Get Shouty

how do you value culture?
January 9, 2014, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Get Friendly, Great Stuff, passion, Zeitgeist


It’s Festival time in Sydney. While I’m super excited about taking my inner child by the hand and having a bit of a frolic on Sacrilege, the true sized inflatable bouncy castle Stonehenge in Hyde Park’s Festival Village, I was interested to read this in The Australian

FESTIVAL organizers measure success in terms of ticket sales and economic impact, but a new cultural metric may be tweets and pictures on social media. Last year, an enormous yellow duck was a hit of the Sydney Festival, where 1.7 million people could not have missed seeing it at Darling Harbour. Some 14,000 images were posted on Instagram using festival hashtags.

Mmmm. ‘Cultural Metric’. Good notion. Loads of tension in it:

  • What is culture?
  • How might culture be measured?
  • How do we value it?

The NSW Government is investing more than $5 million to ensure the success of the 2014 Festival,

“Last year the Sydney Festival attracted more than 500,000 people with more than 120,000 tickets sold to paid events, including more than 33,000 people who attended events in Western Sydney. In 2012, it injected almost $57 million into our economy

From that perspective an arts investment looks like a pretty good return to the taxpayers hereabouts. I wonder how they’d value those tweets.

Early last year MoMA curator of Architecture and Design Paola Antonelli led a discussion about Culture and Metrics, (which I’ve entirely re cut below):

  • why bother?
    • the reality is that cultures come and go over time. If we don’t know what’s valuable about a particular culture, we run the risk of losing it forever.
    • not all art is concerned with culture, and not all culture is arts-based
    • it’s the best way to create a future that human beings want to inhabit.
    • MoMA has been one of the most important cathedrals of the imagination in my life since childhood, and envisioning it as a driver of R&D across society at large is extremely exciting.
  • measurement
    • Kate Levin, the Commissioner of The Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City: measuring culture, is mostly about objectives and outcomes. She used The Gates as an example of a valuable, measurable project funded by the Department for Cultural Affairs. Four million visitors to this 16-day installation created $254 million in revenue for NYC.
    • Measuring culture will require us to think of new ways to measure and share the story of a project’s insights and impact.
  • culture and value
    • “For me, The Gates was never about whether the saffron curtains and plastic frames were art. Some people argued that it was a hideous monstrosity while others loved it. Instead, I just felt lucky to be part of the flow of conversation and people as we passed together through The Gates on a beautiful blue and gold day. I felt lucky to be a New Yorker. And that’s the point of culture. It gives us a sense of place while at the same time evoking a deeply personal experience of the universal. “

As Rita observed, and who was at the MoMA talk, it brings to life one of Andy Warhol’s statements:

  • “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.”

Creating a deeply personal experience of an enterprise, creating a real and vibrant culture, feels like a bit of an art, and has the same kind of challenge:

But, how do you measure that?

Answer: With great difficulty.

Then again…. people are the only metric that really counts.

It’s hard. Really hard. Most companies can’t do it. The ones that can, make a fortune. Life is unfair.

September 3, 2012, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

Penguins speak to me for so many reasons, and as a totem they embody my own aspirations

to have the ability to deal with that which does not truly matter

to launch into the unknown and  ‘tee-hee’ while I’m doing it

to refine my six word story, “breathe. it will all be ok”

to something silly, active, positive and whimsical

and bring that mantra to the point of most powerful reduction


calling all monsters
May 12, 2011, 11:06 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

“I wanted to get into show business because I thought it would give me close proximity to monsters.”
- Stephen Tobolowsky

Something I tell the team quite often is: “it’s not show friends, it’s show business“.

And it is true. While it isn’t a fairy tale there are monsters, there are things lurking in the darkness in all kinds of show business. I’m liking the notion that we need to remind ourselves that trolls hide under bridges (and sometimes in daylight, and sometimes inside ourselves).

