30 March 2010

Build your own Boxster S

This one's mine. Go design your own...

Just under £45,000, not bad eh? In my dreams!

26 March 2010

Has anyone walked from Colombo to Kattaragama?

No seriously, how long do you think it would take, say walking from 5am to 12noon. Resting. Taking off again from 4pm to 10pm. Resting at night.

The fastest I have done it is at midnight averaging 80-120kmph in a car. No stops, even for a smoke. Made it in three and half hours.

Any takers? For walking it I mean...

22 March 2010

Good morning thank you for calling the secure Natwest customer call centre in Chesterfield.

‘My name is Joe, how may I help you Sir?’ said a very Indian accent on the other end of the line. My call was for acknowledging safe receipt of two credit cards by mail. I start to first laugh as the guy takes me through my security questions, Chesterfield my foot, why go through the hypocrisy. The absolute funny part was when he started to try selling me card fraud insurance in that heavy Indian accent of his. As any Asian normally would he then got annoyed with me for not buying into his selling spiel.

With the plagiarism case on ‘Groundviews’ for reproducing other author’s content in an article about media companies embracing digital marketing or rather the lack of it, the above conversation with Natwest raised a key question in my mind. Not about plagiarism or pretence of having a call centre in Chesterfield.

The burning question of companies all over the world – How can we make money on the Internet?

In relation to Sri Lanka:
Please get professional help when developing your website. Any one can write html if he or she trains for it and then create a website. ‘Create’ being the operative word, for a web developer is neither a digital marketing specialist nor a web designer/art director.

First discuss amongst your corporate and marketing team what you want your website to do.                       
                        Strengthen presence and corporate image.
                        Customer engagement for e-commerce.

We can use all the blah, blah of marketing jargon, but principally the above two are what a website can do. Then the digital specialist will advice you on what your site needs to include, in partnership with an art director.

Surprise, in my part of the world, you can hire a web designer who is aware of both. The creative aspects of layout to a site as well as content management.

The easiest website to design is called WYSIWIG – What You See Is What You Get. Excluding the costs of server hosting, a very good freelance web designer in London will charge you £1500 for it. Which is approximately about LKR225,000. After the skin is developed, you have full content administration rights.

Here is a link to an example of a website built with my direct supervision - http://www.uwsu.com/. Originally developed in 2007/8, the slight layout difference now is before, all the content at the bottom of the page were laid out in neat boxes and the homepage being more horizontal vs. vertical.

So in human terms what does content management give you?
The ability to have prospects register with your site. Either for financial reward or relevant information they seek at their fingertips. Always with a button called opt out, a legal requirement; where then you have to erase all the information you have collected of them if they choose to opt out. But in a nutshell you will have the ability to call, sms on mobile, email or post direct mailer to them with marketing offers or corporate information.
Create a web store to sell any goods and services.

So that’s the ABC of a content management website. Understanding the customer engagement part of it is:
What do we want people to do when they visit your site?’
What is the main key message that will keep them engaged?’
These are the two questions to always ask.

Before anything else it’s important to have a working knowledge of how WYSIWIG works. Please go to:

Create your own personal site, play with it, and then understand how it can work for your organisation in a larger scale. How simple it is.

If you are a Mac user, go to the iWeb icon on your desktop, it’s almost kindergarten to create your own site on this.

Marketers in Sri Lanka must have their own webpage, from the Marketing Director to the Management Trainee. This is the start to learning how to make money on the web.

More reading on how digital can work for you? Go to:

My favourite website:

As for the Sri Lankan Pundit who says ‘we knew this already’, no you don’t.

10 March 2010

DD’s dad

My dad was born this month. He was a cool type of guy, eccentric and hugely intelligent. He achieved so much in his life but made so many mistakes. Those were his mistakes. Mistakes for us to learn from, to then teach our children to not make.
As I grow older I find that I make my own achievements, my mistakes, not yet as big as his achievements and mistakes, but all mine. None similar to his. I know I don’t have his brilliance, which my older siblings do, but they too make their own achievements and mistakes.
His achievements give me courage. My siblings and his achievements I use to motivate and educate my child. My achievements compared to theirs are shallow, but some good enough to motivate my child. Ensure that she learns from the mistakes of her immediate and extended family.
My dad’s dead now, for a long time.
What I remember of him the most was that he was an incredibly kind and patient man. Honestly, he has never raised his voice or hand at me, that kind of patience in a father is incredible.
I never learnt from his mistakes, it scares me that with the whole world in the palm of her hand, my child will still make mistakes like all of us. My child however is blessed with the same intelligence of my father and my siblings. That’s good.
I used to think how much I am like my mother, not my dad. Now as I grow older, more and more, I am like my dad.
When I was fifteen, I was really small. My mother of all people would mock my size. So any bar I could hang on, I would do pull-ups on. By the time I was seventeen I reached 6 foot. My circle of friends increased, I hung out with some of the rugby players in college, I played for fun, my best friends in the first 15. My personality was such that I had friends everywhere; somewhere down the line I became a thug. It was because two of my friends had fathers who were actual tough guys, and they would love having me around, for they sensed that recklessness in me, appreciated it.
This worried my father, and he was scared for me. So he thought it best that he sends me abroad. This was the biggest mistake he made, and I.
He’s gone now. I miss him everyday, very much like that first love you still think of occasionally.
No. I think of my dad everyday. I wish we had more time and I wished he didn’t let me go; maybe I should have been not so reckless and he would have let me stay.
So it’s my dad’s birthday in March and I am proud for him. Wherever he is I hope he knows that I miss him very much. I honestly hope I have learnt from his achievements and mistakes to ensure that maybe just maybe my child will not miss me as much.
Happy Birthday Dad, I love you, I miss you. I wish I could have been a better son when you were alive, I wish we had been friends.
Your biggest gift to me I enjoy now. You were never afraid to lose everything. You had everything but yet nothing to lose. Material happiness, love for your family, all of it like you I will too leave behind when it’s my time. Like you I do what I want, sometimes at huge cost, but whenever I stare at the mirror in the morning, I look in confidence, I see you, a man who lived by his own rules, celebrated his achievements and embraced Valhalla where Vikings go to die. I too have nothing to lose.
It’s cold here now dad, coldest winter that England has had for sometime. Early morning when I am scraping ice off the car shivering in minus temperatures, I take courage by thinking of you. When the man in the tube bumps hard into me, the woman in the store does not look me in the eye, when I am now the invisible migrant, I always think of you, and I take courage. I am brave, I am your son.

Most of all, wherever you are now, I wish you the best and the blessings of the triple gem.

Happy Birthday! 

1 March 2010


Wonder why none of the ad agencies in Colombo have got into franchising internally in Sri Lanka yet? Charge a reasonable fee for use of your branding, case studies and technical expertise. What's in it for them? The fee of course and island wide branding if marketed properly all over Sri Lanka. Negombo, Kalutara, Kandy, Galle, Jaffna for sure.

When will a Digital Agency start?


The future is now! Funny how the industry evolves. Which agency is the most innovative? There is only two that is top of my mind. Guess?

ATL's dead. Can old analogue dogs become digital?

Same old tired faces, promises always just promises... Change was coming? Billing, it's just always about billing. Will it always be?

Just you, and me?

Where art thou, the young agencies that sprung up?

Dog's ok, no I'd hate to call anyone a bitch.

Prizes and surprises.

Prizes - One week in Richard Branson’s island.

Surprises - Tsunami hits island the day before you arrive.

Please go; I have nothing for you here. Never was, never will.

You're extremely boring. That's not really going to work.