February 28, 2009

Back up system for our MacBook

Ever since we bought our MacBook a few years ago we have been carelessly using it without any back up system which obviously made me very worried. 

So, enough of procrastination.  I just got back from São Paulo's new Apple authorized dealer called A2YOU where I finally upgraded our MacBook to the Mac OS X Leopard which comes with Time Machine. Time Machine automatically keeps a copy of everything we have on our Mac... our digital photos, music and my wife's recipes. What's really cool is that it not only keeps a copy of every file, it remembers how our system looked on any specific day, which means we can revisit how our computer appeared in the past.  I wish I had the same capabilities with the computer we use at the office.

I also bought the Western Digital My Passport for Mac, a portable hard drive that I found simple to use and easy to carry around on future business trips.  A great combination for peace of mind. No more worries.

February 26, 2009

A cool example of how books are evolving...

Yesterday, I was at a bookstore looking for a gift for our 7-year-old who has shown an interest in how the human body works. I found this amazing book called "The Human Body" an editorial partnership between DK (Dorling Kindersley) and Google. What's fantastic about this book is that each chapter comes with a key word that the reader can go online for additionbal information and cool 3D models and graphs. I later found out that this particular book is part of a family of books called e.guides, covering other topics like space, earth, weather, ancient civilizations, plants, insects...

This is definetely a great concept that shows how books are evolving. I love how they combined the editorial strength of a wonderful publishing house like DK (which I've been a huge fan of since I bought my first Eyewitness travel guide about 10 years ago) with the web capabilities of Google. Awesome!

February 24, 2009

Toy Art haven in South Beach

Walking in South Beach this afternoon, I walked into Kidrobot, this fantastic store featuring the coolest collection of toy arts. In Sao Paulo, you find interesting toys here and there but I haven't seen such a great collection in one venue like this before. Back at th hotel, I went online to learn more about it. I found out the concept was created by designer Paul Budnitz in 2002. There are store in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London and the Miami store I visited.

The website says that...
"Kidrobot merges urban street trends, fashion, and pop art to produce limited edition, collectible toys and apparel. Kidrobot products feature unique collaborations with top international artists with backgrounds as diverse as graffiti, fine art, fashion, industrial design, graphic design, illustration, and music."

Worth visting next time you go to South Beach...

February 23, 2009

True North on Oscar Night

One of the downsides of living in Sao Paulo is that I miss the advertising break during big media events like the Super Bowl (which makes me realize that cable operators could easily benefit from a pay-per-view package including the original advertising targeting the local marketing and advertising community). I'm in Miami this week getting away from the carnival frenzy back home. So, I was able to watch the Oscar's ceremony on Sunday night with some friends in Coral Gables.

Knowing True North - Frito-Lay's new line of premium natural nut snacks - was scheduled to make a huge impact at the Oscar's, I took some bags I bought at Whole Foods to share with my friends (they loved the pistachio crisps).

The campaign is awesome, telling stories of real people who are doing something extraordinary with their lives.... finding their true north. The TV spot I particularly loved was called “Inspiration Café,” which tells the inspiring story of Lisa Nigro, the founder of a restaurant that serves the homeless and provides job training and fellowship to its customers.

Beautifully inspiring...

February 17, 2009

Dinner with Tom Szaky

Last night, I had dinner with Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle - a business model created while he was in Princeton - that is completely redefining the concept of recycling. Cool guy with cool ideas. Tom is leading an amazing green revolution, enlisting consumer brigades all over America to collect used soda bottles, plastic bags and candy wrappers and transforming this garbage into amazing products, from fertilizers to messenger bags to backpacks.

Last year, Inc. Magazine called Terracyle
'The Coolest Little Start-Up in America'.

Tom Szaky's fascinating TerraCycle story is truly inspirational. Click below to see an overview I found on YouTube. It will certainly make you look at garbage in whole new way.

February 14, 2009

Online destinations I enjoy...

A few online destinations I enjoy...

Scott Goodson's Writings by the inspirational creative mind behind StrawberryFrog__ an agency that is all about the power of sparking cultural movements.  

IDEO Eyes Open defines itself as a gathering place for interesting experiences that resonate with emerging themes in our lives, our communities, and our world. 

Trendwatching is always a fun place to go to read about trends that are emerging around the world captured by over 8,000 spotters.

For those you have a connection to Brazil and read in Portuguese, Update Or Die is an awesome example of the power of collaboration.  A new generation of Brazilian talents, in the field of advertising, journalism, marketing and technology have teamed up to produce one of the country's most influential blogs. 

Also try
Alexandre Van Beeck's blog. A new voice who has a good eye for insights, marketing trends and how new technologies are reshaping the landscape. I can always count on Van Beeck's blog to find something new.

O Pequi is a wonderful blog that celebrates design, photography and fashion.  A nice pause after a week of powerpoints and business proposals.

February 8, 2009

Gearing up for FIFA World Cup 2014

São Paulo Futebol Clube is Brazil's most successful soccer team in recent years with six national titles. Their home stadium, Morumbi, is going through a major transformation in preparation for FIFA World Cup 2014.  The project is designed by Ruy Ohtake, one of Brazil's most celebrated architects. 

Friday, I went to visit the first visible change of this transformation, what is called the Morumbi Concept Hall__ a soccer-themed entertainment area similar to what you see in European and North American sport venues but unheard of in Brazil. A stunning Reebok Store (the largest in Brazil) and the Santo Paulo Restaurant where we had lunch overlooking the pitch are both in full operation. Next to the restaurant, UCI is building two cinemas. VISA has launched a service called PassFirst in which members have access to 20,000 seats and special treatment using their cards.  It's not enough just to go an watch a match, sports are a fantastic opportunity for brands to provide a powerful marketing experience.  The World Cup will certainly elevate the game in the area of sports marketing in this country.

On the outside, the stadium has plans to renovate the parking area and build a monorail that will link a nearby subway station to the stadium gates.  

February 7, 2009

How can GPS applications make us feel more safe?

A member of my innovations team was taken at gunpoint by two men while she was parking in her grandmother's garage.  She was then taken by two men and held hostage in a deserted area of São Paulo for an hour, while one of the assailants drove off to an ATM machine with her card. The terrible incident made me realize that there is a tremendous opportunity for mobile operators, police officials and banks to collaborate in the development of GPS applications that could potentially minimize the risk of something like this happening.  I recently read an article in Wired about a service in the U.S. called SafetyNet, built to be used on the Android Platform. You select bad neighborhoods in the SafetyNet's map, so in case you end up in a sketchy part of town, your phone automatically switches into what they call 'watchdog mode'.  In case you feel threatened, you just shake the phone and an alarm goes off sending your location to friends and family.  It sounds like an interesting concept.  However, in a city like São Paulo where you can run into a dangerous situation practically anywhere, I'm sure the service would need to be redesigned.  

With the proliferation of location-aware phones, it's only a matter of time for someone to develop a killer application that can provide a better sense of safety.

February 1, 2009

Japanese Tin Toys

Last week in Orlando Florida, I had the opportunity of visiting a wonderful little exhibition of Tin Toys, which were incredibly popular in Japan in the 50's and 60's.  Tin aliens, robots, astronauts and vehicles all part of  Tin Toy Master Teruhisa Kitahara's collection, who runs seven museums in Japan with over 50,000 tin toys,

For anyone who has an appreciation for Japanese design and its influence in pop culture (from mangas to fashion to annimated film), will be fascinated with these vintage toys. 

These are a few photos I took of the exhibition...