iiNet has a child – BoB

iiNet have started touting their new “Broadband in a Box”.  A new, snazzy looking piece of hardware to replace the beige-box adsl modems of old.  It connects you to the Internet, includes a phone that can be used to make calls over the Internet (VoiP), USB for charging devices like iphones and connecting usb storage and wireless network features.  It looks like nothing else as well.

iinet bob

You drool all over BoB over here.

Request requests input – Commonwealth Commericalisation Institude

Australian Government DIISR

I just read Commonwealth Commercialisation Institute – Government Calls For Comments over at TechNation which mentioned that the Commonwealth Commercialisation Institue (CCI) had opened it’s kimono for public comment.

From the CCI website:

As announced in the 2009-10 Budget, the Australian Government is establishing a Commonwealth Commercialisation Institute to provide a radical new approach to commercialising the best Australian research.

The Institute will support talented researchers, entrepreneurs and innovative firms to take their research and ideas to the marketplace.

You can contribute to the stakeholder input by completing the online form on this website. It is recommended that you read the Discussion Paper on the background and policy principles of the Institute before completing the online form.

This is great for two reasons:

  1. They’ve started moving on getting the the money to those ideas that have potential.  In particular, opening it to the public for comments and a chance to influence how the Institute will operate.
  2. They’re using social media (in this case a blog) to get it out to the widest audience possible.  It’s great to see the government’s continued push to use the web as a valuable resource.

Great work.  I beleive that Australia needs to get focused on fostering its entrepreneurial spirit and this is a step in the right direction.

Now I’ll have to try and contribute.

Telstra – Listen to yourself

Public goodwill for Telstra has been dwindling over the last few years. Speaking for myself I think they’re a bloated, egotistical organisation with an overrated sense of self importance. And I don’t even own their shares. Or maybe that was just when Sol Trujillo was at the reins.

Why the rant? I just saw an article on Australian IT titled – Shareholder value key in NBN: Thodey which, to be Frank (or John), annoyed me. I don’t think Telstra get it.

Customer service is there, but it is all about protecting shareholder value. I cannot stress that enough. That’s the way we have discussed it with the government, the way we talk about it, and the way we’ll move forward. – Thodey

Why would you say that in the press? I’m coming at this from a consumer point of view and all I hear is “We like you Mr Customer, but sorry, we’re too busy playing games with other people so you’re second best. We don’t love you.” Even if I did own shares, which I don’t, I’d be seriously wondering what their game is. No Customers = No Shareholder Value.

I hope that they get a limited stake in the National Broadband Network, otherwise Australia will continue to suffer in the telecommunications stakes on a world stage.

I’d love to hear some perspectives on what people think they are trying to do. What are your thoughts? Throw your 2c in.

ps. Get my home cooked updates home delivered through my RSS feed.

Google Reader Send To

Sharing information on the web just got a whole lot better for me. Google Reader, Google’s RSS reader has just introduced “proper” sharing features. Until recently, you could click the “Share” at the bottom of each article to share it. Yep, share it.

“Share it where?” you might ask. “Share it, why?” you might ask. To be honest I’ve got no answer for either of those questions. I’ve actually got no interest in the answer to each of those questions either. All I know that it felt good to be part of the Social Media pie and contribute by “sharing”.

Things changed today when Google announced what I consider to be some very important changes to Google Reader. They’ve introduced “Send to”, a feature which allows you to share any article in your feed to popular social sites (e.g. facebook, stumbleupon, delicious and, you guessed it, twitter).

I love this introduction for two reasons:

  1. It’s now really easy to let share what you’re finding interesting. Contributing to the social web sphere.
  2. I now know where my sharing efforts will be going. They’ll be going to where the eyeballs are.

I don’t know why it’s taken them this long but hopefully they’ll be able to keep the “Send to” sites up to date with the latest and greatest.

You can enable the “Send to” feature by heading into Google Reader Settings -> Send to and selecting the networks that you want to be able to send your items to. Once this is done you’ll get a new link in the action bar.

For more details, head over to the Google Reader announcement A flurry of features for feed readers.

Training Secrets

As part of my new venture to educate businesses about the web and digital technology, I wanted to learn how to provide great, engaging training so I went looking for the training the “Leopard Skin Lady” who ran that training to see if she could help.
The Leopard Skin Lady is one Donna McGeorge and she runs Passion, Energy and Performance.
If you’re interested in doing any training, I’d recommend you check out Passion, Energy and Performance run by Donna McGeorge.
The course was run over three days and was a great event.  I went in with a very basic understanding of what
As a matter of fact, if you’re interested in doing any sort of training, presenting, facilitation or public speaking.

Having come from the corporate world, which has more than it’s fair share of boring seminars and dry training, there was only one course over the years that I can remember ever being engaging, entertaining AND educational.   Can you remember one of those?

As part of my new venture to educate businesses about the web and digital technology, I wanted to learn how to provide great, engaging training so I went looking for the training the “Leopard Skin Lady” who ran that training to see if she could help.

The Leopard Skin Lady is one Donna McGeorge.  Speaker, facilitator and trainer and she runs Passion, Energy and Performance.

As a result of getting in contact with Donna I attended her Beyond Cert IV training course (a train the trainer event).  What can I say?  It was a great three days.  I went in with a very good measure of bad training and a very poor understanding of the techniques and tools to run great training and came out enlightened.  I was presented with a whole suite of tips, tricks, tools, techniques and “secrets” that I can now practically apply to develop great training.  From structuring a plan for effective learning, engaging your audience to dealing with troublesome participants.  As a matter of fact, the things I learnt can be applied to any sort of training, presenting, facilitation or public speaking.  Even creative writing.  Even Sales!

