Who are your trusted (business) people?

Fried oysters @ Katanashi An.

Do you trust your hair always to the same hairdresser? How many years you have had your current bank account? Or insurance package? Do you buy your groceries online or from the nearest corner shop? How many times you have asked for new tenders from aircon maintenance companies, telcom operators etc.? Take a minute, how many service/ product providers and business partners are your trusted ones, year after year?

I realized to have quite many trusted service providers, partners, when I moved from Finland to Singapore nearly three years ago. I had had the same hairdresser almost 20 years, the same dentist since mid-90’s, the same masseuse at least 18 years, also the same physiotherapist from 90’s… I had negotiated my mortgage a couple times between years 2001-2013 and changed the bank last time 2008 (still the same). When working on B2B I had excellent help from the department store to buy easily my suits and business clothes, otherwise I mainly bought my clothes online (mail order).

We were (I and my spouse) in Finland eight days in the beginning of this summer. I devoted almost the whole day just to visit my dentist. A horrific surprise to be informed my dear dentist had retired!! Ohmy. The new dentist seemed to be nice fellow, and I thought okay, I’m here, let’s give a try. I shouldn’t, truly. Long story short, but I have faced too many problems with my teeth since my teen-years. When I was 17 years old, I faced malpractice: the dentist conducted root canal treatment for two teeth, even though nothing infected, teeth were intact. This malpractice has followed me years, and during my university years I finally met the “proper” dentist, who diagnosed my real problem (night-time bite). Since then he has been, well was my dentist. Back to the new dentist’s chair. He checked my dental equipment, some x-rays etc. Standard procedure. The result, the one of those maltreated teeth was infected, the root of the problem lying somewhere back in my teens. Treatment: to remove the tooth. I was terrified, of course. But said yes, okay. I am not going to face another root canal treatment for already dead tooth, so let’s take it off. Easier decided than done. I sat in the chair mouth open over two hours, the result some of the pieces of tooth still inside my gum. And I was directed to the specialist, dental surgeon. Bleeding, hurting, numb, annoyed. Next morning a new drive from our cottage to the town, again new specialist to meet. He got the pieces out in five minutes, my problem hopefully eternally vanished.

But next time having holiday in Finland I will not book an appointment with the dentist, who replaced my dear, but retired one…  Any lessons learned? Is it good to have years, decades even, the same, trusted person to treat you, to have business with, to buy services from? Sure, I say yes. I just need to find after 20 years or so new service providers for teeth, muscles, hair, to fill my wardrobe .., because it is just impossible to manage all these from Singapore, and more over just too expensive to fly to Finland to have massage or haircut.

To the businesses it is not nice to know, how volatile we consumers are, but as a sole proprietor I also think that, whenever I truly can build the bridge of trust, consistence, the bond with my customers, they probably could become loyal as myself I am to my service providers. It is only a very thin sample, and not at all objective, but somehow I assume to be quite a standard consumer, when regarding big picture of common life issues: banking, health care, electricity, groceries, shoes.

FTHe Intan, some of so lovely hand amde shoes.
Embroidered shoes @ Intan.

So what features make someone, something to be trusted?

 

For me, the most obvious is the trust. It means listening, understanding, engaging, saying no sometimes, being consistent time after time. For instance anything to do with my physical body and especially, if there is need to touch me, it really takes time before that bridge is built. (I acknowledged that being middle-aged Finnish I am different from the most of the globe’s population.) So it is huge, when you can find the trusted person, who provides exactly what you need, what you want, and even has subtle way offer you more. I found an excellent masseuse years ago, happily also the physiotherapist, who could read my muscles plus listened to my own opinions (and understood the creative exercises/ treatments I conducted). Banking is of course based on mutual trust, and not too pushy offerings – my bank knows all  my financial information from salary to my depths; information you rarely share with your friends, family, spouse.

Here in Singapore I needed to push the envelope. I have found good hairdresser near to my home. We share only a few common words, but after a few of times he started to trust me, and even more to trust himself to take care of very odd hair type, we have managed well indeed. I was also lucky to find excellent GP (she knows me, and my spouse, so we have a family doc), I have the trusted neurologist too to help me to manage my muscle conditions. And after one mistake, we found suitable banking services. We have changed our grocery shopping habits: mainly online (three different e-stores), but we also do shopping on several physical stores (here are plenty of them!). And positively something very different from our Finland life: we visit nowadays a couple of corner restaurants, where the staff know us and greet us friendly, with smile and take a moment to chat with us. Brilliant, never knew, how extremely important it can be.

