tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:/posts cjlambert's posthaven 2017-04-17T11:34:16Z courtney lambert tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1133524 2017-02-23T01:37:25Z 2017-02-23T01:37:25Z The Uber mess, why tech companies shouldn’t hire more women, and a new direction for my writing

I was going to write a post about the Uber hoohaa and how the canned responses to ‘hire more women’ really annoy me. Like we are supposed to fix your mess and the behaviour of naughty boys who can’t adult properly. Dilute the naughty boys with responsible young women who need another bloody burden to carry up the corporate career ladder. We are told to hustle, fight, change and refurbish. It all sounds very exhausting…what if you just want to do your job and go home and cook a stir fry and watch some TV? Maybe individuals should respect other individuals regardless of gender and not make their life harder all the time just for existing?

That made me too stabby and annoyed so I was going to write about how great it is that the authentic expression and writing of one woman blogger (the ex Uber employee Susan) caused a shockwave through startup hype land and forced the libertarian reptile brains of the flying car brigade to actually make some moral decisions like, for example, respect half of the earth’s population. 

But then the Christian in me kicked in and deep down I know that unless individual souls are changed and healed then it will all become legal policy and give woman more hassles as they become an HR diversity project. I've met many of these 'pet' successful token woman at the top of the ladder types and they're just...weird. They seem to have traded of their womanhood for acceptance into a male club that only really likes them because they do four times as much work as everybody else. The more I met these women, the more I decided that I wasn't one of them and I didn't especially want to morph into one of them and that the boy's club would never really accept me anyway so better to stop knocking on that door and go somewhere else and be myself and be happy. 

At the core of the Uber story is a broken young man who was clearly in an unhealthy, relationship with his girlfriend. He brought this brokenness to work and started trying to seek affirmation and love from other women by getting sexual attention from them. An HR policy can’t fix this. The pastoral side of me will tell you that only a relationship with your creator Jesus Christ will fix this, but we've jumped ahead. 

All this thinking has led me to a decision that I’ve been playing around with for a long time. I often thought that in my perfect world, I would sit and write little Christian devotionals all day and that would be me and as time goes on, I realise there’s nothing really stopping me from doing this today. 

I have been heavily impacted by the writing and teaching of many great Christian authors and I think it’s time for me to give back. I’ve struggled with this for a long time because I felt that I wasn’t ‘good’ enough, my writing wasn’t good enough, people would think I was weird, and nobody would read it anyway. I compare my self to great pastors such as John Piper and his words that moved me to belief as a non-Christian and think “my words could never do that”. 

But as the great Lee Strobel says “write what God has put on your heart to write” so that’s what I’m going to do. 

Some of the rhetoric coming out of the United States at the moment under a Christian evangelical banner is quite frightening. I don’t know if it’s bad teaching, lack of Bible knowledge, or cultural corruption that has led to this legalism and lack of compassion for the individual but it’s not what Jesus taught and it needs to be purged out of the Church. Right believing leads to right behaviour so my task now will be to contribute to that in some small way. 

I thank Susan Fowler for her Uber blog and her bravery to express what many of us have suffered in silence and awkward- laughing-along-with just to try to fit in. I really hope Uber apologises to you for putting you through that situation and that the man involved is disciplined and given counselling for his dysfunctional behaviour. I hope the HR manager apologises to you for their cowardice and unjust advice. God is both male and female and any dishonour to the feminine is also disrespect to God….but that’s another piece of writing :)

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1131046 2017-02-13T23:06:45Z 2017-02-13T23:06:45Z A heavy post on dealing with emotional pain and the four words that changed everything for me

In a previous post I mentioned I was going to write something about ‘dealing with your stuff’ and how to get emotional healing into your life. 

Heavy I know but I’m going to walk you through a few things I’ve learned and that have worked for me. 

First up, mental health is real and if you are having concerns, please go and get a referral off your GP to go and get assessed. There’s no shame in it and you deserve to be well. 

