Monthly Archives: December 2020

Happy 14th Birthday, FanKlub!

Once upon a time, long ago – but just within the furthest reaches of our digital archive – a few interesting events occurred…

Now, many companies have a global internet forum. A place where keen followers of the company and its product line gather, and where users go to sort out issues they may be having. We have one too.

Global. All very well, but not very intimate. All a bit too mechanical. All a bit too utilitarian and broad-stroke. Not personal: no real rapport. So we thought and debated and scratched heads regarding a different approach. And the eventual result: the birth of our localized – Russian – fan club, 14 years ago!

And just like we like to celebrate our birthday as a company in style, our fan club does too, in recent years even going on exotic expeditions for the occasion: Cambodia, Iceland and elsewhere. This year another expedition was planned, but then it was postponed, then postponed again, for the obvious reasons. Summer – the season the birthday falls in – came and went, yet still no b-day bash. Fall came and went. The last season of the year came… and so there was only one thing for it: this year’s celebrations would take place in winter! Which they just did…

Read on…

2020: the year everything went online – including our Korporativ.

Gathering together, having fun, making a lot of noise, and dancing a jig – it’s what we do; occasionally ). But around the end of every year, we do so with extra aplomb. Normally that means bringing K-folks from all over the planet to Moscow and fitting them into a suitably large venue for our festive bash. (With every year we’ve had fewer and fewer options re the venue, as we’re getting so big: we’re now able to fill the largest indoor venues of the capital – for example, Luzhniki (think – where Rammstein, among others, has played), or the Olympiysky stadium (Depeche Mode…)). We’d sum up the year, present awards to our best and brightest, and then party… like it’s 1999, if that’s still a thing, bubbly in hand.

(photo from 2016)

Gathering together literally all our K-team in one place is of course impossible: there are the 24-hour threat-monitoring and user-support folks who need to be at work, for example. Still, most of the Moscow office would normally be at our yearly Christmas bash, plus plenty of K-ambassadors from our overseas offices – from the Americas to Australia. Our guests would be fed, watered (!), then treated to our traditional variety show-extravaganza put on by the more Kreative among us. Add singing and dancing for good measure – and a few measures of something else while you’re at it – and it all adds up to a gala bash-blowout that’s fun for all and the perfect way of seeing off the outgoing year properly.

Here are a few of my reports on previous year-end shindigs: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

And some photos:

Eventually, the inevitable happened: we became too big to fit into any venue. And we could hardly start having it outside (comfortably) given the sub-zero temperatures at this time of year. So, alas, for the last two years, we simply haven’t had our New Year Korporativ. Boo! And then… 2020 happened…

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Mosfilm studios
  • Mosfilm studios
  • Mosfilm studios
  • Mosfilm studios

Instagram photostream

Global warming: finally – the results of the lockdown experiment!

Hi folks!

If you’re a regular reader of this here blog, you’ll have noticed how I occasionally touch upon ecological topics in my posts here: protecting the environment, global warming, and assorted other things like CO2 emissions. Oh, and by the way, before you shout ‘climate change denier!’… for example, those CO2 emissions, they’re most certainly on the rise – fast. No one in their right mind can deny that, from the man in the street through to the states that signed Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. But when folks become perfectly hysterical paranoid about man’s role in that rise – that’s where I beg to… not quite differ, but at least state that we need to see the larger picture: it may just be possible that industrial and anthropological emissions aren’t the most important factor…

I’ve written somewhere before that:

  • CO2emissions are rising and the climate is warming up. Facts;
  • But putting that down mostly to the activity of human beings is… bothersome. And it does whiff rather of megalomania: is man really that significant and influential to be able to have much effect on what are surely extraordinarily greater, stronger forces of nature?
  • I don’t know the answer to the question just put, but, because I don’t know, I say we need to measure not only emissions of carbon dioxide, but also nature’s intake/usage/absorption thereof. Could CO2 levels be growing not just in and of themselves, but as part of a growing imbalance between emissions and consumption?

Now, those musings, hypotheses, question marks… they’d have stayed musings, hypotheses and question marks, probably, if the corona virus hadn’t become a global pandemic in 2020: quarantine, lockdowns, restricted travel > less emissions from humans and their filthy cars and planes. But, as I wrote in April 2020, how will those lower emissions affect the overall total levels of CO₂ in the atmosphere? 

Here’s my quote from the mentioned post from April:

“Curiously, we’re currently living in… interesting times, and it just so happens that we may be able to get an answer to the second of my two questions here today (‘how will nearly the whole world’s industry coming to a halt affect the growth of CO₂ in the world’s atmosphere?’). 

Indeed, soon we’ll get the results of a unique (if unexpected) global experiment: how the lockdown and the partial halt to world production affects increases in CO₂ in the Earth’s atmosphere. It will also present a good opportunity to check the soundness of several theories about the how much climate is affected by man.

I have to say, it will be somewhat odd if the lockdown makes no difference whatsoever. I mean, among many other things, it would completely cancel out the need for the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, while making a mockery of every country that ever signed either; or am I being too harsh there? ‘Mistakes happen’, they’ll say!” 

So what do you think folks? What is the result of this unique global experiment? I ask as, that answer is ready! And here it is!…

Read on…

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Online conference – Chinese style (complete with pioneering-tech superstition).

Normally, my work schedule is made up of all sorts of meetings, press interviews, taking part in exhibitions, speaking at conferences all over the globe. Normally. Not this year, darn it!

Now, some of the events I get to are one-offs. Some are regular, recurring ones (mostly annual) but to which I get only once in a while. While there are some recurring events that I deem simply must-attend. And one of my main must-attends every fall or early winter is the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which I’ve participated in every year (up to 2019, that is) since 2015 – just a year after it’s ‘inauguration’ a year earlier. This year, alas – no traditional trip to eastern China; however, much like here at K, not being able to be present in-person does not mean a big and important event can’t still go on. Which is great news, as this means I can still get what I want to say across to: the main players of the Chinese internet – state regulators, heads of provinces and regional development institutes, and also bosses of the Chinese big tech companies; and all from a huge screen – perhaps the biggest I’ve ever seen!

Sure, it would have been nice to be there in person – to stroll around the quaint cobbled narrow streets of the old ancient town (as old as the Tang dynasty, apparently) and take a boat ride along its canals, which indeed some folks did manage to do, somehow. But I was playing it safe. Still, the plentiful ‘in-person’ activity at the venue is at least cause for optimism during these remote-everything times.

But now for the main thing: about Wuzhen superstition…

Read on…