Monday, 28 December 2009
It's not quite holiday reading, but neither is it a textbook. It's a curated journey Eidenmuller takes you on, through six historical speeches of the 20th century, complete with full recordings.
Eidenmuller's passion for his subject is almost tangible. I was a little disappointed, however, in how brief and tantalizing some of the commentary is. Still, with recordings and full transcripts available, Eidenmuller's commentary is more of a kickstarter, and he offers a few hints of where to go next, but leaves the journey up to us.
He also brings up the "Great Debate", between Plato who argued that rhetoric was dangerous, and Aristotle who said it was a powerful force for democracy - if everyone understands it.
It's an important question, especially in am age where social media gives everyone with an Internet connection, a voice.
Highly recommended reading if you speak, write, or just enjoy a good speech.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
No-one cooks at the same time as they assemble their ingredients, yet that's how many people expect to be able to write. They sit down at the keyboard, and expect to get the message right in one go.
But writing is made up of three distinct parts, a bit like preparing a meal.
Here's how to take the pressure off yourself, and create better writing at the same time:
1. Gather your ingredients.
Who are you talking to? What do you want to say to them? Identify the key parts of your message, not in sentences but in ideas.
For example, you need to invite someone to a collaboration website you're setting up, and you want to give them some context around why you're inviting them.
The key parts of your message - your ingredients - could be:
* I'm inviting you to this collaboration website
* The collaboration website does these things...
* The team who will be collaborating on the website are...
* The purpose of us doing this is...
Notice how there's no numbers, just bullet points. We don't put things in order until step 2.
Even better than bullet points is a mind-map, or post-it notes. You're gathering all the ingredients, make sure you have everything you need, and not any more.
2. Sort the ingredients.
What part of the message needs to come first? If you're using post-its or index cards, you can physically re-sort them. Try to find the logical flow of your message.
How do you find the logical flow? it's a bit of an art, but this may help. Think of the key parts that would make more sense if you had the information from previous key points.
For example, telling me who's on the team makes more sense if I know what the purpose of the team is. Telling me what the collaboration website does makes more sense if I know I'm invited to the website.
As you do this, you may find that some of your cards are actually saying the same message. That's good! We're making sure we're saying everything we need to say in as few words as possible. Both parts are important, "everything we need to say", AND, "as few words as possible".
3. Write the message.
You now have your ingredients and are ready to start cooking. You have the skeleton and can put some flesh on the bones. This is where you can think about all that fun stuff like grammar and spelling.
The good thing is, you don't have to think about the other stuff, like what part of the message goes where, or whether you've included everything you need to include. You've already done all that stuff.
I'm not a great cook, but when I do cook people are generally pretty happy with what I prepare.
It helps if I have a recipe. But as I practice, I also start to see beyond the recipe, to the principles of the recipe. I start to experiment, to discover my own way of cooking.
Writing is the same. We all can write; some of us need a bit more structure than others. And like any skill, you will get better and faster as you go.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Caught up with me old mate Brendan Boughen (not pictured here!) the other day.
Brendan's working for Ogilvy PR, and he told me about L&P's latest web promotion, Paeroa Tourism, which he described as a cross between Flight of the Chonchords and Borat.
He was right. This is hilarious.
The media kit was... awesome too. A typewritten cover letter from Maurice Morrison, badly photocopied fliers touting the seven wonders of Paeroa (that's two more than Thames, in your face Thames!), a bright yellow t-shirt like Colin's wearing in the pic above, and a six pack of L&P. Thanks Brendan! Good humour and bribery will get you everywhere. Check out the Facebook page.
On a slightly more serious note, it brings up two thoughts for me:
- Yes it's the age of authenticity, but you can still carry off fictional characters in an online campaign if you do it very well, and if it's very funny. (Easy as that, eh!)
- New Zealand's small towns have a great opportunity to use social media to differentiate themselves. We have some really neat, quirky towns around the place like Bulls, Taihape (where iJump clients Gravity Canyon are based) and Tirau. (By the way, those photos are from another iJump client, EyeballNZ.com). Could they (should they) do a Coos Bay? And what on earth is it with Ngaruawahia? Looks deserted every time we go through (which admittedly isn't that often).
Saturday, 17 October 2009
I'd heard that The Life and Death of Peter Sellers was not for the fainthearted, but the cheerful opening titles lulled me into a forgetful sense of security.
