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: http://bit.ly/zUOnM

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?