Why I had to break up with New Zealand to settle in Australia

Darling Harbour, Sydney

I remember checking into my hotel at Darling Harbour and asking the receptionist where the water was. I’d just flown in from a freezing cold 4am start Wellington to Sydney flight.

It was like an epiphany. I walked through the palm trees and fountains of the harbour with the warm sun and had a sudden realisation that I was home.

From that day I made the decision that I was moving to Australia for good.

People still ask me how long I think I’ll stay here and look a bit surprised when I say ‘forever’.

Here’s why I say that.

First of all was the overwhelming sense of home that I felt and continue to feel in Sydney.

But you can’t run on feelings forever and, as part of my new migrant zeal, I read a book on the history of Australia.

One of the chapters detailed how there were two types of early settlers to Australia from England: the shipped convicts and those who chose to immigrate.

The author’s theory was that the convicts actually made a better job of settling in Australia because, once they were freed, they had nothing to go back to and made a better go of the new opportunities and adapted to the new conditions.

The voluntary migrants harked back to Mother England and didn’t settle as well. They tried to recreate the life they had in England and didn’t adapt as well.

I decided that I was going to adopt the convict strategy and force myself to forge a new life in my new colony. I banned myself from New Zealand media and old connections. I saturated myself in Australian news and read lots of books on Aussie history and politics. I went on tours of Canberra and the New South Wales parliaments and followed Mike Baird on Twitter.

I even tried to convince people that I was ‘from Sydney’ but my accent betrayed me so I was, and always will be a Kiwi. Making new friends and social connections was one of the hardest things but I’m glad I pushed through the pain barrier and the seeds I’ve sown are bearing fruit now.

My Mum and I at Darling Harbour Convention Centre

Slowly, as I’ve got more planted, I’ve allowed more ‘’New Zealand” back into my life. I still listen to Radio New Zealand at work any my family recently visited and we did all the tourist things in Sydney which was fun.

I go to a physio from Auckland and one of the other physios says he can hear us in the treating room ‘talking Nuw Zeelund” and it’s like a dull mumbled hum.

Someone asked me the other day if I identify as Aussie now and I surprised myself by saying no,  I am a New Zealander. We had to break a few things off to move forward but we're good now. 

How do you learn to be more content? Here's some things I've learned.

I’ve been working away on my own contentment lately and I must say, it’s a challenging but rewarding experience. It’s probably one of the hardest processes you can go through because it refines your own wants and desires and forces you to see the world as it is. 

St Paul wrote this on contentment about 2000 years ago: 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I think Paul gets a lot of things right here. First of all, contentment is something that you learn. You have to learn to be content and it’s not something that naturally comes to humans. 

Secondly, it is not dependent on your circumstances. So Paul has learned to be content in every situation. If you aren’t content single, you won’t be content married. If you aren’t content in the small apartment, you won’t be content in a mansion.  I’ve been around people who are super wealthy who are constantly discontent and those who have hardly anything who are the most content people on the earth. 

Here are a few things I’ve learned about contentment:

Gratitude fuels contentment: If you want to boost your contentment, start being grateful for what you have and where you are. Thankfulness and gratitude anchor you and curb the craving of discontentment. 

Contentment and happiness are not the same thing: You can be sad and be content. If your cat gets run over you will be sad, that’s normal. Not every day is going to be a box of birds and it’s important that you don’t repress your emotions and try to be happy all the time to make other people like you. I regularly state my emotions out loud as a way of processing them. For example, I went for a job the other day that I didn’t get. The emotion I experienced was ‘disappointment’. So I stated that out loud in my room “I am disappointed” and for the rest of the day if something was annoying me I knew it was because I had the feeling of disappointment still rattling around in me. By anchoring in contentment and being honest with myself about my emotions, I didn’t vent to other people or eat a big piece of cake or do something else to try and change my state. 

