Monday, December 31, 2012

Things to look out for in 2013

There are many new changes which I think will affect us much and these are a few things I believe will change the way we do things in 2013.

1) Touch Screen computers.

With the introduction of tablets, and now Windows 8 laptops, it seems very natural to just touch your screen than to use a mouse.With the Windows 8 Lenovo touchscreen notebook costing less than $1,000, it just makes good sense.

2) More photos on Facebook.

With Instagram being bought by Facebook, I would expect better integration and more photos being shared. Perhaps Facebook Photos with filters?

3) Screen based media on the rise.

With people carrying more screens, and owning more screens from Smartphones, tablets, notebooks and TVs, there will be more media interaction on the screen.

Long gone are the days where phones and computers are just used for work.

Computers Keep Us Productive and Informed

24% of our daily media interactions occur on a PC
40% use PCs to find information
29% use them to keep up to date
69% of use is at home and 31% out of home
Usage is productive and task-oriented
It requires significant amount of time and focus
The mindset is serious with a research intensive attitude

Smart Phones Keep Us Connected

38% of our daily media interactions occur on a smartphone
60% of this usage is at home and 40% out of home
54% of attention is dedicated to communication and 33% is entertainment
People use smart phones to communicate and connect in short bursts of time. And, they need information quickly and efficiently.

Tablets Keep us Entertained

9% of daily media interactions occur on tablets
79% use tablets at home and 21% out of home
63% of usage is for entertainment purposes and 32% is for communication
Tablets are mostly used for entertainment and browsing
Consumers loose their sense of time as tablets inspire a relaxed and leisurely approach

We are now a society of multi-taskers and multi-screeners


These are the few things I can think of that will be significant, if you can think of anything else that may change in 2013 that we should look out for, please let me know.

Have a Happy New Year!

-- Robin Low

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Memorable moments in Social Media -- 2012

1) Twitter has 200 million active users -- no longer considered a fad.

Watch out of live tweeting at events which may yield results faster than even live TV.

2) Facebook is really big!
  • Monthly active users now total nearly 850 million
  • 250 million photos are uploaded every day
  • 20% of all page views on the web are on Facebook
  • 425 million mobile users
  • 100 billion connections
  • Zygna’s games revenue is currently 12% of Facebook’s total income
  • 2.7 billion “likes” per day
  • 57% of users are female
3) MySpace is back!

Watch the video.

4) Gangnam Style -- 1 Billion!!

-- Yep, there can be 1 billion views on Youtube.

5)  Social Media users have POWER

Instagram declared that they can use your photos for ads and angry mobs online threatened to boycott Instagram and delete their accounts and guess what?

-- The mob wins!

-- Robin Low

Friday, December 14, 2012

Digital Partnership

There are many reasons for partnership to happen, on the digital front, smaller businesses can also benefit from online partnerships, promoting each others products, sharing news and perhaps doing other collaborations.

So why is digital partnership important?

For one, with social media, increasing reach is very important. Sometimes, sharing good links to various articles and having various other partnerships will definitely boost competitiveness.

There are also many other reasons for partnerships.

1) Shared Economics
 -- Lower cost by possibly sharing research, technology or infrastructure.
2) Economies of scale
 -- Take advantage of supply chain, shared buying, volume discount, etc
3) Money and Resources
 -- Bigger = better access to resources.
4) Access to customers
 -- Access each others customer base/ mailing list
5) Access to Marketing / Brand
 -- Facebook partner, leverage on the other's brand.

If you are planning to do more with possibly less, partnership may be the way to go.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bootstraping your startup

So, you have your killer business plan, lined up mentors and assembled the best team you can find. You have your financials down and you know where you need to hire. Now you need money -- the question is always where do you get it from?

In my experience from starting multiple companies and mentors many other, getting money from your customers is the best -- by selling things to them. If you can Bootstrap. Bootstrapping introduces strong discipline around management of costs and cash flow. Cash is King!

An innovative way to raise money quickly from your customers is by crowdfunding using This website, and others like it, are going to completely disrupt early stage venture capital by allowing companies to take pre-sales quickly.

Don't dilute your shareholding and lose control. Keep your operating costs low and get your business to "Profitability quickly". Finding out how much you need is the main job of a startup CEO. You need to keep the company healthily funded -- running out of money and the game is over. A Savvy investor can smell your weakness and will wait till you run out of money and then will "renegotiate" the terms. The less money in the bank, the more desperate you will be.

