Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pt Lincoln to AAMI Stadium walk for cancer

Miles Crawley leads them into the final stretch
Originally uploaded by charliedesign

Miles Crawley leads the boys into the final stretch along Tapleys Hill Road and onto West Lakes Boulevard (which AAMI Stadium is on).

This exceptionally fit group of guys "ran" from Pt Lincoln - over 600kms all in the name of charity. They have raised (so far) over $70,000 and will raise more.

Miles was there as his firm (Piper-Alderman Lawyers) sponsored the group - along with a bunch of other supporting companies. Being with them for the last leg was really a token effort (although we did feel proud, even if it was raining, cold, wet, windy, raining... oh and did I say raining?).

I posted a few photos on Flickr to share. More "happy snaps" than anything professional. xc

interacting with experts: jim manning speaks

FaceBook has brought me many friends. Some to poke, share posts, throw sheep, discuss concepts and theories. Whatever.

And then some come along and share with me so much insight, wisdom and deep understanding that it makes me shut-up and listen. I met Jim Manning through his FB group “Save the Australian Wine Industry”. We held a common interest in wine – him with his group (and many winery friends) and me with my own wine group, Bring out the Dead Reds – that we had so much to discuss. Jim’s passion for conversation and making things happen were very much aligned to my own spirit. We clicked. Jim involves himself and takes an interest in so many diverse and important things, that I think if we had more champions out there with his candour, his wit and his genuine nature the world would be a far better place. And I have no doubt once he’s finished with it, it will be.

Now, Jim does love his social media networking. Words of wisdom coming from a long time successful business man couldn’t be a truer sentiment. So, here’s what Jimbo wrote:

"The social networking boom I fear is about to bust or at least take on yet another face.

We have seen the explosion of Social Networking and in recent times we have seen a greater desire to do business in this space. Even in the Facebook space I have detected a significant withdrawal from some of the “play” that went on. Not so many sheep being thrown, not so many vampire bites etc. The reaction of the social community against applications that require enforcing your friends to play has now been well documented with many petition sites set up to tell the writers to cut it out.

Of course as new people join the explosion so some of these “learning curve” products will still have a life and we the mature players will play along.

Weblogs (Blogs) started out as just that, a place to share ones diary, creativity, hobby, whatever and the invited an opinion so that the author could ostensibly grow as an individual. Now more and more business sites see the need to have a Blog. Just remember why we blog. They are still fun and the domain of the author. We can read, form an opinion and move on. It is what the web allows – a place for opinion and a place to simply make the choice to move on if we do not like what we see. The power is all ours, the decision is mine.

So how do we get the blend right? ”How does Business and the Social Medium Mix”.

We as consumers have never enjoyed the heavy hitting “blue blazer, white shoes car sales” techniques (apologies to my good mates in the car trade). Forcing a consumer down a path will ultimately fail as suspicion of the motive grows.

It brings us to why do we buy? Small items may be impulse buys – the rack at the checkout counts on that kind of technique and has some value. But when we go out to buy, we have a need that has to be satisfied. The Fridge has broken down once too often, it is time to replace.

These days many of us will research our purchase on line before we attend the Fridge shop.

I can only say that imposing oneself on a target audience in the web medium is quickly identified as “spam”. The basic requirements of “need satisfaction selling”, which I was taught in my first ever “Xerox PSSII” course (back before most of you were born) are as real today as ever.

If I am to successfully do business in the social space it needs to be on the basis of building a relationship with my client base. Having my network group know what I do and where I am available when required to deliver, is important. If I have built these relationships soundly my business will grow alongside of my social relationship.

When buying anything the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) principle reigns supreme. When I view a page, an advertisement it has to be received as a “confidence” not as a “con”. The subtlety of our delivery will be measured by the perceived care factor from my audience, not the amount of ‘spam’ I can force on to my friends and clients.

In closing a simple example - Yesterday I was invited to Pokey – my pet dog on facebook (the graphics are great). I can, if I choose invite more friends to join me and yes I am rewarded for inviting friends but not a requirement. I must play, pet and feed my dog regularly. This morning was the first scheduled feed. I fed my dog “Science Diet” a real brand I know to be good – it was recommended by my real life vet. Now that is sensible marketing in the social network environment I have been subtly exposed to a product that I can identify on the shelf at my local pet shop. Clearly if I feed my online dog I may just as well feed my best friend the same stuff. Clever but subtle.