The only way to disarm a monster is to laugh at it. And silly is a wonderful way to invite the monster to join in on the fun.

Feel the fire … don’t get burned.
April 12, 2011, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

It’s super easy to be a douchebag.

If you work in creative strategy or planning your daily diet may encompasses exposure to  this toxic pyramid:

You are not alone. (thanks to this post Getting Real. For Real which reminded me I probably should say this more often.)

If you’re feeling like this you understand the landscape that you work in very very well.

And as  result you might get called ‘difficult’ or ‘unapproachable’ or ‘aggressive’.

It’s really hard not to give yourself permission to let that toxicity out.

But when people are coming to you  for education and inspiration and insight how appropriate is frustration? How effective is is? How is it working for you?

Punching people in the face for not understanding is momentarily satisfying, sure. Do you really want to be that guy?

But again, you are not alone in struggling with this.

I am fiery. Shouty. The volume goes up to 11 when I get excited.

Which is why I find this to be pretty helpful this week (edited):

Feel the fire … don’t get burned.

Emphasise with words, not volume.

1. Feel the fire, but don’t get burned. If something really excites you or makes you angry, effectiveness lies in creating comfort. Share your exhilaration or ire with words, not volume.

2. Speak how you want to be spoken to. Doing so will set the tone for the entire conversation. If you start out with an attack, you could end up in a war. If you begin with kindness and clarity, you will have a much easier time.

the silent language of time
June 22, 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Friendly

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about time recently: about how it seems to slow and speed; about how to utilise it as a medium; about memory and future memory; and about how people experience moments and experiences in different ways.

In my late teens I lived in Brazil and part of the acclimatization was getting used to a totally different time scale: Social time, one of the silent languages of a culture. What was once familiar and comfortable became unfamiliar and wrong. Notions of ‘tomorrowness’, the looseness of social meeting times and time appropriateness were all challenging to me. It did me the world of good to fundamentally understand that everyone’s internal metronome ticks differently.

It might have helped me greatly to have had access to the wonderful video above. In it Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.

What we have discovered in 30 years of research is that there are six main time zones that people live in: two focus on the past, two focus on the present, two focus on the future.

He goes on to segment them into:

- Past positive: focus is on the “good old days”, past successes, nostalgia, etc.
- Past negative: focus on regret, failure, all the things that went wrong
- Present hedonistic: living in the moment for pleasure and avoiding pain, seek novelty and sensation
- Present fatalism: life is governed by outside forces, “it doesn’t pay to plan”
- Future: focus is on learning to work rather than play
- Transcendental Future: life begins after the death of the mortal body

He notes that we all divide our experience into time categories; the difference is simply how. When you’re speaking with someone he or she might be thinking about past experiences, and ignoring the present. You might be doing a cost-benefit analysis and thinking about the future. Are you Past-Positive or a “Transcendental” Future-oriented person? Find out by taking his Time Perspective Inventory, then watch last year’s TED talk on the secret power of time.

Drawn by Andrew Park of Cognitive Media.

(I should note the listing of the 6 time zones is Jason Kottke’s.)

Fun fact: Zimbardo conducted the famous Stanford prison experiment in 1971

May 28, 2010, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

Forgot to say: this should be sung to the tune of Mull of Kintyre, late at night, with the addition of toxic amounts of caffeine, sugar, trans fats and too little sleep. Loudly. Or it becomes the tune in your head for days. Or both.

Red Mullet with Thyme
A dish that I’m thinking
Might kill the desire
For chips and hard drinking
Red Mullet with Thyme

Crap have I munched on and bottles I’ve drunk
Late night fast food don’t feed brains that have shrunk
Pitching’s plate’s full of nutritional crime
As I dream of green beans with Red Mullet with Thyme

shouty, sweet and serious
August 12, 2009, 2:26 am
Filed under: Get Friendly, passion


A trip down memory lane. Recycled posts from the last three years:

The shouty:

  • Would you like a small dash of Get Stuffed with your Shut the Hell Up?
  • Institutionalised Rudeness by Sociopaths (IRS from now on) is far from OK. In fact IRS is so far from OK it is huddling in a yurt in Outer Siberia. With no booze. And no friends.And it’s not invited to any tzushy end of year drinks parties either. It’s banned. Passe.

