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.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Why I try my level best to go home early

Because, if I don't go home early, I can't cycle.
If I can't cycle, I'll get fat.
If I get fat, I'll weigh more.
If I weigh more, my fuel consumption will increase.
If my fuel consumption increases, I will spend more on petrol.
If I spend more on petrol, I have less to spend on other things.
When I have less to spend on other things, it means I'm poor.
If I'm poor then... wait, I don't wanna be poor.

So that's why I need to go home early. Thank you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ryanair is the talk of Twittertown

It's 6:05 p.m. in Malaysia. Over the past hour, tweets on Ryanair seems to have just shot up. See the chart below from Twitscoop.

RyanAir TwitScoop.jpg - Share on Ovi

So did Ryanair stir the hornets nest just to generate social media publicity? Is all publicity, good publicity?

Don't let your staffers run wild...

Like kids in a supermarket running amok while mum's busy, Ryanair staffers posse roughed up Irish blogger Jason Roe over a simple mistake posted on the latter's blog.

What I find really interesting from Wired's story is that later on, a Ryanair spokesperson confirms that the comments did indeed come from Ryanair staffers and unapologetically added: "It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers, and Ryanair can confirm that it won't be happening again. Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves, as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel."

I'm wondering what's Ryanair's strategy here - cheap publicity by infuriating the (local) blogosphere? It's not like the budget airline hasn't done outrageouspublicity stunts before.

Ryanair's own attitude aside, this incident also highlights the case for a proper, well-communicated social media policy for companies. Clearly, Ryanair staffers had taken it upon themselves to "educate" Mr. Roe out of their own initiative. In this day and age, with every white-collared worker spending their day sitting in front of the computer, and accessing the internet all-day, the chances are high that your staff's social media activity might run contrary to your organisation's objectives.

So should you just ban everyone in the company from blogging? Of course not.

Just lay out those rules. Share the game plan (if you don't have one, time to write one). What's the company's position of social media? (do we decide not to respond to criticism? Should only one person respond? Do we respond politely or arrogantly? etc. etc.) Define what your staff can do and cannot do, remembering that as individuals, they are entitled to some rights (blogging is still your private business, just don't do it on company time). And make sure people know these rules.

This is still oversimplifying it. But as it stands, I don't really have the time in the world to write a manual on this right now. The bottom-line is: don't let your staffers run wild... unless you're Ryanair.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just common sense: your customers have brains too.

The golden rule for communications /PR/ customer service / anything related in this day and age has got to be: "Treat your customers with respect. They have brains." Simple thought, really, if you bother to think about it, but something I see lacking in many companies.

The latest in this trend has got to be AirAsia. See this post by KY. To avoid bad publicity, all AirAsia would have to do is act with a little intelligence and not let two people, who purchased their tickets together, with the same credit card (I'm told), checked in at the same time - be seated in different rows! What's worse is the cool, calm, collected "No" the customer service lady gives when asked if they could be seated together. Seating, apparently, is randomised.

Oh, there's more. For RM 25 a person, you could select "Hot Seats" and then you can sit together.

Given the facts, what do you, my dear thinking reader, make of AirAsia's intents?

Let me be very clear, AirAsia isn't the only company treating their customers this way. Too many other companies are. And it isn't one department's fault all the time either. Sometimes its a business decision. Sometimes, it's over-marketing. Sometimes, it's customer service treating you like an idiot ("Sir, could you please reset your modem?").

The truth is, customers aren't brain-dead. In fact, the most attractive customers, that fabled PEMB group that every client briefs you as the target audience, are savvy, thinking individuals.

They'll see through a thinly-veiled ploy to make more money. At the same time, they'll respect you giving them deep, honest, factual and frank answers and explanations. It's not like this is an overnight trend (well, I guess it is given education and literacy rates are much higher than 50 years back), but the big point is that today, just about every dissatisfied customer has a megaphone.

That's what social media is. Make the mistake of insulting their intelligence and they'll post on blogs. Grumble on forums. And tell all their friends on Facebook about your company's boo-boo. It just takes that one spark of influence to get the ball rolling down the hill.

In short, if you're planning on making a business decision, embark on a new marketing campaign or something of that sort today, please give a thought about what your customers might think of it. Don't delude yourself that your customers don't think (enough).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Please stop the cat-dumping

Was away for a quick one-night, overnight recce in Perak on Friday and Saturday when we passed this sign.

