Monthly Archives: September 2009

Life…streamers

Sometime back, I read an extremely interesting post by Chris Messina – how we’re now hit by a plethora of data and information on the real time web, which our brains have not adapted to, and how, in order to process this, we’d require an augmentation of our existing abilities.

The information overload has been happening for a little while now. Between reading blogs, writing them, microblogging, Facebook and all the shiny little tools that keep coming up, it’s a constant juggling act. I’ve been on Twitter for over a couple of years now. I can see a drastic change in the relationships there already, as compared to the banter of the initial days. New people, new thoughts, old people who’re changing with time, old thoughts recycled.  A simple @ tag connects lives. Meanwhile, its not just relationships and thoughts that change, but also behaviour – the need to share an experience, attention deficit, and so on. These would obviously vary with an individual’s usage of Twitter, facebook etc, but I’m sure there are more like me.

While I’ve been dimly conscious of the vastness of the Twitterverse, I had a more tangible realisation only after i came across a tool (from an article shared by Shefaly). As I sat watching the pictures streaming across the screen on Twitcaps, I felt I was somehow connected to all of them across the world sharing images – from parties to churches to landscapes to death to raunchy stuff to coffee mugs and so many many other things. There are multiple images being shared every second, and I had an acute realisation of the magnitude of change happening, in terms of connectedness and sharing. The population of the world, the population of your own city, the number of people working in your office/living in the apartment complex- as the numbers come down, the people slowly change from a blurred intangibility to a focused person. But as we get more and more networked, the number of persons who become tangible are increasing, the arguments about their relative importance to self notwithstanding. As Chris says in the article, can human beings cope after a point?

Sometime earlier this year, I remember writing a post about speciation – the evolution of the human species, and how replacement of body parts and advancement might finally end up in a being that may not match our current concept of human, or even living, like the Cybermen in Dr.Who. In that post, I had also mentioned Homo Evolutis, one of whose characteristics was networked intelligence.

As the information deluge gathers momentum, there may be those who choose not to be part of it, who are comfortable not being part of this vast stream of consciousness, while there may be others who use their abilities and the augmentation to embrace this. These are obviously two extremes, and its quite possible that humans would figure out a middle path. But I already see this divide happening – some leaving it by choice, some left out by circumstances. The learning curve is becoming so steep that after a few years, it might be difficult or even impossible to catch up. And that’s how I begin to wonder whether we’re rapidly approaching the point when the species will diverge. Maybe not in my lifetime, but within a couple of generations?

There’s another aspect of all this that I wondered about. With the increasing amount of information and the speed at which we’re forced to process it, will we have time to acquire more perspectives, or continuing that cycle, accumulate more baggage? Will that change the way we behave with people, and the way we live life? Will we become more objective? Or will we become more biased, relying on notions we don’t have time to change, and behaving accordingly?

As I write this there is a stream of thoughts running in my head – of times, friends and relationships. Poignant moment as I realise the vast yet connected nature of the universe and its inhabitants. In the miniscule amount of my lifetime that I have spent on Twitter, I realise that people and relationships have changed, perhaps irrevocably. The lifestream will be an interesting read for me later, if I do manage it. Meanwhile life flows, faster, faster, until each second and beyond is accounted for, with streamers in between, so that we might remember…just..

until next time, you’re here..now..reading post #700..thank you :)

From the corner of his eye

Dean Koontz

That Dean Koontz is an amazing writer of supernatural stories is a known fact. What makes this book special is the mix of several themes that work in superb harmony – a psychotic killer, quantum physics and faith. I’ve always wondered about parallel universes and in this book, the author has tried to put a structure to it through the theories of Thomas Vanadium and the abilities of Bartholomew, Angel and Mary.
Koontz uses Enoch Cain’s obsessed journey to find Bartholomew as a background to highlight the connection between human beings’ lives, a sort of ‘Butterfly effect’ among people’s destinies. Each character is built perfectly with specific roles to play in this journey, and they all fall into place magnificently, like a jigsaw puzzle.
There is an underlying theme of hope that runs through this book, and Koontz does a great job of balancing it with the pure evil that is Enoch Cain.
The pace never slackens, and while I like all the author’s works (that I have read so far), this one just went beyond the regular gripping thriller category.

