Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The changing face of celebrity

Check out this excellent interview Chris Brogan did with Brea Grant, star of Heroes (which I've got to admit, I haven't watched yet, despite a slight resemblance to Sylar).

It covers the issues facing celebrities using social media who genuinely want to maintain a connection with their fans. It's an issue that's relevant for anyone who wants to build a personal brand - and in fact small businesses too.

Meanwhile, Megan Maguire writes about why Gen Ys don't get the business applications of social media. It makes eminent sense that, while Gen Ys understand the technology, they often don't understand the business environment.

When we spoke to students who were part of the yMedia challenge, we expected them to be confident with their online presence, and honestly, we wondered where we could add value. We were surprised to hear 18-year-olds expressing the same fears and questions as large corporates - largely around how to manage their reputation (for potential employers, or for customers) and how to manage information overload.

There's a lot of work ahead! These are exciting times to be involved with social media.

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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Community-generated video with Wapid - iJumpTV #38

Why is Marie eating a Memphis Meltdown 12,000 feet in the air? It's all because of, a site that brings together marketers and online talent. Founder Scott Fenton tells us more. Referenced:

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Social media advice from Christchurch - iJumpTV #37

We met Dave and Toby from Tandem Voice Booth, an audio and video production company that also does audio/video podcasts and a few blogs. Hear their thoughts and advice on how to get involved in social media.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The invisible blight of poverty

When you work in Queen Street, it's hard to avoid the homeless. It's just as hard to know what to do. Avert your eyes? Give a donation? Smile? Say hi? Or walk past, because you're busy.

It's uncomfortable seeing another human being in distress. Short-term distress would be okay, because you might be able to step in and "solve the problem". But generally the problems of the urban homeless are complex and deep-rooted.

Worse still is the kind of poverty you don't see - whether it's behind closed doors in the suburbs, or in some faraway country.

Today is Blog Action Day (it was yesterday in New Zealand; I'm playing catch up!). Bloggers were encouraged to spark conversation about the issue of poverty.

Sometimes poverty is pretty low on my agenda - just paying the bills and keeping up with deadlines captures my attention. But when something like this forces me to focus on poverty - what do I do? For a start, I'm bringing it to your attention. Maybe we can solve this together.

Here's a sampling of what other bloggers have been talking about:

Mama Lucy, a social entrepreneur from Tanzania, gives us the first-hand definition of poverty - and what it's not.

The UK's Paul Bradshaw shows us 88 ways to do something about poverty now.

Hitwise's Alan Long gives us an interesting view of poverty online.

In NZ, Annabel Youens muses on the effects of the recession on the world's poorest, and offers some thoughtful tips on giving well.

Robbie Mackay offers this quotable gem: "We’re so busy trying to ignore the problem, we forget that small contributions eventually add up…"

Ben Young talks about how marketing can help solve poverty.

Ilai Amir passionately puts forward that it is NOT OK that young children have NO OPTION but to go without.

And Stephen Knightly at Pursuit PR gives an overview of what Blog Action Day is, and what Pursuit PR is doing about it.

Lastly, Ilai shared an amazing set of images that show the faces of poverty around the world:

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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

It just takes one

Last night, after the Rob Kozinets lecture, I caught up with Marketing Association CEO Sue McCarty, and she told me an amazing story about change.

Before AT&T made Catherine Coughlin their global marketing officer, they were a provider of bandwidth. After she got on board and brought a global perspective to AT&T's operations, she organised for the staff to get an iPhone each, and said "play with them, and figure out what people do with them".

Want to build empathy among your staff? Help them have the same experience as your customers.

(Very similar lessons in the book Marie's reading right now, Branded Customer Service, and the book I'm chewing through, The Game-Changer. But I digress).

Sue's point? One person with a strong vision changed AT&T in six months. New Zealand is about the same size as AT&T ... and we need a global marketing officer too!

I agree! And I think it will be very difficult, when we don't even have one single government department representing NZ Inc when overseas, we have several agencies and non-governmental organisations, all with different aims and goals.

But the challenge is there. Can we do it? Do we even know what our brand is? Or are we destined to become Fiji with snow?

Over to us, I think.

