Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rolling Stones camp?

This looks to me as the guys on top of their game with "Emotional Rescue":
They were so cool, everything they touched turned to gold. It was about 1986. They were so chilled out it was almost camp. I pretty much like everything I've heard of the Stones and this, too, was just WGAF! I just saw it on the Rage NYE special. Cool.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Perhaps embrace the freedom of the unknown?




Perhaps I'm the Fox who lost his tail trying to make the best of a situation I didn't choose for myself (directly) but perhaps I might be dancing with opportunity


Stephen Fry "arguably mis-" quoting Oscar Wilde: If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Somebody's always looking to eat you too

I must've bought this tshirt when I was in Cairns with Edan in April.


I still think it's funny.

That is all.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 30, 2011

"I'll never buy X product again" is mostly an empty threat

Emotions, loving a product and purchase intention is mostly the window dressing we put around our consumer behaviour. Sure, as marketers we need to make pour products physically and mentally available, and suited to our customers. This often gets mistaken for engendering passionate loving feelings within them. Mostly it isn't.


Think about the cafe at work. You have to wait too long for a coffee, someone forgets your regular order or you get served out of turn. And you swear that you'll never go there again. Umm, really? Does that happen?


The Freakonomics guys looked at the same thing in a different way with the NBA player strikes. Watching and attending sport provides utility to a consumer. When the strike goes on, the only threat the consumer can make is to reduce the future income of the league. But the league still provides the utility and making the change to some other sport involves big behaviour changes of the consumer.


As when Jim Carrey couldn't tell a lie but got bad service: "you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna shut up and take it in the bazooka because I can't do anything about it..."


Finally, there's a marketing and econometric model that represents it pretty well. I wrote this paper about five years ago and the data above shows a histogram for chocolate bars. The histogram shows a typical reverse J curve, many people don't buy a chocolate bar in a year, quite a few buy one, less buy two etc. This observed rate comes from two things: a consumer's long run purchasing rate and short term fluctuations around it. Professors Peter Fader and Bruce Hardie do a lot of this, and understand the workings way better than I do. Anyhow, there's fifty years of marketing science that indicates in general consumers don't change the volume of stuff they buy, and are pretty sluggish in changing their brand choices too. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sachin, Kathy and the weight of expectation

The first I heard of him was when Don Bradman called him in for a meeting. In his later years Bradman wasn't taking many visitors. A life of service gave him that right, so he only saw the people he really wanted to. So he called in this Indian batsman, and I surmised that Sachin Tendulkar must be something special.


I think he is. At 38 he seems to facing a personal demon. Cracking his hundredth first class century. Peter Siddle took him out two days ago for 73. With a reasonable lead today, Australia might get chased down and if so, Tendulkar will have been a part of it.


But to Sachin's demons. I recall that Kathy Freeman's greatest feeling in winning the 400m at the Sydney 2000 Olympics was one of relief. The country had set such huge set of expectations around this beautiful girl and the weight really took its toll. FFS they had her lighting the Olympic flame in the opening ceremony.


I stood in a plane queue with Kathy Freeman and she seemed to just want to keep to herself. I left her alone, and fought all urge to "fan mob" her. I'm still proud to just have stood next to her.


But they never leave Sachin alone. So I'm getting a little tired of the pressure on him. As a competitive Aussie part of me would love to see him go through the whole tour, another four matches here, and go home without his century. But no, I think I'd like to see him get a century today although still not chase down our score. Highly improbable, but this is shaping up to be a great day of cricket. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ABC Local Radio in the Battle of the Formats

I'm an ABC radio tragic. I love the talkback. Not just Adelaide either, as I travel I've liked Adam Spencer in Sydney, Red Symons in Melbourne. Thanks to the "Tune-In Radio" app I can listen to those guys any time I like.