    In addition the “Punch In The Face” motivation technique is also banned. Previously thought to inspire the creative class to consistently meet the 20 hours overtime barrier, it has been recognised as an illegal tool of IRS and is now a Taser-able offence.

    If you have been subject to IRS, or any suspect ‘motivation’ techniques, you can apply for your branded taser (which can also do double duty as an attractive cocktail shaker).

    Bring it on.

The sweet:

  • The Power of Noticing
    • Sometimes doing research for my job I come across a piece of truth and beauty. One example is  this article “Kindness Counts”.
    • Mostly I think that we just need to be kind to each other.
      And notice each other.
      And value the power we have inside of ourselves to make a difference- especially those who are blessed with the gift of being able to notice what’s going on in the world around us.

The serious:

  • ROI= Risk of Ignoring
    • So what are you missing out on? What’s the ROI?
    • As with anything that’s going on in social media, it’s all about the Risk of Ignoring:
      • As a reader of blogs: Can you afford not to be informed about the latest thinking in your discipline? Can you afford not to learn from some of the brightest minds and most passionate advocates in the industry?
      • And as a writer: Can you afford not to keep a notebook of your online reading? Can you afford not to contextualise and have an opinion on what’s going on in advertising?
      • And ultimately, as an ad-exec: Can you afford not to have experiences that would help you understand people’s behaviour in the social media space
  • Value and tulip bulbs
  • What’s your Return On Ego?
    • The context here was making sure that you compartmentalize business decisions in the online space between those that are founded on KPI’s and those that make the Brand team feel good.

You can see all the bloggers involved here: Recycle A Blog Post Day #rabpday . Nice one Mark.

What are you going to re-share?

Latte Exchange
June 4, 2009, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly
Coffee Mornings are a bit like this wonderful treasure trove of images, transparencies and infographics from Good Magazine: lots of information, interesting thoughts shaped in amusing ways, and a hundred anecdotes just waiting to be born. Oh…and the coffee’s not only sustainable, it’s a damn fine cup of joe.

Note to self
May 19, 2009, 5:00 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

you are amazing
January 26, 2009, 5:33 am
Filed under: Get Friendly


Richard Dawkin’s Appetite for Wonder

You could give Aristotle a tutorial. And you could thrill him to the core of his being. Aristotle was an encyclopedic polymath, an all time intellect. Yet not only can you know more than him about the world. You also can have a deeper understanding of how everything works. Such is the privilege of living after Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Planck, Watson, Crick and their colleagues.

The potential people who could have been standing in my place but who will never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara — more, the atoms in the universe. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Donne, greater scientists than Newton, greater composers than Beethoven. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I that are privileged to be here, privileged with eyes to see where we are and brains to wonder why.

and from To Live at All Is Miracle Enough

After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked — as I am surprisingly often — why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn’t it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?

When you can’t make lemonade
January 16, 2009, 10:47 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

It’s been a hot old week in Sydney for reasons only partially due to the tilt in the earth axis.

But in the last day or so, and in unexpected contexts, a tune has been following me round, Sunscreen. I has just the right kind of cheesy aphoristic spoken word pathos that has afforded a bit of a cool breeze…

and a gentle reminder that if you have to stand in the sun it’s a really good idea to protect your self.

There are other things you can do with the elements, of course. Some imaginary friends have commented on how blimmin’ cold it is in the Northern Hemisphere right now. I’m sure lemons are in short supply where you are, so if you share the ice I can put on the citrus, and we can make margaritas.

