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 Management, Personal Development, Words of Wisdom

It’s the second step that counts

Last week I posted about the 10 symptoms of a failing retail business. (Symptoms are not the same as the reasons of course.) It is a bit negative to leave at that, so a post about success is in order.

Let’s first do a thought experiment. Think about any failure you have had before. (Business or personal – it does not matter.) Take a moment and articulate that failure in your mind and think about it. (Play along, don’t read ahead.) Just think about the failure – and admit to yourself that you have failed.

Now, replay these thoughts in your mind. When you thought about that failure, did you also think about why it happened? The reason for the failure?

I bet you did.

If the reasons for failure are complex, then it is also simplistic and naive to come up with a ‘magical’ 7-step process to fix it. So I won’t.

I will get you started though. And the first steps are the hardest, so it should be useful.

We all know from the movies that when you go to AA, the alcoholic has to start with an admission of failure:

Hi, my name is So_and_So and I am an alcoholic.”

The thing that you do after that admission is the key to success. But that is step 2. You can’t skip step 1. You have to admit it. You have to accept it. You have to say it; firstly to yourself, and then maybe even publicly.

The cure will be executed in public, and you can’t do that if you are pretending that everything is sweet.

Step 2 is what comes next, and this where people start the failure (or success). The alcoholic goes home and has a drink. The failing retailer sits down and justifies their failure.

This is human nature, and this is also the root of failure. As soon as you admit that you have made a mistake, you come up with a reason why it happened. This is very subtle and it just happens.

The reason is always something or someone else. And this immediately lifts the psychological burden – but also raises a barrier to success.

By identifying (an external) reason for failure, you disown the problem.

So the key to success is to take a few steps/ decisions that will not allow you to explain or justify anything.

Failure is only failure if you continue to fail. If you fix it, it is not failure, but a challenge you overcame.

So what can be done to ensure we take step 2 – and not think about the reasons for failure?

Don’t do research. Don’t ask anyone else’s opinion. Don’t do anything (not even thinking) except do something about remedying the situation immediately.

Simply take an action, any action – even the ‘wrong’ action – and you are on the way to solving the problem.

I can tell you from experience that you will very quickly build a momentum of solving problems and the ‘failure’ can be relabelled a ‘bump in the road’.

If you have taken step 1 and step 2, and they are both right, step 3 becomes so much easier.

  1. Admit it.
  2. Do something – anything.

You’re on your way.

BTW: In the previous issue of RTLL, the notion of success is explores at length (with videos, images etc.)  This is strictly for subscribers only, but I will make an exception this time. If you promise to subscribe (at the bottom of the newsletter), then you can GO HERE. I cover success from a business and a marketing and a personal angle – allow some time to read it.

Posted in Personal Development, Strategy, Words of Wisdom

There is a secret ingredient to achieving success

I have read a lot of ‘success’ literature. If the lesson was already learned, why wouldn’t you? My own path in life – and that if my family – has been a constant curve; never a straight line. (One day I hope the family will love me for it, even though it is exhausting right now.)

All my knowledge, experience and philosophies were poured into a pro bono workshop I did for business people seeking to transform themselves and their businesses.

How about you?

Are you struggling in this tough economic climate? Do you think your business would be better off if Government changed some regulations? What you have a brighter future if the internet did not bring some competition?

One of the topics we discussed was a red herring that distracted (and prevented) businesses from being more successful.

When asked what people usually say when they are asked the reason for the failure, they come up with reasons like:

  • Money
  • People
  • Time

These excuses are symptoms.

They mislead you into thinking there is a reason for non-achievement. It is a red herring.

The reason why people DON’T overcome OBSTACLES or the reason why they DON’T achieve SUCCESS is because they make attribution errors.

Let’s look at the way most people (retailers) view the world.

When faced with an obstacle – it is attributed to external factors.

  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t have the money
  • I don’t have the resources

They give themselves permission to fail because the reasons for failure are outside their control!

The Bank does not want to give them money. The Government allows too much competition. Employees are lazy. The market is tough. The dollar is too high, the dollar is too low.

But, when faced with achievement – it is attributed to internal factors.

  • I am smart and disciplined
  • I know how to do business
  • I planned for this

They deny themselves the opportunity to learn the real reason for success, but it feels sooooo good.

If you want to be successful: switch!

The REAL obstacle/challenge you face:

            Is not lack of money, but…

your inability to raise money, find money, manage money, convince someone, or come up with a good enough idea – etc.

            Is not other people, but…

your inability to foresee what people may or may not do, your failure to understand how people think and do – etc.

            Is not lack of time, but…

having too many options, not being able to filter the noise, or not being able to prioritise – etc.

The same principle holds true when you are faced with success… SWITCH!

Understand that your success came about of how an opportunity was taken at the right time or how your systems worked better than the competitors – etc.

By attributing the REAL reason for an outcome (success or failure) correctly, it is possible to come up with the RIGHT solution.

If you focus on the real problem, the answer is usually self-evident. Successful entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily geniuses; they just figure out the real issues and commit to acting on the required outcome.

The question to ask yourself when you are unhappy, challenged or facing an obstacle is:

Am I attributing the cause of this unhappiness to internal or external reasons?

