December 31, 2009

Don't Look Back

I'm being consistent here. My 2010 view is going to be simply, learn from your experiences but lets not overly focus on what has gone by. So I've used the same title in a whole lot of places.
One of the big challenges in 2010 will be my commitment to reduce Energy use. If we can't rely on the Politicians to create the correct environment, we can at least begin to show our cards as well as our words. There is an election in Australian in 2010, and Climate Change MUST remain on the agenda throughout the year.
In order for you to understand what has happened here in 2009, I thought the use of a Wordle would help.

In order for you to understand my pretty intense feed on twitter, and this is important because without twitter through 2008 and 2009, I wouldn't have this blog, see this wordle

And - there is an updated blog post on this below - kudos must go to those who have responded to shit I threw which hit the fan. Big words to Foxtel, cos you have taken plenty from me. I hope 2010 is a much more pleasant relationship. As for FIFA? Well I hope everyone enjoys the World Cup in 2010, though I suspect it'll just be another freak show for the suits in the crowd.

Finally, big shout out to Gavin Heaton and the perfect gift for a man boys for stimulating my 'comeback' so to speak. And to those who continue to engage with me on a day to day basis. There are many of you, but special mention to Karalee Evans, Toby Greer, Mal Damkar, glebe2037, Tiphereth Gloria, Tim Moreillon, Scott Rhodie, Stilgherrian, Craig Wilson and Markus Hafner, (who put me on to that twitter shit in the first place). To Sally for bearing with me while I learn this stuff and James Fridley for well being #iamthefridley

December 23, 2009

Dear Foxtel

updated 31/12/09 following call received from Rihanna at Foxtel on 29/12
It was a pleasant experience to get the call and we had a good conversation. It was nice to get something positive out of this experience, however, Foxtel still need to go a way to, in my opinion, introduce value back into their offerings. Stopping discriminating between customers and focusing on the Customer Experience rather than Marketing would be a start.
See my understanding of their responses to my specific questions below. I hope what they appear to have committed to actually comes through

To: Shona Bishop
"Executive Director, Customer Service and Installations

Dear Shona,

A couple of weeks back you sent me a letter to tell me you were completely incapable of doing simple calculations and forgot I had a 'loyalty bonus' already before telling me the price cut I thought I had actually was an Increase in Price.

Actually I'm going to just quote what you wrote here, because I'm assuming what I wrote above is what you meant to get across. But as with Barnaby Joyce's recent effort at Blogging, it doesn't appear to be written in any kind of English I understand;

December 17, 2009

On the Official Google Australia Blog: Our views on Mandatory ISP Filtering

I'm reading the Official Google Australia Blog: Our views on Mandatory ISP Filtering
It's a nice concise response. Personally I'm flabbergasted by the illogical nature of what is proposed and the money that is being spent on this rather than better funding those who are supposed to enforce the law. Who are these people? I'll answer that, not the ISP's! See this post from EFA on the topic of where the funding would be better spent.
As David Olsen Points out in his post (a parallel argument to one I made re; Climate Change), now its time to change the message in the market. The Labor Government has proposed the future. We can't need to sit here and cry fi! We need to change the future. I don't agree it is set in stone.

December 08, 2009

On Snark

how much I miss you when you have gone away.
Come back soon to help me play.

In the meantime, check out my Commitment for 2010. Yes I know a bit early for New years Resolutions, but there ya go!

December 02, 2009

Margot O'Neill on
"While Mr Rudd has excoriated global warming sceptics in the Opposition and backed the need to urgently reduce global carbon emissions, Federal and state governments are spending more than $10 billion on port and rail infrastructure in a bid to double Australia's coal exports by 2030.
Puts Penny Wong, Kevin Rudd and the Media's obsession with Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals implosion on the ETS in sharp Focus doesn't it?

November 19, 2009

An open letter to FIFA

This Letter was Posted to FIFA at their Feedback site. If you feel strongly enough about this and related issues, I suggest you do the same!

Dear Sepp and fellows
I'm sure you are happy with the Great results overnight and the immense Fairplay displayed, especially at the Stade de France.
Can't imagine how Irish people are dismayed, for surely it was determined long in advance that France have a divine right to play in the World Cup Finals. And anyway, Thierry Henry is such a fine fellow isn't he?
I also imagine it is a TOTAL coincidence that the referee who was chosen for that game has a history of perfect decisions in crucial moments in matches.
Anyway, surely all the Irish people, who are completely one eyed, would've been completely proven wrong even if you did introduce Technology, or even an extra pair of eyes behind the goal. As this illustration clearly shows.

