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

The one thing you can do today to properly understand social media

If you want to understand how social media works, listen to the Facebook earnings calls. I tell people this.They don’t listen to me. 

That’s why I’m happy to tell you my little secret here, because you probably would rather pay two thousand dollars to go to a half day workshop and listen to people who aren’t Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg talk about social media. That’s up to you. 

Facebook has the family lunchbox users and Twitter wants them
And then Sheryl would have explained to you that social media is still a very small part of most brand’s marketing mix and that there is still a big job to do with marketers getting them to understand how to use and measure the ad products to demonstrate ROI. That would have explained to you the Twitter Australia/ Nielsen TV presentation last night and also the overly sorry apology from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo for not zapping enough trolls because they need to reposition Twitter as family friendly. The proactive communications machine roared into life well before the Twitter earnings results this morning which showed that, other than the Google deal, there wasn't much to say. 

Tony-hater of keyboard warriors, the Internet, coffee and the future of the free world
Apparently the Twitterati trolling politicians like former Prime Minister of Australia Tone Abetz for calling social media ‘electronic graffiti’ is not good content for top media buyer Woolworths selling 85 cent loaves of bread to working families so everyone needs to be a bit nicer so Twitter can attract newer, more gentle, kid’s lunchbox users and take some TV ad revenue. You would have heard Mark Zuckerberg explain very clearly to you that social media updates started as text and then went to photos- where Facebook got the big mainstream growth surge from- and that the next wave is mobile video. So if you want to make your posts to rank well on Facebook, perhaps you could post a video? Just a thought… 

If you are the one person that heeds my advice, then the Twitter earnings call this morning is a walk in the park to understand. You would have heard Sheryl talk about the growth of video on mobile and instantly understood why Twitter have incorporated video into their mobile app this week. 

You would have heard Mark talk about search and providing a search experience that ‘nobody else on the internet can provide’. By that he means Google. So then you would understand why Twitter has restarted their deal with Google to index data for search because everyone seems to go through the process of figuring out that a walled garden always seems like a good idea for ad revenue but it’s a big fail for content and discovery. 

Next gen products-mobile, visual, hyper social friend networks
You would have heard Sheryl talk about ‘next generation’ products like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and understand why Twitter launched group direct message functionality.You would have heard the Facebook CFO chappie Dave say (at great speed) that ad prices went up 300%, mainly due to growth in mobile video ads and because they can measure stuff better now. Um what? Yes the prices are going up. 

It’s brilliant, Facebook tells you everything. You have to be a bit more Turing code-breaker to pick the winners in the Google call because it’s basically everything they aren’t talking about that’s interesting. Analysts are spooned up some token numbers about ad network rates that don’t really mean much and then there’s a dismissive hand waggle to ‘emerging non-ad business’ and Google for Work’s plans to take over the world with their operating systems and work tools …look at the self-driving magic Noddy cars everyone!

Today, Facebook is setting the pace in social, definitely in a commercial sense and arguably in an innovation sense and they are worth listening to to give you clarity about the big chunky things that matter in the industry whether you personally like Facebook as a platform or not. 

But that’s up to you. 

I got hit by a taxi part three: the long hobble to freedom

vlog: marking my first day weight bearing

I started physio yesterday. I’m having it twice a week; one session for the ankle and one for the knee. We started with ankle yesterday and I can’t really walk today. The physio got me to lie face down on the bed massage table thing and he grabbed my foot and tried to twist it off the bottom of my leg. Now that it’s all titanium, you can’t break anything it’s just the pain thing so I told him to go hard out because I could handle the pain and I just want to get going again. He warned me that the ‘safe word’ is STOP and not ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh because it was going to be a bit of a hard restart so I got through it with lot of ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Needless to say, my pain threshold has gone up considerably over the last few months. 

this is pretty much how I walk

Your body adjusts really fast and you end up with your ‘good leg’ really strong from hopping around and the damaged leg all floppy and without muscle tone.

    
first steps weight bearing- feels like walking on marbles- kermit the frog styles

I was surprised how much of the physio is on your quads and your gluts and hips but I guess it’s getting all the scaffolding and balance back to normal. Without the crutch, or one crutch which I use to take the weight off the damaged leg, it feels like you are going to flip backwards like being on a snowboard. 

