Sunday, September 28, 2014

Family crap: It can end with us or we can start our own

It has been over a couple of months since mum died. She left the world with a whole bunch of bad feelings towards her siblings. I could let those feelings sit with her as she'd tell me about them - I didn't need to own them. Somebody's business with their brothers and and sisters should remain their own. I have plenty of my own history with my uncles - I have been able to develop my own thoughts without mum's help.

But mum's dying wish was that "the shit stopped with her". She desperately hoped that the sons and daughters of her and her brothers could go past whatever their parents left behind. Yesterday was a great step towards that. My brother is getting married soon and as a "Buck's Day do" we raced some go-karts, hit some golf balls, fired pistols at the range and had some dinner.

And I was delighted that Judd, Darcy and Tully Crout, as well as Scott came out for various parts of the day. Here's a photo of some of us at the range.

Some long discussions over dinner helped give me hope. The crap can stop with her. The previous generation can deal with all their stuff, or not. I'm happy to leave them to it, but I really enjoyed seeing my cousins and I think they are high quality people.

I think there's a way forward.

Tupperware's "Big sell" is now just a festering insult

I grew up in (Northern) suburban Adelaide in the 1970s.

Tupperware was a great product - one the first of its kind. A hermetic seal that they said "keeps food fresh" although a plastic bag does the same. But it promised a sense of order and tidiness - much the same as Ikea these days.

But Tupperware was freakishly expensive. A cupboard full of it could easily cost you $1000. As an innovative product in the late 60s early 70s they could justify it, and sold it with a party plan system ensuring some serious personal selling. 

When Decor started doing the same thing in the late 1970s the major price premium became harder to justify. So Tupperware really started thumping the whole "lifetime guarantee" idea.

I found that a dodgy sell, but at least I could kid myself into believing it added value. But of course, there were strings attached (for instance the microwave line was excluded) and getting your guarantee acted upon meant you had to be in touch with a Tupperware person. That meant entering the whole "high sell" environment again.

So I gave up on the Tupperware gig - no longer a buyer. I can buy the equivalent of $150 of Tupperware for $5 at Ikea and give how much gets left at school or work I can simply buy a new set each month and all the parts fit the last lot I had - mix and match.

But now, as I use the Tupperware with its broken bits, those broken bits taunt me. The lifetime guarantee still sits there if I wanted to engage with the system. But I don't - so I just remember "how fucking expensive" Tupperware is, mentally cut my losses, and slide further on the slope to being a stingy old man.

iView: Like a kid wearing his daddy's tool belt.

Don't get me wrong - I love iView. The Australian Broadcasting Commission is leading the charge when it comes to getting all my favourite programs onto my mobile devices. Made even better by the fact that my ISP gives me free bandwidth to watch iView. iView has just been adapted across to the Android platform.

But one thing is missing - the revenue model. This all works fine when you're getting paid for by the taxpayer. I'm certainly getting my money's worth. But as far as adapting the free to air model to mobile devices iView does not advance the cause much.

Currently iView is all paid for by "inside money" - like when your young son wants to save for a computer and asks if he can do some jobs for you to make money. It's all coming out of your pocket. Not the same as when your daughter gets a job in a pasta shop, or older son gets a job collecting glasses in a pub. At some point you have to grow up and earn some outside money.

I don't want the ABC to go commercial, but let's not kids ourselves. iView is like the ABC wearing its daddy's toolbelt and pretending it's a carpenter.

Recently a caller said this on a call into the Sydney "Mornings" program last week:

Caller Steve: I’m – my birthday’s today. I’ve been listening to the ABC for nearly 50 years and I worked for the ABC in the ‘70s. So I think what today’s all about is a re-focus. You know, Quentin Dempster’s been on your program a while ago. Quentin Dempster’s on nearly $300,000 a year and he produces one program a week. Is that a fair reflection of spending money well? I don’t think so.

I listen to Radio National in the morning, the Breakfast with Fran Kelly. She’s got a listening audience of what? One or two per cent across the nation and she’s got nine producers working on the substance of the story. And I just think that things need to be re-focused in the ABC and they’d be accountable for the dollars that you spend.

I love my ABC. And it's great value. But as good as it is, it it's currently not subject to the same pressures as the other media outlets. I'll be interested to see how the players in the commercial media will go in their efforts to commercialise digital content. For them it's survival, not just an interesting diversion.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Urgh. Highly motivated business breakfasts.

I'm coming to one at the request of a close associate. These business breakfasts always make me feel slightly squeamish, especially the "self employed networking" types.

A cliche on so many levels, and I gave this stuff away about 15 years ago.

And pulling into the carpark doesn't make me feel any better, as I see people ejecting from their cars and striding across the road with their folder in their hand.

Well, here goes....

it wasn't so bad. A bunch of people just like me "scratching around in the dirt, trying to earn a buck". The religious fervour still unnerves me though.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A reverberation of Mum, nice.