The wonderful thing for FIFA is that your TV money can now be kept nice and high for the World Cup in South Africa now that pure brilliance from one of the worlds best players and referees has ensured another big market has 'made it'
Keep up the good work, Sepp and Fellows. I hope you choke on your own corpulence

November 09, 2009


Watching Tonight's Media Watch I was imagining Gary Linnell and David Penberthy choking on their Schooners right at the end there. Oh actually, all I have to do is to read this from the aforementioned Penberthy to find out what he thought. If they were reading the #pwnednudierun twitter feed it generated they may have chilled out somewhat, though I doubt it.

Ideally, however, they would be hard at work coming up with a Smart Position on deflecting how amateur they have been made to look over recent weeks. It's one thing for Uncle Rupert to be claiming to be charging for their 'Unique' Content, its another thing to do it while his key Masthead in Australia's biggest Market have been played for fools something around 10 times this year. Most ominously when they were sucked in by Godwin Grech but also the Pauline Hanson Photos and, as highlighted on tonights Media Watch, the blowtorch torture affair - still online (as soon to be charged for original content) here.

So what should they do tomorrow? Ignore it and it will go away? Write a story about and laugh it off? Something more clever writers than I might come up with?

Juding by Penberthy's humourless ripostes on Twitter tonight, somehow I doubt it. Most likely they will be sucking on Lemons and getting Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen et al to join them in 'conference'* so they can call Jonathon Holmes and the ABC names or continue Uncle Ruperts inane ramblings on them 'Stealing' Content. I'm waiting for the flurry of muck from Tim Blair, Piers at al to appear on The Punch and in the Tele any time soon.

If that is the only content you have to offer, News, I doubt they want to steal it. I know I don't

November 04, 2009

Dairy Farmers join the ranks of the Spineless

Dear Dairy Farmers,
It appears you were once a co-operative all about selling the Milk the Cows made on behalf of the Farmers to the good city Folk. In this way the Farmers could keep producing milk by tending their Moo-cows and stopping the land from going fallow.

Now you are just another fucking Happy Meal Purveyor
From You want an Opinion?



Creating The Great Divide

Recently I've been concerned about the types of topics here. So like the annoying bastard I am, I've created a new blog and moved all the prissy, "isn't technology neat' stuff over there.
So to be clear, if you want to read me whining on about shit, stay here. If you want to read more 'professional' topics go there, if you want to read my ongoing commentary, you can see it here. Entertaining douchebaggery is here and how I am destroying my house and pissing my wife off is here.
Thanks for your attention, now can someone give me a topic to have an opinion on?

October 28, 2009

Balancing Need and Want in the Product Development Process

I just read Matt Moore's most recent post over at Engineers without Fears.
I was inspired enough to comment as I felt his argument covered a key challenge of the Customer/Product Relationship.

As organisations which develop and Sell Products and Services, we need to sell to make ourselves relevant. In order to ensure we get and keep our customers we sometimes have to perhaps emphasise parts of the service which we know are going to appeal more to specific customer segments. That's called Marketing and PR, I think. The question is though, is that a form of prostitution, or just fulfilling a real need which actually exists?
As with most things, the challenge is to find the balance between creating a need, filling a need which exists. That's probably more sustainable than creating 'wants' in order to fulfill over zealous forecasts to keep the Shareholder happy.
(note: Image sourced from

October 26, 2009

55K Homes worth of Standby Power

Florida Power & Light are just about to open a new solar facility in Florida, of all places. Apparently it will generate 42GWh of electricity for the Grid each year and use just 180 acres to do so. It also cost JUST US$152M as opposed to the unknown Billions which will be used to either develop or maintain new coal power around the world in the next few years. Example being the unknown $ costs (not to mention the environmental costs) of 'Bayswater B' at Musswellbrook in the Hunter Valley

According to a report commissioned by the Australian Government in 2000, that would cover the 'Standby' Power usage of about 55,263 households in Australia in 2001. One wonders whether the number associated with 'standby power' from the study above has reduced or grown in the intervening years. While the energy saving properties of devices has no doubt improved in the period, I imagine - given the evidence of mine own house - the prevalence of even bigger TV's always on computers, servers and Cable TV boxes has offset much of that savings.

I appreciate compared to those 'Baseload' power stations, this one is relatively miniscule, but with the only Solar Power Station being developed or planned in NSW being ONLY a 10mWh system, two and a half times smaller than the one just about to open in Florida, I have to ask; are we THAT short of sun here? Wouldn't the equivalent of 10 Solar Plants of this nature, produce the same amount of power as this proposed Coal Plant? And despite the area required (less than a km squared), end up having a lower Environmental Footprint?

