The Future of TV Stations

5 06 2009


When was the last time I watched cable TV?
Many many years ago… when I flipped my cable TV on recently out of EXTREME boredom, I didn’t realize which channels were which anymore. The station had revised the channel numbers TWICE and I missed both iterations!

How do I use my TV now?
Hook up my laptop to my HD TV using a HDMI cable, stream/play video on my laptop, watch away on the nice, big clear screen.

Will I get Cable TV when I have my own home? Will my friends get Cable TV?

But why??!!
Isn’t it obvious?! We’re arrogant. We don’t arrange our schedules around television programs anymore.. waaay too troublesome. We’ve tried that in the past and have always ended up going “When did this guy die?? o_O??”.

A couple of weeks back my colleague Calvin and I were talking about how long it has been since we last watched TV.. I realized that all I remembered was that it was EONS ago… leaving my Cable TV to collect dust (and continue feeding the TV station subscription fees). The interesting thing is, we know it is happening to majority of youths now, we’re sure the TV stations know it too but we still see the usual “$XYZ per month for 100+ channels” packages being promoted all over. However, instead of laughing at the death of these stations, we embarked instead on a discussion of how TV stations would change their models in the near future.

Model 1: Pay Per Channel Collection model


Saying Pay Per Channel may be very misleading as there are Cable TV stations that allow you to pay according to the number of channels you subscribe to. Instead of saying channel to avoid confusion, I’m going to say Collection. Every TV Station now have their own line of series like AXN with CSI and House, Star World with American Idol, MTV with Punk’d, Sweet Sixteen and the list goes on. I love watching all these programs and I’m subscribed to all these channels! but I watch them online now.. all because they do not fit into my schedule.

Instead of making viewers pay for PROGRAMMED Television, why not give them UNPROGRAMMED Television? How it works is simple. I subscribe to the channel and I instantly get on-demand access to any show shown on that channel, whenever I want. The next question that came was, whether there should be ads for these shows.. Currently, we are paying for channels and am kind enough to tolerate the ads shown on them. This is a convention that has been in place for years and people have gotten used to it.. When it comes to paying for on-demand access however, we have gotten used to a no ad policy and will probably be really unhappy if we saw ads popping up here and there. It doesn’t help either that a large portion of a station’s revenue comes from ads, hence a subscription-based on-demand model might not work.

Model 2: iTunes, meet TV


How about we apply the iTunes system to TV programs instead? Pay per episode of a series you want to watch. I admit that I am unsure of how much cost actually goes into the creation of each series but my guess is each episode would not exceed $1 million? So assuming that the cost of producing an episode of a TV series like Prison Break is $1 million and we charge users, say, $3 per episode taking into consideration users are already willing to pay $1 for a 4-minute song, $3 for a 1-hour video should be well-received. Multiply $3 with the average number of viewers during its worst season, we have:

$3 x 5.3 million viewers = $15.9 million

This is a profit of $14.9 million per episode not taking in the in-movie advertising and endorsements by companies. Even if the cost of the episode was $10 million the profit would be $4.9 million for each episode..

Prison Break was a huge success, so lets take a lesser known TV series instead. Lets try Harpers Island. Their latest episode only managed to garner 3.62 million viewers. Assuming that as this is not a popular series, we have only 20% of these 3.62 million viewers willing to pay for the episode.

20% x 3.62 million viewers = 724,000 viewers
$3 x 724,000 viewers = $2.1 mil

This still covers the cost of $1 mil per episode.

Consequences of model
The model actually feeds into a trait of consumers becoming more and more selective. If we feed into that trait, that would mean we are giving consumers a free hand to pick whatever they wanna see.. which also equates to lesser known TV series and movies dying. Is this a bad thing? No because even today, bad TV series are being pulled out by stations very quickly except that with this model, it may be pulled out faster as there are no ads to reduce losses. The result will be an ever more competitive market leading to an increase in the quality of media produced.

