Dealing with difficult people on wheels

I’ve been up at Rotorua Hospital for the last few days with my Mum. She has quite a rare condition which has made her a bit of a rockstar as gaggles of student doctors and nurses turn up at the foot of her bed to witness her weirdness first hand and to ask if they can use her case in their final year projects. I think she’s in about five of them now. 

While her groupies poked and prodded I was eaves dropping on a shift change. One of the nurses had a very demanding patient in a room on his own. She was concerned because his family were also demanding and she wasn’t liking the whole vibe of the thing both for his treatment and her sanity. 

The woman in charge of the whole place where we were (ward?-I don’t know much about hospitals) said to move him into a four-patient room. Having the other patients around him would regulate his behaviour and not make him so demanding. With some protest, the nurses immediately wheeled him into a shared room and left him to complain for a bit until one of the other men in the room told him to shut up because he wanted to sleep.  It made me think of how many demanding people I’ve worked with-at all levels- who needed someone to grab their office chair and wheel them out into a shared workspace so they could be told to shut up and stop being difficult by their colleagues. We tend toward closed office doors and pandering to difficult people rather than shoving them back into the community and letting the community self-regulate the behaviour. Of course there is a time when people have to be segregated for their own privacy, anonymity, safety, and the safety of others but I thought this swift wheelie correction strategy was quite clever, and it seemed to be working. Next time you get someone refusing to engage or being fussy and difficult, grab the back of their office chair and wheel them into the middle of the floor.*

*results may vary please consult with your registered health professional

The old man and his flame thrower

It’s a special day for Sal today. 

Most days you’ll see him out mowing the lawns and walking his german shepherd. I don’t know what the dog is called I think we just call it ‘Sal’s dog’. He volunteers 20 hours a week at the local swimming pool as a lifeguard. Walking around in old, chlorine-stained tracksuit pants, telling the kids off for trying to ride their skateboards around the side of the pool. Grumpy old man. I guess he’s not that old, probably about the same age as my Dad, 60-ish, bit of  paunch in his belly.  The kids with the skateboards probably think he’s ancient. 

I always think of him on Anzac Day. Sal is my parent’s neighbour.He’s a Kiwi who served 25 years in the British Special Forces. It’s the one day of the year he gets dressed up in his Special Forces uniform with the distinctive beret and the dagger with the wings badge. 

You wouldn’t know he was a real life Action Man most days although sometimes there are little ‘tells’ of his past. Like the fact that he always turns his truck around in the driveway and keeps it running. Sal comes in for a coffee for half an hour and the truck is sitting in the driveway with the engine on, key in the ignition in case he needs to put down his muffin and go assassinate a military dictator or something. And he notices everything. I think he shares a common guarding instinct with his elderly german shepherd. They both drive around in the truck, logging movements, noticing who’s talking to who, mapping relationships and changes in behaviour patterns. 

“only back to visit for 3 and a half days this trip?”

“haven’t seen your brother down here since January 4th”

The german shepherd sits in the passenger seat during the rolled-down-window interrogation, affirming the true statements. Watching for inconsistencies. Always watching...

Oh, and that one time about five years ago when he torched a block of land down the road with a flame thrower.  

A widow about four k’s from here had some family land that someone erected an illegal boat shed on near the lake. It dragged on for years and the squatting family just kept adding more junk on to the property and intimidated the widow every time she tried legal methods for getting the shed taken down and the boat removed.  The boats and motorbikes got fancier and the local whispering was that the haul belonged to drug dealers. Patched gang members turned up at the widow’s house to take the boat out. Everyone was too scared to do anything about it-law enforcement included.

Not Sal. He went around to the gang house and gave them a week to move their stuff, Friday 12 noon.  When the deadline passed, he put his german shepherd and his flame thrower in the truck, drove down the road and torched the whole lot.  Some people didn’t approve of his methods and thought he went looking for trouble; that he made the situation worse for the widow. Sal helped the widow to hire a Bobcat and cleared the section for her.  The bullies lost that day because Sal didn’t listen to 'some people'. 

Those are the same people who probably wouldn’t make the cut for the Special Forces. Those people wouldn’t survive doing missions in Vietnam and Nicaragua and all the horror that goes with it. They wouldn’t knock on the door of the gang house or risk their own comfort and safety for someone else. 

