Sunday, June 10, 2012

Copyright WTF?

So I just got an interesting email from a "photographer" who claimed one of his photos back because posting it on this blog was copyright infringement. He's completely right. It was a violation and instead of giving due credit, I've taken down the image as requested.

But here's my problem. People are getting carried away. This blog doesn't make any money and I'd be surprised if anybody even reads this post. It's not like I'm selling stuff here and making money off other people's work.

As a fellow creative, I would be honored to see my work in other websites. If they're making a few bucks off of what I've done...okay, maybe I deserve a slice of the pie. I've seen my crap in other people's Pinterest, facebook, blogs, websites and you know what; that shit doesn't bother me. Why? Because they don't mean any harm. They're not out to make money off of my stuff. They like what I've done. GREAT! It's a waste of energy going around googling my photos and hunting down every blogger and emailing them.

This stuff is meant to be shared. It's meant to be enjoyed. By everyone. And it's corporate giants and copyright laws that totally mess it up for the rest of us. If a 10 year old kid decides to print a giant poster of one of my bikes or my ads, god damn...that is the kind of thing that gets me going at work. I say go ahead and share those posters with your friends! Ah, but imagine if I wrote to that kid and asked him to take it down because that's my property. Seriously? Who does that?


PS. I wonder if Pixar's going to come after me for using their Toy Story 3 picture. Ha...I guess they've got better things to do.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I was hoping to unveil this later but I needed to keep up with the momentum.

As many of you know, I love motorcycles. And so I've opened up my own motorcycle design company here in Beijing called Bandit9.

Bandit9 is about injecting the spirit of innovation and instinct all bandits, pirates and outlaws possess. It's more fun to be a pirate than a sailor.

What's cool about being a bandit is that each is unique and that's what it's really all about. Bandit9 strips down the bullshit that hinder stock bikes. None of these obnoxious logos, dizzying graphics, pointless additional weight, no non-sense. 

Anyway, one of my favorite motorcycle blogs has featured our very first motorcycle, Loki, on their blog. This is pretty exciting stuff.

Read the full article at

Okay so if you want to know more about my latest venture, visit the Bandit9 site:


PS. Starting your own gig is a lot more fun than it is scary...but let's talk about that later :)

Friday, October 7, 2011


I've been waiting to do my next post to announce my next big project. This couldn't wait.

I thought about what I could say here that hasn't already been said by the millions of people who have paid their respects to Steve Jobs. And I realized it isn't really about saying something original but rather acknowledging the passing of a great man, getting this deep sadness out of my system and reminiscing about how he's completely influenced my perspective on everything. Everything.

I was fortunate to work with the agency that created all of Steve Jobs's iconic advertising work. Even though I didn't work directly with Steve, I saw a lot of his work take shape. From the ipod campaign to the "mac vs. pc" ads, you know the man had taste. He is one of the few clients who respected creativity and understood the value of creating a brand.

I believe this is the true secret behind Steve and Apple's genius. Their brand: humanizing technology. They believe in it down to their bones. You can see it in every mac, ipod, iphone, ipad. Steve was the one who made technology play time. If you've ever been to an Apple store, you understand. And regardless of how advanced their products are, Steve made it for accesible for everyone. How beautiful is that? Isn't that the most unselfish business decision you've ever heard?

And I think this is why his passing affects me so much. It is his genius that holds all my music, all my letters, all my photographs, all of me.

Anyway, I consider myself lucky. Once Steve left his post at Apple, I wrote him an email which I consider to be my goodbye:
Subject: Thanks
Hi Steve,
I just wanted to thank you for all the magic you've brought not just to Apple but to my home.
All the best man!

Paid my respects in the Apple Store, Beijing.
Thanks, Steve.

Monday, May 23, 2011


So it's not everyday an agency has a chance to create a product with a client. It's also rare for a brand to hear out what its consumers are saying and alter their product.

Volkswagen originated as an economic car available to all classes. With its commercial success, VW's cars have become increasingly expensive and more difficult for anyone to buy their cars. They've decided to go back to the brand's roots and launch The People's Car Project.

It is pure creation.

VW newest online platform is a tool people to create their "ideal" car. The people can pour all their creativity, their ideas and everything that they ever wanted in a car through this platform. From a gallery of the people's creations, they will vote for their favorite exterior designs, interior designs and other ideas where the best ones will be implemented and engineered into Volkswagen's latest model. What that will be, we don't know yet. But 3 days into the launch, we have nearly 9000 car creations.

