Friday, December 31, 2010

Saigon/CreativeMornings is pleased to welcome Dustin Nguyen

21 jump street, Dustin Nguyen, Saigon Creative Mornings, Dustin Nguyen and his family moved from Saigon to the US in 1975. He is the prototypical embodiment of the American Dream - creative, yet eternally viral. He matriculated through middle and high school to become an actor on the American TV show, '21 Jump Street'. This was not a small a accomplishment. He continues to act and direct and offers inspiration to all those who pursue a creative life. Dustin Nguyen was voted Best Actor in Vietnam in 2009 and continues to pursue excellence and creativity in life Please click on this link and register. We are very pleased to welcome him. to Saigon/CreativeMornings. Dustin will discuss the balance between art and commerce.

Just click on this link and register here. Only 30 tickets available. Register now. Tickets will go quickly. Registration opens 8am Saturday.

Facebook block in Vietnam now official.

Oh, don't call the govt. They'll tell you they have DNS problems and have a team of Internet scientists in the back room trying to sort it out. And don't call the local cop shop. They're still reading the manual for that remote control that came with the Sony flat-screen they're watching. "I hate Oprah. Where's a Bruce Lee movie?" Oh the Great Firewall. Imported from China and reinstalled in the Cu Chi tunnels. "Facebook's owned by Americans, right? Screw em".

With the big People's Party meeting coming up in January the party has decided that about the last thing they need is the 'people' participating. So we're on lockdown.
"Stay in you cell, prisoner. Here's some more gruel - You know John McCain?" Meanwhile, we all trundle along with whatever Internet workaround makes us happy (I like "Tor"). Dear. I'm not on the "A" list again. I hate the 'party' having a 'party' and not being invited - cuz there ain't no party like a communist party!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How much does THAT cost?

Man calls house painter and says, "How much does it cost to paint my house?" House painter looks at house and says, "$1000". Man says, "how much if I help?" House painter says, "$2000".

Man walks into McDonald's. Says, "You make hamburgers here, right?" Clerk says, "Sure we're fucking McDonald's. We own hamburgers". Man slaps a pound of beef on the counter and says, "Great, give me 4 Quarter-Pounders. How much will that cost?"

Clients. Geez. They all love my plan but they want to execute it themselves. Recipe for disaster. They think they are saving money - and in the meantime, when I tell them what they are fucking up, they just think I am rude. Not billable. A pain in the ass.

"How much does the secret sauce cost dude?"

There's nothing worse than writing a plan and having to execute it with a cadre of conscripts who don't work for you. I design the building. I hire the bricklayers. I hire the drywall guys. Why? Because they work for me. And I make sure it gets done right - or they don't get paid.

I have to work with your people? Painful.

The minute you give me your own people, they don't work for me. Then I'm just a large freelance pain in their ass.

Note to clients: It will cost you a whole lot more to have me teach you how to do it, than to actually do it myself.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

99% of the time

"I'm pretty much useless 99% of the time, but the 1% that I do work, I'm dangerous."

I got this from a fellow blogger and member of Saigon/CreativeMornings today. If I were you, I'd check out his blog, about 1% of the time.

Monday, December 27, 2010

RIP - Alex Chilton 03.17.10

Alex Chilton, Big Star, The Box Tops, The Letter. RIP, DeadAlex Chilton died on March 17th. The problem is that I didn't hear about it until now. I was in Germany at the time and about to be ambushed to cook a birthday dinner for a girl I hadn't seen since October of the previous year. Alex Chilton, who's name will only ring a bell to devotees of Power Pop and a band called Big Star (of course you've never heard of them) was most known as the lead singer of a 60s American band called The Box Tops. When he was 16 they had a #1 hit with a song called, 'The Letter'. "Give me a ticket for an aeroplane", he sang, "Ain't got no time to take no fast train. Lonely days are gone, I'm a goin' home - cause my baby, she wrote me a letter." Rest in peace Mr. Chilton. No one will ever write a song that sets a man's heart traveling because his baby, "she sent him a Twitter". Alex Chilton was 59.

Go Vietnam Airlines! The Mile High Club Lives!

Vietnam Airlines, Vietnam Air, Golden Lotus, Frequent Flyer Program, Mile High Club, Nearly a year and a half after having joined the Vietnam Air Golden Lotus frequent flier club and coming 99.9% close to having joined the Mile High club on my flight with them to Europe last year, this lovely airline has finally seen fit to send me a statement of my travel miles, along with the following email message: "Please open attached file for details and do not reply this email. Thank you!" And get this - the attachment is a MS Word doc. ! Ha :). They're kidding, right? Nope. So that's the state of technology they've reached in customer loyalty programs. What if I just want to add a few million miles to my total? No problem. Cut and paste. Upgrades? No problem. And BTW. The tower instructs all pilots to just " Please Tweet or post a notice to your wall if you believe your plane is going to crash. All air traffic controllers are currently busy on Facebook and Twitter and we appreciate your cooperation." Thank you for flying Vietnam Air!

