Posted in Marketing, Words of Wisdom

12 commandments for social media engagement (guru version)


  1. If you have to ask to be followed, then you are not much of a leader.
  2. If you have to be asked to be liked, you are not like-worthy.
  3. If you are re-tweeted, then it is not cool to re-tweet that under the guise of saying thank you when all you really want to do is re-tweet yourself.
  4. It is OK to tweet your blog posts – even a few times. Just don’t automate it ad nauseum.
  5. It is NOT cool to cross-update everything every time on every platform.
  6. It is really much better if you actually explore the links BEFORE your re-tweet them, otherwise it is obvious that you are just sucking up.
  7. If you can’t see the difference between Twitter and LinkedIn and Foursquare and you want everyone one to follow you and every platform imaginable, then you can’t really advise anyone else on the ‘strategic’ use of said platforms, right?
  8. It is not cool to NOT follow people back. You might want to act like a celebrity but you are probably not really one. (And claiming that you have talked to Kim Kardashian doesn’t count.)
  9. It is OK to ignore the bots and companies of no relevance just out there drumming up business.)
  10. It is proper to say thank you when your posts are picked up in a Paper.Li issue – but a bit ‘try-hard’ if is just a tweet being re-streamed.
  11. Just because there is no filter between your brain and your keyboard, does not mean there shouldn’t be one: if you wouldn’t say it face-to-face, then don’t say it.
  12. It is super-uncool to post/tweet about a trending topic and add nothing more than an opinion, especially when it is a topic you know nothing about – like someone who died or had an affair.


Posted in Marketing, Personal Development, Words of Wisdom

Unashamed self-promotion

Just back from a short break to New Zealand. (If you have never been, you haven’t lived…)

Not quite ready to start posting, but got a lovely email this morning:

I greatly appreciate your support and I hope to have your involvement in Retail 2012 (which conveniently will be in Sydney 24-26 Sept).

 There was some fantastic feedback regarding your presentation from delegates on the online survey and I have copied their comments for you below – congratulations.

  • Great
  • Awesome.
  • Good
  • Enthusiasm, very endearing
  • Clear and concise

I look forward to working with you again.



Whilst only 5 people specifically commented, and it is probably a biased sample, I thought that in the absence of anything worthwhile to say, I will just take that and share it 🙂 in an act of unashamed self-promotion.

But there is a ‘lesson’ in all of this. 



The presentation at Melbourne Retail Expo and Conference 2011 came about because someone found my blog, hooked up via twitter (and vice versa) and eventually ended up recommending me to the conference organisers.

From this conference further enquiries have already flowed, so it just goes to show the exponential power of using social media.



PS: Of course credit is due to Moonyeen for helping to make a good presentation great. And that is another lesson. Don’t be too proud to take advice and don’t think you know it all.



Posted in Marketing, Words of Wisdom

10 things I wonder about social media and the internet…

  1. I wonder why some people accumulate connections on LinkedIn like notches on the doorpost?
  2. I wonder why some people upload photos to a photo-sharing site and then set the setting so that you can’t share it?
  3. I wonder why some people feel that every tweet they post is so important that it has to be broadcast on LinkedIn and Facebook?
  4. I wonder if people don’t know that it is obvious that it is too late start connecting on LinkedIn when you lose your job?
  5. I wonder why people cannot anticipate that it is a bit naff to hop on a social media site as a Johnny-come-lately and start dishing out ‘how-to’ advice?
  6. I wonder if the people who brag how many gazillion people are on Facebook or whatever, also realise that a gazillion plus one people are not?
  7. I wonder if people realise that nobody seriously thinks they are ‘successful’ if they spend 8 hours a day on Twitter?
  8. I wonder if internet gurus understand that because a lot of people repeat what they said or believe what they what they said or agree with what they said merely means they are popular or common or both – but not influential.
  9. I wonder why people still send money to Nigeria?
  10. I wonder if people seriously believe that posting a motivational quote motivates someone?


I wonder, I really do…


Posted in General, Management, Personal Development

A lion, a cow, a horse…WWYD?

1. Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.

2. When you are done, click on “Check Your Answers” (below).

You are in a desert. You have with you the following five animals:

  • A lion
  • A cow
  • A horse
  • A sheep
  • A monkey

To escape the desert you are going to have to get rid of one of your animals. Which one do you drop? (You can use whatever logic you like BUT keep track of which animal is discarded when!)

You have 4 animals left. The desert is burning up! It goes on for miles. Sand is everywhere. You realize, to get out, you are going to have drop another animal. Which do you drop?

You have 3 animals left. Walk, walk, walk. Hot, hot, hot. Disaster! The Oasis that you were looking for is dried up! You have no choice but to drop another animal.

You have 2 animals left. Ok, it’s a long hot walk. You can see the edge of the desert way on the horizon. Unfortunately, you can only leave the desert with ONE animal. Which one do you drop and which one do you keep?

Before checking your answers, make sure you know which animal you dropped in what order




*Don’t cheat… do it



These answers are based on Japanese Archetypes. The desert represents a hardship. The animals represent . . .

  • Lion = Pride
  • Monkey = Your children
  • Sheep = Friendship
  • Cow = Basic needs
  • Horse = Your passion

So, in the face of hardship, you will sacrifice each of these things in turn. Your last animal represents that thing which you cling to at the expense of all others.