But what about series which are actually good but fail to succeed due to bad marketing? What if consumers only stick to the few series they are only aware of and never give the other series a chance? To tell you the truth, I, as a consumer actually do pay attention to the little icons and animations that pop up at the corner of the screen every now and then advertising an upcoming new series. I look forward to those as they give me a guide of what to check out in the gazillion series to choose from out there. In other words, I don’t mind paying for episodes that have some little animations and bars appearing to promote an upcoming series that is currently being practiced by TV stations. I believe most consumers wouldn’t mind those unobtrusive elements either.

If TV stations want to continue operating, they have to move towards new models that feed into the traits of UNPROGRAMMED, on-demand televising. If they don’t change their models soon, they will start to see their finances dwindle until it is too late and we will all be left with nothing but old video archives on the internet to watch. Coming up with a “Support TV stations! Don’t let them die” campaign won’t work because the benefits of on-demand streaming online is just too good. Better change before it is too late for all of us! (and we’ll just stick with computer games and box office movies). πŸ˜‰

Note: This post was written from a consumer’s point of view. I am unfamiliar with the inner workings of the TV industry and as I couldn’t find much information of what elements of costing goes into the production of a TV series, my values were made based on estimations from costs of blockbuster movies


Lobbying: Formula for Facebook Pages?

23 05 2009

During a recent conversation my friend told me he had set up a Facebook page for his company’s new initiative. The first thought that went into my mind was “Not again..” but before jumping to any conclusion, I replied “Oh hey, that’s interesting. What are you doing on the page?”. To my disappointment, I got the answer I expected. “Engaging users, posting videos, links, news and inviting people”.

Many companies nowadays are setting up Facebook pages for their products and initiatives to “engage users” but most of these end up being a gathering of inactive users who either joined the page out of interest for the company/product, or out of goodwill for an invite from a friend. There are definitely several companies who have done well by doing what my friend did like Coke, Intel and Seventeen Magazine but the rest, especially by lesser known brands are quite dead.

What is the formula then for creating a successful Facebook Page? This is the question I was wondering before I decided to find common traits between 2 successful campaigns which I believe might work for other companies as well. The keyword that popped into my head was:


Note here what I mean by lobbying is not lobbying done by the company but rather by users and fans of the company. Also note that this probably applies more to specific events / campaigns rather than general company pages. Let me illustrate by drawing on 2 examples:

1) Victoria’s Secret PINK Campaign (Over 1 million fans)

This was a hugely successful campaign not because it gathered lots of fans, but because its fans were voluntarily creating groups, activities and content around the campaign. What Victoria Secret did was create a PINK collegiate collection where users could nominate and register their school to be part of the collection. Victoria Secret would manufacture a PINK collection branded with the school’s logo and mascot. This created a lot of excitement and gave their users (aka college girls) enough reason for them to lobby their friends into it, garnering more than 1 million fans.

2) Target Bullseye Campaign (Over 75,000 fans in 4 days)

Image from Inside Facebook

Target wanted to donate US$3 million to charity this year but didn’t want to do it in the traditional way where charities receive the money and a picture of them holding a gigantic mock cheque appears in the papers. They wanted something that would capture the attention of youths on Facebook as well, and hence created a Facebook application on their page. In the application, fans could vote for their favorite charities and at the end of the 2 week campaign, the US$3 million will be split amongst the 10 charities based on the percentage of votes they received. Almost immediately, this campaign has given the charities MORE than enough reason for them to lobby all their supporters to get onto the Target page and vote for them. The campaign is now over but according to Inside Facebook, the campaign garnered 75,000 fans after just 4 days.