Flipping news models

Google’s Fast Flip has been receiving quite a lot of attention these days. Based on the Google News model of aggregation and categorisation, Google has partnered with quite  few sources including BBC, BusinessWeek, Washington Post, New York time, to name a few, which shows previews of their pages on Fast Flip, but looks exactly like they would on the source site, almost. We’ll come to that in a bit. The stories can be accessed basis sources, sections and the other parameters we are used to – recent, most viewed, recommended etc. Oh, yes, much of it is the user interface, that lets you ‘flip’ through the content, ‘like’ stories, and you can click through to the source site, if you want to read the full story. It has its rough edges, and is far from being any sort of killer to anyone, but its a damn good start, much better than any interface that any publication has brought out so far. On the revenue front, there are contextual ads on Fast Flip itself, and Google will be sharing revenue with newspapers. It is interesting to note that the previews of the source sites do not include ads. So if I am able to read a story completely in the preview, (which in many cases I am), I wouldn’t go to the source site, nor would I see/click the ads there. This is potentially an area of conflict, since the (shared) revenue from the one ad that’s displayed on Fast Flip cannot compare with the revenue from the source site. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to a time when perhaps, Google Reader will have a similar interface. ;)

In the last few weeks, this is the second instance of Google engaging with publications and ‘helping’ them create a revenue stream. The first instance was Google sending a proposal for micropayments, in response to a request for paid content proposals from the Newspaper Association of America. As per an NYTimes blog, this would be an extension of Google Checkout. Google is only one of the companies that have sent a proposal, and the list includes Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft. The system is of course in its early planning stages, and the business model has a 30-70 split (Google-publisher). Though Google still doesn’t believe that paying for content will be the remedy for newspapers’ woes, it  still has a vision of a premium content ecosystem, which includes five key features that combine the Google’s e-commerce, search, and advertising platforms.

While Google is described by many as the single largest threat to newspapers, its definitely not the only one. From new hyperlocal community sites (eg. Patch) to remnants of old giants (AOL’s Digital City, Yahoo Local) and from new age media entities like Huffington Post to new and varied kinds of aggregators (Guzzle.it, OurSignal, MeeHive, Thoora) different services are catering to the different needs that newspapers used to satisfy. The important aspect is that the new entities are well versed in leveraging the latest tools and collaborating with those who can add to their utility value. A good example would be the tie up between Huffington Post and Facebook for HuffPost Social News. Social sharing, real time are changing the way news is being consumed. I recently read about The Twitter Times, which creates a customised ‘newspaper’ by checking the links from people you follow, and the popularity of those links. Even while massive changes are happening online, and affecting the lifestyle of individuals and society at large, newspapers are still grappling with how to evolve new business models. (a good, albeit dated read on battle plans)

There was a short but interesting discussion on Twitter a few days back, where Surekha brought up the example of PressDisplay’s business model (aggregation of various newspapers and consumers pay for access) to ask whether a DTH kind of model would work for newspapers. I didn’t think it would. The only other distribution network for television content is the local cable guy (ignoring the web for now). But ‘news’ and even the ‘features’ content can find its way to the consumer through multiple sources and media – TV, web, mobile, and multiple sources within that.  The entry barriers have fallen drastically. Scarcity model vs Abundance model. Keeping in mind the cost that newspapers incur in creating the content and the incremental value that they give the consumer, how much would a consumer pay a newspaper aggregator, and how much would the newspapers get out of that. Yes, Press Display will make money, but ask newspapers to survive only on that revenue or even that plus web advertising, and it would be a tough task. This is why newspapers are finding it hard to negotiate this transition stage (discussed earlier) because its not one answer and its definitely not a common answer. Again, as I’ve discussed here earlier, there are inherent differences between news gathering processes in the print and online space – batch processing vs real time processing. It calls for a (albeit cliched) leaner meaner structure, not just for operations’ sake, but also perhaps from a profitability perspective.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that its not just processes, there is a cultural angle to this. As Terry Heaton points out in “The Web’s widening stream“, the knack of creating and facing disruptive innovations. We’ve discussed David and Goliath before, David becomes version 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 faster and faster, each version better than the other (because he fixes the bugs in 1.1, 2.5 etc) while Goliath reels because it can’t even figure out the answer to 1.0.  His strength has become his weakness – scale, and he doesn’t have a culture that encourages moving fast, learning from mistakes, being open to changes amongst other things. In fact, newspapers have been lazy and guilty of doing the exact thing that Seth Godin warns about in “Flipping abundance and scarcity” – putting free on top of a business model, and now rapidly trying to change it.