The concepts of care for our fellow man are as important in friendship as they are in business. That is Social Networking."

Jim Manning @ Wise Orange (for starters) but you can also find him blogging away to Save the Murray and on his AOEDE

Jim Manning has been a member of the Australian business community for 40 years.

He is best known for his innovative implementation of automated Database systems for his previous business National Credit Insurance (NCI). Since selling NCI two years ago Jim has re-invented himself in an effort to help you implement innovative IT solutions for your business.

interacting in silence

My 14yr daughter has just come out from her room (believe me that’s a special occasion) and congratulated me on my blog. Neat. An interesting conversation followed where she questioned how many readers and why not many comments. I laughed. I have silent readers (although I must be fair as many have previously commented - ie my older blog posts are from my FaceBook log). But she explained that she has the same problem with her MySpace. Seems many are happy to message and txt but are happy leaving public comments to those experienced in public comments. Interesting.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

interacting with experts: lee hopkins speaks

I recently met Lee at an Adelaide Bloggers meet. This lively, energetic man presented himself before me with a massive smile and I thought, yep, that’s what I expected. I loved that. The fact that I had read numerous of his blog articles, followed him on Twitter and generally felt great to personally meet him was exceptional. And it was great to have that same experience in person.

NOTE: Personal branding & how you present online is dear to me (what you see is what you get is important) and in backing this statement I have even personally supported the likes of Dan’s Personal Branding Magazine which is a good read on the subject. Lee's personality comes through well online - and matches his offline. I like that.

So, I asked Lee to write a guest article for me. The theme for this article had to be “interacting with business, groups and friends online". It follows.

For some background about Lee, “he consults to large and small companies as a management psychologist with a passion for employee communication. At the forefront of new communication technologies, and a leading thinker on communication strategy in an online environment, Lee is a widely-read commentator on communication issues.”

Check out

When I first met Lee, his passion was Second Life. And, it’s no wonder. He is currently conducting doctoral research into Second Life and more details can be found on his Second Life blog ( and on his staff page at UniSA (

I’d like to now share Lee’s article and let him do the talking:

Using new technology to do old-fashioned things like communicate with people

"Some companies are turning to new technology to support their globally-dispersed teams. Although email hasn’t yet been replaced as the ‘killer’ application yet, I know from both personal experience and through discussions with others that email no longer has ‘pride of place’ as the most-valued communication tool.

For many, the rss feed reader (like FeedDemon or Google Reader) is now the ‘first port of call’ in one’s day. Spending 15-20 minutes updating oneself with the news headlines, industry movements and the views of one’s peers is, for some, more valuable than many anything else for ‘setting oneself up’ for the day.

I know of several companies who are re-designing their intranets to include social media tools such as wikis, blogs, podcasts, widgets and rss.

However, of course, not everyone has access to a computer, internet access and a feed reader. Which is where savvy companies are using mobile phone technology to communicate to their employees and key stakeholders. And, for the moment at least, it is a great way to breach attention-barriers. That is, until we start receiving ‘garbage messages’ from the corporate communications team on our mobiles. Just as we learnt to ignore banner adverts on web pages, so we can learn to ignore mobile phone communications if the relevance of the messages pumped at us drop below a certain threshold.

Of course, to baby boomer managers and business owners, these new communication tools can appear ‘irrelevant, time-wasting and stupid’. In my experience it is the baby boomer manager that is the biggest stumbling block to the workplace use of web2.0 technology. Because they can’t immediately ‘see’ a use for these tools, or see themselves using them, they automatically dismiss them.

But even baby boomers can be wrong.

Like many boomers, I myself first thought of the virtual friendships formed online through community sites and tools as ‘imaginary’ friends. But once I actually spent some time in these communities and developed some friendships, I realised how wrong my prejudices were.

Of course, ask any teenager or twenty-something if their friends on MySpace, Friendster, Orkut, Meebo, Facebook, inter alia are ‘real’ or ‘imaginary’… you’ll be laughed at. To Generation Y, and a growing number of Generation X, they very much are ‘real’, even more real in some cases than their face-to-face friends. There is a powerful opportunity to ‘open up’ online that some find difficult in face-to-face situations.

Of course, whilst some of these web2.0 tools can be ‘challenging’ to the baby boomer manager, in my experience NOTHING is wierder than the 3D collaborative virtual environment. Or as we know it, Second Life.