Reason for lobbying??
The next question is how do you go about creating these incentives for people to lobby their friends. I’m no expert at this either as I’ve not created any successful Facebook pages/groups before but these are my observations based on what gets me to lobby my friends:

1) Something I want or strongly believe in…
If a campaign would give me something I want should I get my friends in, then I’d lobby for it. One example would be to look at the immensely popular and addictive Facebook game PackRat (sorry for picking a game, but I think they have great incentive systems). PackRat is a game where you go around collecting sets of collectible cards and stash them in a vault by stealing from your friends. They give 2 very strong reasons to lobby your friends:
i) You’d have more friends to steal cards from and grow your collection
ii) Inviting a certain number of friends gets you a limited edition card

Note here that there is a clear guarantee of reward if you achieve certain milestones which I believe beats crappy “invite 3 friends and increase your chances” incentives.

For an example closer to home? Take the latest GI Joy SoyJoy campaign which got bloggers like Nadnut to rally all her friends, blog readers and companies she knows to vote for her and participate. The prize for her? A trip to Japan (and all the buzz that comes with it).

2) Something I can own…
This may come a little hard as if you’re a company on a low budget / just starting out, you wouldn’t want to spend money on physical products as rewards that people can own. The alternative is a digital solution which a lot of people have come to dislike.. my friends still prefer handwritten letters and physical greeting cards to electronic ones anytime. However, if you give them something they can own and show off to their friends, chances are they will participate more. This reminds me of the super old and probably forgotten Vampire & Werewolves game on Facebook where everyone was literally inviting everyone else to get the side they were on (Vampire or Werewolf) to get bigger than the other for “world domination”. The items they are owning here are was something very simple. A small tiny square badge on their profile with a vampire/wolf picture that would evolve with their rank and 2 lines of statistics.

3) The Cold Start problem
Like many new brands / products, there is the cold start problem. Not every company has a huge database of customers whom they can already mass mail to start getting them lobbying for them. The key here is to reach out to key people in your target audience who will be inspired to do the lobbying for you. This brings me back to the NEXUS ’07 by TDM which attracted over 800 registrations within 2 weeks (and we had to turn some away). The publicity was done purely through only social media and none of the traditional press methods. I’m not trying to promote NEXUS or anything here but I thought this was a good example of a cold start problem to highlight. Back then I was very skeptical about the power of social media and had a very traditional mindset of how events should be publicized but Ming Yeow, the founder, was trying extremely convert me. This started with us looking for key experts to work with us on the conference programme. Believe it or not, the very first person we contacted was Kevin Lim. We met up with Kevin, told him what NEXUS’07’s inspiration was and from his immense knowledge of Second Life, we invited him to run the Virtual Worlds track of the event. What I didn’t expect after that was that the plug on his blog would lead to many other blogs plugging us as well and a sudden surge in website hits. o_O

4) Eat your own dog food
Okay.. this is starting to sound like a start-up lessons thingy but seriously, this point is very relevant here as well since you are creating something to market your initiative. Nothing much to elaborate here except the simple point: Will you be excited enough to get your friends involved? Or will you only be excited to submit an entry and not be motivated to tell your friends about it? The first question should be the one you’re answer “YES!!!” and the second question is where you say “NOPE!”. If it is the other way around, then the chances of visitors to your campaign lobbying their friends for it will be low.

Concluding Words
I know coming up with a good reason for getting people to lobby their friends and organization members for your initiative may be hard as you don’t want it to sound too gimmicky either (and potentially end up ruining your company’s reputation) but if you get it right, you should have a pretty good chance of generating a lot of buzz around your Facebook page. And trust me, this is much easier than creating a successful Facebook application. If I’m not wrong, the only somewhat successful Facebook app by a company to date is Whopper Sacrifice by Burger King? That is like a once in a blue moon thing.

Other formulas for a successful Facebook page:
Successful Facebook Fan page article by Mashable
How to develop a Facebook Page that attracts millions of fans by All Facebook

Acer Aspire Timeline

20 05 2009

Looking sleek, thin and sexy!