It is full on. His life is a train wreck in slow motion. It is a tragedy. It is hard to like Sellers, which is a gutsy move for a film (you're supposed to like the protagonist).
I love most of Sellers' work. The Goon Show played a huge part in developing my off-beat sense of humour (made even more off-beat by the fact I was listening 30 years out of context).
But the life behind the laughs was a nightmare. Sellers was a boy who never grew up, who became entrapped in an industry that encourages emotional immaturity.
It's a very well-told movie, if you know Sellers and his work.
It makes me wonder: will the future enable the kind of big, but dysfunctional superstars like Sellers?
Or will the disruption that's happening in media and entertainment mean that vulnerable but gifted people like Sellers (and Michael Jackson, and many others) won't be able to insulate themselves from reality?
That's a long question. I bet the answer is even longer.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Some good recommendations, as far as I can tell. Key areas for improvement are innovation, and we as a nation need to enable this.
However, the language of the report, particularly the all-important last slide (Policy implications for New Zealand) is just not accessible.
Perhaps the argument is that policymakers are used to dealing with dry, abstract language. That may be so. But...
Isn't it better, if you're painting a goal, to paint that goal and vision in as vivid terms as possible? When you're making recommendations, if you show me what the outcomes of those recommendations are, and why those recommendations are needed?
I also suggest this because policy ultimately needs us all to deliver it. Government may propose, but the people dispose. Public servants, local governments, business people and ordinary citizens all make policy happen. Let's embrace that.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
At the Art of Hosting workshop I realised that relationships are infrastructure. They're the roads, the power lines and the plumbing that allow things to happen.
And they're more important now than they ever were.
In the 20th century and the industrial age, everything was about automation and efficiency. Even as we turned the corner into the Knowledge Era and the 21st century, our focus was still on automation. And automation can do us a lot of good, but it needs to be balanced with relationships. Real relationships.
Why are relationships important? Because together, we face concepts we have never come across before. We're all discovering them from different directions and background, and that affects the words we use to name these new things.
Take the phrase social media. To me, with my freelance journalist background, social media suggests that the media is not just the companies I write for, it's an opportunity for me to make my own media. For anyone to make their own media. Media to me means getting your word out there.
Joseph Jaffe doesn't like the term social media, he prefers conversational marketing. Why doesn't he like "social media"? Because he comes from an advertising background, where media is a property you buy in order to put your message on it. And to him, you can't buy social media (he's right!).
A closer example, The Pond announced New Zealand's "first social media and network creative consultants". This kicked up a stink among NZ's social media consultants, but Leighton from the Pond was quick to point out to me the "creative" part of the description - a phrase that makes sense if you're in the ad industry. They come up with creative ideas (as designers and copywriters do) specifically for social media.
The problem in both cases? Same words with different meanings. Sometimes there's no short way to explain something. You have to talk it through with people so they understand. Then you can start using jargon, but use it with care, knowing that people are prone to interpret things differently from you.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
I'm not superstitious, but the same message, said different ways, three times in a row tends to get my attention.
It started with Inside the Mind of the Turtles, an excellent book I recommend to anyone dealing with uncertainty on a daily basis. (So that's, like, everyone).
It has 7 principles for dealing with uncertainty. Number one is overcome your fear. So far, so good.
But as I read on, I realised that's just the beginning. There's some very healthy fear that happens when you stick your neck out and take a risk. You need to overcome fear's paralysing effect, face reality, and respond to it quickly. The right kind of adrenaline rush.
Next stop was Joseph Jaffe's interview with (well, monologue interrupted by) Jeremiah Owyang, where Joseph shared that his first boss, founder of Nandos Chicken, was motivated to great lengths (and successes) by a fear of getting it wrong. That was mind-blowing, most people who are afraid of getting it wrong don't do anything.
And today I heard a great interview with Phil McKinney and Geoffrey Moore (author of Crossing the Chasm) where they pretty much said the same thing. Fear motivates. That's why Apollo 11 happened ... because Sputnik was in the sky overhead, menacing, glowering. The moon had very little to do with it ... but thank God they did eventually go "in peace, for all mankind".
As I look back over my own career I see growth spurts that came about through negative situations. Bad motivations, that eventually forced me to find good motivations.
It's a mystery of life. Very bad stuff often produces very good stuff.
How do you harness fear in your life today?
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
One of my sites got hacked. It's happened before, and although it got resolved, we never did figure out how it happened.
So it happened again, and I was tearing my hair out, trying to stop it happening. And then I changed tack.
