What Google’s doing right!

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Talk about the “Dream Organization” and I think Google comes pretty close. I came across this clip recently on an inside look at Google and how the company functions and I was blown away.

 

Every individual wishes for a company that operates in an efficient and timely manner that creates an enjoyable working condition. Perhaps they also hope to be valued in the company, to be appreciated for their time well spent. The cherry on top? To have all these and still be paid for it all.

 

Take a look at the video below, and I think you’d be pretty impressed yourself. To begin with, one of the factors that contribute to a successful organization is how communication not only travels from top downwards but also bottom up. That cuts down on the red tape which makes the organizational communication so much more effective.

 

Because of this cut down in red tape and the process of even transplanting that information, there leaves so much more time and space to work towards the communication and completion of organization goals. When you have happy people, you have happy workers that are more focused on the job on hand instead of how you’re going to get the approval for whatever needs to be done. Just like it’s said in the video; its amazing how much trust they are given.

 

I truly believe as well that Google’s culture of having a slightly less structured environment is key to their success. By not restricting their employees and there in turn allowing them to work flexibly, be it in terms of what they are working on (20% own project) or in terms of their time (mothers who have just given birth and need to take care of their children), all these contribute towards how an organization establishes a feeling of both and care and concern for their employees. Such a seemingly simple step on the part of an organization’s structure goes a long way in terms of returns.

 

Safe to say, I would give anything to be pat of an organization that operates as such. Nothing is more heart-warming than having an organization that basis its culture and structure on open and honest communication, where politics and the “do-not’s” are kept at bay.

 

And as always, I truly believe in the mantra that goes, “Happy workers are better workers.” When you give your employees something to look forward to and a place where they feel they belong, what you reap beats what has been given by leaps and bounds.

 

with great power, comes great responsibility

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I’d like to touch on a relatively small but significant subset of our chapter covered this week; Communication and the mass media.

 

Living in a rapidly developing nation like ours, I think its safe to say that the media and any other form of communication that reaches out to the masses has increased steadily by the day.

 

Now with this outreach that grows, I feel one important factor that sometimes goes forgotten through it all is that whatever is transmitted through mass media has the power to shape values and world views.

 

I can’t help but wonder whether advertisers do keep this powerful effect in mind through the various advertisements that screen on television.

Ever come across those that have to do with the encouraging of breast enhancement or slimming pills?

When I do see these advertisements that come on, I’ve always wondered whether they realize how salient the idea of the advertisement might be to the general public or in particular girls that are growing up or women for that matter.

 

Is it really alright to be marketing something as such?

 

Sometimes it irks me in a way because I’ve often felt like advertisements as such tap on the insecurities of women and it’s just not something to be exploited.

 

Then again, I wonder if it has anything to do with the culture we’ve been brought up in. Perhaps we’ve been taught to be more conservative with matters such as breast enhancement and the taking of slimming pills as all these carry a very negative connotation. If we were in another liberal country, perhaps the same advertisement might come across as completely normal and completely acceptable.

 

I think its very important that the mass media realizes the power it has to convey messages and something as simple as what is being said and how it is said has the ability to generate and influence generations to come.

A simple action such as hitting an animal might seem very trivial and unimportant to an adult on a television show because they know its wrong, but that doesn’t mean that a child watching the same program would know any better.

 

I think one key phrase that generally summarizes all that I have been saying is that, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The mass media and what it conveys has the power to alter people’s mindsets and pave it a certain way and I think its very important that people remember that because we wouldn’t want a powerful tool as such to be inculcating the wrong values and the wrong lessons.

it’s not just about YOU anymore.

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I’d just been catching up on television shows over the weekend and chanced upon Glee’s latest episode on the “Diva-off” that’s taking place to decide on who would be the lead performer for the school musical.

 

 

Placed in a school setting full of interaction, group dynamics and shared behavioral standards, I thought to myself, what better topic to introduce this week’s journal entry on group communications.

 

Very much of the time, a school environment demands the occurrence of group talk or group communication. Just like how in Glee, the Glee club’s synergized by a shared passion for singing and the performing arts and are bonded by their love for that something common, the same is so for any other school elsewhere.

 

A very good example would be SIM and the school life I too am a part of. Group communication takes place at every single juncture of time I am in school. We are all constantly communicating with one another.

 

Most of the times it occurs because of our dire need to accomplish what is expected of us during a presentation that is due or be it when it comes to handing up a project together. In any other case, even though we might not be partaking in a formal discussion of any sort, group communication takes place in terms of the support we render each other, how we’re constantly bettering one another to push through a hard week or an upcoming test.

 

The most important lesson we need to learn about group communications is our ability to balance between our individual needs and the group needs. There will always be disagreements and a more dominant character in all groups but it is most important that we learn how to accommodate and recognize the written and unwritten norms that govern each level of membership within a group.  I think its most important that we remain aware and sensitive of each other’s discourse and what is preferred by most in the group instead of what I as an individual would want instead because that’s the great difference; with group communications comes the responsibility not to remain self-centered or selfish.