In our supposedly very digital world I bet that many of us still prefer human contact, specifically the same human bond year after decade.

 

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Am I part of my grandparents?

When I was at sixth form, our natural science teacher was exceptionally creative and also continuously challenging us teens. One project was to trace our genetic background. Of course paper was meant to exam DNA, biological (meaning visual) similarities, but in the end to challenge us to think, are we creatures from our parents, do grandparents have anything to do with our existence etc. Honestly I do not recall much from my high school times, but this particular paper I remember, still, after ooops, almost 30 years.

I started with basics – when my parents were born and where, where their parents and grandparents were born and when. I drew a birth tree with too many twigs. It was fun, at the time there was no Internet nor web-based registers, but fortunately both my parents and grandparents had good memory and also my granny (father’s side) had The Family Bible, all birthdays and deaths were registered on it. Being 16 years old, most of us probably were not too keen to accomplish the project, but somehow to me, it was very fascinating.

After I had traced names, birthdays and places of births, I started to detect any similarities of looks. I do not have the paper any more, and cannot exactly remember all the details, but at least something. I thought, whether the shape of my eyes, ears, forehead, cheeks, chin, fingers, toes, legs, feet, mouth etc. were at least near to what parents had or my grandparents (three of them still alive). And all those recessive and dominant DNA spirals. For instance we had learned that brown eyes are dominant to blue ones. My mother has brown eyes and hair. Dad has blue eyes, brown hair. Me: blue eyes, blond. I also researched many photos to find any similarities. And also I interviewed my parents, mainly my dad (due to I was living in the same town and house and phone calls were expensive from one town to another, landline – you know). What I finally managed to create was to draw family tree from 1870-80’s to mid-1980s, and where my grand- or great-grandparents were from. Other part of study (it was hand written on squared paper) included my little drawings of shapes of our noses, eyes, mouths – in general all those most distinctive features run in our kin line(s). I described detailed any kinds of shapes and parts of human body I could ever figure out.

What my teacher commented: only thing I can remember is that he said it was my luck and fortune to have grandparents from four different parts of Finland (one of them actually from Old Karelia, nowadays part of Russia), and the best thing ever for human kind was, when wheel was invented. It enabled to bike next village to find a spouse and mix genes! And I also remember teacher said that the base of my intelligence is from that DNA-mixture. Now I really would like to have that paper to look at it. Since then years flew by, I lost my grandparents eventually (on years 1990, 1995 and 2013). Our family members, actually both sides live long, at least female.

I am pretty sure I had none psychological or social aspects in my paper. When you are sweet or not so sweet sixteen, you evidently need to accept visible similarities with your family, but of course social aspects are something you can never, ever acknowledge at that age, right?

Now I am middle aged, living abroad. I have not my own offspring to continue my genes, am married though. I have always liked to cook and bake, and at elementary school from 3rd to 6th grade I also chose technical handiwork instead of common textile. Thanks to my dad and his spouse, I was able to bake, cook at home, and even make my own bookshelf, when I was seventeen. But I also sewed my own clothes and some cozy decorations, like pillows,  for a couple of years. Sewing got its final, when we had fire at the house, but it is another story.Oat bread

Funnily lately I have started to bake more, also cook more, and what is astonishing, I have wanted to learn, how to knit socks. Due to my technical handiwork I didn’t learn to knit socks, when I was 11 years old like my (female) school mates. Fortunately we had some textile handicrafts before 3rd grade, and also my mom taught me at home. And I remember that my aunt also taught me crocheting. Unfortunately she was left-handed, I am right-handed. Crocheting seemed extremely difficult, before we realized teaching and learning were opposite. But loads of laughter (I was maybe 7 at the time).

Start of sock

Last spring I created my own bread starters: first sourdough, then rye. I have baked many variations of Finnish rye bread. Month ago I thought I could try to make Karelian pastry (karjalanpiirakka), and felt quite proud to manage. Actually they are very easy to bake, but I have always had sort of spooky fear and also huge respect for my great-granny, who was absolutely superb to make them. Why I am writing now about my baking and knitting? Because I have lately thought lots of my Grannies, when starting to do something new. My Granny from father’s side was almost blind, and she couldn’t sleep well. So during long, dark nightly hours she knitted socks. How amazing it was. I can hear the sound of needles, so steady, so quick, so soothing. And Granny told stories about our family, mainly of her own life. One story I really loved was, how she met my Grandpa. Granny was already over 24 years old, at the time it meant officially and legally spinster (referring to tax payments). She had started to work at the age of five (she was born 1906), and had lived her whole there in her birth cottage. Grandpa was wanderer, going here and there, asking temporary work and slice of bread. How they met etc., is not relevant, but that is, how my Granny always described about the destiny they had together. Granny had refused many proposals, but then “One day there was a man, who just blocked off the road, and I couldn’t go around”. Saying suffers from translation, my Granny had pleasant, calm voice and she spoke genuine Savo language (one of Finnish dialects).