6-week x ray of my leg. knee to ankle tibial nail that will stay there forever
It takes about six months for the bone to grow back and 18 months for all the tissue and muscles and stuff to get back to normal. The tibial nail will stay in forever so it’s a life-long injury. Insurance companies love it when you tell them that and you can hear the team of ‘Rehab Services’ people, which is insurance company code for ‘lawyers’, go really quiet when you say ‘life-long injury’.  Keeping it simple works really well with them too. I’ve found that by ending every sentence with ‘…because your client drove a car into my leg’ makes them super happy and they just want to rush off the phone and go outside to celebrate or something- they just can’t contain their joy. 

surgeons ooo and aaahh and take photos and say this is a really good graft
We still have to watch the skin grafts on the front of the leg and make sure that the open wound from the reconstruction is healed up properly. A community nurse from St Vincent’s hospital comes and visits me and changes the wound dressing which is pretty ace. Wound care technology is pretty sensational. 

wound care technology is awesome
I have a hydrogel called Flaminal Forte that goes on the wound out of a big toothpaste tube and that gets covered with this cool silicon gauze stuff called Adaptic (some surgeons like Adaptic, some like JeloNet or this other dressing called Mepitel but Adaptic has smaller holes so less bacteria gets in and the silicon stops it sticking to the wound) and then a big nappy thing called Zetuvit that protects everything and then a compression stocking to hold it all together. The swelling stays around for a really long time so I have to try and elevate it but the reconstruction is happy and the circulation seems to be working and it’s not all purple like it was a few weeks ago. 

So tomorrow, it's the knee's turn at the physio- ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Isaiah 35:3-6
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.

Related: Part I: How the accident happened
               Part II: Hospital things and what they did to me

I got hit by a taxi - let's see what they did to me

I’ve got a plastic surgery clinic on Thursday and I’m going to pack a few things because the last time I went in for a clinic I got readmitted to hospital for two weeks.

When they took the plaster off from the first surgery, there was a big hematoma which is a big swollen blood clot that was from the impact of the taxi bonnet, or the brick wall maybe but that was where it took the biggest bash anyway. 

The first four days after the accident were a lifetimes worth of hospital for me so being told I had to go back in for two weeks felt like I was being sucked out to sea.  Then I decided to be like the chill-ass orangutan and surrender to the whole process so Christmas and New Year's in hospital for me it was. There are starving children in Africa and people in the ward with lifetime, genetic muscle-wasting illness and stuff like that who needed four people to move them in bed. My leg seemed very minor and temporary in comparison. I've been pretty healthy for the last three years or so. I stopped drinking booze altogether and got a lot more active and tuned into managing stress and just generally realising that I wasn't bulletproof and had to listen to my body more. It made a big difference to my physical healing and just being able to push your body to relearn things. It also meant that I was thumped by all the medicines being pumped into me so I was pretty quick to start refusing pain meds and wanting all the chemicals to stop. I took my last antibiotic tablet yesterday and I'm not on any medication now- fingers crossed that's the end of it. 

Of course, you can't just sprinkle some Chia seeds over your leg and have some fish oil tablets when you're having open surgery on your leg. They have to knock you out which involves wheeling you into a cupboard and putting a rubber mask on your face and shoving a pipe down your throat which triggered a reptilian 'do not want' response from me apparently- I don't remember any of that but a traumatic frightened cat hit by a car response seemed pretty understandable. Well done me. 

I've finally read the discharge letter and can see what they did now: 

Surgery one

Tibial nail insertion and open reduction internal fixation of left medial malleolus 11/12/2014

Titanium rod thing from knee to ankle, inner ankle screws and something to my knee that isn’t a knee replacement but when people say they are having their knees done that’s what I had. Washout is cleaning up all the mess. 