Tune-In Radio is handy, it picks up the digital signal of any station and plays it through the iPhone / iPad. I carry around a personal AM radio but sometimes I forget, or lose it, and can use the iPhone. My only real gripe has been the way regular programming disappears when sport comes on. I know that's always been ABC, but the change of pace always leaves me yearning for good talkback. Although just quietly the cricket has been brilliant these last few days:


But with digital - or at least Tune-In Radio there's a change. I think it's about licensing, I think it was Philip Ruddock (maybe) five years ago talking about "anti siphoning and datacasting". I didn't really get it at the time but I think the upshot is that they can't simply replicate their sports coverage on the iPhone. Laws. So the program on the AM receiver is different to the equivalent digital signal. For the last few years they've just played dig radio which was ok, but it wasn't the brilliant ABC that I love. But now they're running an alternative lineup. It's tech savvy, so they're twitter literate, they do time calls that reflect the national audience, and talk to a national audience. Like Trevor and Pav on overnights:


There's Melanie Tait on around lunchtime, a drive presenter I'm sorry I can't remember and Libbi Gorr on evenings.


It's great radio. Intelligent stories and great presenters. I was on the quiz last night and couldn't remember that Beckham played for Real Madrid. Libby is currently talking with a Monash professor about the post 911 wash up. So ABC have done it again. I don't know how much it costs to run this alternative lineup but it's fully in line with the ABC's innovation record. With iView adapted for iPad and Tune-In Radio (plus an analog receiver for the cricket) I have all the ABC I need. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I like Peter Siddle for a number of reasons

He just scored the wicket of Tendulkar with three of his balls to go on the second day of the boxing day test.


He seems to be a bit of a workhorse. He can grind the batsman down with persistence. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Maintenance, risk reduction and quiet achievers

This time of year is great for fixing lots of little pain in the ass jobs around the house.


Here I put a bracket onto a copper riser that has been loose for ten years. If somebody tripped over a hose we'd have a fountain I couldn't stop and it'd be a call to a plumber or helpful family member with the tools.

Ten years of luck shouldn't be stretched too much further. And it reminds me if the role of maintenance, and how it's undervalued. As Walt Kowalski said in Gran Torino "I once fixed a door before it was broken. A maintenance service guy I worked with at Cryovac lamented how the old maintenance guys in a meat production plant could be so easily overlooked. "the guy who walks around with a spanner, tightens a belt on a conveyor, averts the problem. He's never rewarded."

In fact, many systems seem to reward those who allow a problem to arise and then play the champ. Another (young and good) maintenance guy in a meat plant was a master of the breakdown rescue. "Help, help, the X machine has stopped and I have 300 guys standing around doing nothing". And the young guy would revel in it - made sure everyone knew he was in before the problem got fixed.

I suppose a system gets more of what it rewards. So if one chooses to be a quiet achiever then maybe recognise it's not the way that many systems work.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

What's important? Consider why you're worried about losing it.


A series of events have recently caused me to consider the nature of comfort, the nature of tranquility and what I consider important. These events are the loss of:

A car park pass
A job
A dog

I've noticed that as I get older, I just like having some stuff locked down.

There's plenty going on that I can't control so simply driving into town, pulling into a park and walking into the office is an easy solution. It's comfortable. So my swipe card is in the pocket of a pair of pants, somewhere (or some other place) since the day before breakup. I want to go into town today to clear out my office, but realise I'm battling for parks with post Christmas shoppers. And it'll cost. Money that I've already spent to have a lost card.

My contract at Uni of Adelaide won't be renewed after January 20. I didn't own the job but I was playing as if for the long run and possibly spent too much time in the service of others and not writing my own journal submissions. As a bud said "he who goes out of his way to help another at some time needs to find his own way back." No matter, I'd always seen these roles as roles of service anyway, and wasn't surprised with the denouement. And the school has been great about it in the wash up. But it does give me that same uneasiness of losing the carpark pass.