I don’t think India is impervious to these changes, the time frame will vary because of several factors – technology adoption delays, vernacular content to name a couple, but as I keep repeating, its no time to be complacent. From Rediff and Instablogs which have evolved their own news collection systems to hyperlocal players of different kinds – governance based like Praja, Citizen Matters, local businesses review based like Burrp, and several other niches, the different domains of newspapers are being challenged. More importantly we’re increasingly getting used to ‘streams’ – FB, Twitter etc. The principal revenue model of newspapers has been advertising (as opposed to circulation), they have been the medium to reach audiences, with the most basic of audience filtering. The radical change (as Heaton points out) is that advertisers can be part of the stream themselves, with such filtration techniques that they can target an individual if necessary. So, for newspapers, if the advertiser won’t pay, the reader has to. The reader , meanwhile has figured out that on the web, he has an abundance of choices.

until next time, stop press?

Damn.. on the backburner

It has come to be this way. The pattern. After every break I take, whether its a trip to Kerala, or a vacation to the beaches or the mountains. Its fairly easy to understand, the daily grind leaves very little time to ponder. Spend 5 days looking forward to the weekend, and maximise the two days for all its worth. Which is perhaps why the trips away from the routine premises have a way of giving one more perspective. An opening of the mind, so to speak.

It brings in a few new experiences, it puts old  things in a new light, it gives a more objective view of the daily routine.  It highlights the things that are really important to one. It helps one revisit the tags. Most importantly, it shows glimpses of what could be, it opens up new avenues of thought – of building a revenue model for this life that one can be happy with, to figure out those things that one likes to do and would also get paid for, to wake up in the morning and be inspired about what one is going to achieve that day,  other than doing the bit to ensure the EMI gets paid. Existential angst that can be resolved only by living, instead of existing. :) Not that these thoughts cannot happen on any given any day, its just that the trips offer a more conducive environment for the mind.

But the pattern. What typically happens is that these lines of thought don’t stay with me for more than a few days. The flights of thought run aground when they meet the daily grind. I always wonder if they are really that far apart in the current state that they don’t even stand a chance of co-existence. Perhaps they are.

But this time, after I get back from Kerala, I decide that its time to break the pattern and stretch beyond the limits I have set for myself, in thought and deed. I wake up, eager to start the day and make the necessary changes to my life, to go beyond the posturing and figure out the way forward. As I get busy with the morning yoga routine, the mobile rings. I stretch my hand out for it. The neck and the back refuse to shoulder any responsibility for what the mind and the rest of the body seek to achieve. A kind of neck jewelry results, the beige collared worker has arrived. :(  But I’ll be back.

until next time, exercise caution

PS. Too many introspective posts these days, I had to make a clean break :)

Coastal Junction

I was actually in the mood for a good steak, but plans had to be changed because of the recent cattle controversy – didn’t want anyone to have any beef with me. Ok, actually, the place that I had in mind  – Pizzeria Romano, turned out to be a veg only joint (according to Burrp). Bah. And that’s how we ended up at Coastal junction in Indiranagar. To get there, get on to 12th Main, towards 80 ft Road, and turn left at the end of the road. You’ll find Rosebys on your left. Coastal Junction is on the 4th and 5th floors.

