Saturday, 27 September 2008

Top 10 Snips of September.

Based on Unique Clicks this month... 
  1. - Integrated 2.0 Communications

  2. - 1984 in 2008: An Orwellian look at US international politics

  3. - China Tightens Corporate Foreign Currency Controls

  4. - DEDLOG: Intergrated 2.0 Communications - My impressions of day 1

  5. - donate to charity without money - ripple

  6. - 60 arrested for lynching CEO (Worker led right-sizing?)

  7. - DEDLOG: Google Chrome Review

  8. - Print Story: Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention

  9. - Mike Moores next movie will be a free download

  10. - Why is this even in the News (George Michael does drugs? Shock Horror)

    Photo by reebob

Debate Number One

This is the full 96 minute video broken into 11 Youtube videos, for those who have time.

And if it doesn't play try here or here

Monday, 15 September 2008

1984 in 2008




Let me start off by saying that my love of literature is only a recent phenomenon. I was never an avid reader in school and generally I am more likely to feign intelligence by paraphrasing information gleaned from eavesdropping on smarter my friends (Thank you Sam & Ian) than actually having any first hand knowledge myself. The following feels like an original thought but I am quite certain that is an unconscious regurgitation of something I read elsewhere and if this does prove to be the case, then I would like to thank the anonymous thinker who did so well to raise my consciousness.

So.... I recently got my hands on the audio book of George Orwell's classic 1984 and soon realised that terms that I had already been using to describe the GFW such as “Thought Police” and “Big Brother” were attributed to this marvelous work of not-so-fictitious fiction. I was aware of the cultural and political climate in which this book was written but not being a history boffin either, I really did not know a great deal about the World War, the Russian revolution or the rise of Stalinism to really appreciated all of Orwell's social commentary.

A quick peek at Google informed me that much had been written about the similarity between Ensoc and the Nazi Germany as well as the rise of Communist Russia but what my mind kept thinking about was not just the Nazi Youth or even (given that I live in China) the similarity between the image of Big Brother and Chairman Mao. My mind kept thinking about the correlation between the war on Eastasia and the Bushian War on Terror.

Perhaps it is because the passing anniversary of the 9/11 but I could not help but think that the second act of the War on Terror that was staged in Iraq was a tool to control hearts and minds, a strategy that bears uncanny resemblance to the War on Eastasia. The underlying platform for Ensoc's power in Orwell's Oceania, was a post war government that used the fiction of an perpetual war to maintain control over it's citizens. 

Another frightening similarity is the language that both Bush and Orwell use to describe Emmanuel Goldstein and Eastasia in the book, and Bush's choice of language when he referred to Saddam and the North Korean government. Perhaps a term that Orwell could have employed in his book is Axis of Evil since both Bush and Orwell portrayed the enemy as doers of absolute, unwavering and perpetual evil. If not for Winston Smith and his contraband hand written diary, it is possible that none of these doubts would never see the light of day and sadly in both 1984 and in real life it is often those who represent the voice of reason that are silenced.

My mind is not unlike Smiths in that it is a jumble of information snippets and half truths, but if I think deep enough in the the recesses of my childhood memory, I seem to recall that once upon a time, Iraq was not only an ally to the US but was a buyer of US made biological agents such as antrax and bubonic plague. Iraq once acted in the best interest of the US to hold down the evil on their Eastern border. I feel that it is probably worthy of mention that somewhere in these recesses of my completely unreliable memory I have the strange memory of reading that OBL was first trained by the CIA.

Citizens of Oceania lived in obedience because of the underlying threat of the evil that lay both within and beyond it's borders and therefore falsely necessitated the existence of the totalitarian regime. With that I leave you with the age old question with a slightly new slant. Is 1984, which was written in 1948, an example of art imitating life or life imitating art?

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Dan Levinson on CSR

I managed only to make it back to the first session of Integrated 2.0 Communications yesterday in time to catch the presentation by Dan Levinson of Dan's been around China for about 11 years in various capacities and his latest incarnation is that of a service provider in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility.