P.S. I didn't get any extra points for my in-flight activities last time and I should have. I should have earned lifetime airport lounge status and free Scotch, like, for as long as Bernie Madoff's in jail.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Writers Write

Writers, Writing, City Pass, Soup, Cooks, Hugh MacLeod, smoking, New Business, I didn't write this today. And I didn't write it on a keyboard. I wrote it in my head over the last couple of months and just typed it today. In a very serious way, it wrote itself. I'm just the vessel for serving. I call it passive, intuitive, cognitive analysis and composition - or - the art of gathering ingredients, throwing them into the soup, and letting it all simmer on the back-burner until ready to serve - as opposed to defining a problem and sitting down to deliberately solve it in a logical and mathematical way on a piece of paper. Yes, of course I have logic and mathematics in the mix, but they've been thrown together with art and passion, serendipity and whatnot and we just have to see to what height they rise in the mix when it's all finished. And as much as you may like the soup, that's no guarantee that you're going to like seeing what goes on in the kitchen during the making.

A few months ago, I had a client who required that I write in his office. I agreed because he was already a fan of work I had done for his company - clients had complimented both my client service and writing skills. Little did I see that making him privy to the daily ravages of actually doing it would be the issue we couldn't resolve.

One day, after a staff meeting, he asked myself and another staffer to stay for more specific instruction. He then declared that our smoking was a cause for his concern, not from a health standpoint at all, but because the time we spent away from our desks was taking valuable time away from his work and costing him money. So he announced that our pay would be docked 10 minutes for every cigarette we had, and that the receptionist would write it down when we left the building. Childish I thought. He actually believed that the time I spent behind the computer was the time when I was actively working. He didn't understand that those few minutes with a smoke, or a walk around the block were as productive or possibly more productive than sitting with a digital chisel and trying to carve the stuff out of stone. This guy had liked my writing because he said it was funny - but let me tell you, you won't get funny when the boss is standing over your desk with a whip. You'll just feel funny. And so we parted ways.

Last month I wrote 4 new business presentations in one week, but in reality, I only typed them. One had been brewing through conversations with a number of clients for quite some time. Then it came out as an email, which ended up as a blog post, which ended up accruing one client - but not the one it was meant for originally. Another was written while having coffee with someone and yet another had been written long before I even met the man to whom it would be presented. It was a collection of thoughts, already thunk, but just waiting for the right audience. I wrote one entire presentation for a client whilst attending three marketing conferences in one week. I listened, I participated, I ate, I drank - but all the while, I was really writing. I already had a skeletal idea of what I wanted to say, but the conferences helped me fill in the holes and put things in order, by not doing it logically - but just letting things fall into their natural positions in the back of my head.

I don't know a lot of writers per se, but I do know a lot of artists and creators, and I can tell you this: They are working all the time - even when they don't seem to be working. My friend Hugh MacLeod , on reflecting on his 20 years in the working world, figured that, "1/2 of his working time was unpaid". I think that's a generous assessment. I suspect it is much more than half the time that we are thinking, but not on the clock. And that's how I think writers write. The time at the keyboard is just typing -- and editing (?), is something completely different, entirely.

"Where in the World is Sazeli Jalal?" - What Have I Done For You Lately? VI

Originally published in East & West Magazine, December 2010

East & West Magazine December: Where in the world is Sazeli Jalal

Sazeli Jalal, East and West Magazine, Photography, Art,  Design,  Style, Fashion, Lady Gaga,One thing I like about Journalism is that many times, I don't get to choose the stories I write. I prefer to take them on assignment and then that way, I'm always learning something in the process as well - seeing things for the first time and having first impressions. And it's important to understand that the profiles of artists that I do are exactly that, profiles - not reviews. If it were up to me to choose only things I liked, the magazine would have many fewer stories. And if I did reviews that were unflattering to the artists, they would be a lot less likely to cooperate with us.

This particular artist, Singaporean photographer Sazeli Jalal, is not someone I would have warmed to at all. I certainly wouldn't want any of his work hanging on my wall, but growing up as a creative director there comes an appreciation for people who see things differently than you do - and applications for clients where the work is particularly well suited, yet not at all to your personal taste. Sazeli's work is that to me and this simple layout is one of the best the magazine has seen to compliment my writing with. Thank you E&W.

For more in the "What I have I Done For You Lately" series see:

(I)WHIDFYL I: American Airlines
(II)WHIDFYL II: Nintendo
(III) WHIDFYL III: The Children of Charles & Ray Eames
(IV) WHIDFYL IV: Heartbeat Vietnam
(V) WHIDFYL V: A Study in Contrast - Sandrine Lloquet

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tis the season...

Donate, Thank You, wild wild east dailies, Christmas StockingAs the year draws to a close and the WWED narrows in on 500 stories in three years, we want to thank all our readers and wish them Happy Holidays. Should you feel WWED has added something to your journey this year, please don't hesitate to drop a little something in the stocking by clicking the 'donate' button in the sidebar :) We operate without the benefit of advertising and prefer to be reader supported - tis also the season where we like to eat a little more than usual. Thank you all very much.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Can't We All Just Get Along?" - Cannes Jury President?

