To think and blog a bit like Seth

Creating Part 1-b

Innovation is great – imitation is faster!

That’s not to say “copy” and plagiarise – but simply learn from those before you.  Creativity is just the combining of previous ideas and things into a new one.

New Project – Step 1 – Create

Creating Part 1-b
I’m sitting in my local coffee shop, it’s amazing how a couple of coffees, a writing pad, pen and an hour or two can create your next special project. I get away from the computer to begin any new project – I like to draw a lot when coming up with ideas.

After nearly ten years of writing nearly every day I find it takes 2-3 pages and about 45 minutes of just dumping down all those random thoughts on your mind before whatever idea is in your head finally comes to the surface.

Turning those ideas into something real takes a hell of a lot longer.

Over the years there have been many experiences and books consumed which have helped mold the creative process.

It was a gift of Julie Cameron’s “Right to Write” years ago that gave me confidence to just let the information flow. If people like your stuff they’ll embrace – let it flow, be yourself and edit later.  Very Zen.

In terms of marketing then Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” and his incredible daily insights which has had the most influence – be remarkable.

I’m also a fan of Gary Reynold’s “Presentation Zen“. Keep it simple.

Our experiences and ideas morph into our own unique ways of doing things – from initial brainstorming and conceptualization, through project planning, management, creation, delivery and engagement.

I suppose that’s one of the challenges – “information overload” and how to join all these thoughts, models and processes into your own unique style.

At times you have to wonder what the return on investment is – isn’t it easier to just consume, comment or share?

I suppose the answer to that question is the product or service that’s delivered and your measurement of success – sales, subscribers, personal feeling of satisfaction, seeing other people smile, engage or learn?

Now onto “The Project” and to research some online project collaboration tools.

Ahhh – I’ve got Connection Addiction

Digital Convergence

Connection Addiction – pull out the plug

Don’t you hate it if you’re talking to someone and they take a call or worse receive and reply to a text.  You’re better to concentrate on the task at hand and let the message go through to the keeper.

Digital Convergence
Anyway, I’m due for a new phone and have been thinking about a Crackberry (Blackberry) so that I can check emails all the time. On the other hand all this technology is increasingly intrusive to our lives. 

My question is how much value does instant messaging really add to corporate communications? 

I read yesterday that there is an increasing number of people who, when they first wake up of a morning check their computers or phones for messages – even before a pee and a cup of coffee – “I’m not alone!” I cry but then I realise I’ve got “Connection Addiction!” – YOU KNOW that one message that has to be replied to in an instant.

When you think about it – what a load of crapola!

How do we deal with this constant flow of information?  Are new skill sets required?

“Shallow rivers run fast, think strategic” I hear my dad say.

I look around my office – I currently have four screens on my desk – two for each computer – my laptop and my desktop – geez I’m in deeper than I thought! 

  1. One has my Skype account,
  2. TweetDeck (Twitter client) and Woopra live web tracking,
  3. my emails (multiple accounts)
  4. my web browser

Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and all that other social connection stuff are accessed through the day – they run from early morning till late.

It’s madness but I suppose that’s the business I’m in – it’s no wonder it’s a challenge for most businesses to comprehend and implement.  It’s not like a 9-5 shop.

I wonder what would happen if I just suddenly turned them all off or took back control  

  • limiting emails to 2 or 3 x 1 hour sessions a day – setting up auto reply to let senders know you’ll get back within 24 hours or to call if urgent. 
  • Twitter at periodic coffee breaks.  (the water cooler metaphor)
  • Facebook to social times (the pub metaphor)

What would the prospects and clients think?  How would it impact sales?  Would more important work get done?

I know from my pub and call centre management days that response time is very important but what about web businesses?

So anyway we’ll see – brb – the phones ringing!

Interested in your thoughts?

Maxys Report – August 2009

Coffee Melbourne

Trouble reading this – view online

Maxys Report – August 2009

Hi and welcome to the August ’09 Edition of Maxys Report (and CLIVE).

As customers we all love personal service and appreciate when businesses make that special extra effort – the small gift, the waitress/ waiter that remembers your name and daily order.

Coffee Melbourne
As sellers we’re always looking for the creative edge, without innovation and improvement we’re on the slide towards commoditisation or worse – customer irrelevance.

Historically economic challenges help us focus our attention on media return on investment.  The current economic cycle is the same, with one exception: the Internet and social media are now perceived as indispensable marketing tools and the ones getting increased investment.

BUT although online media has fundamentally changed corporate communications and advertising the fundamentals of marketing and customer service are still the same.

In Melbourne the other day I did a web search for “best coffee” – the search result practically useless – other search options included –

  1. raise the question on Twitter
  2. just look to see where the most people like me are getting their coffee.
  3. ask someone/ call a friend (sorry Eddie)
  4. don’t have a coffee (joke!)
  5. travel up to Brisbane to Campos

An hour later after a great retail experience I spoke briefly with the owner of “Be Cafe” off Collins –  he has over 100 competitors within a 500m radius and customers who travel blocks – “every detail counts”

Interestingly the cafe doesn’t have a website (less than 40% small businesses in Australian do) and globally recently departed Starbucks is recognised as one of the leaders in online social engagement.

Unlike a Snuggly, one size doesn’t always fit all.

Too many networks chasing too few nodes - hughFor small businesses, web investment is a Catch 22 – if you’re not online, your content can’t be indexed, searched, linked, shared and generate a return.

From a searchers point of view we get poor results so rely on other methods.

There are intermediate portals or networks which aggregate smaller websites and data – think Ebay, Yellow Pages, Total Travel etc but that’s not the same as a direct connection.

For every business, big or small, on top of website management there’s now this whole online social media engagement thing – customers and people talking about you and your products – the days of ignoring your website and online social media are numbered.

Today the average visitor:sale conversion rate for retail sites is less than 1% – (that leaves a lot of room for improvement).

Every website needs to feel like walking into a store – to meet, greet, engage, built trust and engage.

At last month’s CLIVE ALIVE event, our panel talked about “creative differentiation” to cut through web clutter and engage audiences.

There are many online business successes (both small and large) that have defined their online niche

Author Iggy Pintado has a click through rate of 17% on his video.  New client Aussie logos has seen web site visitor bounce rates drop 7.5%, pages viewed up 11.5% and sales up 4.5% so far.

This month sees the Online Retailer Conference in Sydney.

It will be interesting to see what Gerry does over the next couple of years.

“You have to sit by the side of a river a very long time before a roast duck will fly into your mouth. Read my lips: everybody has to sell. Consumer companies, tech companies, ministers, authors, artists, teachers, environmentalists… everyone has to sell something”  Guy Kawasaki

Cheers, have a great month – any feedback please send me a note or call

I love this (for all us old Aussie web nerds) – the History of the Australian web


CLIVE ALIVE Event Invite - Wed August 5th 2009CLIVE ALIVE Event – Wednesday 5th August, Sydney, 6PM, Clock Hotel, Surry Hills, FREE

If you’re in Sydney Wednesday afternoon then please feel welcome to join us for our 2nd “CLIVE ALIVE” event.   These events aim to bring together Australian film makers, media and advertising types, clients, publishers and Internet experts to focus on the growing Internet video opportunity and “humanising the web”.

A very short but informative video of our first event can be seen here

Please see web for more information:

Maxys Tweets from the Streets