Surgery two
Washout left leg wound 23/12/14
Then I had to go in for a second surgery which is a Washout to clean up all the hematoma blood clot stuff and get it back to a point where it could be stitched up. 

Surgery three
Washout and application of vac dressing to left leg wound 25/12/14 <<< Christmas Day

plastic surgeon checking the donor muscle -hole left from the hematoma- yes the white part is bone
Turns out the skin had all died above the hematoma so I had to go for surgery number three to have all the skin cut off. Then you get a left with a big hole in the front of your leg. Having a huge hole is a totally bad idea at the best of times but when you’ve just had a metal rod put in your munted leg it’s an even worse idea because you can get a bone infection and if that gets into the metal work then you can’t get it out so you have to amputate the leg.  Yes amputate. So as much as everyone reassured me that wasn’t going to happen my brief stint in public health was enough to make me know that there are all sort sorts of ebola-cousins lurking in hospitals and the only places more germy than hospitals are those floating petri dishes called Cruise Ships (seriously: Google cruise ships + norovirus, it’s not just an evening show you’re catching on the Emerald Princess). 

vac dressing sucking out all the bad stuff and circulating air and moisture to fast track healing
Then I had a vac dressing put on to prepare for the fourth surgery which means you have a plastic pipe stuck in your leg-hole to suck all the bad stuff out and speed up healing. It also means that you are plumbed to the bed and if you want to go to the toilet, you have to take a big tube and wrap gauze around it with medical tape so you get to do some craft. Then you go to the toilet and hold the pipe that is attached to your leg and are quite convinced that salmonella is setting up shop in your leg and pouring down the pipe like a bacteria hydroslide at Wet n Wild. 

Surgery four
Local flap reconstruction of left lower leg wound + skin graft repair

Covering up the hole required plastic surgery and some skin grafts. It’s called Local Flap so they cut a piece of good skin off the side of your leg where it’s just muscle and tissue, and move it around the front to cover the exposed bone. I also had some skin taken from my upper thigh and used to patch up the parts that weren’t covered by the Local Flap. Skin is the most amazing thing in the universe I think (name a man-made thing that can self-heal? exactly…) so the side of my leg skin has covered up the bone and no more Oscar Pistorious for me. OK, technically there is still a risk because when you get a crushing injury, stuff can get left behind and it could go feral but I got doused with IV antibiotics for a week or so to blast all the Cruise Ship germs. 

Skin grafts have to be untouched for about five days so you have to lie in the bed and do the worst thing in the world —nothing. You would think that lying in bed watching TV all day and being brought food would be like an awesome long-haul flight but it’s actually terrible because you have to pee in a bed pan which is the most revolting thing I have ever experienced because you are horizontal and you marinade your butt in your pee and have to balance until the nurse comes to take it out or it spills everywhere. After two goes I refused any further bedpan action and opted for the high-tech toilet seat chair option although the nurses would get a bit angry with me because it’s more work for them getting you up and down but the bedpan decision was final.

mobile sanitation device connect to your regular toilet and minimises ebola in your leg

One especially tricky nurse tried to convince me that she had to ‘measure my urine volume’ but I was on to her and her tricky schemes and I had to get my terse voice out, and then she threatened to put a catheter into me, nurses really do have a strong escalation game. So I got the doctors to put on my notes that it was infection control issue and i had to be taken to the toilet, i.e. no bedpans. Touche. 

During this time, a lot of attention is paid to your plumbing actually and you soon surrender to the morning ‘have you opened your bowels today’ questioning and it’s all recorded and charted and they give you potions to ensure the question is answered in the affirmative. I was provided with ‘treats for my bowels’ aka Coloxyl and sometimes they just wheel you to the bathroom and leave you there for a while to see if anything happens so you feel like a puppy being left on the lawn to go number twos. When you do go, you get a big pat on the head and tick in your chart so it’s a great shared achievement. The old guy in the room next to me was on Day 15 and refusing treats for his bowels which you’d have to think was a seriously bad life decision. Protip: take the treats. 