Discontentment is selfish: You owe it to yourself and the other around you to become a more content person. I used to have a friend (note -used) who constantly complained at cafes and restaurants. She would always want to sit somewhere else and continued to harass the waiters with requests for obscure sauces and amendments to her meal. It ruined the whole experience for everyone else because she wouldn’t sit and be grateful for the meal in front of her. Discontented people destabilise the people around them and put their needs ahead of others. Other people aren’t responsible for your happiness. 

Don’t make complaining normal: I worked with a CTO once who had an IT team of complainers. They were overly dramatic and always threatening to leave. There were tears and tantrums and the response to everything was a whinge. I commented on this once to someone as I couldn’t understand why the experienced and professional CTO would buy into all their nonsense. He replied “yes, and you should meet his wife, she’s the biggest complainer on the planet.” Suddenly it made sense, the CTO thought this type of behaviour was normal and kept pandering to the childish behaviour of his team. He was always trying to make everyone happy by coddling people rather than getting them to communicate and work through the real issues. 

Contented people serve others. Discontented people use others: If you are content in yourself then you don’t need to feed on other people for attention, happiness, entertainment or prestige. If you are discontent you tend to be very ‘flavour of the month” with people and discard them once they don’t fill your purposes anymore. Some of the most contented people I’ve met are others focused. They listen to others, don’t compete in conversations and try to help and build rather than tear down. If you are feeling discontent, try and shift the focus off yourself and on to others. 

Have I put too much value on that? This a a questions I ask myself if I’m feeling discontent or dissatisfied with something or someone. Allow a job to be imperfect. Allow a person to be imperfect. Your house , your car, your wife, your dog, your online shopping; all these things can’t fulfil you as a complex human being so don’t put too much value on things. Chill out and allow things to be imperfect- including yourself. 

Make a decision, like Paul, that you are going to learn to be content. You owe it to yourself and the people around you. 

It’s pretty simple why there aren’t more woman in business leadership

There’s a very simple reason why women are underrepresented in business and I don’t hear it talked about very much.

 Here’s my logic:

-Baby male executives don’t look like senior male executives. There’s only been one person I worked with (at Woolworths) and thought “gee that guy is really going somewhere “and that person is Richard Umbers who is now the CEO of retailer Myer but he’s a freak. But seriously, look around at the 25 year old guys in your office and try to see them on the front cover of AFR. It’s a stretch because they are young and immature and unprofessional and not necessarily people you want to follow. They are little acorns who don’t look remotely like oak trees.

 -Baby female executives will never grow up to be senior male executives. That seems pretty logical but it’s from this that you start to see the disconnect.

-Baby female executives don’t see people who look like them on the cover of AFR or in the company Board meetings. The few women they do see are different from them as well as they have become hardened hybrids in order to survive in male-dominated environments. Baby female executives begin to question “do I want to become one of those hardy business women?”” “do I have what it takes and even if I do, I will never be one of those big, male oak trees so what’s the point?””

I’ve only had one person see potential in me and she happens to be a very successful business leader who basically said that I reminded her of herself at the same age. She saw my immaturity and lack of professionalism and Nike sneakers and prescribed another 10 years of solid business in good, fertile soil.  I’m still an acorn (well maybe a seedling) and I need more time to grow and be pruned in the right conditions.  That’s the boring reality of oak tree propagation and I think too many woman give up and stop growing.

So what’s the answer? Stop dismissing the acorns and pulling out the seedlings and be wise enough to fertilise and prune the baby trees and you will get a harvest. Embrace your seedling-ness and be OK that you're not a tree yet but you have the potential packed into your little acorn. 

If you're tired from leaning in you can now be seated


Much has been written about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In mantra and I don’t really want to add to that. Or maybe I do.

I read the book (audible audio book to be exact) and I was impressed with the tough road that Sandberg described. But on reflection I don’t think leaning in is my problem. If anything, I probably over-lean and the thing I need to work on is of a different nature.

 TD Jakes cracked my code with his own posture statement: Be Seated.

Be Seated gives you permission to take the position that has been given to you and function in that place.

