Monday, December 13, 2010

Oprah Drives By In Melbourne

A friend of a friend just sent this to me: Oprah drives by her in Melbourne - you can’t hear it in the video, but apparently she yelled “I’m in MELBOOOOUUURRNNEEE” as she sped off. MWHAHAHA AMAZINGGGG.

Thanks Marshall Lorenzo ;)

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Hate iTunes10

It's not that hard to file mp3's but due to your crap; you insist on making it hard, 

Unknown album, unknown artist is of no use to me senor dick head Steve skivvy Jobs. 

Just do a simple database tree you stupid nerds. 

Stabby McStabby


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Monday, November 29, 2010

Good, Bad Or Otherwise: Sentiment and Communication Goals

As more companies in New Zealand start to run social media listening tools, it’s important that you keep sight of the communication objectives and don’t drown in the tech.  


Sentiment analysis is one area where I’ve seen web analysts cranking out large complicated reports that are really of limited use to the communication teams.


For example, I worked on a project recently where the listening reports all showed ‘heavy negative sentiment’ even though the media management team had done an excellent job.


The goal of the communication was to let customers know about planned business disruption so many of the traditional and new media comments showed people being frustrated about getting the news that they would have to ‘expect delays’.


But they got the ‘expect delays’ news so the messages were communicated accurately and received. Job done.


Social media listening software can’t interpret this kind of scenario so you need human media analysts that can link back to company objectives.  Let’s not forget that clippings and media activity reporting has been around for a very long time and you have people in your organisation that can offer more useful insight than a software package. 

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Overwhelmed by your kind messages. Thank you. RIP Pike River Miners

Please support the Pike River Facebook group


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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prayer For The Missing Pike River Coal Miners

I've just been to a church service and prayed for the Pike River Coal missing miners. 

My great-grandfather, grandfather and Dad have all worked in mines. I never imagined in this day and age something so terrible would happen in New Zealand. 

It's very heart wrenching and I can't imagine how hard it must be for the families. 

Our prayers are with you. Please be safe. 

Faith and hope in God, 


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Twitter Promos: Something to Tweet About

The 'Something to Tweet About' STA travel campaign caught my eye the other day with huge retail window posters with the Twitter birdie all over them.

They look very nice and the thinking is sort of there but one thing needs some's nearly impossible to see the STA Twitter address.

While I was being a smarty pants and pointing out to someone that their Twitter campaign had no Twitter address I did find it at the foot of the poster @STATRAVELNZ and I see the follow buttons are at the bottom of their website. I went looking for them because I'm a nerd and have no life but most people wouldn't.

If your call to action is to Tweet or follow on Facebook, make it stupidly easy for people to connect.

Thanks for giving me something to Tweet about STA travel.

By the way, Twitter have released a style guide for all of their trademarks (Twitter bird, follow buttons etc) so a good idea to keep an eye on them as I;m sure they are going to start cracking down shortly and getting all Apple about everything.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Now I Know Why Hamilton Loves Richard O'Brien: Rocky Horror Show

Me with the Riff Raff statue to Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show, Hamilton

Hamiltonians flip out over Richard O'Brien and now I know why. 

Last night I went to the opening night of the Rocky Horror Show at the Civic Theatre and joined the cow town fan club. 

The real life version of Richard as narrator seemed so right and his naughty, dark spooky voice makes you want to go camping with him and sit around telling ghost stories with a torch.

The sound and lighting blew me away as the cheesy Happy Days characters dissolved into a parallel universe with fishnets, Adam Lambert makeup and some seriously 'intimate' rumpy-bumpy deflowering bedroom scenes.

Yes I did stand up and do the Time Warp at the end.

Well, I think I started off doing something more like the Macarena crossed with Wiggles Big Red Car but my creepy Transylvania show hands were fabulous.

I wish I had known more song lyrics as the mother and daughter combo seat dance sing-a-longing the whole way through in front of me were off their heads with joy; shrieking at the entrance of ever character and exploding into applause at pretty much everything like crazed Justin Bieber tweens.

The whole thing is clever, spicy, ridiculously creative and a bit risque. Expect to see some epic performances (Riff Raff's voice is amazing for one) and some muscly men in high heels and animal print budgie smugglers. Heaps of fun.

Richard O'Brien is a legend and well worthy of his bronze statue on the main street of Hamiltron -City of The Future.

PS:If you are Ned Flanders, I advise you stay at home and watch the Wiggles. Definitely R18.


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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Women At Work: Like Men Only Cheaper

The discussion around gender pay parity blips up every 12 months or so and it seems to have done another loop.

I did my thesis on this kind of stuff so I'm a bit reluctant to to turn the 'on' button on here because I will bore both myself and you but if there's one message I have for chicks in the workforce it's this: learn to play the game.

Don't get me wrong. The fundamental issue is still one of biology and the reality is, women have babies and women are generally the primary care giver and women tend to want to have babies in their prime career establishment window (28-40 years).

But I do think that women need to learn to stop being so petty and channel their competitive energy for horizons broader than tearing the crap out of the women that sits at the cubicle next to them. I would love to republish here an email I was shown last week from two women having a catfight in a department. It was appallingly catty and walked dangerously close to ballooning into a major HR bullying issue. Very silly and I hate to say it but there's no way a man could have conceived of yet alone written the emails. 