Local flap 'dusky' due to blood vessels venous congestion -wiring not all connected up yet
The skin is your skin so that part is happy but all the blood vessels have to reconnect. Blood goes in but doesn't come back out so that's when the leeches were brought in to try and save the bottom part of the Local Flap that was looking a bit -according to the discharge letter- Dusky. 

Harvard Medical School highly trained specialist surgical leech- likes blood and warm places

The leeches are proper medical ones and you prick the skin like a diabetes person does and get it to attach. The leech has natural anti-coagulant in its saliva so a good one can sit there for a couple of hours and hoover away at the wound. The leech created much excitement- it feels like a normal garden worm on your leg and doesn't hurt. 

Leech doing his/her thing on the Local Flap

The only thing is when they bloat up and are full, they wander off really quickly and head for the warm parts of your body so I had one full bloated one travelling at speed up toward my warm parts which was suboptimal so I decided to stop the overnight treatment because nightmares. 

The good news is the fracture is all zipped up now. There is a big wound on the side of my leg where the surgeon took the Local Flap from and it looks bad but people in the know assure me that it's all muscle and tissue so meh.

   


I couldn't care less about scars and how it looks as long as my leg works I'll be beyond happy. A quick journey through disability has been a huge eye-opener for me and I'm beyond blessed that my journey has been relatively short and successful -some people have to live everyday with chronic pain, unhappy outcomes and far worse limitations. 

The wound specialist came and visited me yesterday and we put this cool hydrogel stuff on the wound and it soaked up all the bacteria and it's all looking nice and pink and healthy now. 

So yes, Plastics clinic on Thursday so I can remove the big dressing on my upper thigh from the skin graft donor site hopefully, and then the big date is Monday 19 January with an orthopaedic clinic and x-ray to see if my leg can bear weight so I don't have to ski around on crutches. Then I can test-drive my new titanium leg- good times :)


7-10 How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
Breaking the news that all’s well,
    proclaiming good times, announcing salvation

Related: See how the accident happened - I got in the paper and everything



I got hit by a taxi -in photos

It was an ordinary sort of Thursday. I was going to go to a thing at church, stop for a coffee and then write up some ideas from women's co-working day or maybe the startup australia Stripe chat at fishburners with Justin Kan and co. 

A few questions were coming through on a Board report we were submitting before Christmas- all was under control. The church event had wrapped for the year so I had a coffee over the road and read my Bible. Job and some John 10. God is God but he is also the Good Shepherd and he looks after his sheep. Got it. Because I was running early I decided to walk back to central station and get my big laptop (you know, exercise- Christmas is coming) so I walked down Bourke Street and then Foveaux in Surry Hills. It was drizzling but warm and I was thinking about the Lowy Institute event with the president of Ukraine I was going to at noon the next day. I needed to read up on the Ukraine thing. 

I got David Marr to take a photo of me with Alan Rusbridger (the best editor on the planet right now) and had lots of ideas from his Guardian privacy and press freedom event two nights before. Snowden and NSA and all that Internet changing the world's privacy business. Pulitzer Prize for journalism - look at that. 

I didn't think I was going to be the news. 
I was nearly at central station when I heard a car lock up and a loud bang. I turned over my left shoulder to see a car crash and a taxi coming straight for me. it was sliding and crashed into my legs, crushing me up against a garden wall. 
I knew my leg was broken and hopped a couple of times on my other leg before falling on my right side in a foetal position on the footpath. a crowd started to gather and various people tried to drag me out of the way. I had to keep swatting them away and I remember saying over and over "don't move me, please don't move me, wait for the ambulance, call an ambulance don't move me". 

I thought I might have a spinal injury.

One girl who was a nurse kept everyone back. it was very strange lying like a dead fish on a footpath in the rain screaming "don't touch my legs" at people in the middle of Sydney.  Leo from Kings Cross police arrived and told me the ambulance was nearly here. (note when you call an ambulance and they ask you where you are state the accident site, not your current location as the original call person kept driving and sent the ambulance about 2 km down the road). 

