Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Goodbye Dubai - Hello Singapore

This is my last week at Ketchum Raad Middle East. It was a great ride and I made many great friends and lasting professional contacts both from the client side, from partners and from the agency. We're headed to Singapore where I'll be starting my new job in June. Can't wait for this next adventure. 

Ketchum Kingdom Board Game - I must say that I've played and won this game. (This was originally designed for our Agency of the Year presentation for the MEPRA Awards)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trillium Days

Just thought I would post some music here from the good old days of the late 1990's. That's when four young gentlemen from Ottawa, Canada came together to play many live rock n' roll shows and record a few tracks.

For a melancholic few hours, I recently uploaded much of the finished music that Trillium (the band I used to sing in) had made. Please feel free to listen, comment and because it is licensed under Creative Commons, you can also take it, remix it, and let it live all over again. (just give us some credit).

Loosing Track by iamjamieread

Styrofoam by iamjamieread

Track 7 - Untitled by iamjamieread

Track 4 - In This Machine by iamjamieread

You can check out the rest of our music from Trillium's '97 Self Titled Demo and from '98 full length 'Looks Easy from Here'.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Move, Learn, Eat... Live

I am writing this from New York, where I've been for more than a week now, so it might sound a little bit contradictory of me to say that I miss traveling. While I love New York and am really enjoying working and playing here, when I talk about traveling, I mean the kind of traveling where each day I am confronted with 360 degrees of options and experiences, where the question 'what next?' is both a riddle I am trying to solve and a challenge to the universe. NYC is great but it isn't mysterious to me. I understand and fit in quite well here.

When I say I miss traveling, I mean that I miss the feeling I used to get when I traversed Asia with no real direction. Each moment taught me something about the world and myself, filling my lungs, my stomach, my head and my heart with all the emotion and knowledge I could handle. Living in the Middle East has given much of that but I am growing comfortable with it now.

The following three videos were created by three guys in 44 days, across 11 countries, who then created these 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films.

All I can say is that they made me miss traveling...

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where do we go from here?

I know I'm a bit late to the game with my own thoughts on what's happening in the Middle East. Colleagues have already made their analysis of Social Media's role in the revolutions. It goes without saying that Social Media was a huge enabling factor that allowed the youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, now Syria and many more countries to voice their opinions, collect and share their plight with the world. Aside from the political changes that are sure to come to the region, I'm also interested in how digital communication technologies are going to evolve as the masses are now exposed to its power. Below are some thoughts I've recently shared with clients who have asked my opinion. I put them down here now to the community to debate, refute, whatever.

While each country has had different catalysts for their protests and revolutions, a common element has been social media and particularly three main characteristics of it:

- Spatiality, by how it facilitates groups to organize and form both in the Real World and virtually across borders – Many Arabs live outside of their countries, but through SM were able to be part of the revolutions

- Real-Time sharing of multimedia (particularly through mobile)

- How Social Media has created further intellectual disparity between generations and social classes. The old regimes vs. the youth. Those with access vs. the poor. 

What does this mean for the growth of social media in the region?

The last point is a fairly natural occurrence. As older generations cling to ideals and power obtained in their youth, new generations often will challenge this through self expression on new mediums. Think about Elvis and his funny little pelvic dance in the 60's. From here on in, older generations who chose or cannot understand social media will be left out of the conversation and won't be able to have much impact. However, the same is true for the unfortunate people who have little money and/or education. Social media has become more accessable and being adopted by more people outside the upper and middle class, however, this will cause further alienation of those people who cannot participate in the online revolution.

These recent political activities have built a lot of credibility for the medium in the eyes of the engaged youth. For most, the internet, social media and related digital communications was seen as something only enjoyed by middle class youth with good educations. Now it is beginning to be adopted by a larger population and has moved into the mainstream. 

Will it affect the commercial evolution of the internet in the Middle East?
  • Mostly Social Media still remains a platform to share and voice political and/or personal opinions. Commercially, social media is still very young in this region. Only the last 6 months have we begun seeing online shopping and group buying in the Middle East, for example, but these are in the UAE and Lebanon, which have a much higher digital literacy rate. 
  • Also, it’s been only recently that we’ve seen very hip, young brands engage directly with their customers and influencers. Brands in general are seen differently in this part of the world and there is not a lot of openness for direct engagement with large corporations. People are skeptical about the true intentions of companies and issues such as privacy are always a concern. 
  • Lifestyle brands that target subculture for youth are starting to be more daring though and we will see this year a lot more interaction with brands through digital platforms in the Middle East. 
  • Small businesses run by young entrepreneurs also do well, particularly because they understand how to approach SM in a way that doesn’t put people off. For large multinationals, there is an opportunity to provide expertise and resources to help rebuild these countries and social media is an effective way to reach out to the population.

What is next?

I predict a few things will happen before we see more commercialization of Social Media.
  • First, young politically savvy youth will begin to vie for representation in the new governments. The most successful ones will take advantage of the recently expanded online population to drive public sentiment. 
  • The ones who understand how to engage and use social media will be successful in building popularity. Similar to how Obama did, this will help grow adoption further in order for citizens to stay up to speed and participate in the changes to their political landscape.
  • Because it has become more mainstream and understood by a larger majority of the population, when the political situation calms, social media will begin to become more of a commercial platform as people start to use it to research then buy through online channels.People will be recommending which TV to buy instead of which corrupt government official to overthrow. At least we can hope. 
What's your take? How will social media evolve in the Middle East from this point on? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

KPop is taking over the world

Over at In Yeon, I've been blogging a lot about KPop, also known as Korean Pop. There are a few reasons for this that I would like to explain. Not that I feel I need to explain, but I'm gonna explain it anyway.

Firstly, KPop is taking over the world... Seriously! I blogged about how every morning at 10am when I check Twitter, some kind of Korean pop band, actor or whatever is trending near the top. This is an indication of the appeal of Korean entertainment in the rest of Asia, especially South East Asia and its growing fan base pretty much everywhere else. It's even gotten to the point where sex scandals are becoming a regular thing.

Secondly, and related to the first reason, now that Rory and I are married and back to our routine lives, we don't have a lot of stuff to blog about. Aside from keeping our friends and family updated on our wedding plans, customs and pics, the blog also was a way to share the unique culture of Korea, current news and some of the quirky things that we feel make it great. So we decided to focus on this area a lot more and are beginning to look at interesting fashion trends, current events, food, culture and entertainment. Kpop is 99% of the entertainment industry so it makes sense that there will be a lot of posts on this.

Lastly, I kinda like some of the music. Maybe it is the cute little dances or the girls or what, but there are some catchy tunes. I don't love it but I've always been into watching bands and music trends and prided myself on identifying the next big thing. Trust me, Kpop is coming!

So that's it really. In case you thought our blog was taken over by a 15 year old Malaysian girl, I hope that this post explains things a bit.