thoughts and decisions for a creative edge


Dragon Boat Racing in Olympics Rio 2016

DB road to sochi

Was the first week of the Olympic Torch Relay event televised live worldwide? I don’t know how I could have missed such an event not being spoken or mentioned about on the www. Many passionate dragon boat paddlers would have taken the time to catch this momentous event which took place in mid October. The relay which took 123 days, ends in Sochi Monday 7th October for the grand opening recently.

After Moscow, the Olympic Torch Relay headed to the ancient town of Torzhok, where it was greeted by pilots of the Golden Eagles aerobatic team. Then it visited the city of Military Glory of Russia – Tver, where it traveled by bike and later a dragon boat. Russians are definitely bad ass with the torch bearings. As it approached ancient city Tver, it was there that it was transferred into a dragon boat. There was no details which Tver team was paddling these black-headed dragons. But it led an impressive fleet of 150 kayaks and canoes on the Volga River that Oct 11. The ceremony was welcomed by more than 200,000 spectators whom were eager to witness the Olympic flame escorted by dragon boat down the Volga River. I’ve never seen a procession more majestic than this in dragon boating history.

Following this picturesque event, there’s been lots of chatter about the sport being considered to be included in the following Olympics meet due in Rio 2016. If this is true, that would be fantastic news for many of the teams worldwide. Dragon boat racing is the fastest growing water sport that’s garnered huge interest not just in Asia but have stretched right into the heart of Russia and its European neighbors. In the line of the greek sporting history, the core of the Olympic flame could easily relate the likewise ethics of camaraderie stature which dragon boating brings along with it.

Dragonboat Olympic Torch Sochi 2014


What better sport is there to embrace the ethics of Olympiads, where man work in unison not just in physical strength but also spiritual cohesion to appreciate and show understanding the meaning of sacrifice. This dedication to righteousness through the passage of time, which lives among us have resonated for more than two thousand years. Let Qu Yuan bear witness, that this race will symbolize both man’s struggle against nature and his fight against unforeseen enemies. Flame of Athens would bellow in agreement that this are the the kind of events summoned by the gods; but only this time to be made tradition by humans. Let us show our strength as a team, keeping the camaraderie driven by trust bestowed upon each other. Let it have new beginnings in the waters of Rio. It is the journey that have been long awaited, adding an explosion of colors to the wreath of Olympics. Let this fire breathing myth from the East unite more communities than anything else in this time. 200m to 5,000m races that would see even more participants that Rome would have ever witnessed. Let us beat the drums. Let’s awaken the dragon to the flame of the Olympics!

Dragon Boat for Rio Olympics 2016

Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, but only three Olympic sports take place on it: sailing, rowing and canoeing (well, if you exclude swimming, diving and a few horsey jumps that take place in it). There must surely be room for another sport on water, and one with a rich tradition and a theatrical flourish should surely prove irresistible. An ornate dragon’s head prow, 20 or so paddlers in near-perfect unison, a drummer beating the stroke (think how good Redgrave and Pinsent would have been with that) and a sweep with a 10ft rudder steering the boat. It was good enough for the Asian Games, which adopted the sport in 2010. – The Guardian

May dragons soar in Rio for 2016

Let your voice be heard



Adidas vs Puma in the European Soccer Finals 2012

If you just saw that painful loss Germany suffered playing against Italy during the semi-finals to the European Cup, you would probably feel the loss the team felt. It’s a long rivalry, not only based on the sport of football but also on the brands who sponsored their jerseys. Germany wears Adidas. Italy wearing Puma. What’s the significance? A plenty actually.

The greatest sports rivalry is not Man U v Liverpool, or Ghana v Nigeria or Kotoko v Heats of Oak or Usain Bolt v Tyson Gay, or any other of those playground “my team can beat your team” fairytales listed on ESPN or Sky sports. No, the greatest sports rivalry revolves around two siblings: the brothers who created the companies Adidas and Puma.

In 1924, in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, two brothers started a shoe business. The older Rudi was a veteran of the Great War. The younger, Adolf or Adi, as his family called him had used their mother’s large washroom to start making shoes in 1920, out of whatever materials he could scrounge.
They named their company Gebruder Dassler Schulfabrik. According to, the brothers had 25 employees and were turning out 100 pairs of athletic shoes a day by 1927.

Dassler Brothers logo

Dassler Brothers logo

In the early 1930s, Dassler began designing shoes for specific sports. Dutch athletes in the 1928 Olympics wore Dassler shoes, and sales went up the roof.

In 1936, the brothers hit gold literally: “Competing at the Berlin Olympic Games, American hero Jesse Owens won four Gold medals wearing Dassler shoes. During the Games, almost every member of the German Football team wears Dassler shoes. In total there were seven Gold and five Bronze medal winners wearing Dassler shoes at the competition. Additionally, athletes wearing Dassler shoes shattered two world and three Olympic records.”