Either way, good to see this plant opening, hopefully the NSW and Federal Government will see beyond the shortsightedness of their Union and Industry Paymasters to invest some of those CPRS 'offsets' into energy generation with a future.

Perhaps they should listen to Buck Martinez of the Florida Light and Power for some down to earth logic on the matter;
"This is an incredible opportunity to build new industry in the state," he said. "It will put people to work. Solar energy can create tens of thousands of jobs."

October 21, 2009

the annual tax struggle

I just used etax to do my Tax Return. Seemed like an easy way to get money back without having to go to an agent to do it. Did you know Australia processes SEVENTY THREE PERCENT of personal tax returns through Agents? Absolutely ridiculous. A result of the over complicated Tax system which seems to be the ongoing legacy of Peter Costello and John Howard's tenure in office.
Don't get me wrong, Tax Agents have their place, and I certainly benefitted from them over the years. But now, I don't need to use one anymore. Using a Dead tree was the first option, but once my daughter scribbled all over it, I figured out I also needed the 'supplement' and I left it so late in the year to do my return, I thought; 'lets try e-tax'
And then the Pain started
Not only does it not work on MacOSX, but it neither works on Linux or in Parallels running Windows on Mac. Way to support a large percentage of the population likely to do their tax online, ATO.
Once I got a Windows box to run the software,  I quickly realised the ATO was quite concerned about users security...ironic, anyone?
Once I got going, it was relatively easy - my details are pretty basic these days. But I PITY anyone who has even moderately complicated affairs.
Then I hit the 'Occupation' page. Which you MUST fill out. There was a rather lengthy list and it was filterable, reasonably so. But my Occupation wasn't there. I mean, there was 'Hansard Clerk' and 'Brothel Owner', but NOT Product Manager? What's that all about? And to add insult to injury, their is no option to manually enter a value. Software Development 101 failed, methinks. Though they probably have some rationale business rule for the lists behaving this way.
Instead I chose some random entry. That'll teach the ATO, screwing up their stats and bringing the average income for 'CEO' down somewhat, I imagine.
Unsurprisingly, they had the issue again if you dropped into any of the Personal Services or Sole Trader type fields. As far as the ATO is concerned, if you don't work at certain roles, you don't work.
In the end I got it all done, and submitted, despite more obscure behaviour around the 'print' function. Positively, they asked for feedback and when asked if I would use the service again, I chose unsure. I then entered a reason and surprisingly enough, there were no restrictions (that I reached at least) in the data entry fields. Following is my response. Perhaps if enough people send a similar response, the suits at the ATO might realise what an absolute beauty they might have here - otherwise, it'll be same old again next year.
Ridiculously you do not support a large minority of Web and Computer Savvy Users. You must realise supporting only Windows is discriminatory to those who choose to use better and MORE SECURE platforms.
The restrictive nature of the occupations listed is inane. My occupation is NOT Listed, and there is NO WAY FOR ME TO ENTER IT.
Both these items, to me, indicate LAZY and 20th Century SW Development Practices (yes I have worked in the Industry for 15 years). I suggest you quickly fix these issues as I have already raised with my local representative. I know of many other who have also experienced this failure to adequately service your customers.
Its a pity I need to respond in this way really, because the idea and the general execution is EXCELLENT and a quick way to reduce the unnecessary reliance on Tax Agents in this country.

October 19, 2009

Creating Intangible Value in the Climate Change Debate

I just wrote a rather lengthy blog for blog action day in which my basic tenet was the conversation around Climate Change had to change to be more postive. Conincidentally I've just watched Rory Sutherland on TED discuss in gallingly wonderful terms on how to create 'intangible added value to replace actual material value'.At about 6'45" in the video he touches briefly on the Climate Change Debate in which he nails my argument exactly. He posits that this is what Climate Change Campaigners should be doing and then moves on to the rest of his presentation. No more needs to be said.
I heartily recommend this 16 minutes to all. Best Ted video I've seen since Ken Robinsons on Education

October 15, 2009

Win the argument by making the Conversation on Global Warming more Positive

The desert grows three miles a year, and it just grows. I put my pain in a jar and it will be full tomorrow.

