What I’ve been upto lately

Some events I’ve been to recently:

The IPA Free event

Making sense of internet Word of Mouth in China

Chris Anderson on his book ‘Free: The Future of a Radical Price’

And last but not the least, thanks to Graeme Douglas at W+K London, the Nokia-sponsored live-streaming of TED Global’s talks on Thursday. 

Lots of food for thought from all of them, which I hope to let simmer in my mind and hopefully I’ll come up with something vaguely useful with those thoughts at some point. 

Connecting the dots

This car reminds me an awful lot of Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, what do you think?

Yesterday I was at the Kuniyoshi exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, and noticed that he uses human bodies as building blocks of the central subject in many paintings, such as this one. 
No point really, just that I noticed similiarities in these three images. That’s all.  

The Donation Game

I saw this at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park a while ago. It’s a donation box with a twist (or many twists, to be precise). Essentially, it’s like one of those hand-held games where you try and get tiny silver balls to the other end of a case or box by slowly shaking it in the right direction (I can’t remember what the game’s called – there are videogame versions of it too, or you may have played it in a games arcade). Here, you drop coins right at the top and watch them fall into one of the many crevices. I guess the fun aspect of it is supposed to make people more inclined to donate. Pretty creative, don’t you think?

House-hunting woes

I’ve been looking for an apartment to move into and for the umpteenth time am struck by the sheer frustration that the house-hunting process involves. Estate agents are more likely than not to make your life hell with their processes, demands and rigid ways of working. At the end of the day, it is the (prospective) tenant that is left holding the baby if something goes wrong, usually at the very last minute, and then you get desperate so as to avoid being on the streets.

Vikram mentioned this to me last year – why doesn’t someone create a site where people can rate estate agents by name and company, as well as landlords (where agents don’t exist)? They can receive an overall score based on their rating by certain criteria: helpfulness, involvement, how personable they are and so on. Think of it as a sort of RateMyProfessors.com, except with a real estate angle to it. Buying or renting a property is easily one of the most important decisions a person makes (apart from getting married and selecting a career), and it shouldn’t be something that leaves you with a bad taste in the mouth. After all, estate agents aren’t exactly doing what they do for charity – they get a good commission in most cases. And you pay some of that, if not all, so it’s your money at stake. 

There are certain risks of course – most renters are part of the floating population of a city and they may not bother about logging in to rate if they’re going to leave the city soon anyway (though that’s probably changing with the mortgage crisis and more prospective house owners turning to renting as a stop-gap arrangement). On the flip side though, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunity for advertising revenue.

Of menus and ideas…

Yet another set of useless leaflets and menus came through the door today. I don’t know why people really bother. During the Seth Godin talk a couple of weeks ago, one of the thoughts that flitted through my mind at some point (I can’t quite remember what set it off) was related to this issue of leaflets. Menus are the sole useful thing that gets sent through the door that way, in fact there have been a couple of times when we’ve actually looked for some restaurant menus we use often. Now I know the internet is always there, but many people (especially older ones) prefer having a menu to look at in their hands when they want to order in. Plus, you know, sometimes broadband may be down and you may be starving. So what if you had a book or booklet that contained menus from all the local restaurants in your area, that you could place neatly in a corner rather than collecting multiple bits of paper and stuffing them in a draw? That way, you’re saved the bother of receiving daily copies of the same thing, and you also know where the menus are when you need them. Providing, of course, you could convince the restaurants of the very rational fact that they could be using the money they spend on printing hundreds of copies of their menus on things that could be much more profitable for their business.