Nike Human Race 10k Singapore – 1:02:09

Berno-Terence-Niwas-Nike-Human-Race-10k-Singapore-2008

The Nike Human Race held in Singapore was a brilliant marketing campaign. 11000 runners in Singapore all wearing a Nike Red running t-shirt and thousands more across 25 other countries around the world. Overall a great brand strengthening exercise!

I ran the distance, and I can only give them kudos for marketing. Event management wise, they get a C+ from me. Race pack collection Day 1 – under staff of support staff resulted in 3 hours long queue! Good thing they got more staff in on Day 2.

The route itself was the usual downtown route from Esplanade – Shenton Way – Clarke Quay – Robertson Quay – Parliament -Cityhall. However the human flow design was poor which resulted in human bottleneck along the way. Singapore has one of the longest average completion time among all 26 countries. Certainly, not a race if you are serious about PB. I’m gonna file this under, been there, done it.

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Nike Human Race 10k – 1:02:09. Event pictures.

Microsoft Research Asia’s Role in China’s High Tech Human Capital Development

Last week, Zhou Minliang, a Research Fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences wrote an complimentary article about Microsoft Research Asia’s role in the development of China’s R&D capabilities. The article (微软亚洲研究院带给我们什么 – literally What has Microsoft Research Asia brought us) appeared in China’s Scientific Times (科学时报).

In the article, Mingliang applauded lab’s advancement computing and Bill Gate’s decision to open the lab in China. The lab’s creation has developed deep inroads to the Chinese’s psyche and brought upon great sense of pride and self-belief. He also described the lab’s dynamic and open environment as the key that foster creativity among its researchers in the midst of China’s transformation to a knowledge based economy.

周民良:微软亚洲研究院带给我们什么

在观看奥运会的人群中,有比尔•盖茨的身影。作为开启新办公时代的领航者,盖茨对全球的贡献非常大。作为一名成功商人,盖茨多次来过北京。不知是否有人想过这个问题:盖茨带给我们什么?
 
在笔者看来,作为微软前总裁,盖茨以往到北京的最大成就,就是创立了微软亚洲研究院,这是一个类似于“鸟巢”和“水立方”、具有地标意义的外资研发机构,但也由此可见盖茨的远见卓识。微软亚洲研究院成立以来,诞生了大量研究成果,尤其是近两年来,微软亚洲研究院的成果更加丰富。据介绍,微软亚洲研究院的最新技术,在微软全球五大研究院中占据近1/3。在多媒体检索计算机系统和存储、数字娱乐及计算机图形、分布式系统研发、大规模数据分析等领域,微软亚洲研究院都有创造性的贡献,有多项技术成功转移到微软公司的核心产品中。不仅如此,微软亚洲研究院在各类国际一流刊物和会议上发表论文超过1500篇。微软亚洲研究院是盖茨成功的一部分,就如同他创立微软一样。
 
但是,微软亚洲研究院带给我们的意义应该是不一样的。首先,微软亚洲研究院告诉我们,高科技企业的成长十分依赖技术创新,要做世界顶端的企业,就要依赖世界顶端的技术。技术创新,是企业生存与发展的核心价值所在,也为企业的进一步发展提供了独特的竞争力。对我国企业来说,在一段时期引进技术和模仿技术是必要的,但从长期来看,企业要在市场上生存和发展下去,必须建立自己的技术创新体系,开发出具有自主知识产权的技术产品,在这方面,微软亚洲研究院为我们提供了很好的镜鉴。
 
其次,微软亚洲研究院告诉我们,中国人在技术创新方面的才智并不弱于欧美国家。妄自菲薄、认为中国是发展中国家,其技术水平就只能都停留在发展中国家的思维是不合乎发展实际的。中国的经济发展水平尽管不算发达,但在技术人才的培育上具有规模优势,如果能合理组织,实现技术与资本的良好结合,中国人完全可以在技术密集型产业领域取得成功。
 
再次,微软亚洲研究院告诉我们,技术创新除了与人才供应有关外,还与人才的激励与约束机制、人才的合作机制与团队精神、研究项目的设置等因素有关。在科研机构内部设置许多不正当竞争手段、任人唯亲地进行反向激励约束、黑箱操作地进行不公正的绩效评价,都无助于人才的脱颖而出和技术创新成果的不断涌现。在技术创新方面,微软亚洲研究院给我们提出一个颇具现实意义的问题:如何建立创新型的现代科研院所?