Geez. You'd think I dropped a nuclear device or at least farted in a room full of advertising big boys in Saigon. Inside of two days of being part of the Saigon/CreativeMornings launch and a post I did supporting a designer involved in the Cannes Young Lions competition in Vietnam I've got the managing directors of three big multi-national agencies raking my butt over the coals. And for what? Trying to move the ball along a little bit. My friend George says, "Funny how much attention you're getting." and I think that's a good thing because the attention I'm getting is from constructive criticism I've made and from people who don't like it, or didn't do anything about it, years ago when it came up.

Am I allowed to say
"F*%$ em?" No. Actually not. Because the whole point is very much larger than that. Many times people complain because you do something that they wish they had done. One thing I do know, I sure didn't do anything wrong. Here's what I've done - or have not done. You decide.

#1) I did not start the Saigon/CreativeMornings group. Mad's Monsen was the first with the idea. And then I brought it to George and we all talked it around a number of people, and then it became real. Getting Tina Roth Eisenberg of the
SwissMiss blog, the original creator of the format, to work with us was me. I did that.

Cannes didn't do it and Sun Flower Media didn't do it and an agency who should rightfully own the history of great advertising and another agency who both offered to sponsor after we had already launched and then complained at me didn't do it either. A well formed group of individuals did. Done.

And I have no problem with the Vietnam Young Lions competition, The Vietnam Advertising Festival, the Big Show or the Vietnam Advertising Association - except that they are so poorly organised on the Internet that my personal blog posts show up on Google Search Pages as high or higher than they in many cases. Google it. This causes them to loose a community concept and miss valuable input from the exact audience they seek to attract. So that audience, talks to me. I get a lot of attention because the generation now growing up in advertising lives on the Internet and I have a presence there. That's pretty simple. Once these shows and events learn that, they'll be yet another step forward. Shooting the messenger won't get them anywhere.

The entire point here is that we all need to "get along". from Sun Flower Media to the BigShow, to DDB, to WPP to Lowe and Golden, Purple, BBDO and all the other boys and girls in town. Pitching an account is competitive - but joining together for the greater good of the industry and its employees should not be.

The people who have complained to me this week all complained because somehow their self interest was not served. Look at McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Long John Silver's in the US. They all live on the same street corner because people like variety in their eating and it's a convenience to find them all in the same place - and so the industry as a whole does better because of competition. The industry here could learn a lot from that.

Happy holidays all!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Wonderful New Vietnamese Design Blog

Cannes Young Lions, Nguyen Nguyen Situation, The Big Show, VietnamCannes Young Lions, Nguyen Nguyen Situation, The Big Show, VietnamHi Voung Nguyen. Nice blog. Wonderful blog. I wish I had see it before. But now I know so you're on the radar. For all the rubbish we all have to slosh through on a regular day around here finding Voung's blog was just a joy - a man who designs his way through all sorts of projects with joy, skill, talent and an 'oh-so-obvious' love for his craft, art direction & design. Spend a few minutes with this blog. It's simply presented and funnily written in English by a guy who oh-so-seriously-get's-it. And get this, it's written by another Nguyen and although I have been warned by the word police to never ever say this, I'm going to do it anyway - it looks like a Nguyen/Nguyen situation (ok, shoot me). I had seen his team's (non-winning) campaign for the Young Lions competition against school violence but I really was taken aback by his advice to new teams, "If you wanna win, do the same things as previous winners.. " That's a sad comment on the whole damn industry, and possibly the judges. But it's from a man who is already Nguyening, so I think he won't be sucking up that badly anytime soon. Check his blog and watch his butt. If I had a job, I'd worry!

Get Your Metal Head on!

Heavy Metal, Music, "All you want for Christmas is your two front metal teeth!" For the record, I'm not a metal-head, but I love music and I was cheered to find this site - The Map of Metal. If anyone remembers Jack Black's character in 'School of Rock' mind mapping out the history of rock on the blackboard, this is that concept, but on the Internet. From Black Sabbath to the obscure sub-genre of Swedish Death Metal, this gives you the full tour. Check it out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Early Christmas Present: Technorati Ranking 5300 - How to write the best damn blog in the world XI

Technorati rank, WWED, Seth Godin, Vietnam, How To Write the Best Damn Blog in the WorldI worked particularly late last night and woke up to find that we had jumped 3000 positions in the Technorati blog ranking to become #5300 in the world. (We started at 1,500,000) And before you think I'm just bragging to make my own winky fat, think again. The reason I post our rankings and talk about them is that I am just positively amazed at the power of the Internet. In just three years, with absolutely no money and many times a really crappy computer, we have put WWED within shouting distance of some of the best blogs in the world. If Seth Godin has an Authority Ranking of 750 and we're 472 that is positively amazing. He's got over 10 published books and a subscriber base of tens of thousands and we have Vietnam, really good stories, a totally crazy trip to Europe and Africa, and more Vietnam.

One of my favorite books of all time was called "30 Lines a Day", written by a journalist who needed to rekindle his desire to write - and so he took an old college professor's instruction to write 30 lines a day no matter what the shite he had to write. In that way, there is no destination, only a trip, and the story unfolds while you are writing it. But it never happens if you don't do the work. Want to write The Best Damn Blog in the World? Write. Write again. And then write about what you wrote about. That's what I do. And that's what has made WWED grow. You can do it too. Thank you all.

Merry Christmas 2010 from WWED!