Women (myself included) struggle to distinguish between public and personal and tend to get over-involved and not maintain a professional distance while still networking and building strategic alliances and partnerships that benefit their development.

I'm part of a networking group of women in senior communication roles that has formed organically. We have all worked together at some point and actively support each other to aid our careers. It's taken us along time to figure out and feel comfortable with doing this and some people have dropped out. It seems having someone round to your house for lunch and then mixing up contract talks with a review of the new curtains is a bit close and icky for some.

Trust becomes a problem. Is this person being nice to me because they like me or because they want something from me? Training yourself to not overthink it means that you won't fall prey to your insecurities. Do the two have to be mutually exclusive? Isn't it true that people choose to do business with people they like?

In my opinion, men naturally move between private and public better; hence 'the old boy's club' and the Wednesday golf outings.

A bit simplistic I know and there are plenty of other factors (discrimination, lack of flexible arrangements, organisational structure) but it's something to think about and you can see the results in senior role statistics. Put the claws in and dial up the long lunches. 

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't EVER mention your Twitter followers in a meeting


It's super awkward turtle when the person sitting across from you (ie: me) knows you joined two weeks ago and have a rubbish feed. 

Don't do it. Ever. Twitter follower numbers are a sham and should never be spoken of out loud. It's about influence, connection and community; not numbers. 

If anyone ever mentions Twitter numbers in a meeting, shut it down. It's rubbish. 

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rowing Your Own Boat

I happened across a little documentary over the weekend about the history of New Zealand rowing.

Hosted by the world champion men's pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, it gave some interesting insights into performance culture and talent development.

One part of the story that struck me was the rationale behind New Zealand Rowing shifting their focus from large, eight-man boats to smaller, single sculls and pairs (I don't know much about rowing so I hope I've got the terms right). Basically, it was the discovery of world and Olympic champion, Rob Waddell

Rob Waddell was far outperforming all the other rowers and his talent would have been lost in a team of eight. So they put him in his own boat where he could excel.

There are times in an organisation when you need to follow the slowest ship but to achieve true excellence and top levels of performance, you can't be afraid to let your stars shine. I don't think companies do a very good job of this and it leads to frustration, staff turnover and tolerance of mediocrity. It leads to a culture of 'average' as everyone has to plod along in the middle of the bellcurve.

Team work and stakeholder management and consultation are important but don't be afraid of a little competition and letting people win. Otherwise everyone loses.

Maybe there are some people in your organisation that need to be given their own boat?

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Rant Of The Day: Student Loans Moaners & Phone Number Hiders

1. People that moan about student loans. 

You are investing in your brain you stupid girl. Moaning about a $17,000 student loan when you would be more then happy to spend the same amount on a mid range Japanese two-door hatchback with an MP3 player. Or a house. "Investing" 300k in a house is fine but spending 50k on your brain that will give you future earning potential and that you will have forever? I have an impressive student loan and you don't see me moaning about it. Best investment I ever made. Get some perspective. 

2. Receptionists that don't give out mobile phone numbers

Even after explaining that I'm a client, I have his card with the number on it (somewhere) and it's urgent I cancel a meeting a not waste his time? After two seconds of Google stalking I found the same number listed on the company website. It's a company phone number, not a personal one. Annoying. He's not Obama. 

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oops! Yes I've Been There. An Interesting Lesson In Media Calls

I thought this was a really interesting insight into how a media call goes. 

Most people talk a big game about press releases and media relations but the conversation outlined below is the reality. 

I'm a big fan of Kim Knight; she is an experienced and talented writer for Sunday Star Times. 

Check out the convo. This could be you. Even the most experienced players get caught up. 



WHEN the  Sunday Star-Times phoned last week, the one-time Breakfast presenter's "no comment" ran almost five minutes. On the same day his former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis went to Government House to make a personal apology about Henry's comments on the governor-general's ethnicity, this is the conversation Henry had when he wasn't having a conversation.

SST: Is there any chance that we could have a catch-up?

PH: Look, I really haven't got anything to say to be honest. I've made the decision that, unlike Chris Carter, I will go quietly.

SST: So there's no book?

PH: No, there's no book.

SST: One of the reasons I specifically wanted to call was that last year when we did that interview you intimated that you supported a few charities and things that people might have been surprised about. I just wondered if now was the time to show another side of you.

PH: You know, it might be, but I'm not really interested in it. I'm happy that I do it myself without other people knowing.

SST: Right.

PH: I think I'll just sort of shuffle off quietly.

SST: The other thing is in that interview when we actually discussed whether or not you were racist, you made the statement that everybody is a racist to one degree or another.

PH: Mmm.

SST: And obviously I've got all those notes still on file. I just wanted to give you the opportunity to elaborate on that.

PH: No, cos see, like I say, I don't want to say anything. I think there's been a huge amount of publicity and it's just time to let it go.

SST: Will be there be a women's magazine story?

PH: I certainly haven't got one planned at the moment.

SST: Have they approached you?

PH: Yes.

SST: How much are they offering?

PH: They haven't spoken. Well, that's not entirely true, two of them have spoken to me, not spoken to me, left messages, and one of them has suggested an amount of money.

SST: Is it a lot?

PH: Umm. Not to me.

SST: Is it enough?

PH: Is that a good answer?

SST: How much? How much?

PH: No, I can't tell you how much.

SST: Right. Are you considering those?