The ambulance arrived and they did that thing you see on the TV with a big board lifting a screaming mashed person off the footpath and into the van. The paramedic cut my jeans and handbag off (he couldn't bring himself to cut a pair of doc marten boots so they survived with a lace cut) and they put morphine into me. one of the guys kept singing Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball and told me I was Wonder Woman and had just been put through a wall which makes sense now I see the photo. 
The first tweet went up from emergency at St Vincent's hospital which I where I still am now. 
For the medical nerds I broke bones in my leg and my inner ankle. because it was a compound fracture I went straight to surgery and had a tibial nail and some screws put in. Tibial nail is a massive metal rod that runs from my knee to my ankle and it will probably stay in forever. 
Turns out there was a CCTV of me being hit that was recorded by someone called - Emmanuel (God with us) so I was able to go straight into full care as a motor vehicle accident victim with a police statement. The paramedic had a big crucifix around his neck that dangled in my face as he pulled my mangled leg into a splint which was blackout painful. I spent Christmas Day in a Catholic hospital founded by the Sisters of Charity. I've got lots more to write about my new appreciation for Accessible toilets, my frustration at paper based health care systems where you have to repeat the same bloody information to multiple groups of people each day, how much I love Uber, how terrifying it would be to have this accident in a remote / third world place (the leg would have been amputated) but for now I'm just grateful that Jesus came and picked this lamb up off the pavement when it got hit by a car and looked after it. 
Christmas Day operation so I couldn't really eat the turkey dinner.
The main thing now is getting a large wound on my left leg closed up so the tibial nail and bone doesn't get infected. I'm having plastic surgery on Monday to cut a flap from around my leg to patch over the hole. The skin graft comes off my leg and covers the meat flap site. then it will be a few more weeks here in hospital to make sure there's no infection. 
A clip on the leg is annoying, but it's also made me see how important it is to serve the vulnerable, elderly and disabled because in an instant, it could be you. 

The serious crash unit took a statement and I'll probably get some significant compensation because it will be lifelong injury (tibial nail and some ankle screws) but I don't blame the drivers - how easy is it to have a close call in the city? I'll be on crutches for about another month and it's pretty amazing that no other part of me was touched like my other leg or wrists, so I can hobble around.

I'm just grateful that God was and is with me and my legs work and I'm not dead quite yet. I'll write more soon but thanks to everyone who helped me and I'll bore you to death on twitter from my hospital bed for the next few weeks. I have to stay here because the wound has infection risk *warning medical gore photos* The hole is big because the impact whacked all the skin and it died so that got cut away on Christmas Day.

Isaiah 7:9 If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all 


Limited edition Apple selfie fail with Bono

One TV journalist who doesn’t warrant mentioning said yesterday that U2 were being massive ‘try-hards’ by being at an Apple launch event. 

Besides the obvious Bono being a shareholder and being friends with Steve Jobs thing and being an advisor on the whole concept of iTunes, I can confirm that this is rubbish because TRUE STORY I was with Bono when he saw his first in the wild U2 limited edition iPod in 2007, the same year iPhone went to general release and he was very cool and not try-hard at all. My one and only U2 story goes like this. 

I walked past the Hyatt Auckland (now the Pullman) in the morning and saw a guy with a telephoto lens waiting outside on the street.  He was  still there when I went home at about 6pm so I stopped to ask him who he was waiting for-just being nosey. He told me that U2 were getting ready to fly out to Japan and the drivers were bringing the cars out now from the car park if I wanted to meet the band. I wasn’t sure about the ‘meet them’ part and he said ‘oh yeah, U2 are great with people’ and that I would definitely have a chance to meet them and get some photos, chat for a bit. 

I just lived next door so I went up and got my camera (no iPhone then for me yet in 2007). When I got back, it was me and telephoto man and a guy from the Philippines and some Irish girl with a coffee table U2 book who was hugging it and crying-four people. Bono’s bodyguard guy came out and told us that since there weren’t many of us, we could all meet them as long as everyone was cool and did what he said. 