Christmas, WWED, Christmas in Vietnam, Happy New Year, Merry Christmas all, or happy holidays or whatever works for you and yours. Do take a listen to our Christmas podcast in the sidebar. It's retro, Latin, unexpected and fun. Peace be with everyone and may your 2011 be bright. Cheers. <:David

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saigon/CreativeMornings first event: Friday, January 14th, 8:30am

Saigon Creative MorningsMark your calendars and click here. We're not going to tell you who the first speaker is, because that's a fairly large surprise but we can tell you that we remain committed to bringing world-class creative talent in to illuminate the creative process and have accomplished that in spades. The event will work like this: On December 31st, New Years Eve, we'll announce our speaker on this and other blogs and news outlets. We'll also include an online registration form. Registration opens January 1. You must register online to get on the list and the list will be limited to 30 people. First come, first serve. If you don't make that, we will keep a waiting list, but no guarantees, so early birds will get the worms, along with coffee and whatever we can dig up from mom's kitchen. The event will be roughly two weeks after registration begins and do expect the list to fill up quickly. On the day of the event, doors will open at 8:30am and our guest will begin promptly at 9. No one will be admitted after 9 so do plan on getting an early start that day. There will be a 30 minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A so we're all wrapped up by 10 and everyone can get off to work. Saigon/CreativeMornings are completely free to all attendees with generous help from our sponsors. Keep your eye on this blog and we hope to see you all on the 14th of January in a brand new year. Happy Holidays.

"Now seeking an appropriate position to drive best practice change strategies to achieve multi-disciplinary, blah, blah": Personal Branding IV

"I am an CV, Resume, Personal Branding, HR, MSc qualified organisational change and development professional with a solid track record of facilitating Human Resource Development programmes across the Asian region."

"Now seeking an appropriate position to drive best practice change strategies to achieve multi-disciplinary goals and realise corporate aspirations."

Yes, this is a real CV, from a real guy. Apparently he's been reading too many HR guides and has put all the right keywords in the first two lines so that it gets searched by bots looking for those words. The problem? It doesn't say a damn thing. Here's how a smart recruiter would tear this apart:

"MSc qualified organisational change and development professional"

Recruiter: You have a Masters degree from a recognized institution to effect change in recognized institutions? Sure. That's like having a degree in rock and roll to make hit records. Good luck.

"with a solid track record of facilitating Human Resource Development programmes"

Recruiter: But what have you really done? You facilitated, which means helped, but have you initiated anything? Come up with any real ideas?

"Now seeking an appropriate position to drive best practice change strategies to achieve multi-disciplinary goals and realise corporate aspirations."

Now this just says absolutely nothing. Let's re-write it so it does:

"Now looking for a job using strategies everybody else has already used and approved to make everybody happy no matter where your company is headed."

Oooh, that sucks, but that's what it says.
Writing a CV in plain English and being able to tell people what exactly you did to benefit past companies is probably one of the hardest things in the business world. Telling them how you will help their company in the future is probably more difficult. I work with clients helping them communicate their personal brands to companies. If your CV sounds like the one above, contact me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I don't care how many hits this blog gets: How to write the best damn blog in the world X

I quote Seth Godin every once in a while because he has great things to say, every once in a while. Here's one about blogging and business.

"A blogger starts measuring pageviews and ends up racing to the bottom with nothing but scintillating gossip and pandering. Or, perhaps, he/she decides to use the blog as a platform to take herself and her readers somewhere they will be glad to go ... There's no rigid line between a job and art. Instead, there's an opportunity."

Becoming a highly rated blog is not only a matter of having the most readers. I value more having the most interesting and dedicated readers. In the last few weeks I've had some wonderful comments about what we publish here. Thank you all. Without readers, the writing wouldn't matter one little bit.

For more on blogs, blogging and bloggers, check here:

It's Good to be Loved - How to Write the Best Damn Blog in the World VI
Tell Me Your Secrets - How to Write the Best Damn Blog in the World V
Is Your Blog Working Hard Enough For Your Business? - How To Write the Best Damn Blog in the World IV
How (NOT) to Write the Best Damn Blog in the World III
Advertising People & Blogs - The Travis Diaries VI
How to Write the Best Damn Blog in the World II
Throw That Blog a Bone!
If Blogs Are Free Are They Worthless?
What If Gutenberg Had a Blog?
If You Like the Blog, Read the Book
2008 Annual Report - The Wild Wild East Dailies
Blog Redesign WWED
BarCamp Saigon 2008
Attraction vs. Conversion - How To Write the Best Damn Blog in the World
Are the Bloggerati Missing the Market?

Bah Humbug Saigon Center. We hope you get coal in your stocking!

Saigon Center, Christmas, Logos, PanasonicIcky, icky, icky. This year's Christmas display at Saigon Center. Gone are all the cute dioramas of elves and Santa's and cheery weirdness replaced by what? A totally banal and ugly advertising campaign for Panasonic complete with a 3D TV viewing station and Panasonic logos stuck in all the trees. Whatever happened to the fun stuff from Christmas? Without the logos?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mads Monsen hits the Big Show and finds it BIGGER but not necessarily better

Following are snippets from Mads Monsen's post on the Big Show. And I agree. Completely.