What makes people like Sal special is they are prepared to do things that other people aren’t prepared to do- good and bad, regardless or whether they get any thanks for it or not. The kids with the skateboards at the pool have no idea that the old guy in the chlorine-stained track pants is the highest rank of Special Forces combat diver. I don't like war but I hate bullies and I hope Sal feels really special today and I hope everyone makes a big fuss over him. I hope he shows the kids with the skateboards his dagger tattoo and they’re impressed by his beret. Everyone likes to feel special and Sal deserves it for one day at least. 

The only recipe for content marketing you'll ever need

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just set a recipe for content marketing and people did exactly what you wanted them to do

-Beat humans and egg whites

-Cream sugar and 150 grams of generic event-based email content

-Add 2x 400px Getty images and bake for three and a half minutes on YouTube

-Serve with a side of 100 char tweets and a sprinkling of Pinterest

-Yields ten million dollars. 

People would open emails, click on links, add credit card details and take selfies for Earth Hour. Your social media dashboard would spin up with ACTIVE CONVERSATIONS and you would achieve peak cloudscale double rainbow viral all the way across the sky. What's the ROI? You can't handle the ROI!

“We have a habit of turning to scientists when we want factual answers and artists when we want entertainment, but where are the facts about the nature of the self?

How’s that for a great line. Here’s another one from the same article in the New York Review of Books. I had to look up simulacrum.

“You are so limited! Bill Gates also makes things up. Is he a novelist? Science, it’s a process of creation too. Literature itself is a species of code. You line up symbols and create a simulacrum of life.”

Literature itself is a species of code. Marvellous. And then there's all the selfs and their natures and how they interact with your literary code species.

When you see recipe-style blog posts like this from Buffer The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research giving instructions on paint by numbers tweet lengths and blog post times and things like that, remember to file it into the little ‘that’s interesting’ folder in your brain as a starting point for analysis but remember, this stuff is the cabbage soup diet of the internet and it's not sustainable for real results.

Why? Because your audience isn't a homogenous glob is probably the main one but also because there are lots of contributing attributes or ingredients in the recipe and it's what the people taste and respond to that matters. There is science but there is also the choice of language, the intonation of voice and the colour of Tyler Oakley’s hair. Content type, distribution method, time of day.  Your marketing people know (or should know) this so don't frustrate them by minimising their work down to silly recipes like content length. It's super demotivating for your teams. Give them adequate time to explain their results and why they have done things the way they have. Let them experiment with different approaches and support average videos and blog posts because -I know I keep repeating myself-it's important to develop capability and learn how to make really great cakes not mass produced tasteless ones that your customers don't want to eat. 

So we just ignore all content metrics and let people play art class on company time? No. We develop good processes for testing like simple A/B email subject line experiments. We motivate the team by encouraging them to try posting to the email from mobile, even if the image quality is a bit lower than usual. We encourage people to think and try and contribute. For example:

That’s interesting that the recommended blog post length is 1600 words. I like to read Seth Godin’s blog and his posts are usually around 150 words so what’s with that? Oh, he has developed a voice and a writing style that is unique to him and can communicate complex musings in little daily sound bites. He doesn’t use images. If I asked one of our salespeople to write a 1600 word blog post it would never happen. I don’t think they are strong enough at writing to pull off 150 words of cleverness like Seth can do. Maybe we give them 250- 300 words as an achievable target to get their blogging fitness up? And an image to make the post more newsy and engaging. 

That’s interesting that the target YouTube video length is 3.5 minutes (which I used to stick to religiously) but I like Tyler Oakley’s vlogs and his are usually around 7 minutes. Look at his insane number of views and subscribes. He is very engaging and speaks directly to his audience. What else is different about what he’s doing with production values and content type? He does a weekly vlog and distributes it through other channels like Twitter and Tumblr. He's very engaged with his fans on Tumblr. We don’t have anyone as talented as Tyler Oakley (yet) around here but who else can we use to increase our engagement by using a real person? Peter in accounts is no oil painting but he’s good at explaining things. Our last video was 10 minutes and we can see the views falling off at the end so let’s get back to 3.5 minutes and see if that helps. 

That’s interesting that the recommended tweet length and Facebook update lengths are 100 characters and less than 40 characters (the Facebook one is shorter than the Twitter one?). I read some other research that promotions and photos are the most important variables so how does that work? Maybe our hashtags are too long. We just need to make sure the quality stays up and we don’t start using text language because that is the worst thing in the entire world and would cause great shame to us and our families. 

That’s interesting that the best performing email subject line length is 28-39 characters. The offer and the content type would have to matter too wouldn’t they? Plus time of day, I wonder if the research controlled for that? When I do the 9am send tomorrow I'll cut the list in half and do a short headline and a longer one to see if it makes a difference. 

