The Things I Think, See & Like – Marketing, Technology & Life!


May 2013

Are you watching TED?

One of my favorite things to do when I get a spare 10 minutes, waiting for someone or just when I need some inspiration is to head over to or launch the app on my Ipad or Iphone and watch one of the amazing TED talks, which always feature some of the world’s most amazing minds giving “the talk of their lives.” I’ve watched more of these videos than I can even remember, but one things they always are is amazing, mind-blowing, fascinating and inspirational.

I was fist introduced to TED in 2009 from an email chain that was going around. It was the most amazing concept that I’d seen at that time and it still stays with me today as a great conversation topic but also seeing the potential of only 4 years ago coming to life in some modern gadgets. Check it out here – TED TALK – Sixth Sense Technology

After that I’ve been hooked and have watched video after video of great thought leaders. Hopefully I will be able to attend a conference live in the near future and who knows even present at one. The thing I love the most is the fact they are given only a short period of time, sometimes as short as 3 minutes to give the talk of their lives. There are so many to watch but this link has the most watched TED Talks which is a great starting point with the likes of Steve Jobs and Stephen Hawking. Most Watched TED Talks

Get it on your Ipad too it’s great to watch on train.

Some of you may already know about TED but this is for those who don’t and need it in their lives.



The end of an era at Manchester United

When I was young my first memories of football and a football club were of Manchester United. My elder cousin had his room papered with cut outs of Red Devil players across the ages, team shots, scarves and there wasn’t an empty space to be found. Being the influential younger brother and also being at the age of wanting to fit in everywhere I very quickly found a love for Manchester United.

Over the years I grew to love this team on my own accord, through watching them in their amazing days with the likes of Cantona, Ince, Scholes, Beckham, Schmeichel and Giggs. The hours spent in the park both in and out of school were spent as Kankelskis, Hughes, Solskjaer putting goals past anyone that would try to defend me.

In my teens I was lucky enough to get taken to a European Champions League game at the Theatre of Dreams when United took on Dynamo Kiev. The impression that night left on me about football, Manchester United have stayed with me until now. The size of the stadium, the lights glowing in the night sky and how different watching football live looks to watching it on the TV. The football that night was spectacular but the noise and reactions were ‘electric’ and that atmosphere is what I feel and think of when I think back to that day. Shortly after I got my own shirt with my name on it and from that day whenever I played football I wore that shirt.

As my life turned to Cricket I watched football more than played it and always caught big games with close friends and family. It was nice having those around me support United too and even more interesting now having my wife supporting the other reds, Liverpool, always makes for good banter.

Every now and then I get an offer from a family member to go to Old Trafford and due to commitments I’ve been unable to go until last week. It all worked out and we got to go watch the ultimate reds vs blues game, United vs Chealsea. The journey, the atmosphere and the stadium brought back so many memories but this time there was a difference. This time I noticed the sheer power of one club, but more specifically one man on not only the people of Manchester but people all over the world.

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of United for 27 years who was sat directly opposite me on the other side of the pitch, has been the manager all the years I’ve had a connection to the club and that one man, with the support of many others I’m sure has made 22 men kicking a ball around in Manchester on a 100m pitch, the biggest team and club in the world.

Football in general is regarded as a religion in some parts of the work but when we went to Asia recently it was amazing at the influence and support the club had from people wearing the shirts to tall sky scrappers with players and the logo on the side of them.

From a branding perspective it’s the ultimate brand to want to be part of. Anything you can think of can be branded and probably has been. I’ve had numerous conversations about how good companies must be to have their supporters, their customers in essence, want to buy everything brand related down to their birthday cake, bed-sheets and more amazingly get tattoos!

Now that he is retiring I think it will be a very long time until we see such an achievement, dedication and longevity in a manager and whether this affects the club’s future or not will be seen in the next few years. He said that he left the club in the best possible state which is true but once at the top it’s hard to sustain that. Some of Sir Alex’s achievements:

He won the English Title an amazing 13 times. In the 1998-1999 Season he won the English Title, FA Cup, and Champions League all in the same season.

He won the FA Cup 5 times. He was the longest serving Manager in United history and has Won 38 Trophies with the Utd. Won the League Cup 4 times.

He signed Eric Cantona for only £1.2 million and received an OBE in 1983 (the year I was born). Won the Champions League twice. He sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80 million Won 10 Premiership Manager of the Year awards. Has over a 59% Win percentage with Man Utd. United has scored over 2,700 goals with him in charge.

Has won a total of 49 trophies as a Manager and He has won 894 Games with United.

