Showing posts from November, 2008

That's what friends are for.

There's an old saying that friends are the people who stick around when its hard. Glad handing ne'er do well butt kissers will be gone at the first sign of heat.

My buddy Ollie has disagreed with me about politics and the green stuff (even though we agree mostly about the green stuff but his spin is a southern hemisphere toilet and mine pines for home in the north).

Ollie has sent me info about Michael McDonough. I'd never consciously heard of the fella, but watching the video on TED I realised that I was familiar with some of McDonough's stuff.

Watch this;

And now were on the same (plastic) page.


25% reduction in advertising personnel predicted

I've just posted an entry on the Idealog blog about dealing with the prospect of being etrenched, downsized, made redundant (or any other charming euphemism that refers to getting sacked from your job you can think of).

How to use gooder grammar

If, like me, you struggle with the complexities of grammar then you may be interested in the New York Times 'After Deadline' section.

After Deadline examines questions of grammar, usage and style encountered by writers and editors of The Times.

It is adapted from a weekly newsroom critique overseen by Philip B. Corbett, the deputy news editor who is also in charge of The Times’s style manual. The goal is not to chastise, but to point out recurring problems and suggest solutions.

Since most writers are likely to encounter similar troubles, we think these observations might interest general readers, too.

On the other hand it may leave your head spinning and relieved that you now have the option of using TXT language. LOL.


My monkey mind is driving me nuts. Too much to think about. So a timely reminder on the practice of Zazen is helpful.

A nice video. Seems amateur and professional at the same time. How very Zen.

Via Electrolicious

The Walking Bus

This morning I thought I would catch a bus to work. I visited the Maxx website, which has routes and timetables for Auckland public transport.

I entered the start place for the journey near my home and the end point the Smales Farm terminal, where I guessed there would be loads of feeder buses to the city careening along the new bus expressway.

The suggestion offered on the site (above) is that I should walk the 3291 metres to the station, a mere 49 minutes away.

Not really helpful people.

Google gets crafty

I guess this video is really a promotion for Google docs, but it is nice to see that the company spends some effort having a little fun. In a funny way it reminds me of cross-stitch, the folksy craft art that seems to be making something of a comeback - in an ironic, post modern mash-up (check out Subversive Cross-Stitch).

John Grant has three manifestos

I first encountered John Grant via his first book - The New Marketing Manifesto. I bought a copy from Unity Books in Auckland's High Street - It was an impulse purchase, I confess - one of several (I like d the packaging - anyone who tels you you can't judge a book by its cover is sometimes wrong). I took my purchases to D72, a New York style deli cafe that was impossibly stylish on Freyberg square (now a Pumpkin Patch store - I guess impossibly cool tangerine orange banquettes don't pay enough bills). I ordered a long black coffee and a corned beef sandwich - you know the kind, about the same as an average family roast, thinly sliced and stacked on rye bread with pickles - skewered to hold it together in a tower that Norman Foster would be proud of.

I stayed just long enough to read the book from cover to cover. I was completely energised or innervated, hard to be sure which.

Mr Grant is a thinker and communicator of the highest order. I didn't 'buy' everything …

Things that matter

Coudal and partners are a world famous design company. If you had signed up for their email marketing you would have received this:

1. Will we be able to make money?
We're a business. We have mortgages and tuitions to pay. Plus, if we don't make some cash once in a while, how will we feed our habit of continually screwing around?

2. When we're done, will we be proud of the work we've done?
Slaving for months on a project only to not want to show it to anyone when you're finished just plain sucks. No amount of money can make that feel better.

3. Can we learn a little something new along the way?
Executing the project has to make us smarter and help satisfy our curiosity, which we think is our greatest asset.

An elegantly simple summary of what matters, don't you think?

Via Paul Isakson

Johnny Bunko competiton

The Great Johnny Bunko Challenge from DHP on Vimeo.
There's a young chap in Indiana, one Alec Quig, who has written to me about creating a career based on a polymathic degree, from which he has recently graduated. He's an interesting young man and his concerns about going forward in life are the anxieties we all face at crossroads in our lives when we are forced to make choices.