The Big Show, Design School, Vietnam, Creative, Saigon, Education,  Advertising, Marketing,

The Big Show at Saigon Zoo 2010

The Big Show has been around for some time. I remember the first show I went to hosted at Pierre’s former restaurant at Thai Van Lung street. Back in the old days. Work was pinned up on dividers set up in the restaurant and the creative community mingled. It has moved around to various venues. Sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors, sometimes both.

The Big Show has gotten bigger over the years. Recently Sun Flower Media, my former employer, have been improving the show in some aspects.

What struck me was the feeling of fewer participants on display. They had a lot of work up. New work. International work. But no digital work.

According to Todd at Golden Digital (via David), it took Vietnam only 5 years to get up and going on the Internet. The young generation that is looking for inspiration, the very inspiration the Big Show used to provide, are finding that information easily online. They do not need to wait one year to see it on display.

To me, personally, by attending an event such as the Big Show, it doesn’t give me much anymore. Except the possibility to actually bump into interesting people. To me, it is more an networking opportunity than an actual learning experience.

People in the creative industry are complaining how hard it is to find local creative talent and how they wish the local design education could improve. Well, to only see the final product, you only feed the industry of copyists that will take what they see and just copy it. They will not understand the creative process. They will not be accustomed to research. They will not understand creative analysis. They will not innovate.

By showing end results only, you will not create the opportunity to learn from the process. In the past, having access to international work was an inspiration as it was very difficult to access that information otherwise, however, technology has made that information so accessible that the need is no longer there.

One of the remaining strengths of The Big Show is that it highlights the creative industry in the media, but how about extending the current scope and try to look at other ways to bring better value. To evolve and improve.

Walking at the show the day after was sobering. The stage was empty. The screen showing re-runs of the reels. Staff sitting around waiting for the time to pass so they could wrap it all up.

Imagine the effort put into creating the event. The marketing material produced, the advertising of the event, the building of the stage and different booths. All the staff to make it happen. For mainly a one night stand. Too much effort, wasted.

How about using the next day inviting the local agencies for short presentations? Make and publish a schedule. Get people to come and listen and see the work and hear about the process the day after. Get more out of the event than just an evening. BarCamp is successful for the presentations. People come to listen. To learn. There is a real interest here. Evolve and be part of the progress or wither as a dinosaur. The show will always go on.

As they say, find an itch and fix it. The best way to invent a new product or service.

Well, Saigon/CreativeMornings are about to see the light in HCMC. A monthly get-together for creatives. Takes place in the mornings only. A healthy stimuli. Scheduled for launch in January. Stay tuned! Thanks Mads!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to find me on Facebook

Facebook,  Wild Wild East, wild wild east dailies, David Everitt-Carlson, It seems that hyphenated last names don't work so well on Facebook. I've had a good number of people tell me they can't find me there. So try this: It works.

ADS Design School: Clarification - I do not work with them any longer

ADS, Design School, Scam, Scum, Carpetbaggers, Loosers, Vietnam, Program Director, RubbishThis last week a number of people approached me and said, "You're famous! We saw your picture in the newspaper!" And I can tell you exactly how that happened. A few months ago a start-up design school approached me and wanted to use my picture and CV to promote their business. I was in advertising and editorial content for them. The position was titled "Program Director" but I looked at their info and saw that they had already written an entire curriculum with course descriptions, prices and promises they would get students into the US in a 4-year university program. In all reality, they had nothing but a designy-looking empty office. But I liked that better than any ugly school I had seen thus far, and the idea of building something - but I also realized that I would have nothing to do with their "program direction" at all.

Their direction was simply to enter a market that Raffles already owned and charge the same price, with none of the props or experience or big office building. And so my job, as I evaluated it, was to provide the "street cred" to the school. And in that sense only, I thought I could help. At least I'm a real body with real experience.

And so I made a contract with them to use my image and CV to promote the school. We also made an agreement for me to consult on their business and help them develop an American university preparatory courses in Vietnam. But the consulting part of the idea never happened. They only wanted my face to get attention. And so they did.

ADS Design School, as I understand, has now aligned with a school in the US that could only be described as a ravenously expensive trade school that will bypass any real university qualification standards to get Asian kids into an American school - if you've got the cash. At $26,000 for two semesters, you might better consider Harvard - that is if you can speak English and pass the entrance exam.

I initially liked the ADS school, because I thought they truly loved design and communications - but we never came to a good working agreement on how to teach that. They seemed to be thinking $$$ and I seemed to be thinking about, oh dear, good ideas and world class design.

And so, I simply don't work with them anymore.

What to pay for: The Travis Diaries XXXXI

"I'm allowed to hate you. I'm allowed to forgive you. But I'm not allowed to pay for in cash things that could have only become fucked-up because of your actions."- Travis

For more in the Travis Diaries, check here:

Sex: The Travis Diaries I

I'm a man, DAMMIT: The Travis Diaries II
Love: The Travis Diaries III
Tiger: The Travis Diaries IV
Ambivelence: The Travis Diaries V
Advertising People & Blogs: The Travis Diaries VI
What's Left?: The Travis Diaries VII
Year of the Tiger: The Travis Diaries VIII
She said: The Travis Diaries IX
Dreams: The Travis Diaries X

A Bad Day: The Travis Diaries XI
Svengali? The Travis Diaries XII
My Way: The Travis Diaries XIII

Celebrities and social networking: Now you're famous. We hate you!

