Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mick says it the way I can't, yet.

I just love this guy.

This Herald Sun article he spends talking about how important his wife has been to his whole life. I feel the same way, am just too tied up in the everyday shit to express it much. Mea culpa.

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How to stay young: may I one day be this big of spirit

This came through on email from someone I don't know just then. But I like the sound of it. It had a tag to pass it on to four people so I suppose if I get four pageviews I'll have done my job. And that makes the reading of it optional, rather than an unsolicited email. I'll need to reformat it when I get to the PC. This is a manifesto for someone way bigger than me but as Jools said in Pulp Fiction: "but I'm trying, Ringo, so help me I'm trying".


1. Try everything twice. On one woman's tombstone she said she wanted this epitaph: "Tried everything twice...loved it both times!"

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. (Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches!)

3. Keep learning: Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain get idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things

5. Laugh often, long and loud.. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with

6. The tears happen: Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves.xLIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love: Whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it.. If it is unstable, improve it.. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. I love you, my special friend.

11. Forgive now those who made you cry... You might not get a second chance.

And if you don't send this to at least 4 people - who cares? But do share this with someone.

Remember! Lost time can never be found...

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leatherbound (family man)16: Sappy kid talk

As I'm wheeling through the leatherbound entries I have come across a couple of sappy ones, where I was filled with the excitement and promise of "the news" that we were going to have a baby. So if hearing other people gushing about their kids is not your thing then walk on by - I love my 14, 11 and 8 yo M-F-M team but rarely gush these days. Edited to remove personal stuff. Here's the throwback:

Sean's entrepreneur's manifesto from Amsterdam

Deadline's Sean Heylen came back from a global entrepreneur's convention with this manifesto. What an inspiring set of values. And from what I see, Sean lives them:

Passion, integrity, respect, balance, authenticity, leadership, fun, trust, generosity, courage, honour, transparency and empathy.

More than just words. I undertake that every day for the rest of the year I will read this list and take a moment to reflect what they mean for me.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nice national article but the odd correction

Dateline 9.46am Tuesday 27/9/2011. Every dealing with the press is a roll of the dice. I had said to the reporter that I had been trialling Telstra 4G for the last week and a half, plus I had allowed family and colleagues to run it to get some feedback from them. That's what I did.

The writeup had it as "Dr Habel has been trialling 4G for the last week ..."

Ahem. Anyone who has followed me would know that I've been in Singapore, teaching from Sunday 18 to Sunday 25. So reading the article would have me look like an opportunistic fibber. I can now see why Keating eventually declared that the only press he would do is real time television.

But it worked OK. It was a bit of fun. The product is good, I got the Uni logos up into p17 of the Advertiser and p1 of AdelaideNow. A whole bunch of Uni people were happy enough to see it and nobody was complainy. And as misrepresentations go - it's a bit of a zero. So lighten up, Cullen.

And I have to thank my friend and ex student Belinda Harris from Telstra who invited me into the trial. As I get older I realise that the friendships I have here in Adelaide are the things I want to keep the most. And I love hearing from the 10,000 or so ex students I have known.

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Netanyahu on the power of truth

A strong perspective. My problem is that whenever I hear arguments on the Middle East I hear merit in the arguments of whoever is doing the talking. So today it was Netanyahu.

But what impressed me was a sentence he was given by a Rabbi as Netanyahu was about to start work in a "house of lies":

"remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide"

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Schrödinger's cat in a 1.37 animation

It's gonna take me 15 times to make some sense of this, but it's good.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

MBA Graduation

I'm delighted that Hamid graduated today. Hamid is from Iran, is working on migration to Australia and I really want it to work for him.

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Yes, I baked the Laxettes cake at DSTO radio workshop

Not particularly proud of it but not opening a vein over it either. Perhaps a little reckless with other people's health and wouldn't do it these days - but it was me. The people involved know it was me at the time but apparently the legend lived on and the identities got lost. I was asked at a 1998 reunion with some awe if it was me. Um, embarrassingly, yes.

In 1986 I was an apprentice in radio trades (electronics) at the Defence Science and Technology Organization at Salisbury. After the first year in trade school, apprentices went on six weekly rotations around the various production workshops and experimental labs. What a brilliant training, both technical and how to deal with people.