Over the years I could never understand why people seemed to want to move me out of my position all the time. People questioned my authority and would look puzzled when I turned up to meetings “are you the brand manager?”” “”they used to hire more senior people to be communications managers…”’ and the seed would be planted that I wasn’t really meant to be there and I would start selling and justifying my position to other people.

I guess it is related to the ‘”imposter syndrome” that Sandberg says she still suffers from but I really like how Be Seated provides an answer. Don’t be surprised if people try and steal your seat  -it happens-and the more valuable your seat is, the stronger the winds will blow to try and move you.

I did a little Be Seated experiment a few weeks back at a conference. I was allocated a seat at a round table that just happened to be next to the keynote speaker. He was a Silicon Valley tech advisor and we made friendly banter about the weather and his sightseeing around Sydney. Suddenly, the seat attacks commenced. People hovered around and tried to push into my conversation “can I just get passed you?”’, “can I just get my chair in there?”

I remembered to Be Seated and ignored the swooping. The keynote speaker started showing me a new SIM card that’s being tested by the US military. The swooping intensified. All I was doing was sitting in my allocated seat and chatting to my neighbour but I started to realise that the activity had nothing to do with me

They wanted what I had. I had a good seat.

Then I started to realise "I've always had good seats and that's why I've always had people trying to unseat me.""

If you are currently experiencing swooping and elbowing in your allocated position remember, it’s a positive sign. Other people have seen what you have and they want it. Be seated, chat to your neighbour and enjoy your good seat. You might learn something about US military SIM cards and it's less tiring than leaning. 

A change in season

This is a very important painting to me. It’s the first time someone has ever painted something and given it to me and it has a promise attached to it that has been very encouraging to me. 

My friend Tia painted it. She is a very talented designer (you can see some of her stuff here) and one day, she said she was feeling a bit down so she decided to start painting. The more she painted and created, the more she took her eyes of her circumstances and frustrations with life-as we all have- and thought about the beauty in the world. 

When Tia had finished the painting, God told her it was for me and the blossoms were Japanese sakura blossoms. Sakura blossoms bloom in March/April and that was the time that I was going to bloom as well. 

Today is the first of March, and I’m very much looking forward to my blossoming season. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the the painting during my own times of waiting and frustration and remembered that a new season is coming and how fortunate I am to have nice friends who do lovely things like paint thoughtful paintings. 

We all have tough days and frustrating seasons and I love how out of her own struggles, Tia motivated me to continue and stay positive in my own. If you are going through a tough or confusing season at the moment, can I encourage you to do something nice for someone else and take your focus off your own circumstances. Buy someone a coffee, say something to someone that builds them up or send someone a nice card. 

You can even borrow a look at my beautiful Sakura painting for inspiration and remember that everything has its season and today is a new one for everyone. 

Just hit the ball - a change in direction for my blog

I was out at dinner with some friends last night and my friend Ashley (that's her in the front in the flowery top) randomly said “you write hey?” I said yes.. sort of.. I have a blog. 

She said “I read that last thing that you wrote about leadership. You should write more stuff like that, it was really good.”

Hmmm. 

Then when we were walking home I started burbling about the great revelation I had after reading the Andre Agassi biography Open and Ashley said to me ‘have you written this stuff down anywhere? There’s real wisdom in what you’re saying.”

Me? Wisdom?

I went home and thought and prayed about it and the truth is, the social media and marketing stuff I usually write about has been great but it’s very fluff and surface level for me to write about. Writing about leadership and people means giving more of myself and opens up a whole lot of insecurities about being a good enough writer, my authority to talk about such things and whether it will all just come out as vain self help. I’ve always been a student of Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, John C Maxwell. Brian Tracey and other great motivators and I never consider myself as being at their level. And I’ve thought the only other way people will listen to you if you talk about such topics is if you are the CEO of Hewlett Packard or a former Super Bowl coach or the like. Maybe it’s all a bit try-hard. 

Hmmm. 

So anyway, do you want to hear my Agassi story?