Celebrity, online,  Technorati, Lindsey Lohan, Meg Ryan, Brittney, Hugh MacLeod, Ignore everybody, wild wild east dailies, Blog, Twitter,  Jimmy Wales, Facebook,  Elvis, Dennis Quaid, LinkedIn, Bobby ChinnI had a meeting with a person yesterday who can legitimately consider himself a celebrity. He has an eponymous business, has written a book and currently hosts an international television show. Our conversation centered around solidifying his online presence. There's a website, a Twitter account, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other number of other sites who may comment and contribute to his online personality - and not all always in a positive way. Once achieved, a level of celebrity can also bring a level of discontent in a certain number of online wankers. I did a post about meeting Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and immediately received a raft of comments from people laying claim to some sort of 'founding' with Wikipedia as well. People who don't like Jimmy Wales. True? Not my job to validate or invalidate those claims - but it's everyone's job, anyone with any online presence at all, to make sure you manage that presence in as positive a way as possible.

And you don't think you're a celebrity? I don't either, but in the last few weeks this blog has become the #1 Technorati rated blog in Vietnam and I have been called out and treated as someone who has done something in otherwise normal social situations. Just on the street last week a guy yelled out at me, "Yo! Wild Wild East!". At another basically normal business meeting on another day the MD brought in a staff member and said, "She's a fan of your blog". Geez, a blogging celebrity? But the thing is - it's entirely possible, and in my case, oddly true. Do you think a lot of people sit around in their house at night and think, "The next big business idea is the Wild Wild East Dailies?" But I did.

My friend, Hugh MacLeod, a certified blogging celebrity, notes in chapter 35 of his book, 'Ignore Everybody' - "Savor obscurity while it lasts". Because once you hit the Internet, that clock starts ticking on what Andy Warhol termed, "Your 15 minutes of fame".

The most interesting thing about my recent celebrity meeting, and all the previous meetings I've had with such folks, is that that they all need to define what part of the person goes into the "Brand" of Oprah, Elvis, Tony Bennett, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Jimmy Wales and even Hugh - (and yes, I have met them all in more than a handshake capacity) to figure out which part needs to practice the art, clean the toilet, mow the lawn, have a romance, a family and as normal a life as makes them feel comfortable. My Monday celebrity simply wants to be able to do the work that made him famous and not have to dick with Twitter too much. God knows it hasn't helped Brittney or Lindsey Lohan too much.

And once you sort that out, you're on your way to being a celebrity as well. Like me! But I still have to pay for beers in bars.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

3 Big Shows: Two big ideas

So everybody knows I did 3 advertising, marketing and digital events last week - and writing about all will take some time. So with three shows, I have three comments for each. Take it in stride, I have a bad cold and no time for BS.


The Vietnam Digital Marketing and Technology Conference

What a crappy name. Too bad it was a great event. Lowly promoted, highly attended, this event made people talk, all day long. As opposed to what the Vietnamese call seminars, where old professors stand up and deliver all day, this conference got everybody talking - and served up more Chivas than anyone could drink at the end. Sponsored by Golden Digital I loved this event because it brought all companies together to sell an idea, and the sponsor won for being a sponsor, not a sales shill. Key points:

1) Fast talking man from who presented that Tiger Woods won public sentiment with his extra-marital activities because the Chinese value a man's prowess by how many mistresses he has - and China is Nike's biggest future market. Hello Accenture? Didn't you used to Be Arthur Anderson? Those slimes who sold us Enron's accounting? Who are you to talk about morality?

2) Tony Troung from Golden pulled this off almost all by himself and is an absolute rock star. Plus, you gotta love his freakin' hair. He does, we know that!

3) Todd from Golden also rocked. Why? Because he didn't give a PowerPoint presentation. He worked from a sheet of internet linked notes on screen and the audience took his presentation apart - but directed it in ways that made everybody care. Tired of being lectured to, the participants bonded here. Open forum = open ideas.

The Big Show/Vietnam Advertising Festival

Hey kids! Let's put on a show! Right. Isn't a festival supposed to involve people, engage people, make them talk and discuss? This festival seemed designed to put us all to sleep. From the three old men, the only guys to hit the stage, it seemed like Sun Flower Media, The Creative Circle and Vietnam Marcom were just three old dudes doing this for themselves. So they gave them flowers. To put on their own graves? Festival? I didn't see anyone dancing. A drab display of old media as if no one saw that digital had already wiped out most of their business. Next year, we'll call it the BIG Dinosaur awards - and we can still have it at the zoo. But, yes, there were highlights.

1) TBWA's YouTube moving announcement. It features gay dudes, bitches, more bitches, and the ever so hot but camera shy "George". That bitch. The biggest film idea of the show - but way too long. It's a 140 character world girls. Next time. Audience loved it.

2) Grey print. Like I care about Grey? They're uhh, gray. But their print and copy rocked. Unfortunately Indian creatives did the work and took the credit. And nothing against people from India. If the expats around here aren't putting Vietnamese creatives front and center and passing on the knowledge, that just sucks. We didn't send you here to get famous, expats. We sent you here to teach other people how to get famous. Stop sucking limelight.