I looked at what this pathetic little monster had defaced my site with... I read his semi-literate message. And it had a username and an email address.
This was not a malicious hack... I mean, I didn't lose access to my files, nor was my site being used to propogate a virus. It was just a severe annoyance and a loss of an afternoon I didn't have to lose in the first place.
So what was it, if not outright malicious?
I Googled the username, and found a site called Zone H, which lists the exploits (literally!) of hackers around the world. The news part is very interesting, it gives an insight into the motivation... from the site: "defacement is a media" ... really? Yes. It's often a form of protest or activism... hacktivism, they call it.
Okay, so now it was personal. This attacker had left enough personal information about himself on the site to make it a mini-vendetta for me.
And I beat the sucker. I found out - painfully, through trial and error - where I'd let him slip in, and I beat the bastard.
Strangely satisfying. A bit like Kirk beating the tar out of Finnegan.
Reminds me of the workshop I was on on the weekend. Very much about peace and love, but at the same time we were told - especially the men among us - about being a warrior.
And I guess this was a great example.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Friday, 14 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
Friday, 31 July 2009
Pocketsmith is a bootstrapped software startup from Dunedin. How did they reach a global audience and sign big overseas deals? The founders offer their secrets for building online community, what to blog about, and how they use Twitter.
We spoke to them in May; NBR spoke with them earlier this week!
Friday, 24 July 2009
Blinka.me is a "social reconnection service" launched in New Zealand and featured recently on ReadWriteWeb. We interviewed CEO Duncan Shand about what Blinka.me is, and how it came into being. Inspiration for all new startups!
In a nutshell: social media is essential to launch a new startup cost-effectively, but don't forget a great, simple concept, good design and offline activity.
Image, which has nothing in particular to do
with this post, via Wikipedia
Radio Wammo highly recommended it to Marie and I, as social media geeks, and so we rocked up at the theatre 5 minutes before it started, forgetting that the film festival is not like ordinary movies. It was sold out!
Gutted, we looked to see what other movies we could see, when a woman walked past, asking where the Film Festival was. We said which film? She said "We Live in Public". We said, sorry, it's sold out.
"Great!" she said. "It's my movie. I have comps, come with me!"
Talk about being at the right place at the right time.
So it was a fascinating, disturbing, entertaining, provocative, extremely well-put-together experience. Yes, we had technical problems with the projector, but to me that was all part of the show (I know, I'm more philosophical than most and that's not my reaction when the DVD player doesn't work at home, but meh, I knew someone would fix it - and they did).
Plot summary - late 90s dot-com millionaire does an experiment in shared, surveilled living. It goes a little bit crazy, he loses all his money, then he does the shared, surveilled living thing with his girlfriend. Doesn't go so well. He disappears, reappears, and is now plotting some kind of comeback.
His biggest problem? (well, one of his problems?) Being too far ahead of his time.
Rewind to 1999, and the experiment in shared, surveilled living underground - we have it today online, we call it Facebook (etc.) and we've grown accustomed to living under surveillance.
Great Q&A session afterwards, and Ondi's last answer was very profound - yes, we're living in a self-surveilance society that could easily turn into a nightmare. The only thing we can do - the biggest and best thing we can do - is be aware, be conscious, of how we use the tech.
I think I've always had some kind of awareness (give or take) because I need my alone time. But it's so easy to get caught up in the craziness and let the technology drive us, not the other way around.
Let technology serve you, and don't let go of your values. Don't let ego wash away relationships as the most important thing.
These are my fragmentary thoughts after watching the film. I'm sure more will form in days to come.
See also, Jacques Attali's book A Brief History of the Future, and We Think by Charles Leadbeater. Both very balanced portrayals of the future that acknowledge the dark side as well as the potential of technology.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
When I got my Macbook Pro in 2006, I quickly started to get a design sense, so when my rather ordinary laptop bag broke, I decided to go back to the Mac store for my next bag. It's been a good bag - until about 2 months ago.
Somehow, 2 months ago, the doohickey that holds the strap onto the bag just disappeared. The little metal thingie was gone.
It still held up alright when the strap was around my shoulder, but as soon as the strap slackened, it would come off. Quite stressful when your expensive laptop is in the bag!
For the want of a little metal doohickey, I was willing to buy another bag at around $65 (yeah, it was on special!). I asked at the shop about whether they sold parts and they said if I had the receipt they could replace it.