Last week I was invited to the Acer Aspire Timeline bloggers event by Daphne Chui and Brian Koh from Ogilvy . It was held about 3 days before the official launch in Singapore at the usual geek hangout (Geek Terminal).

Good Point #1: Long battery life
When I arrived at the event, the presentation was already half-way through and my face was staring at this slide:

This slide really delighted me. See the loooong red bar on the 6-hour battery life category? That is what Acer’s product development team identified as the most important concern of consumers, and built a notebook focused heavily on that. The question then is whether they delivered.

I started playing with the laptops at around 8pm+ and was told the battery had been perpetually on Wifi since 6pm+. Check out the battery reading:

3 hours and 35 minutes remaining on dim brightness. This is really a power conserving laptop!

Good Point #2: Light Weight and Ultra Thin

Comparison of laptop thinness with my Dopod 818 Pro

Comparison between the 14″ and 13.3″ models of the laptop. Note that their weights are 1.9kg and 1.6kg respectively with the batteries attached.

Personally, I prefer the 13.3″ model as it is much thinner, lighter and sleeker than the 14″ with an equally long battery life. Somehow 1.9kg feels like a bit of a

Good Point #3: Super Cooling

The Acer Aspire Timeline uses the latest, cutting-edge Intel cooling technology which keeps the laptop super cool all the time. When I was there, the laptops had been on for quite a while and if you touch the bottom of the base, it is only slightly warm. They are going with the idea of users using their laptops on their lap without getting affected by the heat generated. I believe it is called the “Lap technology”?

Good Point #4: Saves the environment your electricity

According to the Acer employees, the Acer laptop is engineered to automatically stop charging when the battery has been fully charged. This saves up to 66% of power consumption which is quite a huge energy saver. Oh and the 8 hour+ battery life you see in the image above applies when you are not on full brightness and wifi.

Good Point #5: Convenient mouse gestures

The various mouse gestures supported

The engineers have thought about how the touchpad can become more convenient for users and came up with 3 basic gestures:

– Zoom in/out by sliding fingers in a curve left and right
– Alternate between a group of photos by sliding fingers left and right (usual iPhone stuff)
– Scrolling up and down a document by traversing through a spiral path (shown above). This is the most confusing gesture but they have an alternative gesture where you can slide your fingers up and down the right side of the touchpad.

Bad Point #1: Confusing Spec Sheets
They gave us some really confusing spec sheets which the tech guru Lester can’t understand either. He has done us the favor of scanning it in and uploading it here.

If I’m understanding the specs correctly, this laptop seems quite underpowered when compared to other current mainstream laptops. This may be a pay off for the longer battery life.

Bad Point #2: YouTube videos jerky??
I tried watching some videos from YouTube on both the 14″ and 13.3″ models and guess what? They were all jerky and laggy. I am not sure whether it was because the laptops were in power saving mode or the processor was just too weak to handle videos, but this is a HUGE negative point. Why would I want a laptop which I can’t watch videos on?!

Bad Point #3: Dolby Surround Sound

Dolby has become such a well-recognized industry standard for high quality sound to such an extent that I don’t know whether it would have been better for Acer if they did not highlight this in their specs. I played some songs on the laptop and yes, there was surround sound but the quality was not there. Although the bass support was good (most laptops in the market today don’t have bass support), the music came out muffled and unclear giving me a HUGE disappointment. As a result, listening to music on it was worse than on a laptop without Dolby Surround Sound. Maybe the sound would have been better on connected speakers and headphones?

As you can see above, there are quite a number of pros and cons which may be beneficial/disadvantageous based on your usage and needs. If you’re looking for a laptop that is high on mobility, doesn’t have teenie weenie keyboards you can’t type on and don’t really care about the quality of entertainment you are getting, then the Acer Aspire Timeline is PERFECT for you. However, if you’re the entertainment and design/coder junkie like me, then you’d prefer to go for the average laptop that would give you more processing power.