PH: No, I'm not considering, like I say, at the moment I'm not considering anything. If I were to do anything at all, it would be one thing only and that certainly isn't no

SST: Right. Would you consider doing that one thing only with us [the Sunday Star-Times], down the track?

PH: Yeah, I could possibly consider that, yeah.

SST: How do we need to make that approach in a formal ...

PH: Why don't you make an approach in a couple of weeks. I'm definitely not considering doing anything at all for the next few weeks.

SST: I'm sure other people have offered you this as well, but if you wanted to write something, that's another opportunity that we could offer you.

PH: From my point of view, I have no interest in getting even or setting scores straight or anything like that. I just think from the point of view of the phenomenal response. I mean, I'm very hard to humble, quite frankly – but it has been damn near a humbling response. I cannot believe the literally tens upon tens of thousands of people who have actually taken the trouble to, one way or the other, have gone to the effort to either write, or join a Facebook group, not that that's much trouble, or something like that, so it's actually because of those people that I just, in the back of my mind, think maybe, just before I disappear forever, I could say something. But, like I say, that time isn't now.

SST: "Just before I disappear forever" – do you think we're not going to see you ever again? I mean we just heard this morning that Tony Veitch has got his job back (as Radio Sport breakfast host).

PH: Yeah, yeah, he might need a job more than me. Look, you never say never. All I can tell you is how I'm feeling right at the moment and I can't imagine I'll be doing anything again in the public eye but, like I say, that's, just, I can't imagine it.

SST: What is the job that you deep down want to do?

PH: This isn't an interview now, is it?

SST: Well, I'm taking notes, but I am curious given money is no object ...

PH: It's important to me that I don't, I don't want to say anything now, I don't want this to turn into an interview.

SST: Well, we didn't say we were off the record.

PH: In which case there's absolutely no chance that you would get the interview (laughs).

SST: So aren't you happy for me to quote...

PH: Clearly this is an interview now so I'm going to have to end it because I don't want to give an interview.

SST: Well, let's just go back over what you've said. You haven't ...

PH: No, I don't want to give an interview and I made that quite clear at the beginning.

SST: Nooo.

PH: So, well, we'll just leave it there, OK?

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Read This Article --It's Awesome

If you know me you'll know that I frequent the 'private sector library' aka Borders on a Sunday and read the horribly expensive imported magazines. I spill coffee on them and tear up their pages and then leave. Bad customer. 

I read this article today and it is super awesome. 

Please read it.It's fabulous. 

I can't tell you much more because it will ruin it. 

I love this article at so many levels. 

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Many Germs Are On My Cell Phone?

My First Job


My first job was at a New World supermarket.

I was hired as a 'packer'. Packing groceries. Hence the name of the job. Supermarkets are pretty awesome and creative like that with naming jobs and things. Guess what they call trolley boys?

The guy that owned the supermarket decided pretty early on that I was retarded. It may have had something to do with me packing pool chemicals in a bag with someone's silverbeet once. They rang and complained because the pool chemicals leaked all through their silverbeet and they could have died or something.

After being tagged as a low-performace lemon with no promotional opportunites, I was given the job of looking after the toilet rolls, tissue boxes and paper towels. Sometimes I would make a fort out in the warehouse with the pallets of paper towels and have a little 20 minute power nap. I didn't mind stacking the toilet rolls. It's just like a big game of spongey tetris without the architectural challenge. We had to wear this fugly light blue 50's housewife smock with a red zip. Thankfully it was pre-mobile phone days so no images exist of this horrific sight and therefore, it never happened. My manager was called Wendy and she was angry all the time. Probably because she worked full-time doing something that a punk 14-year old kid like me couldn't even be arsed doing.

I don't know why I'm telling you this.  

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Don't Treat Your Customers Like They're Stupid

It seems that most companies do. For sure a lot of professional services companies do. I'm not really into 'pitching' for business. Rolling up to the executive team and telling them how to run their business seems all a bit silly. How can I possibly know more about the business goals and brand strategy of a company than the people that do it all day long for a job? Do you seriously think brand managers don't know their target market, competitor positioning or customer media consumption? If they don't, they are either a) new or b) not very good at their job.

Sitting down with the executive team, hearing some of their current issues and working through business cases with them is far more effective and to be honest, I just enjoy it more. Often the company knows what they need to do, they just haven't had the focused resource to do it. Sometimes they just need some more buy-in from offshore budget holders or other parts of the business.

I'm not sure if it's just because I've done more time on client side then agency side and just got tired of the patronising glitter and unicorns presos.

When I see some of the presentations and conference agendas (especially around social media) it just makes me cringe. To me it shows that you clearly don't understand the industry and the people that work in it.

Most of the people I work alongside are smart, love what they do and take their profession seriously. They are often human Google databases on media stats, campaign budgets and market behaviour.

Listen, ask lots of questions and work through real-world business challenges rather then conceptual candyfloss. Your customers are probably quite smart and they'll respond a lot more positively to you if you listen, ask lots of questions and don't tell them how to suck eggs on their area of specialty. 

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Paid Vs Earned Media: Exhibit A

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How Massive Is Google?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dilbert: The Social Media Marketing Manager

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Recruiting Your Social Media Team

Chats with Bede Ashby Momentum Consulting

The myth of the 'digital native'

The need for accountability to reduce brand risk

Skills and experience required

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PODCAST: Marketing & Channel Strategy For NZ FMCG

Download now or listen on posterous
14_09_10 11_56 AM.m4a (3940 KB)

Get your channel strategy sorted before you spend any money on identity and promotional marketing strategy.