The secret ingredient of the success recipe is this: if you find yourself blaming (attributing) the causes of failure to external factors, switch it around.

I have taken the time to write up thse

The Jump the Curve eBook is now available too. If you could not make the workshop, this is your only hope J. While you are there – check out the new look website.

Posted in Management, Strategy, Words of Wisdom

Jump the Curve

I am putting the finishing touches to a workshop I am running next week. It will the first free workshop in a while – OI am fortunate enough to be paid for them. But this one is different. It is about me putting back into the industry that has fed and clothed me for do long..

The subject matter is a little off the page of what we usually do, so it required a lot of thinking on my own part, and I neccessarily reviewed the business again. And Learned something.

So, you can say I have already received payback.

As part of that process, I took my workshop outline and turned it into a rant. (And called it a manifesto.)

Jump the Curve is a manifesto about transformational entrepreneurship. We draw a broad arc from Ted Levitt’s Marketing Myopia in 1960, through the seminal In Search of Excellence of the 1980s through to Seth Godin (Poke the Box) to uncover the ETERNAL BASICS of taking a business to a next level.

Much is written about the START. About getting started. But not much exists to help people take their business to the next level.

This manifesto uncovers the two facets of jumping the metaphorical curve with the aim of making a small business a big business and making an ordinary business and extraordinary business.

The requirements for success are reduced a few simple steps – and success is guaranteed; for as grandiose as that may sound, it is the inevitable if we follow the eternal basics.

Would you like a copy if it is published? (5500 words, 36 pages.) Drop me a line, or a comment, and I will get back to you if it is published…

Posted in Personal Development, Words of Wisdom

It is not just business

I am doing some research for a workshop that I am running in April (Jump the Curve) for a group of retail entrepreneurs.

In the process I came across this peom again – IF – Rudyard Kipling.

Much of what he says has become cliche, but it is worth reading and mulling over this again – as if the first time.

Business is not about business. It is a means to an end. There is something bigger that this is all about. But not what I say it is; rather what you think it is.

So, what do you think?


‘if’ by rudyard kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Posted in Words of Wisdom

How to compare Apples and Oranges

We often avoid a decision by claiming that it is not ‘comparable’ – the old apples and oranges thing.

Whilst the infographic below (pretty cool, heh?) is a bit of fun; the deeper message is actually serious.

Do we take the easy way out by claiming ‘apples and oranges’?

I do bellieve it is intelluctual laziness to resort to this excuse. Everything is comparable.

But to compare apparently disparate ideas/notions, we need to dig a bit deeper to get to the fundamental measure of worth.

The cliche: ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ comes to mind. Whilst all philosophical meaning has now been eroded by repeated use, it succeeds in framing all events/situations that may happen in relative terms.

No matter how different, you can compare outcomes with that particular statement.

Of course, I am not suggesting you use THAT as your Life’s mantra, but I am thinking that all of us must explore our inner selves to find that fundamentalist belief.

(Fundamentalism has been given a bad rap by religion, but many people find their cornerstone beliefs in religion.)

We all need a cornerstone belief. In fact, I think we all have one, even if we have failed to articulate it or even recognise it ourselves.

But we need to believe in something that will allow us to compare apples and oranges.

Because, if you think about it, life is all about apples and oranges and rarely do we get important decisions that are of the ‘red apple’ or ‘green apple’ variety.

The same applies in business. I would hazard a guess that if you tried to describe the culture of your company in one sentence, then you would be describing the cornerstone.

Rather tough one for a Friday – hope the graphic makes up for it.



Apples to Oranges.

Infographic by


Posted in Management, Marketing, Strategy, Words of Wisdom

Do you want to be the diva or choirgirl?


I heard an interesting story about a memorial service or tribute to Dame Joan Sutherland.

The story was told of her trying out for her school choir, and being rejected.

Don’t worry – this is not the story of how someone should persevere and be rewarded with eventual success.

What was interesting about the above incident was the reason the teachers ([presumably) gave for the rejecting – and I paraphrase:

Joan should not join the choir because her voice is too loud and it will drown out the other girls.

You can see where I am going with this.

She became a peerless success as an opera singer because her voice drowned out the other girls.

Now the question for you today is this:

Will your company be content to be the choir girl or will you be the diva?

If you are reading this, the answer is presumably ‘diva’ – and my advice would then be to start singing.

Because if you don’t sing your own praises, no one else is likely.

Posted in Customer Service, Personal Development, Strategy, Words of Wisdom

The essence of marketing, business, life…


This video explains…the power of ONE.

I am a fan of General Sytems Theory – going back to my MBA thesis… and Chaos Theory fits right in. I won’t bore you with the details or attemept to convince you. (It will take a lifetime of study.)

But the point is:


In your life, business and everything else. It probably explains why my favourite saying iss;


Which brings me to what the video so graphically illustrates:

ONE little thing can cause MAJOR DISRUPTION.

And so it is:

  • One bad employee, one good employee
  • One grumpy customer, one happy customer
  • One bad attitude, one good attitude
  • One negative step, one positive step


What are you going to do about it?