If you have a cashflow negative business, one or two unexpected runaway cost will become very toxic very fast if you have investors, and the pressure will build up and if you cannot deliver expected results, things easily turn sour.

Many good businesses find their markets fast and start selling to create revenue in their offerings and learn and adjusts their products and services before selling more. For a cashflow positive company with a list of customers, it is easy to show investors that you understand the market and you have a desirable product. You can always raise a lot more money to expand and go regional than just to start, and give up less as well as you will be negotiating from a stronger position.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tohoku: Road to the Future Event

Preparing for an event and marketing it takes a lot of time and effort. For the event to be successful? So for a successful event, how do you go about creating awareness for it?

1) Creating a Facebook Event. (Tohoku - Road to the future - Art and photo Exhibition)

Create it, invite friends, friends of friends, Alumni, family. Invite it through emails and send messages to people whom yo think may come but have not replied.

2) Post it in relevant groups that you join to promote the event. Relief 2.0 - Japan

3) Do research online on reporters / bloggers who may be interested in the event. Write a pitch letter and send it out! Remember to include your contact information and specific information on the event.

Artitude Pitch
Singapore Business Review
Yesterday SG
Plush Asia
The Online Citizen
Life in Boston
SPH's AsiaOne

Your pitch letters may be picked up and reporters will call you for an interview, or you can submit a press release with some photos and the news / bloggers can run the press release.

4) Besides pitching to News and Bloggers, you can try pitching to TV and radio stations as well.

I managed to get on Channel News Asia and various Radio stations as well.

Put event up on event sites like Eventbrite.
And WhatsHappening.SG

It takes effort to invite people and get them to come, so regular posting of information on the event page and other groups and forums to inform people about the event does help bring more awareness.

It takes practice, patience and experience. There will be a lot of rejections, but occasionally you get a successful pitch and build your contact.

Don't give up!

-- Robin Low

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gangnam Style.

You may have seen the viral video on Youtube, or even some of the memes

And this picture sums it up.

Many people know about Gangnam Style, and the tune may now be embedded in our heads. Furthermore, people have been making Gangnam Style videos and putting it up on Facebook, and very soon, instead of Owling, people would be Gangnam Styling.

But how many of the people are Korean and really understand the Lyrics of Gangnam Style?

Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea's Music Video Sensation

This recent article talks about a subtle message about wealth, class, and value in South Korean society. So this song is not just an MTV or K-POP wannabe, but it does have a social message and it is making fun of the rich folks.

The video is "a satire about Gangnam itself but also it's about how people outside Gangnam pursue their dream to be one of those Gangnam residents without even realizing what it really means," Kim explained to me when I got in touch with her. Koreans "really wanted to be one of them," but she says that feeling is changing, and "Gangnam Style" captures people's ambivalence.

So this song is not translated that way.

And whether you love it or hate it, there is a deeper meaning.

I've appreciated this song even more now.

-- Robin Low

Friday, June 29, 2012

Positive Changes in Facebook

There were times where I was not happy with Facebook after the IPO, especially with the Android App... Recently, I've noticed some changed which I really welcomed.

Have you wanted to edit your comment because of spelling mistake or you entered it too fast, but can't do it? Facebook allows you to edit this in the past immediately after posting, but now, you can go back to an "inappropriate post" and edit to make it right.

Now admins of Facebook pages can post as themselves not their brand.

Effectively, you now have a voice! You know, when you like your own post and it looks lame, now you can do it with your personal profile while being the admin of the page!


There is one thing to take note: you need to be aware of what voice you want to use when engaging with your audience. This applies to both posting a new message and replying to a comment. You need to take care of the tone when you represent your brand in the response.

Toggling back and forth can be indeed confusing.

-- Robin Low

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Das Uber Moon

The Supermoon is lighting up the sky tonight.

Saturday's event is a "supermoon," the closest and therefore the biggest and brightest full moon of the year. The moon will come within about 221,802 miles (357,000 kilometers) from Earth. That's about 15,300 miles (24,600 kilometers) closer than average.

That proximity will make the moon appear about 14 percent bigger than it would if the moon were at its farthest distance.

Have you been mooned tonight?

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Social Media at Universities

I've talked to several universities and people managing social media at universities and was not surprised that most universities are already on social media, and are very interested in engaging their prospective students, current students and alumni. Many faculties have started their own social media initiative and even within faculties, there are departments within that are doing their own engagement.