Many, many recipes flying around in the test kitchen to come up with results that will keep your customers coming back for more and asking you for the recipe. Empowered, happy, creative chefs who burn a few things here and there but can also turn out banquets for your customers, given the right conditions. 

Spoon the content over the humans. Serves 6. 

How do we know if our paid online advertising is working?

Comscore did a really good paper with a stupid name about four years ago ‘Whither the click’ (?) and it gives you some good foundations for understanding performance on paid digital ads. 

Like most things in marketing it’s important to not oversimplify to the point of removing the quality audience discussion. So if you were to say ‘does advertising on TV work?' anyone worth their salt would say ‘well it depends on the placement and the reach and the promotional mechanic and the creative execution and what you were trying to achieve in the first place' and work backwards from there. You know- ‘customers’ and all that jazz. With digital you do the same thing however, I think there are a couple of things we can start with. 

First, are you talking about display or search campaigns? So when I go to Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald this morning the first display ad I got served was cloud host Rackspace

If I search for 'cloud provider Sydney' in Google then I get their paid search campaign too (now that wasn’t planned, I was actually looking for a Retail ad to go into the point below from the stupidly named report but you get the idea).  

A combination of display and search. So when you start talking about ‘the online ads’ or the ‘I don’t think the web ads are working’ be clear what you are talking about; display or search. 

Second, it’s very rare in any media plan that one channel is doing all the work, they work in together. Yes that’s annoying and it makes things difficult to measure but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that one instance or one channel is making or breaking your campaign outcome:

"In the Retail category, it is also clear that while the lift in sales from a display ad is lower than the lift from a search ad, the reach of a display campaign is typically far higher than that of a search campaign. When the sales lift is weighted by reach, display campaigns generally outperform search campaigns. However, the combination of a display and search campaign delivers substantial synergy, with the sales lift from the combined strategy being greater than the sum of the individual components." comscore 'Whither the click'

So it’s the combination of display and search that results in the retail sales lift in this example. We’re seeing this pattern across a number of industries and you just need to spend some time in paid search forums to see analysts summarising their campaign results with ‘we got the best result from a combination of paid display and search’and then looking at how they can take the intent identified in the search and make it into a display ad to influence behaviour change and/ or conversion. 

The third thing (this applies across all forms of advertising and communications) don’t assume it’s the Creative that is or isn’t doing the work and getting the result you want. 

If you stare at this bar chart for a little while, you can see that the eight bars represent eight different campaigns the company executed. The red bits are display ads that totally missed the audience. Green were bang on and there are some other colours in the middle. It would be easy to look at eight different campaign executions and get in a big discussion about fonts and images and copy without understanding that it was actually the campaign delivery (target and frequency) that was changing in the background. Does that makes sense? The easiest way I think of it is imagine you are in a conference centre with lots of breakout rooms. If you go and deliver eight different presentations to eight different audiences it’s not only the font on the Powerpoint slides that is changing. The audience is changing, so start with the figuring out ‘which room has the best audience for what we’re trying to achieve’ and work back from there. The frequency is how often you deliver that presentation to that audience. Some rooms may cost more to access than others, but if they contain the right people who are going to transact with you, then it’s worth the investment and better than talking to a cheapo room full of dud leads. 

And in the grand scheme of your campaign, the whole room probably isn't going to rush at you with their cash and buy what you're selling after you deliver the first slide. It makes things trickier to measure, this is true but since when has marketing and ad performance been easy to measure? The most important thing is that you have a good understanding of what's actually going on first before you get scrambled in the data. 

Altimeter report: Digital Transformation and the New Customer Experience

As you probably already know, I really like the work that Altimeter does and there latest offering is up to their usual standard. Digital transformation can come across as a little marketing campaign or a ‘hey look what this company did with an Instagram selfie and a well planned spontaneous flashmob’ but you get none of that lightweight nonsense from Brian Solis, Jaimy Szymanski, Charlene Li and the team. 

It’s the real issues that people butt their heads up against everyday like silos, lack of top-level understanding and buy-in, slow investment and urgency to prioritise projects. In some ways you could take the old classics like The Goal and In Search of Excellence and update it with mobile and more intarwebby terms and you’d be talking about the same issues because it all points to one thing: change. 

