(chocolate) sardines

Kitty presented me with a lovely present when we met after work today. It was a perfect tin of five sardines, only each fish is made of French chocolate. What a lovely gift.

Sardine 1

Sardine 2

Sardine 3

Sardine 4

I love the attention to detail: how the tin is rolled on top, the fact that each fish actually looks like a sardine when you unwrap the foil. I have eaten two so far. I think I will save the rest to look at for a while.

threadless ♥’s blik

You must know I ♥ threadless, I also ♥ blik, the coolest wall sticker shop on the web. I was glad to see that threadless and blik have now married and have started to conceive. They will be printing some new designs each month.

My personal favourite (so far) has to be ‘insomnia‘ by 2085:

Insomnia Blik

I have also recently compiled my 5 favourite threadless t’s:

Lemuria by Jun

Flowers in the Attic by jbyron

Miss Scarlet in the Hall with a Revolver by Dave Pfluger

Poet-Trees by Cody Petruk

Stone Jungle by André da Silva Cruz

T2 Tea Stack

I have really been getting into tea lately, especially tea of the black variety which we brew and add a little milk. One afternoon last week Kitty came home with a gift for me. It’s a T2 Orange Tea Stack, a cute triple stack of tea, each in its own airtight container:

T2 Morning Tea: hearty blend of broken leaf Ceylon tea.
T2 Afternoon Tea: aromatic blend of large and small tea leaves from Sri Lanka and India.
T2 Evening Tea: a light, sweet blend which includes Darjeeling leaves.

T2 Orange Tea Stack

The more tea I drink, the more I get into it. I am starting to be able to differentiate tastes found in different types of tea. I also add a little sugar to my black teas, but lately have only been using raw sugar because it tastes so much better in tea. I also rarely use tea bags because of the limited range of tastes available.

T2 sell high quality, beautifully presented teas. They have a website where you can order online.

The Long Tail of Threadless

I recently finished reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. To quote the back cover:

…Chris Anderson shows that the future of business does not lie in hits – the high volume end of the traditional demand curve – but in what used to be regarded as misses – the endlessly long tail of that same curve.

Whilst reading the book I immediately thought about the business model of Threadless.

Threadless is a community-centered online t-shirt store run by skinnyCorp of Chicago, Illinois since 2000.

This is my rough understanding of how Threadless works:

  • People submit ideas/designs for a t-shirt
  • Others then score these designs*
  • Some of the higher scored designs get made into t-shirts.** The designer gets US$2000 cash and some other cool stuff.
  • An initial limited batch (about 1500) of a t-shirt is made and is published as for sale
  • People buy t-shirts until they sell out. Real time stock levels are shown on the site.
  • People can vote for reprints of a particular sold out design.
  • Some designs are reprinted (sometimes slightly differently such as a different colour fabric).

I buy a lot of shirts from Threadless. The reasons I do so are such:

  • The number of designs available is larger and more varied than traditional clothes retailers near me.
  • The variety of designs available is larger than if I buy a single particular brand of t-shirt (because of the numerous contributors/designers).
  • When I vote on a design and I see that it is printed I feel like my wish has been met and I buy it.
  • I don’t have to vote on designs to buy designs. My participation is optional.
  • I am much less likely to see other people with the same t-shirt on as me when I walk down the street (in Australia at least). To me they are niche.
  • Threadless is known to have $10 sales where every t-shirt is US$10. This is when I ‘order up’.
  • If I take a photo of myself wearing my Threadless shirt I get US$1.50 credit towards buying another shirt. I can do this again for the next shirt, and the next, and the next…

When reading my book, my intial reaction was that Threadless are the Long Tail of t-shirts. I have since started to do some research and found that there are some people who don’t think they are. The book ends with some rules for successful Long Tail aggregators. To determine whether Threadless is Long Tail or not, I thought I would see how Threadless rates:

  • Rule 1: Move inventory way in… or way out. I don’t know exactly how many shirts threadless have in store at one time but many t-shirts seem to sell out quickly. They apparently only do 1500 of one design. Also, t-shirts are not instantly re-printed, so inventory definitely is a factor. PASS
  • Rule 2: Let customers do the work. There really is no question about this one. Threadless uses crowdsourcing. PASS
  • Rule 3: One distribution method doesn’t fit all. Originally, Threadless only had one distribution method: online ordering and delivery. Things have changed recently though. Tradtional retailers can now apply to be a vendor (although there is no guarantee of success). Threadless itself is opening its first own retail store next month in Chicago. Threadless obviously are thinking that one distribution method doesn’t fit all, even though they may have thought this in the past.*** PASS
  • Rule 4: One price doesn’t fit all. Although a majority of t’s cost the same amount ($15 for mens), Threadless has recently been introducing different priced products (see Rule 5). For example, Threadless Select T’s use premium fabric and printing and cost US$25. And occasionally there are sales where all standard t’s are US$10, but stock seems to disappear really quickly as the price appeals to different people. One price certainly doesn’t fit all. PASS
  • Rule 5: One product doesn’t fit all. Threadless has many t-shirt designs for sale, and the range is continually changing. They have also recently introduced additional lines including long sleeve, hoodies, kids, ‘select’ and slogan t-shirts. PASS
  • Rule 6: Share Information. Information about the store is shared in numerous ways: blogs, RSS feeds, email newsletters, comments, recommendations, the Street Team…. PASS
  • Rule 7: Think “and” not “or”. This is where Threadless isn’t necessarily Long Tail. They do not allow every design ever submitted to be made into a t-shirt. They do limit the size of batches of shirts. They do not automatically re-print popular designs. There is no abundance. Some people even go as far as to say Threadless “cuts its own tail” to create “artificial scarcity”. FAIL
  • Rule 8: Trust the market to do your job. As designs are voted before they are printed, Threadless reduces the risk of printing a crap t-shirt, and doesn’t have to ‘guess’ what will sell. I think this rule could be renamed to ‘Trust the community to do your job’. PASS
  • Rule 9: Understand the power of free. I don’t think it is realistic for Threadless to give away T’s as Yahoo! gives away (advertisement sponsored) free email. None of the t-shirts have Threadless advertising on them.**** People often ask me where I get my T’s from because of this. Threadless instead have the Street Team where you can get US$1.50 credit for submitting a photo of yourself wearing a Threadless t-shirt and US$3 credit for referring a friend to buy a t. These credits soon add up to a free t-shirt. PASS

So that’s 8 Passes, and 1 Fail.

The single Fail is a significant point though. Threadless isn’t about abundance, but the Long Tail definitely is.

One way Threadless could adjust to meet this rule would be to have zero inventory and print any submitted design, on demand, on your choice of fabric. I very much doubt that Threadless would be what it is today if it did it this way.

Threadless VS

So I’m not any closer to answering my question of whether Threadless is Long Tail or not. But maybe it doesn’t matter. I ♥ the t’s, I ♥ the site and I ♥ the community. Maybe that is all that matters.

I heart Threadless

Further Information

* Some designs don’t make it through to scoring, mostly because they violate copyright, format rules etc.
** Not necessarily the highest scored
*** I love this quote, but maybe things have changed as now Threadless has ‘vendors’ and it’s now opening its own retail store next month.

“We turned down Urban Outfitters, because if we put our shirts there, then we’d just be one more cool shirt on a rack of other cool shirts. There would be no story and no community. Then our work becomes just cloth and ink, and that’s not why we did it.” – the guys from skinnyCorp – SXSW 2006

**** Except this one, but that doesn’t really count.

Happy Birthday Kitty!

Kitty celebrated her birthday today (29th July). Happy Birthday!

We had a lovely dinner on the balcony (prawn omlette) with ‘jasmine & chrysanthemum’ tea, both tasty and warming.

Birthday Dinner 29th July

We then went and saw the Simpsons Movie on the IMAX screen at South Bank. I made my wife a thermos of T2 English Breakfast to drink at the movies with some White Maltesers received as a present all the way from Edinburgh.

Simpsons Movie 2

If you haven’t seen the Simpsons Movie yet, go and see it. It is one funny movie. I think we will ‘re-watch’ within the next week or so. It is too funny not to.

5 Things I Enjoyed Doing in Sydney This Weekend

1 – Walking from Sydney City to Bondi Beach

What a great walk. 8.3 km according to google maps. Lots of things to do and see on the way though. Including taking photos of cool things such as this:

Converse Sydney

The walk was rewarded by some lovely seafood and Bondi Beach views at the finish.