Secondly, what I’m about to say may trigger deep emotional pain you’ve suffered in your life so be prepared and watch out for any addictive behaviour or mood changes this could cause. 

Woah. 

OK. So as humans, we don’t like to experience pain so we do things that minimise pain or momentarily distract us from it. This could be keeping yourself busy with work, texting your crush for attention, eating, drinking, constant need to feed on people for attention- that sort of thing.

Basically anything that stops us thinking about painful moments. 

I’ve heard various counsellors say things like ‘you need to go to your pain’ which I never really understood until my friend and now Pastor Kristy Whitfield came out with these amazing words she learned at Bible College:

“Anger is unprocessed hurt”

I’ll say it again because this is huge and unlocked a whole lot of healing for me:

“Anger is unprocessed hurt”

 I realised that I’d been carrying around a lot of frustration and anger and didn’t really understand why. Nothing really ‘bad’ had happened to me other than the normal bumps and disappointments of life-but who hasn’t had those?

So I figured I must have ‘unprocessed hurt’ and therefore, I needed to process it. But how do you do that?

Again, I’m not a psychologist so I can only say what I did and be careful. I lay down starfish on that floor in my bedroom with nobody around and started reframing my hurt. So instead of saying ‘that situation pissed me off” I would say “that situation hurt me,  I was hurt by that”. 

Now the key is not to put any judgement on the hurt. Don’t minimise or try and pick winners and losers and rationalise the scenario. Just address the hurt. As you name it, the feelings will come back and you will start to feel terrible. You might cry or feel upset and angry but that’s OK, that’s the processing happening. Let the feelings you’ve been suppressing pour out of you onto the floor and let them leave your body. A friend of mine went to grief counselling and was told that “emotions are like quicksand, the more you struggle against them the deeper you’ll sink, so just float on the surface and let them be.” You’ll find the big feelings will be around your family and your relationships. Again, don’t try and judge ‘well I said some hurtful things too” just acknowledge your hurt and let it be about  your healing. As Joyce Meyer famously says “hurting people hurt people” so the more healed you are, the less likely you are to hurt others in the future—let this be about you. 

I have a much better control on angry and frustrated feelings now as I can reframe them as hurt “that hurt me” —it’s not victimhood it’s just being self aware and then you can let the feeling go. Anger is a defence system-especially for women and we can build up walls, not wanting to appear weak. But you end up carrying the burden of that hurt and it can really weigh you down. 

Proceed with caution but process those emotions and you’ll live more free and healed. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1127732 2017-01-31T23:38:59Z 2017-04-17T11:33:26Z The things nobody ever teaches you about friends at work

 “I don’t have any friends”

A Rich Lister told me that once as he was looking over my shoulder, busted looking at Facebook at work. 

“Are those all your friends?”

I half laughed and he looked at me quite seriously and confessed that he knew a lot of people but that he didn’t have any real friends. 

I remember thinking that was really sad and I didn’t really see the point of having heaps of money and being admired and what not if you didn’t have anyone to share your toys with. 

But this is what we are taught at work.

In my first proper job as a rep for Tip Top Ice Cream I remember doing supermarket visits with one of the other girls on a Friday. It was about five o’clock and I remember asking her if she wanted to go and get a drink. She sharply told me that she had plenty of friends and didn’t “do work friends” so no, she didn’t want to have a drink with me. 

I’ve received these slaps on the face at various times through my working life and I don’t blame people because friendship requires vulnerability and some people don’t want to be vulnerable in a work context. I get that and I would definitely say, make sure you get some friends (at least one) who you don’t work with so you can have a meltdown without the whole office finding out. 

But as I look back on my working life I now know that people who  “don’t do work friends” are wrong. If you were to ask me about the projects and work stuff that I did over the years, it all blurs into a big blob of nothing. 

I remember the people: the ones who cracked me up, the ones who made my life hell and the ones were just a bit weird. 