Since he retired we’ve seen Paul Scholes and David Beckham hang up their boots, this really is the end of an era at Old Trafford.

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Stunning Singapore

I’ve been meaning to write about my recent trip to Singapore for a while now and haven’t quite got around to it.The reason for this was not only because of time but more the fear of finding the right words to explain the experience this amazing country has to offer. When I’ve been talking to people about my 3 week trip around Asia (Singapore, KL, Cambodia, Phuket & Bangkok) the words amazing, incredible, life changing always seem to come up.

Going on holiday has always given me a chance to stop and reflect, questions life, where I am, what I’m doing and some have more impact than others. Places like South America and India especially, always make be very humble and grateful for the lifestyle we live in the UK and also the upbringing I’ve had. I didn’t know fully what to expect of Asia having had the desire to go for many years, I didn’t fully appreciate the extent that it was going to impact me.

I could write pages and pages on the things we did and what was good and bad (the bad list is not very long) but the place that really stood out to me was Singapore. (The rest is on TripAdvisor)

From my understanding people’s vision of Singapore is different and this is down to whether you went more than 5 years ago or less, as they are two very different places now. The stats and figures around Singapore themselves are impressive:

Before you even get into the city you reach the airport: Changi Airport has over 420 accolades, it’s been nominated as the worlds best airport for the last 25 years and there’s no questions why. It’s spacious, clean, and just a beautiful building.

Singapore is a rapidly growing city-state of nearly 6 million people. It is one of the smallest countries in the world. The government have created almost a game like city with everyone living together in harmony. With so many people living together and so many expats entering the country this can be hard but the defined areas like Little India, Chinatown, Arab Street which are so defined in their feel, smell of the country they represent are an example of how well they’ve organised the city.

To get a taste of these areas we went to Little India for lunch and had a very traditional vegetarian meal, went to Chinatown to shop and visit the beautifully peaceful pagoda followed by shisha in Arab street at night. We felt like we’d been around the world in 12 hours it was incredible. The thing I also really like is that they celebrate every religion’s festivals and the whole place gets a day off and everyone is encouraged to celebrate as they decorate the entire city. This is a push towards their ‘one community’ and I think it’s a great way to make everyone feel included.

Singapore is an extremely green city with gardens, trees and jungles everywhere. They are transforming into a “city in a garden”, a current government campaign. It’s also very clean due to its littering laws.It was extremely impressive to see how clean the whole place is kept. Granted if you know you’re going to get fined then you wouldn’t chew gum. Most people think that this is excessive but being in such a clean place was such a nice feeling that you can see the benefits to everyone for this.

One thing i didn’t know was that the country sits just 85 miles North of the equator and the temperate is always hot. Their seasons are hot & dry and hot & rainy and when the rain comes, it’s extremely heavy. It does mainly only rain for a bit, well it did when we were there, for a few minutes. The thunder and lightning is actually scary here especially if you’re high up in a building and because so many buildings get hit by lightning they have conductors to deal with the electricity. The lowest minimum recorded temperature ever is Singapore was 68F and that was 80 years ago!

All these great things aside the main thing that blew me away was the marketing activity in Singapore. I guess like any other big city, London, New York, Paris that you expect to see a lot of activity and having a marketing head means that I notice a lot more. What I loved the most about Singapore was the use of lights and water. Most of the impressive features around Singapore involved lights and water. The city didn’t only come to life at night it came to light at night. On St Paddy’s day for example of one the buildings in the business district had 4 leafed cloves going up the building in lights.

Clarke Quay which offers water into the central built up areas of the city reflects the buildings giving great colours and atmosphere to the entire area. The Crane water and light show was a key example of this, the free show had massive cranes (to represent the construction growth in Singapore) light up and blast water from them whilst cleverly using a huge screen on their chest area to tell the story. Equally as good was the water and light show that projected the cycle of life from being born through to death on the huge amounts of water mist the fountains created.

The hugely impressive Marina Bay Sands which was 3 sky scrapper hotels with a boat on top, holding the worlds largest infinity pool put on a light show every night with laser beams and different colours. It was just superb.

From a marketing perspective it seems like the creativity will never run out of places to be exploited and the development is endless.

People ask me what the highlight of the whole trip was and it’s hard to say because all experiences were so different, however Singapore as a whole was definitely at the top of that list. It’s expensive and very regimented but you can see why, you can see the benefits of it and for those that are contemplating going or have never thought about it, take it from me it’s a MUST.

Granted this read more like a TripAdvisor report on Singapore but I had to share the lasting impression that beautiful place left on me.

Happy Reading!



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