I couldn't find the receipt.
I was seriously considering shelling out $65 on a new bag, until I remember a story about Einstein. (I won't bore you with the story, suffice it to say Einstein was involved with a paper clip).
I chose a matching colour paper clip, twisted it around a bit, and voila. I now have a whole lot less stress carrying my bag around.
Which to me is elegance, even if it is not the traditional Mac way (ie. pay lots for whatever you do).
Friday, 3 July 2009
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Lawyers and/or geeks, correct me if I'm wrong.
Laws are made (theoretically) by the people for the protection of the people's rights.
Yet a whole industry (okay, profession) has arisen that makes its money by charging people $2000+ for a template agreement.
They're able to do this because of inertia. Simply because that's the way they've always done it.
Isn't it time the legal profession came in for a bit of reinvention?
Here's the geeky part: laws are made for the people, (kind of) by the people. Just like an open source code base.
Others then interpret the code base in order to apply it to particular needs - as we've seen with the hundreds (thousands, even) Twitter apps that use Twitter's open API.
What if we took the same approach to law?
How much of law is just code, and not dependent on interpretations?
My Dream Scenario
I'm a business owner. I want to hire a contractor, or partner with someone on a project.
I want an agreement that is legally binding, but as an entrepreneur who does a lot of partnering, I don't want to need a lawyer on staff to get stuff done. I just want to do stuff.
Wouldn't it be great to go to a website where I and my potential partner in crime can go and fill in dynamic forms that automate the process of lawyering.
Where my partner and I work out the kind of business relationship we want to have, enter the necessary parameters, and then the software would show us areas we need to think about.
Instead of the anxiety of
- a trip to a lawyer's office
- a conversation where it's highly possible to get the details wrong (after all, you may not have all your paperwork with you)
- not knowing what you'll be paying until afterwards
- an agreement, that reflects your wishes, that is legally binding.
It's the kind of disruption that's hitting every single industry. Milk the system (music industry, lawyers) and people will live for the day when you will be automated.
Act like a valuable partner, live to serve, and move with the times, and you'll be closer to the original definition of profession.
(Awesome photo from Steve Punter!)
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Vodafone loaned us the brand new HTC Magic for a couple of weeks. It's the first handset in NZ to feature Google's Android operating system. What does this mean? Find out.
Friday, 8 May 2009
Friday, 1 May 2009
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
(Written on ANZAC day)
Every year, the news on ANZAC day leads with growing numbers of young people attending dawn parades.
And on Twitter this morning, it was people in their teens and 20s encouraging us all to remember ANZAC day.
Why? Why is this solemn occasion such a hit amongst younger people?
Here's my theory:
- We have deformalised much of our society, and missed out the opportunity to feel completely in awe. The closest thing we have is a music concert, and often that is limited to a particular age group. ANZAC Day is a rare occasion to gather as a whole community and contemplate something truly awesome - the utter destruction of war. (By awesome I don't mean good, I mean something that strikes you speechless)
- We have ignored our European/British/Western heritage, and we hunger to understand it better. ANZAC Day ceremonies are full of distant memories of the past - uniforms, cenotaphs, Bible readings, brass bands, traditions. Where did this all come from? Even when I was at school I learnt more about New Zealand and American (!) history than the British Empire from which New Zealand came. And while I'm a statistical minority for growing up in church and understanding the history of Christianity (somewhat), I'd guess most young people these days know very little about this religion that really defined the Western world. So taking part in an ANZAC ceremony must be a mixture of the familiar (celebrating our basic New Zealand-ness, or even Antipodean-ness) with some aspects that are as unfamiliar as a Hindu or Buddhist ceremony.
- ANZAC Day is not about glorifying war, but it is about celebrating soldiers. Might be a difficult distinction to make. I think what unites us is the sheer emotion - the realisation that war is crazy, and maybe some wars shouldn't have happened, but these men and women were incredibly brave to go through what they went through, and they need our help and recognition to heal.
It's also set off a lot of thoughts in my mind about why war memorials are as formal as they are. War is certainly not formal. It's chaotic, violent, unpredictable. Maybe the solemnity and formality of our ceremonies is part of the healing.
What do you think?
(Image courtesy of Hugo90)
Monday, 6 April 2009
It's one week and one day until Marketing Now hits Wellington. Alongside standout international speakers like Chris Brogan and David Meerman Scott, we'll be hearing from more local speakers like DraftFCB's Stephen Johnson.