And yesterday our three year old Labrador went missing. My fault, back gate left open. I was quietly distraught from 2pm to 7pm. Neighbour David called it in. What a price that would be. That girl just oozes love and devotion to us. We are out in the back yard with her for 2-3 hours a day. She is a part of the fabric of our family. The odd hole in the garden, chewed up piece of Tupperware or piece of fruit stolen from the trees is a small price to pay.

So in reflection, only the third item in the list really rates. It's about love, family, and doing the right thing by those who count on you. The third item isn't about simply manipulating my level of comfort. As a younger person I would say that comfort is overrated and security is an illusion. So I'm glad Halie's back. She helped remind me what's important.

UPDATE: I wrote that the night before last. Since then I found that carpark pass so will have the use of it until my job terminates on January 20. And Halie ate one of the chickens. Perhaps the real lesson is that the current situation doesn't stay current for long.

- Posted using BlogPress

Monday, December 26, 2011

Out of Contract for 2012

I don't know quite how to say this. But I won't be under contract to the University of Adelaide as of January 20 next year. It's not really my choice, but I'll make the most of it, as I can.


The barest facts: four years ago I was employed at Uni of Adelaide on a two year fixed term contract. Two years after that I was offered another two year contract. In November the contract was openly advertised - I interviewed but was unsuccessful.

And in the wash-up, the Business School has been very decent. I have taken an adjunct role and been scheduled enough contract teaching to keep putting food on the table. I will continue to work with some PhD students in some way. I think the students have a sense of relief about that. An office, computer, library card and enough work to pay some bills. A very workable business arrangement and I'm thankful.

But I like to be employed. I like to be on a team. So I can't really pretend that this is not a setback.

I've been teaching for a living for ten years now. The cycle is about due for a change. The ten years before that was sales, and the (almost) ten before that was tradesman in radio electronics manufacture. I have a few irons in the fire for 2012 but mostly, still considering. It might be time to start trading on some of my other abilities, beyond teaching and industry engagement.

This has been brewing for a while. Whenever sudden changes occur to me that I didn't choose for myself, my life substantially improves. But there is the interim period (such as now) where I am unsure as to the exact path to that improvement.

Whenever I've worked with students I've always (half) joked: "I'll be coming to you for a job one day". The lion and the mouse is real and in life, one rarely remains the mouse.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The engineer and the manager: Redacted and Reposted from July 2010

an oldie but relevant:


A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am." The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude." "You must be an engineer," said the balloonist. "I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?" "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip." The woman below responded, "You must be in Management." "I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."

Human spirit laid bare in Sydney to Hobart




I know nearly nothing about yachting. I know that Rachel Kennedy - somebody I like - used to do it. But his year the buildup to the Sydney to Hobart race is really exciting me. I've come to learn more as every boxing day they take off and brave the elements. And it's dangerous. In 1998 quite a few guys died as nature chose to play dirty. A little story from one of the competitors: "One of those sails weighs about 250kg, so it's a real job to get it up top and onto the mast. And you have to do it right because you can put guys' backs out and all sorts of things. But with a little bit of teamwork it gets done."


And I just heard that Jessica Watson in running Ella Bache after not being 18 for it last year (even though she solo circumnavigated the globe). A 20 year old female is one of the other skippers, leading her family. 3 female skippers, nine female navigators, 35% of the crew female - it's not just a bloke's thing.


And one of the teams is progressively scattering the ashes of ABC chopper pilot Gary Ticehurst in a gesture that brings tears to my eyes. That guy was apparently one of God's gifts to us and saved lives in 1998. And it makes me think of of people who've never played a team sport, trained for a fighting unit, done this type of thing. From experience I have found something missing in them. The idea that you will freely put your life in another person's hands, knowing that yours is in theirs. The idea that you will never give up on them - something sacred. So I am honored to see the human spirit laid bare in this race. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Dancing with the devil: Reposted and Redacted from Feb17, 2010

Michael Weston just said:

..sometimes you do things you don't like for people you don't trust. When the devil himself has got the thing you want the most, sometimes you dance with the devil..

