Saturday, March 28, 2009

The death of the newsletter

I’m glad I didn’t invest too much in online newsletter delivery. Why, because the writing is on the wall for that medium, for me at least. I’m now following a number of Blogs. I follow blogs because I like what the authors have to say, their thought process stimulates my own, the content is relevant to me and I can choose when and where I want to read them. This gives the information power to me. My reader of choice (currently) is Google Reader. This tool keeps all my blogs together and lets me know at a glance if there have been any updates. If you are in business and want to keep your customers engaged start thinking now about how you want to communicate and give them the choice of how they may want to engage with you. Blogs are your newsletters; a searchable and archived receptacle of information, Twitter is your random conversation, thoughts that come and go. Facebook is your diary and LinkedIn is your professional network of business cards and contacts. This is just the tip of the proverbial Web 2.0 iceberg, and until Google takes over the information world, the choice is still yours.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I’m a Twitter convert

It’s taken a whole week but I have gone from, “I don’t see the point” to “convert”. Twitter is definitely a great resource for the web savvy business marketers. It is real time connectivity with a massive audience.  Twitter is a micro blogging platform which allows you to publish short messages of less than 140 characters through different mediums like IM, cellphones and the web.  
It’s easy to use and simple in its concept so there is little barrier to entry. Don’t get caught up in the hedonistic chase for who has the most followers, use it as a tool and work it at your own pace.
Check out this Blog by
Michael Stelzner, he says How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business in plain English.
My profile on Twitter is craignetworker so if you are new to this follow me (Twitter Jargon) and we can learn how to make this effective together

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is social media any of our business.

“Social Media” is the current buzzword in the online marketing industry. Just because it’s online, a virtual offering, we must not ignore it and hope it goes away. Reality is a little more frightening, it is real people using social networking that are hungry for information now, and if you are not “in their space” you risk not just being left behind, but trampled by your more social media aware competitors.
The good news is that it’s not too late. We are all learning what’s hot and what’s not in this massive global community, and we can learn much from each others wins and inevitable flops. After all - that is the very essence of what social networking is about, sharing your life, your thoughts, hopes and dreams with everyone.
I’m comfortable with the web, its been a significant part of my life for a number of years, but my learning curve in how to engage in this emerging medium is going to be an ongoing process, which of course I will continue to share with you.
The most talked about social networking tools are
Twitter, Linkedin, facebook and of course mediums like this - Blogs. They are not without their frustrations, I’ll mention more on my challenges with LinkedIn in a later posting.
An illustration of the power of the blog and its short message cousin Twitter is demonstrated by social commentator extraordinaire Stephen Fry. He currently has, as of today, 338,970 followers on his
twitter page. He keeps his followers up to date with his movements, thoughts and actions using short posts called “Tweets”. He now has 338,989 followers, 19 more in the time it took me to write this sentence. Currently he is on a small island in the Philippines with a dose of sunburn. He is regularly getting people asking him to promote their causes to his large “instant” readership. Naturally he links his website from his twitter page and from there you can access his blog. On his blog he records in some detail his dilemma with this. He states he has to take care for several reasons including that he can’t keep up with requests and he would, and has, crashed many servers as his “Retweet” suggestion is followed on mass by thousands.
What a dilemma we are in, our technology is barely keeping pace with our demand, it’s been quite a journey since
Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 patent of the telephone.
If you want to know more about how to apply these Social Media tools to your own business practice we invite you to register your interest in participating in
our webinar series.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

YouTube and the Kiwi

You must have heard of YouTube. The concept was simple, allowing people to upload video content and share it with the world. Founded and launched in 2005, it was purchased only a year after its launch by Google Inc.
It’s both entertaining and informative. Many organisations use it to post educational material or to promote the use of their products or services. Like many things it does have its dark side so you have to take care to understand what you are viewing and its true intent. Clever marketers have cottoned on to its audience reach and used it in most creative ways.
Remember Lonely Girl or in her cyber guise “LonleyGirl15”. She created a cult following and her notoriety exploded when she was outed as a hoax, her video blog nothing but a scripted act, shock horror!!
From a marketing perspective it was brilliant. Her series received more than 110 million combined views and more press than you could shake a stick at. From a kiwi perspective we laid claim to the actress Jessica Rose as raised in New Zealand, we love a good story regardless of its ending.
Combining another Kiwi (the bird) and YouTube brings me to one of my favourite clips. The animated story about a Kiwi that wanted to fly. Whether this is a metaphor on the good old Kiwi ingenuity and entrepreneurialism, or just a good tale - you be the judge.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New rules – new winners