Talk to people and be prepared to hear how hard it is to go from a small business into big retail and grocery.

Fancy marketing can't make up for a broken channel strategy. You need to be making sales to keep the business spinning. 

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Christchurch Quake: Closed Due To Damage Restaurant #WIN



ALVARADOS IS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT (and has been totally remodelled).

Was a must for authentic traditional style Mexican Cuisine.

New menu out now! (if you find it blowing around on the street, could you return it please?)


Was fully licensed and BYO (wine only).


Was open Tuesday - Saturday from 5.30pm


Alfresco dining apparently isn't an option. Something to do with the lack of access, water, power and hygiene.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why The Wisdom of Crowds Is Not Always Wise

It may shock you to hear this but sometimes I make comments on things I know bugger all about.

Sometimes I make comments in the media on things I know bugger all about but I say it with authority and concerned eyebrows so that's the main thing.

Today, I met a dude that worked on a thing that I commented on and told him what I said.

He said, “well actually that's not right but it was too hard to explain to the public so we just let people think that. You actually came to the right conclusion off the information you had.”

An interesting idea.

So he set out to explain the real reason that the thing that I commented on happened. With many diagrams and hand gestures and some very good explaining, I still didn't really get it and there was commercially sensitive stuff and personalities at play to ensure it was really messy.

There were legal issues and regulations and stakeholder management conflicts and inherited issues from legacy systems and the moon being out of alignment.

I kind of saw his point. Media people want all the information in thirty seconds and companies run the risk of having issues oversimplified and misrepresented if they don't provide a soundbite response. So the company saw a popular theme coming through in blogs and forums and let the idea stick rather then correcting it. Politicians do it all the time e.g. War on Terror but is it evil spin doctoring or is it sensible communications management? The company wasn't trying to misrepresent anything they just had a gut feeling that the whole thing was too complicated without all the pieces of the puzzle and the pieces were in themselves, complicated. He was quite open and happy to sit down and explain everything to me properly when he had more time and could paint the full picture.

So maybe the wisdom of crowds isn't so wise after all?

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Courtney's Friday Dating Advice

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Most Clout Measures Are Bullshit

I have no time for your metrics based on follower numbers and facebook friends. 

Here's why. 

If you were given the keys to a new Toyota Corolla to test drive and blog a review then you would have some authority. People with large follower numbers can retweet but it doesn't mean anything if the community has no engagement and clout. 

What if Jeremy Clarkson turned up and commented on your post?

He could have no followers on Twitter and no friends on Facebook. 

He is probably the most influential person in car marketing. 

Your metrics won't see this. 

You need to understand the complete media landscape and not rely on a computer. It can give you some pointers but can never show you true influence. 

You must understand the full media mix. 

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If I hear going viral one more time...wisdom from Brian Solis

 In my experience, the social objects created solely with the goal of “going viral” will consistently underperform and reduce the likelihood for earning relevance and resonance. Those objects incentivized by thoughtfulness, value, and perhaps even empathy, will gain traction and encourage response and sharing, transitioning from relevance to resonance. And, the ingredients for resonance are readily available for those businesses that pay close attention to the recurring themes in customer conversations, actions, and reactions.

Brian Solis

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

VID Steven Slater JetBlue Asian News CGI

I especially like the bedroom scene.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Power Of Pointing

In the random things I learned this week file, the oddest thing that has stuck with me came from a Time article on animal intelligence and communication.

It seems there are only a few species that point to draw attention to things. Dogs inherently know how to point from hunting in packs and humans are big pointers. Great apes, although one of the most communicative species, don't naturally get pointing but those raised in captivity by humans soon figure it out.

By learning how to point, Kanzi the 'talking ape' now has hundreds of words in his vocab he can use to make sentences based on a chart of symbols. My favourite is his word for cabbage: 'lettuce' symbol + 'slow' symbol. 'Slow lettuce' because it takes him longer to chew. Genius!

It's a bizarre concept that we take take for granted and yet it's probably one of the most powerful tools in human communication.

People often get very confused when I try to explain the practical side of the social web and the difference between hosting and sharing information.

For example, if you film a little video, you can upload it to somewhere like YouTube where it will be hosted. You then share the link to the YouTube video out across other networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or your company website.

Sharing is pointing.

Pointing is getting attention.

You are pointing people back to your information and saying 'look at this'.

Picture yourself for a moment as an African Wild Dog out hunting in the Sahara. If you pointed out a dude with a gun to your pack so they didn't get shot then that would be useful pointing and people would want to listen to you more. If you keep pointing out inane stuff like 'wow look sand!' then the other African Wild Dogs would think you were stupid and irritating and stop listening to you.

You also need to make room for other people to point out their stuff and get attention. They also want you to listen and look at their stuff like videos, blogs, websites or boring holiday photos.

I love this earlier quote from Kanzi's human friend Bill Fields:

Kanzi was raised among humans, he has a powerful desire to communicate with the humans in his world He wants to share, he wants to do things with people. He wants people to know how smart he is. He wants people to know what he can do. And occasionally he'd like to be able to tell people to do things for him that he can't do for himself, like go down to the Dairy Queen and get him an ice cream with chocolate on it."

Seems we're all pretty much the same. 

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

5 Tips For Setting Up Company Branded Social Media Accounts

More fun then untangling iPod headphones, company social media account lock outs are hours of fun for all the family. 

