Friday, November 11, 2011

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Here's a presentation given in 2009 by Simon Sinek that helps demonstrate why some companies succeed, while others do not. His talk presents the Golden Circle, looking at the what, how and why of a company or individual's message, where he concludes "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."

So what's your cause or belief? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you care?

Take a look and you might be inspired to the answer.

You can learn more about inspiring action at Simon's website Start With Why.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mobile Device Fragmentation Here to Stay

Netbiscuits, a leading cloud software service for cross-platform mobile sites, has just released the latest update of its Mobile Web Metrics Report.

The findings are based on 8.5 billion page and content item requests that more than 3,100 different kinds of mobile devices transfer via Netbiscuits every month.

The free report illustrates the need for brands, publishers and retailers to think beyond iPhone and Android when developing and executing a sustainable mobile strategy. There is no one device of choice or golden operating system to focus on in the mobile marketplace. It's the continued fragmentation of devices and the lack of a standards for developing and delivering rich content that makes mobile a moving target.

Key Messages

The analysis of the Netbiscuits figures proves that in order to reach the maximum number of customers, companies must optimise their mobile web program for thousands of devices, and not just the dominating few.

Some of the key learnings of the Mobile Web Metrics Report are:

  • Even though smartphones are technically much more advanced than mass-market feature phones, the figures show that they do not solve the problem of fragmentation.
  • The variety of OS versions in the smartphone market and a growing number of hardware and form factors of devices running the same OS are leading to even more fragmentation.
  • Being hailed as the future solution to the growing fragmentation in mobile, Netbiscuits' analysis of HTML capabilities of top devices in various global markets shows that only a minority are supported.

You can download the free report directly from Netbiscuits.

15 Ways To Improve Your Memory

In this information age we're bombarded with information, ideas, news and data from many sources. The internet has exploded the way we source information and on Facebook or Twitter we're getting feeds that keep growing.

Keeping track of all this information and knowing what to remember, and what you don't need to, can be daunting.

Kim Basin, from Business Insider, undertook a review of articles on Psychology Today on how memory works and compiled 15 ways to improve your memory and boost productivity.

Some of the ways I found interesting are:
  • Try not to conform to the group, because your peers can greatly affect your memories.
  • Keep your stress level down, because anxiety makes you lose focus and concentrate on unpleasant emotions.
  • Look up or close your eyes when trying to remember something important — when your eyes are open, the areas of your brain that are working on vision are kept busy.
  • If you always find answers to questions on the web, you're less likely to commit things to memory
  • Walking can literally grow new memory storage, like sleep does.
If you would like to see all 15 ways to improve your memory, read Kim's article at Business Insider.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs – 1955-2011

The Apple home page today expresses the passing of Steve Jobs in the manner with which he was known – visionary, stylish, minimalist and respectful.

With Steve Jobs passing, the world has lost one of history's truly great men. While it is easy in the moment to heap the plaudits of exceptional people, it is clear that the vision and achievements of Steve Jobs will stand the test of time.

He has impacted so many people around the world, not only in the field of technology, but in areas of design, retail, self expression and a true mentor on the notion of following your dream. Even in the moments of doubt, Steve continued on to greater things.

We will miss his vision, passion and contribution but we are privileged that he lived within our lifetime and his products and achievements will continue in our lives and evolve to the benefit of humanity. For every person there are strong and weak points, good and bad – in the balance of that equation, Steve Jobs leaves a legacy that can only be called truly great.

Although he never graduated from college, I believe his speech in 2005 at Stanford University's 114th Commencement, where he urges graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks – including death itself – truly reflects this amazing man.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Google is Changing Our Memory

Click infographic to enlarge.
We were taught in school how to retain information and expand our memories so important details are available to us by recall. Well, with the advent of new technologies and the constant availability of the Internet, this is changing – we no longer need to remember all the details.

The primary resource for this off-brain storage is Google. We now know how to quickly find a fact, detail, phone number or location without needing to remember it in our brains. The question is, what will be the long term impact of this new form of memory management?