Resources you might want to check out:
Review by Nicole
DK’s take on the notebook
Tech guru Lester’s thoughts

Other random photos while we were fooling around with the product:

Great cinematography: The Cougar Scene

14 05 2009

Came across this superb video of nature taking its course today. The cinematography was so good half the time I was questioning whether I was watching a movie or a documentary.. really kudos to L’ours, the guys who created this back in 1988! Be prepared to be nerve-wrecked!

Building a Touch Table 101

5 05 2009

As promised, here is the article on how my team and I built our interactive kitchen table step by step with all the details from hardware to software. Note that this is just ONE of a few methods to build a touch table in your garage and other methods may be more suited for the purpose of your touch table. To learn more about the various different methods, I highly recommend joining the NUIGroup community who is always there to contribute to discussions and help you with any questions you have πŸ˜€

Alright, lets begin!

Methodology used: Diffused Illumination

Hardware Setup
Materials required:
1) Piece of glass / acrylic
– this is the surface you’d like to project your screen onto. My team chose to use glass instead of acrylic as acrylic is a bit soft and bendable, hence not very stable for a kitchen counter top where you’ll be messing around with your ingredients.

2) Stand to place your piece of glass/acrylic
– can be wooden, metal, self-made, as long as you have enough height to project your screen onto the surface from below.

3) Projector
4) Web camera
5) Piece of Mirror

Once you have the hardware needed, set it up such that the arrangement is similar to the image below. (Please excuse the illustration.. drew it in a hurry with no thought for the colours chosen haha!)

Adjust the mirror angle and projector settings until you get the size you want of the projected screen on the surface. Once you get the alignment right, position your web camera such that you are able to see the whole projected surface area. Note that you need not position the web camera where I placed it.

Alright that’s it for the hardware! Simple huh? Now lets move on to the software needed.

Software setup

1) TBeta by NUIGroup

This is the software needed to track shadows detected by the web cam and send the data retrieved from it to another channel or software. I highly recommend that you read the tutorial on how to adjust the different settings (e.g: Threshold, contrast, callibration, dynamic subtraction, etc). For our table, we took a while to get the settings right so that it will detect only shadows that were pressed on the surface.

What FLOSC does is that it takes values sent to it by Tbeta and sends it over to your interface application. For ours, we used it to send positional coordinate values to our application written in Flash.

TUIO will contain the code which you will need to add to your Flash ActionScript file so that your Flash application listens to data from the same port that FLOSC is sending data to. In other words, if FLOSC is sending data to port 3333, you set your Flash to listen to data from port 3333 using TUIO. You can then use TUIO to extract the necessary data for your application like the X and Y position of the shadows detected on the interface. Note that the TUIO API also has code which you can add to your Flash application to detect TouchEvents (e.g: TouchEvent.CLICK).

4) Adobe Flash
Thanks to the TUIO API, all you have to do is code your whole Flash application as per normal, add the necessary 2 or 3 lines of code to read the TUIO API and replace all your MouseEvents with TouchEvents :D! It is really that simple. The way I coded the interface was to do it fully using MouseEvents in Flash and then later changing it to TouchEvent when I wanted to test it out on the touch table.

Limitations of not having InfraRed Lasers
The limitations of our setup is that we didn’t have any InfraRed Lasers / Camera to detect the touch. We were using shadows and sometimes when the shadows can’t be seen clearly especially in areas where the background colour is not dark enough, it is not detected as a touch. Hence, I designed the interface such that all the buttons that will be pressed have dark-coloured backgrounds. If you used InfraRed lasers on the other hand, it would be very sensitive and accurate leading to a much more responsive table. The reason why we didn’t include the InfraRed gadgets was because we couldn’t find them here in Singapore and didn’t want to spend a bomb ordering them from overseas. If you do get the opportunity however, I highly recommend using InfraRed lasers.

