Monday, 30 April 2007

Rocker Townshend unveils song composing software - Yahoo! News

Rocker Townshend unveils song composing software - Yahoo! News

Co-creation continues!

Fisher and Paykel: Making the best of a bad situation

Here in New Zealand, we've been rocked by the news that Fisher and Paykel is moving part of its manufacturing to Thailand.

Many words have been written by minds smarter than mine about why the move happened, and what now. I'd like to write about how it was done.

My mate David works at Fisher and Paykel (matter of fact, two of my mates, and they're both called David - strange, huh?). He's in the division where they make fridge doors, so his job is safe - for now.

But when I quizzed him about the feeling on the ground at F&P, he said many of the 350 who have now lost their jobs are relatively happy. They've received a good payout, and they can now try and find other work. Clean and simple.

Compare that with Brigid, another friend who works for Air New Zealand's ground staff. Since about October last year she's had the spectre of redundancy over her. Once Brigid had accepted her fate, the stakes changed. February 8th was to be her last day, then March sometime, and then ... let's call the whole thing off.

Can you imagine what the working environment was for those Air New Zealand ground staff? Negative, grinding, uncertain, demotivating.

Air New Zealand has done a fantastic job of rebranding itself a couple of years back - but they really threaten to flush all that hard work down the pooper if they treat their staff this way. There is no intrinsic or positive motivation for a ground services worker to treat a passenger well. Just the hope that someday, maybe, there will be a nice big redundancy payout to make it all worthwhile. It is deeply dysfunctional.

Air New Zealand, learn a few lessons from F&P. Yes, they couldn't save the jobs. That's a macro issue. But at least they got the micro issues sorted out.

Social networking eats TV, Video Games - Social Networking Increases Internet Time

Interesting piece which shows that social networking has increased people's internet time overall, at the expense of TV (which we all knew was dying a slow death) and video games (the heir to the movie industry).

Okay, so this is just one study, and one conducted by MySpace, but it's an interesting piece of data nevertheless.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Meet Generation C - the nice people

Who are the people who will shape the future of marketing (and everything else)? Generation C.

If you'd like to understand Generation C - or you are Generation C ... or both (!) take a trip to

We're co-creating the world's biggest consumer-generated film. Do you want to be in it?

We'll also be podcasting and blogging, connecting with the conversation about Generation C around the world. Stories like FinanceVisor - Markets > News >this report saying Generation C will be nicer than people like me!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Call for help - conference and seminar trends?

Can you help me?

I'm writing a piece for NZ Marketing Magazine on conferences and seminars, and I'd like to tap the knowledge of this blog's readership (yes, both of you!).

So, if you know anything about what's happening in the world of conferences and seminars - and I mean anything - let me know. Email me on, skype me on simonisntsoyoung or (shock!) phone me on +64 9 379 5421.

Skype Me™!

Generation Jones?

Turns out there's a "hidden generation" between the Baby Boomers and Gen X. They're calling it Generation Jones.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Steve Rubel

Check out Twitter Danger #3 Revisited - and note the second comment after the post.

Make a mistake, yes. And own up to it publicly. Yes! Go Steve.

Friday's unfocused blog post

Okay, so I'm breaking all the rules of blogging here. This post is random links to the news I'm catching up on, because I haven't sat down and read the news properly all week.

On iTunes at the moment: "Come let us go back to God" - by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, as featured in the Coen Bros' version of LadyKillers.

In the news:
  • Very sad news for the New Zealand music industry.
  • Finally Google has read my mind and added a PowerPoint-like program to their online docs suite. However it's too late for me; I've discovered, fallen in love with and bought Keynote.
  • Speaking of Google, they are so taking over the world. The last episode of Diggnation mentioned Google 411 in the US - no money in it, but it kind of ruins it for other players. And last night at the Auckland Entrepreneurs Meetup, Ian Mitchell mentioned Google's purchase of radio and TV stations. Are they becoming... Microsoft?
  • Congratulations to Idealog for being finalists in the MPA Magazine Awards. They got finalist for best business cover for the August 2006 cover, for best business magazine, best relaunch or launch, and Adrian Clapperton for magazine design.
  • Congrats too to Graham Medcalf for his finalist position for best business editor at Marketing Magazine.
Now on iTunes, the Finn Brothers with "Disembodied Voices".