To give you some idea of how this change is occurring, created this infographic.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Turning Knowledge into Practical Magic

Could you use a little more magic in your life?  Could your partner?  Could your job?

As adults we generally accept that magic is an illusion, in which we haven’t yet been able to connect effect with cause.  We know of course that there must be that connection – yet paradoxically, as an audience, we still get that boost of excitement, that emotional rise, when the rabbit comes out of the hat.  Although for the magician the surprise is probably not so great!

So where does that boost, that emotional rise, come from and how can we get more of it?

Read the full article by Robert Prinable on the VitallyMe blog.

A User Manual for Your Own Personality

Would you like to gain a deeper insight into your personality?

Vitally Me is a special website setup to help you find important information about You!

By taking a series of multiple choice questions, Vitally Me will analyse your personality in Relationships, Actions and Thinking to help you better understand how you operate. The report that is produced will help you improve your relationships at home and work, show you how to be more successful in undertaking any activity and guide you to be a better, more insightful thinker.

The 10 minute online self-assessment creates a highly personalised report and costs only A$39.95.

Visit the Vitally Me website for more details.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Byte to Eat

Have you noticed lately how technology is becoming more involved in the dining process? You're probably familiar with the waiter using a handheld device to take your order and you may even have been to a restaurant which has a screen that allows you to place your order with the kitchen from the table.

According to The Daily's Kayleen Schaefer, this is all about to change again as restaurants look for the next dimension in the dining experience. Think 73m LCD screens that display Twitter and Facebook feeds. Or Blade Runner and Tron style displays and lighting.

Then there's New York restaurant 4Food. They have "a leaderboard that ranks customers’ burger creations. The goal is to make your burger the most-ordered. If someone chooses your creation, you get 25 cents’ credit in the restaurant."

If you'd like to know what the next dining experience will be, read the full article.

The Art of Deception

Every now and then someone does something brilliant to wow us. Such is the case with this demonstration of "magic" by Marco Tempest.

Incredibly innovative and the illusion he presents using 3 iPods is very impressive. Watch to learn how being honest using deception is possible.

A Day Made of Glass

There have been many visions of the future over the years and this latest release from Corning Glass is just as "utopian" as the best of them. If their version of reality comes to pass it would seem we all long to live a "house shaped iPad" world where screens are ubiquitous and we constantly interact with the cloud.

Some of the innovations in this video are incredibly stunning and while, according to Corning, it might be a future where such interactions are commonplace, I imagine the dream they are presenting will be out of the reach of most of the population on the planet.

No doubt the future will contain some of these wonderful ideas; in the meantime we can look forward to seeing what actually transpires.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome to the Brave New World of Persuasion Profiling

    "Welcome, [FIRST NAME], to the era of personalization. recommends books you might like, Netflix tailors your movie menu, and Google customizes your news. And in exchange for this friendly algorithmic assistance, targeted ads follow you wherever you navigate online.

    "Most of us have accepted this bargain, but it turns out that taste profiling is only the beginning. A technique called persuasion profiling is just around the corner, and it doesn’t just find content you might enjoy. It figures out how you think."

    Read the full article on Wired...

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    The 3 First Steps to Implementing CRM

    When implementing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) approach to your business you need to plan carefully what you're wanting to achieve. If you make an error early on, it can likely set you seriously off-course further down the track.

    As with all things, planning is crucial to the overall decisions made regarding developing a model for successfully managing customer relationships.

    Before you commence your planning, factor in these three items:

    1. Be Honest About What Isn't Working

    Few of us like to have our failings talked about or mentioned. Yet usually when it comes time to consider implementing a CRM approach to our customers it's because something isn't working. At this time, you need to be brave and realistic in assessing what needs to be addressed and deal with it openly.

    This may require dealing with egos, particularly if it has involved problems being hidden or not discussed. If you are going to look at a technology solution, this is important to ensure the underlying assumptions and business rules you establish are based on truthful assessment.

    Ensuring their is honesty at the start is crucial, so if you find that your team is unable to achieve this, look to a third party who can assist with an impartial view of the situation.