2 – Viewing the Max Dupain ‘Modernist’ Photographic Exhibition @ the State Library of NSW

One of the best photographic exhibits I have seen. Incredible black and white photography of everyday architecture and life. Free & Awesome.

Max Dupain Modernist

3 – Eating Breakfast @ the Sydney Hilton

What can I say? So much choice. Fruit bar, Juice Bar, Yogurt Bar, Espresso Bar, Cereal Bar, Custom cooked eggs, Hot food, French Patisseries & More. The best $38 one can spend on breakfast in Sydney.

4 – Looking at, and traveling across, Sydney Harbour

I believe that Sydney Harbour is the one of the few awesome things that Sydney has got that Melbourne hasn’t. It is truly spectacular, especially on a clear sunny winter’s day such as yesterday. We decided that it just wasn’t enough being around it, so we decided at last minute to jump on a ferry to Kirribilli and have a look at the Kirribilli Markets.

Sydney Harbour

After we crossed back we looked and walked around the Botanical Gardens.

Cactus Sydney Gardens


5 – Shopping @ Westfield Bondi Junction

For some reason this shopping centre doesn’t feel like a shopping centre, nor does it feel like a Westfield. There are some truly great shops in this centre and the view from the balcony on the ‘food court’ is magical.

An excellent weekend in Sydney all round. Good times.

Marshmallows over a fire

As it has been unusually cold here in Brisbane, I thought it would be nice to have a small tabletop fire on our balcony table to keep us warm while we ate dinner. After dinner was over I couldn’t resist pulling out some marshmallows that we threaded onto sticks and toasted on the coals. The mallows were so good. It reminded me of going camping as a kid. Good times.

Cold Weather

Marshmallows One

Marshmallows Two

Dinner @ Green Papaya

Last night we once again enjoyed fireworks from our balcony, this time @ sunset! The sun setting over the mountains in the distance, and the industrial cranes nearby made a special viewing event.

Fireworks 13 July 2007

We then ventured to East Brisbane to visit Green Papaya for dinner. Green Papaya is a northern Vietnamese restaurant that always seems to deliver a great dining experience serving fresh food using organic ingredients and local seafood.
The interior of the restaurant is simple but elegant with lots of white and light wood. Green bowls labelled with the restaurant’s name are already present when you sit down, immediately letting you know that all the food on the menu will be best shared. We actually had a discussion about how Asian food generally encourages sharing of food (even when sitting around a small table in a back alley) as opposed to European food (or Australian food for that matter) where each person orders/eats their own meal. I think this is why I love Asian food so much, that and the fact that it rarely makes me feel heavy after eating it. Green Papaya was no exception last night, every item we ate was good enough to share, and light enough to make me feel great after eating it.

We started with Vegetarian rolls and Hanoi rolls. Both were made using rice paper, the main difference was the Hanoi rolls were fried and contained organic chicken mince and prawns. Both items were different enough to be enjoyable together, each containing lots of fresh herbs and flavour.

For our main course we enjoyed coconut prawns cooked with garlic, lemon grass and chilli and served with a sweet coconut sauce. We also had fried barramundi with a dark ginger sauce and organic Vietnamese steak. The fried barramundi was a nice white fish that tasted as fresh and local. We shared our three main dishes with organic wok-tossed rice which had a more subtle flavour. The food was exceptional, all flavours were fresh and distinct, and all dishes were generously sized.

Coconut Prawns - Green Papaya

Vietnamese Steak - Green Papaya

Organic Fried Rice - Green Papaya

Although the menu contained some nice looking desserts, I was keen to finish feeling light with the lovely flavours from main course still lingering in my mouth.

It was an all round pleasant experience.

looking foward to the weekend – live earth & survival tactics

now that my health is on the mend i can start looking forward to the weekend. there are two local brisbane events i am really looking forward to.

broadcast of ‘live earth’ riverside at south bank: 07/07/07 from 17:00

Live Earth

Live Earth is a 24 hour 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.

