A True Measure of a Man

There is nothing worse than seeing a person I like, being nasty to another person for no apparent reason.

I’ve walked out on dates who were rude to staff. A person I’ve admired online, was so grossly foul while ordering coffee, I lost all respect for (s)him when we met in real life.

The way a person treats another is really that serious.

My father taught me that by his actions, not words. He was recruited by M.I.T. from Japan and came to the U.S. speaking only two languages: Japanese and binary. Even after living in the U.S. for 20+ years, he still spoke broken EngRish.

I used to be mortified in public with him. His voice was loud. His English was poor. Yet no matter how atrocious his grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, he still talked to everyone in a pleasant manner. And I mean e v e r y o n e.

At restaurants he frequented, the entire staff knew my farther. From the valets, wait staff to busboys and the kitchen. The chefs would take my brother and I to the kitchen for special menus. (These were 5 star dining rooms.) When we drove through Half Moon Bay, my father would stop by his favorite farms and greet farmers working the fields. They only spoke Spanish and he spoke zero Spanish but somehow they were able to communicate. At his work, from security and maintenance staff to his assistants, colleagues and C-level execs, people would smile and wave hello as he walked by. He took after my grandmother, who treated every single person the same: like they mattered.

Conversely, my mother was snooty and condescending to people who she thought were beneath her (gardener, cleaning people, store clerks, servers, etc.) I used to apologize for her vile behavior. She’s no longer with us anymore but when I read her journal after she passed, I understood why she was the way she was. (More on that some other time.)

Anyway, this past year or so keeps iterating why I am eternally grateful to my parents for teaching me such an invaluable life lesson. They are the reason I live by these words:

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. – Samuel Johnson

Abide by that single sentence with personal and business relationships. You won’t be sorry.  #tuesdayZen

This post was inspired by this Facebook exchange.

Harvard Library Tweets Books Checked Out but One Problem

Harvard University put up a beautifully executed site where the books checked out from their five respective libraries are aggregated, Tweeted and integrated with their proprietary catalog database (Hollis)

Fascinating and educational, as I am always looking for new ways to learn. Times like these I fall in love with the Internet allllll over again.

However. Where do past Tweets go? How do I pull up archives?? Am I the only one who wants more than real-time data???

There are ways to look up and archive my data (Tweettake, BackUp-ify, even FriendFeed) but there are so many neat Twitter API based services. Such a bummer there is no efficient search or archive.

Anyone have suggestions or methods they want to share?

Serendipity Algorithm and What It Means to Marketers

Last week, I saw a piece by Nieman Labs eloquently define the direction of search Google is perfecting as a serendipity alogorithm.

Then, Fred Wilson’s taste makers post and Gmail’s smarter inbox announcement motivated me to finish this draft for this is super exciting technology.

The gist of the serendipity algorithm is digital intelligence. It is not perfect (yet) but through our repeated behaviors and our friends’ actions, sites and services know what we are looking for. Recommendations and things that are relevant to us is accessible as soon as we log-on or even refresh the page. Nowadays, we should be offended if we have to dig through enormous amounts of noise to find things that interest us.

Look around you, we see it on a daily basis on sites we least expect.

  • Amazon pulls up recommendations based on past item purchases and  browsing behaviors
  • Facebook pulls up content relevant to you by the actions of your friends. If enough people in your graph LIKE or comment on an item, that item floats into your newsfeed, even if you are not friends with the original poster
  • Yelp rises the users you have fanned to ensure you don’t miss what your favorite reviewer said about a particular establishment
  • Twitter pushes Tweets -specifically @replies- into your streams from people who have been RTd

Almost every site and service performs these actions.

So how does this apply to our role as marketers?

We are seeing the medium change every single day. It is our chance to use this shifting paradigm to our advantages, to have a voice heard, a methodology outside of the norm seen… which is the reason social media, the Internet and all these products and services are so exciting.

Every brand, business and even individuals are on an even playing field. It’s about who can best strategize the message, to use social media as an execution tool.

As a marketer and someone who loves this industry, the Internet and my role, it is a bummer to see peers use this medium as a billboard.

That said, I will leave you with words from one of the greatest marketers of our time: the all mighty Steve Jobs.

To me, marketing is about values.
This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world.
And we’re not gonna get a chance to get people to remember much about us.
No company is.
And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.

Thus, marked the launch of the ‘Think Different’ campaign.
(see the keynote here.) Funny how those words are still relevant a decade later.

So how are you going to think differently?

*added: Kevin Elliff chimed in with a much clearer post than mine. Read his thoughts here.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. #SteveJobs

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

– TBWA/Chiat Day for Apple (Thanks to Roberto Fisher and NYT bits blog)

Dear #startups Don’t Be Guilty of This Crime

Customer development is a fancy way of saying: I’m requesting a free brain picking session to better my product!

Look, I get it. I respect the start-up hustle. I also love helping people out but I have a day job. A very time consuming day job. So if you don’t sell me, I will turn down your request to save us both time. It’s not personal. It’s that if I say I’m going to do a customer development session, I will

  1. be interested in your product
  2. dedicate time
  3. provide as much well thought out feedback and sound advice

Because of 1-3, I refuse fulfilling development calls as favors for friends and this is why.

A few weeks ago, I made the enormous mistake of agreeing to a development call as a favor. This is how the conversation started:

Continue reading


Those who follow Christine (@ChristineLu) Viv (@vivowang) and I across our respective social networks, probably got inundated by photos today. I’m sorry -well not really- but too bad. If it takes something gimicky as three Asian chicks to raise awareness, then so be it.

It’s 2010. Fighting for equality should not be. Our predecessors have fought that battle. Aren’t there issues other than equality we should all be fighting for?

I can’t believe people are still afraid of things they do not understand. So if it takes link baiting with photos to spread awareness, again, so be it. My hope, is that one more person participates, uploads their photos, shares with their social graphs to help the cause.

Change isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s these little victories that add up to eventually, change. Or in this case, acceptance.

These are the times I appreciate the power of social media and inspired by those using these tools to fight good fights. To learn more about the NOH8 campaign, click this: THIS.

For those interested, there’s more after the jump (photos and text.)
Christine shared her (very personal) thoughts here: HERE.

Continue reading

Keep calm and carry on: What you didn’t know about…

Powerful stuff over at Alexis Ohanian’s blog.

For those of you who ask me: How are you so fearless? Or how do you stay strong? Or why aren’t you ever afraid to take risks? It’s because what doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger. Just like Alexis. Just like me, as well as a bunch of people I’m probably forgetting.

Anyway, thanks for the reminder Alexis. Much needed today.
Keep calm and carry on.