I remember the kindness of 70 year old Shirley at Auckland City Council who used to take the dirty coffee cups of my desk and get me a clean one from the kitchen. I remember the boss from hell I had at Fairfax who used to put me in her office and shout at me for an hour every Monday morning,  and the bakery manager at Woolworths who introduced me to the joy of eating frozen lolly cake. I remember boozy Melbourne Cup sweepstakes and dancing in the Mayor’s seats at Billy Joel because my friends knew I liked him (Billy Joel, not the Mayor) and scored me the ticket for my birthday. 

As a I got older I started to subscribe to this bullshit theory of knowing lots of people but not letting anyone get close and I regret that. Agenda-based people leave you hollow and dispose of you when you aren’t fulfilling their needs anymore and much like LinkedIn connections, they aren’t worth much. I started off being good at making friends and then the world told me it was wrong so I got bad at it for a while and now I’m trying harder to make up for it and get back to the real, friendly me. The work will always be there and when I look back, the work never really mattered anyway. 

This weekend I’m doing the Tongariro Crossing (let’s see how my new leg goes) with some friends I met and kept from Auckland City Council and my Rich Lister non-friend will probably be sitting in a big house somewhere with his no-friends and I know which I’d rather have. Work friends are important and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1120300 2017-01-03T22:35:35Z 2017-04-17T11:34:16Z Here's one way to escape the housing crisis and get ahead now you're back at work and feeling the burn

I know many people my age (I’ve just tuned 38) and younger feel frustrated that they aren’t getting ahead and they are on the big Monopoly board paying big city rents and not getting ahead to save for a house or a family or whatever. 

I’ve been back about  a month now and most of that time has been having meetings with various advisors to figure out how I’m going to fit into the business and how we’re actually going to do this. For those of you who don’t read my blog, I’ve recently chucked in a six figure job at an ad agency in Sydney and moved back to small town New Zealand to run my parent’s modest little motel. 

One of the things that has struck me has been how little time we spend sorting out our own stuff and our own lives. When you work at a full-time job you are constantly meeting with people and figuring out the best way to get something done. You are forced to work with stakeholders and consult and haggle and compromise. 

We’ve met with lawyers, accountants, bank managers and other wise heads to look at the options and make sure that everyone is happy and that our ideas are feasible. 

For example, one of the plans we had was quickly scuttled by an advisor but he then shared a model he had recently done for a dairy farming family transferring to the next generation and it looks like something that might work for us. We would have never come up with that option on our own

So here’s the kicker…

If you feel like you aren’t getting ahead, get your wider family involved and try and work out a solution that will benefit everyone. Before you recoil, let me first say that my family is far from perfectly harmonious and we’ve had epic rumbles. EPIC RUMBLES. Also, we are comfortable but not rich so it wasn’t an option for them to drop a 20% deposit on a million dollar Auckland property for me and my brother without a perfectly timed Lotto win. 

What it will give you is a longer term perspective. In 20 years time my parents may need full time care and can’t keep working their business. I’d be 58 (omg) and do I still want to be bouncing around in an ad agency with 20 year olds? (omg no- it’s hard enough now). 

Once you admit that you may actually need each other you can put some cards on the table and it’s amazing what will wash out. 

For example, I was paying AUD$400 per week for a half share in an apartment in Sydney.  So I automatically need about $20k per year to pay for basic, rented accommodation. My parent’s have a lot of freehold accommodation so automatically this benefits me.  If they want to go away and have time off from the motel, they need to pay a manager and find someone they can trust. So that goes in the pot. If they move away from the motel, they have to pay to live somewhere else and use their savings. Do I buy another house in Turangi (cheaper than Auckland) or stay in the manager’s house? What if we could all live in the house together for 12 months and not kill each other and then we’d all have free accommodation and have money for improvements to the motel or to buy another rental?

It’s actually extraordinary how much you can save and support each other if you get over your stuff (we all have stuff with our family—I’ll write another post on dealing with your stuff) and don’t think you have to struggle along on your own. Everyone has made mistakes with credit cards and spending in the past so don’t beat yourself up about mistakes you made when you were young and stupid. 