Dan Pink's latest book The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need might help:

"From a New York Times, BusinessWeek, and Washington Post bestselling author comes a first-of-its- kind career guide for a new generation of job seekers.There's never been a career guide like it.the fully illustrated story (ingeniously told in Manga form) of a young Everyman just out of college who lands his first job. Johnny Bunko is new to parachute company Boggs Corp., and he stumbles through his early days as a working stiff until a crisis prompts him to find a new job. Step by s…

Word Play

The English language is a wonderful thing. I don't know about other languages, but ours seems infinitely plastic; recyclable plastic.

A friend has sent me these twists in the tale, neologisms from the Washington Post (though I have searched the site and can't find the original post).

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm : The gulf bet…

Think. Small

In 1956 IBM introduced the first hard drive. The 305 RAMAC allowed the computer to store data digitally. It weighed a ton (literally) and could store slightly less than 5MB of information. Thumb-sized USB drives will now contain a thousand times more data and are so common place they are often given away as corporate gifts and promotional items.

I may have missed the first shipments of RAMAC, but I vividly remember the first time a PC was delivered to an advertising agency, Brown Christensen, where I worked as a production assistant in 1983. It was a momentous occasion. Only one person in the company knew how to use it - Ross Jackson, then a young suit. He was quite impressed with himself. I recall him explaining that it had a Winchester hard drive. Fair enough, I though, the West was won with Winchesters, how could I fail to be impressed?

What didn't impress me was the arcane strings of code that were required to access and sort of function. Thankfully the Apple Macintosh came alon…

How to cull your workforce

I had a message from a friend last night. She's the second person I know directly who has been laid off in the bullrush of gloom that is coming our way.

I've been thinking about how I can help her find a new role (she was the industrial nurse for a major corporate manufacturing business - I guess if they reduce the workforce overall their will be less need for health and safety?) so I am receptive to messages about redundancy and the like.

This piece by Guy Kawasaki via bNet Caught my eye:

The Takeaway: Few things in business are as unpleasant as laying off or firing staff, but as Kawasaki notes it’s an inevitable part of a career in management. He also insists there is a right way to go about it, and offers a dozen in-depths tips - too many to summarize them all here. Among the best are the following:

1. Cut deep and cut once.
Management usually believes that things will get better soon, so it cuts the smallest number of people in anticipation of a miracle. Most of the time, the …

To coin a phrase

The term 'cell-phone' has the opposite connotation than the nature and benefits of a mobile phone it implies that you are stuck, or locked in a place. While that might be true with regard to some of the more onerous service contracts available (i-phone users will understand what I mean) a portable phone offers you a great deal of freedom and, these days, is so much more than a phone. Mine is basic, but, even still, it is my alarm clock and camera. Without the names stored on the SIM card I am high and dry (If I haven't called you for a while it may be because I recently lost my old phone).

So, I have a new expression for my cell-phone: It is a self-phone.

Before you know it I will be customising it with dangly bits and a leopard skin patterned rubber case

Outing myself as a hippy

I realise that I don't look much like a hippy - in the conventional sense, or the unconventional sense (given that we are talking hippy here).
But I am. I have no desire to live in a conventional house. And frankly, I am sick of consumer society. I want to split, man. Escape to a woody glade somewhere and commune with nature.

It's not about a green agenda and, as far as I know, I don't have any great desire to be a naturist. I just yearn for a simpler life. Where is my copy of Walden by Thoreau.

There's a line in Walden I like, about solitude:

"I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond that laughs so loud, or than Walden Pond itself. What company has that lonely lake, I pray?"

And this from my favourite chapter 'The Pond In Winter'

"After a still winter night I awoke with the impression that some question had been put to me, which I had been endeavouring to in vain to answer in my sleep. as what - how - where? But there was the dawning Nature , in…

Te Radar - National Treasure/taonga*

I've just watched this week's episode of Off The Radar (TV One Sunday, 7.00pm NZT).
Te Radar (Te Radar (Andrew J Lumsden) is an award winning satirist, documentary maker, writer, stage and screen director, and amateur historian. He currently has two top rating TV programmes screening on TV 1, (Off the Radar, and Homegrown - ex his website).

