Can you see the social bubble bursting soon?

Instagram, a photo sharing application created 2 years ago by Kevin Systrom got sold to Facebook for $1 billion today! Impressive! Many of my friends including great photographers such as Kris Krüg are using this very cool app since it first came out on the iPhone.

Instagram offers some pretty cool features such as filters and connectivity to other networks, it is a uber active community where users not only post pictures but comment and “like” other people’s work as well.

With about 30 million users, instagram is a great purchase as Facebook gear up to go public in what will be the largest IPO ever (estimated at $100 billions). Perhaps spending 1% of their net worth is a good bet in their continuous efforts to grow their user base while adding new features, innovations and talent to the team.

But why 1 billion dollar? Lets do the math; 30 million users, this mean that fb paid about 33$ per user (which I think most instagram users also have Facebook accounts) so that is not spending money on user acquisition… Perhaps they are looking for a larger footprint into the mobile market, adding more interactive users, or expending their advertising market over a larger network? Are those real motivations to spend a billion dollar?

All this talk makes me wonder about a few things: If instagram is worth $1 billion, how much would flickr be worth today? And why is Yahoo! not seeking to sell it off to someone who would take better care of this dying community? Most likely because most talented people behind flickr have since moved on to new projects. Still Flickr offers some great features, has a large, active user base, loads of content dating back to 2004. So why isn’t there someone out there willing to take over our dearest photo sharing social community?

What is the value of a dollar, or a user or an app? Everyone dreams about building the next billion dollar company (it used to be the million dollar dream). These guys somehow managed to pull it off, what started with an idea, secured 200k in 2010 to eventually secure 60 millions from Sequoia Capital only a week before flipping it over to Zuckerberg and his team for a billion dollar. Madness!

What can you buy for a billion in todays’ economy? Yelp! market valuation is 1.5 billion, Zynga (which is responsible for about 22% of facebook’s current revenue) is worth 8.6 billion, Hasbro (you know GI Joe, Transformers toys and movies, and many other big brand merchandizing such as Marvels, Star Wars etc) is worth 4.6 billions. Microsft just purchased from AOL for just over $1 billion the bulk of their patents portfolio.

So how can someone put a billion dollar price tag on a photo sharing social network with no revenue? What does this mean for twitter or Angry Birds‘ creator Rovio and other social network sites and mobile apps out there?

Have we forgotten the value of a dollar and become desensitize to the value of money? The average north American university graduate get paid about $40,000 a year once he/she finished school with an average debt of $25,000.

How much value would you get if you spent a billion dollar and hired 25,000 grads for a year at a starting salary of 40k?

I’m not saying Instagram is not worth that kind of money, but this is certainly setting a precedent for future acquisitions and upcoming social network and mobile apps IPOs.

Looking at these kind of trends, I can’t help but remembering the end of the 90s as volatile company valuations burned into smoke and pipe dreams overnight…

Jan 1, 2012

2011 Year in Review

Here’s to 2011:

* The year I changed employer twice – I could not be happier with my decision!
* Lived and traveled around Thailand then moved to Bali, Indonesia.
* Became “homeless” when I gave up my Vancouver house , letting go of the place I called home since 2002.
* Our family grew larger thanks to my sisters’ kids contributions..
* Broke my collar bone, scapula and 2 ribs when I crashed my motorbike (which was my 3rd accident in 3 years (Rolled my car in 2010, ski accident in 2009)
* I climbed the PADI ladder – became a Staff Instructor and certified nearly 100 divers.
* Met someone who really understand me and loves me for who I am. Which is amazing because it’s mutual and I could not imagine a better person to share life with.
* REM called it quit, Black Sabbath announced a reunion tour!
* Somewhere in between all that and much more 3 murderous bastards died – Bin Laden, Gaddafi and Kim Jong-il. Canada lost one of its greatest politician; Jack Layton. Liz Taylor, Betty Ford and Steve Jobs were taken away from us but their beauty, passion and genius will live forever in our hearts.
* I celebrated life and enjoyed the last year of my 30s…

2012 I welcome your opportunities and challenges !

Nov 30, 2011

Stephen Harper said Canada will not Ban Shark Finning!