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Adult at Christmas Time v2

The kids broke last year's record and cracked the 6am point. After a rollicking year I still can't help but think, in some ways, that I won.


I'm still married, the kids are one year older (pictured here with grandfather Luigi), and I have personally ducked any major health scares, for now.


Any other things I might grimace about tend to pale in comparison to what I've seen around me with friends and family.


Being dad to these kids is a great job. Everything else - however hard I might play - is just enabling that. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Redact: A new word (and practice) for me during 2011


I just used the word redact, and realise that it's the word for the year. Many people would be in less trouble if the documents they put out were redacted.

To redact is to edit, or prepare for publishing. Frequently, a redacted document, such as a memo or e-mail message, has simply had personal (or possibly actionable) information deleted or blacked out; as a consequence, redacted is often used to describe documents from which sensitive information has been expunged.

I have a litany of posts from last year, which were good value but contained an intemperate sentence or two. Some still shouldn't see the light of day, they're beyond redemption. But much of my blogging in the next week or so will be redacted content. I'll call it cathartic.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Nice to be an adult at Christmas time: reposted and redacted from last Christmas

Christmas day, 6am, waiting for the kids to come and accost us. A brief moment for me to reflect on how good it is to be a dad.

I love it, it has become my destiny. A friend of mine with a one year old keeps reflecting how much more complex his life has become. Yep, welcome to the club. it's a great club. For me it has been my chance to grow up and add value to my life. "the living and the dead, the traffic in your bed. Count it all out now, what do you see? The money that you owe, the love you didn't show. Somewhere tonight, they're counting on me."


It is my job to not make the world a worse place by bringing my three in. The world is counting on me for that, as are my kids. It was my choice to have them, and it was a promise, of sorts. One I am most happy to keep. I don't agree with somebody who once told me that having kids is all about ego, but they do make me feel a hundred foot tall. And having them helps my Christmas to be fun. Praise baby Jesus, a kid who grew up to be a great guy. I think I hear some noises coming from the front room. Better start moving...

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

A new BlogPress for Christmas




I couldn't do it. I haven't been able to find a better mobile blogging app that blogpress. I dumped it and tried to get through with the google app. Lasted a day. but I had seen on the iTunes store that the blogpress developers had fixed the ios5 bug and submitted to apple for release. It caused me to hang on. And jus a couple of days before christmas it got relaunched. Now I can edit posts I've already made, save posts online and pick them up with a different device, manage pictures. It may be lame, but it's will make things easier for me, and my blog frequency will go up. I feel like a guy who's been on home detention, getting released. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The 3H Christmas - a version of "summer of the 17th doll"

My wife has introduced me to many interesting pieces of popular culture - Audrey Hepburn, a Chorus line, Jesus Christ Superstar and many others. One of those was an Australian play called summer of the 17th doll, where people came together for years at holiday time.

Our families now are getting towards 17 years, possibly. Our names all start with "H" so it's the 3H Christmas. I unreservedly think of them as family, two of my wife's college friends, their husbands and kids.

And as the years roll over, we husbands have taken our turns at being in different jobs. The chef has been in goods and bads in hospitality. Settled, selling back into the hospitality trade. The "intrepreneur" has been in and out of a range of things and has settled into a robust role as an operations manager for an erp company.

This year it's my turn to be the question mark, as always not through my own choosing. It will be interesting to see how 2012 play out. In the short term, the picture still includes the University of Adelaide. I've certainly done all that I could this year to stay with them.

And given the number of close friends I've had with health issues, the fact that my kids are entering teenhood, and with aging parents I know that there are other, very important, things to consider.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dire Straits: Tunnel of Love

I'm spamming my own blog tonight but heard this on the radio going to bed and wanted to share. It's 30 years old and I think still brilliant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrDK0UoAkfY


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No atheists in foxholes

Never been brought up with religion but all of my extended family have, and they're good people. I believe Jesus was a real person, and that he did some very important things. I also like Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

And I love to see people with belief, in a religion or against religion.