By the way, the title is taken from another book which is on my Amazon wishlist: It starts with One: Changing Individuals Changes Organizations

just one

Monday, 13 October 2008

I'm unplugging myself from the avalanche of crisis news

This morning was great - until I listened to the BBC's Business Daily.

It's not the BBC's fault - it's just the news they're bringing every day. Fear, anxiety and depression can be contagious sometimes, and in these unprecedented times doubly so.

So I'm unplugging. I'm going to stop gawping at the protracted car crash that is the financial world, and get on with what I need to do.

It's not like I'm being an ostrich - I'm certainly still open to critical analysis and historical comparisons, big picture stuff that helps me understand what this means long term. But as for the daily lurches up and down - I don't need to ride that roller coaster.

ay carumba!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Nostalgia rocks

Major kudos to the ad agency that did Mainland Cheese's clever ad placement in the latest Taste Magazine.

While everyone else is trying to be new and high-tech, Mainland is playing to their strength - a nostalgic view that good things take time.

It starts with a back cover ad that's upside down, making you wonder whether this is one of those double-ended magazines. It's not, it's just upside-down, but inside is a detachable tabloid-sized newspaper (pictured) looking like one of those archival ones that has aged only somewhat gracefully:

It has recipes, but instead of writing them out in terse, action-oriented prose (the way I recommend you write web copy) they're stories. Fictional stories, with the gentle humour that us Kiwis inherited from the British and made our own. The humour that still survives in my parents' generation and in areas more than 10 kilometres from the city.

Even though I'm not a cook, and mostly a future-oriented kind of guy, this (fictional) blast from the past, from a simpler world, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. And possibly cheesy. Nice work, Mainland's agency!

How social media supports mainstream media - iJumpTV #36

( more info: ) ... We talk with Regan Cunliffe of about how they've changed the way people watch TV, their plans for social network integration, and the kind of content that works best.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

We need our alpha waves

I slept in half an hour this morning. It was sooo good!

As I woke up the second time around, I remembered the phrase "Without a vision, the people perish".

It's often used in organisations to get people focused on a singular vision, and getting busy. But sometimes getting a bit of sleep - especially REM sleep - is a really good thing.

Actually the original Hebrew reads something more like, without a revelation the people wander off.

Revelation: Now you might believe God reveals things in your sleep ... or you may not even believe in God. Either way, I think we can agree the process of dreaming can be very valuable for defragging the brain and unlocking new possibilities. When you can see things with new eyes, it's a revelation.

Perish: I used to think that was a one-time event, like an explosion. But it's a slow, dreadful rot ... like perishing rubber. It's still there but its usefulness has gone as it slowly perishes away. It's like wandering off track from the vision and direction you're on. And it's just as easy to do that while being really busy as it is while being lazy and distracted.

So look after yourself. Pace yourself. You're not running a sprinting race, you're climbing a mountain. At least, you could be ... may you be spared the joyless existence of just labouring away. May you have a mountain worth climbing. May I have one too.

Sleep well.


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The reason there is no blog post today

This is a blog post to tell you that I had planned a blog post on a variety of topics, including

  • economics
  • unions, politics and corporate social responsibility
  • the moral element of the current financial crisis around the world
  • perhaps Paul Newman, although that's probably been well blogged about already
  • social media (what else!)
But instead, I'm not posting at all today.

It's all because of the express train. First of all, I had to stand up in a crowded carriage, so no reading possible. Had to listen to my ipod instead. But that's okay, it's an express train, so the journey's fast - right?

Nope. We get to Newmarket, and wait. And wait. Then an announcement comes that we're expecting delays of up to 30 minutes!

Stuff this, I think, I'm going to catch a bus. Unfortunately, approximately one zillion other people got the same idea, so all of us at the bus stop outside Parnell Library had to watch about five buses go by, completely full. At least we had the sign there to show us when the next full bus would steam past so we could watch it.

There's something about public transport when it's not functioning well that feels really humiliating. Not just stressful, but humiliating. Or maybe I'm just paranoid.

After about an hour I saw Francis from HB Media, who had the initiative to suggest we share a cab. Otherwise I was seriously considering walking - which would be okay, except for that big hill in Grafton.

