Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Have a conversation with me on Plurk

A couple of months back @kevyn tried to convince me to join Plurk. I wasn't convinced... Twitter was where all my friends were, so why would I switch?

Plurk - Share on Ovi

@kevyn made a passionate argument that on Plurk, "you can have real conversations." Technically, that's true. But I wasn't all that motivated to switch because, clearly, while I could have the means to have a conversation on Plurk, I didn't have anyone to have a conversation with. Also, I was busy.

Still, Plurk interests me with the promise for what it can do for conversations on the web. So, right here, right now, I'd like to ask you: if you have a Plurk account, please add me: davidlian as your friend. See you soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jobs 2.0: Ever thought of collaborating with your employees?

Edit: In order to avoid unnecessary speculation and consternation, I would like to clarify that the below post does not reference any company's I've worked in or work for. I will have it on record saying I thoroughly enjoy (and am still enjoying) working for both agencies I have had the pleasure to work with. Said friend works for a totally separate industry and was never a colleague. Said friend is not me. Don't ask if I'm looking for a job.

P.s. Erna says this is a
good post, so I'm leaving it up. :)

A friend on the verge of leaving his company is being blamed by his boss for undermining the company's delicate pay structure and causing unrest in the entire office. I think it's laughable that bosses have to shake and quiver with fear when their employees "finally figure out what they are worth."

Was the whole business model to hire staff as cheaply as possible in the first place and then sell their services to the highest bidder? Sounds like a workable business model? Yeaps, in the old days perhaps. But, today it's just not a sustainable business model. Mainly because employees will "finally figure out how much they are really worth."

Industry survey - Share on Ovi

Thanks to the internet and social networks, everyone knows what their worth now...sort of. Just run a search on 'salary survey' on Google and you'll know what I'm talking about. Or, better still, if you're connected, post on a forum of like-minded professionals (don't ask them what they earn, ask them what they think you should earn - provide years of experience, field and some idea of your current job scope).

What does this mean for you, the boss? If I could sum it up into two words, they would be - transparency and collaboration. (My friend disagrees, he thinks it should be three words - big, fat, paycheck.)

First, be transparent about how you arrived at what that employee should be paid. Obviously, its tied to his / her job-scope and how that contributes to the company's profitability or ability to function. If your employee has a clear view of her role and how that translates into her pay, you're 50% there for the next step of the way. Remember, your "survey" of the "industry" is not the end-all of the conversation.

Secondly, collaborate. As a boss, you're always going to fight an uphill battle to keep employees if your goal is to "keep them at the lowest wage possible for as long as possible." Understand that people have financial responsibilities too and the oil prices hit everyone. Help the employee understand why the company can only pay them so much for what they do, and offer solutions (additional roles they can fill, perhaps?) to help them meet their personal goals. If the employee is unreasonable, sack them - you have my permission.

Notice I haven't mentioned a word about company culture? I feel that's a word that's often trumped up too much, so much so that there are actually companies who feel "great company culture™" is a substitute for proper pay and benefits. Hello! Pay and benefits ARE part of the company culture. No one's saying we should go overboard like these people, but please realise that rousing motivational talks from the boss don't fill stomachs.

Capiche? A great employer would make the employee feel that he / she is key part of the organisation and is being rewarded as a co-owner and co-driver of the company's success. Transparency and collaboration.

Okay, I guess I should clarify in case this post gets taken the wrong way that I am not writing this to target any particular company. Half the content in this post should be credited to my friend (who shall remain anonymous), but I felt echo in many people I have met, worked with or chatted with about work-in-general over the past 5 years.

The concept of job has evolved. I think it's worth re-evaluating.

Monday, August 25, 2008

How I know the economy is in bad shape...

Edit: Have been too busy these past coupla' days to do a proper cerebral post, so bear with me on a coupla' brainless ones first.

So back to the post, this is the effect of the recession on Mamee:


Effects of recession on Mamee - Share on Ovi


Effects of recession on Mamee - Share on Ovi

I know, I was surprised too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Toilet humour

Most of Malaysia's best jokes can be found in our lavatories.

Diralang - Share on Ovi

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Needed: Photo-tags standard in EXIF?

Was having a discussion with some techno-nerds yesterday about photo management. Yes, we all know, it's pretty painful.

My ideal photo management system would be to have all the tags stored in the picture file's EXIF data so that I can easily transport photos and not have to re-tag them in each device / service.

Photos - Share on Ovi

For example, take the picture above. If I had tagged it "bird", "parrot", "Wildlife" in Flickr and then moved it to ShareOnOvi, I'd have to retag it again. Similarly, while Windows Vista lets you tag photos, it loses all its tags once you moved it to an online service. Now, even the new Symbian S60 3 FP2 devices allow you to tag photos which can then be searched in-device. But all that is lost once you've saved those pictures to your Vista PC.

[Okay, for the unsavvy, a tag is essentially a word / category you can associate with a file (not necessarily a picture) that will help make searching for the file easier. So, if I tagged the picture above "bird", the next time I or someone else searches for "bird", this picture will come up.]

With devices becoming so connected, and content often stored on the "Cloud", what would really work is to have tags stored within the EXIF data of each picture file. This is similar to the idea of ID3 tags that audio files get. This way, no matter where I push, import or move the file, I can easily search for it using the same familiar tags I use, and without having to re-enter all those tags again.

What do you think? Will a smart company out there start working on this (if you haven't already?)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday suggestion: Better cookie management for future browsers?

