My Exciting New Adventure with Spotify

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Next week, I am starting a new adventure! I will be joining Spotify, as Head of Social Media, APAC.

spotifylogonewI am a huge fan of the brand so this new role is incredibly exciting for me.

When Spotify was launched in Singapore last April, I immediately signed up as a premium user.  It has a massive – and growing – catalogue of more than 20 million songs. Aside from the big names from the US and UK, you can also find Singaporean artists such as PlainsunsetCorrinne May, my talented ex-colleague Tay Kexin and her sister Kewei.

Since its public launch in 2008, Spotify has been leading a revolution across the world, shifting the  music industry’s focus toward streaming as a way to combat illegal downloading. My role will be focusing on building social marketing capabilities in Asia, shaping how Spotify communicates and engages with music lovers through social media.

Other Cool Stuff 

I had the opportunity to speak with some really passionate and inspiring people at Spotify and I really liked what was shared about the company.

Extra perks – some of the offices have been known to host private concerts by popular artists! I am off to New York next week for orientation and to spend some time with the team. Who knows, I might bump into some unexpected famous faces.

Some Great Memories

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the amazing people I worked with in my previous role at SingTel. As the saying goes “There is no ‘I’ in team but there is in WIN.” Together with our agency partners – especially the team at Social@Ogilvy – we had some great successes.

I had so much fun working on the award-winning #Need4GSpeed real-time social marketing campaign and had a total blast being part of the Gordon Ramsay VS #Hawkerheroes brand campaign. The bonus – I get some cool close-up shots with Chef Ramsay!

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Exciting Time Ahead 

I am looking forward to starting my exciting new journey with Spotify!  If you have any thoughts or suggestions on how we can add value to each other’s work, feel free to drop me a note. If you are already a Spotify user, you know where to find me!

Here’s a playlist of my current favourites:

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My Blog Post Featured on Tumblr Radar

Something cool happened last night.

One of my paintings (yes, of a penguin) got featured on the Tumblr Radar! Overnight, that post garnered more than 4k “love notes” (in Facebook’s terms – LIKES) and hundreds “reblogged” (in Twitter’s term – “Retweets”). As I am typing this, it has grown to more than 6.6k. My Tumblelog also gained hundreds of new followers overnight.

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For those who are not Tumblr users, the Radar is an editorial post review, curated by the Tumblr team. Once on radar, the post is highlighted on other users’ dashboard for a period of time.

I signed up on Tumblr a few years ago but wasn’t active until recently. The blog was meant to be used as a ‘creative journal’ to keep & share some random sketches, ideas and paintings I do. I hardly cross-amplify the content on my other social networks, so it is interesting how things can ‘go viral’ overnight.

I just read articles/ tips about “How to Get Featured on Tumblr Radar” and my newly set-up blog met almost NONE of the criteria. And no, I don’t know any one from the Editorial team either.

So, I believe there are a few learnings and reminders I can take away from this experience:

1) Don’t start out wanting to make anything ‘viral’. In fact, get rid of that word in your mind

2) Start with creating authentic & relevant content

3) Think of the audience you want to share it with. I tagged the post with tags like “Acrylic painting, penguins, art”, hoping I can share it with like-minded folks on Tumblr and that was probably how they found the post

4) I believe consistency in content publishing is important. I try to post at least twice a week and only share content that the blog was meant for. So, don’t expect my other obsessions (food or books) to show up on that blog, unless I decided to paint my scramble eggs or sketch my favourite author

5) There are exciting happenings & conversations happening outside of Facebook or Twitter

(And as I finished typing this post, the little penguin has 7.4k “LOVE NOTES”) Woohoo!

Online Learning: My MOOC Experience

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Oxford University Press inducted “MOOC” (massive open online courses) into its Oxford Dictionaries Online recently. The definition: “A course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.”

Friends and family know that I love books and I love studying. I strongly believe in life-long learning. Imagine my excitement when MOOC (in the form of Coursera) came to my attention last year. I like the idea behind MOOC – to bring education to the masses, allowing more people globally the opportunity to study university level courses. All the courses are free and in most cases (from what I have read so far) so are the learning materials.