3) The Young Lion's school student necktie campaign. Everybody else on that assignment over-thought it. You nailed it. Thank you. True. Clear. Brilliant. And totally on target. Cool. The other teams thought the judges were the target. You nailed the target. Kids in school.


What a mess. And that's what we like about it. "My PowerPoint fucked up.". Okay. "Geez, people kept walking in and out of the room." Yes, com se, com sa. Shit happens? But sometimes good shit happens. And BarcampSaigon is the place for it. I saw no other advertising agency people at this event. May describe the death of dinosaurs while they're still walking - slowly, through the old rubble they used to make a living out of...

1) Sun at Little lives. com has 40,000 kids, little kids, on an educationally based social network in Singapore. "Dad, can you help me with my math homework?", sez kid. "Make you a deal, can you help me with my Facebook profile?", sez parent. Oh, da times dey are-a changin'.


Vietnamese guy explains Silicon Valley culture (in Vietnamese). A mix of capital and ideas that becomes a business in itself. How to make it here. Sorry no direct link.

3) John and IPR

Audience lost. Even trouble asking questions. "Wait. My idea is an intellectual property? Like I thought of it and it has value?"

You've gotta love the idea that anybody is even listening to this idea. "So wait, can't I just steal an idea from another guy?"


These events should make us all think and talk. The Vietnam Digital Marketing Conference and BarcampSaigon did that. The Vietnam Advertising Festival/Big Show was just an outdoor display without even an internet community to discuss or any social activity at all. Why or why not? I don't know why or why not. And nobody else will either because the organizers don't seem to want that. They want a kingdom. And so they have one. At a zoo. And then the people leave.

Stay tuned for Saigon/CreativeMornings starting in January.

Washington DC lawyers invade Saigon?

Damn. Tourists land at the airport in Saigon, see the shiny new buildings, the advertising on hundreds of billboards and see even the basic Vietnamese motorbike drivers playing totally capitalist poker with prospective riders and say, "Looks like America won the war!".

Enter John, who represents Alkimie and advises companies on Intellectual Property Rights issues. Irony? The country who tried to steal the whole country now advises the country on how not to let other countries steal just little bits of the whole country - like the trade secrets for really good flipping pho! Go figure.

"Que Sera Sera!" - oh damn. That's French.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Don't follow me. You're too f*$#ing late!

On Thursday I saw a slide-show that tracked the number of years it took different transformational technologies to take hold. It went back to the middle ages and figured how long it took for everyone to understand that Genghis Khan's bow and arrow was a good idea. 75 years, after he had already kicked the world's ass. The steam engine, electricity, the telephone, Radio, TV, even gunpowder - 25 - 50 years. The Internet? 20 years in America. In Vietnam? 5. Five years - beating all responsible projections by like, 400 - 500%. Todd from Golden Digital rocks on that one.

Truth is, most of the logical, projectable world has no freakin idea what's going on. Want an education in digital marketing? Don't go to university and get regurgitated 10-year old stuff by highly degreed head cases who need to validate it, before it becomes dusty old rubbish they can teach you?

Last week we became the #1 blog in Vietnam. Tonight I posted to Reddit a post about Hacktivism and Detri-Viral Marketing and had Reddit tell me within an hour, that I had too many hits already and couldn't submit again to another category. This shite just moves so fast. If you don't like heat, this is the kitchen. Don't stick around. By the time I say it, it's history.

But I'm not in the history business am I? You should not be either. Gotta love it.

Hacktivism against brands: Detri-viral Marketing III

MerriaMastercard, business, Detri-viral marketing, Visa, PayPal,  WikiLeaks,  Fabulis, Blogging, Tiger Woods, Amazon, Twitter,  Gapingvoid,  McDonald's, m Associates reports: "It was just a matter of time before the kinds of people who vandalized brand symbols at world economic summits resorted to brand cyber-vandalism. The Wikileaks hacktivists have targeted and threatened global brands like Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, Amazon, Twitter and Shell. Because of their symbolic power, brands are regularly co-opted to attract attention and dramatize political issues. That is how The Gap has become a symbol for sweatshops, McDonald's for the obesity epidemic, Walmart for labor violations and on and on. Many brands are more powerful than sovereign nations. Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations, not nations."

My first attended discussion at the Vietnam Digital Marketing and Technology Conference was a really fast talking guy from Singapore who gave a very convincing presentation on how, over the last year, Nike won and Accenture lost by their corporate behaviour regarding Tiger Woods*. In terms of public sentiment only, Nike won favour by standing by Tiger Woods and Accenture (those lovely folks who used to be Arthur Anderson) lost. People all over the world vote with their wallet (or credit card) every day. Last year the gay website Fabulis, had their account frozen by CitiBank when a mid-level manager thought the website contained "objectionable content". It did not, unless of course, you are homophobic. "When telephone calls, emails and meetings failed to resolve the situation, Fabulis site owner Jason Goldberg started an online attack, blogging snippets of bank conversations and virally sharing their stonewalling decisions. Just twenty-four hours after Goldberg’s blog campaign began, Citibank recanted, issuing an email apology to Goldberg. Having created an online PR disaster for the bank, Jason then took his business and $625,000 account elsewhere.", reports Business Spectator.