So we were told to stand on the footpath and not to come into the driveway of the hotel. The family and band management would come out first and leave in big people mover things, and then the bodyguard would bring each member of U2 out one-by-one. Each member has their own black  S-Class Mercedes and they all travel separately so the drivers bring the cars out from the hotel carpark and leave them all running in a big formation out the front, it’s very impressive.  The bodyguard man then showed us his new shoes he bought at Footlocker and stood and chatted with us and was super nice. 

Bono's bodyguard 

The guy from the Philippines said he had the new, red U2 iPod that he wanted Bono to sign and I was pretty impressed by his dedication coming all the way from Manila-especially as I was just randomly on the footpath and everyone else seemed to have worked very hard for their moment. I mean, the Irish crying girl had a book and everything. 

So then the set play started. We did what we were told and got back on the footpath and the families shot down the motorway ramp in a motorcade of vans. Then Larry (the drummer) came out. He seemed the least enthused but was pleased there weren’t many people so still signed everything and I said “hi’’ and he said “hi” and that was about it. 

The Edge in his black beanie

Then Adam came out and then The Edge came out in his trademark beanie and then I started getting that stupid star-gazed grin because he’s that guy that you’ve just seen on the TV and he’s standing right there talking to you and it’s all a bit surreal. The three band members all left and then there was a dramatic pause and everyone knew the main rock goblin himself Bono was about to come out. 

You could sense the security guys tightening up a bit and see the flash of star-crossed hotel staff faces as they all nodded and rushed to open doors for him and he walked through the lobby and out the electric front doors. He strutted out across the forecourt and went straight to the crying Irish girl hugging her U2 coffee table book and signed everything and hugged her and got photos and stuff and I was beyond impressed at how non-douchebag he was. Here is probably one of the most famous people in the world and he has time for four strays hanging around outside his hotel.  Everything was going great and he came up to meet me. I shook his hand, I know, not very cool but it was sort of awkward instinctive and I started babbling about the guy next to me who had come from the Philippines and wanted his iPod signed (was I his agent? why did I say that?!) and he said he had never seen a finished one before and that he thought it looked really cool and where should he sign it? So we stood there for a bit and turned it over a few times and he thought maybe sign the screen so he scribbled BONO across the front in black Sharpie and the guy made him do it again just pretend so that he could get photo evidence that it was actual real Bono that signed it and he seemed OK with that to- talk about patience of a saint. 

Hug screamer crashing our iPod chat with Bono

In all this excitement I realised I hadn’t got my own photo with him and the telephoto guy was busy clicking and chatting away and he had waited all day so I didn’t think it was fair to ask him so I turned around to get a selfie with Bono and just at that second, some stupid screaming girl rushed at Bono and hugged him wailing “I LOVE YOU ARGHHHHHHHHH”. 

Turns out that crying Irish girl had texted one of her friends and she decided to crash our well-mannered U2 footpath meetup with her crazy sauce, obviously unaware that in the post Lennon era we don’t do things like that to scare famous rockstars.  Friendly bodyguard man pulled the hug-screamer off Bono and another security guy appeared out of nowhere and pushed me back away from him too and that was the end of that. Bono was bundled into his Mercedes and the car boosted off to the airport and we farewelled U2 for Japan. 

Bono selfie fail

None of my photos turned out that great but I was happy with my random meeting and I can confirm that Bono is not a douchebag and was so nice to us and that there is nothing try-hard at all about having Steve Jobs make one of the most incredible inventions ever inspired by your massive famous band, thank you very much. 

Download the free U2 album in iTunes
Guy Oseary on @U2's $100 Million deal with Apple and what's next for the group 

Seven leadership tips from Queen Liz

While the whole notion of blue-blooded humans really doesn't sit well with my egalitarian sensibilities, I have grown to admire Queen Elizabeth II as a leader.

I watched an excellent documentary the other night 'Ten days that made the Queen' . Here are a seven points on leadership I took from it.

1. Leadership and experience are two different things

Young Liz was only 25 when she was crowned Queen. She always took her role as a servant of the people very seriously and immediately asserted herself on affairs of State and as leader of the Church of England. While she may not have had the experience, she has always possessed the wisdom and sureness of self to stand alone and not be puppeted by the old hands. Quite extraordinary in a post-war kingdom that was more powerful than the USA, USSR or China.  