The DISHONOURABLE Stephen Harper

Canada’s Prime Minister Mr Harper (@pmharper on twitter) said this about his government’s position on Shark Finning!

“Canada does not favour a ban of shark fins. We do, however, and we’ve been very clear that Canada supports only the humane harvesting of sharks.”

Take a moment to tweet him a line or email him (Stephen Harper – to let him know that his position is simply unacceptable!

You can also use this diplomatic letter template:

Dear Mr. Harper,

From my understanding, the coming weeks will see a bill brought before the Federal Government of Canada to make the imporation of shark fin illegal.

I would like to add my name to the growing number of Canadian citizens that finds this barbaric practice unacceptable for the Government of Canada to encourage by allowing the importation of shark fins into Canada. Banning this form of trade will not only reduce the number of sharks that are brutlized and slaughtered annually, but will also put Canada at the forefront of an initiative that is receiving global attention.

Thank you for listening to my voice, Mr. Harper. I look forward to being part of the process to stop the shark fin trade in Canada.


[Your Name Here]
[Your City/Province Here]

There is nothing humane about Shark Finning!

Want to do more? Sign the Petition today:


And don’t forget to check out Project AWARE Foundation

Not happy with just being a arm chair revolutionary! Perhaps you would like to contribute to help our Ocean Planet by taking an active role in Marine Conservation Projects. Check out our Eco Internships starting January 2012.

Or Contact us today for more information.

Eco Internships and Project AWARE

Working to make our Ocean Planet a Better Place

I recently joined team Blue Season Bali as their new Business Development Manager and IDC Staff Instructor. Over the past few years, I have been looking for ways to combine my diverse background, expertise and passion for digital media, environmental activism and scuba diving training, so naturally when they offered me the position, I was immediately interested. As part of my new role, I am working with our in house Marine Biologist Dr Niels Rijneveld developing our new Eco Internship Programs and coordinating our various Project AWARE actions.

Eco Internships in Bali

Do you care about the environment? In today’s world that’s a pretty loaded question. We all know that marine conservation is of increasing importance

Go Eco and join Niels, Blue Season’s in-house marine biologist, and his team as they give you their brand new Bali Eco Internship program. Designed to give you the ultimate diving holiday whilst doing your bit for the underwater environment, these Eco Internships offer you, the Eco enthusiast, the scuba diving experience of a lifetime.

Visit to learn more about the program and 2012 schedule.

Decreasing Shark Population

Shark finning in Bali

Shark populations are devastated by overexploitation, including targeted fishing, bycatch and finning. Together, we’re gaining the attention of policymakers worldwide. We’re closing loopholes in existing global shark management policies and insisting on full protections for Endangered and Critically Endangered sharks.

For more information about Project AWARE “Shark in Peril” action visit their website.

Sign the Petition Today!

Project AWARE created this shark petition widget to help gather the support needed to apply pressure on the various governments, organizations and local groups.

Sign the petition and urge your friends and colleagues to do the same.

Add the Petition Widget to your Website or Blog Today.

Simply “cut and past” this shark petition widget code to your website to start collecting petition signatures. The signatures Project AWARE collects from these widgets will help secure shark protections in the countries that matter most.

<iframe frameborder=”0″ height=”510″ scrolling=”no” src=”″ title=”Sign Petition Widget 2″ width=”291″></iframe>

You too can help the fight against shark finning by collecting shark petition signatures directly from your website or blog.

Thailand, The land of Smiles

I fell in love with Thailand long ago before I first had the opportunity to visit this beautiful country. I remember the emotions that arose within me when we first heard about this exotic land in my grade 6 world history class. I came home that weekend (I attended a private boarding school) and when my mom asked me what I had learned, I stated that I would like to be a Buddhist and visit Thailand someday.