21022009017.jpg - Share on Ovi

Apparently, cat-dumping is a serious problem in Perak.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Is Facebook Notes the new blog?

Just in case you're a smart-aleck about grammar, I'm referring to "Facebook Notes" the application, it's a noun, so "is" is technically correct. Ok?

Did you get that "25 random things" meme on Facebook? Any of your friends tag you in a "Note" they wrote, but when you clicked through it read more like a blog post and your name wasn't even in the post?

If you answered "yes" and "yes", then spare a moment to think with me for a bit whether Facebook Notes is starting to replace blogging. The dynamic is different, but in essence, the content are the same.

With Notes, you're sending it to your audience (friends you know) by tagging them and giving them a little more impetus to click and read (or immediately close, when they see the wordcount) your posts.

On your blog, sometimes even your best friend doesn't read. And really, it just boils down to us wanting people to read our thoughts, doesn't it?

Based on some numbers I took the time to collate, I've been tagged about 26 times the past one month on "Notes" that didn't mention my name and were longer than 200 characters and read more like blogposts. Compared to just 8 three months ago. Small numbers, yes, but it does tell me the trend is picking up.

Of course, the differences are stark. Facebook is private, and (as far as I know) you can't search Notes using search engines. Blogs, however, are generally public.

With Facebook, you can "prompt" people you know to read your posts by "tagging" them to the story. On a blog, it's either your reader subscribes to your RSS feed or you can spam them with email.

Facebook supports mechanisms like "Liking" the article, comments etc. Blogs support comments and whatever widget you can throw at it.

I guess the big difference is that with Facebook, you're reaching out to your audience, a bunch of people you know already in some measure. With a blog, you can build an audience, but you'll never really know who else is reading your blog.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

*Mourns the death of Palm OS

Palm CEO Ed Colligan announced the death of the Palm OS last week. I couldn't help but shed a tear. The Palm OS has had a lasting impact on me. I'll never write the letter 'E' properly ever again thanks to my seven or so years using Palm's Graffiti and Graffiti 2 handwriting method.

Palm IIIe - Share on Ovi

The world's abuzz with touchscreen phones today, and it'd be a shame not to credit at least some of this to Palm's venerable OS. From the simple grid based icon layout to third-party apps, all these trends have their roots in the venerable Palm 3.x OS and every generation after that.

Third-party apps
The third-party apps thing is probably the biggest. Way before Apple had an AppStore, hundreds of thousands of crazy Palm OS users were busy adding fun but ultimately useless apps to their Palm devices. One of my favourites was Yoda - a simple app where an animated Yoda spouted tidbits of Jedi wisdom. "There is no try, do or do not."

There was also that calendaring application. The note application. The list application. That campy 3D RPG game in black and white (Dragon's Breath I think it was called). And the Gameboy emulator. Don't forget the MemManager that helped you maximise your RAM and the nifty SimCity 2000 port too!

If you ever needed an app, there were millions (number exaggerated, but you get the point) to choose from.

Accelerometer Games
Few people might know this, but one of the coolest things people did with their Palm devices was to slap an accelerometer mod on and play games with them. Yups, I remember the tricky ball game I played where you had to tilt the device to guide the ball where you wanted it to go. Just can't remember the name.

Grid Icon Layout / interface
Couple of years after Palm got the early lead out of the door, Windows CE (as it was called then) came out and introduced the taskbar to the mobile PDA. Today, every mobile computing platform is using the grid layout, even the one that's got a taskbar still. I'm so glad Palm won that battle.

So, even as we bid goodbye to our dear friend the Palm OS, I'd like to record a little thank you and say - hey, it was great to have you around.

Next post, I'll post a couple of pics and my brief history with Palm devices.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On the importance of health

If you've noticed the significant drop in postings on my blog over the past two weeks, you'll notice something has probably been the matter. I've been unwell, really. That and too busy to blog.

One of the things I've come to really appreciate right now is good health. I've set a new record since the year started for seeing the doctor. Four times in two weeks. Five, if you count the time I went before Christmas.

These past weeks, I've had rashes, headaches, nosebleeds, fevers, body aches, ulcers, overwhelming phlegm - the works. It occurs to me I've never been this sick before.

I've never really taken my health seriously before. But this time, combined with the workload, I just felt I could have done without all the bad health. So I've started myself on a new regime. It'll be cycling, Brands Chicken Essence everyday, and a couple of new vitamin supplements I've taken from GNC. I'll also progressively sleep earlier.

I hope this works. I don't want to get sick again.