"Eat what you shit in marketing"

Something I have applied to EVERY job and project I have undertaken has been founded (rightly or wrongly) with the saying that "you eat what you shit."

Profanity aside. I will explain why I believe in this marketing mantra so much.

Passionate, good people believe in what they do and the products that they sell. A motivated workforce can know their company is down, but will work to get it back up. They will stick around and fight and continue to fight.

The company I work for is in trouble, big trouble. That is not good news (but our PR team might well have you believe otherwise) - almost every person I know or talk to says it to me and nods. That is both inside and outside the corporate cloud.

Now I can't fix the company, but I do wish that one so good would apply the above philosophy. It might just help get us back up and running.

I am sure that few people who read this blog will have missed the apple launch. The iPhone is something. Apple may be masters of PR/Spin/Brand but they have something that other corporate companies just cannot grab in their minds - They have passionate employees who are ambassadors of the brand.

You can see this by Apple (see here) giving away an iPhone to every employee. Now, that is something. They told us it would be "revolutionary" and some (me included) thought this was just spin. But Apple went ahead and just created 30,000 very happy (and motivated) ambassadors.

In the big world of corporate America thats $12m dollars. Roughly what a competitor will spend on "corporate jets" & "corporate entertainment." (I kid you not). So continuing the comparison with others in the industry how can they commend the same loyalty and expectations in the employees mind, let alone the consumers?

True, I was given a phone on joining, but that has been it. Competitors to apple have released their own phones, but how many people can actually name them. We have put out our own product to compete with Apple. Critically, no samples for the staff. How can you create buzz if your own employees aren't even using the product?

My hat is off, and I bow to Apple. A simple gift of a phone to each employee sends out a message. They are on top and they know it, a simple thank you to the staff and a feeling of positivity. Ironic that in my inbox on the very same day was an internal email encouraging staff to buy a new phone for "Independence day."

Sort of feels that we may be looking in the wrong direction doesn't it?

Simple marketing 1 - Competition 0

New layout on my web site: alib.co.uk

So I have been working on a new layout for my web site. The aim is to create a better way to view the photos. Now, instead of having to click through each one the slideshow will do this for you automatically.

I'm looking for feedback, so please have a look and tell me what you think in the comments.

New design:

Old design (for comparison):

How I met Mrs B

People ask how I met Mrs B - Well truth be told I didn't actually "meet" her, I grew her in a pot as you can see here.

China boom under threat?

Interesting article from The Times here on the future state of China's industrial revolution.

Anyone who has an interest in China should read this article. The Times has staked its thoughts on China's future and more people are coming around to this way of thinking; Can China's growth continue?

To look at this subject is a whole book, but in brief I will look at a few of the important challenges facing China.

Rising labour costs:
While China has traditionally been a low end/cheap manufacturer its labour force is starting to demand higher and higher wages. This affects consumers in the west as either (a) costs of products will increase or (b) corporate/manufacturers will have to accept lower profits.

Obviously, the impact in China is that companies may take their factories to other countries. The issue for the Chinese government is that now the proverbial genie is out of the bottle they will need those low wage jobs as well as work for the middle classes.

Recently the BBC featured an article on a 5 year old boy kidnapped to work in a brick factory. Serious enough you may say, but this is not an isolated case.

As above, a key issue for China is crime and standards. More and more the government is struggling to keep up with organised crime, poor manufacturing standards and increasing wage costs. Again, if China is to keep its growth on track it needs to tackle the rampant crime and failing standards quickly to catch up with the West as well as places such as Indonesia and Taiwan.

The Government:
Is China communist or is it capitalist? Does it follow the Russian model or the Hong Kong one? While on the outside China has been communist the leaders are rapidly having to look to the future. 10 years ago economic success seemed like a good way forward for the communists. The more that people were working, the less they would look at their political leaders. Alas we now see that this theory was naive and has not worked out that way.

More and more the Chinese middle class (although establishing) is itself looking at what benefits the state provides. Even the state run media carries stories questioning whether the government is putting to much effort into the Beijing Olympics and not enough into the share scandals of late.

The only thing for sure is that China will be an economic powerhouse. I for one am very happy to be here to watch what happens.

Is it the journey or the destination?

Something struck me about a week back, and I was reminded of it again yesterday as Mrs B and I sat in the park. As I looked up to the sky I watched a plane soar overhead and it made me think about traveling and why we do it so much.

Living in Hong Kong is never going to help your carbon footprint. If you jump on a plane you can be in Singapore or Thailand in 2 or 3 hours. Not to mention China on your doorstep, and with all the sights to see there, you will be traveling for a long time.

But why do I like to fly so much? I think that the image above sums it up; Link to a larger version. Someone once said the way to look at traveling is that its not the journey its the destination. With the amount of travel that Mrs B and I do, there is definitely something in these words.

