Saturday, December 29, 2012

How Quentin Blake taught me to blog


I'm very happy to see Quentin Blake knighted today. His famous partnership with Roald Dahl produced the most memorable books of my childhood (George's Marvellous Medicine, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG) and my favourite- Revolting Rhymes. 

I was given the book as a birthday present -my sixth birthday from memory- and every story I wrote for the next three years seemed to have flavours of Dahl's 'Cinderella' parody.  Looking back over the very unpolitically-correct verses and illustrations (you can now watch them on Youtube as well) I can still see the attraction. 

In those days, our school story books had a lined page on the right for the words and a blank page on the left for us to draw pictures. If we were good, we were allowed to type up our story on the one Apple IIe computer in the classroom.  We'd then print it out on the daisy wheel printer (the best part was tearing off the dots on the side of the paper) and glue it into our story books next to the hand-drawn picture. 

Twenty five years later I'm still writing silly stories and pasting little pictures next to them.

Thanks Sir Quentin. 


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Friday, December 28, 2012

My blog post of the year: Dr Jared Noel-2012 Reflections*


"the events in my life are only a trivial quiver on the strings of eternity. My ongoing work at Auckland hospital gives me an insight into the suffering of others, and at the end of the day, I have been blessed with far more than I deserve, and I will be forever grateful that I have got to experience 32 Christmases on this Earth. There may not be a 33rd, but I am okay with that."

Read the full post here

*warning: tear jerker

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Will links in my press release help with Google search rank?

It's official. They won't. Google's head of webspam Matt Cutts answered a forum question about it yesterday and I've included the full text below. 

There's a lot of nonsense about this one and I've blogged about it before. The idea of an 'SEO optimised' press release is very outdated in terms of both Google changes and how stories are picked up by journalists and bloggers.

Making sure that your information is newsworthy and well targeted to media contacts is far more important than any formatting or tricky back linking.  You want humans in newsrooms to read your headline, open your story and find it interesting enough to do something with. Speed to market and relevance is your focus.

A press release is a simple memo to let people know that something has happened. Some practioners make it out to be a lot more complex than it needs to be.

Can Press Releases count as spam links? 
7 posts by 4 authors in Webmaster Central

MT-28Level 1 
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Dec 24

I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 


I am wanting to issue a press release about our new site and product, however, I noticed that there is a lot of talk about getting penalized if too many links point to a website too quick.

I am researching press release companies to make sure the one I choose only sends the PR out to legit news media and online media, but I do not want to get penalized if they link to my website.

Does anyone have any advice about this?

Thank you,


seo101Level 15 
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Dec 24

Yes, if the news is not really "news" and the purpose of the press release is just to get backlinks to the site.
No, if the news really is "news" and the purpose of the press release is to provide journalists with information for a story. to how well the Google algorithm is as detecting the difference between the two, then that is open to debate. But over time the algorithm will improve and get better as distinguishing between the two.

As for being penalized, unlikely. At worse all that happens is the links will be ignored as a ranking signal. They only way you could get penalized by this is the pattern of all the links to the website are gained by this self promotional link building techniques.

seo101Level 15 
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Dec 24

BTW, "I noticed that there is a lot of talk about getting penalized if too many links point to a website too quick"

Its just talk. If a video or web site go 'viral', they do not get penalized for getting too many links too quickly, so its a myth.

MT-28Level 1 
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Dec 25

 I am not looking to build links; I just wanted to issue the press release but did not want any incoming links to hurt my site.  Thank you for the info, Merry Christmas

travlerLevel 13 
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Dec 25

Major media can often set any links in online version to nofollow. 

And yes, if a legitimate news story, then send direct to media, and the appropriate editor.

Email works best with a good subject line, Faxes are ignored as a rule. Just too many of them to wade through.

Major media tend to use a release as the basis to write the story in their style, for their audience.

Online press releases are often copied verbatim, and appear on scraper sites.


Matt_CuttsGoogle Employee  
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Dec 26

Note: I wouldn't expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.





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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to achieve long-term sustainable change


"Long-term sustainable change happens if people discover their own power. The key is moving the centre of gravity in the decision-making, moving it closer to people in the community, in the field, and so forth-and away from a centrally directed, top-down approach.  For the first time in human history, technology is enabling people to really maintain those rich connections with much larger numbers of people than ever before."

Pierre Omidyar, Founder of eBay


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Digital Disruption -full pdf version

November/December 2010


The Digital Disruption

Connectivity and the Diffusion of Power

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

ERIC SCHMIDT is Chair and CEO of Google. He is a Member of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology and Chair of the New America Foundation. JARED COHEN is Director of Google Ideas. He is an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Children of Jihad and One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide


The advent and power of connection technologies -- tools that connect people to vast amounts of information and to one another -- will make the twenty-first century all about surprises. Governments will be caught off-guard when large numbers of their citizens, armed with virtually nothing but cell phones, take part in mini-rebellions that challenge their authority. For the media, reporting will increasingly become a collaborative enterprise between traditional news organizations and the quickly growing number of citizen journalists. And technology companies will find themselves outsmarted by their competition and surprised by consumers who have little loyalty and no patience.