The radio workshop had a paint shop attached to it and on a placement there I got hit by an old tradesman's trick. Get the apprentice to put a funnel in the top of the pants and when they're not looking, tip a bucket of water into it. I knew the trick was on, with a hundred people watching, but it was "really? Are you really doing this?"

So after I got funnel flushed (weird mindgames) I was also told that I should bake a cake for them as I was going to my next rotation. Really? You're joking.

So on the Monday as I was on the way to my new posting, I dropped off the chocolate cake. I had spent every spare cent I had to fill the cake with chocolate laxatives. And oddly enough the outcome was to almost everyone's satisfaction.

The cagey old guys in the paint shop would never have fallen for it. The sharp operator tradesmen in the radio shop wouldn't have either. But they did put my special cake out at communal tea break time.

Who got caught? By all accounts a pig of a man who worked on the periphery, had been known to steal out of his coworkers' gym bags, and acted horrid to everyone around him, especially apprentices. No lasting damage just embarrassment. Lucky I was.

So things haven't changed much. My hot head still causes me to rush in where angels fear to tread. And I still draw censure from some people. But I had once said, "it's almost as important to be disliked by bad people as it is to be liked by good ones". I got a little dumb lucky with that one, but didn't know for about 12 months until a buddy leaked it back.

And often these days, as it was with my irresponsible Laxettes prank, I mostly have to lay low for a while. Not so much as back in 1986 where I was in fear for my physical wellbeing, but there are always consequences for stirring up a hornet's nest. And those who are glad you did it still - quite sensibly - duck for cover.

But in reflection - time again - I might have done something other than bake a Laxettes cake.

Live and learn. I suppose until I die.

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BCom graduation

This is a very important day for our students and I'm always pleased to be around for it.

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Rudd paid the price of "I'm not here to be liked"

Gillard did not assassinate Rudd, she euthenased him, a necessary end to a personal who had worked himself into a position of being hated by all who had to work for, and with him. Apparently he didn't love the ones he led and reality caught up with him, as Barry Cohen indicates towards the end of his article:

"Bit by bit he estranged almost the entire caucus. They became fed up with his insufferable behaviour. In a column in July last year I recounted how shocked I was, when dining with three senior Labor MPs, to learn how much he was loathed. Another told me: "He was an out-of-control dictator. Everywhere he went there was death and destruction." Rudd committed political suicide.""

I have wavered in the past. I have been know to say "I'd rather be feared than loved". I was wrong. Now, there may be sense to criticisms that I care too much about what my coworkers think about me, but too many times I've seen (and been) the person who cares too little. I will continue to err on the side of positive dealings with the people around me.

As much as I can.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Leatherbound 15: Every success looks like a failure at some point

A story from the 29 year old me where I met a guy who crashed through the self-doubt barrier to eventually become a success in his field:

Grumpy Mick will have to do a little more press

Collingwood has advanced to the grand final and I'm just hearing Malthouse. "you don't want to get too excited about this but these are just wonderful blokes, some I've worked with for 12 years, others just two or three"

This is a reprise of my enthusiasm about love the ones you lead and I will look forward to Mick's press over the next week and beyond. He deserves a second grand final. In a world of AFL robots this man who leads with his heart is an inspiration.

I have been led that way before (my respect for Rod E Davis just grows) and see aspects of it even these days. And I hope the man who leads with respect for his charges receives all he deserves.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Potential honours project: A shift in consumer perceptions of who is a "convenience" retailer

As I work with the Singapore students here, some groups need to research Cold Storage and Fairprice, while others are researching for 7-eleven and Cheers.

What we're seeing is that many of the needs that were traditionally serviced by the convenience guys are now covered by the supermarkets. Cold beer, meal solutions, snacks are all sitting there in the supermarket, with high accessibility and short queues!

So if there's an honours student looking for something to research this could be worth a thought. How are consumers perceiving the convenience category, how is this different from the past and is this different for consumers of different ages?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whiteboard 5: Me getting excited about using Excel to do analysis for Causal Research

Unfortunately my physique is closer to Homer Simpson than Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, but I did get very enthusiatic with these students here in Singapore about using the very basic tool of Excel to do some really neat data crunching. I think they were listening, which is good, because we'll live and die by it once they get data from their market research activity.

