Kenyan pioneers hit the ice

Creating branded content that’s detached from the product yet engages the viewer emotionally is a tricky endeavor.

Tim Hortons, a Canadian fast food joint, didn’t recommend hashbrowns nor did it praise it’s original blend coffee, they actually found the Nairobi Ice Lions in Kenya, who got love and visibility from one of the game’s greatest players.

What makes the story powerful is the recognition of Kenyan hockey players catapulting their game onto the map of global hockey culture, to see the challanges they’re faced with as pioneers in their African environment. It starts with a rink, skates, gloves, convincing others to join the movement, not to mention the financial management of sponsors and active players.

In light of all the soulless branded content circulating the digital ether, this story touches upon a lost human trait, to recognize others without self interest for fame, money, personal gain, control or status, akin to a utopia of pure virtue.

Still, it’s marketing money at the end of day, even though you might think differently about your refilled coffee. And in terms of the stories craftsmanship, the framing of poor Nairobi is way too simple and it remains to be seen how Tim Hortons will invest and help Kenyan hockey development.

Luckily enough, for the producers, the original piece was created by Great Big Story two years ago, who only received a third of the visibility to date, talk about reach of branded versus independent storytelling.

via Hockey in Society

Too many apps on the dancefloor

Growing up as a kid in the States is difficult enough. Going wild on spring break is a valve gone burst due to years of control and repression.

You can’t drink until you’re 21 years old and you’ll need a paper bag to cover your beer in public. A whole lotta parents keep their teenagers on lock down before they move out. Moms and dads have mad limo driver skills, as they transfer their children from school, baseball practice and to the mall.

If you kiss in public, it’s safe to say that someone will tell you to get a room. Playgrounds are full of plastic fantastic, so nobody can sue anybody and kids don’t get hurt. Odds are high that you’re a late bloomer in America when it comes to being an independent, healthy, common sense human.

Freedom has a different connotation in real life than seen in the movies. Flirting can be a very subtle, ambigious thing. Yet, if you’re accustomed to be being controlled, carpooled and connected by your parents or other fear ridden adults, I’m not surprised that uConsent, an app for saying ok to sex was developed in Las Vegas.

„One of the dumbest uses of online technology the world has ever seen.“- Bob Hoffmann

via WSJ

Eisbären can still be Kings

Crosscontinental sister cities Berlin and LA share the same owner with regard to their pro hockey teams.

I was lucky to have spent two semesters at USC, where I practiced with the Trojan’s hockey team and met a pivotal friend who now lives in Berlin; the City of Angels is part of my life experience’s DNA.

So it was harder for me to accept the Kings sweeping loss to the Golden Knights, who are already writing history, on and off the ice, with the world’s most entertaining pre-game show and rows of local fans who are embracing the first major sports team in Sin City.

Tonight, record champion Eisbären Berlin, who are down 2-1 in the finals against Munich’s caffeine water branded team, need a win to keep the series balanced. I can’t help to see David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest corporate subsidies analogy when I see the jersey.

The Ice Bears are big in Berlin, tickets for both final home games sold out in a few hours, fans showed up in yesterday’s local night show and even the LA King’s Bailey is game. It won’t be easy against Munich though, they have a strong defense and plenty of offensive depth.

Social media is dead, long live blogging

Urblogger Jason Kottke asked his readers to send him inspirational blogs and newsletters; he was impressed with the breadth of curated content.

As opposed to centralized social media plattforms with data vacuum cleaners attached, decentralized blogs will always be independent cultural tools with their own style and tech.

It takes patience and persistence to build a blog. So called social media might be a convienient click away, yet if it’s too easy people get lazy and turn into disposable consumers.

I also keep it out of spite, because I refuse to let social media take everything. Those shapeless, formless platforms haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it. I’ve blogged about this many times, but I still believe it: When I log into Facebook, I see Facebook. When I visit your blog, I see you.


Something to say or saying something?

Pioneers of the world wide web envisioned an all inclusive Internet where everyone can become their own media as unified senders and receivers with a historical wink to Brecht’s radio theory.

Our beloved, indie powered, decentralized, civil web emerged after military orders to invent a communication system that could circumvent a nuclear attack; it’s core has a much deeper element of control and surveillance than we’d like to admit.

At the same time, it’s never been eaiser to waste time on shiny looking interfaces. Whether it’s contact list grabbing apps or centralized plattforms with data sucking vacuum cleaners, convienient distractions that grab us by the ego can be our biggest enemy.

When everyone becomes their own media and can potentially reach the entire world, whether it’s firearm sales propaganda from the NRA or private banalities from Joe Shmo, everyone adds their own account of the truth rather than a closer account towards a common truth.