TheDigitalDisruption.pdf Download this file



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Monday, December 17, 2012

Dave McClure 'most companies suck at internet marketing'.

If you know Dave McClure as 'the guy who swears a lot' I don't think you've been listening properly. 

Dave McClure is the guy who talks about markets and distribution when everyone else is talking about tech specs and dev platforms. 

He's the guy who asks you who your customer is not what your product can do. 

He's the guy who tells you to stop building better mouse traps and start finding more efficient ways of servicing markets. 

Dave is a creative marketer and angel investor who takes ideas from around the world and assembles them into something that people can understand and want to pay money for. 

By my ears, he talked about marketing for about 3/4 of the fireside chat at the ATP Innovations incubator last night in Sydney but I'm wondering how well the message was received. 

One of the people I talked to afterwards drew me a complicated diagram about raising capital out of Switzerland and told me he would never take money from 'any of those US funds' for reasons that were not covered in the diagram.

Another guy agreed that he needed to spend more time defining his customer but that most people had smart phones so his market was 'pretty much everyone'. 

My own first business endeavor was in human-grade dog food. Bowwow Bakehouse was an outstanding company that harnessed all of my 20-year-old genius to build a better product. What I didn't have was a way of getting my product to customers. 

So I built my first ecommerce cart in ASP and created a form where you could enter your dog's birthday. Rover and Snuffles were posted birthday packs with product samples and a voucher to reorder.  People loved it and a community grew. Customers would send photos of their dogs wearing Bowwow Bakehouse Birthday Club hats and I would manually scan them on to my static, HTML website and build a mailing list. The sales were were about $150 a week all up but my little system worked (scale was another issue as I later learned when I went to work for a large supermarket retailer). 

Why am I telling you this?

So that you don't waste too much time building a better mouse trap (or in my case-better dog food) only to realise that you have no way of accessing your customers or transacting products to them to make money. 

The product isn't the end point in itself. 

When people pitched their startups to Dave he answered as to whether or not he thought he could market the idea to a customer. 

Transacting the customer is your objective. Sales are good. Marketplaces are very important and that's why businesses like Amazon,WalMart, TradeMe and the iTunes store are so successful. 

People like Dave McClure are rare in the startup scene and it was refreshing to hear an innovation discussion anchored in solid promotional and channel strategy. 

We have all sorts of new tools now that both startups and enterprise can use. Can you imagine how much easier the Bowwow Birthday Club party photos would have been on Facebook?

Dave correctly asserted, this is the layer where we should be innovating to better service customers. The marketing layer is swimming in great new tech that isn't being applied to a lot of traditional business models. Improve how the customer transacts and you have a successful business. 

Dave's comment that 'most companies suck at internet marketing' is one I'd have to agree with and it creates huge opportunities for startups who can keep their eyes on the customer and not get caught replicating tech mousetraps. 

Thanks to all the organisers, it was a great event and we hope to see Dave and 'Geeks on a Plane' back over this side of the world in 2013. 

Group image: Dave McClure, Rick Baker Blackbird Ventures, Hamish Hawthorn CEO ATPi and Pete Cooper, Sydstart


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Zealand tech law expert joins Kim Dotcom legal team


Ira Rothken announced today that New Zealand tech lawyer Rick Shera will be joining the Kim DotCom Megaupload legal team. 


Rick is an international thought leader in technology law and regularly contributes through blogs and industry body representation. I thought I had a photo of us having a cup of coffee at a conference but it's us having a cup of coffee with two different people and the back of political blogger David Farrar's head. 

I'll be looking on with interest. 

Thanks to AUT and The Project Revolution for the image. 


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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chatting and hanging out in G+ communities

Google + launched it's new social weapon at SMX and I have to say, I'm impressed. 

Google community pulls together features that you have probably had a play with but not really bothered to use in your daily workflows. 

The new profile screen allows users to connect and easily drop into video hangouts and live chat. 

If little lightbulbs aren't going off about the uses of this for outbound marketing and customer care for your brands then please leave the internet. 

You can add me on Google + here

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Twitter Australia Breakfast

A few pics from #twitterbrekky this morning.

Mike Brown from Twitter International Growth said that "Australia is a priority market for Twitter".

The event focused on sports and featured Wendell Sailor and Omid Ashtari from Twitter sports and entertainment.

I'll write up some more of my thoughts later when I'm not on an iphone but here are some photos from the Sydney Cricket Ground event this morning.

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