I imagine every generation needs something to be afraid of. Generally every generation does that with the guidance of their government, elected or otherwise. I'll leave the research on that one for you. But to quote Charlie Haughey, erstwhile Irish Taoiseach and fucking crook,; "The only way to keep people in line is to scare the shit out of them". Okay, well maybe *he* didn't say that, but it was a sample used in a Fatima Mansions song many years ago and for some reason, I always thought he said it.
Damn, now all the rightwingers and those suffering from Cognitive Dissonance will know I'm confused and not take this article seriously at all. What am I thinking...
Nothing, soon at least. Well not too soon, I hope, but some day.
But what about my offspring? What about them? What will they fear? Will it be the same as I've done? Will their fear come real, or as was once famously said they will instead fear "fear itself"?
Is there a reason what we really fear is what the Bossmen tell us to fear, and when we start to fear something a bit more tangible, out of the control of the Bossman, the Bossman tends to play it down? I'm sure there are examples throughout history, but despite my best efforts as a child, I never became a history scholar. Pity, I might have a warmer complexion and no RSI.
(Partly) Seriously, because this post was inspired by Today's 'Blog Action Day', I wonder are people now finally taking control of their lives enough to finally fear something which isn't a fear created by a Government? Is Global Warming the Monkey on all our backs which the Governments can't invent a war, a terrorist or an invisible enemy to displace? Well they, or at least their naysaying lackeys, are certainly trying very hard to do so.
But those of us who understand the potential for long term disaster - i.e. after most of us are already mouldering - seem to be sitting back recently. We are allowing those who, like the Speculator, only are interested in their own short term benefit take the lead with the conversation. I could say 'it's time to take it back', but I don't think we ever LOST the conversation. Instead, as usual, perhaps we direct the conversation instead only to those who would listen. Preaching to the converted as it were. I see - and do - this all the time.
So I think that's what we need to change. Find the best conversation to have with everyone at a level which everyone understands and start pitching a positive message. Scare tactics of huge increases in sea levels, massive, storms, huge fire seasons etc. while they may be true, tend to create too much fear in peoples minds. They've been done, and the message will still be there as the sword dangling over our heads. But now, I think its time to instead talk about what certain changes in behaviour, lifestyle and engagement with others can, over time, achieve to avert these dangers we have been talking about. Else there is a danger the target audience will put their potential pain in a jar and hide it there like the ostrich does with his head.
I've discussed this before at a previous post, and suggested some actions, but now I'm canvassing for input on what the new conversation looks like. A large enough percentage of the population understands Global Warming now, and of those who don't there is damn good chance a large percentage never will. For the others, the best way now must be to share the message on how personal change plus demanding change from their politicians can make the threat if not go away at least start to recede.
Examples might be how the proposed $Bn of subsidies (they call them 'credits'!) proposed for the Brown Electricity industry in Australia is an appalling false economy. And how the potential results of investing that in alternative electricity generation system, plus better, more efficient devices is a far superior investment, both in the long term to save the environment, but importantly, also in the short term to continue to provide jobs and investment in the 'now' economy. And I don't mean the gimmicky type of conversation, of which some of the GetUp stuff is a good (bad) example. It makes a point, but does it come out with an action?

I'll not go into why I think some subsidies are probably required, though I'd prefer if they too weren't given. And I don't pretend to know the full extent of the science behind Global Warming, though I agree with what I do know of what I've been told and disagree with the do nothing shysters. But I fear that if the conversation which has been held for the last 4 or 5 years doesn't adjust in the next 12 - 18 months, ennui will set in and the naysayers will win the day.
I'm amazed by their ostrich like behaviour especially since, just like ours, their Grandchildren will continue to see the desert grow three miles a year. But they don't really care, do they? It's just someone elses pain, which may as well be in a jar. By the way, Charlie wouldn't have went along with the least in Public.

A girl consumed by fire We all know her desire From the plans that she has made I have her on a promise Immerse me in your splendor All the plans that i have made

October 08, 2009

What I learned from WebJam 10

And the last thing I learned at WebJam 10?And that was what I learned at WebJam 10

October 02, 2009

Taking back the asylum

Blogger Action day is coming up.

So Sick am I of the way the conversation around Climate Change and, dare I say it, Global Warming have been hijacked by the unscientific naysayers, I'm getting involved.

If you are not, you should. Sign up here and start thinking of what you want to write about. Check the tags to see my other posts on the subject both here and over at my old site

Its time to tell the world that people like Andrew Bolt and Pat Michaels are at best obfuscating facts for some sort of personal gain or at worst liars.

Are you In?

September 30, 2009

Television Drug of the Nation

It has recently been grating on me that I pay a television distribution company aka Foxtel almost $100 a month for a Service. Events of this week have finally made me consider whether this is good value or not.

Last Saturday I sat down to watch the AFL Grand Final (only available on Channel 10) to discover none of the Free to Air Channels were being received by my Foxtel Box. Panic Ensued!