Adidas Dassler
Adidas Owen Dassler
Puma Atom

If you know history, then you know what happened next. Company profiles are a bit vague on the brothers’ wartime activities, but claims the Nazis seized the factories. says that while older brother Rudi was drafted into the German army, Adi ran the business and produced footwear for the soldiers. They fell out during World War II, probably over political differences, and founded rival firms. They refused to work together any longer.
Rudi moved across town and across the river to open his own company, and then named it PUMA. That same year he introduced the ATOM, his first soccer or football boot. The West German National team wore it during their first post-war match, and player Herbert Burdenski scored the team’s first goal while wearing the Puma ATOM.
Adi Dassler named his company Adidas, of course. He’d developed the 3-stripe logo in 1941, and registered it as Adidas’ trademark. In the Helsinki Olympics of 1952, Adidas shoes reigned: Czech runner Emil Zátopek won three gold medals wearing Adidas: the 5000 meter, the 10,000 meter, and the marathon. To top it off, his wife Dana Ingrova took the gold in the women’s javelin event also wearing Adidas shoes.

The brothers never reconciled, or even spoke to each other again. As for Herzogenaurach, it split down the middle. Adidas and Puma were the biggest employers around and everyone was loyal to one brother or the other.

In an interview by Frank Dassler, grandson of Rudi, who said, “There was an Adidas butcher and a Puma butcher. If there was a chance to avoid being in the same class as another Adidas person, from the Puma perspective, then we certainly tried to avoid this. Certainly, the restaurants were split, so there was a typical Adidas hotel or Adidas restaurant and the other guys didn’t want to go there.” Frank Dassler also raised some eyebrows in the town by working for both Puma and Adidas.

Rudi succumbed to lung cancer in 1974, leaving Puma to his son. The family sold the company in 1989. Adi died in 1978, and his son took over Adidas till his death in 1987. Even in the Herzogenaurach cemetery, their graves are as far apart as possible.

Since 2007, Puma has been majority-owned by PPR, the French luxury goods maker that also owns Gucci. Adidas Group is much more widely owned, with no individual shareholder having more than 5%.

But in September this year, both Adidas and Puma decided to put their rivalry past behind them and join forces towards peace. The 60-year-old feud was ended when employees from both companies shook hands and then played a football match in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, where both are based. The match was the first joint activity held by the two companies since the brothers left their shared firm in 1948. Don’t ask me who won because there were no actual winners. The match ended 7 – 5 but the teams were not split into Adidas and Puma – with both sides made up of staff from both companies. Adidas boss Herbert Hainer played as a striker for the winning team, which also included Puma chief Jochen Zeitz in goal.

I’m not a keen admirer of Puma designs, so I guess if I lived in the town of Herzogenaurach you would know where my loyalty lies. Unfortunately the closest I come to Herzogenaurach is Stuttgart- Wangen, right in the mist of Mercedes and Porsche.

Not to forget. Spain will be wearing Adidas. Against Puma dorned Italians.

– Original post available from Ghanaweb

Fandi Ahmad’s return in Groningen

I can’t take any credits for this. The idea came about when friends in Singapore asked what the commentator was saying.. Real fans, especially those in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia might have watched it but not understand the commentators report. The whole coverage was in Dutch. Thus all it really needed was English subtitles.

I hope I didn’t make many errors with the translation. I tried the best I could to make better sense of this much viewed report from 2010 from both RTV Noord and FC Groningen’s TV.

After a couple of week’s upload and getting 900+ viewings to date, I think I might have helped hundreds to understand what a real hero our football legend is when it comes to goal scoring in his career’s peak.

This one is for you Fandi. And all your fans. Enjoy!

Microsoft TAG re-invents the QR Code

– “Let’s re-invent the wheel when it works…” Right? And re-veal it to the world! –

Came across an announcement on the release of MicroSoft TAG app using HCCB technology. On first glance I thought, ” Now, why’d they have to do that?”

I remember 2 years ago when I got my N95 that it had this BarCode reader function built-in. Did anybody in Europe actually use that technology? For a while, I thought its going to be the future of super market shopping! Tag your product and then scan your payment through at the cashier(less) counter on your way out. All by using your smart phone. Right??! Nop. The technology just never caught on here.

Apparently, that is how its being used in Japan. You scan the product you intend to buy then place it in your shopping basket then complete your payment via either scanning your bank code at the cashier or (like in Australia) complete that retail purchase via encrypted sms banking as introduced by NAB.