Most social media initiatives, though seemed independent of each other, are getting better with more interaction, and as the staff get the hang of it. Some universities have good policies to support the initiative while others need to get clearance, however, seeing that with or without permission, conversations about the university is going to happen, most universities get to engage on social media.

One thing I find in common in some of these universities who are starting their social media initiatives within departments of a faculty is poor communications. Many tasks are duplicated and there is not much collaborations even between faculties. After some central coordination, social media engagement can become more effective, however I still can see some major improvements that can be made.

1) Better Transition Required.

Admissions, Student Affairs and Alumni office need very good communications.

The transition between prospective students to students need to be well coordinated as there are influencers who became students, and the list of influencers should be cultivated to be student leaders to continue to help spread awareness of the University's messages.

Upon graduation, the students who are engaging with the social media team of student affairs or respective faculties should also be properly transitioned to engage in alumni affairs and get their friends to join as well.

The departments currently in all universities that I've spoken to seemed distinct and separate. There is nobody in charge or remotely interested in caring about the transition. The student affairs department sees their duties are done when students graduate, and the alumni office will try to only get the students after graduation. There may be collaboration in may other ways like running events, however, on social media, most universities do not have a transition plan.

2) Faculty vs Alumni Office.

In many universities, the faculties engage their alumni, and the university does it as well -- but separately. Being engaged twice make an alumni feel that the university does not have their act together. On social media, for an alumni to follow the university's alumni page and the faculty's page, they need to be of course different. Having all the faculties post on the university's main page is also not the answer.


There are many other issues which the universities that I met with encounter, however I feel that most of them can be addressed with simply better understanding on their audience and a better focus on what they want to achieve.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Got Sperm?

LOL! I was reading about Singaporeans getting charged in court for having sex with a 17 year old and when I went into Facebook, the ads show, "Got Sperm?"

Wonder if this is how these businessmen in Singapore got into trouble in the first place because they "Got Sperm." an excess to share.

Targeted Ads are getting creepy!

-- Robin Low

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Communications have changed

"Respect", "Tolerance" and "Honor" these seemed to be iconic words. In Singapore, I feel that there is no respect for the country, its leaders, or institutions. Many post controversial remarks on forums and chats for no reason other than to provoke an adverse reaction.

The Internet has indeed changed the way people communicate, and there is indeed a big gap between the way large bureaucratic bodies communicate than individuals. In many Asian countries, the government may not be so good at engagement, however, there is also too much noise -- noise generated by the few loud mouths -- which may not represent the vast population.

The problem with too much complains, is always -- negative branding. When an entrepreneur is doing research about Singapore or a tourist is trying to look for more information about news and happenings, these unprovoked shots at the government or the corporation does leave a bad impression, and with the Asian way to addressing the problem -- Censoring -- the root of the problem is not solved.

Many companies now are really interested in genuine engagement, but their policies does not empower them to do so. I hope as social media matures into an important channel of communications, top executives would take the time to understand it more and improve the way the organization engages.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Alumni Engagement

Is NUS really interested in Alumni Engagement?

When did anyone at NUS last visited their web page?

I thought it was hacked!

What's going on?

--Robin Low

Friday, January 13, 2012

My shrinking world

It is interesting that when social media started, the world got smaller. Suddenly, I could connect with some many more people, and learn more about the little things of my friends and families.

Search engine technologies has brought us information on our fingertips. Today, we can read about a product which we are interested in buying from another person who is not paid by the manufacturer, an honest opinion which we can trust. We can also research and compare features, specifications and pricing.

Our collective voices get heard. From blogging to tweeting, we share information and form groups with common interest. We curate information and share news that matter to us with our friends. We learn more about our friends and ourselves a post at a time.

With improvement in technology, things are changing. Today, I find that my world is shrinking. Somehow, my searches are tailored to my previous searches with the preferences of my friends. My newsfeeds show me news that my friends are sharing. Suddenly, even my Google searches are tailored to my preferences.

I am not sure if it will improve the quality of my searches, however, on my YouTube recommended videos are showing me what my Google+ friends are watching.

Looking at it all, I believe our experience online is getting narrower day by day. The role of search engine optimization is changing. Perhaps we should take social media optimization more seriously.

I've seen many videos and articles that went viral, as they get to the right networks of people and spread like wildfire. There are a few key factors in common with viral content:

1) Title
2) Description
3) Tags
4) Content Distribution

It is very interesting that now, well placed content can reach many people in a short period of time, however, it is also very disturbing that even the best articles without the right distribution can never be found.

-- Robin Low