September 02, 2009

Beer Tweeting

242 of 365 (August 30th, 2009)
Originally uploaded by Glebe2037

When you've got me, you've got me ;) Loving the work of Mr @glebe2037 as he catches me in full disconnected (from IRL) mode. SOmetimes I feel Tad Williams writes books just about me.

August 26, 2009

Credit Where Credits Due

Recently I put in a letter to Coopers Brewery.
I did this because
  1. I'm a big fan of their beer, especially the Pale Ale and
  2. Greenpeace had made a big thing about certain companies responding or not responding to a survey they did on the way certain ingredients were sourced, and especially if they are GM.
Coopers were one of the companies who at the time the article was published had not responded to the survey and therefore it was up in the air as to whether they were using GM Ingredients or not.

I wished them to clear the air.

Some weeks passed and here is the response I got from Coopers
Dear Customer

I am responding to you e-mails of concern about the GM status of Coopers beers and homebrews.

I can assure you that Coopers contains no ingredients derived from GM organisms. We are proud of our no additive and no preservative status and would never move away from our traditional brewing methods for our ales and stouts.


Nick Sterenberg
Operations Manger
Coopers Brewery Ltd
Perhaps the delay in responding was due to them checking their suppliers productions and growing facilities to see if they were a-OK. Either way, credit where credit is due, especially as they have been quite categorical in how they word it.
I immediately went and purchased me a case of Pale to whet my thirst. I'd been hanging out for a few weeks ;)
Now it appears only Fosters are on the list. Not surprised really, VB could hardly be called Beer in the correct sense of the word anyway. I imagine it's been GM'd since before the flood.

August 20, 2009

The Pillars of Retail

Sometime ago, I wrote about the segmentation of markets and the inherent gaps there are in that Segmentation when people don't 'fit' the model. In my day job recently I've been doing a lot of thinking about Retail, which is not really a subject I know much about. And recently I've had the experience of some hideous customer service (which I'll write about at length in a follow up article). So I've been thinking about how all those thought processes overlap.

I conceptualised some time ago in an earlier draft of this article what I thought where the definitions of a successful retail offering. While this article is semi-educated OPINION, developed by being a customer for well, a few years now, I think it is important to defer to experts in the field. So I have been canvassing directly or indirectly input about Retail (i.e. Bricks and Mortar) sales outlets. Especially when it comes to the Key Pillar of that channel - Customer Experience.

As part 1 of this piece, let me share my opinions on what I believe a retail business should, at the very least, offer a customer.

August 06, 2009

Patents; killing innovation for 100 years

Apparently a company called Techradium is suing Twitter (read about it at the Inquistr and ARN) I read it with a mixture of concern and contempt.
Concern because, even though Twitter often gives me the shits, I use it on a daily basis. It has become the ONLY way I communicate with some people and it has allowed me to meet a huge number of great people along the way.
Contempt because, as I wrote as a comment on the ARN site;
Someone has done something better in an open way, which beats what someone else
has done. That's called capitalism...if you haven't monetised your system
already and made it essential, shut up shop and move on
So with respect to Techradium, and without deepdiving into the specific Patent, I almost wish they would 'go away'. This is because I believe any company which relies on Patents to make money in their business really shouldn't exist anyway. Patents appear to me to have become something which have changed from being a protector of innovation to a killer of innovation.

From reading the technology 'press', it has become my understanding the majority of the Patents which are being granted these days, especially in the USA, appear to be for something so minor as to prevent any form of innovation from possible competitors - real, imagined or even unknown.

Specifically, with so many patents being granted or having been granted in the past, what is any company supposed to do with their start-up or R&D cash? There must be some concern among VC people that much of their investment will be spent on legal fees to search out any or all tenuous or actual patent conflicts there may be. I prefer an environment where if you create something, patent it and bring it to market, you should only be protected for the patent in the case where someone deliberately breaks your patent in a way that directly impacts your business.

In the case we are referring to today, and of course I'm not a patent lawyer, neither of the above seem to be the case. Indeed the Techradium rent a sue writes;
"It appears that Twitter's core functionality is squarely within
the technology described by TechRadium's patents."
Nothing about deliberately seeking out and reusing Techradium technology there or even Twitter directly going after Techradium's business.

It seems to me Techradium were once the popular kid in one corner of the school yard. Now some other kid has appeared in the other corner and has attracted all his fans cos he's a bit 'same but different'. And they are pissed because they've lost all their cred and want to get the other kids back. But they've moved on and its too late.

Bottom line, Techradium, enhance your service, make it more desirable to your existing and potential customers. Either that, and just like in every business - Local Coffee shop to Nortel, move on and find something your customers want to pay for.