    2. Don't Rush to a Technology Solution

    The very core of CRM is about relationships. It's not just about technology.

    While technology will be able to assist in delivering the information you need about a customer at the time the customer needs it, or at the time you wish to start a conversation with them, it is still only a part of the overall picture.

    Building relationships by their very nature requires interaction in many forms. It involves people, processes and technology – in that order.

    So before jumping on the technology bandwagon, you need to assess how your business works, look at its processes and importantly how your people use them. Once this is done, you can look at the applications which improve on these.

    This evaluation will likely identify ways to do things better and then when you're looking for software, identify what you need that software to do. It will also provide important business rules which all of this operates under.

    3. Lock In Your Goals

    When you complete your assessment it will deliver a list of goals and importantly the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by which to measure the success of the implementation.

    It's essential to lock these goals down, as this will help minimise the moving of goalposts as the project unfolds. I would also recommend that you use a phased approach – break the implementation down to manageable elements, implement them over time and ensure they are functioning as expected before implementing the next. One of the main reasons for this comes back to people. Your staff need to be able to adapt to the new environment and understand how to effectively use it. This takes time and if you put too much onto them at once, it can be overwhelming.

    The way technology is evolving to assist business in managing their customer relationships is truly awesome. Keeping it balanced with the realities of people – both customers and staff – will ensure it delivers on your expectations.

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Our Phones Connecting Us More & More

    With the power of smartphones now reaching a level of maturity, some significant usage patterns are emerging that show we are now using our phones more and more to find information, make decisions and purchase products – as well stay connected with family and friends.

    A new survey The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users commissioned by Google to promote their Mobile Ads service has delivered some surprising results. One quirky statistic is that some 39% of us are using our phones while using the bathroom!

    Seriously, there are some revealing statistics from this survey, conducted by Ipsos OTX, an independent market research firm, among 5,013 adult smartphone users in the US at the end of 2010. For example:
    • 81% of smartphone users browse the Internet, 77% search, 68% use an app, and 48% watch videos on their smartphone
    • 72% use their smartphones while consuming other media, with a third while watching TV
    • 93% of smartphone owners use their smartphones while at home 
    Then there are the other revealing details, such as 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information, 79% of smartphone consumers use their phones to help with shopping – from comparing prices, finding more product info to locating a retailer.

    With all this use of the internet from smartphones, a surprising statistic from the survey is that 79% of businesses don't have a mobile optimised site – showing there's a lot of catchup to happen.

    If you want the visual brief, take a look at the Google highlights video:

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Changing Behaviour and Having Fun

    What a great idea – get people to change their behaviour by introducing "fun" into the activity. Volkswagen have been running a campaign designed to encourage people to do things they don't necessarily want to by introducing a fun element.

    The winner had a simple idea – help reduce the incidence of speeding, using speed cameras. We all know how most people hate speed cameras, but Kevin Richardson's simple modification was to turn it into a lottery. As you'll see in the video, the results are impressive – during the lottery, speed on the selected road was reduced by 22%.

    Some of the other ideas include getting people to use the stairs instead of escalators, encouraging recycling glass bottles and using the bin instead of throwing rubbish on the ground.

    To see all the fun ideas, visit

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    The Launching of Taste

    Building a completely new retail concept from scratch can be a daunting task. It takes courage, fortitude and a great deal of professional capability to achieve.

    That is exactly what the principals of Taste are doing – with the help of a team of dedicated professionals and qualified designers.

    Located in Sydney, Taste is launching with 3 concept stores in the suburbs of Concord, Willoughby and Brookvale as well a comprehensive online offering. The stores will be delivering an exceptional array of European products and homewares for kitchen, bedroom and bathroom renovations.

    Having been responsible for project managing the internet developments for this project, I feel extremely privileged to be part of such an incredible undertaking. When you visit the stores you are blown away by the quality of design and products that are available and the beautiful manner in which they are displayed. I feel that my design team have also been able to reflect this quality and detail in the site's design and content.