For many boomer managers, virtual worlds like Second Life are so ‘out there’ that they are perceived to have absolutely no value in the business world. But companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems have joined dozens of universities in setting up islands and meeting rooms, where customers, clients and suppliers can meet, share documents, present to each other and discuss business issues.

Universities are reporting results in cross-student collaboration far better than they originally expected. Denise Wood, senior academic and leader of a Second Life research project at the University of South Australia, told me that she was amazed by how the various students interacted online in ways they never would offline. For example, students across all undergraduate years interacted in Second Life; third years were swapping ideas, hints, tips and experience with first years, and so on. This would never happen offline, Denise feels.

Even though 3D collaborative virtual environments like Second Life can be ‘clunky’ and hard to navigate through, the ability to engage with fellow team members one-to-one via private chat sessions, and at the same time still engage with the main one-to-all presentation, whilst watching and listening to a PowerPoint presentation, allows time zone or geographically dispersed teams to build up socially cohesive relationships.

I am not alone in predicting that the 3D online environment will be mainstream within five to seven years. I have discussed the issue with senior futurists at Adobe, Microsoft and IBM and all see the 3D web as the way of the future, all of them building tools for use now (including their own virtual worlds) behind the firewall.

Hopefully, the smart business communicator will realise the 3D virtual environment, currently shown in its most advanced form by Second Life, is too important an environment not to learn about.

Although businesses in Australia have been surprisingly slow to adopt these new communication technologies, now that conservative companies like AMP and Westpac have acknowledged that they are ‘experimenting’ in the 3D web, the communications future for the 3D collaborative company is so bright I gotta wear shades!"



Bio: Lee Hopkins consults to large and small companies as a management psychologist with a passion for employee communication. At the forefront of new communication technologies, and a leading thinker on communication strategy in an online environment, Lee is a widely-read commentator on communication issues.

He runs a blog at and has over 170 articles on business communication available for reading at

He is currently conducting doctoral research into Second Life and more details can be found on his Second Life blog ( and his staff page at UniSA (

Denise Wood details:

Friday, April 25, 2008

interact and control your destiny

One of the biggest concerns that I have for friends who have websites is that too often they lose control of their own destiny. For some reason this trend started years ago. No matter how loud the voice, friends and business owners still don’t take care of their own website domain information and passwords. Do you? I hear all the time “oh, the web developers will know that”. So my response to my friends has generally been – “oh, so since when has your web developers owned the keys to your business? I hope it’s only the spare set?“.

My advise. Simple. The next time you are on the phone (or email or chat) with your web developer, ask them to send to you the relevant information in regards to your domain registration. This would include information such as your:

  • Domain Host
  • Domain Name
  • Domain Account ID
  • Server ID and Location
  • Login User Name
  • Login Password

And anything else that is relevant. Perhaps how they capture your website statistics for example. Then keep it safe. Off you go.

charlie recommends

as charlie, many opportunities arise where i can help others. my main full time employment is as a corporate communications consultant for a company here in adelaide. it encompasses all communications. internal. external. brand. web. print. post. wap. letter. press. media. network. events. promotions. marketing. advertising. presentations. speeches. and more. it keeps me busy yes.

but i'm a strong advocate for a healthy work/life balance (or is that life/work?). i love my job. i love interacting. so when people ask - what's charlie design? where does that fit in? i simply answer that i consult for friends and i love to learn.

embracing facebook, twitter, linkedin, plurk and any others that may appear simply makes me a better employee, consultant and friend. it provides me with a first hand experience of the new perspective, different angle and additional benefits it brings. and the challenges.

what challenges do you have? where should this world send you?

Monday, April 21, 2008

interacting offline in adelaide

Meeting up with a group of people who “do” what I “do” the other night got me thinking, what will we “do” with each other?

We each have our own interests, space and habits. How can we grow and develop each other? I have to confess that I am so used to online friends being online, that once we came face to face it was hard for me to work out what was expected offline and how to perhaps take that next step. Maybe this is why I always say – I’m better online. I’m fast paced always wanting to know the next move.

In that next move though, I have hooked up with some excellent people. I now have a couple more blogs that I am reading. I try to contribute replies when I can – mostly when I’m inspired with a thought. It’s a start. I look forward to the next chapter.