I have to say it is always a thoroughly enjoyable experience. He has the kind of personality and shy charm that kiwis like. His humour is never sarcastic or ironic - it is nice that there isn't even a hint of post-modernism in his style - he is just utterly likeable.

Obviously it is his time, he has two shows on air at the same time and it seems his voice-over talents are in demand as well, he stars (in the way that Eddie Murphy stars in Shrek) in one of the campaigns for McDonalds on air at the moment.

Good on him. Might have to get me a Ngati Pakeha shirt from his website.

*(noun) something prized. ex Maori Dictionery

WikiVideo - kind of...Playing for Change

I came across this piece while looking for information about best practices in teaching (as an extension of marketing communications formats that go beyond the usual realm of spruiking products and into the information/education end of the spectrum). Great site here from educator Angela Maiers

I like the idea of a continuous theme being expressed by different individuals - reminds me of Russell Davies talk about polyphony-if only in broad conceptual terms that will probably only have any significance to me.

From the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music", comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe. This and other songs such as "One Love" will be released as digital downloads soon; followed by the film soundtrack and DVD early next year.

Sign up at www.playingforc…

SIA - not Singapore Airlines

Australia seems to be producing interesting female vocalists. I caught this video on a random channel surf. Like I said - interesting. A little out there. I like the take-it-or-leave-it-angle. I'm picking SIA as a confirmed One & Only (1&O - tm). Might buy some with next week's pocket money.

Watch the clip - tell me what you think.

Just bought the entire Charlie Parr 1922 Album - LOVIN' IT...

On the subject of love, the new Idealog magazine can't be far off. My column is a love-fest.

Looking forward to debriefing my friend, the amazingly talented Monique Rhodes, who has been touring with Kiwi Legend Shona Laing. I want to know what it's like out their in the provinces. I'm thinking of touring with a small business marketing roadshow...

Money, Money, Money...

I am working on a project that revolves around money - particularly how women relate to money. From a study undertaken by Australia research group WIRE I have learned some fascinating insights that really never occurred to me before.

"The overarching finding is that women’s relationship with money is driven by personal life experience.Unless financial information acknowledges and understands this, it will not readily affect this relationship. Fundamentally, gender is pivotal in all areas of providing financial information, programs and products.

For women, emotion, money and family were interwoven. Women felt overwhelmed by what they did not know and embarrassed when they discovered what they had foregone, or that
they had wasted opportunities to become financially literate. The feelings of hopelessness, shame and inadequacy in their finances ran deep across all socio-economic groups.

Women in the study were generally fearful about money. Their lack of financial literacy was a fright…

Work is that thing that takes the available time

Do you ever wonder if you are the only person in the known universe that puts things off until the last minute. I can always find something, if not better, to do then simply more diverting than the job at at hand. I am as easily distracted as a kitten and a piece of string.

I had been wondering if the Internet had amplified my procrastination or simply made it easier. I can't help but wonder whether I would be more productive if I had the self discipline to switch everything off - or whether the stimulus is actually simply part of the way I work (yeah, right! - nice try).

So, during another foray away from my assigned task I came across the chart above (via Idealog). And I feel relieved that I am not alone.

Now, I really must find out the origin of the word Puttanesca.

Apple Design

"It’s a shocking statement for a CEO to say publicly, as Steve has, that the goal of a company isn’t to make money, it’s to make great products…" Jonathan Ive

Any design is only as strong as its weakest element. Much as I love the design of apple products, over the years I have become increasingly frustrated by the poor quality of the hardware.

My MacBook Pro is an essential part of my work and life. Without it I am disconnected, unable to write and design - high and dry, really. Little things can knock me out of the game. At the moment the optical drive on my machine has given up the ghost. Won't slurp up the disk media. It is about six months old. I have been delaying returning it to the store it came from to get a repair because the turn around time will inevitably be linger than is acceptable.

Now the power supply has failed (as I guessed it would, because it is routinely the weakest link). Much as I love the magnet that prevents the machine from being pulled to the f…

Seth Godin - Tribes

Seth Godin is a writing machine - since Permission marketing hit the shelves he has cranked out quite a pile of books such as Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable and All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World. Some criticise Godin for writing in a simplistic, repetitive way. I wonder if that is part of his formula for success. Easy to read, catchy phrases, isn't that how advertising works?