Also, spend some time thinking about your values. As people live longer, the model of the eldest son inheriting the farm is a bit outdated. You could probably do better with the hand up now instead of in 20 years time.  It’s a hard conversation to have as it forces your olds to start thinking about their final years as well but everyone sitting around for someone to die before you talk about it isn’t that useful either. 

Here’s some things to get you thinking about it:

1. build another unit down the back of your parent’s place. 

2. buy a share or get them to gift you a share in their house. Every year, they might gift you 5% of their house

3. move home with your parents to turn off your living costs for a while so you can save (humbling I know but…)

4. house sit your parent’s house. They can buy or lease a motorhome and travel around while they are still young enough and you can live in their house and water the plants

5. The NBR did a story (sorry paywalled) on the record number of boomer business owners who are heading into retirement  so instead of struggling along trying to strike gold with your startup, maybe you could work for equity in someone’s established business and give them a path out?

First steps:

Cry. I’m serious. I felt a huge boulder shift off me when I admitted to myself that I wasn’t getting anywhere and that it was time to close the door on the independent chapter of my life. I had more than a good run and I would encourage any young person to be as young and stupid and intrepid as possible because life isn’t all about how many acorns you acquire. But you grow and change and admitting that the things that excited you at 25 probably won’t still spin your wheels at 55 is hard reality and tears and snot and all that. 

Once you’ve done that, give your parents some credit and they will probably surprise you. They want to be wanted and part of your life. There will be many stupid, unworkable ideas but if you try and stay present and not bring up a fight from Christmas 1993 you might just strike some solutions. 

Call your Mum. That feeling you're feeling is pride and it won't help you with this one. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1113790 2016-12-08T07:02:54Z 2016-12-08T09:15:41Z It's good to be home

Well it’s been two weeks since my return to New Zealand. I watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople on the Sydney to Auckland flight (how great was Taika’s cameo in the church scene? lol) and then caught the little plane to Taupo. 

“Kia ora”

A super nice lady on my Taupo flight introduced herself and we started chatting about her travels. She was a New Zealander living in Australia and her husband had died suddenly of a heart attack. So she was in the process of getting the body transported back to his marae down Gisborne way. Air New Zealand requires that the body is embalmed before transport and then it gets vacuum packed and then you get a funeral place Auckland side to put the body in a hearse and drive it down the line. It was all morbidly fascinating so I just let her talk and you could tell she was devastated and it was not the trip that she wanted to do. 

They had just booked a cruise and he wanted to do an All Blacks tour so she said she was going to do one to honour him. She had another family tangi to go to in Turangi so that’s where she was headed. 

She apologised for telling me all her worries and her attention shifted to me and how I was going to get home from the airport. She offered me a ride for the 50 kilometres from Taupo airport to my house and made sure I had a place to stay. Once we got off the plane she helped me get my luggage and again, made sure I was OK to get home. 

It made me think of the time in Sydney where we had a client meeting at LARGE CREDIT CARD COMPANY in the CBD. My supposed team mate from the agency was driving and she had a brand new four wheel drive people mover thingo. I made the appropriate ooooos and aaaaas about how nice her new car was and we drove across the bridge to LARGE CREDIT CARD COMPANY. The meeting went late and we left the office tower to heavy wind and rain whipping up the street at 6pm. My supposed team mate, fresh of the company team building evening, then got in her brand new four wheel drive people mover thingo and drove off, leaving me standing on the side of the road in the weather. 

I just remember standing in the rain thinking “NOTE TO SELF: DON’T EVER BE THAT PERSON”. You work you arse off in a job you hate to buy a new people mover thingo to impress your neighbours and can’t even offer your work mate a lift to the nearest train station one block up the bloody road. 

The super nice lady on the flight was doing the hardest trip of her life and she still had the time to be concerned about me. There is an end and maybe we need death to remind us of what’s important. 

It’s good to be home. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1106936 2016-11-10T01:19:29Z 2016-11-10T01:21:33Z How did a man so un-Christlike get prayed into power by Christians?