Social media is a people business - maybe show your face?

Just a little thing. Blogs, Twitter and to some degree Facebook are social media. The people who might connect with you are hoping to connect to a person. So with advance apologies to some of my highly valued colleagues who might get caught by this - perhaps you might be prepared to show your face. Perhaps give some of yourself.

There are loosely two types of people when it comes to getting photos taken. The first hate - and avoid - the camera and the second realise they have to make the best photo they can. It's amusing that some who duck the camera like to think of the others as camera hogs or narcissists - perhaps.

One thing's for sure - the camera will catch you sometime. So if there is limited photo stock of you out there and you're annoyed when the camera does catch you then every photo out there is likely to be a stinker. Even with me trying to make my photos look ok I appear as a cross between a gargoyle and Homer Simpson, but it could be worse.

And if you hate the camera then maybe spend some money and get a professional to create an image for you. If they can make Keith Richards look like he's alive then surely they can get something you can use. It'll be way better than the gloomy "cats bum" photo that some paparazzi grabbed that night.

But more importantly if you want to be in this social media game then do your networks the courtesy of showing your face. I understand when people use a cartoon character - it's often a lighthearted comment on "you wouldn't want to see my face anyway". I know the feeling - you're showing some personality and you're almost there.

And then replacing your avatar with a photo of your dog, your last holiday, your car or your holiday house? Dare I say it might look a little more insular and self indulgent than simply sticking your mug up there. With respect, it might be having exactly the opposite impression to your audience.

I feel this applies to twitter and blogs, and in a way I think Facebook is sort of your own business. But if even in a "friends based" domain like FB you don't want to show your face?

Businesses - if you think the avatar pane is the place to be splashing a logo instead of a face you might not be thinking about the medium in the right way either.

I know, this looks like a person trying to foist his world view on others. Perhaps I'm just feeding the hungry beast of content. Almost all of my friends and colleagues who might take exception to this are bastions of humility and I'm scared at the thought of offending them. But it's sort of the point of this blog to voice an opinion if I have one.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The story of Kepler and Galileo: Answering the right question

In Market Research we teach the importance of defining the question clearly before doing the research. It sounds sensible but the price for getting it wrong....

In the 1980s Coca-Cola thought the question was "what performs better in blind taste tests?" and when they found the best formulation - according to that question - they changed to formulation to New Coke. The rest is marketing textbook history.

So in a face to face discussion of my Kepler and Galileo postI reiterate to my Singapore students the importance of defining the question properly. And the fact that if you can do it well and follow through with good research the rewards can be great.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Leatherbound 14: Always be able to put the lid on your life

A full life means that if it ended today, you could say "well that was OK" from 1998.

Skype help with Edan's Science Homework

So from here in Singapore Edan was up against a pretty tough little science prac with an application of Ohm's law. Something I could help with. But I was just chatting to him on the phone. But the beauty of Skype - we flicked it on, he put on screen sharing and before we knew it he had a result. Nice.

Leatherbound 13: Just staying in the game can be an achievement

As I watched the Atlanta Olympics I marveled at the emotional toughness of Kieren Perkins and Michael Diamond, the latter of which speaks of being dogged by a niggling awareness that the pain would all be over if he simply allowed himself to fail.

In my text below I had it wrong. The trap winner was a guy called Michael Diamond:

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Congratulations to my buddy Edgar

How nice. Edgar Bandoma was working in the Singapore Straits Wine Company store in UE Square a year ago when I was doing some work with them.

He's there on the right. Whilst I'm not doing any of that work any more - although I have good memories of SSWC - I still go in and visit when I'm working here. Hence this photo today.

And I'm delighted that Edgar has had things go his way. For the last three months he tells me that he's been a manager of three stores - UE Square, Icon Village and Craig Street. A great, gentle, humble guy has had things go a little his way. Very nice.

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Off to go teach

From 9am today:

With my notebook, a little bag of food and my video gear

I'll go across the road and teach my very good 30 students:

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back to Singapore again

And I'm lovin' the idea.