Proximity Beijing has created a massive campaign to invite the people to the website - - and just start creating. The campaign showcases the creativity of the people and the infinite possibilities of the car creator. Below is just a few of the pieces (outdoor and events).

Start creating:

Friday, April 22, 2011


Okay so I've been in Beijing 3 months exactly. For those who don't know, China has a very tight grip on their internet - no facebook, no twitter, no blogging - hence my absence. It's been an interesting and difficult ride so far getting to know the city and the culture, getting adjusted at work, making friends and moving into my new apartment.

I love the city. It's a beautiful mix of the past and the future. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten lost and feel like I've gone through a wormhole and traveled back in time. One of the most incredible sites I've ever seen are the hutongs - the old maze-like neighborhoods of Beijing. In a fast developing city, I can only hope they preserve these classic districts which makes Beijing unique from any other city.

The work. I'm working with Proximity; the innovative leg of advertising giant BBDO. The talent here is awesome. We've got talent from all over the world mixed with the local flavor brought by those born and raised here. What makes work-life even better is their unmatched passion to make every piece perfect.  PERFECT. It makes you feel small but makes you feel like you're a part of something great. Somedays it feels like a pain in the ass to get things done but nevertheless, perfect.

We're launching one of the most ambitious projects I've ever seen for Volkswagen, which I honestly believe will change the way cars are designed today. is that big. We are already present at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show and the project is gathering momentum already. May 20 is the big day. I'll post then.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 11, 2010


So it's official. I'll be moving to Beijing at the end of January. Even though I've moved a number of times in my life (#7 for me), it's something I'm still not used to. A difficult feeling to describe.

First things first. I will miss Saigon; the city, the atmosphere, the culture and its people. It's certainly a privilege to have called this place my home and to be honest, I'm not exactly ready to leave. I've always found it difficult to get my ass up in the morning but I love my routine here. Something as mundane as my journey to work is something I'll never forget. Everyday, I'm surrounded by epic clouds and a city full of life. If you're lucky enough to be living in this beautiful city, observe the people. In conditions that may appear dire to us foreigners, well...just look at how content the people of Vietnam are. Happiness is contagious here.

If there's one thing I hate about this city, it's the foreigners that complain. I've heard some unreasonably nasty criticisms and I just have one thing to say to these ungrateful, close-minded individuals - if you don't like it, get the fuck out. Go home! Do not forget that you are a guest. Show some respect. Sorry to be so dramatic but it's important I get this out. Hopefully, I'll wake up one or two individuals. Moving on...

Now Beijing. I can't express how excited and how scared I am to move. It's an awesome feeling. I can't wait to live in a land that's just bursting with potential. I can't wait to squeeze the bejesus out of the creatives over there and be a part of their artistic nature and culture. I can't wait to see what these guys are capable of. I can't wait to make my first ad. I can't wait to finally shoot that kung-fu commercial I've always wanted to make. I can't imagine the kind of cool shit I'll be learning over there.'s overwhelming.

I'm really, really excited to start tapping into their artistic culture. It is unique. It's undeniably Chinese and I really can't wait to apply that into the work. You can feel the precision and the passion in Chinese art and I look forward to meeting these artistic masters. Wow, I just realized that I'll be a very small fish in a gigantic pond. Now I'm scared...

Anyway, I think that's it for now. If things continue to be chaotic at work, perhaps my next entry will be written in a local coffee shop in a snowy Beijing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I had to write about this. I love it when two of my favorite things come together; in this case, the Beatles and Apple computers. The Beatles and Apple finally settled their differences. The Beatles albums are finally available 7 years after the iTunes store was launched. This is pretty exciting. I'm curious to see what kind of sales this will make. I think this is history in the least in my history book. I had to take a screenshot of this. This won't be up for long.


This is a real treat to write about. This is probably one of my oldest obsessions. Headphones. I take my music quite seriously so...I'll try not to sound too geeky.

I just picked up these bad ass headphones - the TMA-1 by AiAiAi (eye-eye-eye); a creative company from Denmark. In the world of architecture, graphic communications and industrial design, Denmark has a god given gift for brilliant design. The TMA-1 is no exception. It takes minimalism to the next level. I'm still looking for the logo! Where is it???

Headphones need days of burn-in time and out of the box, the AiAiAi's are okay. They're a little too bassy for my taste but quite fun to listen to. I'm hoping after a few days, they'll open up.