This topic is one which is quite close to my own heart as I have have been priivy to many a debate on what exactly CSR is. The beginning of Dan's presentation actually demonstrated how fragmented the understanding of CSR is. Aside from the increasingly popular strategy of greenwashing that has been adopted by practically every industry that might cause any harm to society or the environment, Dan highlighted an interesting study that found that a little over half of the respondants to a survey who were in senior strategic positions defined CSR as charity or community outreach. This comes to no surprise except when you consider that as part of the same study, 75% of CSR managers or people directly involved CRS programs defined it as such. Thats about a 25% difference between people who run companies vs. people who run CSR programs. No wonder amongst the few successfuls programs are so many that never get the right kind of traction.

The remainder of Dan's presentation was an eloquant illustration of how different organisations including Bayer, Novozymes, Sony, United Technologies and Vanke all percieved CSR as something completely different. In the case of Vanke who have had some unfortunate press of late associated with both their donation policy to the Sichuan quake victims and the blowback of an less-than-well-thought-out press release about the where the blame lay for the fall in value of Vanke properties (let the buyer beware) their perception of CSR is that since their business is to build homes, they are were already contributing to society enough. 

Dan's presentation was for the most part a good birds eye view of CSR in China and in many of the multinational companies operating in China. The core message on the CSR end though is that regardless of how you define social responsibility, it is important to garner top to bottom buy-in for your program to succeed and once that is in place how you decide to compliment those values, whether it be through traditional or digital medium, becomes a secondary concern. (Well that's the take-away I got from his speech)

Thank you Dan for sharing your thoughts with us. For more info on CSR in China visit Dan's site

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Intergrated 2.0 Communications - My impressions of day 1

Between meetings, I managed to catch half a day of a conference that my company is running, Integrated 2.0 Communications that Christina (one of our conference producers) put together. Sitting in the back of the room I was first impressed that the back channel strategy of using as a way to stimulate questions was actually having some effect. Being a multi-lingual event with some presentations in Chinese and some in English, the audience wasn't extremely interactive but by having posts to a dedicated number on jiwai, projected on a secondary screen beside the stage, allowed for comments as well as questions to be posed anonymously which I think went down well with a shy audience, especially with the overseas speakers. We tried this last year at another event that we did called Nurturing and Commercialising Online Communities and it was probably not as well received as this year. I can see us using this more and more in our tech related events.

The presentations that I did get to see were the ones from Ginger Zhu of Nike, Len Starnes of Bayer Schering Pharma and the one from Michael Darragh of Ogilvy PR.

The presentations from Ginger and Len were a good insight into the mentality of digital strategists and their strategies as well as a peek into the rationale behind some of the strategies that were adopted. Nike's focus seem to be about engaging their customers and positioning Nike as more than a footwear and apparel brand. Through their Nike Plus campaign in Australia they challenged runners through the Nike + Ipod product by creating a virtual competition of who could run the furthest in a two week period. A truly inspired strategy in my opinion to tap into the addictive nature of running.

Len on the other hand looked at the various platforms that already existed in the US and Europe for the healthcare sector. He mentioned a couple of services that I had never heard of such as Revolution Health & Sermo that is evidence that doctors are actually a really lonely bunch of people.

The day concluded with the presentation from Michael Darragh outlining strategies on how the traditional principles of media management really do work with bloggers and BSB's. The underlying principals being to be personal, honest and to give something back. Sounds a little like my twittiquette suggestions but of course, my opinion comes straight from my arse as opposed to years of research, trial and error.

Overall, the first day of the conference was a good look at the tip of the iceberg. Tomorrow promises to also be a good day with presentation from Cisco, Unilever and a mini workshop by Shelly Bernstein. My only regret is that I've managed to miss Sam Flemming on all three occasions that we've had the honor of having him on stage. (Sam, if you're reading this, you gotta let me buy you a beer or something).

Disclosure: I run the company that is running this little get together.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Google Chrome Review

It's just a freakin' browser innit?