I start tomorrow with 30 students doing a bachelor of commerce and they're doing the Market Research course. We will be running projects on Singapore retail with (nominal) clients such as Cold Storage, NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong and 7-Eleven.

Students are already ahead of the pace, they nominated their clients within TWO DAYS. Really promising.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Leatherbound 12: Life is short, play hard

My 28 year old self, giving advice to children I hadn't yet fathered. The kids are 14, 11 and 8 now, and while I (sort of) have more to lose, I also (sort of) have less to lose these days.

Three quotes of stoicism, perhaps apocryphal

When Galileo was convicted for heresy, the Spanish inquisition told him that the only acceptable view was that the earth was stationary, the centre of the universe. He was said to mutter "and yet it moves".

In "the Crucible" a character was piled up with stones to force a confession from him and his last words were "more weight".

When William Wallace (Braveheart) was publicly splayed on a table due for disembowelment and his way out was to recant, his last scream was FREEDOM.

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Kepler and Galileo: The problem of looking at things the wrong way

When the Aristotelian view was all the rage, humans were forced to do all sorts of backflips to accommodate that view.

When we believed the earth was the centre of the universe, the planets' movements were strange. They appeared to go forward and back. Have a look at this diagram of Mars going around the Earth:

Johannes Kepler was the poor guy trying to write mathematical equations to describe it. He was a big part of the movement that said - "hey what if we look at it this way?". And Galileo actually had the gall to look through a telescope.

And so we had a model that explained about ten times as much, was simpler, and free from errors. All because of deciding to look at things differently. The truth had set us free.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Getting a start in marketing - in particularly online media

Guy Turner - Advertiser Newspapers Manager Digital Sales and Integration - came out to talk straight to our students the other day. We will probably be doing a little more together and that should be pretty cool but for now Guy's "employer perspective" on new graduates is definitely worth a look.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Authenticity in branding

I put this material forward last week. A really nice little chapter from Mark Uncles' textbook.

Whiteboard 4: The household lifecycle and how we might sell using it

A simple idea. Different phases of life create different needs for a family. Here's what went on in a tute as we talked through the sorts of needs might exist for milk, washing machine, life insurance and home cleaning services. Sensible enough.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First step out of high school: A lecturer's good natured rant

We have a joke at home about my two personalities: Mr Jekyll and Doctor Rant.

I'll let Dr Rant out of the cage for a moment but in a constructive way I hope. I love working with young people, especially at my current employer. They are quite clearly to future leaders of the country. Australia - and the world - belongs to them. And I'm very happy about that.

That's not to say we don't have to help some of them on their path. With the 250 students I currently have, they agree on a presentation date at the beginning of the semester. From there, it has to run like clockwork. I turn up and the students tell me who's presenting, I mark the presesntation and life goes on. As one might say - "Just Do It".

It's not a part of the deal to be contacting me two days before saying "I can't contact my team member, what should I do?" when we set the date 8 weeks ago and (officially) you've been coming here each week since then.

Nearly all of my students are way more responsible than I was at 20. Many work two or three jobs as well as uni, have important roles in family businesses. But this new model where uni is the first real (such as it is) taste of the world is giving a new role to lecturers and professional staff (and co students).

Twenty years ago, the first stop out of school for many of our people was to join the army, into a hospital as a nurse, an apprenticeship (I worked in 15 radio workshops and labs), or as unskilled labour. Those workplaces had their means of applying sanctions for dudding out your mates and your bosses.

In the army, you might be locked in a closet for a night, nursing I'm sure had its way to correct the slack ones, some horrendous stories (some too far) of hash treatment of young workers. In the radio workshop at DSTO this young smartass was caught in front of the whole workshop with the funnel in the pats and bucket of water in the funnel. (Another post one day will cover the DSTO incident). There is a line between sanctions and bastardisation and when the line is respected, the job gets done.

And there will be none of that in a university. But the setting of boundaries and norms is still important. But there is no grumpy storeman or screaming foreman to act as the enforcer.