The usual cause is a well meaning, over-excited punter that has a rush of blood to the head during a social media workshop and charges off to be super helpful and configure (see also take control over) all the accounts. 
Leadership in the company need to make it VERY clear that any branded accounts are controlled by the organisation and need to be setup accordingly. You need a centralised point where all the accounts sit and can be administered. No renegade accounts for sub-brands and dinky blog concepts until the bones are in place. 

Five ways to make it easier:

1. Create a new company email address for all social media accounts e.g.

2. Agree on a naming structure and make sure it's consistent and available across the applications you want. e.g., Use to make sure. 

3. Delegate a social media administrator for the company and one or two other senior people to oversee your new email address. That's it! More people can be added later but keep it tight at the start until the strategy is setup. For example, the Managing Director and one or two others. Think long-term as individuals come and go. 

4. Register the accounts to the email address using standard naming conventions and standard passwords. Keep it simple. 

5. Have a spreadsheet with all the accounts and passwords and enter all the details as you go to create a master list. Make the list read-only and publish it in a really obvious place on a shared drive or an intranet so if someone is sick or leaves, you won't get locked out. 

It's no fun sitting on the doorstep and having lot's of junk accounts coming up against your brand in search. Keep it simple, standard and centralised. 

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hey Radio People!!!

There's not many things I love more than radio. 

I love radio and think it is the most powerful thing to get messages out. 

The work I'm the most proud of is my radio work and I totally respect all radio types. 

Here's a thing. 

Don't schedule your ads on the hour like all the other radio stations. Get clever..mix it up. Peeps channel flick for music and swerve ads. Be clever. Sounds/ad swerve/sounds..c'mon ..think about your users. 

Just my $0.02. 

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Courtney On The Couch

I've never republished of my 3News blog but today I think it's important you know me.

MON, 19 JUL 2010 1:26P.M.

"Giving laws, wanting improvements, making things easier, has all become wrong and evil. May each one seek out his own way, the way leads to mutual love in community. Men will come to see and feel the similarity and communality of their ways." – Carl Jung in The Red Book.

I went to a party of 'normal' people on Saturday which quickly turned into a focus group about why I’m so weird.

I am very weird. Very insecure, probably didn't get enough attention as a child and have daddy issues. I fear rejection, seek performance based affirmation, have abandonment concerns and don’t eat five plus a day fruit and vegetables in palm-sized portions. All of which I’ve self-diagnosed from my Frasier box set series seasons 1-11.

To be fair they didn’t actually say "why are you weird?" they said "I just don’t get what you get out of all this blogging and tweeting and vlogging and stuff. I guess you make money out of it."

Many people give me far too much credit for strategically doing things online for financial reasons. I wish I was that clever. Most of the social media work that I do now is for global brands briefed overseas and you won’t see it here or know that I worked on it. It sits in big ugly two hundred page media reports that I use to prop up my monitor and is activated by in house teams. The companies I work with have no idea about my personal activity online (I think?).

The reason I clatter away so much on my personal accounts is that it gives me a voice and it make me feel important. Also, I work by myself a lot and online is my virtual workplace where I chat to Dennis in accounts. Whether anybody is listening or not doesn’t really matter, it’s cathartic for me and it’s cheaper than therapy. I feel involved and part of something. Online communities self-regulate, it’s opt-in or out by your choice and you can connect with people across ideas. Sometimes when I spend the day talking to real-world people about breastfeeding and the new tiles they got in their kitchen and their wheat allergies (interest level zero) I need to go and look at Jake and Amir dot com and Failblog to wash all the boring off. Some people say hyperconnection is a bad thing. I say it is awesome.

I read a New Yorker article on the weekend (yes I read the New Yorker…bite me) about a 16 year old girl who escaped from North Korea into China. She had had never heard of the Internet and was terrified abut talking to the American reporter Barbara Demick because “Americans are evil and our enemies.” All the press is government controlled and little things I take for granted like asking John Key on Twitter what time he’s going to drop my new panda around would have me in front of a firing squad. The freedom for people to express ideas freely sounds all a bit sop but it made me feel quite grateful to be around at this time in history and not have to listen to Newstalk ZB anymore for Joe Punter drunken 3am opinions. And not get shot for being a smart-arse.

I'm no Che Guevara but I’m not so hot on hierarchy or authority or people creating industry associations and making themselves the Chairperson of them to be important. Someone suggested we need an association like WOMMA in New Zealand- the whole idea makes my skin crawl and is anti the grass roots democracy concept that makes two-way communications an exciting area. Maybe I’m just a stereotypical Gen-Y who expects respect to be earned because I really don’t care if you’re the CEO or the Grand Poobah of anything (but I don’t believe in that ‘generational’ theory, lazy market researching).

I think I lost the ‘normal’ people at the party around the ‘Frasier box set series 1-11 part’. They just blinked at me and walked away and said ‘you’re probably going to blog this crap aren’t you?”


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News Ltd reveals readership details of newspaper sections

News Ltd reveals readership details of newspaper sections

News Ltd has today released details of its study into how readers consume various sections of its publications.  

The Sectional Reader Study was based on an online questionnaire of 14,108 respondents across Australia. It was conducted by Newspoll, which is co-owned by News Ltd, late last year.

