Why anti social media rants simply don't work -even for the Bieber

It seemed that everyone was having a moan at their audiences yesterday for not behaving properly. 

Justin Bieber sent out orders on Snapchat to his Beliebers that they should not harass him for a photo if he didn’t feel like it. 

"The way you ask or approach me when you want a photo with me is going determine if I take a photo or not,” he warned.

“If I’m walking somewhere or arriving somewhere and you guys are asking me to take a photo, if I don’t respond, if I continue to keep walking, the likelihood is that I probably don’t want to take a photo at that moment.

“If you start screaming louder that’s not going to make me take a photo more.” Everybody got that?

The instructions came after he was screamed at by demanding selfie-hungry fans at Melbourne airport. Surely they should all just enjoy the experience of basking in his presence and not need to get a photo for their social media?

Shortly after, a member of the Bieber entourage posted a video of fans clearly ignoring his directive and Bieber abandoning an attempt to address his fans saying "nevermind, you’re not even listening to me.” (which would make a great song title Justin you should use that -you’re welcome). 

Former Australian Premier Campbell Newman then saddled up on ABC News and complained about the 'click-baiting' of politics and how nobody wanted to take the time to let him explain anything properly. 

What both Newman and Bieber seem to have missed is that their audience, has their own audience and their own objectives. 

The Bieber fans main objective for stalking him at an airport or outside a hotel is to get a selfie for their social media accounts. 

The Twittering political classes love to chirp away at politicians as a form of entertainment. Politicians become the ‘social object’ that is bantered about and finding the funniest meme or calling out a fumble (although a bit mean) is all part of the sport. 

Message control through your own publishing channels is a good thing but don’t think this will translate into the audience changing their behaviour if you haven’t understood their objectives. The Belieber also has a Snapchat account. The voter also has a Facebook or a Twitter account to express their views on. Start with that person’s behaviour and work back from there and don’t get frustrated with the new reality. 

Women in tech panels - should we Let It Go?

“Does your daughter like Frozen?”

I was at a women in tech type function and trying to be friendly to my round table neighbours.

“Your daughter, is she into Frozen, the movie?”

The women next to me stared blankly, not sure what to make of my alien question. We were talking about how to get young girls into coding and she had mentioned that her five year old loved her work iPad.

"Oh Frooozennn. Yes she loves Frozen. Sorry, I work in an all-male executive team and nobody ever asks me during work hours if my daughter likes Frozen. We only ever talk about rugby and racehorses. Yes she’s mad on Frozen, we have Frozen everything."

There was some criticism this week of the Salesforce Women in tech sessions at their annual conference. What was Oprah’s best friend Gayle King doing asking super amazing tech powerfox YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about having five children? Why did she not ask her complicated business questions about the future of video in Bangladesh and how dare she bring Wojcicki’s husband into it? Are the proliferation of women in tech panels and programs just token pink-wash and do they have a purpose or should we just -let it go?

I must admit to being a reformed women's conference and panel hater. I thought it was tokenism and embarrassing for women to have to share all details of their life and be asked light weight questions about ‘having it all’. Two ideas changed this:

1. Realising that there are challenges that are unique to women and no amount of wishing it away is going to change anything. Women have babies, you know, biology. Women are usually the primary care givers, especially when children are young (also biology). Generally speaking I would say that women think and worry about their life stages and how they are going to integrate family and work (in fact, I know they do because I did some research on it at uni). 

I think it’s positive to talk about work and home integration and people like Wojcicki and her mentees, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer all make it ok and provide examples for people to follow.  Women like talking about their children and families. Marissa Mayer recently published a Tumblr post celebrating her pregnancy with twins and proudly declaring that she would continue to be the CEO of Yahoo. I think these women should be championed for their ability to manage work and family and it’s interesting and an experience that’s unique to women. The fact that men don’t get asked these kinds of personal questions about how they manage work and family is a non-issue to me. 

2. I don’t know where this saying comes from and it’s kind of old-timey but, you have to bless the path in front of you

Women have a hard enough time as it is and fault finding women in tech panels and programs is not helpful. The last thing we want to do is create a minefield where women and men can’t ask certain questions, highlight different individuals or speak freely about their lives. The more women are seen, given a voice and allowed to tell their stories, the better. The glass ceiling won’t be broken by throwing stones from the outside. Making it OK for people to talk about their five year old daughter’s Frozen fix, pregnancy news and fifth child as part of a future of technology discussion will. 