Finnish rye bread
                        Finnish rye bread

I also have scanned approximately 2000 photos (my Mom’s and my own) last year, more to come. I am delighted to remember many moments with my Grannies – usually it is something what Granny was doing, I was participating, maybe harassing, observing. Most memories are from early childhood, before school I was able to spend more time at Grandmothers’. Beside action moments I have started to remember, what Grannies told me, us, how they described the world before and then, what kinds of opinions they had in general. It is  wor(l)dlessly fantastic!

And of course now I would (could) write different kind of paper of my genes. Do I resemble my parents or grandparents or great-grandparents? My aunt (father’s side) always said and clammed her hands together “you look exactly like our auntie X”, my great-aunt. And so many from my mother’s side say I look exactly like my mother’s sister(s). Social and psychological aspects, that is more trickier. It is very common a child thinking to be changeling. Not quite sure, whether I thought it as a child. As teen, yes. But since my teens almost everyone, who has met my parents, have commented you must changeling. Whatever it tells, cannot know.

To beach or not to beach

I am not the beach person in the meaning of sun bathing and bikinis. But I love sea, its waves, its sounds, its movement. What I have learned to love is walking on the beach. I have always liked to walk on seashore, on riverbank or even near the lake, if missing sea. Moving to Asia has also changed my mindset with sea. The water is saltier, clearer, cleaner compared to The Baltic Sea. And of course a lot of warmer.  Also the color of the water is so different, not to mention flora and fauna.

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Photo by P.Jarvinen.

A week ago we returned from Langkawi. My spouse had one week vacation left before company’s fiscal year end, and surprisingly we hadn’t booked anything beforehand. After having such a stressful period at work, we decided to have relaxed vacation, not that much of hiking and exploring than usually. We managed to book flights to Langkawi and also two hotels, first one in Cenang, another in Kuah. We spent seven nights in the island, and to be honest we were a bit of concerned, how to manage, if there was nothing to do. Of course there is a lot of to do, but we both prefer not to experiment water sports and such. And there were plenty of activities like sky gliding, jet skiing, various of guided tours. We are not exactly group people, especially on vacation, so we discovered the island independently.

It was rain season, and off season. Good for us. Our first hotel was Ambong Ambong. What a hotel it is! Absolutely fantastic! We spent there four nights, very short time. It seemed that hotel was recently renovated. Hotel is located uphills. And if you are not willing to climb all the stairs, there is car service by personnel from early morning to midnight. We considered stepping stairs up and down as keeping ourselves fitter. Room was spacy, there was terrace/ balcony in every room, neighbors only above or under, not by side. Ambong Ambong is literally in the middle of jungle, rain forest, so be prepared to meet various species (both flora and fauna). We shared our room with two very friendly lizards, they were very tiny. Unfortunately I spotted also a couple of spiders, one of them one awfully big and yellowish red. Needed to wake up my spouse to vanish it 🙂

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Photo by P.Jarvinen.

And monkeys were curious enough, also a bit of frustrated, when watching through window we enjoyed our breakfast, but they couldn’t reach it despite seeing it too clearly. We are used to monkeys in Singapore, so we quite well knew, how to handle them. No feeding, it is absolute principle – unfortunately not all respect the principle.

We wandered on several beaches, most of them were quite peaceful, not crowded. Off season, yes. Due to rain season there were red flags, and so not allowed to swim. Instead of swimming we walked kilometer per kilometer, and soaked ourselves in the sea near the shore. Waves were very powerful indeed. And while standing in the water, waves splashing, and feeling, how the sand just melts under you, it is not a joke that current is too strong for human being and red flags are to be obeyed.

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Photo by P.Jarvinen.

Our nearest beach was about one kilometer from our hotel Ambong Ambong, and wonderfully almost empty every time we walked there. One noon we spent a couple of hours reading, watching waves, having mango juice and one drink and just strolling and floating in the sea. Fortunately we were able to have sunbeds under thick twig tree.

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Photo by P.Jarvinen.