When it comes to the sound, I'm pretty serious. I'm comparing the AiAiAi to my AKG K701 and my Grados, which are both legendary. But we're comparing apples and oranges. The AKGs run at about 400 USD, however, the Grado SR60s only cost 80 bucks. The AiAiAi's were about 150 USD.

If you're serious about headphones, I'd go for the open-back headphones like the AKG K701. Huge soundstage, meaning it creates an environment around you. You feel the instruments separate from each other. You hear the imperfections. It's that accurate. Voices are elegant. Instruments are brilliant. It's a real pleasure to listen to music.

If you're on a tighter budget, go with the Grado SR80 or the SR60. With it's awesome performance, history and following, the Grados are nothing but legendary. They won't disappoint. Large soundstage, great bass response, crystal clear mids and highs. I love these headphones but unfortunately, very difficult to travel with.

[there used to be a photo of the MDR-7506 here but the "photographer" decided to claim their copyright. instead of giving this person the satisfaction of getting credit on this blog (which nobody even reads and doesn't make any money), i would rather remove the photo as suggested. this doesn't hurt the blog. the "photographer" is happy. everyone wins.]

I just remembered the last pair of headphones I own - the Sony V6 or MDR-7506. These are the industry standard. Radio Stations, sound studios, and film sets, they all carry the MDR-7506s. They're durable, sharp, accurate headphones. They run at about 100 bucks.

So where do that AiAiAi's stand? Well, so far so good. As for sound, they're okay. They have a monolithic presence. I saw them for the first time 4 months ago and finally gave in today. I'd pay 150 dollars just to display them in my house.


So here's my latest obsession on iTunes; an indie rockband from Montreal. They've got a really cool sound and each song in the album is completely different from each other - tunes from a rusty music box to a completely electronic sound.

Anyway, put some headphones on and check out the song above. It's totally 80's. Perhaps Blondie inspired?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Kudos to this creative character. The man puts a 102 year old lens onto one of the latest cameras out there, a Canon 5D Mark II. I've found myself walking all over the city looking for pawnshops selling old, moldy lenses to sit on my 5D MII. Not working...

Check these out. They're incredible images. The character and quality of the shot makes it feel like a window to the past.


My lovely girl showed this to me on CNN and I was completely intrigued by it. Perhaps it's because I used to live in this alien city called Dubai and got used to this odd environment. Quite strange how perfectly natural this concept is. It's an ultra-modern city in an ocean of sand.

Anyway, the images are by Cedric Delsaux. Beautifully crafted pieces.

Hmm...STAR WARS IN DUBAI. Makes sense to me.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I was fortunate enough to have been shown this by a good friend. I'm not exactly sure why this is not more popular but this is a wonderful song and a beautiful video. There aren't enough videos out there that use real emotion. It'd be impossible to create the chemistry in this video with actors. It's indescribable.

The concept is so simple. I don't want to ruin it. You'll just have to watch it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Now, I don't know what these guys are smoking over there but whatever it is, I need a hit. Japan is its own microcosm of creativity. They are so far ahead that, to us, they're aliens.

So what's Japan doing that the rest of the world isn't?

Here's my guess. They celebrate individualism. I know there is the stereotypical image of Japan as a sea of black suits but as far as fashion, technology and game shows (which I'm addicted to on youtube) go, they're light years ahead.

Japan isn't looking at the rest of the world for inspiration. It's all there in front of them. It's not that they're richer when it comes to culture. They just know where to look.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I have no idea how Pixar does it but it's apparent that their winning streak is no fluke. Just when I figure that Pixar can't possibly top their last film, they prove me wrong. And I love that. They're completely unstoppable! Sequels usually fail to live up to their predecessors and actually, 99% of the time, they just suck balls.

So why is Toy Story 3 so amazing?

Here's my theory: Pixar leverages on what made the original film so beautiful. All the characters stayed true to themselves. There's history between the audience and the characters making room for 'inside jokes.' You really feel like you know the characters and that's what makes all the emotions you feel so sincere.

Another thing that makes Pixar so successful is they protect stories. You're not watching a "cool, technologically advanced" animation (even though it is...). You're listening to a story. The story always comes first.

In any case, Pixar's done it again. Beautiful film. I'm watching it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I know it's been a while so perhaps I should share something really cool to make up for it.

Tarsem's "The Fall" is probably one of the best films of the decade, and for some reason, nobody seems to know about it. It's also severely underrated.

Every frame is art directed. And I don't mean in a 300 spartan way. The typography is sensitive and exquisite. The intro (above) feels like it belongs in a museum.

It is a work of art.