I picked out the picture above as I think it represents the journey part of this blog. As you look out of the window and watch the sun set I defy you not to marvel at the feeling of what you are doing hits home. At 28,000 feet flying hundreds of miles an hour it is something special and a journey that in days gone past our grandparents could only have imagined.

There is something almost childlike in its pleasure of arriving somewhere - The destination. As you step off the plane the giddy excitement of knowing that as soon as I get through immigration there is going to be something to see or photograph. Or perhaps is is something more spiritual such as seeing out new places and meeting new people?

Of course its not just about me and with Mrs B by my side directing/reading the guidebook we have seen many fantastic places, despite me saying, "Pumpkin, what do we need a book for, we'll look like tourists?" and proceeding to walk in completely the wrong direction.

Whatever it is, traveling is something that while exhausting at times is more than made up for by the adventures and great photos that I manage to take. And that is what I fly for.

Most recent photos here.

Mrs Fields makes everything OK...

Having one of those days (and not even the fact that it is a Friday would seem to cheer me up). Pissed of at some work stuff, tired, its hot as hell and now the streets of Wanchai look something similar to bladerunner (as its raining).

What do you when in this sort of "black mood" Visit Mrs Fields thats what. For those of you who don't know Mrs fields is a cookie shop and one of the best things about Hong Kong and the MTR (where they all seem to be located).

I got 18 of the little beauties (for the price of 12) and as I walked back the immediate sugar rush and a happy feeling soon returned.

If you told me they sprinkled crack on these things, I would believe you. I have no idea what makes them so good. But boy oh boy are they something.

So now I'm back in a better mood and as its Friday I feel like going out. Not that I will be drinking in Soho, nope. All healthy these days, its a walk in the park with the dog for me (and then perhaps a few beers).

China censors 'cut' Pirates film

Apparently Chinese sensors have made cuts to the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" film. These include cutting all scenes with pirates, violence and scenes with Jonney Depp (apparently the Chinese president's wife was drooling over him to much in the last film).

The film must be a blast in China. Thank Christ I live in Hong Kong where we are able to watch the film in all its glory. Communism is now safe thanks to the watchful eye of the chinese sensor.

Full story here on the bbc.

Oh wait! If you are reading this in China the BBC is sensored! Oh the irony...

Hong Kong lawyers

This is fantastic - And people wonder why we hate lawyers. For the best bit, just read the bold paragraph.


"The virtue of the profession, which distinguishes it from a business, is that in its practice, the selfish pursuit of economic success is tempered by adherence to ethical standards and a concern for the public good," he said. "But this virtue has been eroded. To put it bluntly, mercenary considerations have assumed much greater prominence at the expense of ethical standards."

Mr Justice Li cited the case of a client who asked his lawyer for a breakdown of his bill. The itemised account included a charge for "recognising you in the street and crossing the busy road to talk to you to discuss your affairs, and recrossing the road after discovering it was not you".
Absolutely brilliant. We should do this in marketing.

TV from the UK

If there is one thing that Hong Kong does not do very well it s TV. The PCCW (about the only TV service you can get) is rubbish. Especially when someone sends you this sort of clip (much love out there to this friend) This guy is amazing on the new Xfactor style show:

If the YouTube video does not play click here

All I can say is wow.

Photos from Singapore

So apologies for anyone that feels I have not been updating my blog, just back from a long (but good) week in Singapore (Thanks to my friends Toni & Neil for putting me up.)

I will talk about the differences between HK and Sing in a sec, but first here is a link to the photos: click here

Singapore is very different to Hong Kong but it does have its similarities. You can see where Singapore got the idea for wealth creation from (HK's banking) and you can see what people like to do in their spare time (shopping), but somehow Singapore just doesn't seem to be as big as Hong Kong or as good.

Its almost as if it is too clean and too efficient. Crazy as it sounds, Hong Kong has more character and more buzz and the difference is clear where I would prefer to be.

Though thats nothing against the place. People are friendly, streets are clean, and there is almost more people speaking English than Hong Kong (something that HK will need to resolve if it is to stay number one as Asia's financial city).

All in a short, hard working trip but I had a few fun hours and I look forward to going back very soon.

No more speaking Chinese for me...

Out in Stanley on Sunday with Pads and I decide that its a great time to talk some new found lingo.
as a Chinese woman is patting Pads I say to her (something along the lines of) "Gow" which is dog. So I say "Do you like my dog?"

The lady starts to walk away and look at me really weirdly, saying something to Caz who starts to laugh.

It turns out that I am actually asking the woman if "she likes my penis" as Gowww (note accent) is a rude word as opposed to dog.

So I am now just going to stick with English.