 

We need group communications to survive. It is part and parcel of growing up, more so in the working world. Without group communications, there are no means of communicating and developing on relationships in this ever developing world of ours.

till death do us part, i will love you.

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Remember those typically Singaporean love stories on Stomp, those that went somewhat like, “ I fell in love with him because he used to play computer games with me till late into the night when I had no one to talk to.”

 

Or the other kind that went something like,” He chased after me for 9 months, buying me flowers and waiting for me outside my school everyday.”

 

I swear to God, I rolled my eyes each time I read stories or saw snippets of columns like these. To me, these relationships were never going to last.

 

Then again, how about those typical love stories of the perfect couple; sweet boy, even sweeter girl getting married, people saying they were meant for happily ever after. But boo-freaking-hoo, 5 years later, they’re getting a divorce. Why? She or he got boring.

 

It’s a funny thing, relationships. They make you cry, they make you happy. They make you hate the person, yet they make you love the person. It’s as if life wasn’t complicated enough as it is.

 

I’m no pro when it comes to relationships.

I used to think I was. Back when I was a lot younger, maybe through my primary school days till my early polytechnic days I used to think I was so good at relationships. To me, it was somewhat like, what’s so hard about being in a relationship? You do nice things for him, he does nice things for you, you both live happy ever after.

I used to tell myself, I would be the best girlfriend ever because I will always listen to my boyfriend and my boyfriend will love me and buy me flowers everyday.

 

Well, as you can see, I wasn’t very smart or logical back then. Not that I am now, but I try.

 

I can safely tell you I fall pretty far from being deemed a good, ideal girlfriend. I’m selfish, jealous, meticulous and probably high maintenance. And sometimes, honestly, I wonder how my boyfriend has loved me all these years.

 

We’re far from the common bend of an ideal couple.

To start things off, he’s Indian, and I’m Chinese. I do not think we fell for each other through physical appearances. We are both not hot. (Though I think he would probably beg to differ for himself.)

 

We are far from similar, in fact we’re complete opposites for the most part.

 

But we love each other.

 

Ever since I’ve entered into this relationship with him, it has challenged me beyond what I thought was my threshold. It defied for the most part what I thought being in a relationship with another would be like. Sometimes, being in this relationship has brought me down to levels of disappointment and sadness I never thought I could comprehend.

 

But at the end of every fight, and every argument and every disagreement, I’ve found myself back in his arms. Tired, very much so, but nevertheless, still completely and utterly in love with the same man. And that has taught me one simple lesson about love- You don’t always have to agree about things, but as long as at the end of the day you’re still fighting about something and willing to work things out for one another, you’re both probably still doing something right, and both still very much in love.

 

As for myself, and this thing called a relationship? I think it makes me happy. I think having this man to call my better half is most rewarding. I will love him for many more days, months and years to come. And at the end of the day, this relationship means being able to say- I will love you, till death do us part.

 

 

Welcome to Singapore!

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Pair swanky billboard posters, a well sought after brand, affordable clothes as well as a girls’ undeniable ability to chitter chatter and you’ve pretty much secured one with a successful advertising campaign.

 

And in all honesty? I’ll give it to you, H&M you’ve done a pretty good job at that.

 

It all began with a carelessly chic billboard or two within Orchard MRT just like the one beneath.

Nothing was said, no verbal communication of any sort. Yet it caught on alright, like wildfire, the arrival of H&M became the talk of the town.

People eagerly awaited more news as to when the official opening was set to unfold and many wanted to know how much apparels were tagged at.

 

The next stage unveiled a slightly cheeky take to it. Including short teasers like the one beneath, H&M played with its verbal messaging. It captured, packed a punch and left people waiting for more.

All in all, it just got better. H&M then released life-sized shopping bags as yet another wave of publicity. With the date and location of the new H&M store splashed across the shopping bags, they beckoned for people to come. By very cleverly playing with their choice of words, they created the impression of a soon to be well-received grand opening with plenty of lines forming. And if anyone knows the Singaporean mentality well enough, you’d fully understand the term “kiasuness” and how when everyone seems to be going somewhere, it’s time to get in line and join the crowd.

 

I thought the entire concept behind the life-sized shopping bags also created a very interesting imagery where it sought after a person’s want to shop. It’s such a clever play. People see shopping bags and it somehow in turn encourages a person to head to the store and leave with a shopping bag in hand. What better way to generate the want to pay the store a visit and not leave empty handed!

Beautiful models, both male and female, a clever play with words, and I’m sold. That was how it easy it was to sell a brand just based on a simple combination of verbal and non-verbal communication. If it sold well to me, I’m pretty sure it sold well to just about the rest of the female population in Singapore.

 

So, well done H&M, welcome to Singapore.

Miss Who?

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She’s pretty! Nahhh… She’s hot! No, she’s drop dead gorgeous.

 

Perception. That’s all there is to it. It all boils down simply to perception.

 

Perhaps somewhere during our lives at a point in time, we were taught that being tall was beautiful, and being short meant you were ugly and fat and you were never ever going to come anywhere close to the modeling world. But who defines those terms by which we follow so intently? Who told them they were right?