Guy Kawasaki on evangelism and bozo vaccination

I went and saw Guy Kawasaki the other week. It was my first trip out to the University of New South Wales and they have just opened the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre

So nice. I sat on the lawn and had a coffee while Guy set up inside

Guy setting up to Periscope livestream off his iPhone

I see a lot of evangelists in my life (and I mean -a lot, one of the greats Dr Ravi Zacharias was also in Sydney the same week to packed auditoriums so it was all pretty amazing for me- it’s kind of my thing) but not many of the secular kind and Kawasaki is still one of the best. 

Students in the new innovation centre

His choppy, confronting ‘this is how we do things around here’ style holds your attention and makes you like him.  Mainly because he actually has an opinion and something to say but also because he has great Apple war stories and a magnificent smile. He's a great communicator and everything screams of experience and time on the road. 

A great communicator in action
Even though he was speaking under his new banner of startup Canva, it’s not hard to tell his true love is still Apple. It didn’t take long for the ‘what was it like to work for Steve Jobs’ stories to come out and as Guy confirmed ‘everything you’ve heard about Steve Jobs is true. He was a genius and terrifying and I thought he was going to fire me at every meeting.”

He had some great yarns and advice so I’ve selected three of my favourites:

1. Engineers think engineering is hard and therefore, everything else is easy - like say, sales and marketing. Engineers think you can hire any old person to do stuff that isn’t engineering. 

I just about fell out of my chair with this one. I’ve experienced this ‘hire any old random to do marketing or finance or whatever because the clever people are the engineers’ mindset so I’m glad it wasn’t just me who had to explain that if your mate’s girlfriend wants a job in marketing perhaps she could go to university for six years and the work for 10 years and not get about 50 jobs she’s applied for and start at the bottom like everyone else (by that I mean me) had to. Preach it Guy. 

2. You need to be exposed to certain levels of bozo-ness to create immunity. Be glad if you have had high levels of bozo exposure because it means you will be stronger and vaccinated against higher strains of bozo. 

He included in this successful bozos can knock your confidence, such as Steve Jobs who didn’t always get everything right. By treating the bozo exposure as vaccination, you will be super awesome and able to resist even the most complex and aggressive forms of bozo-ness in the future. Excellent. 

3. Everyone has said and done stuff that makes them cringe, so don’t let past cringes hold you back. 

Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook also talks about her huge cringe moments in her book ‘Lean In’.  I can put most of mine in the ‘trying too hard’ category which fitted well with Kawasaki’s definition of just not knowing what you don’t know. Cringe is a sign that you are mixing things up and trying new things so feel the burn of the cringe and don’t let it stop you trying again. Go the cringe. 

my hair looks like Donald Trump's after the lawn coffee- fab

It also made me realise I haven’t really found my true-love, career defining company yet so I’ve got that to look forward to. I’ve also been fortunate to hear from several executives on the tail end of their career, looking back and that always makes me think to pace myself, slow down and enjoy the journey if you want to still be speaking to university students in thirty or forty years time.

Ok I'll bite. The New Zealand flag redesign.

There is a spirit that runs through New Zealand art and design that is difficult to explain in words but possible to feel. 

whenua =spirit (it also means placenta). 

Colin McCahon captured it first. Shane Cotton took it further as did Ralph Hotere, Bill Hammond and Gordon Walters. I’m also going to add artist John Edgar to my list for the visionary work that he did on the Queen Street upgrade with perchable street furniture design (you can still see and sit on his work today) 

me with John Edgar on Queen Street opening day- some perks of working in government during my Auckland City days

When I saw the four finalists for the New Zealand flag redesign, I saw a symbol of an old, out to pasture New Zealand that doesn’t really exist anymore for a lot of New Zealanders.  I saw awkward teenager New Zealand that still isn’t sure who it is so it just sticks a silver fern on everything to be safe. 

"For thirty years I have been trying to make good sense in my art.  I have attempted to imbue my work with both the essence of the mountain, the river and the vast array of knowledge that is available to us in the 21st century.  It's a difficult task to teach a stone to talk.  But if you listen carefully you might just catch a word or two."  John Edgar, 2006 

John Edgar flag series from 2003

John Edgar gets it and I think there was one design that stood out to me that gets this whenua too. The Red Peak by Aaron Dustin. 