Hacktivism, while mainly associated with the WikiLeaks story currently, can now be practiced by anyone with a computer, an opinion and a few others who agree with them - and all brands should very much be aware of that. I've coined it Detri-Viral marketing. Of course, the best defense is a pro-active offense. More on that here.

* BTW: As a man in China is perceived to be more powerful depending on the number of mistresses he maintains, Tiger's rep in China (Nike's biggest future market) went up, not down.

For more on digital marketing and social networking see:

Xing vs. LinkedIn: Round II
Trial and Error: The New Normal
What's Wrong With My Social Networking? Xing vs. LinkedIn I
Low Tech Germany. Who Knew?
Advertising People and Blogs
How to Write the Best Blog in the World
What If Gutenberg Had a Blog?
If Blogs Are Free Does That Make Them Worthless?
Detri-Viral Marketing II: The Top 10 Social Media Blunders
Bright Lights, Big Internet and the WWED
Saigon Digital Marketing Conference Successfully Avoids Plumbers Convention
A Tale of Many Marketing Conferences
Detri-Viral Marketing I: How Web 2.0 Can Go Against A Brand
Marketing Predictions for 2009
Barcamp Saigon 2008
"Ignore Everybody" is Born: A Plug for Hugh MacLeod
Are the Bloggerati Missing the Market? Asia has Risen,
Into the Gapinvoid - Web 2.0 Social Networking Born 20 Years Ago

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tech Word of the Week II: "Earned Media"

Saigon's oldest digital man showed up yesterday for the Vietnam Digital Marketing and Technology Conference in Saigon and learned a new word: "Earned Media".

Adwords, Vietnam Digital Marketing and Technology Conference, Earned Media, BarCamp, crowd sourcing, Technorati rank, ed Media is what happens when a piece of your media gets circulated by the digital community. A blog post, a Tweet a Facebook "like", a YouTube hit. Earned Media means what "viral" used to mean. It's free media exposure that you earn because others thought the information was valuable in some way. Maybe funny, maybe informative, maybe controversial but somehow useful and spreadable.

I was jokingly chided by a colleague earlier in the week for using the term UGC (User Generated Content).
"That is SO 2009", he said. "It's crowd-sourcing now don'tcha know!" Shit. I remember entering my first room at BarCamp Saigon in the fall of 2008. It was like all the participants looked at me and wondered if there was some sort of Senior Citizen special going on. That was the year I started my blog and had about six months in it. This year I'm able to go to conferences with the #1 blog in Vietnam according to Technorati and I'm still an antique - young pups walking the old bloke around showing him shit like shiny round discs and explaining that data in the form of '1's and '0's all combined to form the picture of the semi nude avatar with the midieval sword he was watching. "Damn deez kids is smart!", said the geezer.

Now - which one of you little Einsteins can tell me what the CIS is? I learned that at a conference in 1998 - you know, the
other century. If you can answer me that, I just might give you the $75 voucher I got from Google Adwords at the conference! And don't Google it. Just tell me. And don't call me, "dude". I've earned my media.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tech word of the week: "Hacktivist"

Courtesy of the BBC, the word "hacktivist" has now entered the lexicon meaning computer hackers who work for a cause. Wherever you come out on the WikiLeaks story this week, and I'm bound to come out differently again next week, I hope it continues to provide us all with food for thought and the freedom to have those thoughts.

"Wikileaks 'revenge' attacks hit Mastercard Web attacks by a group of hacktivists targeting firms that withdrew services from Wikileaks have disrupted Mastercard payments, the BBC learns."

Correction: The term 'hacktivism' was coined by techno-culture writer Jason Sack in a piece about media artist Shu Lea Cheang published in InfoNation in 1995.

Vietnam 1 - Singapore 0

Hanoi: Ten-man Vietnam booked themselves a place in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup as Nguyen Vu Phong's solitary strike earned Henrique Calisto's team a 1-0 win over Singapore at My Dinh Stadium on Wednesday evening. Vu Phong's goal gave the Vietnamese their second win of the tournament and ensured the defending champions not only progress to the last four but win Group B ahead of the Philippines. That sets up a semi-final clash with Malaysia while the Philippines, who drew 0-0 with Myanmar in Nam Dinh, will take on Indonesia.

Group B

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
Vietnam 3 2 0 1 8 3 6
Come and Go Vietnam,  Singapore, Football, Soccer, Motorbikes Philippines 3 1 2 0 3 1 5
Come and Go Vietnam,  Singapore, Football, Soccer, Motorbikes Singapore 3 1 1 1 3 3 4
Come and Go Vietnam,  Singapore, Football, Soccer, Motorbikes Myanmar 3 0 1 2 2 9 1

I am supposed to get to sleep early tonight as I have a conference starting at 8 in the morning but it's 11:30 now and the motorbike parades, honking round and round the roundabouts, flag waving and general carrying on have just begun. Congratulations Vietnam. "Room service? Could I get a bucket of B52s?" I need to knock myself out.

The Wild Wild East Dailies

D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
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