Since it was a nice breezy evening, we decided to try out the 5th floor terrace option. We reached there by around 7.45, and so were able to get a nice corner seat with an awesome view. If you’re planning to go after 8, it’d be safer to reserve. The seating is quite comfortable, and the tables decently spread out so that it isn’t claustrophobic, altogether it manages to justify the fine dining description, in terms of ambience, even if only just so.

Though I’d expected mostly sea food in the menu, it surprised me with a decent collection of veg options. For starters, vegetarians can choose from more than half a dozen options, including things not regularly seen – banana flower, yam, sannas masala, crispy fried raw banana. (Rs.90-125). The non veg starters have a huge selection of sea food – prawns and fish mostly, lobster, (Rs.260-325) as well as chicken (Rs.195) and mutton. (Rs.255)

Again, for the main course, there are quite a few options for vegetarians, including an ullitheeyal, pachakari stew, kerala sambar among others. (Rs. 115-155, yes, we grimaced too, at the thought of a sambar at a three figure cost). For those who cast a wider net as far as consumption goes, there’s a goan crab curry, lots of prawn and fish options (the latter mostly Kerala dishes Rs.265-315), chicken dishes (Xacuti, kori gassi, malabar stew among others, Rs.235) and a couple of mutton dishes. (Rs.295). To go along with that, you could either have biriyani (prawn/chicken/fish/mutton Rs.265-365) or choose from kappa, appams, sannas, neer dosas, idiappam, kori roti, malabar paratha (Rs.45-65) or even plain rice.They also serve alcohol and seem to have a decently stocked bar.

Complimentary rice papadoms with a sauce and a cut mango pickle, and a glass of  rasam are given before the meal.  Do try out the pickle. Excellent stuff. We started with a Kane Bazulle, “ladyfish marinated in Mangalore masala and deep fried”. This is quite different from the rava fry we tend to order. The coconut oil flavor is unmistakable, and though  it could’ve been fried a bit more, it was quite good. For the main course, we ordered a Kottayam fish curry, “seer fish cubes cooked in spicy red coconut gravy”, a Chicken Coondapur, “semi dry chicken cooked in freshly ground coconut, red chillies, jeera and garam masala”, and to go with it, Malabar Paratha,”kerala special layered bread” and egg appam, “soft centre, crispy lace edged rice pancake with egg” (yeah yeah, the fine dining version of porotta and mutta appam for all those sniggering mallus reading this :p ). The fish curry, though spicy and delicious was a mistake. D says she was deceived by the coconut in the description, she expected it to be a thick gravy, but it wasn’t. It’d actually be great with plain rice or kappa, but we managed with the paratha. The chicken dish had a thick gravy, excellent stuff, and highly recommended, but only if you’re okay with grated coconut. The paratha was for once, wasn’t flaky, and was made well. The appam’s shape was slightly off, as compared to the ones we usually see, but was very tasty.

Though the dessert options were different from the regular stuff we see (except for the ice creams) – dhodol, pazaham pradhaman, elaneer payasam, ada pradhaman (Rs.110-135), we were completely stuffed by then. Another example of their consistency (with the theme) was the mouth freshener – a cashew+nutmeg+cardamom Mangalore supari mix. The service deserves mention because it was the best we’ve experienced in quite a long time. They offer help with the menu, point out the not-so-obvious stuff, and are extremely prompt – right from when they bring out different courses to refilling water, and billing.

All of the above cost us a little less than Rs.1000. Though its not inexpensive, the place is worth a visit, especially if you’re in the mood for some good coastal food.

Coastal Junction, No:623, 11th Main, 80 ft Road, Indiranagar. Ph: 41523470

Menu and Photos at Zomato

A flaky post

Paperweights. The ones with either a dancing girl/couple or a snowman at the centre. Turn it upside down, and the ‘snow flakes’ come floating down. Long trips away from routine make me feel like those flakes. I float for as long as I can, but i can’t defy the gravitational pull, there’s no way but down. All my floating is restricted to the confines of the paper weight, I can only wistfully look outside. When the upside down movement happens, I know that I’m in for a ride. I know it will be wonderful while it lasts, I also know the inevitability of the descent. In the initial moments of the floating, I am able to forget the ending, and enjoy myself, but towards the end, I end up counting the moments left. It is time to land, the journey is over.

