Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hello chalkboard!

Just wanted to post an update on the red wall.

It's now a chalkboard (Nippon Satin Glo Crater Black).

Truth be told, I had a bit of painter's remorse the few days after the red wall was gone. The room felt a tad darker and I wasn't sure I had picked the right colour. And my furniture didn't seem to go with the new scheme anymore. (That red chair has to got to go. Am thinking how to reupholster it?)

But it has grown on me and I am looking forward to doodling and writing my favourite poems on it. Give me some time, the rest of the room will slowly shift shape to melt into this new black.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bye Bye Red

After living with this red wall for 14 years, I feel a twinge of sadness as I say goodbye to it. After all, I lovingly painted it - solo - when I first moved in. Three coats in three days. On one wobbly ladder.

While I loved it (and still do), I am ready for a more understated colour now. Sign of maturity (or perhaps, old age)?

Tomorrow, it's a new colour. And a new chapter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Join me at StarLIVE on Dec 20th

This is the reason I have been running around like a headless chicken the past week and I foresee the next 9 days. It's been challenging preparing the presentation for this talk (should I say this or that? tell this joke or not at all?) and trying out a few hacks to see which will work.

I will be sharing the story of IKEAhackers and there will be 2 hack demos at the end too. It should be fun, if you like to kick off your weekend listening to the whirr of drills and firing a glue gun.

If you are available, do come and join me at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. Admission is free but registration required. Here's a itty bitty write-up on it. See you there!

Date: Dec 20
Time: 10.30-11.30am
Venue: Menara Star, 15 Jalan 16/11, Petaling Jaya

To book your seat, email with your name, NRIC number, phone number and email.

All in all ... I am thankful for this opportunity to share about IKEAhackers. A great way to end the year before I flop down exhausted for my Christmas break. (And I haven't even started on Christmas gift shopping! Argh)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Learning to speak ...

Outside of this blog, I don't talk much about my work and what I do on IKEAhackers. So when my church asked me to share a bit of my story to a group of young working adults, I thought I should step up and share the things I've learnt over the years.

Public speaking has always been a struggle for me, maybe because I prefer to write than speak and I am naturally a shy person. But there are days one just has to thicken the face and do the deed. I am glad I did. I am not sure what the audience took home but I personally learnt a lot from the experience as well as from the other speakers in the conference.

Here's what I learnt today:
1. Be clear on the one thing you want to hit home. If you manage to deliver that, then it's a job well done.
2. Share the good. And the bad. It's okay to be vulnerable. They don't think any less of you after that.
3. Look at the smiling faces and nodding heads. For a beginner speaker, a little instant validation is helpful and keeps your energy up.
4. After the talk, review what worked and what did not. And don't be too hard on yourself if you think you missed some important points or did not deliver the material well. There will always be another opportunity.

My next one is in 2 weeks. No time to rest on my Poang.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Trip update Part 3: Let's talk

Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 2 here.

Our last day was spent at the IKEA Concept Centre in Delft. It is an actual IKEA store with learning and research spliced in. In here, IKEA studies customers' interactions with their products, floor displays and information. They conduct experiments to better the flow, engage the customer and look into every small detail such as the floor directory to help customers find their way through the store.

For the uninitiated, the first visit to IKEA can be harrowing - the crowd, the maze, the self-service-dunno-how. My first time, I felt sucked into a blackhole with no way out unless I obediently followed the arrows. Now 10,000 trips later, I have the floor plan and shortcuts etched on my palm (till IKEA Malaysia smartly went and renovated their store, just to throw me off!)

The good news is, IKEA works tirelessly to improve the customer's journey through the store. Denis, the very animated store manager of IKEA Delft, took us on a tour and explained the ins and outs of the journey.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Trip update Part 2: Entering the heart of IKEA

Read Part 1 here.

After a good night's rest, I was ready to be wowed by IKEA of Sweden (IoS). I was told that this is where IKEA is most IKEA. The DNA thickest. The heart. And indeed it is.

The new extension of IoS opened not that many weeks ago and there were still many unsettled corners in the building. Spots of chaos aside, it was new and shiny. It has an amazing expansiveness about it. Lots of light, blond wood and dashes of colour.

We arrived at the same time the co-workers were getting in. They were busy getting their morning coffee, sandwiches. We, tourists, went crazy for knäckebröd - a type of crispbread - slathered with Swedish honey. There were muffled talking, mingling, laughing. It felt like I entered a buzzing hive.

The lobby with stacks of the new catalogue - in different languages.
The 'stairs' overlooking the cafeteria. I love this!
The cafeteria - the lively busy hive.
Sufficiently fueled, we met up with Marcus Arvonen, the designer behind the iconic MASKROS chandelier.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trip update Part 1: Museums and meatballs

It's been more than 3 weeks since my trip to Sweden and the Netherlands and I finally found time to gather my thoughts and write about my meeting with IKEA. I know some of you have been anxious to know the outcome and my apologies for not posting earlier. It wasn't because I couldn't talk about it. I have so much to say and found it hard to trim it down to a manageable blog post. Hence the trilogy.

For those who just want the scoop (and not my rambles), here is it.
I did not meet a single person in IKEA of Sweden or Delft who wanted to shut down IKEAhackers. Seriously, none. In fact, they were very supportive. Even the designers whose furniture we hacked, sawed, repainted, reshaped into things unrecognisable like what we do on IKEAhackers and are pretty tickled to see their designs turned into frankenthings.

The meeting with Torbjörn Lööf, the CEO of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. together with Anders, Henrik and Lena, was open, warm and honest. They recognised the contributions of IKEAHackers and admitted that they "did not handle this (the trademark issue with IH) very well". What impressed me most was their willingness to admit their mistake, make a u-turn and find a solution that was good for both parties. Various suggestions were thrown back and forth and we came to the agreement that IKEA will continue to let me use its trademark on my domain,, as long as my site does not bring harm or damage to the IKEA brand. (eg. porn, nudity, drugs - that kind of stuff which won't appear anyways.) As of today, I have yet to receive a draft of the agreement. But for now, in all likelihood ... stays. 

Yay! Pop the lingonberry juice!

I want to thank you for your support in this crazy situation. Without your very vocal support, I doubt I could have made this behemoth corporation change its mind. By now, you must tire of hearing me say this, but I will say it again from the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU! I am beyond happy. So let's raise our saws and continue hacking!

Now for the blow-by-blow story which means you can stop here if that's not your thing...