The Law is an Ass … or is that your employer?

Arsebook When I first heard about Bob Sutton’s book, The No Asshole Rule, I cracked up (sorry couldn’t resist). I loved the idea behind the book and the irreverent way that Bob gets his point across.

I even got of my ass to take the ARSE (Asshole Rating Self Exam).

But Bob continues to generate strong word of mouth by providing a new service — ARSEmail. Now you can "help someone who is dealing with an asshole" or apologise for being one — all from the one convenient website. Makes me think Angryman could give up his bloglife and simply spend the time sending emails … but then we would all miss out on his colourful rants.

Bob’s campaign (or is it Guy’s) goes to show how well an integrated and intelligent campaign can be put together. Only thing its missing is some YouTube hidden cam videos.

(Via Guy Kawasaki)

Accidental Community

rickshaw traffic jam
Originally uploaded by phitar.

What would a Hero look like for our current times? Would she be bionic? Would he hide his face behind a mask? What about underpants — inside the tights or outside?

This afternoon, David Armano was twittering about how tired he felt. He claimed that if he was a super hero, he would be "Sleep Deprived Man" … on account of a number of factors — not the least being this. It is the draft of his upcoming MarketingProfs Webinar on Conversation Architecture. It is a great presentation that takes some of the ideas for which DA is known for and extends them further — peppering his ideas with real world samples that illustrate the concepts with real live communities.

As usual, DA does a great job of pulling together a compelling story, some great visuals and makes the linkage between the technology, the people who use it and the wider social and techical trends occuring at the current time. And it got me thinking … is there a way to add value here? What comment could I make that could build on such a comprehensive presentation?

So I left it … I thought I would wait and see if others left a comment first.

When I came back later I was in luck! John Young had stopped by and left a comment that got me thinking. He was prompting a discussion around "curated communities", and it immediately struck me that one of the joys and attractions (for me anyway) of Web 2.0 or the architecture of these emergent conversations is their chaotic nature. It is hard to see or know or predict the spaces in which a community will coalesce, the topics or channels they will choose or the timing of their arrival (and eventual demise). I guess this is partly why so many marketers are drawn to social media — not just as early adopters/triallers but also as active participants and "experiential shapers".

But there is more … the technologies which we are now taking for granted, with their open design and usable, mashable interfaces turn the conversations themselves into talking points. They allow us, as participants, to adapt and deploy them to our own ends … they let us babble and boast, play and perform … and they let us be serious and business like as the turns and twists of life demand.

I love the randomness that Twitter allows of fascilitates. I am fascinated by the interplay between and amongst different micro communities … it is like watching tides come in and withdraw. And I like the accidental and chaotic way that ideas spread, links are shared and pronouncements made. Sure there is dross (who cares what I am doing now?) … but there is gold there too.

Blog Roll Spring Clean

plush sushi roll cat toy
Originally uploaded by pureEVA.

I know it’s a mess. I know I should fix it, give it some sort of order, but you know, I sort of have an understanding of where everyone’s site is on the list.

But, there comes a time in every blog’s life when some housekeeping needs to be done. It may start with a new design, a new widget or two and progress from there. In many ways a blog roll says more about the blog owner than the blogs that one links to …

So I am going to embark on a bit of a blog roll spring clean. Now is your chance … if you would like me to change the name of your blog or the URL or even add a new one in … leave a comment and I will do my best!

By the end of it, this blog roll will not only be tasty but also very pretty. Well at least there will be SOME order to the chaos.

Where’s the Loot?

giddy girlie dotcom
Originally uploaded by giddygirlie.

Remember the dotcom boom? It was a giddy time of energy, ideas and technology for its own sake. There was not a business model to be seen (or very few), and the gold-rush style staking of domain names was big business.

In Australia (as in many parts of the world) there were vast sums of money made and lost. An old buddy of mine, Grant Butler, spent some time documenting the rise and fall of the dotcom era in Australia in a book called "Where’s the Loot". And while some of the events and personalities have slipped from our memories, there are some salient lessons that could easily applied to the current technology/business world (especially in the mobile space from what I have seen).

The book has now been made available as a free download. If you feel like a walk down amnesia lane, or simply want to learn what NOT to do this time around … check it out here.