After winning the US Open and reaching number one in the world, Andre was burnt out and his ranking was crashing out to around 150. Agassi hated tennis and everyone had written him off - he’d peaked and was over the hill at age 30. He met with a former player and coach Brad Gilbert who destroyed his game and basically told him he had to start over playing satellite tournaments (now to give you some perspective, I was a pretty rubbish high school tennis player and even I played satellite tournaments- they are a couple of kids hitting up in a public park on concrete courts). 

Gilbert told Agassi his perfectionism and win at all costs outlook was making him lose and that he had to just go out there and hit the ball. 

Just hit the ball. Put the pressure on the guy down the other end. Just hit the ball. 

Here’s one of the greatest shot makers, a world number one and a US Open champion and he’s being told to start over on concrete courts and just hit the ball. 

So Andre turned up to some high school tennis courts in his private jet and started over. He lost badly to unranked players and had to put up with jeering on the sidelines of how the mighty had fallen. His coach Brad was elated. The more Agassi lost, the more his perfectionism was being crushed and the mental work was being done in him. The more he fought his urge to hit big winners all the time and ‘just hit the ball’ the more he developed the mental discipline to endure the pressure of big points. 

I was burbling this story to Ashley (who is an architect and very high achieving person herself) and realised that many of my stresses and bellyflops had been caused by trying too hard and trying to hit winners all the time “we just need to learn to turn up each day and hit the ball. It’s not that you won’t ever hit winners or that you are passive and uncompetitive but by taking the mental pressure off yourself, you develop the endurance.”

Losses are actually healthy and necessary because they make it OK to not win all the time and you then have the mental strength to climb higher. Agassi told sports reporters at the concrete courts he was on his way back to world number one. They all laughed at him. He regained his position and went on to win all of the four major grand slams. 

I went for a walk this morning and suddenly it hit me… I was doing an Agassi. I wasn’t writing about the things that really mattered to me because of my own perfectionism and thinking my match play wouldn’t be good enough and the sports reporters would laugh at me. I needed to - just hit the ball. 

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to write about social media and marketing stuff so much and I’m going to add value to people by giving out all of the good stuff and learning and wisdom that has been imparted to me over the years. I’ve got many mental demons telling me how ridiculous that is but I’ve had enough doors closed on me to not be as afraid of failing as I used to be. 

I’m going to get out there and just hit the ball. 

PS -thanks Ashley

Does your experiential social pass the Opera House test?

Experiential is a tricky beast to tame in any campaign. I must admit I’ve given it a wide berth over the years as I don’t share the excitement some people have for live brand experiences and I’ve found that good experiential is a whole lot of logistics and hauling gear around the countryside and trying to run extension chords through the middle of busy shopping centres. 

Social media has fuelled the rebirth of experiential as opportunities to ‘generate buzz’ and get people advertising your product for free (apparently) and I’ve ended up on a few strategy sessions. Here are a few things to think about. 

1. The Opera House test

Here’s a selfie I took in front of the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains. Thousands of people a year take photos at this lookout every year and post them to social media. Same goes at the Sydney Opera House, Grand Canyon and Eiffel Tower. Ask yourself - is the activation that we are doing at the level of the Opera House? Probably not so don’t expect that people are going to interact with your brand activation the same way they do with these A-list photo sites. They won’t so you're going to have to come up with a smart campaign mechanic.

2. Eyes on the prize

People often roll their eyes at the Hansel and Gretel trails I like to put down to get people to interact with a brand. You need to heavily incentivise customers and tell them exactly what you want them to do in a brand experience. I’m sorry if that’s not very cool but I’m all in favour of giving people free products, prizes, and blatant instructions on what you want them to do in an activation.  Some people think that a high level of ‘bribery’ is not a good reflection on the brand and it moves things from social into ‘advertising’. 

Do you seriously think that people standing outside a shopping centre handing out free product samples are there to be your friend of just for fun? Customers aren’t stupid. Experiential is expensive and your client has trusted and paid you to promote their products. It’s not about standing around and being cool so make sure you have a clear promotional mechanic. 