I sat down on the couch yesterday afternoon hoping to see history made. I was going sit and watch and Tweet as the first woman president was swept into office by voters who were wise enough to see that complex problems aren’t solved with simplistic one-line, hate fuelled answers from an obnoxious shouty Orange Man. 

I can’t stand Trump and all that he represents. We have all experienced Trump-like figures in our daily life who bully their way into personal gain and consume people as objects and although Hillary has her faults, I believed she was the women to enter the history books and crush the patriarchy—hooray!

I got it wrong and as it turns out, so did all the mainstream media and pollsters who scrambled to adjust their figures as Trump just kept on winning states. 

So who voted for him? 

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/how-the-faithful-voted-a-preliminary-2016-analysis/

White, women, Christians. 

Demographically speaking…women like me. 

As a white women Christian myself my attention started to turn from the mainstream media to a lot of the Christian private media (such as blogs and social media sites) that I follow. The signs were all there had I been away from the liberal atheist media long enough to see them. 

I’m very fortunate that my church leaders are fiercely a-political and anyone that tries to push a political view in the church or its media will probably be crash tackled from the platform. I think the Australian and New Zealand churches are used to being a minority (Pentecostal Christians of which I am one make up about 2% of the New Zealand population) so we tend to be more moderate and just generally less self righteous. 

Not so in the US where the “one nation under God” thing is taken quite literally and pastors nudge their congregations toward one candidate or another. Sometimes it is subtle Facebook updates such as “protect the rights of the unborn child when you vote” or “protect the sanctity of marriage when you vote” but it all serves to influence. 

Instagram post from a large US church I was a bit disappointed with but there you go

But how could women vote for a man who so overtly doesn’t respect them and who exhibits none of the Christ-like behaviour that we are meant to hold in such high regard?

Like a lot of Christians, I do daily devotions which is basically a meeting with God where you read some Scripture and have a chat to him about things in your life. So I asked God how someone like Trump could be elected and he lead me to this Scripture (hey you want more Christian voices in the media—this is how we roll). 

“And I said to you, ‘I am God your God. Don’t for a minute be afraid of the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living.’ But you didn’t listen to me” Judges 6: 7-10 The Message

Fear. 

There are approximately 365 references in the Bible to “Fear Not” but fear they did and Trump came along and whipped up their fear and made the Christians believe that they were going to become a minority in their own country. 

So with all the praying for leadership in America we got Trump? Pope Francis denounced Trump.  One of the leading teaching pastors in the US Dr John Piper came out and said he would not vote for Trump or Clinton and I think his tweet explains some of what we ended up with. 

If you want to worship money and greed and TV celebrity then that’s what you’re going to get.  If you choose the path of fear rather than faith then you get a fear-monger. Christ asks us to live a life of faith and a life of others rather than self. American Christians chose fear and self and that’s how we got Trump. 

God Bless America. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1102151 2016-10-25T22:15:52Z 2016-11-05T01:03:45Z Why I’m moving back to New Zealand (the post I never thought I'd write)

Well this is the blog post I never thought I’d write. 

I love Sydney and have made a home here and always thought this was forever. I have amazing friends, love the weather and my church but sometimes life dishes you up a set of circumstances when you realise that you won’t be on planet earth for very long and you have to get your priorities right. 

So… I’m moving back to Tokaanu (Southern Lake Taupo) to take over the running of my parent’s motel so they can retire. 

Another thing I never thought I’d say but there you go. 

Why now?

Well a lot of things changed for me after my accident. It’s quite interesting that when your world collapses, you are forced to face a lot of your fears. The corporate world runs on fear and insecurity, especially in ad agencies. 

If I don’t work until 10pm every night people will think I’m lazy. 

If I don’t answer the email in 2 minutes people will think I’m incompetent

I don’t have that fear anymore so I found going back to the corporate life, I would just shrug my shoulders at people and walk away. I know who I am and what I’m about and if you don’t get it, well that’s not my problem.