So Long, For Now

Originally uploaded by strangemagee.

This past week has been a whirlwind (and not just because I was in Chicago). There was the whole travel/number weirdness happening, and I must admit to feeling just a little bit spooked.

Then there was the working days that would extend into the night — for those of you who travel for business, you will know that the work "at home" doesn’t mysteriously evaporate. There were the late night phone calls with my colleagues back home, the emails, the instant messages and the new addiction to Twitter (actually not an addiction, more a dabble).

Blogging seemed to get lost along the way. With the jetlag and the workload bearing down on me, there was little energy left to string more than a word or two together. Perfect for Twittering. Not much good for anything else.

Along the way there have been some spectacular highlights.

Da_pizza2 I had a great time hanging out with David Armano … checking out his office and work space, wandering around the downtown area (that skyline is awesome at night), sharing stories and eating Chicago style pizza.

We talked technology, design, blogging, bloggers, blog stalkers, weirdness, meeting in person and motorbikes. Oh, and Twitter too (it’s all Armano’s fault). DA was surprised to learn that he was the first US blogger that I had met up with … and I hope next time I come over that I have a little more time to meet up with a few more of you!

I love the way that you can meet up with other bloggers and settle into a conversational ease straight away. Sure blogs may be the new CVs, but they work equally well as a barometer of friendship and connection.

While firing up Skype one morning in the office, I got buzzed by Marcus Brown aka the venerable Sacrum. We tried to hook up a voice call but I just couldn’t get my microphone to work … so we had to be content to IM. It just so happened that Marcus was on holiday and sitting back taking it easy. While chatting I checked out his blog and found these beautiful paintings that he is sharing. I was telling him how much I loved the first one … he said "oh Murder in the Barn … that’s my favourite too". Great title. Knew I liked it for a reason. Actually it reminded me a little of one of Marc Chagall’s. "Interestingly", Sacrum may make an appearance at Interesting2007 — Russell’s un-conference in London.

One of the things that I really did enjoy being in the northern hemisphere was being awake at the same time as a lot of my favourite bloggers. And the fact that the Twitter addiction was hitting its straps showed how this sort of group instant messaging was a great way of holding multiple conversations. The randomness appealed to my sense of humour … especially when Pauly started dropping some special insights.

One of the things that I did not like was the lack of time that I had available. I really would have liked to catch up with Paul, Mike, CK, Sharon, Ann, Drew, Mack, Sean, Cam, Pete, Lewis and many others (ok just see most of my blogroll) … it would have had to be a REALLY big coffee morning. Tim was, alas, already travelling to DC by the time I got here … but I am looking forward to his upcoming visit to Australia.

OK … computer’s almost out of juice and I have a few chapters of Citizen Marketers still to conquer before the flight. Hope to speak/Twitter/hear from you soon.

Twitter is Like Blogging in a Whisper

I was a late starter when it came to blogging. I had heard about it, I had even read a few blogs, but I just kept away. I didn’t want blogging to be on my radar. But then, at some point, I started to pay more attention. I started to listen … and read.

And then I became curious.

I was fascinated by the way ideas spread across the web — from blog to blog, and corporate site to personal blog and back again, there was certainly an energy that attracted my interest. But while I would normally call myself an "early adopter", I still resisted.


Since I started blogging, my timeline to adoption has decreased. I am now much more likely to jump on a new technology faster. Not only can I discover more about technology sooner, I can learn how others are using and adapting it … I can trial technology vicariously and then choose my own direction with a limited time investment.

I had been keeping an eye on Twitter over the last week or so … and then, during SXSW it seemed to go nuts. But it wasn’t until David Armano talked to me about it that I really decided to have a closer look. And the more I dig into it, the more I like it … but for unexpected reasons.

You see, Twitter allows you whisper your ideas and your thoughts to your friends and it acts like a form of instant messaging. But there is a broadcast function in operation … you see, if one of your friends has a Twitter Timeline embedded (like I have) in their blog/website, then your whisper will reach your friends’ readers. And your Twitter conversation will be coloured by this new CONTEXT.

Is that good or bad? Depends on your friends. Or on you. But either way, it certainly represents a shift in the way that we hold conversations.