Remember Forrest Gump? Through the movie, there’s a white feather that floats around. A while back, I read somewhere that it represents destiny and luck, which is why it is shown to appear at opportune moments. Its free, unconfined and goes where the breeze takes it. Sometimes it gets stuck on to things, and then a gust of wind helps it resume its journey. Does it keep track of its journey, or does it just enjoy the ride?

I read a piece by Fred Wilson recently, which talked about failure, and making mistakes, and learning from them. It led me to thinking about the words and their connotations. Both the words signify an end result that didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. It made me realise that these days I have to figure out destinations before i start. And I’m not talking about trips or vacations, its about daily life. There are expectations set – about how the week should go, how the work should be, how the weekend should be, how the movie should be, what i should write, how it should turn out, and so on. The expectations are about people too. When it doesn’t happen the way I want it, there is a disappointment.  This might sound obvious, but I don’t know how conscious each of us are about our dependency on the plans we make, the expectations from life and what we do, our version of ‘what should be’.

And as this happens day after day, the habit and the conditioning gets stronger, till we don’t even pause to think where this is all leading to. I realise that the more the conditioning is allowed to settle, the more the pattern for the journeys will be set, and the more it will limit the journeys that can be had. So its not even about work or entertainment or even a way of life, it is about the way the mind has begun to function, the thought processes, the walls and the defense mechanisms that  increasingly seem to have a will of their own. Somewhere along the line, there’s also the concept of ‘hope’. Hoping for a better day, a better way of life, all within the structure that I have brought into being.

What if I let go? One of Forrest’s lines go “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it’s both.”

Destiny, these days, raises a paradox for me. I could say “That is my destiny”, and work on something and perhaps achieve it. Success gives satisfaction and then I move on to the next objective. So its a bit like the destinations and the traps there. Or I could say “I’ll float and let destiny take its course”. But if I did that, can I be sure where I land and what I will be is my destiny? The best destiny possible for me. Heh? Ah there, control again. In either case, it seems a retrofit. Can i un-expect, not ‘control expectations’, just un-expect? Is that getting closer to objectivity?

It is written. The post has to end. Did you expect it to end this way? Did I disappoint? :)

until next time, nishkama karma points :)

Ping

Closed down

Ever since we turned the corner- just off the Intermediate Ring Road, that is, and saw the place a couple of weeks back, its been on the pending list. Ping serves chinese cuisine and the specialty of the place is the variety of Dim Sum. So if you’re the kind that demands Momo, then its worth checking out. Ping is on the one way leading from the Intermediate Ring Road (Koramangala) towards Empire, Paramount, William Penn etc. After you turn right from the Ring Road (at Sukh Sagar/Kotak Bank), you’ll see it on the right. Parking two wheelers won’t be a problem, and there’s valet parking for those with double those wheels.

The name is “derived from the Chinese character ‘Ping’ which means the best, of the highest standard and applies to food, clothing, attitude, a person’s bearing or stature…It also refers to the stuffing inside a Dim sum.” Ping has a/c and non a/c seating, and an outdoor option for ‘The Dessert Bay’, which has stone seats. I quite liked the ambience – different sections even within the non a/c section, very comfortable seating, and table options which are non intrusive. Not too many bright colors, muted lighting, and overall makes one comfortable. We got there by around 7.30, without reservations, and got a good table, but by 8 the place was nearing full capacity. We saw quite a few groups with kids, it figures- they have a Kids menu.