I asked Stephen for a sneak preview of what he'd be sharing at the conference. Here's what he said!
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Friday, 27 March 2009
We've got 3 spaces available for freelancers or creatives who want to be in one of the best, friendliest locations going.
The office is at Level 2, 228 Queen Street, Auckland. There's also entry through 3 Lorne Street.
The cost is $150 + GST per week per desk. This includes:
- fast internet
- a desk and mobile drawers
- good company (if we do say so ourselves!)
- use of shared kitchen including microwave, fridge, hot water, etc.
- a secure office in a secure building
And in the area:
- About a zillion cafes
- Almost 10 art galleries
- Two great bookshops - Jason Books (on the same floor as us) and Parsons Books
- Albert Park
- The Library and Academy Theatre
- AUT and Auckland University
- About 100 years old, the HB Building is a bit of a creative hub. These are the hallways where you'll meet print and online publishers, web developers, graphic designers, branding people - and some really interesting financial people too.
You can download a higher-resolution version of the poster here.
Monday, 23 March 2009
What was good, though, was that it made me wonder why it bugged me. And why I got similarly frustrated with Lee Siegel's Against the Machine
The biggest hole in Andrew Keen's argument is that he says web 2.0 actually leads to greater groupthink, while (presumably) indicating that the old world didn't do this, or at least it was easier for genuinely creative voices to be heard.
So how does that work? Would an Einstein or a Bob Dylan struggle to be heard more or less in the web 2.0 world than in the worlds they grew up in?
If you look at web 2.0 as an amorphous mass, a monoculture, yes, it's hard to be heard over the roar. But that's a mistaken way to look at it, a way of looking that comes from not actually participating or understanding the subjective experience of web 2.0.
Keen (and Siegel, for that matter) are not seeing the wood for the trees. As self-appointed guardians of man's destiny, they're doing one of two things, they're either:
1) Projecting their own personal tastes and preferences onto the rest of the human race (elitism)
2) Forgetting to enjoy the subjective, personalised experience of the web that they can tailor to their own interests (and therefore understand how it would work for others the same way) and instead taking an abstract, "objective" view because they feel they have to.
More on this later. If you're good.
You've been good. One more thing. Neil Postman does a good job of arguing against the information revolution, by actually suggesting something instead. Of course, a lot of his arguments are outdated and his concerns may not be so relevant to right now, but hey, Andrew and Lee, get a clue from Neil!
Friday, 13 March 2009
a) Facebook is a private company and can do what they want
b) They've been notifying users of changes for over a week on their homepages.
But it brings home the point that when you create a space and ask people to make themselves at home, they will. And they'll fight any changes you make to their home, because you've succeeded in making them feel at home.
It makes me think about any business based on Intellectual Property, particularly consulting and teaching.
If a teacher is successful, the knowledge becomes part of the student. The student absorbs it and feels as though they've discovered it themselves. The successful teacher actually makes himself invisible after a time, introducing the student to the knowledge and setting them free.
Or you could be a dysfunctional, codependent teacher, crippling your student and making them dependent on you for correct interpretation of the facts.
And that's kind of the way business has been in the last hundred years or so, hasn't it? It's also kind of the way, dare I say, that the church has been for much longer.
But if success means invisibility, how does the teacher/consultant prove their value?
I don't have an answer, I'm thinking out loud here. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
The entrepreneur walks the unknown path, the hunch, the instinct.
The manager despises risk and failure, because it hinders efficiency.
The entrepreneur flirts with risk and embraces failure, because it will yield up precious lessons.
And we need both.
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky is full of stories, statistics, theory - and iwth all that, it's an easy read too.
It'll help you understand how social media changes the way people get together - and what this means for your business, cause or idea.
Friday, 27 February 2009
- invest heavily in plain language training, so we can quickly understand compliance and actually do what you require.
- invest heavily in usability for government websites, including perhaps some standard architecture so we know a government website when we see it, and don't have to relearn how to get around.
- design government websites and departments around our needs as business leaders, to reflect our reality, and not the structure of internal silos.
- invest in exercises to give those responsible for helping us (IRD, Companies Office, Department of Labour, etc) empathy and understanding of what we actually do.
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
We talk blogging with Mike Heath, GM of Raboplus, who not only blogs, he answers customer comments!
We ask Mike:
- How do you handle negative comments?
- Does the blog take a lot of resource and time to maintain
- Why was the blog set up?