I picked up a book at the library yesterday written by Seth Godin called “Small is the new big”. It so happens that I also follow his blog, a recommendation from another visionary and my business associate Russell Holland. A highly recommended read, the blog that is, I haven’t read the book yet so I can’t comment on that - though it seems to be as thought provoking as his daily commentary. The first chapter of the book is titled “new rules, new winners”, It didn’t surprise me that the first page reads “Blogs Matter – If you want to grow, you’ll need to touch the information-hungry, idea-sharing people who read (and write) them.”
What did surprise me is the book was released in 2006. Seth is a pioneer and a visionary, the rest of us have a lot of catching up to do.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Skype turns Yellow

I’ve been a fan of Skype for a few years now. It’s been around long enough that I shouldn’t have to explain what it is. If you do want to know more check out the Skype website.
I downloaded their version 4 recently (for PC), and its claim of improved audio was on the mark, very impressive. Its great for the face to face video chat, a thing of science fiction fantasy only a decade ago or having a group of you engage in a conference discussion.
In todays NZ Herald the Yellow Pages have taken a step forward by introducing Skype to their listings, and as part of the introduction making it free to connect to a landline. Internet to internet connections via Skype are free anyway but there is a 4cent per minute charge normally for Skype to landline calls. 
Well done Yellow, not only have you got us eating out of trees you now have us talking through our computers.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pingar down under

Well done Peter and Jacqui on the news in the NZ Herald today about your Pingar product. They are living proof you can take on global project successfully even if you live at the bottom of the world. Pingar is a search engine with a difference, rather than just providing you with a link to online documents or content it goes inside the document, finds the content relating to the query, aggregates that content, extracts it, and pastes it into a dynamic PDF document which is created on the fly. A product that I am sure will prove invaluable to a large cross section of business, education and information analysts. This is a global initiative with Peter being based in Tauranga but having opened a research and development office in Swansea, Wales, adding to its sales and marketing office in London and a research presence in Bangalor, India.
We are proud to know Peter and Jaqs as friends, and I admire their tenacity to keep their business global and their lives down under.

Is your job about to be extinct, or does it even exist – yet.

When I was at college I had little idea what my career path would look like. My mother, being of solid English stock had it all worked out for me. “Get a trade son; you’ll have a job for life” she insisted. While there was a sound basis for her reasoning, the reality was the world was changing at a pace we could not comprehend back then in the heady days of the 70’s. Just look at Moore’s Law as a point of reference.
As it turned out I did get a trade, I don’t regret the practicality engineering taught me, and little would get done if we all abandoned the construction and manufacturing sectors, but it was the internet that caught my attention and became my passion. No one predicted I could make a living from it during my college years, it didn’t exist. Thank goodness I didn’t set my heart to being a door to door encyclopaedia salesman. 
We need to be training now for jobs that don’t exist, the same reason we need to be constantly modifying and improving the way be do business or we risk our existing positions becoming extinct. Our traditional ways of learning and teaching have to keep pace or they are going to fail our children’s information hungry minds. Only by teaching the entrepreneurial and value creating skills and mindset to all young people will we cope. The daunting thing for those of us not brought up with cyberspace and computer technology as a given, is we have to find a way of keeping pace ourselves. If not, we will be left in the proverbial silicon dust as newer generations pass us by.
From a business perspective it concerns me that a large majority of New Zealand businesses do not even have a website, let alone considering embracing the potential power of the social networking environments that are emerging from every electronic orifice. 
The reality is, when asked, they just don’t know where to start - it comes down to lack of understanding. It’s never too late to set aside our fears and excuses of “it’s just not for me”. Learn from others and avoid making the same mistakes they did and we will be just fine. That’s what the Monday Morning business development concepts are all about; we are here to learn together, to share our collective knowledge and to grow for the good of you as an individual and us all as a community.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick’s Day is a fine day for your first ever blog and I haven't even had a Guinness yet. There are lots of Brady's in Ireland and our family originates from Castlebar in County Mayo so it’s a must to toast our ancestors.

