Saturday, 31 January 2009 - iJumpTV #47

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

Writing that makes a (little) difference

Check out this product packaging copy. It's not only grammatically correct (a challenge, obviously, for many product manufacturers!) but it's funny!

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

Vision - who needs it?

Sam Farrow reckons it's not that important.

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:

johnfrombluff @audaciousgloop The problem with "Vision" is that it's meaningless management-speak most of the time. "We'll be excellent", etc.

ophil @audaciousgloop vision is purpose articulated; its the end as a realist painting to 'show' what success looks like; necessity is contingent

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

ophil @audaciousgloop ends are not necessarily terminal either (despite the word!) ends themselves may be means to larger acheivments
imho i would consider ends counterproductive perhaps 70% of the time (in the strategic sense) as they blind u 2 opportunity
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
ophil @audaciousgloop hmmm sort of KPI's tend not to be ends but proxy's that can be observed and are related to the ends

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If you won the lottery today, why would you be happy? (I'm assuming you'd be happy?)

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

Say it like Obama book review - iJumpTV #46

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

Installing plugins in the latest version of Wordpress

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase
(Warning: Jargon ahead. If you don't use WordPress, you won't get anything out of this)

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.
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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Book Review "A Sense of Urgency" - iJumpTV #46

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

Don't just follow the car in front

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.

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!)
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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Book Review: The Innovator's Guide to Growth - iJumpTV #45

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.

Ferrit, proof that advertising is the cost for not being remarkable

AdMedia's David Gapes started the year by asking his subscribers what they thought of Ferrit's demise.

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
But my biggest pick on why Ferrit didn't work is:

  • 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.
Which again
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

Monday, 12 January 2009

Be careful

Happy New Year!

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.
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Monday, 5 January 2009

3-minute book review: Disrupting Class - iJumpTV $44

In our second holiday book review we look at Disrupting Class, a book that applies disruptive innovation to the classroom - and to the education system overall.

Happy New Year from us at iJump!