Good morning, it's Monday! I know I've been away for a week (or more) so first, let me apologise, because things have been really busy between work and church (upcoming Song Festival 6!) so I have had nary a chance to blog, much less draw comics.

Cookie image taken from: http://trashmenagerie.com/images/CCC/Cookie.jpg

Coming back to the topic of this post; I was fiddling with browser settings on my Eee PC when it hit me that I could no longer turn off the "block ALL cookies" option with the impunity I had 10 years ago. Yes, we all know that cookies (not the pastry kind) can do all kinds of awesome stuff like track all your activity on the internet, and leave you open to hackery and password-theft. But we've also come to be reliant on cookies to help us get past signing in to 20 different services everytime we log on.

So on one hand, I'm struggling with leaving it on to protect my privacy, and on the other, I'm missing the convenience. Dont' tell me about 'exceptions' because with the various cookies from each site (take yahoo.com, for example) making the domain an exception will allow both a tracking cookie and one that lets you save your login.

What we need is (and I'm just suggesting this with totally no programmer nous at all) a better way of managing cookies.

Let's start with categories of cookies -we could tag each cookie as "password-remembering". "auto-login", "track all the sites I've been to" or "session-authenticating". This then allows us to setup filters where in my browser I could then say: "yeah, I'd like to have my passwords remembered at all these sites, but i don't want any tracking cookies on my computer." Simply deselecting the categories of cookies enabled will let us get the kind of behaviour we want from our web-browsing experience.

Of course, we could then add exceptions to sites - like I only want password-remembering on Blogger, Flickr, Ovi, Technorati, Digg and Delicious.

And maybe throw-in a nice GUI in the process.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Say hello to Singapore's newest PR / Digital media outfit

Got word this morning that my ex-colleague Karen Ho has just gone and started her new PR outfit, together with (surprise, surprise) my other ex-colleague Gavin Foo.

XPR - me ex-colleagues! - Share on Ovi

I must say Karen's face looks smoother than I remember :p! Check out the website here.

Two-cents worth: I think XPR is headed in the right direction and the focus on tech / digital media underlines what I see as the transformation of the industry as it adapts to the new ways people get their information, and more importantly, start conversations. The future looks bright.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Extinct: private people

I was having lunch on Wednesday with two very intelligent people who are really involved with the tech industry, and at some point, the conversation wandered onto the issue of privacy.

"It's impossible to be private anymore" was the sentiment shared. And that's, quite possibly, entirely true. Not that complete privacy was ever an option to begin with - unless of course you lived on your own island.

Now, many sites have privacy policies and allow you certain privacy controls - e.g. hiding your email, or real name. But, today, with more and more people going online and not everyone (actually mostly everyone) being savvy about privacy on the net, you pretty much don't have control over your privacy anymore.

Case in point:

  • Google Map's Street View feature has courted controversy when people realised that this feature could randomly capture you at a location and allow millions of internet users to access it. See this.
  • On Facebook, you don't even have to be a member for your friend to tag you in a picture, telling everyone your name and showing them how you look. Of course, this might just be a loop-hole until Facebook fixes it. But how many of these loopholes have there been / will there be?
That's just two examples off the top of my head. The point is, you can't be absolutely private anymore. Search is getting better, and if you can't be googled or cuiled yet, you pretty soon will. So how do we adapt to this changing world? Here's my two cents:

  1. Realise that if ever anyone wants to find out about you, they probably can find something online. Just not everything. Accept that you have your 'public' side now.
  2. Be very careful how you take pictures and who you take pictures with. Unflattering pictures have a tendency to appear on the web.
  3. Think thoroughly before you create information, and then think again before you put it on the web. Even simple things like geo-tagging, think if you want to geo-tag a picture of your home and then upload it to Flickr? What seems like a harmless use of technology and social sharing, might be sinisterly used to plan a crime. When you create information, you create the potential for it to be put into the wrong hands.
  4. Along the lines of the last point, remember that what gets online, stays online. There a many, many ways of digging up stuff on the internet.

Just a last word on privacy (or, the concept of): I think it's going to be dead pretty soon. With Web 2.0 and the emergence of "social media" more and more people have started putting their lives on the internet and in so doing, made themselves "public figures" (with all of 6 fans). I'm one of them. So really, on this topic, I think what's needed is not just tighter policies and better enforcement but a change of general mindset and an overall awareness.

After all, you should always assume your next employer is going to cuil you and read your blog. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Crucified with Christ.

Morning quiet time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Things that happen in the office...

This is another doodle I did yesterday.

Dealing with problematic colleagues - Share on Ovi

Monday, August 4, 2008

Number one question to ask PR interviewees...

A thought just occured to me that I could possibly start a sideline career as an artist (besides being accused of, racketeering, amongst other things - haha). Here's an idea that's stuck in my mind for a while, of the all time best interview question to ask potential PR people. See doodle below:

Doodle - Share on Ovi

Back to black (coffee)

After enduring harassing comments about my chubby tubby, today I've decided to re-start anew my commitment to black coffee.

Back to black - Share on Ovi

Mom challenged me: "Try drinking black coffee with no sugar for a month and see how much weight you lose." Of course, she has this hypotheses that my rounding physique is somehow tied solely to the coffee.

So I'll take her up on that challenge. Only black coffee for me (during working hours) and not more than four cups a day. Of course, the other thing that's worrying me too is the fact that coffee interferes with the malabsorption of certain nutrients.

Maybe less coffee = healthier me?