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,

Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!' Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I’m really enjoying working with Craig, Rus and Helen on the Monday Morning project. I’m the Neanderthal who has proudly accomplished the use of email, a web site and wait for it... electronic invoicing! Web 2.0 could be compared to the arrival of Cromagnum Man. The choices are simple, take the more evolved path or die.

I’m really lucky to have this opportunity and also provide the perfect target customer to test the Monday Morning products and services on. Hey if I can do it, anyone can do it. If you are reading this then you will know that I can post (Why post? Why not publish?) a blog.

Last month I used Skype and attended a webinar for the first time. It is a whole new world and I invite anyone who is serious about business growth to join me on this wonderful journey of discovery.

Over the last week I have presented three business workshops to a total of 28 people and completed one on one coaching with 15 business owners. I’ve also driven 860kms, contributing to global warming and a sore backside. Using Web 2.0 tools I could have presented three workshops to hundreds of people, completed one on one coaching with 15 business owners, driven nowhere, done more exercise, had more time off and made more money.

Now let me think.....

Web 2.0 it’s the way of future business!

Happy St. Patricks Day - Slainte

Those of us that are, and those of us that claim to be Irish by decent or heart will be celebrating everything that is Irish today. It’s nice to have some fun in our daily toil and even though this is not officially a holiday in New Zealand there will be plenty of us donning the green and tipping a Guinness or two. Remember to be prepared to say a toast, here’s one that tickled my fancy - to be sure.
“May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the insight to know where you are, and the foresight to know when you've gone too far.”

Monday, March 16, 2009

Teach a man to fish…

Occasionally on my morning walk I catch up with Fiona, a friend who is a power user of Web 2.0 technology in the education sector. It’s great to hear what tools and approaches she finds useful in her quest to effectively communicate to and with her cross section of colleagues.
We were discussing the Medias ongoing obsession with negative stories that drag us down rather than inspire hope to make positive change in these challenging times. We discussed the concept of “Teaching a man to fish”, an age old proverb about empowering people to help themselves rather than looking for handouts.
A full page advertisement in yesterday Sunday Herald couldn’t have reinforced this message better. An innovative initiative by advertising gurus at DraftFCB offers 1000 hours of free creative service to any company judged to “have the best potential for creating or protecting jobs for New Zealanders”.
They rock! Inspired thinking and a catalyst for change that makes you wonder why they didn’t make this the theme of the jobs summit (Whatever happened with that anyway?).
I’m going to put forward Monday Morning as a contender. Monday Morning is our initiative to change the way we think about our business, to give New Zealand business people help, ideas and motivation when and where they need it the most.
To be a great fisherman there are only a few things you need, some functioning equipment, not necessarily the best, and some sound advice from someone who knows the best place and time to cast your line. The rest is up to you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Employment rate is on the increase

I was pleased to read an online article today that took a more optimistic approach to the current employment statistics and economic situation.
Nikki Mandow of the Independent is quoted on as saying “Statistics New Zealand figures show the number of people in work rose 0.9 per cent in the December 2008 quarter to 2.19 million people - the highest since the Household Labour Force Survey began.”
Obviously we cannot ignore the fact that unemployment and the rate of redundancies is on the rise but the reasons for that go beyond just the state of the economy. Its times like this we are forced to consider the state of our businesses.
Ms Mandow goes on to say “emphasising the positive in the employment stats is good because it makes employers realise they still need to be thinking strategically about their workforce, because workers are crucial to success. “
“A downturn is a chance for employers to move from a mentality of ''fill those vacancies at all costs'' to ''who are the important people in my business and who aren't, and what am I going to do about that?''
In my personal experience staff is the most significant factor to your business success. Bad staff, you know the ones, the moaners, the gossips, the hypochondriacs, the liars and the addicts sabotage work (and cost you money), they affect team morale, dragging performance of other staff down causing good staff to get fed up and leave.
The article also references the shift from the employment of “tiresome and high maintenance” Gen Y back to the Baby Boomers “because workers aged 55 or older have to become the productivity drivers for New Zealand businesses in the immediate and longer-term future” according to a recent study.
So if you were feeling a little like to were becoming surplus to requirement just because you are older than the silicon chip, think again. There a lot to be said for experience.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What is Monday Morning?