 

It’s splashed all over the newspapers- Miss Universe 2011, Miss Angola. Miss Who?

 

I think its safe to say that very few expected Miss Angola to win Miss Universe 2011. And why would they? Whenever we think of a beauty pageant, our minds immediately fixate on countries like Brazil, Venezuela, The USA. We don’t think of countries like Africa or Singapore even for that matter.

 

Looking back on the competition itself raises many solid points on the topic of perception.

To begin with, the very basis of the competition itself talks about perception. How do we define someone as deserving of the title? Does it rest plainly on looks itself or does someone need to have more than just looks itself to qualify. I’m guessing some would say just looks because after all it is – just a beauty competition. And then there would be the other group of people that would clamor and protest and believe strongly in someone with more substance than just looks alone.

 

Perhaps our perception changes as well with experience, with time. Look at Miss China, ethereal tall lengthy oriental beauty. But when she spoke and answered her question segment, people mocked her. All over social media sites like Youtube, Facebook, there were videos going around on how silly she appeared for not having answered the question in point.

 

Sure, to the rest of us who understand English well, we’d be quick to judge on that. We perhaps failed however to take into consideration that perhaps her past experiences, her individual characteristics were vastly different than ours. Maybe back at home in main land China, her people are proud of what she’s done. Maybe it was a milestone for her and she didn’t do too bad of a job answering her question.

 

I remember watching the program on television live and shame on me because I was one of those who gasped when bit by bit the girls that I thought fit the bill on being the most beautiful didn’t make it through to the final round. My perception of a beauty would be much closer to someone who looked like Miss Mexico who won last year. Tall nonetheless, but she also had to have smoky sultry eyes and long wavy hair, nothing short of that.

 

But look at Miss Angola now, she won. And she won; with her hair in a bun, not long and wavy and flowing. She won not with the looks of a typical beauty queen, she won instead as a fresh faced beauty queen, a new representation of not only her country but of what beauty also means. She won not only because of her flawless beauty, she also won because she won over people’s perceptions.

Journal entry 1: The “IQuit” Smoking Campaign

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I remember the all too familiar campaigns on anti-smoking over the past years in Singapore. It used to take on the rather gruesome, painful to look at form where the least concern were discerning images or any form of pleasantries. Singapore was all too ready to portray the toughest images of the “bad”, and ” you will suffer” from smoking and ” die a horrible death” graphics, just like the one beneath:
I knew for sure that when i saw the 3 month long campaign aired on television back in 2007, I was turned off.
But to me, that was about all it did. Just another campaign telling me smoking is bad, stay off it, end of story.
And then recently, within the last month or so, the new campaign on IQuit Smoking surfaced. And bam! That one hit home for me.
It’s clever emotional people like these that know how to create simple but nonetheless brilliant advertisements that do no less than tug delicately at your heartstrings.
Making use of the psychological perspective of communication and how the individual is both the source and the receiver of that message, they used common everyday people that all the different races in Singapore could relate to, to reach out and unify with other smokers because of a shared experience.
I mean, just take a look at these:
 
I don’t know about you, but for me, I saw myself being able to relate to more than one example. They made use of Ethos, Pathos and Logos almost every step of the way. You find yourself questioning as to whether your money could be spent in a more sensible manner. Maybe you’re someone that loves to travel, and that’s a distinctive personal character, you’d think again as to whether this money I’m spending on a pack of cigarettes could perhaps go towards an extra day in Paris, or even so something as simple as eating at a restaurant in a 5 star fine dining restaurant in New York instead of a hotdog along the street for all 7 days you’re there.
And then it makes you reason with yourself. Whether truly a kiss from someone you love is worth more to you than a smelly mouth and that person that cringes at you when you lean in to talk to them.
And most of all, the use of Pathos or the appeal to your emotions. I think this was the most apparent of all. The words within those simple yet endearing captions beneath each polaroid conveys so much more than what it seemingly appears to do. For all you know, everything that’s being said, happens!
There must be a wife out there somewhere that doesn’t enjoy being around her husband when he smokes. Or a man that has new additions to the family and smoking now not only affects him and his wife but their children. And also, everyone has a mother and very few mother’s would want to see their children smoking. So what better way to have one of the captions go, ” I quit because I listen to my mother.”
Personally, the one that came closest to heart and made this advertisement series a rather successful one in terms of reaching out to an audience (in this case me) was the particular polaroid that had the boyfriend and the girlfriend and beneath it said, ” I can save money to travel with my girlfriend.”
I might not be a smoker, but my other half is, and when we both saw this, I could see that it got him thinking for awhile. And later on when i casually and slyly asked him, ” So are you ever going to cut down a little more?” He nodded for the first time in quite a bit and said something along the lines of ,” yeaaa, save money, will try to cut down.” That itself at that point was good enough for me, it was nothing less than a step away from sitting at a taxi stand full of smoke while waiting for him to puff up or finish that stick or about $200 a month painting his lungs black. It was a step towards a longer life with him and that meant more than one could imagine.
I’ve never been a strong advocator of anything for that matter, but in this case, alright,
“ISupport”, I support the “IQuit Smoking” Campaign.