  • While the congratulations are flowing, big ups to Clemenger BBDO for being Best in Show at the CAANZ media awards. Kind of cool to see a social marketing message winning - or is that just the cynical ad industry assuaging their guilty conscience for pushing fatty foods and alcohol onto an unsuspecting culture? Just kidding.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Links Roundup

Interesting stuff I'm noting down - might as well share it too:
  • Will Ferrel and his co-writer are taking on user-generated online content: FunnyOrDie. More in this Hollywood Reporter article. (Hat tip: Skip Press)
  • The Sundance Institute is looking for ways to make the world a greener place - just pitch them on film in one minute or less! That is exciting!
  • Wired Magazine's Elliot van Buskirk reckons MySpace's glory days may be over - and it's all over widgets. Interesting. In New Zealand, Bebo outranks MySpace by far. And in Brazil, Orkut is all the rage.
  • An Accenture survey says that, according to entertainment industry executives, the greatest threat to the industry is the audience. Generation C does things differently, folks! The talk is of what kind of content will work, and that's necessary to think about, but let's also spend some time understanding the people in the equation. If the audience is a problem - why not ask them for help? Which is precisely what is trying to do.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Explore the Universe online

I heard about Universe / by Jonathan Harris on

Amazing stuff. Watch the video - he had some especially interesting stuff to say about how we convey information. "The page," he said, "is already dead." Not "soon to be dead" but already dead. Instead, he shows information in terms of networks and nodes, non-linear information where you can jump in at any point and make sense of it.

I like it; now where's the software package that helps me portray information that way? If Word and PowerPoint helped us create linear information, how do we create networks and nodes? OmniGraffle is the closest I've seen. Any other suggestions?

Friday, 13 April 2007

Bring your humanity to work

I'm loving this new office. And my mum loves it, too! (Always important)

I brought her in yesterday before taking her grocery shopping. Somewhere between breakfast cereal and coffee, an announcement came over the speakers.

It was something about free paring knives. Fantastic offer, I'm sure, but delivered in a flat monotone. It was almost comical. Hell, it was actually a real hoot!

"Attention shoppers, this is a special announcement. Any Foodtown customer over the age of twenty one can receive a high quality paring knife by coming to the stand covered in red beside aisle 18. Please come now."

As language goes, it was clear and unambiguous, but it didn't make me feel good. It made me feel slightly patronised, and not really like getting a free knife.

Sometimes we approach our work in a deadpan, flat way. It's just transactional. That was the tone of this man's voice. There was no hint of the human being that (may have) lay behind the voice.

This morning I heard Anna Farmery interview Dr Ellen Weber about many things, including Two-Footed Questions. In a nutshell, a two-footed question tackles content (eg. what constitutes good customer service) and the person (eg. and how can you improve your service to your customers?).

It was a great reminder to bring my humanity to work today, and to make my business one that helps others do the same!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Jack Yan: the Persuader Blog: Advertising’s next big thing

Jack Yan: the Persuader Blog: Advertising’s next big thing

Several big things, actually. Good summary of what's going on in advertising from a publisher who knows branding.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Music publicity, Gen C style

The songbird who's outselling Take That with her homemade album | Showbiz | This is London

Thanks to Skip Press for passing on this fantastic story of DIY marketing for quality music. I think we're getting closer to a time where the high quality stuff does just find an audience.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Jaffe Juice: Anatomy of Top Marketing Bloggers

Jaffe Juice: Anatomy of Top Marketing Bloggers

It's good to have a goal: I want Mad Young Thing to be in the top 25 marketing blogs by this time next year.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

The Social Customer Manifesto: "Sony, You Went Wrong With Your PS3..."

The Social Customer Manifesto: "Sony, You Went Wrong With Your PS3..."

A beautifully produced, consumer-generated movie and song about Sony's Playstation 3. It is hilarious and shows the level of marketing savvy there is "out there". It also shows how level the playing field is. No agencies were involved in producing this (or were they?) yet it's of a very good sound and video quality.

Nice work!

Facing the fear

An article I wrote in the current Idealog is coming back to haunt me - in a good way.

It's called "What I've learned about ... beating fear", a conversation I had with improv expert and general inspiring guy Wade Jackson (in the centre with the gun). He talked about how to deal with stage fright - perhaps the ultimate fear for some, and a good metaphor for all kinds of fear that we face.

Since then I've signed the lease for a pretty fancy office in the heart of Auckland City. It's a little different from the corner next to the fridge at home that has served as my office in the last 3 years.

It's part of a number of big changes in my business this year. Changes that can be frightening as well as exhilirating. Wade's words come back to me and remind me:

Stage fright is purely losing connection with your audience. If you focus on the people you’re there to serve, you’ll do well. The same is true for business. Stage fright for an entrepreneur is simply when he or she loses connection with the reason for being in business.