July 15, 2009

Are we Marketing to Ghosts?

How do you get sold to? What matters to you? What is VALUE?

These are really, from my shallow knowledge, some of the most important things a marketing group and organisation should consider when developing a marketing strategy. Now multiply that by your target market size. But what if that market size is 1 Million?

As most people, despite being sheep, are somewhat individual, thats the number of 'Segments' and 'Categories' you will need to target in your marketing campaign. Scary, huh? SO no wonder organisations choose to simplify that by pushing people, siloing them indeed, into core groups or segments. Just like a mandarin.

Solved then...or is it?

That was the question I had over coffee today with a social media colleague. Can we easily segment EVERYBODY? Is it OK to tailor ALL of our Marcoms to someone on the basis our modelling has pushed them into one segment or another? What if the modelling, the Analysis, the computer algorithms have CORRECTLY identified your market segment, but your ambitions, your DESIRES are focused in a different direction.

The computer program knows what you need, but YOU know what you WANT (to kind of paraphrase Bob Dylan).

Does Online Marketing, with it's easily adaptable marketing in the various pages allow all of your potential segments to be exposed to you or is there another way. Not everyone is 'into' Social Media, and even if they were, I imagine that still isn't the silver bullet. But what is the Digital Strategy, or even old school strategy which resolves that problem?

Is there a resolution? Or is it an acceptable gap in the Marketing world to corral everyone as the Marketing Algorithm says, focus on those who DO fit within that corral and hope for the best with the rest.

Do those who fall through the gaps or live in the grey places in between multiple segments MISS all the Marketing supposedly targetted at them or do they see the mish-mash of messages?

Are there strategies for dealing with this?

June 30, 2009

Damn the 80's (thanks to #manweek and Reach Out Australia)

Fathers are a funny thing. I'm assuming as you grow up they are either there or they are not. I'm pretty unsure about mine, I recall plenty of times when he WAS there and many of them were when we were going away somewhere and he was driving while us kids, pre-seatbelt, in the back seat of an old blue Hillman Hunter or the follow-on Datsun 160J. Beige - just like the fucking 70's.
We had that car till it almost dropped, right through the shithouse 80's. The decade of shuttered dreams and (as remembered) wonderful hot summers. The decade bookended by the ferry to England. In 1980 to visit family in Swindon and London and Kent and in 1989 to Newquay for the Summer - but those are different stories.
In between there was glorious soaring metal dinosaurs (I'll have to find the cracking poem I wrote in 1990) being made to lie permanently idle as the Shipyards of the Far East ripped the guts out of almost 150 years of ship building in my home. And job losses anon, and depression and wonderful hot summers. Ah 1983. Practically collapsing when being forced to walk what felt like 5 miles in the searing heat with fucking Sea Scout Jumpers on to the Church for 'Mass' in County Wexford while on Summer Camp. And then when trying to have some FUN at the campsite, being made to walk 4 miles around the bay to fucking Rosslare to watch the fricking ferry head off to France or Wales or somewhere more exotic than there. The next time I'd be at Rosslare would be 6 years later to get that Ferry to Wales to take me to Newquay.
Jesus Ireland was fun in the 80's...and hot.
I was only in the fucking Sea Scouts because my Dad was in the Navy and one of the leaders was his mate. Or at least that what I thought at the time. You'ld think I'd ask my Dad. I left that because I was a contrary prick back then too. The only constant thing about the 80's was the beige Datsun 160J. Or was it 180? Again, you'ld think I'd ask my Dad. Anyway all that matters is that it was beige and it was our wheels in the 80's when so many of my mates families didn't even have a car. Now everyone in Ireland has two and 14 houses and DEBT. Lots of that again. Just like the 80's.
So maybe my Dad wasn't there as much as I might've liked. I remember my Nan more, or my Mam. I remember being in trouble lots, though nothing serious...except that one time. Another story, another time. I almost lasted the 90's in Ireland. The temporary stint in Australia since '98 has, well, been since '98. It is warmer here after all.
And now I love to chat with my Dad. I probably ask him questions and we probably drink Whiskey, when we see each other. I think I have better taste than him, but he has the better experience. So if he says Jameson is good stuff and he buys me a bottle, who am I to quibble. And when I am drinking it with him, it does taste better than when I drink it on my own. Perhaps when I was sipping from the bottle of Captain Morgan Rum in the bottom of the wardrobe when I was 10 or 11, I should have just cracked out the glasses to have some with him instead? Nah, I was underage, and anyway we still had to have some serious disagreements over the Bush v Iraq version 1. I think it was my Nephew that did it, or maybe it was me getting a little older.
So do I need answers to the questions of the 80's? Do I need him to be there more in the 80's? Probably not. That time is past, and what happens now is better. I don't remember being overly unhappy and anyway, I wouldn't have turned out the way I did and probably would never have come to Australia and met my wife and had my kids. Sometimes the negatives are there for a reason I guess, there are always positives to balance them out further down the track.

