Oh Canada!

In Tech on September 30, 2012 by Ali Inay Tagged: , , , , , ,

No, no, not the country. I’m talking about the Barcelona based, Spanish art studio. If you are a loyal follower of Vimeo (the artsy Youtube-like site) you should have come across them before. Their music videos and other productions are remarkably different than many others.

(See the following video for instance, then you’ll understand what I mean, slightly R rated.)

Their latest video, below, has generated many responses on the net. I’ve seen at least 5 different blogs talking about it. I’m sure more is on the way. Again they are showing their uniqueness in this video.

I really like how the digital form of art is nowadays giving immediate reactions to the consumers’ needs. You may ask why. It’s because this 10 minutes video is nothing but an ad for 55dsl‘s fall collection. We’ve seen many examples of these before. Louis Vitton and many other high-end brands have done short films to meet with their market. Anyways, my point is that I love Canada. They are doing incredible job and I’m ok to spend my 10 mins on this video. (Considering the fact that more than 300 million people have spent their 3 mins on Gangnam Style, that’s another topic I’ll like to talk about soon.)

There is now this huge stream of website where we reveal our preferences. (Consumer Behavior researchers, I see you there smiling) In Pinterest, we are revealing many of our materialistic desires even dreams and future plans, like where do we want to visit etc. In Tumblr, we are positioning ourselves in the world of all those cool things. In 8tracks, we show what kind of music we love. Let me even not bother about Instagram where many of us document our very own lives. I’d kindly ask you to take a look at this video,

I don’t think that we are in danger or we should be screaming by terror at this very moment. But my only question is that “Is art in the form of music or visual art or you name it, shaping itself more and more in accordance with what we want from it?” This is a fairly simple question that popped up in my mind after I watched Beyond the mountains, more mountains

Kickstarter, for instance, is another interesting example of where our creativity is channeled. (sorry for the randomness in this post, my mind is like the new maps app on iOS6, very messy nowadays) When you click on the link you’ll see what design has become nowadays. Design = Apple related products. What we understand from design is shifting towards “how can we use iphones, macs more efficiently.” which I find kinda sad. You may argue that these may be coming from a biased sample, but those are the most funded projects under design and kickstarter is the first-mover in this crowd-funding stream of websites, other than indigogo.

Here is my question #2: “Is internet really increasing the variety in our thinking or is it making us focused on very limited number of concepts?”

While, you are thinking for a minute about any of the questions above, let me go back to my research.

Have a great week everybody.

p.s. talking about crowd-funding, I came accross with on one of my friend’s FB feed today. It’s basically porn for good. Quite original idea I’d say.



The Blog Syndrome

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2012 by Ali Inay Tagged: , , ,

You know how it is to find time to writing a post if you haven’t been written one for the last few months. I think there must be a syndrome for this. This is not exactly due to laziness. Because in the mean time we are extremely busy with our daily things and not being lazy with the things that we really have to do. 

So it has been quite a while since my last post. (4 months maybe, yes this is the kind of laziness that I’m talking about, I’m not going to close this window to look for that number. Who cares at the end) So what was I up to in all those months? I finished my first year of PhD. Yay for that!! Other than that I survived here in Montreal on my own for 12 months! Well, almost 12 months. 1 week later I’ll celebrate my 1st year here. This is my new home. And it will be for a while.

(Spoiler alert: This post will be some random bullshitting just to warm myself up for further posts)

I am running, regularly! Wow. This is big for me. Because running/jogging had been an activity that I hated in all those PE classes. But here I am: running 10k per day. I think that’s a good start for me. After all those years of sitting back in my chair.

So what’s my plan for this blog. I’m not gonna lie, my role model is Meren. I’ll try to post some photography of mine with stories etc. I’m very sorry for non-Turkish speakers. But if you are Turkish speaker, go and follow his posts! They inspire me a lot in a a sense that I feel alive in the moments that I don’t know what to do. They are very pushy in a sense and reminds me that there is always joy. (Oh, how I sound like a 17-year-indie-girl right now, but who cares. )

Oh and I bought an Instax210 camera. I really liked to have one since I was a small kid. It is extremely fun!

I hope this will be the last personal post of mine and I’ll try to post more of my photography/travel things in the near future. 