I said to a buddy "that cross, you're Christian, right?"

"Yeah, but I only pray in exams".
Sensible, you don't go to the ATM to deposit, but other things you do make sure there's always money there.

But a recent event caused me to remember the (sometimes sneering) contention by Christians the "there are no atheists in foxholes" - its pithy, and insightful. And Christians don't have a monopoly on sneering. It almost seems the first commandment of atheism "thou shalt sneer".

I've quite liked the Jedi way of seeing it - the force.

So have I offended everybody equally? Hopefully. And hopefully you'll bear with me. I annoy myself too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gaslighting: A term that's new to me


After a 1944 where a man tries to convince a woman she's crazy by manipulating the gas lights in their home.

Now the word gaslighting is a fairly modern term about a certain type of abusive relationships. Robin Stern describes it as where one member blows off the other's concerns as "you're so sensitive", and "don't be neurotic". At work it's often just been categorised as "bullying" but it might be more complex.

Dr Stern's "self check" list to work out if you're in the "gaslighting" spiral is:

1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.
3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
4. You're always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.
5. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.
6. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behavior to friends and family.
7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.
8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
13. You feel as though you can't do anything right.
14. You wonder if you are a "good enough" girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Third party good comments about me - I'm glad to say

Nice to get a little win from time to time. A colleague was talking to someobody we both knew (evidently) and the third party was saying good things about me.  Some very good things.

Well that's what I hope for. This person and myself had our moments - I can be a hard person to manage - but in the wash up it's turned out pretty well. Water under the bridge and all that.

And sometimes being the person that has that lasting - if grudging - respect means not being the most popular person right here, right now. Anyhoo, at least one ex boss holds me in high regard. There's only a few I'd consider non-recoverable, and I salve my concern with my belief that bad words from some people are sometimes a good thing

"Batteries not included" at Christmas time reminds me of a houseboat trip

A Facebook conversation about parents sneakily inserting batteries into a gift just gave me the chance to shamelessly show this family snap from around 1979. We were on a houseboat at Loxton, yes the "Habel's bend" on the river is where an ancestor set up his farm. Yes me the gangly 12 year old, with Kirrily and Chad.


But on that trip I'd been listening to local radio who were doing a "batteries not included" promotion. All week leading up to Christmas they had said "turn up to our studio on Boxing day morning and we'll give you free batteries."

Always up for a bargain we parked the boat in Renmark and turned up at the duly appointed time. It's where I learnt my first lesson in how businesses work, or don't.

We sat outside a locked door for a half hour then an announcer came to the door "what are you here for we haven't asked you to come in yet" and ensued a discussion with the weekday announcer "oh really, I've been saying all week to come in at 8am"

On reflection, a funny thing is the way that in those days the "batteries" product category was the sort that would run this sort of promotion.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 19, 2011

Guitars, Kites, Bodyboards and Blogs

I can barely understand the story of this clip but I know one thing. I wanna be Flody Boatwood.



I've put this clip up before but it deserves a top billing. I really am looking forward to this Christmas break:

Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair...

...and I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise.

And my tools for this exercise are a guitar, a kite, a bodyboard and a blog. And some kids (of my own).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dairy: I'll buy a manufacturer brand if possible

Ex MBA student and Dairy Board director Michael Ross once asked me if I bought supermarket or manufacturer brand milk and we had a long-ish discussion about it. The upshot was that if I got the chance to buy a manufacturer's brand - any brand - then I probably would. After the chat. And it came to me buying shred yesterday:


Mainland had their tasty shred on sale and while their kg price was a little higher than the supermarket label, it made sense to go with mainland. I'm under no delusions it's a better product, I've seen too many times where the manufacturer simply changes the rollstock from their own product to the supermarket brand.