Alright! So there you have it, my quick guide to building a touch table. If you find any parts of this tutorial unclear or have further questions, feel free to e-mail me or drop a comment here! Will reply and update this post accordingly as soon as I can πŸ˜€

And thanks for the very encouraging comments on the project guys! Really appreciate it! Enjoy hacking in your backyard! ^_~

Additional resources you might want to check out:
Discussions about building a touch table on NUIGroup
Build your own InfraRed Camera (thanks James!)
Quick tutorial on building a touch table using Total Frustrated Internal Reflection
Reactivision for tracking fiducial markers

Recipease: Interactive Kitchen Table

20 04 2009

Hey guys! Know I’ve not been blogging for a looong time… mainly because I’ve been busy working on projects at school and exams are around the corner. However, thought I should just put up a quick post about one of my projects, Recipease, a project I worked on as part of the CS3248: Design of Interactive Media module. What we did was create a multi-touch table that is supposed to show a concept of how major problems faced by people during the food preparation process can be reduced.

Before I say more, here is a video demonstration of our table.

Yup so that’s about it in short! Promise to update this post with more information later. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the project / engineering behind it, etc etc do feel free to either e-mail me or leave comments here. I promise to follow-up on it as soon as my exams are over!

And oh yea, do let me know what you think of it as well in terms of concept, interface and interaction design, functions, or even the actor! Thanks for watching! ^__^

Thanks for all the encouraging and positive comments guys! Really appreciate them. As promised, here is the follow-up with more information about the project.

Our assignment requirement is to take any existing electronic appliance or propose a new one that would solve a problem or make a house chore easier. The problem we set out to solve was that faced by users in the kitchen.

Before we built this, we performed some surveys and interviews to identify the common problems that caused people anxiety during both food preparation and cooking. Our user group consisted both of young adults and housewives, including both novice and expert cooks. Based on the list of problems gathered, we came up with 3 primary functions:

Use Case: Our primary use case is where a person, has some ingredients in his fridge but do not want to crack his head thinking what he can cook with them. He wants a system that can tell him what he can cook based on what he has or feels like eating (sometimes you may have fish and chicken but only feel like eating chicken).

1) Ingredient Recognition
Problem it solves:
– trouble of not recognizing what user has especially with ingredients user hardly purchase
– unsure of what user can cook with what he/she has

2) Recipe Recommendation
Problem it solves:
– saves trouble of thinking about what he can cook
– widens choice of recipes user can cook. Not limited to only what the user knows
– informs users of which ingredients are missing
– if user is cooking more than one dish, system notifies of whether there is enough for both dishes combined

3) Recipe Scaling
Problem it solves:
– most recipes available are based on the assumption that users are cooking for one diner. However, sometimes users throw parties/gatherings that require preparing a dish for more people.
– able to tell user whether he has enough for a gathering and if not, how much of which ingredient is missing

Our user testing of the table after it was built showed that this concept does help in reducing the anxieties users felt during food preparation and pre-cooking. Glad that those of you who have seen the video felt the same as well.

About the module
Got a couple of e-mails asking whether this module teaches students how to build a touch table. The answer is no, but in fact the professor (Prof Zhao ShengDong) made it better than that. What he did was he made the assignment very open-ended, with the only requirement being to come up with a concept that will make a house chore easier for a user. This can be a new electronic appliance or an improvement of an existing invention. It is totally up to students how they want to implement/show their idea. Hence you have students building touch tables, interactive screens that utilize the Wii mote and even remote controls for house appliances using the cell phone. In other words, this module does not teach or spoon feed you on how to do things but rather create an environment that encourages students to experiment. How much you learn depends on how much time and energy you invest into your idea. Having said that, Prof Zhao will be constantly keeping track of the progress of projects and is a great resource of how to go about your project and who to approach for further advice.

The Team!