In these troubling times businesses are failing at an alarming rate, many unnecessarily with a disturbing flow on effect to their employees and their communities. Most businesses fail for the same reason, those who need to make the right decisions lack the tools, resources, confidence and the motivation to take the next step to success over failure.
That is where Monday Morning will be of greatest help, not as a quick fix provider but a long term partner in each participant’s business development. Monday Morning is an online business education environment specific to NZ business. It offers practical business training sessions, resources and networking opportunities for business owners, managers and staff. The content is developed by experience business coaches and from material delivered in the proven and acclaimed “Pinnacle Business Development Series”.
Information is one tool to assist our business leaders, but more importantly interaction with their peers in an environment that will challenge their thinking and push their boundaries will be of the greatest benefit. We have proven this approach with the innovative Pinnacle Business Development Programme and are now moving these values and systems to the online environment. We have experimented with webinars as a medium to deliver just that, a form of communication proving hugely successful in the United States.
Combined with other tools and products freely available in the emerging Web 2.0 environment we can assist business people in creating new dimensions to their business development, planning, strategy, market reach, internal and external communication.
We will be taking bookings soon for our first webinar series.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Virtual superman is just a geek

I find it interesting that as we plan to launch our online business information and networking service called Monday Morning that I’m looking forward to a face to face meeting with the partners today. We Skype daily, we Twitter, we Google, we Ning and we email - but what a great thing face to face interaction will be. Why is this so important? It’s about the emotional connection, the strengthening of bonds, and establishment of trust for a start.
In the mid 1990’s there was a new phenomenon called “chat”. Chat rooms were appearing all over the place as internet connections, mainly dial up, were becoming more ubiquitous. Chat was a precursor to the Facebook and Twitter social networks of today. People were forming superficial relationships with lots of information exchanging going on. Albeit much of it inane or flirtatious dalliances. I never subscribed to this forum back then; it was just too geeky for my liking.
A friend of mine demonstrated the almost cliché result of what can happen with this form of interaction, her chat group decided to meet up in person, and they just didn’t get on. Even after a year of almost constant communication they could not establish a connection in a real world situation. The anonymous bravado of the exchanges had blown their expectations of each other out of proportion and reality just ended up being a crushing disappointment, here words not mine. It turned out that the superman she was virtually in love with was just a geek.
While I totally recommend the use of the web technologies we will be introducing as part of the first Monday Morning Webinar, the face to face aspect has to be a factor in long term strategies. Virtual environments save time and create efficiencies but there’s nothing more satisfying as looking someone in the eye - good old fashioned human interaction.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A recession is no excuse to stop work, unless you plan to

This talk of economic hardship, global recession and corporate meltdown can be a bit daunting for most of us. However the cup half full brigades are rejoicing at the opportunities that lay ahead.
When we are busy and overloaded with client and customer demand we complain, we complain about the thing we lack the most, the one thing we can never replace, the thing that is most precious to us all, and that is time.
From my experience in working alongside New Zealand business and the people who breathe life into them, is that they have great ideas, lots of motivation, but lack direction. This is due in many cases to outdated, or worse, non existent business plans.
Take this mandatory slow down in trading as an opportunity to invest some time in your team and importantly yourself. Invest this precious time in your business plan or strategic planning and involve your staff, family and peers in helping you prepare for the next stage of your business development. Your whole team will feel energised from this, you will feel in control and you will stand out from your competition.
One of the key drivers of Monday Morning online business development ( is to assist you with the tools to operate more efficiently and create functional networks, (that’s a large and widely distributed group of people not a system of two or more computers in case you were wondering). This is not a one-off programme, a short course or a degree to put on the office wall, this is an ongoing, and evolving process that will grow and develop just like you and your business. Make Monday Morning part of your daily to do list.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The sun rises on Monday Morning

Welcome to the Monday Morning Blog (even though it is Tuesday evening that I write this). We are in the business of offering information and services to assist businesses in the use of the Internet and encouraging their engagement in the Web 2.0 environment. I’ve been an advocate for this medium for many years and this; I have to confess, is my first entry in my very first blog. I am agonisingly aware that given this is a brand new blog I will be a lonely voice for a while so if you are reading this now you very well may be taking my blog virginity from me, and for that I thank you. I have for some time followed others in their blog worlds and enjoyed the free thinking and verbosity of this forum so I hope I can stand up and be counted as a worthy contributor. Please come back and make yourself part of the family, you may see if you venture further to investigate, we are very much in start up mode. We are predominantly focused on the growth and development of NZ business but given we are a small island nation at the bottom of the world, we would certainly like input, feedback and the opportunity to network with others in the global business community.