a personal perspective.

Well I understand everything coming from the convergence and collaboration idea where the “prosumer” is king, and as Andreas Weigend has put it, from an E focus to a Me focus. The exponential potential of the human social network has made it such that enterprises are able to reach out to a larger crowd in a short period of time. It probably existed ever sinced the Internet started, but it has been in the recent decade that someone has actually brought out and exclaimed the magic behind the whole phenomenon.

So what’s after “YOU!”? “WE!”? We would all like to speculate and predict. Would the current fad on You! end soon or would it continue for a longer period of time? It seems only recently that Singapore has caught up on the fashion though. Would the current fad end in another bubble bursting then? It’s a debatable situation that’s kinda freaky that I find quite a few similarities. But let’s just leave that for another post, shall we?

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 27 June, 2007

Connie Talbot of BGT in the finals…..

What a sweet little thing…. 6 year old!!

Posted by: Blue Heavens | 27 June, 2007

A Very Touching Video… BGT

I would say it touched me, the song did, the story did, the person did… and of course ultimately the background music sums it all up… Thanks to Su Yuen and Peter, here I present to you, Paul Potts, winner of Britain’s Got Talent.

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