Now whether this is true or not, there is an underlying truth that is worth considering.

When people are faced with a challenge – or even a simple change, they have a ‘default’ behaviour. This default behaviour has likely developed over a long period of time, and through positive reinforcement, the behaviour becomes deeply embedded.

As business people we are facing some challenging times.

We all have to honestly question how we respond to those challenges – and in particular, how we always respond to challenges.

If you find that your response is typically negative or typically positive or typically anything – take a step back and re-think.

It may be a cliché, but it holds true: If the only tool you have is a hammer, every challenge looks like a nail.

Those habitual, ingrained responses; especially the ones we have learned to justify to ourselves, is what stands between innovating ourselves out of this mess we find ourselves in.

Posted in Future, General, Personal Development

The way out

If you own a tobacconist you’d worry about government regulation. If you run a pub or club you will be worried about anti-pokies segment and anti-smoking sentiment.

If you own a service station, you’d be worried about alternative energy. If you own a hamburger joint or a pizza shop you are worried about healthy eating habits.

If you own a bookshop, shoe shop, fashion store – or almost any other type of retail outlet, you’d be worried about the internet.

In fact, even small manufacturers probably don’t realise that 3D printing is going to send many of them broke quicksmart.

But there is a way out.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a wimp until he started lifting weights and Michael Dell was a dishwasher when he was working on selling his first PC. Bill Gates was a nerd programming software for traffic lights until he sold the first DOS license to IBM and Ray Kroc was a travelling salesman until he opened his second McDonalds.

Abraham Lincoln ran a general store before he eventually entered politics and John Travolta was a waiter until he cracked his first audition. Rod Stewart was a grave digger and Jerry Seinfeld sold light bulbs by phone. Author Stephen King was a janitor when he had the idea for his breakthrough novel Carrie.

Who you are today and what you are doing today has absolutely no relevance to who you may become.

And it is true: one store can readily become a chain just as easily as a chain can become one store. Being broke can be great training for being rich.

But these stories are not about dreams coming true.

In each and every case, the person actually DID something.  (Sold a PC, wrote a novel, auditioned – or whatever.)

And that, dear friend, has always been and will always be the difference between success and failure: the act of executing is how dreams are made real.

Your current problems could disappear overnight, or it may take a while longer.

But the only certainty is that nothing will happen if you don’t do something about it.

What are you going to do next?


PS: One of the things you can do is to attend the Retail Conference in Melbourne (Sep 2011) and tap into the ideas and the solutions on show. Get your special discount code here.


PPS: Subscribe to ReadThinkLearnLaugh for the next issue about ‘raising the bar’ in retail. (Previous issue HERE – no subscription required.)



Posted in General, Personal Development

Nothing much

It was that kind of day: bleached by a chilly wind. We felt that we had to be somewhere that was like nowhere. A place where few people walked. So we headed to the hills of Jamberoo mountain and went walkabout.

Once we could peak over the rim of the escarpment and saw this vista.

It was the kind of day that nothing happened. It was perfect.

The sou’westerly did a bit of housekeeping in the scrubby bush. Not much to see. Not much to hear. No sign of life other than a few blustery birds and some kangaroo poo.

Sometimes it is important to go where there is nothing. To make space for something later.

In the other world we are full of noise and dreams and ideas and activities.

The simplicity of a walk where nothing much happens, and nothing much to see or hear is just perfect.

We made some space for the busy week ahead. I think…

Posted in General, Management, Personal Development

Three-part series on success (Part 3)

Part 3: Tell your story

In this short series on business success, we have so far looked at two steps of the 3-step process.

The final step in the process is to tell your story. And I don’t mean that in a ‘once upon a time there was…’ kind of way. The difference between a good photograph and bad photograph is that one just captures light, the other captures a moment – it tells a story.

A story is a message that has meaning. A story appeals to the emotions. There is a narrative (storyline) that keeps people captivated.

The way you display your merchandise must tell a story. Your advertising message must tell a story. Your offer must tell a story. Your sales pitch must tell a story.

Stories are about ideas and people and events that we care about. And ultimately, our success depends upon whether our story is told well enough, frequently enough and convincingly enough for people to care and finally for people to remember.

ONE: Be credible. Key words are consistency, trust and character.

TWO: Solve a real problem. Key words are discipline, rational and analytical.

THREE: Tell your story. Key words are emotional, passionate and relevant.

Posted in General, Management, Personal Development

Three-part series on success (Part 2)

Part 2: Solving a problem

In the last post we looked at CREDIBILITY; part 1 of a simple 3-step process of being a successful business.

Being credible will get you listened to, but you will only be needed if your product or service solves a real customer need. Ask yourself: What problem does my business solve for the customer?

The mistake that many entrepreneurs make is that they become blinded by their passion. (Reading too many self-help books will do that.) It really isn’t about you and what you are good at.

A successful business is not about scratching your itch, but scratching a customer’s itch. Just because you like baking cakes does not mean there is a need for another patisserie.

Be honest with yourself when evaluating business opportunities. Be ruthless in your assessment of the demand for your product. Are there sufficient customers who will pay money for you to solve a specific problem or address a specific need?

You don’t have to spend big to determine the scope for your idea. But you do have to step outside the emotion. Be rational; think through your venture before you start.