So that's how I see it. I'm delighted that the world belongs to these young people. I try not to be the cranky lecturer, but sometimes I slip. But sometimes I am bewildered at why a student might consider their problem to be mine.

Let's save my involvement for getting you an internship or your first job. I love being able to do that for you, and it's a great use of my time. Every minute I spend on minor housekeeping is a minute less I get helping you be great.

I'm pretty sure that one day, ten years from now I'll be standing in front of you looking for work. I need to have done many, many (real) favours before then.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Interruptive advertising in iPad news apps

I loaded up the Advertiser Sunday Mail app the other day. I can heartily recommend it, it's free for three months and then I hear it'll be less than $10 a month after that. I'm sold.

I'm interested in how to make advertising work with these things. We won't be throwing out the commercial model, but how well will interstitials work in terms of recall, ad liking, irritation and perceptions of intrusiveness. I think many of these things will interact with the consumers own perception of a "content for advertising covenant" (my term I think).

I did a walk through of the app yesterday. Don't persevere after you've got the general feel for it, there are no great pearls at the end. But this is worth researching, I think.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Yummy Hershey's app

I noticed Mia playing with an app in the coffee shop. So Hershey's have found a way to score a consciousness point:

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"Grumpy Old Man" doesn't cut it in social media

I find it just doesn't seem to work, being cantankerous and pugnacious in social media. Three stories:

A nice person I once worked with made a suggestion to me about gardening on Facebook. As the suggestion was something I had previously covered, I responded quite curtly. I've never heard from her again.

Around December last year my posts on this blog and many of my tweets were bitterly reflective. I got many pageviews - possibly people could believe I would keep writing the stuff - but my Klout score went down from 46 to 31. And I got in trouble.

In the airport on the way out to Singapore I got mildly irritated in the line behind a family. The mother was really nice and I thought I recognised her. When I went to do a foursquare checkin, I realised the person was a foursquare friend, very active in social media and someone I'd met a year ago and liked. We're still great friends on social media - she either didn't recognise me or more likely she's simply a big person.

When will I learn? Just as you can't hide in social media land, "Grumpy Old Man" will not win you posts, followers or retweets. And one can't just pretend to be nice, one has to actually benice.

I had a similar wakeup call back in an apprentice school 26 years ago. I'd come from a tough high school environment where getting people to leave you alone was a win. These new friends were happy to leave me alone, but then I had no friends. It took a little while to learn myself out of that one too.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Leatherbound 11: YOUR prison is just that

In 1996 I was apparently a little bewildered by people who were locked in by their own fear and sought to restrain those around them. Hence my rants to my - as then - unborn children to be ruthless with those around them who threaten to sap their spirit or steal their dreams. Sensible advice, still, I feel.

The paragraph I quoted in the middle was from a song called "The Cape" by Guy Clarke

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Whiteboard 3: Measuring salience, a brand's share of mind

Some people argue that share of mentions of relevant category cues is a good way to measure share of mind.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Leatherbound 10: Your rules are YOUR rules

In a message to my kids, 15 years ago, I had a crack at trying to explain how our rules are simply a fabrication. Most of the time I'm readin these thinking "yes, I should do more of that..

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Repetition as a cut-through tool

This works. The same price on everything. Certainly cut through my filters.

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Leatherbound 9: The future is now

I was sure I'd posted this earlier, but the facts would indicate otherwise. This was my leatherbound message to my - as then - unborn children that they should be prepared to have a go, that life is not a dress rehearsal.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mofos sell $30 wine on curiosity and trust

This seems to be working. Good on them. Adelaide group wine buying site "vinomofo" strike a deal with a producer (if you can sell 50 cases we'll give you this cracking deal) then they tweet it and get the orders. All without mentioning the name of the brand. It can't really harm the wine's brand equity as there are no discount associations but they have shifted some wine, and got the label into 50 cellars that probably didn't have it before.

Well done guys.

UPDATE: It sold out before lunchtime - 120 cases. They put a second secret deal on that same day. I saw the guys that night and there were quips - "you guys are selling more before lunch than you previously sold in a month". And it couldn't happen to nicer guys - and least from the way I see it. They built the community, and the trust before they started trying to sell into it. Well played, sirs.

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