At Cenang there are many activities, attractions, especially for families with little kids, or even older. Also for us middle aged couple traveling between us it was surprisingly nice.We rented a car fro two days, and drove to Sky Cable and from there we headed to SkyBridge. Cable car ride was smooth, even though I have fear of height. And need to say the cable is hanging high, very high, 708 m above sea. The ride is long, nearly 2 km. The fog created a bit of spooky appearance, while riding to the top. But only it was raining, we were allowed to start our trip to the bridge. I managed to go stairs to up down, minding my head (low twigs and sloping tree trunks on the path), it was really slippery.

Photo by P.Jarvinen.
Photo by P.Jarvinen.

The SkyBridge was open and totally inside clouds and mist. I was too scared to walk it back and forth, so I waited for my spouse to conquer it. It was blowing cold and my ears were honestly aching. Then it started to rain heavily, and the bridge needed to empty anyway. I managed to peek down and saw beautiful white head sea waves beneath.

Oriental Village was very touristic, but it is understandable to construct akin to location, where travelers ahead. We drove down to Perdana Quay and had lovely Indianish lunch there. Waiter was from Bangladesh and he was worried about, how I liked the wine. He said in Langkawi it is duty free zone, but the quality is second rate 🙂 Very honest. He also repeated a few of times, how white people are so healthy. Probably polite way to say fat … He explained his mother was white and beautiful (like you Ma’am), and his father tiny Indian. Couldn’t have this kind of discussion anywhere in Finland I think.

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Photo by P.Jarvinen

We also drove to Northern coast, spotted again a few of beaches. One – Pasir Tenkorak – was totally isolated, only two stray dogs watched us to change swimming suits , then diving to the waves. Not sure, if the place was closed, because of rainy season or if it was deserted. For us, a paradise. No sun shine, no people, no rain either. Just waves and us.

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Photo by P.Jarvinen.

My spouse wanted to see Gunung Raya, we drove there in heavy rain and fog. Top of the mountain it was so foggy, cloudy and rainy that nothing could be seen. Very exciting drive though. Here is a short video, when we drove down, and it was already getting clear. At same day we visited also Langkawi Craft Complex. We were told it is not so touristic, but couldn’t avoid the feeling that its purpose is to attract tourists along introducing Langkawian hand Arts.

I read guide book before traveling to Langkawi. Writers were not extremely fascinated of the island. They had been there on rainy season as we also, and unfortunately writers claimed quite a lot of weather. But surely you know beforehand, whether it is rainy season or not and you can plan your visit out of rainiest period, I assume. For us rain was just okay, and to be clear,  it rained only one whole day and a couple of nights during our stay.

Kuah, photo by P.Jarvinen
Kuah, photo by P.Jarvinen

In Kuah we spent three nights, our flight back home was early on the Saturday morning. We had wonderful view from the 13th floor (Bayview Hotel Langkawi). Kuah is the urban village, town in the island. It is said to be shopping paradise, and indeed a lot of shopping possibilities, but due to the end Ramadan, quite many shops were closed. We walked fairly lot, and spent one completely lazy day shopping and on the pool. What was a tiny surprise was that Islam as religion was more shown street wise than in the countryside around other parts in the island. It might be because Friday was Hari Raya festivity day. We saw so many beautiful dresses, and every chocolate shop was crowded – really it was like combined Christmas and Easter.

Food was excellent as Malesian food usually is. I liked especially seafood we had several times. And also I want to praise Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, such a dinner feast we had. Langkawi is duty free zone, so it is fairly easy to have drink or two also at restaurants, in Cenang, but now necessary with in Kuah. I was truly surprised, how much I enjoyed vacation we named relaxing beach holiday. Every person we met was effusively polite and friendly, weather was warm, food excellent, beaches solitary enough. I feel fed, relaxed, content, blissful.

Photo by P.Jarvinen.
Photo by P.Jarvinen.

My recommendations of the week:

FOOD: any seafood @ Langkawi Fish Farm Restaurant (obs. portions very large)

BOOK: Any book by Agatha Christie, perfect reading on the beach

PLACE: Beach

SOMETHING ELSE: Relax once in a while.

Hanami prime time

I have longed for to see Japanese cherry blossom as long as I can remember. Probably heard of hanami first time, when I was still tiny child. This spring was finally the spring to experience blossoming sakuras. We tried to find out beforehand the best time to visit in Japan to be able really to see the blossom of its glory. It is always difficult to forecast, but we managed perfectly. It was such a blossom, just started, when we landed on Japan, Tokyo on the 28th of March and we were lucky to see more and more cherries blossoming day by day. My best risk taken ever, in forecasting sense.

