Monday, December 28, 2009

Middle East entrepreneurs and royalty representing at LeWeb

I hadn't had time to go through the LeWeb videos until today and I was happy to see a panel on the Middle East moderated by Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons with Rabea Ataya, Chairman & CEO of and
Habib Haddad, Founder of I hope that people who watch it get a better idea of the Middle East and the opportunities in this region for entrepreneurs.

Also attending was Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I blogged about her before and I think she is a great. She is very active online on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook and she does a great job breaking the stereotypes, not only of Arabs but women in the Arab world.  

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Going to Korea

A bit nervous about heading to Korea tomorrow to meet Rory's family. Read more about it on our wedding blog. I'll be updating it regularly with pics from ceremonies, dinners, cool places we explore and hopefully some relaxing downtime as well.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Of superheros and economic pundits

The Wired article actually depict Park in a sort of comic book-esque way
I found this article on Wired Magazine's site really interesting. The Troubles of Korea’s Influential Economic Pundit by Mattathias Schwartz is about a sort of nobody Korean guy, Park Dae-Sung, who took to writing anonymously about South Korea's economy and the recession and all that. His alias, Minerva, became super popular to the point where he was actually having an impact on the economy because people would invest or pull out based on his predictions. In the end he was found out and was tried in court. Now he's a nobody again.

It's a great article and I suggest reading it but what intrigued me wasn't so much the conspiracy or government involvement (Disclaimer: the Korea Government just started following Rory and I on Twitter @koreangov ;). What interested me was the concept of alter-egos.

Maybe it is my fascination with superheroes but when I read the story, I couldn't help but think of Clark Kent. A geeky farm boy disguise for an alien super dude who took to saving humanity. People loved Superman but no one really cared or knew about Clark Kent.  I guess Park was the opposite. He was a nobody who's alter ego was a celebrity. But really, how can people put so much trust in the anonymous predictions of someone who wasn't willing to show their face? Would something like that be possible in Canada I wonder...?

Spiderman on the other hand has always had what I believe is a more truthful depiction of an identity crisis in that the public is split between his heroic deeds and his need for secrecy. There is a lack of understanding and a lack of public trust about whether he truly has good intentions or that he is even qualified to save people. Police see him as a vigilante. JJJ thinks he's a menace. So then why were Koreans so easily trusting of someone who was hiding behind their monitor?

Peter couldn't always handle his superhero side
I think it is an interesting insight into Koreans and maybe even humans. What's your take?

*For more information on Korea, feel free to check out a blog I put together with my fiancee for our wedding in Korea. There is some interesting information on Korea there.
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Korean Fan Death

On hot summer days, Korean fans are known to commit murder!

There's a superstition in Korea that fans kill! Now, we're not talking about this kind of fan, though if looks could kill... but click through to our wedding blog to find out what we're talking about. Knowing just might save your life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spare change and the future of journalism

When I was 13 I needed 10 dollars to buy a Batman action figure. My dad wanted me to do 2 weeks’ worth of chores for the money so instead I went to the mall and stood near a pay phone booth outside the Walmart. “Excuse me but I really need to call my mom and I don’t have a quarter,” I whimpered to the old ladies shuffling by. I looked sad and cute and in ten minutes made enough to even buy a Robin action figure for my brother. A valuable lesson was learned that day: it can be more profitable to ask a lot of people for a little than to ask one person for a lot.

The more the merrier

With the advent of the internet and social media, this theory holds truer today than ever. Crowdfunding, as it has been termed, is my concept of begging for nickels multiplied by millions and it is how sites like Wikipedia and the Pirate Bay are able to operate without a formal funding model. There are countless crowdfunding projects on the web in nearly every industry and they are all benefitting from the power of a democratized web. For example ActBlue is designed to fundraise for political candidates, giving voice to underserved populations. ArtistShare is a service for musicians to fund their projects outside the normal recording industry. In 2004, Maria Schneider, became the first artist to win a Grammy with an album distributed only through the Internet.

It's like a potluck where everyone adds a little and they all come away with a lot.

Now it seems that crowdfunding may well be the solution for the ailing newspaper industry. According to Mashable, a recent New York Times story was the first piece of completely crowdfunded reporting from Spot.Us, a community-funded journalism site, to be printed in what can be considered the most important news publications in the world. The concept is quite novel, actually. As newspapers become more picky about what goes into their thinning pages, they are unwilling to pay the upfront costs for their staffers to travel and research news stories that, in the end, might not make it. With this new model, journalists receive funding by the public for writing stories that the public want to know about. Newspapers and other media then get to purchase those stories, knowing that they are on topics that people want to read. The journalist wins, the newspaper wins and most importantly, the global community wins.

Mob rule doesn't always have to result in hysteria. It's more likely to produce critical thought

Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing in general are proof that social media is more than a fad but a viable business model based not on capitalist principles but on the odd marriage of social ideals and mob rule. In the case of newspapers and journalists, it’s a win/win/win situation for the industry. As a public relations professional, however, the question I need to ask is, where does PR fit in?