This is my crazy team who just can’t stop making me laugh while working throughout the project. Somehow we never fail to do something really silly which we’ll be stuck at for hours before suddenly encountering an “Eureka!” moment. Lots of silly things happened during video filming as well, like someone’s handphone ringing and ingredients rolling off the table.

Back row (from left) : Teong Leong, Joel a.k.a Kar Meng, Jeremy Wong
Front row (from left) : Me! , Yiyang

Concluding words
This was a really fun project which made me realize how fun research can potentially be. I used to shun away from it thinking it was for n3rds but came to realize it can turn out to be pretty cool especially if you’re working on a fun project within your scope of interest. Would really love to thank my Prof Zhao for making CS3248 a really fun module and encouraging us to go on with our ideas!

How to build a touch table?
Got a lot of questions about how my team built the touch table and all the various programs we used. I’m currently in the process of writing a step by step tutorial on it and will upload it within the next 2-3 days! In the meantime, look out for it! ^_~

Update: The tutorial is done. Check it out here πŸ˜€

BlogOut 2009: Making Sense of the Social Media Landscape

19 02 2009

Hey guys! BlogOut is back and this time with a blast featuring top speakers like Jon Yongfook, Joel Postman and Melvin Yuan. This time we have something for both big corporate boys, individual bloggers and even non-bloggers!

Here are more details:
Blogout! ’09 aims to help make sense of the social media landscape in Singapore. It is an event to celebrate bloggers’ independent voices, emergent forms of social, web technology, to create change for their organizations, communities and society. Register now!

There’s something for everyone at Blogout! this year. If you are an executive or business owner who wants to see how social media can work for your organization, you definitely do not want to miss Day 1 (Corporate Track) where we feature some of the best speakers and practitioners in the social media scene. Here’s a sneak peak of our programme:

– See what other corporations around the world have done right and wrong
– Enough of the buzz. Get the real deal of what social media strategy will work for your company
– Maximize the effects and potentials of your social media strategy
– and more..

For Day 2 (Open Track), we welcome everyone (bloggers and non-bloggers alike) to join us for a fun-filled day of learning and sharing. Topic includes “Turning your Blog into a Business”, “WordPress as a Blogging Tool” and more!

Details..details.. details…
Date: 6 – 7 March 2009, Friday and Saturday

Day 1 – Corporate Track (6 March 2009)
10.30am – 5.30pm
Fee : $120

Day 2 – Open Track (7 March 2009)
10.30am – 5.00pm
Fee: Free

Register here now!

8Q, SAM – 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535 (Google Map)

Key Speakers

Jon Yongfook

Yongfook is an award-winning web producer, a blogger (of 10 years!), a proponent of permission-based marketing and a big believer in metrics-based approaches to solving online business problems. A programmer-designer-marketer living in Tokyo. He specialises in usability, platform development and online marketing. He’s the creator of open source lifestream software Sweetcron and the recipe sharing website Open Source Food (now known as Nibbledish), which was acquired by Tsavo Media in January 2009. He helps companies improve user experience, to increase conversions and revenue, assist companies reach new markets, and building online applications to solve a business or communication problem.

Joel Postman

Joel Postman is senior partner and chief enterprise social business strategist for Intridea, a Washington, D.C. based developer of Web 2.0 applications including the popular microblogging platform His background includes a decade of Fortune 500 corporate communications leadership, four years as the speechwriter to the CEO of Sun Microsystems, and experience in print and broadcast news. He is the author of SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate, published December 2008. Joel lives with his family in the Santa Cruz Mountains. To the extent that he could be said to have grown up. He did so in the Silicon Valley, and first lived there before the discovery of silicon. He is also an experienced Zamboni driver.

Melvin Yuan

Director, Digital Strategies Group (Asia) at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. He’s a co-founder of and member of the Social Media Collective and The Digital Movement (Singapore). He is dedicated to helping PR practitioners understand the new world that we live in and to bridge the gap between the wired-world business objectives of today and the traditional PR methods that we’ve been used to.