The study covers News Ltd’s five metro groups – Sydney’s Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Melbourne’s Herald Sun; Adelaide’s Advertiser and Sunday Mail; Brisbane’s Courier Mail and Sunday Mail and Perth’s Sunday Times – plus The Australian.

According to the study, the section most likely to be read are news pages on a Sunday, with more than 90% of readers saying they always or mostly read them. Least read are Sunday business pages with less than 30% of readers saying they always or mostly read them – the weekday figure is fractionally higher.

Among the metro highlights according to the study:

  • Average time readers perceive that they spend reading the metro papers: Weekday – 42.8mins; Saturdays 57.1 mins; Sundays 62.3 mins;
  • 39.5% say they read or leaf through all or most pages on a weekday; 25.8% about three-quarters; 19.5% about half; 8.9% about a quarter; 5.1% less than a quarter;
  • Around 90% always or mostly read the news pages;
  • Just under 50% always or mostly read the sports pages;
  • 55.3% say they always or mostly read the Escape travel section; 24% occasionally;
  • 54.8% say they always or mostly read the Body + Soul section; 22.4% occasionally;
  • Around 40% say they always or mostly read the Confidential showbiz section; about 30% say they do so occasionally and 30% rarely or never;
  • 71.4% say the always or mostly use the TV guide;
  • About 30% say they always or mostly look at the metro papers’ business sections; a further 30% or so do so occasionally; 40% say they do so rarely or never;
  • 36.1% say they always or mostly read the personal finance pages;

Highlights of The Australian:

  • 33.1% say they read most pages; 25.5% read “about three-quarters”; 21.7% read about half; 11.7% read about a quarter; 6.4% read less than a quarter;
  • Readers say they spend an average of 44.7 minutes with the weekday edition of The Australian and 61.9 minutes with the Saturday edition;
  • The most read weekday section of the Australian is the news section, which more than 80% say they always or mostly read. More than 40% say they always read the business section, sports section, IT section and wealth section. About 37% say they always or mostly read the higher education section.
  • If it was surveyed, The Australian has not revealed the readership of its media section.

Tony Kendall, director of sales for News Ltd said: “Some of the results of the study were a surprise.” He claimed: “More women read Confidential than the leading weekly women’s magazines. We also found that health and beauty is important to male readers who spend over ten minutes on average each week reading Body+ Soul.”

The move by News Ltd comes as debate continues to rage of readership metrics.

Newspaper Works – which is funded by newspaper publishers – has beenattempting to set up a rival readership study

to that run by Roy Morgan Research. Up to now it has insisted that it too will offer sectional information.

Kendall said: “The market place asked for accountability and we’ve invested heavily in this national study.”

Further sectional information will follow later in the year.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Moaning Doctors And Farmers

If there’s two groups of people that love to moan it’s doctors and farmers.


Farmers complain that it rains, that it’s sunny, that the government needs to interfere, that the government is too interfering, that can only replace their Commodore every three years now instead of every two years.


Doctors and med students are again moaning that their student loans are too big and they feel undervalued. Boo hoo. I came out of uni with a fair whack of a loan that I’m still paying off. I run a business and have no guaranteed income (unlike most doctors that are paid by the government through taxation). That’s my decision. I’ve got nothing against doctors or farmers but I know plenty of people that have struggled over the last couple of years, been made redundant and worked in hard conditions through restructures and felt undervalued. Many are tertiary qualified but they don’t seem to share the same sense of entitlement and bang on about their student loans.


If you want to play with cows or broken people for a job that’s your decision and you knew that when you signed up. That is all.


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Friday, July 9, 2010

Paper Tweet #iWant

Emergency candles, canned goods and paper tweets for when the Fail Whale strikes.
Awesomeness from

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Many Hours Per Week Do You Work?

People often ask me how many hours a week I work? Then they tut tut and make themselves feel better that they have better work/life balance than I do.

How silly. 

Work is not a bad thing that I avoid. I'm self-employed and I love what I do. I'm extremely lucky and my 'work' time is not something I begrudge.

I am my work and my work is me. I don't differentiate the two.

I don't strive for my four weeks annual leave and have no idea about public holidays and weekends and stuff. 

If you're suffering in your work that's a terrible thing. There's nothing worse than spending 40+ hours per week not being happy. 

Work is a great thing and sometimes it frustrates me and I want to be someone or somewhere else, but for the most part, I'm happy.

Don't subscribe to this 'work/life balance' nonsense. It's a myth. Enjoy what you do and it's a non-issue. 

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Is A Consultant?

There seems to be some confusion. 

A 'consultant' is someone that has expert knowledge that contracts in to an organisation. 

A 'consultant' has expert knowledge from years of working inside certain industries and companies. Like 10 years..not 6 months or a degree because we've all go those.

A 'consultant' has specialist skills within your industry. They're not bored and thinking they might 'consult'. It's a step up not an opt out.

A 'consultant' that has never had a job is 'someone that lives with their Mum'. They are not a 'consultant'.

Please refer to LinkedIn and check your 'consultant' 's experience.

You may want to look for qualifications, a job, and brand experience. 

Hope this clears it up. 

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Former Hacker Lamo On Iraq Leaks

yesterday over at 3News and ended up down a rabbit hole of hacker drama. Former hacker 
Adrian Lamo, mentioned in the article, tweeted and emailed me after reading the article, confirming some of the claims I outlined.