So anyway ... on the cab ride we saw an ambulance and two fire engines. Yeesh. And then when we got to Lorne Street there was a film shoot underway. Oh the excitement! I took a pic.

So anyway, enough moaning, here's what I'm thankful for today:

  • Even though our public transport sometimes has a big ol' FAIL, most times it works ok.
  • The power and internet are on. This is good.
  • I have enough health and strength that I could have walked if I needed to.
  • I had cash on me for the EFTPOSless taxi. Actually, that I had any money at all!
  • That I had the choice of getting off the train when it was delayed.
  • That really, my problems amount to less than a hill of beans in this troubled world.
So that's why I didn't post a blog post today. Have a great day!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Orange Roughies

Not the TV show, the fish. They're endangered. I'm not a seafood fan so I'm not so bothered, but it is a pity if Orange Roughies are being fished to death.

And it's not just roughies, it's also tuna, sharks, and prawns. Gee! You can find out more about the fish you need to avoid at the supermarket here.

Why am I doing an ad for Greenpeace on my blog? I'm acting out one of the principles of influence - the law of reciprocity.


While walking along Auckland's Vulcan Lane, I noticed a big red fish with legs. I took a photo, and then almost bumped into a lady called Marie from Greenpeace.

She told me what the publicity stunt was about, and gave me the basic information I've detailed above.

She said the fisheries won't solve this problem themselves - they need people like us to remind them to be sustainable. How to do that? Become a financial supporter of Greenpeace, to show you're serious and it's more than just a petition.

I'm not one to sign up an AP or credit card form with a stranger on the street, no matter how worthy their cause, so I declined to become a member, but asked for more information so I could spread the word.

She gave me some brochures, saying "I normally don't give these to non-members, because they cost money to produce". She didn't say why she was giving it to me, but hey, I felt guilty enough to follow through what I said I'd do, and spread the word.

Interesting, huh! Actually there's two principles in play here:

1. Reciprocity - she gave me brochures, so I give a bit of publicity.
2. Consistency - I want to be consistent with what I said I'd do earlier. No-one wants to think of themselves as a liar, or someone who doesn't deliver.

So ... no seafood on the menu tonight.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

How to solve the world's problems by being a bit nicer

Some people say being nice gets you nowhere but that's bollocks. I know for sure that being rude and making people feel small might just be the cause of most of the world's problems.

We don't get good things done because we feel bad. We have stuff happening in our lives. Yet each of us has something to be thankful for. We also have something to give - in some people it's buried deeper than others - but it's our choice when, where or how we give that.

This morning I parked my car at the public carpark near the gym. The lady in the car next to me interrupted me to say how annoying it was when "gym people" use the public carpark, because it's so hard to find a park.

I had to explain to her that I park there all day, because I catch the train. So I'm not really a "gym person", just a commuter who uses the gym - and the public carpark.

"Thanks for listening to me rant," she said. As opposed to what? Turning my ipod up? Running away? Hm. She gave me lemons. I suppose by listening to her, I gave her some lemonade.

some people just like to complain

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Could these financial hard times give birth to the next Google?

So the bailout plan has been rejected. Listening to the news in the past weeks, I've heard the word "unprecedented" an unprecedented number of times. These are possibly very frightening times, the more frightening the more tied in you are to the financial status quo.

In The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Batelle, it tells of how Google stumbled upon the business model that would eventually make its fortune.

In late 1999/early 2000, Google was spending $500,000 a month on its smart staff, and had $20 million left in the bank. Income streams were ... well, hazy.

Ideologically opposed to tacky banner advertising, the founders sought a way to make money without compromising the user experience. We all know what they came up with, but at the time it was an experiment.

Plan B was to sign a banner advertising deal with DoubleClick - a sure thing in January 2000, but not four short months later, when the tech bubble burst. (Ironically, Google now owns Doubleclick!)

All of sudden, they had to make this new thing work. And if it hadn't been for the bubble bursting, Google may have ended up as just another traditional media company.

What innovative ideas are facing the do-or-die challenge of their lives this week? What plan B's just went under?

Need a reminder of those heady times? To celebrate their 10th birthday, Google has dragged their oldest index of the web out of storage ... see what you can find, and what you can't!
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