Sakura

In Tokyo we saw our first and a few of cherry trees blossoming, some of full of lovely white bloom, some just starting to blossom, and some young cherry trees with delicate pinkish flowers. We walked amazed at the Imperial Garden (with mainly local admirers). Lots of people wandering and wondering around the Imperial Garden, every blossoming tree targeted with cameras. Everyone wanted to have a picture, maybe many with blooming sakura. And no wonder. They really were breath-taking. Our luck continued also with the weather, such a lovely vernal breeze, blue sky, subtle clouds, sun shining. Perfection.

Tokyo surprised me being so tranquil even though population over 13 million. Even cars seemed to roll smoothly without any noise. People were extremely friendly and super polite with smiles and bows. It was the prime time for hanami, and people were having picnics, strolls, parties all over the Tokyo, and yet no chaotic bellowing, shouting or harassing. (Such as Finn I am used to observe, when celebrating spring and soon to begin summer 🙂 .)

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My Japanese vocabulary contains only six words: arigato, hai, sakura, hanami, onsen, oishi. Still we managed to communicate moderately and thank god there are translation apps. Our first dinner was full of warmth and speaking with hands and loads of smiles. We stepped in a local eatery, sort of traditional steakhouse-pub. Atmosphere was cozy, not too loud, smoky, menu only in Japanese and none of the waiters spoke English. No prob. With waiters’ mobile apps and with patience I managed to get the most excellent vegetarian dinner I have probably ever gotten, at least on the steakhouse. And by saying arigato, made all of them including chef himself to smile warmly, but friendly and their bowing was so embarrassing deep when saying goodbye.

We also had picnic under cherry tree, like so many Tokyoites did. We chose to go Ueno-Koen, and oh boy, it was truly crowded. Fortunately walking a bit further after entering the park we found our own little slightly blossoming cherry tree to sit under. Well, beside it anyway. Our plan was to buy lunch-box, but near the park all the places were already emptied from them. So it was a delightful surprise to find food stalls around the pond. We bought very abundant and delicious fried cabbage noodles with pickles and had some red wine. Locals had amazing amount of food and loads to drink, some even had carried tables and chairs there. It really reminded me Finnish spring festival, Labour Day 1st of May, Finns call it vappu. But only, somehow celebrating hanami was more enjoyable and peaceful. In Kyoto we had chance to hear all night long, how locals enjoyed Friday night literally on the street. The street was closed from cars and other traffic than walkers. People were sitting down on the cardboard and blankets, taking off their shoes, drinking sake, whiskey, beer and tea and of course eating delicacies. On the pavement there were many food stalls and beer kiosk, also the stage, and we were lucky to hear local vocalists to entertain partying people ’til early in the morning. At first music was disco like and after some hours it became more nostalgic and not absolutely sure, but it sounded also like karaoke. In the morning the street was quite clean, empty, normal, when we left the hotel at 8.15 am. Comparing again to Finnish parks, streets – vappu party people do leave such a mess behind, and it is not rare to spot even some exhausted celebrants to lie on the streets.

Sakura-dori in Kyoto

There is no words to describe the variety, freshness and taste of Japanese food. We had a chance to eat in so many traditional places – we had excellent teppanyaki dinner, pub food, sashimi of course, sushi, oysters (yammy – so oishi), fish, miso soup, wagyu and kobe beef. To list all of we ate, I just have no time nor enough space. Feeling full. We visited The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, highly recommended market to go. Remember not to eat before going there. Also Nishiki Market in Kyoto was a great place to visit. And again go there with empty stomach.

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So much to see, so little time. I definitely will return Japan. Hopefully sooner than later. I truly fell in love with cherry blossom, Japanese being friendly and polite and suitably distant, all the temples and parks I didn’t mention, but you know there are plenty. I could change my diet wholly Japanese (excluding meat). I feel blossomed.

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My recommendations of the week:

FOOD: sashimi

BOOK: Elina Hirvonen: Kun aika loppuu (only in Finnish at the moment)

PLACE: The Tsukiji Market

SOMETHING ELSE: Miyako Odori, Kyoto

Time to help!

Last year I decided to blog and share only positive news. Well, they were plenty, but somehow all negative and devastating news just sank in, and dark clouds were more visible than golden ones. So I try again, I cannot promise only joyful blogs, but at least I will try to post, something.

At the moment there is an urgent need for our help in several countries. UN and the government of South Sudan have declared the state of famine in the area. Starvation is a real for too many children, and why? Many other countries are under the threat of famine, especially the most vulnerable are children. Horrible war in Syria has been in our minds and hearts, but also Yemen, Somalia, Eastern Nigeria suffer from the effects of war. All starvation and famine, shortage of food is man-made. No almighty nature has caused  catastrophes, only acts of wars. In Yemen over 14 million people are in the brink of famine. In South Sudan almost 5 million need help, meaning safety and food. Nearly 12 million Syrians are displaced, living in inhuman conditions suffering from starvation, war actions, fear – this has been going on six years!  There are too many other countries suffering from chronic famine, like Philippines: over quarter of children aged 0-2 are severely undernourished. The list is overwhelmingly long.