I started browsing through courses and found a broad range of subjects, from medical neuroscience, song writing, child nutrition cooking to artificial intelligence.

An Introduction to Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania was the course I eventually signed up for.

It required some level of commitment to go through all the course materials each week and participating in forums, hangouts and completing the assignments. The returns, however were great! I gained new knowledge on Customer Centricity, new  go-to-market strategies and social advertising concepts that I was not aware of. At the end of the course, I scored 91/100 for the exam and was awarded a statement of accomplishment signed by the three professors who led the course. Students can download and keep all the course materials  even after the course has ended. 

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I am currently enrolled in two other courses on Content Strategy from the Northwestern Uni and interesting one on Moralities of Everyday Life  from Yale.

While I am excitedly telling many friends about my experience with MOOC, only two have tried to do the courses. Most of the reasons are – “too busy” and “I am not very good at studying”. I would like to recommend Time Management for Dummies  to the first group of people and for the latter, it is exactly what MOOC is about. It isn’t your traditional brick and mortar classroom studying as you know it.

I have also read in news reports about low completion rate for those who enrolled.

I am definitely not an expert in the education industry.  I can’t tell if this will be a fad or it could be the future of education. BUT, I know that I’ve gained valuable insights and knowledge and I plan to continue learning.

To read review of the various MOOC providers, click here 

Back with the first post of the year

It’s coming to the end of March 09 and this is my very first post this year!

Interestingly, even when I stopped blogging, there are still traffic coming to this blog. Readers still comment on some old posts. That is somewhat encouraging.

Although from Brendan’s PR index, this blog just keeps on falling. haa. I really applaud Brendan for pulling together the index, it’s a great resource for me. I enjoy clicking on the links, knowing that they’ll lead me to some interesting PR blogs. Over the last one year, I’ve made several online acquaintances from that list. Number 7 and 13 are folks I follow on Twitter and added as friends on facebook. Number 36 is a friend of mine in Singapore, currently doing his master degree in Australia. There are several others on that list that I read regularly.

So, what have I been up to the last many months? WORK! Yes, work has taken a little too much of my life, but it is getting better and I am still having a great time at Yahoo!

A recently illness (infection causing some problems to ear and nose) had caused some discomfort and more stress. Forced to cancel a trip to Taipei (what a shame!) and I’ve been spending a lot more time in Indonesia.

We are launching the Yahoo! Mobile Developer Awards that we ran in Singapore last year in Indonesia. Met some really cool developers and it is getting exciting!

There are alot of good food in Jakarta!

Big yummy prawns

(I don’t know where I ate this but the seafood are all so fresh, yummy and huge!)

The other nice thing about Jakarta is, we stay at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and you would think it costs a bomb, but it is quite affordable. Spacious and a huge comfy bed.

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Bloggers gone missing…

I saw Mitch Joel’s twitter link to one of his blog post, asking folks on how you feel about those who are no longer blogging (or have slowed down) because they are busy with stuff? He had went on to ask if “you feel cheated?” as readers. While i figured there are several ways to look at the post and probably more relevant for certain group of people, I still am not sure I agree 100% with the post.

I honestly don’t think it’s an excuse for bloggers to not blog as much. I think blogging shouldnt be “hard work” as well. I remembered a good friend who’s one of those top bloggers telling me “don’t feel obligated to blog because you have to, blog because you want to..”.

For myself, I’ve definitely slowed down, though not stopped. I twitter and interact on facebook more nowadays. It’s not that I didn’t want to write a post every other day but when you are traveling alot, and unlike agencies who might see their responsibilities to “engage in social media”, therefore more blogging and more podcasting, there are alot of people who have endless meetings to attend, endless traveling and endless hours of late nights doing a job that has alot of other objectives to meet (beside engaging the communities), so when some of us get home, the last thing we think of is to switch on laptop and start to write a blog. Personally, all i could think of, most of the nights is – try to get some sleep (and there is family and health to consider).

There are many ways to connect and communicate. Blogging is one of them, not the only means.

Having said that, I am keeping this blog and I’m still writing when I have an opinion to make, when i have something to share or when i want to record some thoughts for future reference.