    Taste is offering a full range of design services for amazing German manufactured kitchens and bathrooms, as well bedroom and other home renovation needs. You can also buy all your homeware needs for the kitchen – including cookware, cutlery, dinner settings and accessories – as well appliances, lighting, flooring, manchester, living room and dining room furniture.

    The site has been launched initially without the ability to purchase products, to allow the stores an initial period of settling in and allow customers the opportunity to browse what Taste has on offer. Shortly we will be switching on the ecommerce component and visitors to the site from anywhere in Australia will be able to take advantage of the incredible range and amazing prices that Taste is offering.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Springing into Action - Great Discount on Gym Programs

    Nothing like spring to help the body start to wake up and to shake off the winter blues for our northern hemisphere customers, qfit is running a "Spring into Action America!" campaign.

    While it has America in the heading, the campaign isn't just for the Americans! All qfit customers can take advantage of a special 20% discount to help get back to the gym to achieve the fantastic body they desire.

    So if you're wondering what your next gym program will be, to help you get the most out of your workout time and achieve that great body, take advantage of this special 20% discount off all our gym programs.

    Simply use coupon code SPRING2011 at the checkout when you get your next qfit Workout Plan.

    Offer's valid until April 30, 2011.

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    Mobile Shopping Exploding

    We all like the idea that mobile phones are beginning to develop greater capabilities. This is being seen dramatically in the use of apps and the availability of information at our fingertips, wherever we are.

    A dramatic development being witnessed in the US is how smartphones are now becoming a shopping companion – both to make actual purchases and also to help us research product information, locate stores and do comparison shopping.

    A report released earlier this month by Foresee Results highlights new research which shows consumers are using their mobile phones more than ever for retail purposes. The study of nearly 10,000 visitors to the biggest e-tail sites in the US (as determined by revenue) showed that:

    • 33% of respondents have used their phone to access a retailer website and an additional 26% indicated they plan to access retailer websites or mobile apps by phone in the future.
    • 11% of shoppers reported having made a purchase from their phone – compared with only 2% at the same time the previous year.
    • 56% of shoppers used their phone to compare price information, 46% to compare different products, 35% to look at product specifications and 27% to view product reviews.
    • While in a physical store, more than two-thirds (69%) of mobile shoppers used their phones to visit the store's own website, while nearly half (46%) also used their phones to access a competitor's website.
    While this highlights a significant shift to mobile for shoppers, overall they still rate the satisfaction with retailer's website higher than that of their mobile sites. This is likely to be more an indication of the maturity of the internet retail sites over the mobile or app experiences.

    One final statistic worth noting was that "shoppers who are highly satisfied with a mobile experience say they are 30% more likely to buy from that retailer online and 30% more likely to buy offline, as well as being far more likely to return to the main website, recommend it, and be loyal to the brand."

    For more detail on the report, visit Foresee Results.

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Click of Approval

    S 23 Jan 2011
    It's always enjoyable to read an article which starts to reflect the true perspective of a situation. With all the discussion about online shopping lately, there's been an overdrive about online taking away bricks-and-mortar business.

    While this is undoubtedly true to a degree, it does not mean the end of in-store shopping, simply the expansion of the ways we have to shop. Online and physical stores will continue to live side-by-side, although the full dynamics of their relationship is still being established.

    This article by Kate Waterhouse nicely puts the good and the uncomfortable of online shopping versus in-store. Essentially the case for online is the convenience and 24/7 availability, while the case against is the lack of individual service compared with what you get in-store and the problems if something goes wrong with your order.

    In the end, each channel will find the balance of value in individual's lives.

    Read the full article...

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Shop With A Conscience at the Salvos

    It's official – all the major retailers in Australia definitely have a strategy to go online this year, if they haven't already. And how do I know this?

    Well, this week the Salvation Army launched their first online store. And you know when charity op-shops see the benefit in shopping online, then it goes without saying, so is every other retailer.

    Ok, it's a bit of tongue in cheek, but with the strong Aussie dollar and the recent news about the GST being exempt on overseas orders less than $1,000, Australian consumers are clearly going online for a bargain and it's great to see the Salvation Army engaging with online shoppers.