How Offshore Outsourcing Affects Customer Satisfaction

(The Australian IT, 9 Jul 08 ) National Australia Bank has announced another wave of IT roles to be offshored that could see over 400 jobs sent to India by the end of the year.

From general (and ex-NAB) customer’s perspective, I’m not in favour of major outsourcing or massive usage contractual workforce. This structural workforce (and business process) change that rewards short term numbers gain for longer term decline in a company’s internal knowledge accumulation, customer knowledge, losing direct decision making ability and demonstrates a lack of commitment to the local customer base.

A recent article “How Offshore Outsourcing Affects Customer Satisfaction” published on WSJ reports on the very real cost of offshoring (up to 5% of a company’s market capitalisation). The authors understands the rational behind offshoring and recommends steps to minimise the downsides.

Addressing the New World Order, America’s Place in the Today’s World

“The international economic position of the United States has deteriorated substantially since the new millennium. The big trends in global finance and energy markets are working against the US. There isn’t any solving this problem in terms of making it go away. These are ongoing realities. The energy picture is not going to change: it is here to stay.”

– Flynt Leverett (former director of Middle East Affairs on the National Security Council, 16 Jun 2008 )

This weekend, Peter Kelly, the Editor-at-large of The Australian picked up the current energy, economical and politicial woes that affecting the US. In his article, he wrote about the passing of American prestige and power, last seen during the pre-Bush years. In the second part of the article, he discussed about the new power structure and dynamics under the current geopolitical climate. This sentiment is also shared in an article published in the Jul/Aug 08 edition of the Foreign Affairs by the Secretary of State, Dr Condoleeza Rice.

Related links

Nike reckons Singaporeans do not speak English

I came across this amusing message window (see screenshot below) when I tried to visit the Singapore Nike Plus website from it’s AU counterpart.

“Unless you speak the local language it might be difficult to register for Singapore’s race.”

Singapore English isn’t that hard and you only require some simple pattern matching to realise that “en-au” and “en-sg” belongs to the “en” language family.

In Singapore, we also apply a comma between two parts of a sentence. For example, “Unless you speak the local language, it might be difficult to register for Singapore’s race“. The comma helps to improve the sentence’s readability.

nike-thinks-that-singaporeans-do-not-speak-english

2008 Annual World Most Livable Cities Ranking by Monocole

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Munich, Germany
3. Tokyo, Japan
4. Zurich, Switzerland
5. Helsinki, Finland
6. Vienna, Austria
7. Stockholm, Sweden
8. Vancouver, Canada
9. Melbourne, Australia
10. Paris, France
11. Sydney, Australia
12. Honolulu, Hawaii
13. Madrid, Spain
14. Berlin, Germany
15. Barcelona, Spain
16. Montreal, Canada
17. Fukuoka, Japan
18. Amsterdam, Netherlands
19. Minneapolis, United States
20. Kyoto, Japan

Key: Green – City I visited, Blue – City I wish to visit one day

Analysis
I’m surprised to see no mention of any east coast cities like Boston. Also there is a heavy gearing towards European cities but not totally without merit. Good to see Australia retained two spots within the list through Melbourne (#9) and Sydney (#11). With such survey, the devil is in the details (ranking methodology). My top concerns for these two cities to retain it’s liveable status are the housing affordability and the state of public infrastructure.

Related link: A Singaporean reporter response to this listing (mypaper, SPH)

Monocle is my current fav mag read after I discovered it in Melbourne in Mar 08. The articles are original, well read and offers a diverse coverage within affairs, business, culture, design and excellent editoral (most important component to me). I also appreciate it’s compact size and excellent colour print.

A truly well made magazine. Check out the distribution link to see if it is distributed in your country.

What does the Future Hold for Asia Research Universities

During the recent years, Asian universities (especially from Singapore, Japan and Korea) received unprecedented level of government support to educate and develop the next generation of engineering and technology talent. But only few institutions can really make the grade to eminent research institutions. One of such institution is KAIST (formerly known as Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology).

During the recent Singapore Management University Distinguished Presidential Lecture (Apr 08), Dr Suh Nam Pyo (President, KAIST) outlined his university’s effort excel as a 21st century research university. Read about his vision for the future of Asias’ research universities.