Coming Soon.

In Montreal, Random on November 5, 2011 by Ali Inay

I’ve been thinking lately about many things. Basically, I’m trying to connect the dots. For the first time in last years, I have time to brainstorm efficiently on my own. I’ll be back very soon with long posts. Until then, take care! Enjoy the weekend 🙂

P.S. The last two weeks were really busy. I had two midterm exams and the finals are coming. Plus, I’ve to do some research which is simply great, because I really crave for some research after this coursework. The weather is getting colder and colder everyday but surprisingly it managed to be above 0 degrees. Yay! By the way, time is going fast. Really fast.


Je me souviens

In Montreal on September 9, 2011 by Ali Inay Tagged: , , , , , ,

I remember.

These are the words that you see at every car plate in Quebec. I didn’t know that every state has its own motto. By the way, it’s a very bold motto for a car, isn’t it, but anyways.

Of course, this is not the only thing that caught my attention here in Montreal. As I may mentioned in my previous blog entries, I’m now here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I’m here for a PhD in Management at McGill. It’s been nearly a month since I came here. For the second time in my life, I’ll be living in a bilingual region, after my AFS year in Belgium. But at least time time, I don’t have to struggle to learn the language. After all, they all speak English. Although some very few that I have encountered couldn’t. But, hey, it was an exception, I guess.

So, let’s talk about the city! Until last week I thought I knew a big percentage of the city. But then it appeared to me that what I saw until now was just the downtown and some other neighborhoods around it. So, my impressions will be from downtown, the “old city” and la plateau – the region around parc du mont-royal. 

The arrow shows where I live. Stars are the places that I have been and can easily walk around without a map 🙂

The best thing so far is that I literally live in the Downtown. It’s 5 mins. walk to the St. Catherine. The shopping heaven and the home of the skyscrapers. I used to walk around with my camera everyday, but recently I’d prefer living as a local.

A person has to options in a city: either living as a tourist as a local. But don’t forget the ritual of upgrading from being a tourist to a local: Learn the best coffee-shops, get to know some friends, discover local tastes at the places where no tourist knows, go to local markets (This may be something unique to MTL), discover the grocery stores that offer the freshest products.

Right now, I feel that I’m completing the transition period. Until I get acquaintance to a city, I generally don’t plug in my iPod because I prefer to  listen to the city. I’m starting to listen to my music nowadays.

Now let’s take a look at the neighborhoods.


Nice place to be. Crowd of people. But still not hectic! You heard me right, no chaos at all. Well this something that I generally look for. I used to avoid going to the downtown in Ankara, Kizilay to put it right. Because it smelled so bad, and you can see the chaos in town. But in Montreal it’s tempting and alive. And one more thing, people cross the street even if the light is red. Isn’t that great?? I think, it’s absolutely fantastic, it’s the kind of freedom that I missed in Europe.

You can feel the francophone atmosphere in this region which is actually the direct implication of the artistic bars, good restaurants and naturally the people. There are amazing deli’s – which offer various delicious dishes like the famous smoked meat. There are also “bring-your-own-wine” resto’s. But I haven’t had the opportunity to try them, yet.
Around these areas, there are couple of huge parks, which gives the city a unique flavor. You always see people jogging around, playing guitars, enjoying a drink with their friends. Thus, these are the places to be with friends to relax in a warm spring/summer days.
And squirrels. Yes, there are tens of them around at those parks. It is also not uncommon to see them around in town. Even in downtown.
It’s very common that all those European cities’ have an “old” part of the city. But, I guess, MTL differentiates itself from many other North American cities to have real cultural elements in its old town. It may not be that old like one may encounter in Paris, Rome or any big capitals of EU, but still, at least it’s not solely a history of 100 years of how capitalism grew up the city.
As you see, MTL offers a variety of tastes in its streets. And consider that I assumed to have discovered only one fifth of the city. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I will try hard to make a part 2 of it to give a more detailed description of the areas later 🙂


Share that link

In Random, Tech on July 4, 2011 by Ali Inay

I wonder what the internet will offer us within the next decades. We can access music, books and many other things online. This is not something new, I know. But let us think about it for a second.. We all appreciate the things we can do online. What about being offline. Did internet really contribute our offline life so far? Do we now have a higher quality of life? Today I want to question what we really got from being online in our offline life.