Sometime ago I talked with my Dad on the phone, and he said wisely that all these horrors are mainly caused of arms industry. I agree. Well, money talks, greediness for power also talks too often. My father’s solution was to strip arms, and instead of fist-fighting in the field. Nice and full of hope of thought, it would at least be more equal and not so awfully monstrous than current situation.

My heart is bleeding for all dying and suffering children. They haven’t done anything to deserve the cruelty they have to live in. It is our adult duty to help.

 


There are several ways to donate, some are more secure than others. UNICEF helps directly in war zones (whenever they have access into crisis areas). Pick your own, but act.

Sexy, passionate, epic, storyteller?

Quite often when I read any article, column, blog, I cannot avoid to spot a few words: sexy, passion, epic, story telling. These old words have gotten totally new meanings in current (postmodern) businesses. As a shy Finn, I hardly can write these down, never speak in loud. And if ever, only blushing.

All companies offer sexy products, every experience is epic. It seems that there are not workers or employees anymore – only passionate enthusiasts and of course storytellers. The last one is so last season – it has been precept already decades (at least in some countries).

Is it really so that all the companies are filled with passionate people, who sell and offer sexy things. Sometimes the comprehension is not possible. One of my latest experience (not anything epic) was to find out that web analytics is very sexy. Really? I enrolled Digital Marketing Specialization program (offered by Coursera & Illinois University). Our lecturer was enthusiastic, perhaps passionate, when telling all the possibilities the web analytics can offer. Why not? But sexy – can analytical science be sexy. Also accounting was declared sexy in one blog (forgotten the specific blog, but it was written by Kaushik).

I have worked on sales, account management, business development for years, so story telling is familiar with me. There are storytellers and storytellers. I hopefully followed my morals during my sales journeys. I truly believe in honest and truthful selling, if you have no solution to fit, say no.

It is almost touching to read of epic journeys, which first time travelers publish. Everything is epic. Still sometimes I doubt, if it is, really. Eating MacLunch in a new city is not necessarily so epic. Or at least not in the sense, how ancient Homer probably thought it to be. But in the other hand Homer wrote of young, omnipotent heroes, so actually it can be exactly apt.

But passionate. There has been enthusiasts, heroes, explorers, evangelists. And now everyone has to be passionate. The most common question on job ads is “What is your passion?”. Again, only blushing. Okay, it is something deeper than to like or feel happy for, but it is a strong word. (at least for a Finn)

And in job interviews, always the question, what are you passionate for? What an earth I could answer. My passions, well, reading, books, anything new, walking and hiking in pool or in the ground, cultures, elephants, baking, my bread starters. … Nope. Should I tell that yes, my passion is web analytics, you know, it is so sexy tool. No again. But what I have said then that one of my passions is my curiosity, I want to learn new and I am enthusiastic with it. Hopefully it is not comprehended nosy, negative curiosity, but only positive – in the way that I want resolve problems, I want to see forward, I need to know the background. Never know what impulse gives you a new idea.

I feel passionate elephants. They are vanishing, soon in the extinction. Only because of us, humans. I have read, clicked in social media, shared videos, photos and articles of elephants that much that probably half of Facebook friends have hidden my posts. The concern, caring passion I should say led me to act. Unfortunately I have no possibility to move onto any elephant sanctuary to help there, but I wanted to do something very concrete. That’s why I established two online shops via Threadless and RedBubble.

My objective is to donate 50% of my sales share to the organizations preserving wildlife. First week sales (Threadless) was 3 t-shirts and 1 hoodie, my share $49 (US). Donation is not huge at the moment, but I want to believe it comes dollar by dollar. My target annually is $1000. If your passion also is wildlife, I am glad to see you sharing my blog or posts.

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Online shops:

RedBubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/norsumarketing/works/21750929-no-poaching-collection?grid_pos=5&p=t-shirt&style=mens

Threadless: https://norsumarketing.threadless.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/norsumarketing/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

 

 

Save great mammals, Digital experiment further, part 2

Weekly thoughts

A few of weeks ago I posted of my digital experiment as a part of my digital marketing specialization program, and I submitted a picture onto threadless.com. Unfortunately my submission was declined. Totally my bad, because I just submitted a picture, nothing else. So my intention was to create a new submission linked to Threadless product line. Intended for too long, Threadless reached me before my action. The company suggested me to create a webstore of my own. My first reaction: what a… never. But then a couple nights after I had an idea to open webstore to sell Threadless products with my own design, and to donate 50 % of my sales share to organizations, which preserve wildlife, especially elephants.