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
11 Feb 09
NZ Twitterers Kick off Worldwide Charity Event
Online social networkers show the power of social media for social good.
This Thursday, 12 February, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will be the first places in the world to kick off a worldwide Twestival.
Twestival arose from the popular idea of "tweetups", that is, meetups of people who use Twitter.
Twitter, a microblogging service that launched in late 2006, has recently caught media attention as a reporting tool during crises such as the Victorian bushfires and the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
More than just a breaking news service, Twitter is a microcosm of the effects of social media in general: friendship, dialogue, business networking, and information sharing. "We're just seeing the beginnings of the changes social media can make," says Simon Young of social media consultancy iJump, one of the companies supporting Twestival.
The Auckland Twestival 2009:
The Wellington Twestival 2009:
- Venue: Mighty Mighty
- Time: 5:30pm
The Christchurch Twestival 2009:
- Venue: His Lordships Cafe and Bar
- Time: 5pm
For more information, contact:
Simon Young, Cofounder/Catalyst
Ph 021 192 0016
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Mobile social networking and marketing are going to be big in the next five years. But where will the ideas come from? Geosmart, the people behind the Location Innovation Awards, hope they'll come from you.
We talk to Geosmart's Luigi Cappel about the potential of location-based marketing, and where the entries are coming from.
We're also giving away three copies of Luigi's ebook, Unleashing the Road Warrior, to the first three commentors on this video!
Thursday, 5 February 2009
On Twitter? Want to be? Want to learn more? In Auckland?
Come along to tonight’s "Tweetup ", starting from 5pm at the Sale Street Brewery .
There’s also the Auckland Twestival , a charity event raising funds for Charity Water , next Thursday at the same venue.
Want to be notified when the next Tweetup is? Join the Auckland Twitter Meetup Group .
Will I see you at either one?
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Does Web 2.0 have a dark side? Of course it does, and even social media consultants like us discuss it freely. But you wouldn't think so, according to Lee Seigel, author of Against the Machine. He seems to think he's a lone voice, standing bravely against the overwhelming array of "boosters" and shameful collaborators in the mainstream media.
Still, Seigel's bad attitude aside, this is a book worth reading, if only to challenge your thinking.
Saturday, 31 January 2009
MadeFromNewZealand is part social network, part marketing platform for New Zealand businesses. We got interviewed on MadeFromNewZealand's Friday Show last week, and did a bit of filming ourselves. We talk with Tim Norton about online video, marketing a small business, and the role of government vs. entrepreneurs in marketing a nation.
Tim's a familiar face to iJumpTV - we interviewed him back in episode 22.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
That's what I want to see more of. As a consumer, and (of course) as a writer.
That is all.
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Some people reckon it's absolutely essential.
I'm in two minds. Or maybe one and a half.
Sam works in a government department whose job is essentially reactive - to provide great service, accurate information and be accurate. It's not heady stuff, and it's not exactly visionary stuff either.
But can't that department have a vision of how they want to be? Sure they can. Is it essential?
What replaces vision if there's no vision? An awareness of the present, of the needs you exist to fill.
I used to freak out about vision and end up not making any long term plans. Why? Because I looked back over my life and saw sweet serendipity. I am where I am because of a whole range of things that have happened to me, and that I have done.
I intended to become a screenwriter, and ended up being a better business communicator.
I intended to study music at university, and ended up promoting music concerts on a radio network.
I kind of don't trust myself, but I do trust God to make sense of it all. Other people trust "the universe" ... close, but I prefer the personal touch.
So when people encourage me to visualise my vision in excruciating detail, I shrink back. I'm almost entirely sure I'll get it wrong, and I don't want to be so focused on a vision that I miss the really good opportunities.
But I misconstrued the purpose of a vision. A vision's probably not where I'll end up, but it is a focussing tool.
Even if I'm aiming at the wrong thing, the act of aiming makes me see what's at stake. And because it's a big, long term vision, I'm able to make course corrections as necessary. Unless of course I win the lottery and make a stupid big decision simply because I have enough money to do so. Not buying Lotto tickets keeps me out of that danger.
Follow up: Bwagy has a great post about vision.
And while I haven't had any comments here yet, it did get some good comments on Twitter:
I said nice definition - yours? What if there is no end, or the end is undefined, or it's actually counterproductive to have an end?
ophil @audaciousgloop guess its mine! no end is not necessarily terminal thats why 'purpose' works better than vision as a guide
but ends good for measuring progress, motivating and communicating to unfamiliar stakeholders
I said: little ends. Ends that you can put KPIs on can be good, as long as they get reviewed every 6 months to see if the aims are right
In this present moment, your actual circumstances are the same. You still have only a few hundred dollars in the bank. But you know there's something to come.