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Racism in Korea

This picture is taken from a textbook in Korea. It explains a lot about why young people in that country are struggling to understand themselves and their place in the world. I explain it all in my post over on Rory and my blog

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm Getting Married

I am marrying a beautiful and wonderful young woman and we have officially set the date as May 2, 2010. It will be a traditional Korean wedding and we will be blogging about the traditions, cultural significance and our own experiences related to the wedding and all that is happening around it.

If you're interested to know what is involved in a traditional Korean wedding, visit us at You can also follow us on Twitter at

By the way, the pic above isn't that random. Geese are an important symbol of fidelity in Korea. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

catching up to myself

why i don't find the time to post anymore is really more an indication of my tendency towards inertia and less about the fact that i don't really have anything to say. how someone can move 'towards inertia' is quite peculiar, i realize, but it really is a character flaw that i've learned to accept nearly 30 years into my existence. it is either a product of or a reason that i am pretty good at everything but not really great at anything. making music, playing basketball, creative writing and this blog are examples of things i was driven towards but eventually let stagnate as i moved on to new ventures and to practice new skills. even finishing video games is tremendously difficult for me because as the end nears i abandon it and move on. can i not commit? can i not focus? obviously not because this post isn't really supposed to be about my inertia...

truthfully, a lot has happened since last i graced my blog with ramblings. ive passed another year and a half in the squelching shadow of dubai. i've become engaged. i've had great visits from both parents, each reminding me that i should be more homesick than i ever am. i recently travelled home for a holiday. i've gained a significant ammount of girth in my midsection. i've eaten lots of kimchi (likely related to my girth). i'm trying to learn korean. i'm looking for a new place live. i guess i'm a bit wrestless again, as it's been over two years in the same place and so feels - for lack of a better word - funny.

so, as it happens, i was just watching finding forester with sean connery and i was reminded that i am inert again with my writing. this feeling at least gave me the momentum to write this post and, since i have to go to bed and don't have the time to write something else, post a poem or two on my other blog to remind me that i used to like writing and was decent at it. so if you read this and you feel like reading this, then please feel free to tear it to shreds as it might just jolt me enough to rework it and in doing so rekindle my old desires. the title is 어디에, which is pronounced 'odi ai', which means 'where?'

hopefully i will be on here more often. cheers.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

what's next???

i have much to update you on. today is april fool's day and while this is something to celebrate in itself (i just got my boss), it holds more significance to me. in four days i will be 29...

while i don't usually dwell on birthdays, this past year has been full of fun, unexpected surprises so i thought it would be worth it to recap for you all.

first i heard that Kaitlyn and Mike are getting married, then Tyler and Adrianne. Great news for my sis and bro and their fiancees. the swell in my heart when i heard this good news about my younger siblings was amazing.

i had a great year with rory. we went to kuala lampur, italy, hong kong, and toronto. spent many days chilling on the beach. we enjoyed a relaxed holiday season making christmas cards that we never got around to sending out. she's in korea at the moment and i am looking forward to picking her up at 5 in the morning from the airport.
my mom came to visit in november. she is doing great and i am very proud of her though i miss her very much. we had a lot of fun dune bashing in the desert, roaming around the souks in dubai and i'm sure she enjoyed the beach and sunshine. it was really great just catching up and for her to get to know rory.

dad visited in february and we had an equally great time. we took a trip to egypt and saw some amazing things. i was impressed he could keep up with me and more often i was chasing him through the ancient tombs of obscure pharaohs, his eyes lit up with a toddler's curiosity. cold stella in smoky, dingy makeshift bars, sheesha in luxor alleyways, koshary and the ancient labyrinth of cairo's old souk: these are memories i'll keep forever.

work is going well. new projects and old projects are converging so i am busier than ever but considering how the rest of the world is faring, i'm happy. i go to tunisia just after my birthday and i've travelled to doha, cairo and beirut for work so it's been nice to see some of the region as well.

the rest is same old jamie: making some music, playing some basketball, partying with friends, enjoying the day, moving forward...

so i know this is supposed to be a travel blog but i don't seem to have time to upload all the photos from my trips so i thought this abstract would suffice for the moment. i promise to get all my adventures up here soon. in the meantime, just know that i am well and making the most of each day. i miss everyone dearly but am happy to have many friends and loved ones here as well.

this year has been one to remember and that is the best birthday present i could hope for.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Israel vs Gaza vs USA vs UN vs Humanity

Some interpretations from various countries on the current conflict. I couldn't find very many that were pro-Israel or even neutral which might be a point in itself. Regardless, since taking a course on the social and political dimensions of humor in university, i've come to really admire the power such illustrations have to make people question their own ideals and understanding of a situation. Discuss!

I'm making a collection. You can find them on my Flikr page here. Send me some others if you can from around the world. It is always in the best interest of those seeking peace to see through the eyes of all people.