His thesis in Tribes is that people want to belong, but tribes need leaders and that should be you. The web means you can lead from afar, or the rear - or in your jockey shorts from your spare room.

I like Godin's take on the world. Here is an extract from his blog:

The marketer's attitude

Traditional job requirements: show up, sober. Listen to the boss, lift heavy objects.

Here's what I'd want if I were hiring a marketer:

You're relentlessly positive. You can visualize complex projects and imagine alternative possible o…

These boots were made for walking

Emma Daken is walking the length of New Zealand to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers.

Good to see the use of social media to promote her cause.

Donate here.I have.

On the subject of charity; this year I have chosen not to reprise last year's participation in Movemeber. I saw some news reports that suggested there were, shall we say, oddities in the way the Movember charity was established. Apparently the guys who started the fundraising concept were collecting a large percentage of the funds raised as royalty payments for the use of their own 'IP'. I think the matter was resolved in some way but, for me at least, the damage was done - it was a matter of trust.

Bob Isherwood leaves Saatchi & Saatchi

Ouch. That's got to hurt. Bob Isherwood is a legend in the world of advertising. He's been guiding the Saatchi creative product for nearly twenty years.

I met him briefly at a Caxton Awards event in North Queensland, remeber thinking he had cool hair for an older chap. Not that I was shallow. It may have been that I was desperately hung-over or near death after running 10kms in the blazing tropical heat while hung-over that skewed by perceptive and intellectual capacity.

It will be tough for Kevin Roberts to replace his partner in the agency. It was, apparently, Isherwood who moved to change the focus of Saatchi from advertising agency to ideas company. Roberts told Ad Age that he won't rush the replacement process, so you will have plenty of time to burnish you CV and reel (or get your web-site up to date - or however creative geniuses present their work these days).

In other news Michael Simons is moving from DraftFCB Sydney to DraftFCB New York as Chief Creative Officer.

Free Marketing Help

If you know of a promising small business that could use some input in branding, marketing communucations or creative processes then I am offering some free time to consult or coach. No strings, just committing to helping small businesses be more competitive.

Drop me a note. Might be easier if you are based in New Zealand but remote coaching would be ok.

View my Linked-In profile

Book 'em Dano

Got myself a pile of books for the weekend.

My Life with Dylan Thomas - Double drink story by Caitlin Thomas. A memoir of their life together by poet Dylan Thomas' wife. The Mail on Sunday describe it as 'Compelling, if painful reading'.

From the moment they met at a pub in London, drink was the most conspicuous part of the lives of Caitlin and her 'genius poet', Dylan Thomas. It fuelled their sexual adventures, lessened their shyness and enriched their social life. This searing book is Caitlin's story of the passions, the rage and the tragic humour of those years of drink and the toll it took on the lives of two talented people, leaving one of them dead at the age of thirty-nine, and the other alone, penniless and an alcoholic. It is also the memoir of a woman not always likable, but consistently energetic and honest and possessing an indomitable spirit.

Typo - The Last American Typesetter or How I Made/Lost 4 Million Dollars (An Entrepreneur's Education) by…

Good, bad, indifferent

Today I had an interesting experience. I went along to the local Warehouse (the New Zealand answer to Walmart), looking for a Tamagochi for my daughter's 9th birthday - it's her requested gift. The stores I visited on the weekend were all sold out. While there I chose a few things - some foam sabres (don't ask) and a big box of fireworks for Guy Fawkes - yes I know, its all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

At the counter I noticed the cashier refused to give another customer a plastic bag for her purchases: 'We don't do them anymore.' The lady had a number of little things, she was baffled and, I thought, felt a little bullied. I didn't get a bag either.

I came back later in the day with Zoe - she said she wanted a walkie talkie set so she could talk to one of her school friends - hey, you're only nine once. So we found a set she was happy with, picked up some batteries and presented ourselves to the counter. Again, no bag.

Here's the thing. T…