Friday, November 28, 2008

Facebook Comeback

Now that developers are sick of Facebook and are buzzing about iPhone apps, I've been looking into developing on the former platform.

The platform for Facebook apps has matured over the past half year or so and I've noticed a few changes during this time. Firstly, the overall profile page impression (or design) has been cleaned up due to better app restrictions and UI changes. But more importantly, psychologically, users have begun to weigh their time as more important compared to the apps (as if they are spam).

I think the need for quality apps on Facebook has arrived. Apps that can provide value to their users (and preferably not easily replicated) should charge for their service/product. I think users will pay for them if the above is true. A few paying customers is better than many users using your product for free.

One great example I've noticed is why the Texas Holde'em Poker app on Facebook is free to play while the iPhone version costs $10. It doesn't make sense to me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Speculating NYSE:ATVI

Analysts expect the game industry to do well during a recession. The underlying opinion is that consumers will gravitate towards cheaper forms of entertainment (such as video games) during a downturn. They expect the current crisis to give this industry a good boost coming this Xmas.

I can't agree more with those analysts. And I've had an eye on my previous employer, Activision Blizzard, as of late. Their titles Guitar Hero: World Tour, WoW: Wrath of the Lich King, and Call of Duty: World at War are going to dominate the game top-seller charts this season.

ATVI is at $9.34 right now. Just watch their next earnings report.

Or you could bet on Gamestop (NYSE: GME). But I like ATVI more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recession Business

Now that we're in a recession, are entrepreneurs supposed to alter their business model towards those that drive solid revenue streams?

I think most MBAs would tend to think so, but I'm reluctant to agree just yet. I mean what are the differences between a company which doesn't consider change regardless of a recession or not? Chances are that the company will be poor and bootstrapping anyways, so no difference there.

Secondly, granted investors are more enthusiastic about self-sustainable startups in general, I would also argue that the time it takes a startup to develop and fully go to market is about a third of a crisis cycle. This then means that starting a company with a longer-term model may position it for the upcoming bull run as well.

Furthermore, I'm under the presumption that businesses with longer-term models are more difficult to clone.

The difference between a product focusing on eyeballs and IP is also an interesting one. It's like the difference between games and web people or building a Tetris clone and Harmotion (or Okami, Mirrors Edge, etc...). On one hand, developing Tetris provides a defined product and install base (instant eyeballs): on the other hand, a new IP allows for creating a new market (more upside at the cost of accumulating users one at a time.)

But what about Puzzle Quest (the bejewel x RPG)? Can that be the best of both worlds?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the new IN and Out

I hear that McDonalds opened two exclusive Quarter Pounder Shops in Shibuya and Omotesando that are devoid of any of their branding.

With all black interiors the shops are minimalist to say the least. The menu is just as simple: Regular or Double Quarter Pounder sets in red and black packaging that has McDonalds shaping without the graphics

This is a pretty interesting campaign. I dig it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Unexpected Surprise

Back in Hong Kong til Wednesday to check on my tail bone injury. I'm wasn't very impressed to find that the two doctors whom examined me (and my X-ray) in Beijing didn't find that my bone was out of whack.

Originally the plan was to attend Bloggercon in Guangzhou this weekend. I suppose I will have to wait until next year.

+++ Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul +++

Friday, November 14, 2008


I hate to sound so gloomy (injured my tailbone) but we just got news jobless claims in the US reached 516,000 -a seven year high.

According to, a depression is a severe economic downturn that lasts several years. And during the Great Depression of 1929, unemployment was 25% and wages fell 42%. Total U.S. economic output fell from $103 to $55 billion and world trade plummeted 65% as measured in dollars.

Okay so maybe we won't go into a depression because governments are "supposedly" smarter than they once were, but the world economy sure looks grim right now. Sometimes you think you only read about all these crazy events in history books, but look at where are right now; a big financial blowup, the making of capitalism and a few dirty hands. Perfect material along with the other shit conjured up by mankind.

