Yeoh Siew Hoon spends a few days on the Island of the Gods, ingesting more than fresh air and sunshine.
I just returned from a few days in Bali and I think I left my brain behind. I left my phone charger behind too but that you can easily replace.
The brain, well, that's another matter. I think it's suffering from information indigestion and went into hiding in Bali so that, back in Singapore, I find myself incapable of making any real business decisions such as, "What shall I focus on this year? How should I gear up my business to ride on the recovery everybody says is underway and we all hope will not disappear like Osama seems to have done?"
Some decisions are easier to make. Like on the day I arrived in Bali and my friend Willem Loots who picked me up and asked me where I wanted to have lunch. "Anywhere," I said.
Willem knows I am a beach bum so we ended up on a little beach in Nusa Dua where we gazed at the ocean, watched Russians turn themselves into lobsters and listened to the waves. It's that time of the year in Bali when the waves are high and the rains have come, turning the island wet, lush and wild.
That same night, I was at Jimbaran (another no-brainer). We couldn't sit out on the beach because the sea was the wildest I had ever seen it. The band asked for a song request and even that I couldn't decide. "You choose," I said.
"Where you from?" they asked. And when I said, Taiwan, they immediately launched into a Mandarin song. Extreme personalisation - these folks don't need fancy tools and web analytics to do mass customization or to sell to a "market segment of one".
That's the thing with music - it has the ability to make you feel that the song was written especially for you and sung just for you. How many people have heard "My Way" and thought, that's my song? Worse, how many people think they can actually sing it in karaoke and own it as theirs?
Even spas are losing their personalization - the very place when treatments should be personal because every body is different. When I requested for a treatment that was not in the menu, I was told, "Not procedure."
At the WORLDHOTELS conference, I walked away with a lot of information. CEO Rob Hornman shared the "Shift Happens" presentation by Karl Fisch - you know, numbers like, "the 25% of the population in China with the highest IQs is greater than the total population of NA. In India, it's the top 28%" and "It is estimated that 1.5 exabytes of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year." (Incidentally, the latest version of the video is out if you feel you need more unique new information in your life.)
A report, "How Much Information", published by the University of California, San Diego, calculated that American households collectively consumed 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008. That means the average American consumes 34 gigabytes of content and 100,000 words of information in a single day.
I've actually never heard of zettabytes before. I thought it was a kind of new bike invented for zebras and that exabytes were a form of babies who bite when they get excited but here's what I learnt - a zettabyte is one billion trillion bytes: a 1 with 21 zeros at the end.
"To put that into perspective, one exabyte - which equals 1/1000 of a zettabyte or 1 billion gigabytes - is roughly equivalent to the capacity of 5.1 million computer hard drives, or all the hard drives in Minnesota," said a very helpful article in the New York Times.
Being one of those who cannot comprehend numbers if they have more than five zeros, I just know that's a lot - probably more than the human brain, certainly mine, can comprehend.
I took away a lot of other information in Bali. Here are the bits that stuck:
OTA sales for WORLDHOTELS in Asia Pacific grew by 52% in 2009, that's roughly about the increase in my household expenditure this year.
Bali was the only market in Asia among those surveyed by STR Global that showed a drop in occupancy and a rise in average room rate, hence a rise in RevPAR. (Are Bali hotels doing something right?)
40 years ago, President Nixon declared, "We are bringing the troops home."
And oh yes, I learnt something about myself from my handwriting - now that's information I'd rather do without. (Read The Transit Café this week if you want to get to know the real me).