So far -thanks to Google Reader and StumbleUpon- I have seen hundreds of pages that were worth spending couple of minutes reading/watching it. The cool links are now resting (or rotting?) in our bookmark folders. We liked thousands of links on Facebook’s news feeds.  But this reading-liking procedure is now turning into a single moment that we get what we want and forget it right after. I doubt if there is any learning process is going on there. We see, we like, we forget.

(Just the remind you guys, I am not talking about liking an article on Wikipedia or else. I’m on the spot where we like random links we see on Facebook or any other site that generates random contents where we can share the world that we liked it.)

All that cool stuff: designer works, best ads etc. -they are actually repetitive. There is a high chance that you can come across with the same stuff at some point in time on your web browser. Although we feel unique and connected to the artist/writer that created the content, there is actually more than thousands of people surfing over the internet on various sites liking the same daily instantaneous inspiration. There are many blogs running -more or less- on the same content. In addition, there are many people living online -more or less- on the same content.

We may be very different in our daily life. We all have different habits. But I am pretty sure that this variety is no more valid in our online life. We see, we like and we share the same stuff for the sake of connectivity. All those social platforms are forming masses with similar taste. One can claim that the same is also true for our daily life: we all got hobbies, tastes, places we like. But we all are not living in the same city, right? All those 2 billion internet users. At some point, in this online world, we are just an IP number that clicked some links, shared it with other IPs. Many of the IPs converge into the same liking set.

[Going back to the village of online people, we now have accounts all over the web: Online Shopping Stores, social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and not to forget to mention Google+, StumbleUpon, newspapers (to comment on the posts). What do we give them in exchange of all the fun we have on the web: Data. I’m not going to talk about privacy, fellows. This is about the mass data: what do the people in Paris like, which books are selling most in Japan via Amazon, how did that social marketing affect the sales of product xyz in New York? Google is storing our search history for 18 months. Generating ads based on our search, emails. We are connected to the world more than ever. But this connectivity is used extensively by third parties and our identity is losing its value as we become IPs with similar taste.]

I am aware that this in an unbreakable chain. We are now spending our great deal of time online. The world seems to be out there, on our fingertips. However what I doubt is that the liking/sharing process enhances our knowledge. If not, what is the point other than having fun.



Connection Lost

In Random on June 12, 2011 by Ali Inay Tagged:

Ok. I haven’t been around for a while. But I have some strong grounds to defend myself. Post-graduation syndrome as I call it. After having finished with final works in my undergraduate life, we as a group of 7 departed for a short holiday. After that there was the prom. It was “Seeing your friends in the dark with some noisy music in the background”. I’m not going to complain about it. At least it gave us an opportunity to collect some good memories with friends. Nevertheless, those are some preliminary events that hold me back form writing. (By the way, I hope not to use this “coming back!” type of cliche for more than one time to save my blog, you’ll understand better in the following paragraphs)

The biggest reason is my internet is broken for 4 days. Oh god! It has been 4-long-days. Plus, my smart phone is also broken. Those two add up to a no internet zone. Thanks to Starbucks, for the last 2 days I am online again. So, what does it mean to be online again in this world of internet?

  • Read the most important emails from an inbox of 50+ emails.
  • Skip through the recent events on Facebook. Well, I wasn’t surprised to see nothing was new there -at least nothing interesting.
  • Open Google reader to get my daily inspirations as a batch. Because I know that there is a possibility of not being online for a couple of days.
Well, that was it. I was really amazed that, being offline for a couple of days did not lose me much except a late reply for two emails.
I know that some of you can object to that argument as we are constantly online reading new blog posts, latest tweets, Facebook posts, skimming latest global news etc. But I can assure you that unless you are a businessman, being online does not add you much value. Moreover, what I did while I was offline was really satisfying for me. I have subscriptions for Bloomberg Businessweek and Time Magazine. Honestly, I couldn’t spare much time reading them for the last 2 months. So I had a huge pile of magazines staring at me. So, I grabbed one of those and read it through from the first article to the last. I repeated for 4-5 magazines that helped me to decrease the size of the pile. Plus, I started to shuffle two new books’ pages!

What's happening in 60 seconds?