2. Don't forget the power of your rank

In 1957, the Queen appointed Harold Macmillan, Chancellor of the Exchequer, as successor to Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden. The Queen's endorsement sent a very clear message to the people of England that the aristocratic classes were still only giving jobs to those in their polo clubs and that Parliament was not entirely democratic.

The subsequent Suez Crisis (under a  Eden/Macmillan leadership) is credited with triggering the
fall of the British Empire and the rise of the USA as a superpower. The invasion was a disaster and the Queen's trust of reliable yet incompetent leaders took her empire down on the world stage. The people of England weren't happy and the monarchy was threatened. Post-Suez, the Queen vowed to never get involved in 'king-making' parliamentary or commonwealth leadership.

3. Sometimes, it pays to keep your opinions to yourself

The Queen won't comment on any of the portraits that are painted of her. She won't publicly comment on the governance of Commonwealth states or the British parliament. What did she think of Kate Middleton's dress? Who knows?

She knows that her opinion holds a lot more weight than the average Joe and she uses her powers for diplomatic good.

4. You have to be superhuman and human all at the same time

The only time the Queen was seen crying publicly was when the royal yacht was decommissioned. She didn't cry when Lady Diana died. The Queen's handling of Diana's death received a brutal backlash and showed a monarchy completely out of touch with its people.

The Queen prides herself on high standards of morality but the lack of emotion and empathy when simulcast against streets of wailing housewives and children with bunches of flowers showed an evil mother-in-law who didn't seem to understand that her grandchildren had lost their mother. 

The subsequent, Tony Blair prompted, Diana tribute video shows the achilles of the Queen who has been trained her whole life to maintain a stiff upper lip. It looks like a terrible hostage video and, in some ways, the public outcry really did put a gun to her head.

5. It's the quiet ones you have to watch

The Queen is surrounded by lots of deferential, curtseying, gift-giving types that want to be in her favour. Some of her most trusted advisors openly disagree with her and refuse to get mesmerised by her sparkly crown. Conversely, she is famous for ignoring the advice of her many pandering minions. I've yet to meet a good leader that doesn't encourage healthy debate and Liz is known away from the cameras as "talking strategy like a machine-gun."

6. Take it on the chin and learn from your mistakes

"1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis" Queen Elizabeth II 24 November 1992.
 
(The "sympathetic correspondent" was later revealed to be her former assistant private secretary, Sir Edward Ford).

In one year, the Queen had three of her children in divorce court, an uninsured fire at Windsor castle, a scandalous tell-all book from Diana and a British public that was sick of paying for the circus.


No point in candy-coating it when you have a shocker.

7. Anyone can get knocked off their perch

As my mother always says "one day the ass that you kick will be the ass you have to kiss."

We've seen the recent falls of Mubarak, Hussein, Gaddafi and Bin Laden. Steve Jobs got bumped out of Apple for a bit and who can keep up with who is at the helm of Yahoo? JFK was assassinated and Lady Diana was killed in a car crash. Nelson Mandela was eventually President of South Africa, Iceland melted and now, everybody wants their economy to be like China's.

Any seat of power worth having will always attract leadership challenges. Whether it's Charles or William or Harry or someone from China that eventually sits on the throne, I think we can safely say that the new democracy we're experiencing won't afford a monarchy in its current form for too much longer.

Queen Elizabeth II is an impeccable leader with a wisdom and perspective on world history and people that we can all learn from in the get rich quick iPhone app business world.

2012 Yellow™ Social Media Report SMB Social Media

Australian SMB research released today. 

Highlights of the report include:

-27% of small, 34% of medium and 79% of large businesses have a social media presence

-22% of small businesses update their social media every day, while 28% of them do it once a week

-39% of medium businesses update their social media every day

-83% of small businesses on social media have a Facebook page

-27% of small businesses on social media have a Twitter account

-79% of medium businesses on social media have a Facebook page

-33% of medium businesses on social media have a Twitter account

 

The full report is available for download below.