Also, the main reason I’ve loved working in Social has been based in voice. Everyone gets a voice. The way Social has been bastardised by agencies into “pumping stuff into the back of Facebook” really doesn’t interest me anymore and working on one of the biggest influencer programmes in Australia made me resent social and the ‘pay for comment’ machine that it’s become. 

 So basically, I hated what I was doing and then my parents have had some health challenges (my Dad will be 70 next month) and they are ready to hand over the keys. There is also a lot of legal stuff going on to work out my compensation from the accident so I’ve had lots of specialist appointments I had to be in Sydney for but that’s coming to an end (fingers crossed). 

What I will miss:

Lovely friends

Sydney

My lovely apartment and Danish flatmate Martin (actually I should probably tell him I'm moving out...)

My church

My friends

Danish flatmate Martin

What I’m looking forward to:

Being able to write and post whatever I want without corporate drones telling me what to do

Being able to help my parents out

Having a free house and car and business #realtalk

Not having to work on a Windows machine

How you can help me:

The main thing I’m worried about is getting lonely and having no friends because Tokaanu is quite remote and there aren’t many youngish people so please come and visit me. We have thermal hot pools on site and the motel is halfway between Auckland and Wellington. Most people come for the hot pools and to walk the Tongariro Crossing or go skiing at Ruapehu. 

So brace yourself for some outrageous freestyle blog posts, and lots of tweets about painting, carpet laying and bed making. I won’t be doing social for the motel because it’s quite small and ticks along well as it is but I am thinking about buying a backpackers as a next step so send me an email if you know of anyone selling one in the Taupo/Rotorua area. 

I woke up the other morning with a great sense of panic that I’d made the wrong decision and then it dawned on me... “the bullshit is over” and I can go and make some beds and give people extra towels and provide people with free wifi as every accommodation place rightfully should. I am no longer a slave to a game I don’t want to play anymore and I can express myself and be the real me again. I can almost feel my personality flowing back into my bloodstream and that, I'm looking forward to. 

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Deuternomy 5:15

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1078064 2016-08-02T05:46:35Z 2016-08-02T06:18:18Z Resilience and how to stay 'hefted' in tough times


I was pretty pleased to see one of my favourite Twitter account people on abc news last weekend. If you don’t follow James Rebanks herdy shepherd then get to it now. He’s even got a book and movie deal off his stories and images of life in the British highlands.

He was talking about the Herdwick sheep that he farms and how resilient they are. It’s a word I’ve become more familiar with over the last few years ….resilience.

The sheep are able to sustain long periods of time in severe wind and cold rain. It’s not just the cold-there are sheep that can sustain colder, but the fact they can stand on a hill and put up with extreme driving rain and cold wind for three months at a time. The Herdwick are Viking sheep, an ancient breed that has survived hundreds of years and stuck around long enough to get their photos on Twitter.

I was looking at the images of the Herdwick sheep and how they just stand there.

In the high country, the sheep are “hefted” to the hill rather than fenced in. Hefting means that the sheep know where they live and what they are about so they don’t wander away.  Imagine if we lived our lives hefted in our situations.

It made me think about some of the cold wind and rain we have to put up with in our everyday lives where the best response is probably just to stand there -be hefted and not run away.

Just stand there.

If you are having a bad day at work…just stand there. If one of your relationships has broken down..just stand there. If someone keeps sending cold wind and rain in your direction…just stand there.

It’s in our nature to want to do something to get away from the uncomfortable conditions but it’s this scrambling that gets us in trouble.  It won’t feel comfortable and you probably won’t enjoy it but this is how we become resilient and hefted like the Herdwick sheep.  Three months of icy blasts sounds like a long time but I guess that’s the Viking resilience that’s kept them around for the long run and I think we can all learn something from these hefted sheep and their wise shepherd.


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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1075015 2016-07-22T03:07:42Z 2016-07-22T06:30:51Z Three ways of curing yourself from people pleasing at work

I was talking to someone who had a meeting with one of the most highly regarded business men in the world. One of those private jet globe trotters you read about in the Wall Street Journal.