This is one of those few nice places with their entire menu card online. Saves me so much work. You can check it out here. Though we had decided to try out at least two types of dim sum, we erm, chickened out, after we saw the soup options. The ‘Cilantro flavoured egg drop soup with chicken dimsum’ sounded too good to resist. We were told that the soup would take about 10 mins. Before we got the soup, we were served a complimentary Amuse Bouche. (fried wonton with a tangy-sweet lemon sauce) The soup came before scheduled time, and was thick and delicious. Highly recommended. And then there were dimsums and dimsums to choose from. After much thought, we finally settled on a “Lotus Leaf Sticky Parcels with Chicken and Shitake”. There are lots of options, for veggies, and for those who prefer consuming aquatic life. If its a large group, I think the veg/non veg platter would be a good option. The dim sum arrived quite a bit late, but thankfully the steamed combination of sticky rice, chicken and shitake wrapped in a lotus leaf was worth the wait. It was marginally spicy too, both of us liked it. The only minor problem was that one portion had 3 parcels, and splitting it evenly is quite cumbersome. :|

For the main course, we asked for a Seven Flavor Chicken, “Wok tossed chicken flavoured with lemon grass, roasted peanuts, chillies, hoisin sauce, basil, young ginger and bell pepper” and along with it Dragon Noodles, “Shanghai style noodles with mushrooms and spinach in spicy chilly sauce”. The chicken dish was indeed unique, but the noodles actually brought tears to D’s eyes. No, not sorrow/ecstasy etc, just the chilli dose, but we still thought it was fantastic. Highly recommended if you like spicy stuff.

Dessert Bay is a bit of a disappointment. Though it sports a separate menu card, the choices are a few mocktails, iced teas, ice cream combinations (some good ones, though) and a few pastry mousse options. So we managed to keep desset temptations at bay.

The meal cost us just over Rs.850, including a service charge of 7%. Its definitely worth a visit for a unique chinese cuisine, and pleasant and prompt service, except for that one delay.

Ping restaurant & Dessert Bay, #130, 1st Cross, 5th Block, koramangala Ph: 41329357, 41521773

Menu and Photos at Zomato

Social deluxe

Sometime back, Mashable had an interesting post on luxury brands and social media. While a few points were raised on the challenges, the one that interested me most was how the facet of  ‘exclusivity’ could be balanced with the relatively open nature of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. The post also highlights a couple of examples – the aspiration based FB fanpage of Gucci and the invite-only closed social network of Mercedes Benz – GenerationBenz.com. The examples were interesting because they were two different approaches – of how luxury brands can use social media. On a related note, Jeremiah Owyang wrote a post a few days back – 5 ways luxury brands can overcome the conundrum of social marketing.

Before we discuss the specific usage on social media, how exactly do brands become classified as luxury? According to the post above, “When linked to brands, it is characterized by a recognizable style, strong identity, high awareness, and enhanced emotional and symbolic associations. It evokes uniqueness and exclusivity, and is interpreted in products through high quality, controlled distribution and premium pricing”. I assume the above takes into the account the parameter of service – not just in the case of say, hospitality or other service luxury brands, but even regular luxury brands, since the overall experience (from the retail experience of shopping for the brand to post purchase service) is key to earning the tag of a luxury brand.

With regards to social media, I’d say that social media has this way of stripping the veneer, of removing the fluff around entities so that its reputation is made/broken basis its performance on the core value it provides. In fact, sometimes even the cost of ‘production’ is not taken into account, the audience expects things for free and the crowd makes its own sense of value for the product. (yes, I am referring to the interesting free vs paid debate) Wired has an excellent article titled ‘The Good Enough Revolution‘, where it takes examples from various sectors to show how, with advancing technology, consumers’ expectations from their purchases are changing drastically – the rise of the ‘good enough’ tools. While it is essentially attributed to the busy lives we lead now, the fact that it is also ideal for recessionary times is highlighted. From the article,

We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect. These changes run so deep and wide, they’re actually altering what we mean when we describe a product as “high-quality.”