Dutch supermarket franchise Albert Hein is almost close to this. The only exception is that you pick up the chunky bar code reader from the front of store. You then scan as you shop, with your cart’s value and item listed on the scanner, and then swipe your card at the exit without having any human intervene at all. The bar code reader is returned to its dock and its batteries re-charge for the next registered shopper that comes in. Scan and Go. Clean – but not as green. They COULD eliminate that bar code reader altogether in future equation with the emergence of secured mobile banking and of course the application of this codes in todays’ smart phones. Each tagged product would not only show its pricing, but when purchased, also be given the opportunity to ‘advertise for free’ by leaving URLs that could be accessed later on whenever the customer please. There is more to this. Since the data exchanged can be used for a broader spectrum of possibilities, just think what companies could do with efficient market research data collection. Of course then, there need to be a buyer and distributor agreement for such a transaction to take place. But that’s definitely the near future. And a lot of security measures to be planted on privacy issues of sort.

QR Code two years ago was already the future in Japan. You get codes printed on bus ads, banners, magazines, food products, etc, you name it. The codes are great because they’re small. It gives designers the complete canvas to be creative with ideas without the clutter and worry of text placements for that dreaded boring URL. OK I may be exaggerating there. But after scanning, interested customers are quickly brought into the product realm within their mobile device. Given the lightning speed of mobile communication in Japan, large information could be transfered instantaneously. They could be watching the video advertisement directly from the clouds of your very own server, further saving the costs for magazine prints, radio or tv adverts.

With the emergence of more 3G phones globally, Microsoft tries to add some color to the rest of the world. And of course by that, they’d want a piece of pie to control this upcoming trend. Its a new and improved way of selling the idea of an already existing system. Only this time, polished by MS. Enter Microsoft TAG…

The Tag creation option is currently available for free on its Beta stage. You need to have a current Microsoft Live or hotmail account and you’re set to create your TAG. The fact that you can place a duration date greatly helps. This will void a TAG which becomes handy for fixed-date product promotion. Think stickers or badges. Even though I prefer the looks of the QR code more than MS’s colored forms, there’s more behind its ‘pastel’ technology. Right now its just a matter of form over function. And definitely a great great plus for advertising companies.

With QR Code, the only way to monitor its response is from the date of event itself. With MS TAG you can monitor in real time. You log into your tag account and on the statistics chart it shows how many times somebody actually flashed their phone to ‘view’ your advertisement.

This becomes a highly important statistics for advertisors. How often have companies placed their ads in magazines and blindly left to guess how it did in response to sales? Chances of consumers viewing the picture/slogan and going on to the following page or bulletin is left to chance. On the other hand if its MS TAGged, the information is relayed to the advertiser right away. By default that adverts would remain in the mobile device for later viewing. How many times have you forgotten to clip that coupon where that perfume or DVD is going on 50% discount, just until you got somewhere near the store and say, “Damn, that ads sitting at home!” Now you can tell if the ads placed on say the train station is less effective than what’s placed in front of the ladies restrooms!

Here’s what it says on Microsoft’s page. “Creating tags is easy, and during our beta, free! Just supply the text or the URL to a mobile page you want to display when the Tag is snapped, and we’ll instantly create a Tag you can use. Come back and monitor Tag analytics or create some more.”

Chart above shows how many times the Microsoft TAG I created in Flickr has been scanned for ‘viewing’.

Thus TAG creators can now see in real time how many times your TAG has actually been scanned. It works similarly like Google analytics for URLs visits. THIS is a huge step forward. THIS MONITORING OPTION IS NOT AVAILABLE WITH QR CODES. It gives a cost effective way on how or where to improve your ads. And remember, this is your phone sending the 2 way data to Microsoft each time you scan an ad. Its just time before you get GPS input on which location the TAG is most ‘viewed’ at.

But crikey!? Would this give rise to a customer privacy issue? Only time will tell. This wold mean that Microsoft have upper hand info on what you’ve scanned, collecting data from individuals, knowing exactly what ads you’ve scanned based on interest. Remember that web-based mobile devices has its own IP to be able to be on the web for such data transfer to happen. Yes, somebody is watching over you. Should we be worried. Who will MS give this data to? Next thing you know, advertisement pop-ups will start appearing on your mobile cell phone. Or even through your home mail box. Did telephone companies say they will not share your home address? Yep its definitely possible. Your information is value to one business or the other. Information trading is big money these days.

Tag Reader is available for free download for most mobile phones and on iTunes for the iPhone. And whether you’re going to go with QR Code or Microsoft Tag, I think its all a matter of what’s trendy and what’s not. But many in the applied field of business marketing and advertising seems to have already chosen.

Hope its not that too complicated to see who’s tagging you. Thanks for reading.

* PS I am in no way a marketing surveyor. But it doesn’t take much to read and understand onto which direction information technology is going, especially when its handled by Microsoft. Do leave a comment if you agree or disagree about this blog. And don’t worry, it just helps me to know if I’m blabbering all for the wrong/right reasons. ; )