Wednesday, April 28, 2010

hong kong update and a small rant or two

i used to go to hong kong once or twice a year when i started nooka, but due to frustrations with dealing with the first factory we contracted, i began to send other staff members to do the factory visits. though things have improved on all fronts, and communication being the main ongoing issue, it is yet again necessary for me to shepherd the process directly. so after an absence of 2 years, i went to hong kong. so even though it is late april, and i packed not much of warm clothes, i was shocked with cool weather [snow in tokyo, freezing smog in beijing, but cold in hong kong?!?]. this actually worked to my advantage as i don't do well in hot sweaty weather – my hong kong productivity doubled!

since it was a short trip, i planned all the meetings to be in the HK offices of the factories we use. without going into minutia, the outcome i have been feeling mount, is that a company like nooka needs to have it's design office in hong kong or at least closer than a 14 hour plane ride. the iceland volcano put a stop to fedex up until a few days before my meetings, so my timing couldn't have been better. moreover, being able to discuss design changes face to face is by far the most efficient way to produce things. i really need to think this through: can i live in HK 6 months of the year? is tokyo close enough to base the design lab there? i was impressed with the energy and people of beijing, but the pollution there would kill me. how do other small independent design brands handle these issues? remember, i sort of fell into product design! still figuring this stuff out...

<volcano: if my anti-gravity drive transport was developed we wouldn't see the huge disruptions caused by this event. am i the only one consistently ranting about the lack of technological progress in air travel? this is the same technology in use since the 1960s...just sayin...>

i got to meet the great people at victionary publishing, the incredible chris ng of idn magazine, and arnault, proprietor of kapok, your place for nooka products in hong kong! his combination cafe, shoppe and gallery on a cute hidden street in wanchai is a great place for a coffee and nooka any day of the week. check it out; G/F 5 saint francis yard, wanchai. www.ka-pok.com.

aside from work, caught up with mark landwehr of coarse toys – had a IKEA swedish meatballs at his apt with some of his friends and coworkers. my friends andrew and marco actually live 3 floors below him in the same building, so i invited them to meet their neighbors. a friend from when i was a young adult in tokyo has been living on lamma island for 14 years, and we had a lovely seafood meal there, my first time on lamma island.

www.idnworld.com for one of the last surviving international design magazines, produced out of hong kong. http://www.victionary.com/ for victionary design publishing, also out of hong kong. support independent design, buy their products as well as mine.

business travel notes:
do not get brainwashed like i did and get an american express platinum card. you do not receive any better service from the airlines than if you were to book all your flights on kayak, nor does it get you access into any of the airport lounges in tokyo narita or beijing international. they booked me on air china for 2 legs of my flight, and this is an airline to avoid – unresponsive counter people who just stare at you when they don't want to answer a question and the interior of their planes are old and quite smelly. luckily i always have a muji moisture mist and travel sizes of nooka fragrance to keep me from not breathing. i have to say, american express marketing is certainly successful enough to get me to pay the $750 annual fee which will be contested when i cancel this card on my return to NYC.

put hungary on your list of countries where google sites do not work. they are not blocked but i can't get gmail or blogger to work at all – times out. search is fine but painfully slow. so if you are like me and do cloud computing, make sure you have back ups to download from other servers and POP/IMAP set up on your laptop for your email. i am writing this [and updating the blog via email, not the website] in sunny budapest where we are having a nooka dj event with larry tee this friday! i haven't seen larry since he moved to london so this will be a cool environment to catch up. let me know if you're in buda or pest this week. also, if you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, bring a huge supply of lactase or soy milk with you.

3 comments:

Mergs said...

HaHA! I really enjoyed this read, had to do in 2 parts cos of work and then play (literally 12 hours apart!). ANyway all very insightful, personal and honest, I dig your prose MAtthew, wud love to meet you in person one day, but for now, i got your blog! Big up HK its so full of contradictions and juxts, i only handled one year there bt it is truly amazing how much it has to offer! All the best Champ!

Ken

NOOKA said...

ken, i'm in london next week for a few days! let's meet up then if u have time. -matt

flitunes said...

lol, if u want to send someone out to HK for a 6mth/1yr gig, i'm down:p no seriously i would be tho