Of course, there still is an audience that doesn’t live by these credos, but that’s perhaps not really a large number. One could argue that this was the only audience that mattered to luxury brands anyway, but If this trend catches on, then the entire premise of luxury branding becomes wobbly. PSFK has an interesting note on a Louis Vuitton Calabash – on mixing the notions of utility and luxury, and how the addition of a designer label on a commonplace item raises a question on the value of things. A lot of the luxury brand’s aura is through maintaining a perception among the audience, and keeping itself as an aspiration among potential consumers – couching utility in intangibles. This is not taking away anything from the quality of the product per se, but the entire concept of ‘brand’ is usually seen as a way to distinguish the product from similar products and take it to a level  above that of a commodity. A lot of communication these days is about the aura/show off value of the luxury brand than anything to do with the product superiority. In a way, its quite logical (and obvious) because if luxury brands focus on the utilitarian value of their product, they really wouldn’t get ahead. The counter point to this would be that the premium charged by the luxury brand is for the emotional high of using the brand, in addition to the (hopefully) superior quality that it provides. Does it mean that luxury brands would have to relook at the premiums they charge?

But having said all that, there are quite a few things that seem to point towards potential synergy between luxury brands and social media. One of the points that Jeremiah mentioned in his post is the usage of celebrity associations. Celebrities are now running rampant on social networks, and luxury brands have a good means of weaving themselves into the conversation, and increasing their aspiration value. Usage by a celebrity also gives them a context to kickstart conversations. Also, social media is about emotional connect and sharing. If much of a luxury brand’s aura is built on the emotional appeal, then it can use social media very well to its advantage. After all, what other medium offers such easy methods to spread some ‘show off’ value? :) I thought the Mercedes Benz idea of a closed network would be great if they allowed users at least partial portability of data to other networks. (to, rather than from) The ‘share’ aspect of social media will also help identify potential customers via existing ones. But most importantly, I feel the biggest use of social media (actually the web in general) for luxury brands is the audience data that is being generated on a regular basis, real time. It offers better segmenting and targeting opportunities, and while this is applicable to all brands, it is all the more important for luxury brands. This can be used for gaining more insights, encouraging sampling and so on.

It is definitely an interesting conundrum, but the web, thankfully has space for all kinds, I think. Will appreciate your thoughts. :)

until next time, the luxury of real time? ;)

You and me

The hurried breakfast, the hours in front of the computer,  the lunch at office, the work that’s done  to make a living, the dinner in front of the television, the mindless programming that occupies. I have many ways of escaping from you. On weekends, there are books to read up, movies to see, the shopping that has to be done, with or without discounts, the afternoon naps, the endless mall visits, the catching up with friends over cups of coffee, the dine outs, the posts to be written, the lifestream style to be maintained. I have a life to live, you know?

Oh there are ways and ways of avoiding you. Even if you do confront me – those moments when you catch me off guard, I pretend not to know you. Until at some point in time, I won’t have to pretend. I really won’t know you, I won’t remember you existed. Maybe I never knew you.You were too difficult to understand. When I looked into your eyes, I was not looking in the mirror, I was looking at a different person.

Maybe if we had met when we were younger, we would have realised we were the same person. But I never looked in the mirror then. There were others who decided for me. When I started looking in the mirror, I saw what I had been made to do, I rebelled. I didn’t realise that I was trading one set for another. You weren’t important enough. I was, and I was busy creating an image of myself. You were not.You were just you.

Even now, I know you’re still there, you are what is, devoid of memories, or rather, the baggage of memories, while I frantically look around for what I should be. I am afraid, terribly afraid that I’ve lost you forever. I cannot try to reach you, I cannot even say that one day I will be you. I am you, or I am not. It takes a moment. I realise there is no middle path. I make my theories, I lean on my faith, I say that in another world I am better off, anything to be not you. For we both know that you will step out of the mirror, only if I cease to exist. I acknowledge you, but this is a fight for survival, of all the things that have made me, me. I fervently hope that I lose. I write this, so that I never forget. That in the mirror, it’s not me, its you. And we’re different. As different as the same person can be.

until next time, the  battles within

PS. The thought continued from last week, also found some kindred thoughts  (thanks to The Time Traveler’s Wife)

Love After Love

Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.