The print below made by Aly Lenon at 2Pie “simply pushing our faces into fresh powder on cars. They are all concave, but create a super cool illusion of 3D sculptures. Enjoy.”  There’s heaps more go, check them out.

Up, up and (Git)Away!
January 12, 2009, 2:38 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

My anti-hero alter-ego of today:


Creation Story:
The pressure hothouse of  pitching when all clients brief you the day before Christmas and want to see concepts the week they get back from holidays.

Intune, Intouch, Insight

Gizmos: Deflection of Distractions
Vambraces that deflect all incoming social opportunities (ptchew!ptchew!)
Lasso of Ambiguity (or the “look over there lasso”)

Theme tune:
Oh the Strat-gy Stage is a-rollin’ ov’r the plains
With the planners flappin’ and the suits slappin’ the reins
A insight they cry: a believable way!
Whip crack-away, whip crack-away, whip crack-away

Cocktails and Cupcakes
November 19, 2008, 5:15 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

I am speaking at the Digital Marketing and Media Summit in Melbourne this Friday 21 November, and Julian Cole has arranged a Beerspheer get together for afters:

Madame Brussels 59 Bourke St, City

Please come for a chit chat, good cheer and cupcakes

A perfect end to Sunday
November 16, 2008, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

A cool spring night.
A Potts Point view.
Ten inquisitive types.
Four TED films with chat-astic bookend commentary.
Each person brings wine and treats
But nothing is better than the host’s contribution
Mango tart with burnt fig and honeycomb icecream.
Great conversation in good company.

Word of the Week- Relish
September 5, 2008, 8:06 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

  • gusto: vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment
  • spicy or savory condiment
  • enjoy: derive or receive pleasure from; get enjoyment from; take pleasure in; “She relished her fame and basked in her glory”
  • the taste experience when a savoury condiment is taken into the mouth
  • (and who knew?) Relish is the king of the troll kingdom and the father of Burly, Blabberwort, and Bluebell. He temporarily joins forces with the queen, but later abandons her plans for conquest when he decides to take the 4th Kingdom for himself.

  • What’s yours?

Everyday Heroism
August 27, 2008, 2:14 am
Filed under: Get Activist, Get Friendly

Heroism is an ideal as old as humanity. Who will be the heroes of the 21st Century? What is heroism in the digital age? These are a few of the questions that a new group of researchers are seeking to understand.

Everyday Heroism is designed to bring together the general public and scholars interested in this topic to explore what heroism is, who performs heroic acts, and why.

Heroism Survey
Asks people to help better understand what heroism is.

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete.

If you are interested in participating, please click here.


The Banality of Heroism”
Zeno Franco & Dr. Philip Zimbardo (2007). Greater Good Magazine. (2MB pdf).

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Dr. Zimbardo’s new book and website by the same title.

For Goodness’ Sake. Essay for O Magazine, Dr. Zimbardo, April 2007. (.doc)

“Is Lei Feng (雷锋) Still a Modern Hero?: A Consideration of Heroic Action in the Context of Culture” Paper. Franco, Z.E., Pamlin, D., Langdon, M., Blau, K. & Zimbardo, P. For the 4th International Conference on Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy, Guangzhou, China

Content is king, context is queen, and community the soul*
July 14, 2008, 9:32 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Get Activist, Get Friendly, Great Stuff, Zeitgeist

Let’s get things straight here. They live on an island in Fiji. They (spear) fish, grow fruit and veg, compost their crap and drink a muddy narcotic and play guitars under the stars. That’s what they like to do.

And they won a big shiney silver wedge of a trophy. One that declares that Tribewanted is a more innovative and impactful social networking site than Skins on E4, and hold your breath…MySpace. Yes, MySpace, the world’s biggest online network, in a social networking competition. Bloody hell – how did that happen?

The team try to explain it here:

I think its hard to see it from the inside looking out – but here are the reasons the tribe members gave when we entered . I think it happened because we’re trying something different. And its starting to work. Very simply its about using a new and exciting way of communicating to make life better. And we’re not the only ones doing it either.