At the dawn of broadcast audio in 1927, Brecht argued in his radio theory that now anyone could say anything to everyone, which is a fundamental democratic empowerment, yet some producers and recipients might get lost in their own matrix. He noted further that a producer who has something to say without listeners is in a tight spot, whereas recipients who can’t find producers who have something to say might even be worse off.

Brecht thought that radio as a medium didn’t produce anything new, but rather imitates and amplifies what already exists. He might still have a point in our amplified attention economy of 2018. Rather than giving a voice to the voiceless as an idealistic view of recipient producer harmony, digital content, still or moving, is mostly market conform coupled with eye catching banalities, neatly packaged as shopping advice.

What gets amplified, repackaged and potentially monetized is in constant negotiation, whether it means having something to say or simply saying something is pretty much up to producer recipient plattforms and those who support and finance them.

via The Guardian

Don’t sit around

Because the only thing
That punk-rock should never really mean
Is not sitting round
And waiting for the lights to turn green
And not thinking that you’re better
cause you’re stood up on a stage
If you’re oh, so fucking different
Then who cares what you have to say?

German miracle on ice, to be continued

After beating Canada as olympic pioneers, the front pages of German newspapers actually took notice for the first time in history

I first hit the ice as a five year old kid in Highland Park, Illinois, where I learned how to skate and shoot. I made my rounds in the rink and was immediatly hooked to the world’s fastest team sport.

Back in Germany as an eight year old, I picked up the nuances of the game’s team spirit, as well as the ability to quickly read scoring opportunities. I played in one of Germany’s best youth programs for three years, and still is, in Mannheim.

One of the most influential ideas on how to play the game was my experience at a hockey camp, Huron Hockey School, in Canada. It was the read and react concept that stayed, to get a grip on it’s speed, grace and grit in the motherland of hockey.

Being a hockey player or fan in Germany is akin to rugby’s visibility in the United States. Finding a public place to watch international tournaments, forget about it, let alone find someone to watch with besides your hockey buddies; the media pretty much ignores it.

 A small black, red and gold flag sits in balcony plants of an unrenovated apartment building in Berlin, on the day of the olympic final between OAR and Germany

Despite that, the national league, DEL, fills more seats than any other sport in Germany, only second to soccer, aka football. For some reason that never transferred into any other sphere of media, higher number of active players or boosted local fan fare, yet the times are changing.

Thanks to Germany’s record NHL player and head coach, Marco Sturm, who has a major stake in decision making from the bottom up, he’s planted the strongest seeds we’ve ever seen grow. This miracle run to the finals is not a fly by night, Sturm, which means forward by the way, it’s the beginning of a new era in German hockey.

Now it’s time to work harder at Powerplay 26, a program from the national hockey federation, to improve competitiveness on multiple levels. From building new rinks to improved cooperation between all leagues and sound investments in better youth programs.

Most importantly, it’ll be hockey moms and dads who are the baseline of Powerplay 26 and can carry the legacy of Pyeongchang, they’ll bring the kids to the rinks, cheer in the bleechers and influence other parents to follow suit. Hopefully by then, we’ll see more cover stories in German media about how to score with style and efficiency, our world class goalies and the strongest team spirit on ice.

Lost lines of code

A preserved myspace profile page from 2004 found laying around at

Firefox has 2.5 million lines of code, Windows XP has 44 million of it, without data or software a computer is empty. Once new versions of browsers and operating systems greet the world, more code gets layered into new lines of output.

And that output can get lost in cyberspace, since it’s mostly privately owned companies who cover large chunks of code who then either go bankrupt or it’s owners care less about concepts of preservation.

Dragan Epenscheid, media artist and Digital Conservator at Rhizome, talked about „The Preservation of Net Art as Resistance to Digital Industrialism“ at this years transmediale, as another media form where achives have the potential to produce amateur, private and new, new media.

As a way to shed light into our data being remixed and decontexualized without our knowledge, net art can play with the idea of what actual code is being contributed. Dragan pointed to forms of decontexualized data at tumblr; when you post new content, you’re asked to make the choice whether you’re posting a chat or text, yet is there a difference?

The question of what actual code is being contributed reminds me of business models that contribute money for money in return. What is actually being contributed to the human race? Or what happens when the storing value for rights to future payments keeps getting postponed? It’s refreshing to be at transmediale with curious minds looking for solutions far beyond busy bees flying circles.

Corporate Spiritual Spies

True freedom starts in the mind, yet large corporations want to infest mindfulness with money in hopes that employees will become more productive for profits.

But practising mindfulness to deal with work-related stress is not turning us into rebels, it’s making all docile.

Despite it’s amiable goal, we should own and invest our limited time in personal and social spiritual development and not in corporate spiritual spies who own a passive aggressive agenda of growth nirvana.

via William Little