3. Real time

On Australia Day I tweeted that I was at Coogee beach in Sydney having a BBQ. Coke tweeted me back offering to bring free cokes to the BBQ if I clicked on a link and filled out a little form. The brand values of fun and summer are mixed with a generous offer and I would imagine (I didn’t take up the offer) promotional reps armed with cameras who would take photos of us enjoying the product that could be distributed to social.  Great real-time activation. 

4. Contextual

I love this social activation from AUT University in New Zealand. The simple idea of graduation photos has been taken further with a fun,  Instagram frame and clear instructions on the hashtag to use. See the Hansel and Gretel trail? “we want you to post graduation photos to Instagram and hashtag #AUTgrad” -brilliant.

I also really like this in-store photo booth at Sportsgirl in Sydney. Simple and fun idea around girls shopping and leaving the booth a bit longer hedges your bets that you'll get enough content to work with without paying huge fees for activation site rental. 

5. Integrated

If you look at adland lists of large-scale, successful social media campaigns you’ll notice that most of them have a large media buy sitting behind them promoting the social across other channels. ANZ #headbandforgood is promoted on free to air TV, has Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, partner agencies and a whopping celebrity in tennis world number 1 Novak Djokervic. Many companies want to know how they can drum up interest and drive foot traffic to their activation on the day and the answer is an old-fashioned one…pay for it. Paid ads on Facebook with geo targeting are the direction you want to look in as well as classical paid media for an event such as local radio and print. Go back to the Opera House test. You need to have something pretty spectacular to pull crowds and get the selfies snapping. 

Let’s have another look at ANZ to see it all come together? #headbandforgood is incentivising the customer ($2 to World Vision), Hansel and Gretel crumbs (shared to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag), contextual with the Australian Open Tennis, and easy to participate with a simple headband. The campaign is then promoted across paid and organic channels. A bank is not trying to be your cool friend or a tourist landmark and everyone knows it’s a campaign and that’s great. Does ANZ pass the Opera House test? No, so they had to come up with a well thought out, executed and funded mechanic and they've done it all very well. 

My sweet as sugar fast

I decided to do a 21 day processed sugar fast that is generally related to the Daniel fast and was spurred on by Peter Fitzsimons' excellent column on his year off sugar and booze. 

I gave up booze about four years ago but the sugar monster has been visiting me a bit too frequently from my birthday through to Christmas so I decided to starve it off a bit.  

The full Daniel fast removes meat, dairy, bread and sweets but I didn’t want to get rid of the meat because I need the protein to keep growing my leg back to full strength after an injury. The fast starts on 3 January and I had a bit of a dilemma with the amount of sugary goodness still in my house in the forms of yoghurt, orange juice, cereals, ice cream and christmas chocs. I tipped the orange juice but felt a bit wasteful dumping the other stuff so I decided it could stay- I’ll return to this idea later. 

I drink a lot of coffee both at home and at cafes so my biggest weakness was having something ‘with’ the coffee like a muffin or a biscuit. Sugar in the coffee switched to sweetener so that was quite easy.  I just told myself ‘if you are hungry, have a sandwich or a proper meal -otherwise you don’t need anything’. I found by not denying myself food I could quickly decide if I was genuinely hungry or not and stop the snacky stuff. 

It’s a good time to do the fast with all the summer fruit around at the moment and I found buying a big watermelon and eating diced watermelon worked well in my danger zone times such as 3pm or after dinner. Prunes are also good and get yourself a container of mixed nuts so you aren’t going for sweet stuff all the time. Also, try not to go to extreme the other way and say ‘well I’m not having sugar so I’ll eat burger and chips’ -the more sustainable the better. 

There is also a spiritual side to the Daniel fast and in the first week I was thinking a lot about how sugar makes you more hungry and crave the more you have. It made me think about shopping and consumerism and how you can grab quick fix things to make you happy in the short term but ultimately, you will always just want to buy more stuff and end up with lots of excess (excess weight/excess stuff and clutter in your life).  Feeding on good quality whole foods and fruit and vegetables is a good investment in your health and how we can use money for junk purchases or for investing in good things that will last. 