The ‘Live Earth’ global concert will begin in Sydney and continue across all seven continents with concerts in Tokyo, Shanghai, Johannesburg, London and Rio de Janeiro before concluding at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

Amongst those performing in Sydney are Wolfmother, Crowded house, Jack Johnson, John Butler Trio and Eskimo Joe.

cost: free

‘survival tactics’ exhibition at brisbane powerhouse: 04/07/07 – 15/07/07

Survival Tactics

“Survival tactics in a musical form, hear the DJ transform, transform the norm, life, be in it, Hip Hop is born, 45 or 33 keep the beat strong” ~ Morganics

How do you survive in the urban jungle? This unique multimedia exhibition brings together some of Australia’s best Hip Hop performers and artists, combining graffiti, photography, text and music in an exciting mix of street life and philosophy.

The exhibition is an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Hip Hop theatre show, Survival Tactics, before its national and international tours.

cost: free

at home, sick.

i have spent the last two days lying in bed, sick.

two days ago i woke up with a headache that felt like somebody was repeatedly hitting me in the head with a large concrete block. this and a very sore throat. i started taking medication but the headache seems to not want to quit.

Medication

the worst part about being sick is that i can’t and don’t want to listen to music. as someone who lives through listening to music this suddenly makes my life weird. some reasoning:
a) i don’t want to threaten future enjoyment of particular music through negative association with being sick; and
b) i can’t physically stand the thought of listening to any music with my head in such a way.

the best part about lying in bed sick is that i have had time to read two books: detour by james siegel and the tipping point by malcolm gladwell.

the other thing about lying in bed sick is that, and i am not sure if it is just me, i manage to notice lots of small home projects that would be perfect to work on. for example, i would love to reorganise my paper files and restructure the bookshelf. the problem is that i am not physically able to work on these projects because i am lying in bed sick. this may be easier to explain on an indexed style graph:

Home Projects when Sick

i hope i am able to listen to music again soon!

tonight is once in a blue moon

yes that’s right, tonight the moon is blue, meaning that there is a full moon for the second time in a single month.

this doesn’t happen that often, hence the metaphorical phrase associated with it. the next time you can see this is on the 31st december 2009.

i went and took a quick photo of the moon tonight, just in case it was actually blue. sadly, it wasn’t.

Blue Moon 30 June 2007

beam tech ltd – one way to the milky way from south bank

a while ago i noticed this shipping container in the alley behind rydges hotel at south bank. it wasn’t the container itself that stood out, but rather the words painted on it.

Beam Tech Ltd Small

words:

Beam Tech Ltd
Personal Pod Package:
one way to milky way: $79.95*

* illegal citizen card holders only
extreme black hole a denture extra charge
atmosphere not guaranteed

positions available
outerflight entertainers apply within

We accept
Orion Platinum
Royal Mercury
Southern Cross Express

the only thing i can find on the internet about this is a resume of Genevieve Staines who mentions involvement in the “BEAM TECH LTD. INTERGALACTIC TRAVEL CENTRE” project in 2005.

You can view this on my google map of brisbane.

the resin dogs in byron bay

this time last week we were watching the resin dogs at the great northern hotel in byron bay.

the gig show was really good. they played lots of varied dub/funk/hip-hop including old favourite songs and new songs that i hadn’t heard before. they closed with their own dub/d&b remix of midnight oil which sounded great with loads of bass. mc dno did some nice rapping/rhyming as well throughout the night. brisbane’s ‘optimen‘ did the opening act which was also excellent with more of a focus on ‘aussie hip-hop’ rather than the musical mashup that the resin dogs achieve.

Resin Dogs Byron Bay

we got ticket numbers 1&2 – dedicated!

Resin Dogs Byron Bay Tix

the tour poster

Resin Dogs Byron Bay Poster

built under the sun @ south bank

every time i walk down grey st, south bank, i admire the the huge red words “BUILT UNDER THE SUN” on the concrete wall near the ‘south brisbane’ train station.

i did some googling and found that a brisbane artist, sebastian moody, created the “four word poem” as part of the art built-in south bank project in 2002. although the project only ran for five months, this particular installation hasn’t since been removed.

Built Under The Sun 1 Small

Built Under The Sun 2 Small

Built Under The Sun 3 Small

(click images for hi-res versions)
you can view these images on my google map of brisbane.

fat freddy’s drop

i have been really getting into fat freddy’s drop. they are a seven piece reggae/dub band from wellington, NZ. there is only one studio album: based on a true story. whilst less upbeat than my usual listenings of late, i am loving their sound.

definately worth a listen if you haven’t already.

Fat Freddy’s Drop - Based on a true story

Official Site: Link
Wikipedia Entry: Link