Take a look at this quote from Marc Pritchard at P&G:

Instead of “digital-first,” P&G is currently embracing a culture of “Digital Back.” Speaking at Dmexco, P&G’s Global Brand Building Officer, Marc Pritchard, stated that “digital marketing” as a focus on channels and technologies is “dead.” While controversial, his vision reflects a grander perspective of the evolving customer ecosystem. He believes that companies can’t embrace a strategy toward digital transformation based on the tools and trends. “Try to resist thinking about digital in terms of the tools, the platforms, the QR codes, and all of the technology coming next. Instead, start in the digital world and build your way back to the rest of the marketing mix. It’s an approach that is building our brand equities, our sales, and our profits.”

So start with the customer and map the processes back based on their behaviour and the best way to serve them? Yes.
The customers have changed and we haven’t? Yes.
The technologies and media available to serve customers and communicate ideas have changed and we haven’t? Yes. 

I’m increasingly convinced that no amount of jumping up and down by humans is really going to drive the change. I think that ultimately, software will kick down the walls as it is pervasive and no respecter of silos, departments, or internal empires.  Either that or something really big breaks and you have the change forced upon you like what happened to retailer Myer a few months back when a fantastic free shipping marketing campaign took out the online store for a week at Christmas. Oops. And as long as customer service, IT and marketing are not working hand in hand to serve the customer, no amount of big data or QR code enabled mobile omni-channel dashboard interactive solutions are going to mean much to customer experience, sales and profits as it just means that the piles of data get bigger and richer in the silos. 

Altimeter really gets this and the report is an interesting read. Other people obviously thought this too as the download link broke when I went to get it so thank you to Leslie for emailing me the report.  Very good marketing and customer care integration :)

My top 5 blogging things list to be cool like Darren

I just read Darren Rowse at Problogger's 5 tips blog and he challenged us to write a '5 things' blog so here goes.
What can I do a five things on? um um um….well, Darren did Top 5 mistakes he made but I’m not feeling very fail today so I’ll go with a general five things I’ve learned about blogging but not ‘learnings’ because- it hurts us. 

T Rex trying is a cool blog

1. Blog for yourself
I know that’s not very community and audience and all that but I think it’s really important. I started blogging on Typepad around 1999, then I started writing about marketing again on Blogger around (checks old account) 2009. The reason I started blogging again was because I found myself venting at articles about marketing and thinking ‘what a douchebag, why are we listening to that person’ and I realised that I was a Hater. Haters are bad. So in order to not be a hater, and to contribute constructively, I became a blogger. Blog for yourself and use your powers for good not evil. If other people want to read it then bonus points for you.  

2. There’s no ‘I’ in team but there is a ‘me’
Don’t be afraid to use ‘I’. I’m not a journalist and I don’t report on things. My ‘I’ stories and feelpinions are completely my own and I’m quite happy to be accountable and say what I think. If first-person style writing is not your thing then that’s up to you but don’t think you have to write formal articles and essays about everything. Your stories and your voice are very important things and don’t let anyone tell you your “I went to work and we talked about cats and we had a sandwich and then my car broke down and the mechanic was called Steve’ stories are not great because I love those kind of stories the most. I find that I'm a lot more positive and open to appreciate other people's cool stuff when I'm contributing too and have a place to put my ideas.

3. Embrace your clangers
I have a few real clanger blog posts floating around and I used to be really cringed out by them and think what the hell was I on about and why does the internet not have a delete button yet arghhhh but now I’m OK with them. It comes under the ‘blog for yourself’ thing and the startling realisation I came to recently that based on all evidence presented, I am human. So all the trying too hard and being stabby at things and over-sharing are part of the journey and when I’m old (I plan to live to 120 at this point-I’ll keep you updated) I think I will probably like those weird emo posts the best because they were real man. No I'm not linking to them. 

4. Get a blogging environment you like and write write write write write
It’s the oldest writing advice in the world but it’s true. If you want to get better at writing, write. Read more, write more. Read really good stuff until you cry and feel completely inadequate and can’t even start a sentence (CS Lewis I’m looking at you). I write in TextEdit (offline autosave baby) and have that saving to a Google Drive folder and then paste it up into Posthaven or wherever I’m publishing to. WriteRoom and OmmWriter are nice things too. I do quick image edits in PicMonkey, bigger ones in Adobe PhotoShop. Focus on the writing part and not the colouring in stuff too much because you can fluff around with that too much and never really get to the write write write write part.