In the second week I’ve been thinking about the difference between living in lack and living in abundance. At Christmas, we have an abundance of rich foods and we tend to overeat so we need to establish discipline to live an abundant life. It’s easy to ‘give up’ food if you don’t have it in the house but I’m quite glad now that I didn’t throw out all the nice Lindt chocolates and stuff because I’ve developed the discipline now to not eat them.  The other thing I’ve really learned is that 21 days goes really quick and I only have a week to go so I think I might continue the processed sugar fast through until Easter and maybe be like Peter Fitzsimons and go for a year (I wouldn’t mind a hot cross bun at easter). 

If you are feeling a bit chubby or unhealthy after Christmas I definitely recommend knocking out your ‘weak area’ for 21 days and thinking about what it represents to you e.g. I know my coffee and a biscuit behaviour is a time out/comfort thing so by just having the coffee I can still have a breather but not have the calories. If you’re grabbing sugary/carby things all the time it can also be a sign that you are tired so be a big Nana and go to bed an hour earlier.  21 days goes quickly so don't scare yourself and think 'I'm never having chocolate or beer or potato chips' ever again. Just do something sustainable that you can stick to and the weeks fly by. 

Sweet as. 


Further reading:

Daniel Fast = Jentezen Franklin has the best resources

Peter Fitzsimons year off sugar and booze


7 ways getting hit by a taxi has made me a better leader

2015 has been the hardest year of my life. If you don’t know the back story it’s here but basically, I was walking along a footpath in central Sydney and I got hit by a crashing taxi. I thought I was going to end up in a wheelchair and be disabled for the rest of my life but thanks to modern medicine and modern prayer, I can now walk again and my life is settling in to what will be, my new normal. There is an old Israeli saying that the shepherd sometimes breaks the leg of the sheep so he can carry it and that is in essence what I learned - I learned how to be carried

So how does being carried make you a better leader?

1. Let it go
I have no idea how much the rent is on my house. I have no idea when the cleaner comes, how much internet data we have or how the toilet rolls make it into the bathroom. My housemate travels a lot for work and he manages everything to do with running our apartment- I pay a set monthly amount to him and everything just happens. The more I have surrendered knowing everything, the more he carries the weight of responsibility and I can focus on other things. Women especially are not very good at surrendering control to others and get preoccupied with the hand wash in the company bathrooms, the tidiness of the company lunch room and having sign off on every document that exists in the company. In 2016, try to let it go and focus on the big things. 

2. Care for the carers
One time before an operation I asked for a Chaplain to come and pray with me. At the end, I asked her if she needed prayer and she was completely blown away. She was working in the palliative care part of the hospital which basically means that she sits with people at the end of their life and she told me there had been a few people pass that morning and she was feeling emotionally drained. The prayer had strengthened her to go back for the afternoon. Care for the carers. 

3. There is no such thing as ‘self-made’
I sat down last week to write Christmas thank you cards for all the people who had helped me in 2015. The list ran from police, to paramedics, nurses, plastic surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physios,  and psychiatrists without even starting in to friends and family, whoever called the ambulance?, pastors and even my fellow patients in the ward. A huge team of people carried me through an accident that was no fault of my own. As a member of the ‘Twittering classes’ it can be very easy for us to intellectualise everything and not bend down and help people in practical ways where they are. People took me to the toilet and showered me and made hospital meals for me and I had to let go of ‘self’ and receive from others. 

4. Specialists talk to other specialists
I overheard a conversation between my orthopaedic surgeon and plastic surgeon as they were standing in front of my x-ray: “you don’t want to get an infection in to one of those- nasty -chop the leg off material”. My plastic surgeon immediately ordered tests for infection and changed my wound dressing regiment. Although my leg was healing up fine, the specialists knew the real risks and took responsibility for making sure nothing went wrong. Both are respected surgeons in Sydney and they valued each other’s judgement and knowledge. Always listen to specialists and don’t be reckless with other people’s wellbeing. 