(Note, I have no idea if Summers in the 80's in Ireland were actually any hotter than any other decade, we probably just more easily remember the good things!)

This post is with thanks to Gavin Heaton for prompting me to revisit my past, something I've been threatening to do for years! He did that as Part of the Reach Out initiative and especially because this is #manweek It's been a positive thing for me.
Other #manweek posts on this topic are from
Matt Moore
Mark Pollard
Craig Wilson
and of course the Reach Out Blog itself

June 27, 2009

Opening the mind

Quick post from BarCamp Sydney.

I'm currently sitting in a talk around iPhone v android from a mobile ecosystem perspective.

add that to conversations about what a mobile phone SHOULD contain, and other related sessions and it is adding up to a wonderful day.

While Bar camp seems to attract programmers or generally geeky people, its nice to get a wide ranging social element happening as well. I'm engaged, and feel that even if a lot of it went over my head, its still great to make the brain work outside our normally closed circle. And with the recent weeks I've had, it's important for my to move tangentially.

I'm sure once I let all this sink in, I'll be on the ball for something more thought provoking, or at least I hope so!

June 16, 2009

Marketing, what is it?

Dear Marketers, please don't take this as an insult, I appreciate everyone has a job to do. However, as an avid, and perhaps noisy user of various 'social media' tools - notably twitter, I really take exception to the view which seems prevalent by 'Marketers' and Agency types that those tools are in fact there to serve Marketing, Advertising and other Brand awareness strategies.

I think it is time for these people to focus on the first word in the descriptive term:
  • 'Social'
And here are a series of definitions for the term:

So here is how I see it, Social Media tools have a place in all facets of industry, enterprise & other social environments. Including Advertising and Marketing. But just like other tools, they will have their benefits for a time and perhaps will change their angle over time. So when I read articles like this one I get quite irate as it seems to indicate that Twitter only exists to serve Marketing. It even starts off with the concept that everything has its time (it does), but then, just like far too many books, it veers off path and narrows in on Twitter as a Marketing tool which will die because its time has come.

Perhaps he is right, perhaps he is wrong, but I - and sure hundreds of thousands of others - use Facebook, twitter, tumblr, friendfeed etc. etc. for many other objectives than marketing. And gain so much out of these services from information which is not just specifically marketing and Advertising.

I also attended Social Media Club Sydney at the Supper Club last night, and it was a wonderfully social occasion, despite some niggles from one of them marketers ;) But the same line as the article I refer to above was spewed out one too many times during the interesting question and answer session and I had some opinions on that. Rather than rehashing those tweets, here are the key salient points I got
  • Social Media is a conversation
  • Social Media CAN include Branding and Marketing
  • Social Media is about what is happening now
  • Social Media as a Marketing Tool still requires real Business Modelling
  • Social Media is about building relationships - personal and business

And therefore I revisit a tweet I made many, many months ago (and therefore probably no longer still searchable), where I felt that Twitter is like going down the pub, but staying in your lounge room or your phone or wherever!

But each to their own, just don't hard sell me online!

Oh and @leighsales should definitely do the hard questioning at the next Social Media Gathering. Are you listening Tip?

May 14, 2009

The Rules of Customer Experience I learned this week

Preface: This isn't my egotistical set of truths, there are many better qualified people out there who can tell you some real rules about Customer Experience. However, this is what I learned this week.

Rule 1. A Customer is anyone who gains value out of using your service, free or otherwise
Rule 2. Never do anything to reduce or impact the value the Customer gains from your service without first engaging or advising of the change and why it needs to happen
Rule 3. If you are going to break Rule 2, attempt to come up with an Alternative method of delivering the value to the Customer.