I would also add Charlie Brooker’s genius advice, get a deadline. Set them for yourself or commit to writing for something. I do an early week and a late week blog as a personal deadline and that’s why I’m writing this now. Don’t worry about creating masterpieces just keep serving stuff up and you’ll find a flow that works for you over time and that you can maintain. In recent times, I'm writing a lot more nerdy management theory things I don't publish just because I know it may come in useful later, in a different stage of work or whatever so you can do that too. Brainpickings is a fantastic blog for inspiration and sends out a weekly 'interestingness digest' that is very interesting and digestible. 

5. Don’t take blogging advice from non-bloggers
There is a weird code of respect that bloggers have for each other’s work. It’s one thing that has really surprised me and made me such a stickler for what has now become one of my life pillars (is that a thing? it is now)  ‘contribute or go away’. I’ve had people come up to me at conferences and offer me all sorts of weird advice on my blog, or ‘feedback’. I think the best was 'I went to go to your website and it was just some postplace thing with some words and pictures. Why is it all words? When are you going to get a website? I then have to stand there and do this face:

Guaranteed non-blogger. I have never had a blogger do that. I have had a blogger suggest I not use sweary words because my blog got blocked on her company firewall. See, that’s good advice and I don’t do it now. If you worry too much about what other people think, you’ll never hit the Publish button so write your silly stories and enjoy them. See Point 1. 

6. Figure out how to end your blog posts. Still haven’t figured that out yet. 

Here’s how we do it

‘Here’s how we do it’ is one the most undervalued and potentially powerful approach to educating and engaging people. I was emailed this outstanding piece of ‘here’s how we do it’ from Marketo the other day explaining their own sales and marketing approach online. Not only does it go into a ridiculous amount of detail (is that a screenshot of their YTD marketing budget on page 143?) but it also explains the real challenges they face and how they are working to address them. For example,  the service level agreements between sales and marketing on page 15 seem very over the top but who hasn’t sat in hours of ‘if our marketing people weren’t so rubbish we would have met our sales targets’ argy bargy? Is that how Marketo do it? Fascinating. 

The best things about ‘here’s how we do it’ content are:

1. you can’t get it wrong. It's just how you do it. 

2. it ticks the big online boxes of relatability and trust and demonstrates you are real people working on real problems

3. it acknowledges that your audiences and customers are smart and enables them to be brought in and help work on challenges with you.

One of the best examples I saw of this was Tim Westergren at the Pandora Australia launch. He stood in front of the audience and plainly laid out that Pandora pays about half its annual revenue to SoundExchange in artist royalties (approx $250M per annum) and that they are looking at new ways of gaining revenue such as premium subscriptions and paid advertising in markets like Australia. He was quick to say that they ad products are in the early stages and they haven’t quite figured it all out yet but that’s the direction they’re heading in. As an audience we were treated as smart people who get the commercial reality of running a business. Now when I see US ads playing on my Australia Pandora I think ‘that’s OK, I know they haven’t figured out the Australia ad sales and serving yet”.  I’m now part of the story and I want Pandora to solve this problem and succeed. 

So why do more organisations not do it?

1. client side sweat labour. The Marketo document requires a serious amount of work and it's not something you can quickly brief out to an agency to whip up.  Your agency won't recommend this type of content because it's hard for then to make money on it and many old school marketers don't value it because it looks gritty and not 'made for TV' . That's why we don't see a lot of it from top 50 advertisers. 

2. grass is greener. There is a tendency to think that the approach other people use is always better and not value your own people and approaches. Things will always look grainy and ugly up close so step back and try to see stories as a customer would. A lot of the problems people are working on are mundane and not glamorous and that’s the stuff that stands out online. 

3. the Cinderella effect aka jealousy. By empowering your own people at all levels of the organisation to talk about the things they are working on, it can challenge existing power structures.  For example, if you are a company known for engineering excellence and someone in your company starts writing blog posts about how your call centre manages 24-hour customer care and gets good feedback it can trigger feelings of insecurity. What if your call centre Cinderella gets invited to speak at a customer service conference about their real experiences and all the other people who work in call centres really like them and want to hear from them and not your rockstar engineers? Don’t allow the incumbent step sisters to keep your Cinderella stories in the dark scrubbing the floors. 

4. competitive concerns. It’s important to be smart about the information you put in public domain and not to show all your cards. I’m not sure how much the data was cleaned in the Marketo document but either way, the benefit they gain by having more companies educated about marketing automation outweighs any competitive tactics they may have revealed. Front footing stories and information that you have control over actually gives you more message control anyway. For example, Tim Westergren cut any cynical tech reports off at the pass about Pandora’s need for new revenue streams by openly talking about their royalty bills. By explaining to your customers that the call centre gets hammered 4-6pm and that you are actively directing traffic as part of your care strategy to community forums, people will be less likely to call at those peaks over time and be more likely to go to the help forums. 

