Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Looking like an adult: You'll know it when you see it.



Recently, a professor from Cambridge University was questioning the age at which somebody can be considered an adult. Legally, in Australia, that age is 18. In other countries it's 21 and the professor was considering that people would not be an adult until they were in their mid thirties.

I have an alternative view. I think you begin to look more like an adult when you cease to reply to other people's comments with a pithy "Yeh I was three years old at that time".

Imagine I am talking to my 27 year old friend about movies. We cover the Harry Potter series and we talk about the Hunger Games and Twilight, and then I mention that one of my favourite ever movies was Pulp Fiction from 1995.

"Yeh, I was three years old at the time".

Sure, and this conversation is over. It's not a big deal, but I just mistakenly thought that I was talking to an adult. I'll leave you to your little friends, and seek out some more stimulating conversation.

You start to look more like an adult when you begin to see the world from some perspective other than your own bubble.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Love Takes Care from July 29th 2018

I forgot how much I liked this song and also forgot how much I really liked having Doc Neeson in the world. The doc died about 5 years ago and I've barely shrugged.

Loved this explosive, theatrical frontman of the angels was an important part of my early years. I saw The Angels last night with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as I sat there with my sister and brother-in-law. Dave Gleeson could not be a better frontman now; comfortable in his own skin and feeling the need to prove nothing. But fuck I missed the doc.

It was very nice that the Brewster Brothers dedicated this song last night to Doc Neeson and Chris Bailey. And the song. When I first heard it in the 80s I thought of it as a love song to a girlfriend. But as it is for these things I find it equally applies to way I feel about my inner family - my inner circle - these days.

Sure, I am always off on my own tangent. I won't smother you, but I would never leave you lost or fending for yourself. My mum gave me the emotional room to make my own stupid decisions, for myself and grow. But I knew she was there for me. Love takes care of its own.

https://youtu.be/dyO9051gZyk

Friday, March 1, 2019

When a student goes out into the world "book smart and willing to learn".

A student contacted me. They are going off to an internship. The student was concerned that they didn't have any practical exposure to a marketing role, and that they didn't know the product area of their employer. My reply is below:



Your problem is very common, and it is something that a person needs to deal with at some point in their career. The clever people get to it early in the way that you are.

Even at my level I find that the best approach to these situations is to position oneself as an educated person who knows a great deal of material from the books however is always willing to learn. The people of you will be doing this internship with have created a successful business through being practical and intelligent, looking for opportunities and exploiting them. They have far more runs on the board than I do and, of course, you.

The very best of these people also admit that they have never been classically trained in marketing. These people quite willingly bring you into their fold. When you retain your humility and say that you will only offer suggestions in the areas that you know then you are instantly a good operator.

The same "willing to learn" approach applies when you are in a product area that you don't understand. As an example I can tell you that Monica Orlovic left her undergraduate degree and began to work as a marketing manager for a company called Antelco which is irrigation equipment. Because she did not presume to speak outside of her areas of knowledge she was a hit with that company.

As far as being asked to technically do things that you don't feel 100% comfortable with, you will also be a winner. Your point about being computer savvy and easily learning is exactly the key to that door. You know a great deal more than you think you do. You are familiar with social media and content creation and many things that you consider to be commonsense will add value to the business of your company. But humility is important.

With many clients the bar is amazingly low. Stick with the basics:
  • Who is the customer?
  • What are they buying?
  • What benefit do they receive from owning your product?
  • How do new customers get to find out about you?
  • Who else provides solutions to problems that your product or service solve?
If you walk in the door asking these questions and truthfully seeking answers then you will be a success right from the beginning.

About the company that you are going to do the internship with. The best way to describe them seems to be that they provide consumables to the heavy equipment market. That is a very good business to be in. A sales rep for Cavill (Caterpillar) can spend three to five years trying to set up a single sale which might net them a million dollars but there are lean years in the meantime. Your company's business is a dream because to generate income your company's customer needs your product. They cannot dig holes without buckets and tines and chains and conveyors or any one of dozens of products. The capital equipment sales are beautiful but consumables make the world go round.

At all points in our career we are faced with The Imposter Syndrome, where other people hold us in higher regard than we do ourselves. I know that you've got this, so prepare as best you can but then just go in and do your best. Your employer will be delighted.

Cullen

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hank Schrader was blinded by love

In Breaking Bad, some people consider it an extreme mystery that sharp minded DEA investigator Hank Schrader could not work it out that his brother-in-law was Heisenberg. It's no real mystery to me. Hank loved Walt so much that he could not possibly imagine his brother-in-law as a drug lord. Even when every single shred of evidence pointed straight to Walter.

I'm old enough to know that sort of love in a dozen different ways, to all sorts of people. Big tip - being loved by me is not particularly much fun. I'm too old, really, to think of love as that starry-eyed infatuation that teenagers tend to have.

However, the truth still remains that love makes us do stupid things.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Friday, September 28, 2018

Try to bring energy to your interactions

I have only so much energy. I try to bring energy to the interactions I have, but I only have so much. I've had three interactions with past students over the past day:

1/ An ex student saw me in a meeting and broke in to say how much they had enjoyed their last year with me - in front of a client. A very nice thing.

2/ An ex student saw (on Facebook) that I was in the airport and found me - because they wanted to catch up. A very nice thing.

3/ An ex student - who was never that good - wanted to discuss at length the nature of the course we finished eight weeks ago with what they thought could be better.

Which of the three do you think iare students I wish to have ongoing engagement with? When someone asks me what I think of student X, Y, and Z in little old Adelaide - what do you think my candid feedback will be?

A lesson I've learned in life. Always try to bring more to an interaction than you take out. Energy, skills, capacity, goodwill. In my own case if I disturb the people I've interacted with - then it's very deliberate. Sometimes one can't make an omelette without cracking eggs.

Or perhaps I've just totally screwed up my interaction - it happens.

I remember Dr House was once told "You need people to like you" to which he replied "I don't care if people like me".

"You need people to like you because you need people" [to do things for you]

I need people to like me. And tbh I also like people to like me, without sucking out my life force.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The downside to service and an extraction plan

I have watched from the outside once or twice and come to the understanding that it is possible to be too selfless. It is possible to do to much in the service of others, so that the system is actually made worse.

I am no saint; and any of the things I do for other people up purely by choice. An upside is that it can be my choice to discontinue service. There is a personal cost. Talents that one can take outside and convert into thousands of dollars or personal reward - those talents are used to benefit communities that really don't know the value of what they are receiving. When a person starts to dwell too much on those things, it's time to leave. And so it's time to leave.

But a more insidious effect comes when a community benefits from volunteer efforts that are concentrated in too few people. The community never really gets to take charge of its own stuff. The kids get to stay kids and the volunteer adults become further entrapped. There's a time for the young ones to take over.

It's when I make decisions in the cold light of day that those decisions are most far-reaching. I had a moment of clarity last night where I coolly decided to extract myself from a particular branch of volunteer service that I've been doing for about 5 years. Instead of a polite thank you I was requested to pursue an ever decreasing spiral of minor errors.

And so I have arrived at a better idea. I think I'll stop doing this altogether. It will take me about 8 months to extract myself from this area of volunteering, however the decision has given me a sense of peace. And I'll have extra time and headspace for the next crusade. The extraction begins.