5. The most valuable tool you have as a leader is empathy

I remember grumbling to God one evening in the hospital about why this had happened to me and saying ‘I didn’t ask for this’. He replied ‘nobody does’. I looked around the hospital ward and instantly realised that nobody wants to be in hospital or sick or dependent on others. Nobody asks for suffering. For all sorts of reasons, people can end up injured, down on their luck, divorced, unhappy in their job -that’s life and empathy equips you with mercy to help people up where they are at and get them going again. Your job as a leader is never to judge or strategise some intellectual breakdown of how that person got in that situation- your job is to get them up and get them going again. 

6. Hurry up and wait
You spend a lot of time in the healthcare system waiting. Waiting for skin grafts to take, waiting for doctor’s rounds, waiting for the waiting room to open so you can wait. I’ve got very good at waiting in 2015 and it has made me a lot happier. If I have to wait for something, I just sit….and wait.  Stillness is a skill you have to learn and when you can be still, you’ll be a lot happier and interact better with others. 

7. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to trust them
When I had my first outpatient physio appointment I could see that they were a bit concerned about my injury. They had never dealt with something so serious and wanted to make sure they could treat me effectively. I was a little nervous but I was too physically and emotionally exhausted to go shopping around for physios. So I trusted them. The physio rang the surgeons and read lots of medical articles on my injury. He used me as a university teaching case study and trained the other physios in the practice. One morning he came in and proudly declared “congratulations, you aren’t our worst patient anymore!”. Because I had taken a chance on them, they now have other motor vehicle accident patients and their business is growing. I saw their eagerness to learn and genuine care for me and we both benefited from choosing to trust. 

Thanks to all of my online and offline friends for your support in 2015. 2016 will be the best year yet -I’m believing that for me and I’m believing it for you to. 

Twitter has a problem

I love Twitter. It has opened many doors for me and connected me with wonderful people.  

About three years ago it even connected me with great people who actually work for Twitter and, it was with a lot of excitement that I met some of their executives when they were planning the Sydney office (none of them work in the office now in case you’re wondering). 

It was a time of great hope. We met in a hotel lobby and went out for lunch. I looked at some of the pitch documents from various PR companies and dropped soup dumplings down my top. There was a big push for TV partnerships and sports and we talked about the future of media and I destroyed the PR pitch documents and handed them back. I felt super important like I was at the forefront of something massive. A lot of the talk then was getting the content organised enough to monetise and they were working with sports teams and the like to hashtag correctly, drive conversations and make the feeds marketable. 

We then started talking about ad agencies, media agencies and some of the issues they were facing. The Twitter executives were hanging on my every word when I was talking about ad buying and media commissions, the death of print, the gravy train of TV and the market for “Creative”. I remember thinking it was a little bit strange that I was explaining how ad inventory is bought and sold to them but hey, this was The Future and maybe I was stuck in old school thinking. 

In hindsight, I can see that they had no idea how brands actually buy media. Twitter has a problem. 

They still have no idea how brands actually buy media.

 If they think a client-side brand manager is going to sit at a computer with a company credit card (have you ever seen anyone in a marketing team with a company credit card, let alone using one to buy ads?) then they think wrong. The agencies are sitting in the middle between the client and the media the same way they have since the 1930s and, as much as I would like that to change sometimes too, that's the reality. 

Twitter have pushed out a whole lot of ad products in the last few weeks, none of which I could recommend on a media plan with a serious face unless, brands just want to have a bit of a play. Facebook and Google have done a far better job of working with agencies to get their self-serve models working but it has requited a lot of hand holding and Google have essentially outsourced their client service with the growth of the new industry called “an SEO agency”. 

 I still struggle to get brands to understand that they have to ‘pay to play’ on Facebook and that they should be pushing the social media companies to educate them and provide them with client service. 

I ran into the now former Twitter executive at an event recently (he now works for another large startup) and he shrugged his shoulders and said the same thing. They are pushing out a lot of stuff but they can’t agree on a business model so nothing sticks.  Building a better mousetrap won’t fix Twitter’s problem.