Aaron Dustin The Red Peak 2015

The Red Peak is aspirational, future New Zealand combining the whenua of all New Zealanders with a sense of place. 

To me The Red Peak says ‘my maunga’, my mountain or home combining a traditional Maori way of identifying place with modern Edmund Hillary, bungy jumping, Sir Peter Jackson Mount Doom and multicultural New Zealand. 

I like the fern and, I love John Key (and I voted for him) and I want the flag to change to something more of the pacific and the whenua that only some can translate into visual design. I think Aaron has achieved this with The Red Peak. 

My art blog stuudio.tumblr.com

NZ flag project

PS: Next time you're in Auckland, have a perch on the great Edgar stone perchables and look at the beautiful design on the top of the stone

Queen street Auckland street furniture

Two things you need to know about the new Huffington Post Australia

Huffington Post Australia pushed go on their interwebs this morning. 

JBish got the front page

A few days ago at ADMA in Sydney, I sat in on the preso from their new CEO Chris Janz and two facts turned my head

Huffington Post Australia CEO Chris Janz -seems like a nice chappie

1. “we had 1800 applications for 35 editorial roles”

You see, as much as the editorial types like to publicly snub Huffington Post (SBS referred to it recently as a ‘left wing blog aggregator’), it seems there is no shortage of talent throwing their CVs at the HuffPo. Janz has gone for a strong, former News Corp News Corp journalist and editor Tory Maguire as editor-in-chief. Tory is known for driving conversations and working across digital platforms so that all sounds very Huff Posty doesn’t it?

A dream editorial team will mean great content, even though journalists also hate the word ‘content'. 

2. “Fairfax is our local partner”

Some think that the HuffPo/Fairfax partnership will cannibalise Fairfax, especially lifestyle content.  Fairfax needs to improve in this area so any competition is good for them I think. They’ll probably just aggregate the inventory at the back-end and sell it through the Fairfax Media ad networks to agency anyway so overall, everyone wins. It means that HuffPo doesn’t need to go through the messy business of setting up account management and sales and all that handshaking business can be concentrated on creating image slideshows that you have to click on 15 times to view two photos. 

Buzzfeed and HuffPo both leaping into Australia

BuzzFeed Oz have been very active in the Australian political conversation this week with the appointment of Mark Di Stefano as political editor so get your popcorn, the Australian coverage is going to be excellent. 

How much of your online traffic is actually bots?

How much of your online traffic is actually bots?

"Probably about 40%. If the activity is highly predictable, it’s probably a machine and not a human.

The only thing that watches a full online video from the exact start to the exact end is a machine.”

How accurate is that geolocation data you’re mining?

"Not very. Many apps default to a central geolocation in the US and provide false readings for analysts. It’s called data piling.” 

That’s according to Dstillery Chief Scientist Claudia Perlich speaking at the Association of Data Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) global forum in Sydney last week. 

Her expertise in machine learning systems and predictive behaviour sniffs out what’s real and what’s fake in your ad data and often leaves a set of only about 5% of campaign traffic as real humans who you can attribute transaction behaviour to.  Perlich used to work in Data Analytics Research at IBM Watson’s Research Centre so she is by all accounts, a massive data nerd. 

 “I’m from East Germany, so I didn’t know what an ad was until I was 15” 

So what’s the end game?

“An audience of one. We can now model thousands of data points and build targets and retargets for different domains and ad creative down to the individual customer.”

More images from the event:

Creative Director of Wired Billy Sorentino "Wired is an experience. Design is experience"
The ADMA crew led by Jodie Sangster -a huge week of data driven marketing

Magician and Ideo designer Andrew Evans. One of the best conference performances I've ever seen. Fantastic. 

Facebook, Instagram and Oracle led the sponsor charge --ad tech ruling the conversation

Things that I went to

It was a busy week of ‘things that I went to’ and they were all very informative and lovely and well run and definitely worth going to. Rackspace Solve was the standout with a most excellent conference at the Shangri La hotel. The focus was on managed cloud and it showed Backspace responding to the commoditisation of cloud services by dialing up there high-level customer service and support offering. 