As someone who's done a bit of acting in the past, it's a helpful metaphor: business as performance.

Marie (my wife and collaborator) has been reading Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results this evening. It sounds like the chapters on "Play" are telling us the same thing.

Love your work.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Interested in movies? Try

On the Creative Screenwriting podcast I heard about, billed as "MySpace for movie people".

I don't know anyone on there, so if you know me (or would like to), check out my page, leave me a message and I'll send you an invite!

I live and work in the fifth best city in the world!

News story

Chaos 2.0

Advertising Age - Bob Garfield's Chaos Scenario 2.0

I enjoy listening to Bob Garfield. He can predict the apocalypse and sound reasonable and calm, all at the same time.

Some very, very good stuff in this article. Now if the ad world was like the blogosphere, we could know what the agency types are thinking about all this.

Dogs and sheep

On a spiritual note...

While walking this morning I saw a dog running across a field towards a man who was walking. Must be his owner? No. The dog stopped, looked a little confused, then started running towards me!

It didn't take the dog long to realise I wasn't the one he was looking for, either. I held out my hand so he could sniff it, but he gave me that funny look dogs do when you're not the right person - you know, head slightly cocked, ears perked so as to suggest a frown.

He was a good boy (I guess it was a boy?) - he kept a safe distance from me, and then stood around looking for where on earth his person was. He was going to wait.

If I were that dog, would I wait for my master? Or would I go along with whoever held their hand out to me?

Jesus talked about sheep, and hearing voices. Specifically, hearing his voice. That's a skill I'm working on today.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Bad, naughty TV3

Naughty TV3.

It started a while back, when I wanted to enter a competition for Campbell Live. To enter, just register on the site - it's easy and you can unregister whenever you want. Ok.

Months later, they decide to send me - without me asking - news headlines by email. I get enough email and I don't want any more. I already get TV3's headlines via RSS and that's the way I like it.

Thankfully, there is info on how to unsubscribe at the bottom. But I - and many other users - don't want info, we want a link that... just... unsubscribes... us!

As it is, I had to retrieve my long-ago forgotten password, then login and check the "don't send me stuff" box.

It doesn't sound like much but boy, adding that kind of incremental workload and information load is not a way to win friends and influence people. It's a way of spreading ill will about your brand.

TV3, are you listening?

Thanks for the plug, John Bishop

Speaker, trainer and consultant John Bishop has given this blog a very nice plug in his newsletter, Communications Line.

The future is a foreign country

They are doing things differently there, to misquote and paraphrase author L.P. Hartley ('The Go-Between', 1953). Nowhere is this more apparent than in new media, or social media and the confusing tangle of acronym-ed technologies called the internet. I am not deterred, frightened or daunted by this new world, but I don't claim to have a grip on all of it either. That's why we need ambassadors and interpreters, emissaries who bravely go into the ether and come back with baubles and tales of the new sights, sounds and experiences. Much like Marco Polo and other explorers who went from Europe to Asia and came back with spices and other goods to enliven medieval life.

One such ambassador is Simon Young, who started as a writer on marketing and communications (he appears regularly in Marketing magazine). He presented at the Strategic Communications and PR Forum in Auckland on Tuesday and blew his (quite small) audience away with his depth of understanding about the wired world. He talked about his media consumption - where he got news and information and how he entertained himself. Not much of it was about conventional media. Fine, I said, great lifestyle, wonderful experiences, where's the cash flow? I'm an ambassador, Young replied. I get paid to explain it to people like you. You can see more of him at and

John's a fount of knowledge, and I'm not just saying that because he gave me a plug! :) Check out the rest of his newsletter for more tips on the future, plus listening tea, Gore-y science, Rock'n'roll, governance 'by design' and permission to enjoy cheap wine.

I'll post here when I've uploaded my presentation notes to the SimonYoungWriters website.

Other presentation notes (including John's) are at Conferenz' website.

Update: my presentation notes, brief as they are, are here.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Gerontius is famous!

My Second Life avatar Gerontius Wunderlich has been snapped on BlogMinistry .

The occasion, a fantastic conversation between me, Dan (the blogger in question) and the Dalek about God, church and the way churches reach people.

It's a matter not just of interest to religious people. Mission organisations are discovering their role is sparking conversations, rather than simply preaching. In fact, missionaries have known this better than "local churches" for years.

As society fragments and gets more niche-ified, marketers need to treat their customers with curiosity and respect, the same way that the best missionaries have for years. Maybe marketers should consider missionary positions? ;)