Let's be clear, I am not anti WikiLeaks or its founder Julia Assange and my main interest comes from the activity I've seen on the WikiLeaks Twitter account and the Khatchadourian New Yorker article.

 I'm just curious and not an expert on such things. Hell I’m not even a journalist.

 Lamo called me an hour or so ago from San Francisco to make me aware of the response he wrote to the article The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks.

In the article, Greenwald claims Lamo simply seeks media attention and ratted out Bradley Manning to be at the centre of a media storm.

Maybe I’ve been sucked in but either way, Lamo and I chatted for about an hour and it was interesting to hear his side of the story. He sincerely believes that he did the right thing by reporting Bradley Manning to the authorities for the alleged leaking of a detailed Army chronology of events in the Iraq war and a database of 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables. Lamo has himself been arrested for breaking into The New York Times, Yahoo and Microsoft and stands by his version of events in the original Wired article.

Lamo claims that Greenwald has refused to run his response over at so here it is in full. I’m not taking sides but it makes for interesting reading and I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.



Blinded By Contempt



“The difficultly one has in writing about the Manning/WikiLeaks story is the blinding contempt one has for what Adrian Lamo did.”

— Glenn Greenwald, Twitter |


“Frankly, (Greenwald's) assertions sound bizarre, even lunatic, to anyone who has ever met a journalist or a newspaper editor.”

— |


“Deceive, inveigle, obfuscate”

—The X-Files |



On 06 June 2010, Kevin Lee Poulsen & Kim Zetter of Wired News broke the story that PFC. Bradley Manning had been arrested in Iraqfollowing online discussions with me, in which he confessed to what could most charitably be called mishandling of classified information. Someone less charitable could call it espionage – the deliberate leaking of classified information to A few weeks later, reported the same basic facts... up to a point.


From there the facts flew out the window as the reporter, Glenn Greenwald launched into a long-winded narrative, in essence, accusing me of not only Manning's incarceration, but for lies, conspiracy with the government, and black ops to take down Wikileaks. It was a clever attempt to turn the tables – to put my reputation on trial before the public.


It was not, however, much of a surprise. You see, Mr. Greenwald had showed his unshakable bias long before talking to me -- or even initiating correspondence -- in an interview with Democracy Now in which he slammed me as being “mentally ill,” a strong pejorative. It seemed strange for someone who claims to have a passion for the truth to make such personal attacks on me, without having first given me a chance to share my perspective. But Greenwald seemed to have no qualms about hurling vehemence at me -- in a following Twitter post, Greenwald expressed his “blinding contempt” - and as we see here, his contempt appears to have been blinding indeed.


This is not the first time that Greenwald's love/hate relationship with the truth has attracted attention. See the references I provide later in this piece to better understand my severe skepticism of Greenwald's ability to handle facts.


Greenwald certainly claims his report to be propped up with scores of unnamed sources – and at least one (and only one) source willing to go on the record. In an e-mail to me, he writes: 

“As I'm sure you know, I could fill a mid-sized phone book with the names of other people who say exactly the same thing as Appelbaum said about you.”


The Appelbaum in question is Jacob Appelbaum, who on the face of things is an independent source concerned for the common good, and coincidentally that only source from that mid-sized phone book willing to go on record. In the Salon piece, he acts as Greenwald's hatchet man, remarking:

“He basically destroyed a 22-year-old's life in order to get his name mentioned on the blog,” and characterizing me as a “low-level, inconsequential hacker with an insatiable need for self-promotion and media attention ...”


Unfortunately, the appearance of that source turned out to be suspiciously convenient. Described in the Salon article as “a well-known hackerof the Tor Project who has known Lamo for years,” Appelbaum has other associations – namely as a high-level volunteer for, who has personally met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (who started the site with documents stolen via the above-mentioned Tor Project) and has been tracked to the same location as Assange as recently as this year. And it's clear that Assange and Appelbaum share a huge vested interest in trying to discredit me and exonerate Manning, with Assange even allegedly sending lawyers to try to defend Manning.


Greenwald's failure to properly research and disclose this conflict of interest on the part of a source – a source that I hadn't socialized with for the better part of a decade – is less surprising when you consider Greenwald's apparent history of deception. He defends himself saying:

“His relationship with WikiLeaks and Assange is and was both unknown to me and totally irrelevant to the point on which I quoted him, and his work for the Tor Project, though equally irrelevant, is something I cited.”


Irrelevant, perhaps, if not for the use of Tor to acquire classified documents in the founding days of Wikileaks. The associations are suspicious to say the least. It would appear the only responsible operational security policy would be to limit Appelbaum's access to Tor infrastructure until his loyalties can be vetted. And one would perhaps naively hope that any journalist using him as a source would research these ties before rushing to print.


The first time I heard of was almost 11 years ago to this day, when I was contacted by a reporter for the site who had questions about an Internet presence I ran called Inside AOL. Looking back on the story today, the article quaintly relates pulling up search results on, a search engine I only vaguely remember. I'm also fairly sure that my dad has more hits than the 440 Salon cited then for “AOL Sucks” (today Google lists 158,000.)


I felt that article was fair and balanced. I was left with a positive impression of Salon. (


Four years later, I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair in Salon's conference room in San Francisco, explaining to them how I'd hacked their premium subscriber database, helping myself to all their passwords and subscriber information. (That information has since been destroyed to protect the confidentiality of Salon subscribers, but I have no reason to believe that my security suggestions were taken seriously.)