Not everyone can work on a project that is about building a sustainable island paradise. But we can all take inspiration in this vigorous enlistment of a community, the cleverness of building context in the clear signposts of their distributed messaging and consistently compelling stories.

John Dodds shared the American Marketing Association new definition of marketing:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

It’s a big ask to educate our clients on the ever changing world, but if Apenisa Bogiso (Tui Mali) the Chief of Vorovoro can understand it I’m pretty sure I can help my clients get it too.

*thanks Kris Hoet and Kneale Mann

Breathe. And don’t wobble.*
May 29, 2008, 7:31 am
Filed under: Get Friendly, Great Stuff

I was told the most beautiful story by Rachael, my new right hand gal at work, today. We were sitting in the sun and sharing stories, as we’ve just moved into our new offices and the place is still a bit of a construction zone. No access to servers. No access to the Net. So we chat.

We’ve spent the morning in the company of champions. Our GM is off to compete in some triathlons in the States and the guys he trains with are Olympic and Commonwealth athletes. Peter Robertson shared his theory on winning with heart (Health. Enjoyment. Attitude. Recovery. Training.) and one of his health tips is to make sure you get enough sun. Australians have taken the sun smart message a little too seriously and there is a bit of a country wide phenomenon of Vitamin D deficiency.

The new building has loads of natural light and the sun carves in and paints the room with reminders of our environment all day. I am absolutely dependant on the sun to shine myself I have to agree how important solar power is. We both remark on the smiles we see across the space even though the place is in chaos. There’s a new energy in the team.

We discuss how ‘from little things big things grow’ and how such a small practice like 15 minutes of meditation a day can so significantly change your life. Rachel tells me of a heart meditation “the inner smile”. This practice reminds her that we can open ourselves, open our hearts to happiness, embrace the warmth around us and shine light into the world.

Heart. Sunlight. Energy. Smiles. Openness.

I’m feeling very grateful. It feels like an auspicious start to a new place.

* thanks Wade 

Hello Pitches
May 15, 2008, 2:15 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Get Friendly

I love a good pitch.

It’s more than the energy and enthusiasm, the divergence and convergence of strategy, the caffeine, the late nights and the whole process of vividly imagining an idea into being.

I love it because it give you permission to be bold.

The Kaiser tells the wonderful story of what happens when a creative team (top chefs- Gorden Ramsey style) tackled a problem regardless:

They didn’t seek a compromise. They didn’t pander to their client. They weren’t chasing the money. They knew what was right and they just bloody well got on and did it. And the results proved that they were right. The resident cook said they were right, the customers were over the moon, hell even the management (to use British PR speak) were “delighted”.

As Bill S would say “boldness be my friend”. Have it as your compass. Both your team and your clients will benefit. Genius, Power and Magic….bring it on:

Moderation is a fatal thing; nothing succeeds like excess.  ~Oscar Wilde

March 18, 2008, 5:30 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

So that’s what two years of blogging feels like…..Happy Birthday to Me!

Last year I said “The Hundred Acre Wood grows for me every day- it’s my thinking spot and helps me demystify Heffalumps and Woozles”.

This year has been one that has let me meet Snuffelupagai (thats what I think the plural should be of Mr Snuffelupagus) . Not imaginary friends, even though most people can’t see them, real friends and I’ve had real adventures. Some to share and to which you’re all invited to participate :

and some to treasure just for me and those involved.

In in hommage to Ze Frank (thanks Adam- have a look it’s lovely) here’s some things I’m proud of from the last year:

  • volunteered my time for things I care about instead of just giving money
  • created events that I’d like to go to and invited people I don’t know to them
  • lived a week in another language
  • got some triple bottom line thinking across the line. “If it ‘ain’t doing good, it ‘ain’t doin’ good for the brand”.

So how about you? What have you done in the last year that you’re proud of?


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