“So what was he like? Did he have a presence? What did he say?”

The meeting went for two hours and was all business. Famous business person spent the whole time checking his phone and barely made eye contact with the others in the room who had prepared for weeks and were all working hard to impress him.

I had to laugh.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the last few years is don’t work to impress people or seek other’s approval. It’s been a hard fought battle for me as my nature is to seek external approval-make people rate you-that sort of thing.

There are many times over a working week I have to remind myself not to enter into the no-win game of competing with other people and trying to get the pat on the head. I often wondered why I never got the pat on the head but now I realise it’s been a blessing in disguise…so I don’t need it.

That’s the no-win game. The praise that you seek will probably make you crave more of it anyway and it will never be enough. So bow out. Choose not to be the star. Choose not to be the fastest email returner or the one who works till 9pm or the person who produces the most magnificent Excel spreadsheets because in the big picture..nobody cares and you’ll only make yourself stressed out and feel insecure.

But how do you train yourself out of this praise-seeking behavior?

1.     Praise others. Most people are starved for encouragement so become the praiser rather than the praisee.

2.     Remind yourself regularly that it’s not a competition. Many workplaces foster a competitive culture and it can be challenging to resist but mutter under your breath “I’m not playing this game. I don’t compete with others”. Seriously—it works and you’ll be amazed at how many train wrecks you avoid by not engaging in competitive behavior.

3.     Go low and go slow. This is something I’ve learned from the great Mozambique missionary Heidi Baker on community building.  Adopt a “slow and low” mindset and approach. When everyone else is trying to elevate themselves and hurry around and compete, you’ll stand out and be more effective by bowing out and not working reactively.

Everyone likes their moment in the sun and it’s natural human behavior to want to be liked and rated but it’s fleeting and the negative behavior and stress you can put on yourself in the process is not worth it. 

The famous business man got in his private jet and went on to his next round of meetings where he’ll probably check his phone continually and not make eye contact with another group of people all trying to impress him. Aren’t humans funny. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1060579 2016-06-07T01:23:17Z 2017-04-11T03:09:36Z 5 ways you can stop being that micro manager that everyone hates

Of all the frustrations in work life, micro management would have to be top of the ‘most complained about’ list.

 So why to people become that thing they detest so much and how do we stop the sneaky little worm from infiltrating our work life? I’ve tried to battle the micro manager and failed.  But I’ve made the decision to not become one so here’s my 5 tips on keeping yourself from becoming the dreaded micro manager.

1.Go to less meetings. 
First of all, I’m very pro meeting and I think face-to-face communication is work and I don’t agree with a lot of the anti meeting sentiment that’s around at the moment. But you don’t need to go to everything and if someone else in your team can go, then let them go. Chill out and be selective about what you do and don’t go to.

2.You don’t need to be cc’d on every email
I see this all the time “can you please cc me on this”. You don’t need to see every email from your team. If you need an update, walk across to the person and ask them for an update. It will clear your workload and that of your team. Also, it can create a parent/child relationship where people don’t take responsibility. Let the emails flow freely without poking your nose in.

3. Brief and walk away
We have a cleaner for our apartment and I always make sure I leave the house when she arrives. Why? Because it’s annoying having someone looking over your shoulder and watching everything you do. Apply the same thinking to your team. Brief them on what needs doing and walk away. Don’t hover and pester. Let them know they can come back to you with any questions. Give time and output deadlines and leave them to get on with it.

4.Play the long game
I once worked at a place where it was a bit of a status symbol if you went up to the ad agency meetings.  People would lobby for why they ‘had’ to be there and tried to put themselves at the centre of big campaigns like the TV ones. I remember one day thinking “”I’m going to work in marketing my whole life and I don’t care if I get to go to the agency or not-I’ll get plenty of opportunity over my career” (which is even more funny now I work for one). Play the long game and let the other silly people jockey for meeting spots.