Rackspace ANZ general manager Angus Dorney -wants to manage your cloud
So now you’ll see Rackspace talking about Microsoft Azure and VMware and even Google and Amazon (although not so much) as hyper scale, bulk providers and demonstrating their OpenStack and managed cloud expertise which is a clever move I think. The Rip Curl Search GPS wearable watch that tracks all your surfs was the case study darling (it’s worn by His Royal Shark Puncher Mick Fanning) and some of the spiky traffic load stuff on virtual sports games and government transport sites was also very interesting. And while I didn’t win the Apple Watch raffle, I did get a drink bottle, phone charger, T shirt, some excellent branded pens and a lot of lovely photos of Sydney Harbour from the 36th floor of the Shangri La hotel. 

Sydney looking glorious from the 36th floor Blu Bar. Look at it, it's beautiful. 
Can I also mention that event and conference production values matter a lot when you are blabbing on about managed systems and customer service (if you can’t organise a cup of coffee for 50 people then I have limited confidence in your ability to manage my cloud) and the Rackspace event was off the charts excellent so well done clap clap clap etc. 

Adobe systems Darling Park, Sydney swish and a nice breakfast too thanks
In a less infrastructure more content way, the Sydney content marketers converged on Adobe’s offices on Wednesday and that too was an excellent little gaggle of like-minded people. It was mainly people from large marketing and content teams. 

Content marketers- assemble!
I was a little surprised that people were still asking whether or not they should be producing their own content or if they could just curate (there are no easy paths to content quality and if you are a big brand then yes, 95% of the time you need to produce and distribute your own content) and at the low level of analysts usage (Google analytics of Adobe Omniture as a nod to our host :)..) so it would seem we are still at the early stages of full in-house brand publishing models. Great to see all the IRL faces behind the brands as always. 

Victor Dominello MP, food, and award festivity at the Fishies
Friday night was Fishburners night with NSW awards announced for GovHack Sydney. While my team didn’t pick up any prizes, it was good to see the winning hacks and eat some Mexican food and watch the politicians in full award handshaking, smiling-for-the-camera action. The Ministers for Innovation and Small Business turned up as did some Sydney Water people and a few Councillors so it was good to see the event getting support from NSW government. 

Report: content and customer experience dominate digital marketing

I’ve just been having a look through the Adobe report on marketing and digital trends. 

What’s really useful about this one is it gives you the right language and definitions to talk about digital in your company. It’s quite easy to blur between ‘content marketing’ and leap to channels and social, video content, jump across to analytics and the next thing you know, you have a massive 36-month Big Data project. 

Mobile-first and location technologies can occupy a lot of discussion but also distract from the core engine of the marketing program in content and customer experience

Have a look through and if you’re in Sydney, you can come along to the Content Marketing meetup “Creating scalable content systems’ at the Adobe offices this Wednesday morning. 

Full report: Digital Trends 2015

Our GovHack Sydney 2015 entry

Terence, Trent and me

I participated in GovHack Sydney over the weekend and what a great time we all had. Around 200 people showed up and we got into teams to hack away at open government data sets from lots of different areas like water, tax, health, military, housing and social services. 

Going through your data

Our team ‘hacked’ ourselves together on Friday night and started in to some Australian Tax Office records on net earnings by industry. 

We were fortunate to come across an Australian Stats industry mentor who showed us to some house sale data so we could look at affordability in different regions. 

Using Oracle Application Express, we built a database so users can compare current location, work industry and earnings to a future scenario and make fact-based decisions about their future. Have a play here

Our app is called amibetteroff.org and you have a go with it here —not bad for 48 hours work I think. 

ATO and ABS data in a user-friendly format to compare

We also had to make a 3-minute video entry and provide user info for our app, quite a lot to turn around in the time but we made the deadline and were mighty impressed with Fishburners upload speeds :)

GovHack events happened all across Australia and New Zealand and there are cash prizes depending on which data sets you use and the different judging criteria. For example, we entered in best use of NSW local data, Australian Tax Office and ABS policy data categories. Plenty of food and coffee was consumed and much swag was dished out across the weekend. It was good to hack away at the data and get into some code, which I haven’t done for a while. Thanks to all the organisers and mentors -it was a fab event. 

Connected cows and Windows 10: Microsoft Tech Net Sydney

Microsoft experts talked Windows 10, Microsoft Cloud OS and the Microsoft Internet of Things strategy in Sydney. 

IoT: cows with wearable ear tags for health and movement tracking

Raspberry Pi -windows 10 light sensor demo

Cortana is still learning how to speak Australian: mobile demo

You can also help build Windows 10 alongside PC experts, IT pros, and developers around the world by joining the Windows Insider Program.