It'd be a novel idea, I suggested, for Salon to report on their own hacking. Salon enthusiastically agreed, only to welch several months later. They were having cash flow problems, they explained. To me the unspoken message seemed clear -- transparency on this issue would not be helpful in solving those problems. So never told its readers that it failed to prevent the compromise of their secure data.


Against my personal judgement, I kept their secret until now. It would be another seven years before the words “transparency” and “” were to prove as hard to mix as oil and water once more.


Seven years later, Greenwald, who has a passion for Brazilian culture, travel, and fiction, went on to demonstrate that his allocution of blinding contempt for me was seemingly one of the most honest things he's said in print on this issue.


Greenwald writes that in the course of chatting with PFC. Manning, I “then proceeded to question Manning for days as he met with federal agents, leading to Manning's detention.” Manning, in fact, did most of the talking, as the published logs readily indicate. I was at no point coached or instructed by federal agents – the conversations took a natural course, with occasional manifestations of my innate curiosity. But this allegation, too, is excusable; those not acquainted with the truth are rarely equipped to recognize it.


Indeed, this projection is evident in Greenwald's statement that

“A definitive understanding of what really happened is virtually impossible to acquire, largely because almost everything that is known comes from a single, extremely untrustworthy source: Lamo himself.”


There are two major problems with this statement. First Greenwald certainly pretends an understanding of events that he wasn't present for, leading me to wonder who exactly gave him such a trustworthy accounting – Manning not being available due to exigent circumstances.


Secondly, Greenwald has decided all by his lonesome that I'm untrustworthy, and then proceeds to run with the concept as though an actual trustworthy source had presented the idea as fact. Were I to say that Greenwald is a pathological liar, I'd at least have source material to point to. Also, see my source material stating the same in the references below.


In fact, any reader can review the thousands of articles which have cited me as a source, and not find any reference referring to me as extremely untrustworthy (unless they were quoting Greenwald's attempt to manufacture reality.) Not even moderately untrustworthy. Or even prone to mild exaggeration.


Greenwald, on the other hand, who holds himself out as a journalist, is in reality a writer of opinion, according to several published sources. And at least one of these sources has accused Greenwald of making up source material. As seen at, one blogger writes of one of Greenwald's posts:

“Absolutely none of this rubbish is in evidence in my post. Greenwald, purely and simply, lied. Made up a fantasy. Attributed to me imaginary feelings that I do not have, and statements that I did not make. L. I. E. D. I’d call it a straw man argument, but it doesn’t even have that much integrity.”


At, Greenwald is called a “nihilist provocateur” for allegedly dividing the Democratic Party with his would-be journalistic op-ed pieces. I mean, seriously folks – to get back to the topic at hand, the original article writes like it thinks it's serious journalism, yet only manages to cite a single source, one that is tied to the offended party – and bases the rest on innuendo and conspiracy theories. This is the guy you'd start edging away from at the party if he began spouting this sort of stuff. For instance, he goes on to claim:


“... exactly what the U.S. Government wanted to happen in order to destroy WikiLeaks has happened here: news reports that a key WikiLeaks source has been identified and arrested, followed by announcements from anonymous government officials that there is now a worldwide "manhunt" for its Editor-in-Chief.” This language seemingly infers that the whole thing was staged. That I colluded to conspire with Kevin Lee Poulsen, the federal government, and who knows who else to somehow engineer this entire affair in order to give Wikileaks a black eye.


Greenwald's wildly paranoid theories, which he voices in the article, seem to presuppose the U.S. government to be incredibly stupid. Really, if the government wanted to set up Wikileaks, would using two of the most infamous ex-hackers in the free world exactly be the most subtle way to do it?


Let's clear this up now, friends and neighbors. I am not now, nor have I ever been, in the thrall or employ of the federal government, be it as a confidential informant, a special agent, or a janitor.


If anyone was engineering plans here, in fact, it seems likely to be Greenwald. As described at, Greenwald has a noted history of using “sock puppets”, or fake accounts, to defend himself and praise his own work. Who's the deceptive one here, again?


Glenn Greenwald first contacted me via Twitter, attempting from the get-go to play me as the original rube. The blinding contempt post was a good thing, he asserted. His public bias encouraged transparency, Greenwald alleged.


I would hear a lot about transparency, but encounter precious little of it. He's refused to answer my questions about somehow, out of all the sources in the world, ending up with a Wikileaks staffer on the phone explaining to him why the guy who outed one of Wikileaks' agents-in-place was the bad guy.


During an hour-long phone conversation, I politely explained the events of the Manning case. Little or none of my explanation ended up in the finished article. What parts did, were spun like a tweaker on payday.


I invite readers to listen to the audio of the interview and use Google to research me. Draw your own conclusions. Don't let them be drawn for you by a man who was discussing how he'd judged a man well before he ever spoke to him, and wasn't about to let facts get in the way of a good hatchet piece. Think for yourselves. Watch my documentary, Hackers Wanted. Read articles with some actual neutrality. Research Greenwald's character for yourselves. But above all, judge based on facts, not innuendo and manufactured reality.


I wish I had some pithy signoff to put here. I don't. I'm just a guy trying to set the record straight – a pissed off guy, to be sure . But if some of you were willing to listen, then putting this to paper will have been worth it.


Thanks for reading.



Adrian Lamo

San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.

03 July 2010


Research & Fact-checking by Jason Mick (







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