IKEA teaches the world Swedish

Finally IKEA takes its corporate responsibility seriously, and will prevent its global customer base from bastardizing their Swedish vocabulary:


Here in Asia, the stores often put the umlaut on the wrong letters (!), for instance making Poäng into Päong. Guess it’s all the same to a non-Swedish speaker.

Last night, I celebrated my birthday by eating Swedish pizza! In Kuala Lumpur of all places. See Tumblr:



Fast food hits Mongolia

Mongolia seems to be the next Burma.

Now getting its first Western fast food chain outlet, in the shape of, naturally, KFC:

KFC Opens In Mongolia As The Nation’s First Ever Western Fast Food Chain.

Really keen to go before it develops too much. Was in Burma recently, and felt I could almost have been anywhere in South East Asia already.

Evolving language in the digital age

I’m fascinated by how our language is evolving to try to capture all the new objects and emotions we have in our times. There are some great resources out there on new words being created, in the shape of made-up dictionaries:

I love this dictionary of obscure sorrows. Here’s one example on my Tumblr page: http://anemophilous.tumblr.com/post/42271543847/gnossienne

Urban Dictionary of course. Now used in US courts: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/business/media/urban-dictionary-finds-a-place-in-the-courtroom.html?pagewanted=all

The Emotionary – inventing words to capture new emotions: http://www.the-emotionary.com/

WordSpy: A bit slower than Urban Dictionary, and not as authentic, but has some nice touches: http://www.wordspy.com/

By the way, a review of Eric Schmidt‘s new book – The New Digital Age – mentioned some concepts I wasn’t familiar with, like “Shanzai”, which is a new word for the Chinese copying culture.

News round-up of the day

Two of today’s important stories:

1. NYC bike-sharing programme goes live.


Very much hoping that this and a NYC tech district will be Bloomberg’s great legacies. Here’s to hoping that Anthony Weiner doesn’t come in and mess them up. Nice branding for Citi too. Always loved those Citi Never Sleeps ads on NYC Subway stations.

2. Yahoo continues its acquisition spree, and makes a bid for Hulu.


Following the very different AOL model of buying TechCrunch instead of the Facebook model of buying Instagram. So far, I have to say I’m very impressed with Mayer. From banning tele-commuting to these deals, and overall, starting to create a purpose for Yahoo again, she’s on a roll. For now.

Eating insects in Hanoi

On the topic of future trend nr 1 on that page (https://newdigitalculture.wordpress.com/future-trends/), here are some nice insects I ate in Hanoi recently:
Crickets, locusts and ants (and some beaks thrown in for good measure). All washed down with homemade rice wine.


Global Development from the point of view of music tastes?

I am not sure if this is yet an established field of study, but if not, I’d like to suggest that it should be. Musical Global Development, as the name suggests, is at the intersection of music studies and global development, or how you can tell a country’s development level by its tastes in global music.

From initial observations (very non-scientific) there seems to be a distinct correlation between the level of development of a country and the predominant music taste of the country’s citizens. Even while allowing for different cultural tastes.

While developed countries seem to develop an affinity for lighter music, developing countries seem to prefer more heavy music. This can be more clearly seen in post-communist states, such as Eastern Europe, where bands like Scorpions continue to draw crowds they haven’t had for decades in Western Europe. It’s also apparent in emerging economies, such as India and Thailand. You don’t see them listening to Jamiroquai much, but there’s huge local heavy metal scenes. In a country that is just opening up, such as Burma, they’d rather have Metallica come than Justin Bieber.

Is this a global pattern? Is it linked to censorship? What’s it like in your country? Let us know in the comments.

Will Yahoo screw up Tumblr?

Wired article on where Yahoo can insert ads to monetize Tumblr. Granted that Karp hasn’t been able to monetize it much himself yet (the valuation was $800m already a while ago), but Yahoo does not have a good track record in this…

I remember, not-so-fondly, how my Geocities was shut down without warning and all content deleted(!), and how Flickr faded from relevance.

It would be unfortunate if Tumblr went the same way.

Btw, did you see that Karp dropped out of high school even? That’s one up on Thiel’s “Drop out of college and start your company”-motto…

How Yahoo Will Wring $1.1B Out of Tumblr | Wired Business | Wired.com.