I’m in the land of the Start Up. The sky seems a little bluer and there is a cloud based business on every corner. Viral cloud engagement analytics seems to be whats buzzing here. Who is funding all these businesses? It can’t be entrepreneurs mortgaging their houses like in Australia, I thought it was impossible to get a loan in the US? I guess the Angel and VC markets really are all here.
The story of Hills Bros Coffee is a pretty good SF anecdote ironically. Wikipedia notes that the brand started as a great family company passed down the generations, surviving World War II and merging with another coffee company. Then the family sold out to the Swiss Nestle, who sold it to the US based Sara Lee, who then sold into the Italian Massimo Zannetti (aka Segafredo) mega-coffee group.
Regardless, this $1.2b 120,000 tonne completely vertically integrated Italian company has vacated this prime piece of real estate – but Mozilla is moving their 125 CA-based employees into the 15,000ft building. Their gross profit was $43 million and is based on freely available software. New World Order?
“Real men don’t earn salaries, they pay salaries”. This quote from “A Sparrow Falls”, the Wilbur Smith book that I am currently reading, really struck me like a slap in the face. Why was it so painful? How do I get to the stage where I am paying the salaries?
Lately I have been trying to build my management and leadership skills. Amongst other things, this involved taking a Leadership training course at Google. It emphasised a number of pretty deep concepts, things like being an authentic person and this importance of bringing this authenticity to work with you (which is a fairly intimidating concept). There were of course articles from the Harvard Business Review to cover, including the four steps in the art of persuasion. These being:
Establish Credibility – demonstrate you know your stuff
Frame for Common Ground – find the stuff you both agree on
Provide Evidence – demonstrate something new that builds on your common ground
Connect Emotionally – expand the current ground with them at your side
Next steps? Find mentors. I loved watching an interview of Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter and now Squareup. He isn’t an amazing presenter, however I feel that I present in a similar way and have a similar view on the world. Reading his Vanity Fair interview and numerous Venture Beat articles, it paints an inspirational picture of a guy who throws every part of him into his goals and passions. Is this authentic leadership? He built everything himself form scratch, based on his passion and getting his hands dirty. The noble story of the engineer, putting the product first and that product now paying the salaries.
Or what about someone like Greg Ellis, the current CEO of REA? I watched his CEO Hub interview today on Business Spectator. He built his career like a pyramid. Rather than rising to the top with a single skillbase and being forced to add to it while riding product growth, he worked the other way around. Build marketing, sales, HR, legal and other skills at the best companies you can find, and then find or make one of your own. Is this any more or less a noble to be paying the salaries?
Or maybe it’s like Alan Noble explained this week. It’s not about mentors, it’s about surrounding yourself with great people and taking the opportunities when you see them. Meanwhile, where is that copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People…
Although it is actually my second time in San Francisco, it is my first time purely for business. I wanted to record a vlog on my first impressions of Silicon Valley and how I felt as an outsider looking in.
Happy Australia Day 2011 to all the aussies who read my blog! Ernesto, 3DM and I worked hard to deliver the first YouTube custom logo for Australia ever and a custom video mapping gadget! The basic premise is that Australians can upload videos to YouTube and plot them on a map. This map then visually “fills in” to create essentially remap Australia in terms of summer memories. I am really looking forward to seeing how much momentum we can build off this one and it is great showcase for local creatives.
Custom YouTube logo and youtube.com/MapMySummer gadget
Google also put up a custom doodle for today, which indirectly drives through to the YouTube channel too:
Google doodle for Australia Day 2011
Is it weird that I get a buzz from having input into the creation of these programs that re-craft some of the most recognised brands in the world? Must be my inner marketing geek showing through…
As part of the Heads of Agreement that Telstra has signed with NBNCo, Telstra is being paid $11 billion taxpayer dollars. This amount is effectively the sum value of each and every customer they migrate off copper. As John Stanhope (Telstra CFO) states:
So as the customer is switched off and goes across to (NBNCo) fibre, we get a payment.
Copper lines are already being dropped at a massive 8% pa, but you can help accelerate this drop and save your taxpayer dollars as well as your own line rental costs in the process. Moving to VoIP over fibre, merging multiple lines into VoIP services and migrating to mobile phones will all help you save your hard earned tax dollars.
Admonsters held their first event in Australia this week, with a members dinner at the Waterfront restaurant in Sydney. The 3 course meal was very generously provided by aiMatch on a perfect summer’s night right next to the harbour.
The event was attended by around 25 people, which made for an intimate yet comprehensive representation of the major Australian advertising operations teams. Ninemsn, Carsales, REA Group, APN, CBS Interactive, YouTube, Google and number of niche publishers were represented. It was amazing how small the industry is (I had worked with at least 5 others previously) and yet how diverse our backgrounds were. There was some reflection on this topic, in particular what qualifications you need to get into Ad Operations, and therefore what you look for in new hires.
Other issues that went around the table included the continuing friction between digital and traditional media (both internally and in the market), the National Broadband Network and how it will accelerate this structural change and the amount of hand-holding that clients are still requiring.
Overall it was a great night which really helped build relationships across what is a very fragmented online media landscape in Australia. The discussion ended with a hope that there will be a larger Admonsters conference event in the APAC region next year!
It has some great features to help you identify rising “buzz” videos, and then breakdown that buzz to regional areas. You can also show the most shared or the most viewed videos (which is an interesting comparison in itself). Then just need to jump onto the Video Targeting Tool to make sure your advertisement takes advantage of these trends! It’s certainly a much cleaner interface than some of the more popular 3rd party sites that have filled this void over the years.
This is the second year that I have participated in Movember, a great initiative to raise money for men’s health. Google Australia put together a strong team to compete, so I had no excuse not to join the cause. If you don’t know what Movember is, here is the summary from their website:
Each year Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Australia and around the world, with the sole aim of raising vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men.
The program started in Australia, but has now spread to 9 more countries around the world. It’s really great to see Australia coming up with programs like Movember and Earth Hour that make a difference to the world.
Facebook and Zuckerberg are worshipped in a book, movie and this article. I have nothing but respect for the guy and what he has achieved, but what is it doing to society? And if I was cynical (and/or a capitalist), how can we use that change to predict the next big thing?
The quote at the end of the article really struck a chord with me:
We may laugh at Socrates, in the Phaedrus, for denouncing literacy, which he said would create “forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves…. They will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”
Is this the first recorded recognition of our increasing degree of specialisation? People’s general knowledge is reduced, and instead focused on a very niche area of experience (i.e. they can rewrite Facebook in Java in under a week, but can’t cook a meat pie).
This specialisation has now extended into the social space. We have less time to socialise, our relationships become more casual, and therefore we need a tool like Facebook to painlessly maintain our fragile web of relationships. Facebook doesn’t deliver a whole lot of intimacy in return, so the numbing cycle continues.
I am not going to make a comment on society becoming more emotionally stunted, because it will make me seem anti-change and old fashioned. Instead, perhaps we can use this as a predictor for future social trends? How can one socialise more efficiently? I only want to be invited to the parties that my best friends are all going to. Alert me when I haven’t replied to my friend’s message within 48 hours. Let me know when I haven’t been tagged in any photos for 7 days and clearly need to get out more. Automated social network maintenance!