Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ideas, Positioning and Powell Bookstore

I respect people with ideas and people who are not afraid to sell the ideas and develop them into products to make our lives better.

Never mind if people laugh at the ideas or ridicule us or make stupid comments – because, believe me 3 or 4 years later, things that most people dismissed as ‘idealist dream’ will have great impact on our lives.

Pillow with built-in radio

Like today for example, while I was having lunch with NK Anuar at Devi’s Bangsar, someone approached us and introduced -- a pillow with built in radio. How interesting!

While some people need complete silence to sleep, there are people like me who need some noise to make us sleep. And this pillow is a wonderful thing.

But many people laughed at the guy who tried to sell the product. Toksah putus asa …


And today I must say, finally, yes finally someone dah nampak how to position the Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (NS). That’s why I said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye is brilliant. What NS needs is just a simple correct positioning and cool branding and the right PR spin.

In fact when I hosted AGENDA, a talkshow on ASTRO about 2 years back, I did say -- while NS has great mission & objectives on jatidiri and race-relations, it shouldn’t be positioned as a ‘boot camp’. But can’t blame them because the ‘organizers’ are people of my father’s generation and they still define ‘discipline’ as pakai uniform, rambut kena macam sojar, kena merentas desa, pumping 100 kali, nyanyi lagu patriotic. But honestly – discipline is not about ‘appeal luaran’. It is all about 'jiwa & dalaman'.

And the youngsters tak suka sojar-sojar ni…

NS should be about ketahanan mental, creative thinking and leadership and with all these, good race-relations will automatically berlaku.
Objektif memang bagus...tetapi perlu dilaksanakan dengan mengambil kira pandangan dunia (worldview / frame of reference) anak muda. A bit of 'popular culture' (pop-culture) approach is needed and has been proven successful, when we need to communicate with teenagers and young adults.
Something must be done to reduce the generation gap which is very-very seriously wide in Malaysia at the moment, especially between 'pembuat dasar dan pembiaya' and 'the young ones'.

For the NS programme, they should invite people like MICROSOFT’s founder, Google’s founders and funky young successful world leaders that the youngsters can relate to, to give talks.
If Queen Rania or Queen Latifah can communicate the message better, why not invite them -- instead of ketua-ketua bermisai dan nampak garang -- because we will eventually ajar anak-anak -- to get things done kena garang dan jerit kat orang -- tak betul tu.
If NS is positioned as hip, educational and will transform youngesters into resourceul humans, all you know, soon, we will have youngsters ‘applying’ to be in NS, as opposed to youngsters ‘drafted’ (kena paksa, kalau tidak kena masuk jel) to go for NS.

In Israel, that’s what they do – they invite big names to inspire schoolchildren -- no wonderlah they are so good.


Moving on, bravo to the leaders in Klang for the E-Library project.

It reminded me of Powell Bookstore in Portland Oregon.

When I was a student in Portland Oregon, I spent lots of time at Powell Bookstore. It’s a huge bookstore as big as Bangsar Village Shopping Centre and many young people hang out there to read and buy cheap books.