Our Mum died, suddenly but not unexpectedly, two months ago. Much of the two months has been really crappy. Last night my sister and myself went to Mum's place with our younger kids and my wife to just get a feel for the place and where we go from here.

My brother sister and myself have had our trips out there but it's time to start clearing, and we wanted to introduce our extended family easily.

An upside is that Mia wanted to take a bedspread, and today we have a little reverberation of Mum, which is nice.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The opposite of love is not hate

I've been mulling over this for a few weeks now. Over my time I've had a few instance where I was the focus of intense hatred. I find it really tiring. It's the sort of thing that I can feel the vibes of a person so strongly as if those vibes are poison needles firing in my direction. I've found the only protection to come from what is "the opposite of love".

If it's tiring to be hated, it's self extinguishing to be a hater - for too long. It's like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. I can only recall being in that mode once - to the extent that I bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate. My thoughts being that if "such and such" a person was to die then all I would hear would be the sound of champagne corks popping and I would want my bottle to be one of them. I cracked that bottle few years later in celebration - celebration that those feelings had actually left me and I was feeling the "opposite of love" for the particular person. And I feel a sense of embarrassment over how I'd let my hate feelings engulf me. Not that the subject of my previous hate had become any less vile.

Strangely the opposite of love is the same thing as the opposite of hate.

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
This is the lead thought in a dark quote by Elie Wiesel. The darkness of his thoughts relates to what he saw during the Holocaust and I can get what he's saying.

But indifference can be harnessed in positive ways. I've believed for decades that "the best revenge is to live well". So, rather than continue to swallow the poison of hatred, one may choose to say "whatever - none of my business". For me that involved letting go of the idea of justice in the world, accepting that good things do happen for bad people and that my own job is to make my own world as nice as I can.

And when fate beckons us to to the dark world of hate, reject the invitation. I like the way James Reyne sees it:

  • "I care not now or then, what a pain in the ass it is to run into you again"
  • "When it was raining movie stars I still got Rin Tin Tin"
  • "Maybe then you'll realise you're just tired, tired of yourself. In the beginning was the end - what a pain in the ass it is to run into you again"

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A moment for what's important

Ten year old Jonah has missed out a little lately. I've had two weeks from hell and I missed in particular his parents vs children's football match last Saturday because I was running an intensive course for somebody. So it was a great choice this Thursday morning to cut school and play a round of golf.
At the moment I have dozens of requirements made of me and I'll always be disappointing someone. So I just need to pick the things that matter the most. So I could afford to disappoint a few working stiffs this morning to do something with my boy. The working stiffs will still be there for me this afternoon.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lecture Whiteboard, Advanced Wine Marketing

Here we are, today's class scrawls. the first one represents a working hypothesis I have on wine related Facebook posts, the second about a simple marketing system, the third about who Yellowtail were targeting and the fourth about how you go from thinking about who your customers are to what you do to your product.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Marketing win: If you aren't paying for the product you are _part of_ the product

As we dragged our tired asses out of the royal show last night, there was an AFL "game"where kids were jumping into a foam pit, catching a ball. It looked free and then Jonah came back saying "mum you have to fill something in". Of course.

After a bit of a process, Jonah got to jump for the ball, and then got a photo printed.


Then on the way home, Sylv got an email with this link which has the photo plus a whole bunch of advertising. Fair deal.

But the true brilliance is that when I looked at Facebook this morning, the link was there. It already had one like. It will get a few shares. Jonah was one of twenty kids in the fifteen minutes we were there at 8.30pm on the first day. So the face of the kid may change, but the ad itself might get a good reach.

Very clever. It goes someway to a comment (reportedly) made by Mark Zuckerberg - "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product". Well, in this case "part of" the product.

And equally as important. Advertising is about exchange of value - a company gets advertising results by providing something of value to us. In the commercial media model a consumer would get "free content" in exchange for "eyeballs on an ad". This model has the consumer getting a cool, personalized pic in exchange for being a "node" of advertising for Toyota. Clever and fair, I think.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Dear God, let representative democracy do its job"

I think this guy will be in prison one day.

But not before he barrels through our government like a human wrecking ball, causing an amazing amount of damage that will take a long time to emerge from.

I simply pray that the system of representative democracy does its thing. As a man, Clive Palmer has limited influence. He's the member for Fairfax. As a guy who controls a handful of senate votes he has some power.

But Australia voted three people into the senate: Jacqui Lambie, Glen Lazarus and Dio Wang. Somehow Palmer has co-opted Ricky Muir to the cause. These are all individuals and they will certainly be one timers (although for eight years). I hope that at some point they will drop away from him and serve Australia.

I'm not saying I agree with much of what - say - Jacqui Lambie is or does.

But on thing I know. You can only do the bidding of a deranged psychopath for just so long before it becomes an existential pain that you have to end. When the Palmer United Party folds, Australia will be better off.

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