    The site is a result of the Salvos community members suggestions, saying that "an online store would save them the hassle crawling through clothing rails."

    You can buy a range of high-quality, boutique and rare items, such as vintage dresses and crockery with prices ranging from $2 to $1,250. You can visit the store at and purchases made before April 19 will receive free delivery.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Australia's Online Retail Market Heating Up in 2011

    The recent debate in Australia about the imposition of the GST on overseas online sales for orders less than $1,000 dominated the news over the Christmas/New Year period. It is a sign that online retail is starting to have an impact on traditional retailers and it's hurting.

    To gain a broader idea of this it's worth taking a quick look at the way in which the Australian online retail market has been emerging from its period of "don't go there" that the last decade represented and how retailers are now scrambling to get their businesses online.

    During 2010 we saw a significant shift in the thinking and investment towards ecommerce by some of the bigger players in the market. Well known retailers like Clive Peeters, Strathfield and BigW launched their online stores and we saw the re-entry to online sales by the large department store chain David Jones. This was notable because of the huge failure of their original venture back in April 2000 at the same time as the dotcom bubble burst.

    The biggest entry into the market in 2010 was that of Westfield, who is now beginning to carve its niche in cyberspace. Much as it has become the dominant player globally for its quite extraordinary shopping centres, it also has shown that it can equally produce brilliant online experiences. Launching in November 2010, the site provides more than 150,000 products representing over 3,000 brands across 50 retailers. An impressive line-up.

    One of the benefits to customers of the Westfield site is the services it offers customers: the approach to managing orders (a single invoice for a variety of products across many suppliers), free delivery from many of the stores (although usually with a minimum order value) and straightforward returns management (although this is managed at the store level).

    It is this level of service, not the issue of GST, which will ultimately benefit Australian consumers and bring them back to supporting Aussie stores. Westfield becomes a champion of the Australian shopper, something Gerald Harvey and Myer may want to look at.

    We can expect this retail revolution to continue to gain momentum in 2011. Gerald Harvey has indicated that he is finally taking Harvey Norman online in February. Meanwhile, we will also see the entry of new players, such as Taste. This is the retail ecommerce project that I have been project managing with a specialist team of programmers, content editors, interior designers and retail experts. Taste promises a new experience in homewares and home transformation and is building one of the most comprehensive clicks-and-mortar approach to retailing Australia has seen.

    With all this competition, Australia is finally beginning to enter the world of sophisticated online retail that markets such as the US and Europe have been enjoying for many years. These are exciting times.

    My Blackberry Isn't Working.

    A very funny look at the fruit that the technology world has become. Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield star in this sketch from The One Ronnie Show.

    Another Facebook Privacy Concern

    TechNewsWorld reports another 'P' bomb by Facebook with the latest privacy change allowing it to "make a user's address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object. That means that users' addresses and mobile numbers are now available to third party developers of such apps as, say, FarmVille."

    While Facebook acknowledges the sensitive nature of the data in their blog post on the announcement, to counter concerns it has created a special opt-in permission requirement for the phone number and address to be made accessible to the developer.

    Read the full article on TechNewsWorld.

    adiVerse – Retail Future or too much hype

    Adidas, in collaboration with Intel, has just released a new entry into the retail shopping experience with the adiVerse Footware wall.

    Designed to help shoppers choose from the full range of Adidas shoes that can't be all stocked in store, the wall provides an impressive range of shoes with information on what surfaces the shoe can be used on, what other people are saying about the shoe on social networks and detailed specifications.

    While the wall looks impressive and will no doubt be a hit with shoppers from a wanting to "play" with it point of view, it will be interesting to see how effective it is in creating sales. Obviously there will be a limit to how it can be used and by how many, and then there are those who want to try the shoe on first. But with the right fulfilment and being able to determine the right size in the store, this is likely to be a fun way to buy shoes, without the need for the store to stock them.

    I'm sure there will be many more virtual shopping experiences developed for bricks-and-mortar stores. Given this is a collaboration with Intel, it's the start new dimensions on the store floor.