Or say you're riding a train. If it stops between stations, with no explanation, you can get a bit anxious. But if someone announces that the delay will be no more than 10 minutes, it's not so bad.
Hope is not an ethereal thing. It's a very tangible thing. It can be as simple as having a "you are 70% finished" indicator on an online survey. Yet it makes a big difference.
Obama talked about hope a lot, and it won him the presidency.
How can you use real hope in your business, organisation or life today?
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Jumping on the rampaging juggernaut that is Obamamania, Simon brings you a special episode of iJumpTV. What can we learn from the 21st Century's greatest orator thus far, who tomorrow takes the oath of office?
Like how to use body language, stories, and words that create pictures in people's minds. How to communicate passion and vision, and energise people towards change. It's good stuff!
Monday, 19 January 2009
I was impressed that the latest version of WordPress (which we use for iJump) let you install plugins from within your control panel.
Previously, I'd had to manually upload and extract plugins, which got pretty tedious.
But, the process doesn't work if you already have the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin activated. Something causes them to conflict.
The workaround is simple, just deactivate your Automatic Upgrade plugin, install your other plugins, and then activate them.
Don't forget to reactivate your Automatic Upgrade plugin again when you've finished. It's a good plugin, and I'm sure the developers of either the plugin or Wordpress itself will figure out a way to make them play nicely together.
Sunday, 18 January 2009
The most important factor in bringing about organisational change is a sense of urgency. In this book, John P Kotter shows you how to achieve that sense of urgency. Simon Young from iJump reviews this book, and ties it in with social media.
A Sense of Urgency, by John P Kotter, is published by Harvard Business Press.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
It's been a year of cautionary tales ... don't get sunburnt, don't start an online retail site with a huge marketing budget, and today, don't run a red light.
I did so in December, just before Christmas, and I did it because I was concentrating on the car in front of me, rather than the lights. That'll be $150, thanks!
But there's both a laugh and a lesson in it.
The laugh: the way the police infringement notice describes "running a red":
I'm not sure who the person that wrote that was trying to impress, but it wasn't me. That kind of language is just funny and bizarre.
DROVE A VEHICLE ON Wellesley Street East AND DID FAIL TO COMPLY WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN BY A STEADY RED SIGNAL IN THE FORM OF A DISC, BEING AN OFFENCE DETECTED BY APPROVED VEHICLE SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT.
The lesson? It's in the title of this blog post - don't just let other people be your benchmark, for being good, for doing good, for following your dream. You're special. Follow your own green lights!
(Thanks for Creative-Commons licencing your photo, Dan Barak!)
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
How can big companies harness innovation and not be blindsided by it? This book offers a few clues. Part of our ongoing book review series focusing on innovation within organisations.
The Innovator's Guide to Growth is written by Scott D Anthony, Mark W Johnson, Joseph V Sinfield and Elizabeth J Altman, and is published by Harvard Business Press.
Here's what I said:
Ferrit ... nobody I talked to was much surprised about the demise of Ferrit. A couple of reasons why:
- Site wasn't that usable or easy to navigate (that's hearsay from me, I don't think I ever visited there)
- Price premium when compared with retail, which makes sense for the
business, but sure as hell doesn't make a compelling argument for the
- Not the knitting that Telecom should have been sticking to
- A big corporation trying to run what was essentially a startup ...
hmmm. Culture clash? (that's a guess, but I'd hazard it's pretty
- Who's it for? It seemed to be all things to all people, and
therefore nothing to anyone. The ads were kind of cool, but they always
seemed to be just a money-spending exercise.
comes back to a corporate not thinking like a startup. As Seth Godin or
someone else said, advertising is the price you pay for having an
unremarkable product. And as the chaos and noise gets louder, even the
well-funded will go under.
Here's what everyone else said, and why at least one person thinks there's life in the old dog yet!
(image filched from Ben.geek.nz)
Monday, 12 January 2009
Had a great few days away at Pakiri Beach with friends. Fantastic time, just a bit ruined by getting my feet sunburned. They're now swollen and it's pretty hard to walk.
So ... enjoy the sun, whatever you're doing ... but, be careful out there.