So, if you’re interested in running any training, I can’t recommend highly enough the Beyond Cert IV course run by Donna McGeorge from Passion, Energy and Performance.

Followers = Tweets?

Twitter is definitely a the hot topic these days.  I was interested in how strong the relationship (correlation) between the number tweets people are doing versus their number of followers and thought I’d share the results.


Before we move on it’s time for a quick primer on Correlation.  It’s a statistics term.  But before you tune out, it’s simply a calculation to determine how strong a relationship is between two things.  Basically the closer to 1, the stronger the relationship (i.e. if it was 1 then there’s a direct relationship between tweets and followers).  The closer to 0, the weaker the relationship between tweets and followers (i.e. if it was 0 then there’s no relationship between tweets and followers).  If you want some more detail, check out here.

The People I Follow

At the time I did this little experiment I was following 54 people.  It turned out that the correlation between the number of tweets and the number of followers those people had was 0.66.  So what does this tell us?  Well, it says that there’s a reasonably strong relationship between the number of tweets and the number of followers you’re likely to receive.

The Conclusion

I suppose it stands to reason that the more you tweet, the more you’re visible, which means the more followers you’ll receive.  What this little calculation doesn’t do is give a measure of the “quality” of the tweets.  This is subjective but I’m sure plays a part as well.  As does real-world notoriety.  I guess it’s not Rocket Science.  More time tweeting = More followers.

It’s Business Time!

businesstime-teeHave any of your heard of The Flight of the Conchords?  They’re a comedy musical duo from New Zealand with a fantastic album and TV series.  If you haven’t, you should check them out.  Here’s some stuff on youtube.  They’re hilarious!

I’ve found some peculiar inspiration from their song Business Time (linked above).  I’ll let you listen to it, but towards the end of the song is a lyric along the lines of  “… and you know what time it is when I’m down to just my socks?  It’s business time!  That’s why they call them business socks…”.  Genius.

Apart from being genius, and referring to something else entirely, this line holds some truth for me in my career.  After quite a few years in the Enterprise IT space, I’ve been thinking for some time that I needed to do something else.  I wanted a change.  I needed to strip back to my socks and start again.  I came to the conclusion that it was time to merge my love of technology, particularly the web, and my love of helping people.

Great linkage, huh?  But wait!  There’s more!

As a result I’ve decided to start my own thing providing training and advice to businesses about how to bring the power of the web to benefit their business.  I get to talk about the web.  I get to meet cool people.  I get to help said cool people.  Enough?  I think so.

It’s time to give it a go.  I’ll be at least able to say I’ve tried!  So, as the song says – It’s Business Time.

ps. When I launch, which will be very soon, it’ll be called 101 (i.e. one zero one).  The first offering will be training for virtualising your business to work from anywhere, opening the doors of the web through search and getting your goods in an online store.  What do you think?

If you’re still reading, why not subscribe to my feed.  Get it home delivered!

What happened to the Internet?

Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. No one actually knows how. When finally done, there is surprise its not better.”  Avinash KaushikAnalytics Evangelist – Google

To say that Social Media is all the rage could be considered the understatement of the century.  Having been around since the beginnings of mass adoption of the Internet, I do look at the current rage with curiosity and more than a little bemusement.  Does anyone remember Internet Relay Chat (IRC)?  If you don’t it was a tool for meeting and holding conversations with people online.  You had a nickname (handle) and you joined conversations (rooms or channels – guess what? They were lablelled #topic like in everyone’s favourite tool at the moment).  Sound familiar?

The Present

Fast forward 15 years and the tools to create, publish and broadcast your thoughts and creations (content and media) are far more powerful.  The technology advances to help get that information to your computer is faster.  You can now consume all this creativity in many more places than just your computer room, such as TV’s, media centres and mobile phones.  The ability to create all this content (media) and share it in an interactive fashion (social) has resulted in the coining of a new term – Social Media.

The Principles

But have the “Social” aspects really changed?  Did it really need to be labelled just because it was an electronics conversation rather than a physical one?  I guess the reality is that the Internet, like Twitter did recently when Oprah and Ashton Kutcher brought it to the masses, went mainstream.  It needed a new label.  And we thought the Information Superhighway was the Internet going mainstream.  Hah!  Well, it’s no longer just a big pipe full of fantastic information, it’s (back to) a place for fun, creativity, innovation and social interaction.

The Loss of Perspective?

I think this is great!  But with all this I still have a weird feeling that there seems to have been a little loss of perspective.  I would suggest that people aren’t learning Social Media.  They already know how to be social, interact with other humans, the principles of trust, relationships and conversations.  Implicitly if not explicitly.  They should continue to apply those principles in the electronic world.  Maybe the lack of a physical presence (tone, body language etc) causes a loss of perspective?

Or maybe, because the Internet’s gone maintstream, there are a whole new swag of Internet users who are trying it for the first time in earnest and trying new things.   Maybe I’m just old!  Bah!  Humbug!

Poor Me!

Well, if you’ve read this far – Thanks!  I’m not sure I’ve sorted my thoughts out on this one yet and I didn’t want to make it sound like a rant.  I’m just a little bemused by the “Social Media” phenomenon but don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s fascinating.  I’ll be keeping my eye out for the hard evidence for it being beneficial for business.

What do you think?  Maybe someone fancies some homework?  Who knows who coined the term Social Media?