5. Change from ‘do’mode to ‘teach’ mode
Your job as a manager is to equip other people to do things, not to do everything yourself. I remember writing a press release for a media company and being very nervous about all the top journalists who would see my writing.  The press release was scribbled over and destroyed in red pen by all the executive team –except for one person-the Head of Editorial. He wrote a very polite note in the margin in tasteful, non-threatening pencil and made a small tweak to one paragraph. His was the only feedback that I took and cared about. His respect for my work and empathy as a writer has stayed with me and that’s the kind of manager I want to be.

 It’s tough working with other people and you can’t control everyone but you can make some decisions to control yourself and not become that manager that drove you up the wall. Chill out and play the long game, put people ahead of tasks, get out of everyone’s email and you’ll find you’re a lot happier and less stressed too.

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1058734 2016-06-02T02:31:30Z 2016-06-02T04:13:55Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1033029 2016-04-14T04:26:46Z 2016-04-30T21:26:35Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1021833 2016-03-29T23:45:16Z 2016-03-30T01:43:13Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1017769 2016-03-22T03:23:33Z 2016-03-23T01:15:01Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/1004266 2016-03-01T01:45:19Z 2016-03-08T12:25:52Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/990091 2016-02-10T02:47:06Z 2016-02-11T00:47:36Z 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

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/980064 2016-01-28T04:07:34Z 2016-01-28T04:07:34Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/971908 2016-01-16T02:51:31Z 2016-01-28T04:10:32Z 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


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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/955420 2015-12-23T01:02:16Z 2015-12-23T01:02:16Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/949396 2015-12-14T02:07:46Z 2015-12-14T06:12:16Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/941243 2015-12-01T00:11:00Z 2015-12-01T00:11:00Z Facebook has won social media and we can all go home now

It’s been a while since I’ve done some social media strategy work on a big, mainstream FMCG grocery brand. 

I had a real Big Daddy to work on last week and, as I sat down to pull together my data for the reverse brief I was hit by just how much Facebook has won. 

Facebook is the social web. 

The target demographic for the product I was working on was families, economical blue collar working types and then older, empty nesters. Mainstream, high volume value brand stuff. 

The supermarket goldmine demographics that every large supplier wants to hit because they do huge revenues. Facebook was an obvious choice because the brand page had around 35 million page likes already but I’ve got so used to doing multichannel plans my instinct was to look around for other ways to reach consumers. 

I tried to liven things up with a bit of Instagram but then I saw this stat “people between 18-34 make up 70% of total users in Australia -females are 60% of users”. This is not my blue collar, mainstream user. 

Twitter only got a brief look in as part of the PR strategy to identify possible influencers. We could have put our video content on YouTube as a secondary channel but again, it skews younger and why would we do that when we have the reach of Facebook video and the ability to target and retarget?

All roads led to Facebook for both organic and paid conversations. As I dug deeper, and thought about Facebook’s unashamed push for, and favouring of video content, I realised this was the strategy for my brand: Facebook video with around 50% organic and 50% paid conversations

Mark Zuckerberg's dog Beast

Social media strategy and platform use can get very subjective but if you stick to the user data and keep your own, and your client’s own preferences to the side, all you can do is Like the photo of Mark Zuckerberg’s dog on your Facebook feed and congratulate them on winning the social web. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/910781 2015-09-29T05:11:23Z 2015-09-29T05:15:35Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/909411 2015-09-25T07:34:05Z 2015-09-25T07:36:03Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/902386 2015-09-08T05:47:00Z 2015-09-08T05:47:00Z 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.

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/900494 2015-09-02T12:16:18Z 2015-09-05T04:11:45Z 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

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/894959 2015-08-18T07:28:56Z 2015-08-18T07:28:56Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/892831 2015-08-12T01:30:59Z 2015-08-12T01:35:24Z 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

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/889261 2015-08-03T01:32:38Z 2015-08-03T01:32:38Z 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. 

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/886744 2015-07-27T03:36:32Z 2015-07-27T03:36:33Z 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

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courtney lambert
tag:courtneylambert.co,2013:Post/877681 2015-07-06T00:19:33Z 2015-07-06T00:19:33Z 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. 

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courtney lambert