There are new communication tools being developed all the time to get you closer to your customers and bring them into real conversations so when you say things, they actually believe you and are happy to change their consumer behaviour. Bring them into your story with ‘here’s how we do it’ and they will want you to succeed too. 

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The hardest change management I've ever done

I swore (literally volcano of expletives) a number of years ago that I would never do house renovations ever again. Last week, I broke my vows in a sweary deluge of ‘I AM PAINTING IT OR I AM SETTING FIRE TO IT’

I literally barricaded myself in the toilet with a wall sander and some paint I found in the shed and started painting. I did the toilet, the bathroom, the kitchen, living room- I just kept going and hoped like hell that it was going to look OK. True disruption is an unglamorous business. 

So what changed?

My parents are getting older. I’m getting older. 

What to me was a simple decision ‘paint the house yourself or pay someone else to paint it’ for them was 57 Doha Rounds of discussions about the future and retirement and where they want to live and get buried and life and the universe. Big time feelings. 

It was an admission that they are getting older and can’t do the things they used to do. It forced them to break their routine and romantic ideas of former house builds and renovation projects. It forced them to accept that all of that stuff was probably behind them and the tough decisions they had to make for their parents, I was now making for them. It was also going to make a huge mess. 

I needed to crowbar them into the future by putting the feelings aside and acting on the reality that:

-the house needed painting

-hiring a contractor to do it was overwhelming for them and not going to happen

-they had no vision for the next five or ten years; only what had been, so small decisions about redecorating seemed huge

-they had not been part of the renovation I’d done on my own place so they didn’t trust me to take the lead and make decisions about what needed to happen

-I had to break the inertia, even if it required threats of arson

Proper painters will tell you 'it’s all in the prep' and I did none. After the first coat locked in the toilet it looked terrible and I had done more damage and broken the toilet seat by standing on it to paint the ceiling. The random acrylic paint from the shed wasn’t covering. My parent's greatest fear -“Courtney will just paint everything white”- had come true and in a very ugly way. Never mind, that could be the undercoat. 

I went to the paint shop desperate for a better idea and was given a magical enamel paint called ‘Creamy Vanilla’ (thank you Wattyl) that was pretty expensive but the opportunity to bomb the whole house with it appealed greatly at that point in time. Plus, it’s not white, it’s vanilla.

I did another lap of the interior and went to bed hoping for a miracle but also defiant that the house wasn’t going to paint itself so worst case, I got the ball rolling and it was more undercoat. 

After the second coat, I finally unlocked the doors and let my parents look at whatever I had terrorised their house with. It looked amazing. The magical gloss enamel paint had rejuvenated the whole house overnight and covered my cyclone of bodgy brush work. Other than the obviously broken toilet seat, they just sort of stood there and gaped at it for a while. By lunchtime, all had been forgotten and they were phoning carpet layers and appliance places. Seven years of talking about what to do next was over and although there was some initial sulking (it’s not white, it’s VANILLA) the relief at breaking the inertia was much greater than any massive mess I had made. 

It was the hardest piece of change management I’ve ever done not because of the task, but because of the feelings. Much like Milton (pictured- Office Space 1999) actions speak louder than words and sometimes, you have to just lock yourself in the toilet and paint your way out. 

New Zealand retail transactions hit new records for 2013

The electronic payments systems don't lie and today, Paymark has released data showing New Zealand retail looking strong with spend up on both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day versus last year. 

No surprises that the supermarkets dominated on Christmas Eve (Christmas Day is a closed for trading) with food / liquor retailers (+28%) and department stores (+23.2%) also amongst the biggest winners.

In keeping with US Cyber Monday trends, apparel was strong for Boxing Day. Deals at clothing and jewellery stores (+16.5%), appliance and whiteware stores (+16.6%), electronics retailers (+12%), and floor covering and furniture stores (+17.5%) also kept the plastic swiping. 

Sporting and camping equipment stores had particularly big days, both on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, up 20.2 per cent and 31.8 per cent respectively.

PAYMARK POS Data 24th December 2013 versus 2012 


Value of spending ($millions)



Last Year

Current Year

 Value Difference

New Zealand 




PAYMARK POS Data 26th December 2013 versus 2012


Value of spending ($millions)



Last Year

Current Year

 Value Difference

New Zealand 




Data: Paymark

Image: Allie Brosh. Quite possibly the greatest blog post in the history of the internet