But at least the Mainland brand gets some sales and maybe - just maybe - the dairy farmers get a tiny bit more money coming their way. Or at least the plants that buy their milk might stay in business.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Most buying is mechanistic and most marketing is practical

Seth Godin's Blog talks about in more depth, but he makes a point that most selling these days is about selling us a switch. To a different brand, more or less the same as the one we have been using so far:


He notes (it's a US example) that almost none of us buy Campbell's soup for the first time. We buy is because our mothers did. Aussies could substitute Liptons tea, maybe, or Meadow Lea.

Most of the buying we do is pretty mechanistic. We know the black tea, or the margarine category. And I think marketers often kid themselves that asserting different "brand added values" makes that big a difference. It's a switch, and many longitudinal consumer purchase surveys show that - in the long run - most households buy most of the brands in a product category.

I was talking the other day with a person who said that in highly commoditised product categories (eg Mt Franklin vs Frantelle bottled water) there is no room for a marketer to do their magic. Allow me to disagree. It's just that "the magic" is not quite what you think it is.

With this (and much consumers goods marketing) I would agree with prof Byron Sharp, that it's about managing physical and mental availability.

And once we get over sense of loss that tends to come with realising that, the world of being a marketer looks more exciting. IMHO.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"I don't have time to blog, or tweet" doesn't work for me.

Perhaps the people who say they don't have time to blog or tweet really are in control of every minute of their day. Perhaps they have no loose minutes waiting for a bus, waiting in a meeting for the important person to turn up. Perhaps they never stand in line for lunch or sit in front of a tv.

Wow, that really is some compressed life. Very productive. Not that I'm suggesting they spend any spare time they do have writing in a blog. Not if they don't feel it in them.

I hope you don't judge me as I sit here, let's say, at my boy's tennis match while someone else plays out their game and I write this. I hope it's ok with you when at 6.30am as I stir and listen to the radio for a few minutes, that I write something.


For some reason I enjoy this. And I do it. Other people enjoy a spotless bathroom, a dog groomed daily, quilting, gaming, a crossword, sudoku. And they do that. And they deserve to, they enjoy it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thankyou Coles: Opaque packaging for potatoes

What? Me grumpy? Perhaps too many years doing too many things.

But I do remember selling plastic packaging into the produce business where we were looking (briefly) at extended shelf life packaging for potatoes. We quickly arrived at the idea that you need an opaque bag with holes in it.

The industry tradition has been to put the potatoes in a pink polyethylene bag with holes in it. Let's not kid ourselves - the pink is not to reduce the sunlight hitting the potatoes. The pink bags are so that when - not if - the potatoes get a green tinge, the consumers couldn't tell. Still, the potato guys were stuck with what they had, people wanted to see the product they were buying so the bag needed to be transparent in some way.

But with the advent of cheap high quality flexibles printing, better margins on premium potatoes (yes home brands help with that) Coles have been able to do the right thing:



A black overall print (with a little window to see the product when you need to) and a high quality representation on front. A little benefit that when you fold over the half empty (or half full) bag the window gets entirely lost, and your potatoes are essentially in a black bag.

Personally I have decided that I only plan to get a week out of potatoes - they're so good when they're fresh.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 16, 2011

Relaxer: Jimmy Buffet knows how to chill

This taps into the homesickness one can feel when you're out somewhere doing something to earn a buck, and really only wanting to be back with the ones you love, being the person you want to be. Even if the thing you do to earn a buck is a thing you love.