So, honestly, does a reader really feel CHEATED when a blogger stopped or slowed down blogging? As a reader, I see it as a shame if my favourite blogger stopped completely but i am not sure about feeling “cheated”… I have a couple of friends who are in digital media business who used to blog about wonderful stuff but had to stop because of overwhelming amount of work, do i feel bad or cheated? Not really…

Have you seen these blogs? – October Higlights

I have decided to try and do occassional posts on bloggers who have interesting blogs. They might not be your typical “celebrity / A-list” bloggers but nevertheless have their pool of avid blog readers.

Note that these might not even be the usual tech/ pr/ social media folks. At podcamp yesterday, I was inspired by Amelia’s and Preetam’s blogs even though they don’t blog about topics that I usually write about.

I shall start with the ones that I actually know the authors (and they are all Asians and none of them really write about the topics I usually cover). Here are the 3 for today –

1) Siew Kum Hong – He’s my colleague at Yahoo! (our senior legal counsel) and also Singapore’s Nominated Member of Parliament. Although I was never quite into politics but Kum Hong’s blog posts are often inspiring and spur discussions and thoughts from members of the public. At podcamp yesterday, someone mentioned that there are more and more MPs writing blogs and going onto facebook.

2) Pluit Solutions – Herryanto Siatono is probably not an unfamiliar name to many. He’s the founder of BookJetty and recently joined Yahoo! too. As an avid reader, I find Herry’s blog really informative.

3) Timothy Go – Tim is a fantastic friend and a great news anchor on Channel News Asia. We used to blog on Livejournal (he still does) and I moved to wordpress and set up this blog. Expect to find a wide variety of topics in his blog, from behind the scenes of his work to his travel adventure (yes, he travels more than i do) and follow up to some cool events (that he always get invited to the chi chi and glam stuff).

Have you read any interesting blogs recently?

About Podcamp Singapore 08

Today, I had to drag myself out of my bed (on a cold, rainy morning) to attend the PodCamp 2008 in Singapore, organised by the Singapore Management Universities (SMU).  It is rare to have weekends to sleep in since I am either busy with events/ work or travel, I did have second thoughts about attending.

However, once I was at the event, I was quite pleased that I got out of bed. Although there were no oversea speakers this year, the sessions were quite interesting. I gathered quite a bit of information and was inspired by a couple of the speakers.

Every hour, two sessions of presentations/ discussions happened concurrently in separate rooms. I had a hard time choosing which ones to sit in. A lot of the speakers are old friends and some are “online acquaintances”. Since I was there to learn, explore and hear from everyone, I chose the ones with speakers whom I have not really had much interactions with in the past. I ended up in the following sessions:-

1) Melvin and Walter’s combined session (phew, no need to choose). As usual, the two never fail to impress.

2) Charlie Pownall from Burson Marsteller on the topic of e-fluentials and shared a survey the agency did in US. Pretty insightful but would be great to have a look at the Asian scenes.

3) Preetam Rai – The guy whose brother works in the same company as me and have been an online acquaintance for a while now. Today’s the first time we met in person. I really enjoyed Preetam’s session. I have been looking for interesting bloggers in Asia and Preetam shared his recommended list.

4) Michael Netzley – Again. Another online friend who I have always wanted to meet. Michael’s session was very inspiring – about wikis and educating the Gen-Y. Earlier this year, I stumbled upon the wiki Michael set up with his students as part of SMU’s social media course. I find the wiki very informative. Definitely a great effort by the students.

5) Finally, Amelia Wong shared her experience as a food blogger. Apparently, the pretty lady can bake some really delicious cupcakes. I can neither bake nor take beautiful pictures, so I am just going to admire her work for now and perhaps try to persuade Jon to copy the recipes and bake me a birthday cake!

For more details on the different sessions:-

Claudia has done a very good job – live-blogged at the different sessions. Robin and his team who put together this year’s podcamp had also written about it if you want more references.

The session that I missed and really wanted to sit in was the one on podcasting in Singapore by the tech65 guys

Overall, I thought the 6 hours at podcamp 2008 today were well-spent! And I kicked myself for forgetting my camera battery – have to wait for Mark to upload his photos as I was using his!