Perhaps I will add more as I see them, but for now these have been inspired by this weeks #twitterfail episode known as #fixreplies

Twitter Broke Rule 2 without providing Rule 3. Various people thought that wasn't a problem, but there were enough people who it affected to think otherwise. We are a creative bunch, so we would have worked around the lack of a Rule 3 (It didn't take long), but the breaking of Rule 2 was unforgiveable, despite the whining of paid bloggers on large sites, who JUST DON'T GET THE DEFINITION OF A CUSTOMER

I'll add more once I dissect my notes from #cebit

April 16, 2009

Hillsborough and BBC World

Open Letter to BBC World after their IMHO rather shoddy coverage of tonight's Hillsborough memorial
I think it wouldn't be beyond belief for us to expect the BBC World Service would provide expatriate Liverpool fans, or just Football fans in general to feel they were participating in the 20th Anniversary Memorial of the Hillsborough disaster. Instead you treated today as a standard news day and couldn't even put aside normal programming for 20 minutes. I find that disgraceful. English people overseas probably form the majority of your audience, yet instead it appears the more we watch your news programming the more american centric it becomes. Rationally there is enough American centric News, you should cater for your audience - even for 20 minutes of 1 20th Anniversary for a tragedy which happened in the country where you and your viewers are from.
I wish I could say regards, but instead I must show my disregard for what you provided us tonight.
As I write they are still crossing to Anfield for a few seconds at a time and voiceover commentary. See my twitter commentary on this here

April 07, 2009

like reading tealeaves

Ok, let me put this out there at first drop, I work for Telstra - from now on to be known as 'VBT'. I realised today I've been there for 12 months, so where did that go?

One of the things I'm not going to do is comment on VBT's policies and business decisions 0r anything related, but that isn't going to stop me commenting on items which are of interest to me which are tangentially or directly of interest to VBT as, in reality my ownership or input of VBT Regulated or Business Decisions center nowhere near these areas.

So to today's 'NBN 'Announcement. I have to say, I really am not surprised. I'm not sure anyone else should either.

I think my first input to the network 'debate' was probably about 5 or 6 years ago, sometime around or before the T3 float. I was FULLY SURE at the time that the Howard regime would bite the bullet and sell only the Retail arm of VBT retaining 51% of the Wholesale division in order to support other ISP's and potential Telco's have a more reasonable entry point into the Network. The fact they didn't is ancient History, just like Howard and his crew.
So tealeaves, eh? Though I have to point out I'm not a telco analyst in anyway shape or form (and even in the last 12 months I don't work in any way in either phone, mobile or broadband services) I am capable of spotting THE BLEEDING OBVIOUS and following THE LOGICAL PATH.

In addition to the above, I also (thought I) 'invented' the following analogy some years ago;
"The 19th Century was Rail
The 20th Century was Roads
The 21st Century is Broadband"
and didn't believe the correct options were being pursued, but the correct option was practically impossible due to Howard and his crews stupid decision around the time of T2 and T3.

So therefore today's announcement, even allowing for being alerted to 'something odd' during Glen Milne's regular politics interview on News Radio at 7.45am shouldn't really have come as a surprise.

Of course the irony is that VBT will probably get huge benefit out of this, despite the soul searching which may go on for the next few months, as things firm up. In the meantime, we have to listen to Malcolm Turnbull's negativity in this time of the requirement for Countries to invest in the infrastructure of their own country for OUR CHILDREN's commercial future.

Safe to say, I'm with Kevin Rudd on this one - and boy have I been hammering him (and his pony Mr. Conroy) recently. He said today (and I paraphrase) "We stand ready to take action which has been on hold for the last ten years" (an obvious dig at Howard's regimes failure to legislate effectively for telco's and to do this when it SHOULD have been done).

I wonder what the multiplier was by not starting to do this 3 or even 5 years ago? Now I go to watch Lateline and put up with Nick Minchin's commercial fluster around this - treating it like buying coffee rather than transporting goods around the world to creat commercial value.

UPDATE: (paraphrasing Nick Minchin): "They are building a telephone Company." Seriously, he knows his portfolio even less than Conroy. The Liberals are FOOKED.

All we can hope for it that the Clean Feed Rudd/Conroy want to deploy gets provisioned in a way which never affects the speeds promised (see previous post)

February 25, 2009

The #cleanfeed

I'll use the opportunity of my first post on Blogger to decry the attitude of various people with regards to the proposed Clean Feed here in Australia. I'm not going to use this post to write a long opinion of the proposal but instead highlight the comments I have made on the subject in Twitter.
You can see my posts here
You might note I am generally in dispute with the logic being proposed by people such as Jim Wallace, Clive Hamilton and Bernadette McMenamin. I also would like to note that I'm worried that the obvious passion being displayed by the anti lobby is in danger of crossing over to personal belittling and downright abuse of those who are in the pro lobby. Just like in Politics, this won't assist the lobby at all IMHO.
I do note that an online colleague in twitter - Stilgherrian - has some fantastic commentary focusing on the shortcomings of the pro lobbies arguments. You can read his opine here