Some years later, I was selected to participate in Canada World Youth, a cultural exchange program between Canada and various host countries. My first choice was Thailand, but for some reason I ended up in the India program. Which to this day I credit with widening my travel interests, opening me to new beliefs and cultures.

Almost another decade passed before I made my way to Thailand for the first time. But ever since that initial visit, I have been fascinated by this country, its history, people, culture and religion.

Zen Moment: Picture By Kris Krug

Over the past 5 years, I’ve made several trips, exploring the Land of Smiles. I was blessed to visit Bangkok when the king celebrated his 60th anniversary as head of Thailand. I saw Thai people show their love for the royal family. It was in that moment as I walked the crowd, wearing my “Long Live the King” bracelet, making friends with youth and elderly locals that I realized how welcoming the Thai people really were, generating a profound desire to explore this culture in more depth.

Amazed by everything that this country had to offer, I wanted to stay here and immerse myself in this culture. Sadly I was stuck between my personal desires and my professional obligations, despite wanting to leave it all behind, I decided I would remain loyal to my goals and vocational needs.

In 2010, after suffering years of depression and a series of personal breakdowns, I opted to leave behind a career that had been at times amazing, while hard of my personal life and health. This welcome change set the foundation for me to return to my first love: Scuba diving and traveling the world.

Once again, I was free and open to explore the depth of Planet Ocean and immerse myself in other cultures. As I filtered my options, ranging from working in Belize, Honduras, Egypt, and Thailand I was torn having to choose between, culture, location and great mentors.

After consulting with several of my peers and life teachers, I opted to start my new path in Thailand. Fitting, considering that once again, I was embarking on a life changing path, ready to turn my world upside down.

I spent the better part of the last six months studying under one of the world’s most respected PADI Platinum Course Directors, Mark Soworka at Buddha View Dive Resort. While gaining the expertise needed to become a Master Scuba Diver Trainer, I helped him and the resort achieve some of their marketing goals utilizing my background and knowledge of the internet.

Working on Koh Tao over the past six months, has been a mixture of positive and challenging experiences. Sacrificing my desire for spiritual development to gain new skills and a deeper knowledge of the diving industry has been at times hard on me. Yet I knew that my stay on the Turtle Island was going to be relatively temporary and that ultimately it was a necessary step on my journey.

In February, I broke my collarbone, crashing my motorbike on my way home after work. This forced me once again to slow down, take a moment to reflect on my goals and life’s desires. It also allowed me to return to Canada for 6 weeks, spending time healing and visiting friends, family and loved ones.  (Read about my Broken Collar Bone)

During that time, I was offered a new job, managing and teaching scuba diving at a new upcoming dive shop in Tulamben, Bali. Torn by my desire to spend more time in Thailand and taking this amazing opportunity, I debated this once in a lifetime offer.

After receiving my clean bill of health, I returned to Asia in late March. Knowing that within a month I was moving to Bali, Indonesia and traveling with one of my best friend who had never visited Thailand, we set out on our journey around the old Kingdom of Siam.

First stop was to be Koh Tao where I had been working prior to my accident, sadly mother nature had other plans for us, and a nasty typhoon/tropical storm hit the Gulf and south of Thailand a few days before we arrived.

Elephant Nature Park

As we landed in Bangkok and received news of our peers stuck in some of the worst flooding to hit Koh Tao in years, we opted to travel around the country until things settled down south.

Our first destination was Katchanaburi, where just over half a century ago, allied troops where held in prison camps by the Japanese occupation troops. (This story was made famous by Director David Lean who filmed the movie, “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” in 1957).

Between the war monuments, visiting allied force cemeteries and exploring beautiful waterfalls at Erawan National Park, I realized how little I actually knew about Thailand. This sparked a new curiosity in me. Fueled by the fact that I was traveling with someone new to the Thai culture, we decided to travel around the countryside, learning about Thailand and its people.

From Bangkok to Phuket via Katchanaburi, Chumphon, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai there is still so much of this country that I have yet to see.  So many stories I have yet to tell….

Feb 8, 2011

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