Nevertheless, what still really beats the hell out of me is why I still know of so many people out there who are interested in looking at a job in finance. Aside from the fact that some of them don't even understand the nature of the field (only the $$$), they don't seem to be able to relate the current economy with their job prospects.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blogspot Personalization

As you can see, I decided to do a little bit of custom work on my blog today. It originated from trying to get the 'followers' plugin to install (on the sidebar to the right), but it spider-ed into all sorts of other ideas and motivations...

I'm not sure I'll keep the 'followers' plugin around. I guess I will leave it up my readers to decide for me. I just like the idea of putting stuff out there and see what type of user engagement you will get.

I also added a 'rate my entry' plugin which will be interesting to have at the end of each entry. It's definitely less time consuming or complicated to use than leaving a comment. Hopefully, my readers will dig that.

I feel the template can use a bit more work. I'll settle with version 1 for the time being. I definitely welcome suggestions and advice.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

On my ipod

+++ Albert Hammond Jr. - ¿Cómo Te Llama? +++

The title ¿Cómo Te Llama? is Spanish for 'How does he/she/it call you?' And unexpected record from the Strokes guitarist.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Real Life Photoshop Interface

Nothing short of cool for the Photoshop geek.

If this was supposed to build buzz, then I think it hit the right chords.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 4 Moves 4M, Konami Makes $1.5B

Continuing from my previous MGS4 post about game sales...

The stealth action game is still a gravy train at Konami. With total Metal Gear series sales amounting to 4.33 million. That's more than a third of the Konami's total game sales for the six month period, with the games division pulling in about $950 million (USD) in revenue.

PlayStation 3 software accounted for 38% of the company's "digital entertainment" sales, which totaled 11.75 million games. Profit for the six month period was $232.8 million, with Konami's video game business doing a healthy $268 million in operating income.

With these figures in front us, I expect a 360 version of MGS4 in the future as well as a MGS5 (regardless of whether Hideo Kojima is in or not)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

In class and nothing particularly interesting to say lately. Below are a few things from the past week or two...

I went to see the Warriors play the Bucks...

And saw Kanye West perform at a crap venue (everybody was sitting?!)

On the bright side, DJ Shadow will be here this weekend.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Things He wish he’d known when he was younger

I think there's a lot of wisdom to be learned from this man (Adrian Savage)...
  • Most of it doesn’t matter. So much of what I got excited about, anxious about, or wasted my time and energy on, turned out not to matter. There are only a few things that truly count for a happy life. I wish I had known to concentrate on those and ignore the rest.
  • Waiting to do something until you can be sure of doing it exactly right means waiting for ever. One of the greatest advantages anyone can have is the willingness to make a fool of themselves publicly and often. There’s no better way to learn and develop. Heck, it’s fun too.
  • Following the latest fashion, in work or in life, is spiritual and intellectual suicide. You can be a cheap imitation of the ideal of the moment; or you can be a unique individual. The choice is yours. Religion isn’t the opiate of the masses, fashion is.
  • If people complain that you’re too fond of going your own way and aren’t fitting in, you must be on the right track. Who wants to live life as a herd animal? The guys in power don’t want you to fit in for your own sake; they want you to stop causing them problems and follow their orders. You can’t have the freedom to be yourself and meekly fit in at the same time.
  • The quickest and simplest way to wreck any relationship is to listen to gossip. The worst way to spend your time is spreading more. People who spread gossip are the plague-carriers of our day. Cockroaches are clean, kindly creatures in comparison.
  • Trying to please other people is largely a futile activity. Everyone will be mad at you sometime. Most of the people you deal with will dislike, disparage, belittle, or ignore what you say or do most of the time. Besides, you can never really know what others do want, so a good deal of whatever you do in that regard will go to waste. Be comforted. Those who love you will probably love you regardless, and they are the ones whose opinions are worth caring about. The rest aren’t worth five minutes of thought between them.
  • Every winner is destined to be a loser in due course. It’s great to be up on the winner’s podium. Just don’t imagine you can stay there for ever. Worst of all is being determined to do so, by any means available.
  • However hard you try, you can’t avoid being yourself. Who else could you be? You can act and pretend, but the person acting and pretending is still you. And if you won’t accept yourself—and do the best you can with what you have—who then has any obligation to accept you?
~~~ Cat Power - the Greatest ~~~ How romantic.