The song starts at 0.40


"I've spent four lonely days in a brown LA haze and I just want you back by my side"

But as I trawl through Youtube I find this says it all - with the exception that my element is air, where Jimmy's must be water:



I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year
All of the faces and all of the places
Wonderin where they all disappeared
I didn't ponder the question too long
I was hungry and went out for a bite
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum
And we wound up drinkin all night

Its these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldnt laugh we would all go insane

Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places Ive been
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again
If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a bitches
Ive seen more than I can recall


I think about paris when Im high on red wine
I wish I could jump on a plane
So many nights I just dream of the ocean
God I wish I was sailin again
Oh, yesterdays over my shoulder
So I can't look back for too long
There's just too much to see waiting in front of me
And I know that I just can't go wrong

With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of my running and all of my cunning
If I couldnt laugh I just would go insane

If we couldnt laugh we just would go insane
If we werent all crazy we would go insane

And Jimmy gets a reprise with Zac Brown Band

and for those of us stuck on Mac mobile (music starts at 2.10):


Knee Deep

Gonna put the the world away for a minute
Pretend I don't live in it
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away

Had sweet love but I lost it
She got too close so I fought her
Now I'm lost in the world trying to find me a better way

Wishing I was knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Wrote a note said be back in a minute
Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
Don't think anybody gonna miss me anyway

Mind on a permanent vacation
The ocean is my only medication
Wishing my condition ain't ever gonna go away

Cause now im knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
[ From : http://www.elyrics.net/read/z/zac-brown-band-lyrics/knee-deep-lyrics.html ]

Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

This champagne shore washing over me
It's a sweet sweet life living by the salty sea
One day you could be as lost as me
Change you're geography
Maybe you might be

Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Come on in the water it's nice
Find yourself a little slice
Grab a backpack of lies
You never know until you try
When you lose yourself
You find the key to paradise

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Packaging: A five second commercial

After a night out and sitting at a bar I remember the bar (bar and waiting) training school guy saying "these guys spend a lot of money on designing and producing their bottles, they want to sell their product" do a shelf full of bottles is like a billboard.


So to a person looking over a bar I suppose it's another place where a brand competes.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Anti drink driving ad

Brilliantly written.

"I've been internalising a really complicated situation in my head. I don't think you should drive"



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Monday, December 12, 2011

I love the "Burn Notice" chemistry

A great cast. I personally like Sam, the slightly tired guy with a history but they are all really cool. Michael's mum - Maggie - had her time in the sun tonight.

Brother got to do a writeup on gaming

Great to see. Chad has a quiet aggression that I really enjoy. A "thanks for telling me - seriously" approach and a drive to still achieve whatever he needs to as well. It was hilarious that I want to get glasses more like his, and he told me he deliberately chose his to be a little different to me. The big brother, the parent, doesn't stay the senior forever. Some "big brothers and parents" have trouble letting go of their inherent seniority, and perhaps others get in trouble because they relinquish it too quickly.



Friday, December 9, 2011

Security guard on battle duty

I was wondering why the security guy had such an attitude about him. Why he pushed to the front of the line without too much thought for those around him.


I guess it's because this place is about to get pretty gritty and it'll be time to earn his money. It's 10pm on a Friday night.

No baggage but it gets pretty rugged pretty soon, according to these guys.

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The privilidge of dealing with good people

Privilidge. Three times this week. Training course, business meeting, golf.

A training course full of successful people who were open and interested in discussing how to use social media. Nobody was about to fed any bull, but didn't feel the need to look good at anybody's expense.

Again at a business meeting with a successful market research company. The operations manager sat in a bean bag, the owner/director perched on the edge of a big chair and the everybody just chatted through with respect for each other - clearly some levels of responsibility but no apparent feelings of superiority.

And then on a leave afternoon a round of golf with dear friend Klaus who has seen more of the machinations of a Uni than I plan to and is nobody's fool, but refuses to sign onto cynicism. Part of a nexus of lovely people who understand the humanity of their friends.

Some things are life affirming.

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Thankyou to my anonymous guardian angels

This blog is getting a fair few hits these days - around 60 per day. Having had a background in sales I get a perverse sense of normality by monitoring this.

Recently, from a buddy, I got the idea that some of these readers are quietly checking for any intemperate content. I hope they will have no reason to send me the concerned email, but trust that they will if they need to.

