A rapidly growing city of Paperholm(s)


Tumblr is a wonderful place — you just don’t know what you are going to stumble into! A few weeks ago, I ended up on Paperholm, a website where Edinburgh-based architect/artist Charles Young has been sharing photos of miniature homes he has been creating out of paper. Since August 2014, he has shared multiple creations – each intricate, beautiful and nearly perfect. Obsessed with these paper homes, I cold emailed Young wondering what got him started. “The project started as a way of keeping myself making work,” he replied. “By having to produce something every day you’re forced to be creative and productive.”

I couldn’t agree more with him — I have slowly started to blog everyday and it has forced me to once again feel creative and productive. Of course, I struggle with my inability to find time to write and have been reconfiguring my life to incorporate writing, my new love photography and my new-ish day job at True Ventures!

What made him pick paper as a medium of creation? “The use of paper is really about its material properties,” Young replied in an email. “Using it as a construction material, at this scale, watercolour paper has a balance of delicacy and strength that make it ideal.” Like Young, I too am obsessed with paper — I prefer to write with fountain pens on good quality (Japanese) paper. That act allows me to slow down the brain, think, compose, rethink and ink what is on my mind.

Now for the important question — how long does he expect to be doing this? “Even at this stage I’m not sure how long I will continue with the project. I’d like to complete at least a year of daily models but Paperholm is really more about keeping inventive and developing my own technical skills.”

Charles, as a fan, let’s just say, I am happy for whatever you create. These paper homes are a delightful addition to my life!


All About That iPhone 6+

Because you know 
I’m all about that 6+ 
‘Bout that  6+, no Mini 
I’m all about that 6+ 
 ‘Bout that 6+, no Mini 
I’m all about that 6+  
‘Bout that 6+, no Mini 
I’m all about that 6+  
‘Bout that 6+ 

In early January, I wrote: iPhone, the behemoth. UBS Research predicted that Apple could sell close to 67 million iPhones and thanks to the brisk sales of iPhone 6 and its big brother, iPhone 6+, they would rake in about $68 billion during the quarter. They expected the iPhone revenues to be around $43.4 billion.

Many people were incredulous at those massive numbers. Some, including close friends, privately chided me and said that I was just straight up wrong. Well, Apple does have a way of proving believers right and non believers wrong.

Yesterday, Apple in an earnings release said that it sold 74.5 million phones – about 10 iPhones a second during the quarter — and had total revenues of $74.6 billion. The iPhone revenues alone were $51.2 billion. The company made $18 billion in profit during the quarter — making it the highest ever profit in the corporate history anywhere in the world. The iPhone was 69 percent of this quarter’s revenues, up 22 percent from the iPhone revenues it recorded in December 2013 quarter.

AppleDec2014quarterUBS estimates that of the total, 22.34 million iPhone 6+ were sold during the quarter bringing in about 30 percent of total iPhone revenues of around $18.5 billion. I suspect, the 6+ has been a huge hit in Asia, especially China, the single largest growth market for Apple. iPhone 6 sales were around 35.37 million or about 48 percent of the total iPhone sold and brought in $25.25 billion. . The iPhone 5/5s are still selling well — about 12 percent of the total at around 8.56 million devices. The 6+ has  really high average selling price (ASP) — UBS estimates — around $828 while iPhone 6 ASP is around $713.

You want to see the impact of iPhone 6+, look no further than the iPad sales: about $9 billion during the quarter down 22 percent from $11.5 billion during the same quarter in 2013. iPad as percentage of overall Apple revenues was down to 12 percent from 20 percent a year ago. Apple saw a 18 percent year-over-year decline in iPad unit sales during the quarter. Of the total iPads sold during the quarter, 45 percent were iPad Minis, down from 49 percent during the December 2013 quarter. The iPad mini sales were about $4 billion during the quarter, down from about $5.7 billion a year ago. These numbers provide anecdotal evidence to my earlier contention that iPhone 6+ is going to cannibalize the iPad mini sales. Not that there is anything wrong with it — Apple is perfectly okay with eating its old and rejuvenating itself with new products: year over year quarterly iPod sales declined by almost half — 3.3 million units versus 6 million a year ago.

Bottomline: Looks like Apple is going to ride the iPhone wave for a while, perhaps right through the launch of Apple Watch, which I suspect is going to provide the big lift. That said, I am not bullish on the watch, mostly because when I saw it, the software looked incomplete by a mile. It lacked that usual Apple software pop! I wish they spent more time making the Apple Pay realize its true potential — that is perhaps something that can totally change how we purchase and thus define a new era for Apple.

The company has set up seriously high expectations and Wall Street is moronic/illogical as ever — driven by momentum. It needs Apple Watch to work flawlessly. I also fear the reliance on a single product line — iPhone that is — can be a bit dangerous for any company, even Apple. There are many challenges that are cropping up, especially the software and services which are defraying the typical Apple experience. Even people within Apple have shared their frustration.I also do think the Apple management cares: it just is busy riding the rocket called iPhone!


A camera called iPhone 6+

The web, recently was abuzz with news that Apple had become the second most popular camera on Flickr, pushing Nikon down and just behind Canon. It is not surprising – more people take more photos with their iPhones (or other smartphones) than DSLRs or other standalone cameras. As someone whose interest in photography was catalyzed by the amalgam of Instagram and the iPhone, my most loved camera is my iPhone 6+. I have a Sony RX-100 (mark 3) and I have a Sony RX-1 (not sure why) but I absolutely love the iPhone 6+. It allows me to take photos that I could only dream of capturing a few years ago.

This weekend, I went for a photo walk with some friends. In addition to my iPhone 6+, I took the wide angle and telephoto lens made by Marc Barros’ Moment Lens. These results speak for themselves — the Golden Gate Bridge and the board were snapped without the Moment. The Sunset photos used Moment 60MM Tele lens and Average Cam Pro app for long exposure. No filters applied, and no touch up either — just look at the dust on the lens…ugh!

While these don’t compare to the high-end cameras and even pricer lens, they make the amateur in me feel encouraged about photography. I think this is the ultimate beauty of iPhone — it has made photography not scary. It has removed technology and made it just an act of creation. This is what Apple is good at — pushing technology aside. I hope they never forget that.

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Here is what to read: the Best of the web

Welcome back to my Best of the Web ( previously known as 7 Things to Read This Weekend) email newsletter. After a long hiatus, we are starting its second season. In its previous incarnation my recommendations were about stepping away from technology and the industry minutiae. The new version has no such limitations. I will curate stories, essays, opinions and interviews that I find enlightening and thought provoking. They help understand the big changes going on in our society. Without much further ado, here is the first set of reading recommendations.

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Happy Handwriting Day


“I’ve always had this identity thing. When I was little, I was always changing my handwriting because I couldn’t decide which one I liked best.” Lianne La Havas

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