I try to compare internet with thing from the past centuries but I can hardly find one. It’s in the center of our lives. We are constantly interacting with our friends online. Chatting, tweeting, updating our statuses. Some of us, including me, has their laptop or PC always opened in front of them. I am not against internet of not going to promote
 shutting down your modems. What I simply want to ask is do we really need to be constantly online?
Yesterday, I saw a man crossing down the street with his Blackberry with a smile on his face. Until now, the situation may seem ok. However, the light turned green for the cars and tens of cars ended up waiting for him to cross the street because he has his headphones and was laughing, possibly to a tweet. Come on! How can something be that urgent to close your doors to the outer world. I am sure that, many of you come across that kind of situations more and more everyday.
Long word short, internet is a must, however, overuse is to be avoided. Cheers!

Spend more time on yourself

P.S. This was the time which I really appreciated Starbucks for offering free internet! Big applause for them.


Swiss Army Knife

In education, Tech on May 17, 2011 by Ali Inay Tagged: , , , ,

Education. It’s so fundamental in our lives that we directly associate it with our childhood and plus our young-hood memoirs. However, early education is very fuzzy for us. For sure, we’ve learnt many, but we are not that much filled with those, aren’t we? Well, all that basic education served for good. We built a mind of excellence that is widely open to new information. Or is this really the truth? Are we really open to any new information? Do we want to learn more as we grow up? If not, did we consume our energy of learning too early, in the childhood?

Cross-discipline is  becoming an important asset that HR manager are looking forward. However, there lies a dilemma in this request: education systems are forcing people to focus on one subject only. For instance, PhD itself is an extreme example of that. Professionals, at least many of them, are choosing a starting point for themselves and going after that.

Change, for sure, is not an easy environment to adapt. Thus, we do not chase for the best but for the nearest option. However, I am aware that there is no other option like having a focus on many subjects in professional life. (At least with this kind of education system) Not many people is trying to be the Swiss Army Knife of the business. The ones who try/tried are definitely one step ahead.

Where did we come up to this point? Well, actually, I watched the video from Sir Kent Robinson on TED talks.

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

I’m not very keen on “Is intelligence a must for learning?” kind of educational philosophy arguments.  But this talk is remarkably unique in a sense that is easy to understand and contains many idea-flourishers (a new term I’ve found).

Education may be tying our creative minds

Why don’t we teach children how to dance instead of teaching them maths for 5 hours per week?

What he claims is that education should not be focusing on teaching specific lectures, but on creativity. Because what we actually need is creativity at the first hand, unless we agree to live on a monotonous life, doing the same paperwork everyday for 40 years?!

But, let’s be realistic. Nobody is going to change the education system in short term. So we have to learn how to cope with it. I don’t wanna sound like a retired primary school teacher here, but, what we need is awareness, firstly. Then, we have to change our mind set. We all admire creative works, original photographs, cool sites and most importantly innovative solutions, different businesses. I am pretty sure that artists, musicians and successful entrepreneurs are the ones that got their shield-of-anti-monotony. They drew their swords to fight against the modern dragons -corporates and made progress. Well, a successful progress.

It’s a matter of opportunities, as once a good friend of mine said. It’s finding the right match at the right time. We are now in an age of app-millionaires – the digital Da Vinci’s who created masterpieces which are occupying millions of devices and generating revenues with a fast-forwarding-speed.  Angry Bird is the Mona Lisa of 2011.

At some point in life, we have to fly. Fly away from the thing that others are teaching us. Get rid of the frameworks and use our total knowledge. I strongly believe that there is that one spot in the universe that can be discovered by you. Recently, I have realized that we do not force our brains enough. There are tons of innovations waiting for their founders. For example “How to solve the transparency issue in aid campaign?” The Broccoli Project seems to have found the solution for that. They are literally tracking the amount paid and giving the opportunity to the donators the follow where their money was spent, for whom and on exactly which activity. Well, this is what I can innovation! I don’t care whether it fits on the definition but this may bring many opportunities with it. I have no idea why the same system is not used in large scale for organizations like Red Crescent etc. I strongly recommend you, my readers, to take a look at the site and discover more about them. The creativity and use of technology deserves a good applause.

Photo by Conan Thai

Break the chains