So to my guardian angels, whoever you are, I thank you.


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Thursday, December 8, 2011

The "Lion and the Mouse" is real

Today's rooster, tomorrow's feather duster; today's news item, tomorrow's bird cage liner. My father in law makes the joke "I be the boss today, you be the boss tomorrow".


Other than the fact that humility is in itself a good thing - I feel - the story of the lion and the mouse is real.

Basically, a mouse wakes a lion up who plans to eat it, then lets it go. Later on the lion is caught in a net by hunters - the mouse hears the noise and chews through the rope before the hunters return.


I believe in the story. I need to believe in the story.


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bureau of Meteorology uses a Marketing Paradigm

How interesting. The Australian bureau of meteorology have been praised recently for their approach to predicting rainfall. I agree it's very clever and it mirrors an approach we use in marketing:


Chance of any rain and expected volume.

It doesn't take too much of a stretch to think of reach and frequency here; how many people see an ad at all, and the expected times a person sees it.

Or penetration and purchase frequency; percentage of people who bought (fanta) at all and the average number of times they buy it.

Simple and clever. Add to that they way BOM has couched these predictions in probabilistic terms. I'm a probability and randomness tragic, so they're speaking my language.

BOM are using the language of (some) marketers there, and I like it.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Enjoying Christmas through childrens' eyes



One of my more embarrassing episodes of the last 12 months involved a post I made around vicarious enjoyment of Christmas through my kids (although I don't really like Christmas otherwise). The overall tone was nice enough but I allowed myself to lapse into the odd uncharitable thought too, directed elsewhere. At the end of an era that had lessened me in every way.

So a Google search indicates I might have successfully expunged it, phew. And as the time of year rolls around again I have begun to get excited at the prospect of viewing Christmas though my kids eyes, again, the right way.


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Friday, December 2, 2011

Packaging Design by Mr 8yo

While I was away, it appears Jonah had a project to conceptualise and build a new product. So he got a resealable sandwich bag, turned it into a free standing pouch and designed a label:


Choc volcano it is. Nice design, with a window looking through to a print on the other side. It's very doable, but in seven years of selling this stuff, none of the designers ever asked me to do something like that. The creativity of youth.


And a neat backlabel too, complete with nutrition panel, barcode and serving suggestions. Having worked through the process of concept, per-press and production for seven years with Cryovac, I got a little nostalgic.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Does Phil seem a little out of sorts?

Self sufficiency as expressed in this ad




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Choice Modelling: The effect of influencers in joint decisions

This is a pos I wrote in the beginning of December at the Australia/New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference. I think this "advances in choice modelling" will be the most interesting session here at #ANZMAC2011. This one I've just seen uses the latest techniques to identify the relative influence of two consumers in a joint decision. Fully operationalised and applied using discrete choice methods with multiple experiments. Husband and wife decision processes on water quality.


Well played, Cam Rungie. I agree, this tool is great for testing hypotheses and developing theory. I agree also, this method lends itself brilliantly to understanding the influence process in wine choice. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Doritos Pug Attack ad

Thanks to prof Russell Belk at #ANZMAC2011 for this gem:




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Kylie and Gotye: Great choices at Arias

I'm proud that Kylie Minogue is Australian and when I first heard Gotye I thought I'd gone back twenty years to Peter Gabriel's brilliance:



That's a good thing, how good is this?

Hugh Laurie: The Type of Genius I Like

Hugh plays blues. The word is polymath and my heroes Leonardo DaVinci, Galileo and now Dr House are on the list. Yes I know it's just a TV show.



Galileo, king of night vision, king of insight.



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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 4G trial has proven useful today

You might remember I did a trial for Telstra for their 4G broadband wireless network?


Well I've come to Perth for a conference and it's working brilliantly here. Here's when I dropped into the office this morning to pick it up. Thousands of miles and a day away now.

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