Two more weeks, and I got untold help from my dearest, I decided to open online shop. Threadless offers an opportunity to create an online shop to sell…

View original post 512 more words

Save great mammals, Digital experiment further, part 2

A few of weeks ago I posted of my digital experiment as a part of my digital marketing specialization program, and I submitted a picture onto threadless.com. Unfortunately my submission was declined. Totally my bad, because I just submitted a picture, nothing else. So my intention was to create a new submission linked to Threadless product line. Intended for too long, Threadless reached me before my action. The company suggested me to create a webstore of my own. My first reaction: what a… never. But then a couple nights after I had an idea to open webstore to sell Threadless products with my own design, and to donate 50 % of my sales share to organizations, which preserve wildlife, especially elephants.

Two more weeks, and I got untold help from my dearest, I decided to open online shop. Threadless offers an opportunity to create an online shop to sell its products, but designed by anyone. Online shop model is called Artist Shop.

The design of mine is my tattoo. I drew it about 15 years ago, and got tattooed. So to me it is very personal, private I could say, but also something larger. Why elephant? Elephants are gentle, they communicate in several ways – touches and sounds and gestures and moves, they live in herds lead by matriarch taking care of each other, they are essential to our ecosystem, they don’t have any natural enemies (except poaching humans), they wander thousands of kilometers annually and they are able to share drinking spots and food fields with other species (if not too threatened). Elephants are playful, learning, sentient creatures.

We humans exploit elephants many ways: we think they can entertain us and live in very unbearable conditions (circus, tourist attractions, zoos), some even think to have elephants as pets at the back yard (!), etc. Touristic elephants are mainly ill-treated, must live in such circumstances that not even close to their natural habits. Elephants rides might seem to fun, but most of those elephants work almost 24/7, having some food, some water, but nothing else than a huge work load. Elephants yearn to wander around freely, having their own speed, space, communication to their peers. Not walking around a circle getting hit every time turning off the road.

Back to my objective. I opened an online shop to sell t-shirts, hoodies, baby clothes (products by Threadless). I will donate 50% of my sales share to the organizations preserving great mammals, especially elephants, but also rhinos, orangutans – all species under the thread of becoming extinct. My target is to sell so many t-shirts that I can donate at least 1000 US dollars to 1-3 organizations mentioned annually. I will donate quarterly, or when there is at least $100 to donate.

How Threadless manages Artist Shops? If I sell a t-shirt at the price $25, Threadless’s share is about 75% ($18). My share is $7. Threadless has all rights to any additional expenses, so my share can be less. But ideally every t-shirt I sell via my online store transfers $7 onto my account. Of the sum ($7 x ?) I shall donate 50% to the selected elephant sanctuaries and trust and organizations helping wildlife to survive. I will publish the sales statistics monthly or quarterly – depending, how the sales keeps ongoing. Why I don’t donate all? I have some expenses to cover, my intention is not make business, my only target is to donate. I will analyze the business flow continually, to fix donation percentage more consistent.

I wish sincerely you can share this message (even if not buying) to reach as many we can together. Save great mammals! No poaching!

The link to my online shop: https://norsumarketing.threadless.com/

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If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am glad to answer.

 

Book I recommend highly: An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick.

 

#savegreatmammals #nopoaching # norsumarketing #elephantsanctuary

 

 

 

 

Digital experiment: my UGC submission

As a part of studies on Digital Marketing (provided by University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera) we participants analyzed as a case study the company Threadless, which uses co-creation as their core business idea. Company’s ideological business incentive has turned also to revenue. Many mistakes, many lessons learned.

User generated content (UGC) as marketing concept or method has not been familiar to me, as a user. To dive deeper I wanted to get some real touch, personal feeling of how it works or can work (or does not work). So I created my own design (with help my spouse’s excellent PowerPoint skills) to submit onto Threadless website. I am willing to find out in next 10 days, what kinds of reactions I receive, if any. I have shared the link of my design also via Facebook (my friends, not publicly), Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, plus started a discussion with my virtual classmates participating the same online course than me.

I won’t use the information in any other purpose than to get an experiment on UGC, and won’t ever publish any comments or identity of comment contributors.

My contribution can be found here: No poaching

I am glad to receive any feedback. Let’s share!

Learning in mid-age: a crisis or just merely fun?

