Month: June 2019

Living Up to the Ad

It is rare that products lives up to their TV ad. Usually the ad exaggerates and the product is such a let down when you use it.

The Sennheiser ad depicts high quality audio recording of a jamming session. My friends from the band Dewangga called me up to shoot photos during the recent Sharq Art Mosaic Night. Focusing on photography I didn’t plan to record any video on that particular day.  But I did brought along the Sennheiser Memory Mic just in case.

True to the spirit of an arts festival, an impromptu session did happen between my friends and musicians from Iraq and Japan. So I just put the mic on the table and controlled it from my smartphone. A quick sync later with internal video and from the second camera yields a satisfactory video.

The Best UI Mockup App

The Best UI Mockup App

I’ve tried using FluidUI and Mockflow to design apps. Both worked well and easy to use.

However both requires subscription and the price is a bit too steep. Mockflow starts at USD29 for a small team of three. At that price it’s almost the same price as my broadband connection.

So I called up my partner-in-crime for recommendation. Surprisingly he suggested Google Slides so I decided to give it a spin. Digging up my Dropbox, I still have UI elements library from Keynotopia. Then I just upload it to Google Drive and copied elements that I wanted it into my new design.

First few steps is a bit daunting as Google Slides didn’t behave exactly like Keynote or Power Point when it comes to managing graphic elements. In 15 minutes or so I got the hang of it and designing the app is rather smooth after that.

Of course some features are missing like link overview between screens or smartphone preview mode but the important collaboration features are there. It will be good enough for us for now and saved us a fair bit of money before the app is live and starts to generate revenue.

Starbucks is Not a Coffee House

Afternoon Coffee
Photo by RR Abrot / Unsplash

The image that Starbucks wanted to convey is a rustic, authentic coffee house. However, a quick glance of what most of the patrons are drinking is a glaring irony.Most of them are drinking desserts, and the new flavors these days don’t even have coffee in them.

Photo by Naufal Giffari / Unsplash

Sure, coffee is addictive and from a business stand point that’s a very good thing. Customers will come again and again.

The problem is, even coffee is not addictive enough to achieve the kind of profit they wanted to achieve. So they resort to sugar – lots of them. In a sense, Starbucks is pretty much similar to Coca Cola.

Drinking ice blended drinks are not that different from eating Korean bingsu or Malaysian ABC. But weirdly people will not bat an eye if you drink Starbucks every day. Try to eat ABC everyday and surely people around you will make noise.

On a side note, Coca Cola did buy Costa Coffee in 2018 amidst increasing scrutiny and changing attitude towards sugary drink. Looks like Coca Cola is finding a cover similar to Starbucks to save themselves.

To certain extent, the surge of bubble tea chain is a blatant exploitation of current customer taste and trend. Canned sugary drink is a sin but ‘hand-crafted’ semi-liquid desserts are celebrated.


The bottle that prompted this post

I’m not looking up any book or scholars here but I remember a friend described it as sufficiency. When you have barakah, limited resources is enough to satisfy you. If not, plentiful stuffs can’t ever satiate you.

Sometimes we are tempted with high paying projects or job that our heart don’t fully at ease with. We go on doing it anyway thinking that we can save that extra money to do something good.

Most of the time, the money just disappear.

I theorize that for one we can’t cheat ourselves. At the back of our mind we know the money is not pure so we ‘self-sabotage’ to get rid of the money.

The other thing is that doing work that we don’t like is mentally and emotionally draining. That made us weak to resist the temptation to spend our money like crazy. Or to put it the other way around we pamper ourselves to make up for the trauma of the terrible work we have done.

Maybe that what happened psychologically when we don’t have barakah.

Why Customers Might End Up Losing With eWallet

eWallet had boomed in China, and the rest of the world is clamoring to catch up. Both merchants and operators are really pushing the adoption of eWallet. Right now in Malaysia it’s a battle between Boost, GrabPay & Touch N Go.

Mobile Payment using Payment Terminal
Photo by Jonas Leupe / Unsplash

On the technical and business side, eWallet made it easier and cheaper to receive payments. As somebody on that side, I can appreciate its benefits.

However, end users might be on the losing end adopting eWallet to replace cash.

Why? The absence of pain.

Pain is actually a good thing, it tells you something is harmful. It’s a useful signal.

Carrying around heavy wallet is a pain. Seeing your wallet shrinks after paying is a pain. Protecting your wallet from theft is a pain.

Those are all signals that engaging with the market is a risky proposition. You might get scammed, swindled, or hoodwinked.

eWallet eliminates those pains. In fact, eWallet seeks to give even more pleasure. Little drips of dopamine that your brain craves.

In a cash transaction, your pleasure of buying an item is countered with pain of seeing your wallet emptying. eWallet eliminates that pain.

To top it of, eWallet give you pleasure by issuing bonus points. Human minds are hapless when given the chance to hoard, no matter how middling the value is.

Consumer might spend more to gain that small pleasure of getting points instead of opting for cash. Things get even worse when the app starts to give randomized reward. That made users hooked to spend even more.

When topping up an eWallet, the consumer mind already set to spend it. Worse still, topping up an eWallet requires the user to top up more than the actual spending.

Once there’s money in the eWallet, the app starts to nag the consumer to buy stuffs. Cash wallets never do that, they keep your money safe. You can hide money in the nooks and crannies of your wallet to make you ‘forget’ having the money so you don’t spend. There’s no such thing in eWallets, it’s sole existence is to make you spend.

So, watch out when using eWallet. Stay safe shopping.

Different Is Not Necessarily Useful

Something Different?

Lost in the hype of innovation, sometimes we do things differently just for the sake of being different.

But is it useful to our customers?

Does it helps us to stand out in the market?

Marrybrown do have tasty items on the menu. Their rice dish is the best among all fast food in Malaysia. The Nasi Lemak is consistently tasty throughout various location.

However, the branding and design is just like a poor copy of KFC and McDonald’s. I really hope to see them able to stand up like Jollibee of Philippines.

A New Way to Eat Pineapple

When in the pineapple town of Pontian it’s only apt to go bananas on eating pineapple. The key is a super juicy pineapple that went full ripe on field. It melts in the mouth eating it with buttered white bread.

Despite it’s simplicity, this is something that can’t be enjoyed in the city. Pineapples sold in distant cities were harvested before it’s fully ripe. As such, the pineapples ripens artificially and didn’t reach the full juiciness. Left to ripen on the field, even the core of the pineapple is succulent. There’s no need to smash the pineapple into jam here.

Thanks to Mr. Cheah the owner of Pontian Garden Hotel for serving us Morris & Josapine pineapple while we were there.

p/s: Mr. Cheah said that Josapine stands for ‘Johor Sarawak Pineapple’.