Studying and learning new is like project management. Last autumn I decided I need a certification of Project Management to enhance my options to find a new job. My process started at first to analyze, which organization (meaning either PMI or IPMA). The result more often PMI certification was asked here in Singapore. Probably different from Europe in general? After that I still wanted to compare the two organizations, and finally selected PMI. And then there was decision to be made: which certification and program I want to choose. I ended up to start the studies with PMP (Project Management Professional). Since September 2015 I have passed 27 e-courses, applied to get certified (demands e-courses, a lot of PM work). What I noticed that my process was exactly from project management textbook: first initiating, then planning, executing, there has been a lot of monitoring and controlling, and now I am waiting for the closure.

I had a backflash with certification test due to PMI is renewing its material on PMP-program and particularly the core: textbook. The release is in April, but the organization has already renewed the test. Not so matching, but need to wait for a while now to have a chance to download renewed textbook. It seems that quite a lot of content is changed. Of course, there are a many delays, obstacles during the project, and what to do. Re-analyze, find a workaround, re-plan, deny the event etc.

My workaround is to study something else meanwhile, with given time-out. I started a new program provided by Coursera. It is said that current workers and students need to learn eternally new. Maybe so, but even though I have a degree on Marketing, I found very intriguing to start a new specialization program of Digital Marketing. Globe is changing, so must I. Sort of funny, but my steps were exactly same than finding out, which PM-certification to take. Now of course there were so (too) much alternatives, but my criteria were quite simple. Not too costly, online courses available in my time, known institution, something to be linked in practice, maybe to get global network. But still I walked the same path from initiating to executing. I am monitored and controlled, which is good, it is keeping me more or less on the track (timetable). My first module is passed, so partial closing also experienced, final closure somewhere there over the rainbow, but heading there.

Last year I also started to bake traditional sourdough bread plus rye bread. So my thought is that do I process my new things always similarly, like a proper project manager. And after not so profound analysis I realized that well, yes, most of what I do and especially what I start is usually had some project management shower. For instance my baking. I wanted to have my own bread starters (I have blogged about the experience earlier). My first intention was to start with sourdough starter reasoning (I don’t know why) that is has to be easier, simpler than rye flour starter. I studied and compared and tried many times before succeeding. My trials and errors and lessons learned with sourdough starter helped me to create simple and living rye starter (many trials though). One lesson I learned is that ingredients differ from country to country or at least flours vary from Finnish ones I was used to. But since I have had time to experience, and it has been my own personal project, I have enjoyed a lot of every phase. Baking is of course another phase! All breads have been eatable, some tastier than others, but I am glad I have kept going on with my starters (they are still alive!) and baking.

Of course not all my activities follow the path of project management processes, but for me realizing this actually helped me with my studies as well. Some of the new things I have started and learned have been discontinued – quite probably the majority, but it is also have along some continuities, like reading (since I was about 10 years old), baking – I have had different waves and phase, but since I was 13-14 years old, and now the latest learning: my starters.

20160328_204413.jpgMy newest learned craftsmanship, I learned last October, how to knit socks by watching YouTube video. Socks are not beautiful, but  at least they are hand-made.

 

 

 

2015 in review

I have been very silent lately. Should probably change the title to Monthly thoughts 🙂

It is not that I haven’t thought; I have, a lot in fact. But I am out of words, how to express my feelings, when following the news streams. Cannot really understand the world news at the moment (ref. especially shootings in USA, refugee flood in Europe, and also bombings in Asia, and all consequences of these).

I moved to Singapore in mid-autumn 2013. Singapore has been fairly peaceful, very safe, but in a month there has been also public speech of the threat of terror and conversations, how to prevent any terrorist acts here, of course cooperation with neighboring countries. I have admired, how peacefully variety of people, who have different racial and religious backgrounds can live and share same streets. Even discussions in web seem to be moderately polite and lame. Versus what can be read in Finnish web-based “discussions”. That has been a huge surprise, how hatred and shouting has turned as common Finnish way. I try not to browse comments too often, but every time I decide to have a break from news in general and especially from comments, I fail to keep it. More easily to avoid comments, fortunately.

Usually I don’t bother to make any New Year’s resolutions, but I think I will concentrate any good news I can find. One very delightful news was teaching coding in Ghana. Ghana Code Club founder Ernestina Edem Appiah teaches children to code to able them better future. Already 20000 children have participated the club. Such volunteerism I highly respect.

I have attached my blog 2015 in review. And sort of promise – I will be more active, I think.

Recommendation: JOHN BOYNE. A History of Loneliness

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 390 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.