My Creative Mornings talk

In late October, I spoke at Creative Mornings Melbourne. For those who aren’t familiar, Creative Mornings started out of New York by Tina Roth Eisenberg aka @swissmiss as a global breakfast lecture series for creative types. It’s sometimes billed as “TED for the rest of us”. The talk’s topic was left open so I kept it general, speaking about some lessons learnt from my journey to date – especially around applying lean startup methodology and the agile manifesto to my work and life. There’s also references to wins and challenges encountered with The Fetch as well as how to stop “energy vampires” from taking over your time and focus. Enjoy and would love your feedback! (I need to be less critical of myself on camera!)

The video is currently being edited to include the slide deck. So for now head over to SlideShare to check out the images that complement what I’m saying.

For those reading on a device where you can’t view embeds, the link is:

Attention Australian startup founders

Edit 7/2/12: Enter!

Someone was recently chatting to me about the lack of awareness of Australian startups by VCs (even local ones), with poor national press coverage doing us no favours. I agree with this to a large extent and as result have been posting more about our startups here and also over on The Fetch Blog. However, I also think Australian startups need to stand up and own the fact that they’re Australian. I think we can often be obsessed with trying to appear global and appeal to certain markets, like the US, rather than pushing our own story and roots. What I’ve witnessed in other startup communities around the globe is that they have a real pride and bond around origin – particularly their city. New York is perhaps the best example of this – and likely a result of the ever-present dominance from the West Coast. ‘Internet Made in NYC‘, which lists all the NYC-based startups is one of the most useful startup resources to have. It’s visited by job seekers, journos and investors alike.

You can read more about the list in the FAQ at the bottom but the following will give you an idea about the structure.

“What do these companies have in common?

  1. They are mostly coded in nyc
  2. They have 10K+ people use or visit their site monthly
  3. They display “Made in NYC” as prominently as its copyright — and it links to this page ( [Optionally, (a) spell out “New York City” and/or (b) precede with an adverb/verb]”
No denying where Skillshare is based

In Australia, I believe a crucial step in evolving our ecosystem is bonding cross-city and providing transparency around who’s here. We should create our own version of ‘Made in NYC’ as ‘Made in Oz’, and pop links in footers everywhere! It’s good to see leaders like 99designs have kicked things off.

99designs is "Proudly Australia" (although only on the domain)

Perhaps we could even add some green and gold into the mix… ;)

So cheesy it's back in fashion

And one for good measure – 6wunderkinder wearing the badge:

A proud Berlin-based startup 6 Wunderkinder (check out Wunderlist & Wunderkit)

Thoughts, commentary, discussion?

Have a good weekend.



Melbourne’s Top 100

Be sure to grab a copy or peek of The Age’s (melbourne) magazine tomorrow as the annual Top 100 list for 2011 is out and a panel of judges deemed me worthy for inclusion!

The Top 100 (which is apparently not ordered but for the record, I’m number 66) is a compilation of Melbourne’s most influential, inspirational, provocative and creative people for 2011. This year includes everyone from shadow ministers, philanthropists and authors, to basketballers, retailers and architects. I’m in there for creating The Fetch and Socialmelb, and it’s feels all warm and fuzzy to see my dedication and work in the digital communities recognised. I’d obviously like to thank everyone who’s been involved with either endeavour this year and beyond as I couldn’t do it without you. It’s such a pleasure to know and be around amazing people, and I’m truly grateful for the support and company. This coverage will be a nice opportunity to drive awareness about what’s happening in our industries and also a great driver for making what we offer better. It somehow makes every late night or weekend spent plugging away at my MacBook organising stuff worth it and I’m now wondering what I could do if I freed up my workload to focus more.

I’m particularly excited about where my new venture Cloud Peeps could go with helping people connect and find work/projects (beyond community management).

So, stay tuned, thanks again and here’s to 2012.


P.S. If you’re new here, and interested in what’s happening in Melbourne’s digital, business and creative communities (events, jobs, local profiles, spaces and more), please subscribe at and follow us on @thefetchmelb.

Melbourne: hot off the event press

Sorry another post!

Anyway, I’m due to arrive back in Australia this week and have duly organised some activities to keep us busy before year’s end. :)

* Update 13/10 – I’ll also  be at Socialmelb from 8am tomorrow and Hub Melbourne from 5pm. :)

  • To start, there’s the Worldwide Instagram Instameet on 26 October at 1000 £ Bend. This is a non-photowalk meetup so come along and be a filterist (i.e. share photography tips) with me and the IgersMelbourne community!
  • While on the topic of Instagram, Misho Baranovic and others are leading an amazing competition with BlurbOz this month. The aim is to uncover and celebrate the beauty of Australian suburbia (no, not a paradox), so tag applicable photos #instaburb. I’ve got my Melbourne judges hat on for this so am looking forward to being blown away by the submissions. More here + below.

  • I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with Melbourne’s startup community at Silicon Beach Drinks on 3 November.
  • After that is the final Travel Massive Melbourne meetup for 2011. We’ll be having drinks on the rooftop of The Emerald Peacock from 6pm on 29 November.
  • Then we have the already-well RSVP’d Christmas #socialmelb drinks at Honey Bar  – this is set for the following evening on 30 November from 6pm.
  • The final Socialmelb breakfast of the year will be on 16 December at the usual spot.
  • Finally, I’m still waiting on the confirmation, but there’s likely to be another Women2 Founder Friday on the evening before Startup Weekend Melbourne. Stay tuned for the details.
And of course, all this information will be available fortnightly as usual in The Fetch.
Hope to see some of you around town.

Social media doer needed

You might have seen my tweet on Sunday in relation to finding someone to work with me on various social media related projects.

Emails are hitting my inbox regarding social media and digital communication projects and after six months of working what feels like non-stop, I’d now like to collaborate with an upcoming social media doer. Yes, exciting times!

I’d like to let the relationship evolve fairly organically in terms of what kind of arrangement it would be. But I will say, I’m not looking for someone who is already consulting in this space full time, has their own agency, or someone who classifies themselves as a “social media expert”. I’m looking for someone who would like to grow their already-awesome skills, is addicted to learning and wants to get experience with the approach I use for social media. I’m not about building hollow numbers or implementing short-lived gimmicky campaigns – I take a deep content and community focus that’s consistent. Social media can be a hard slog requiring patience, and it certainly shouldn’t be viewed in isolation from the broader marketing mix.

There is plenty of opportunity to work together on great innovative and experimental brands (including many of Australia’s latest startups) so who knows where this could lead! Where I haven’t been able to take on jobs so far due to workload, I’ve been referring them to my network. Ideally, this collaboration will lead me to understand and trust how the person working with me operates, so we’ll be able to manage the work ourselves.

I’m currently overseas, so am looking to move things forward online in the next couple of weeks.

So, without further ado, get in touch if the following sounds applicable:

  • You are curious and interested in the world around you
  • You like helping people and being useful
  • You are a strong and efficient communicator
  • You use social media daily, and understand it’s not just Twitter and Facebook
  • You can spell, story tell and smile
  • You don’t ride high on ego
  • You have alternate income streams and are a self-sufficient individual
  • You are creative and have amazing ideas, but can get things done
  • You like researching and uncovering the best of the web
  • You are contactable throughout the working week and are able to execute tasks during office hours (e.g. tweet for clients)
  • You can meet up once a fortnight/month in-person and cowork together
  • You love the work you do, and can turn tasks around quickly
  • Optional: You have a desire to co-organise social media events, workshops and do speaking gigs

I’d love to find out more about you if we haven’t already met. If you could email me a bit about yourself, some links to your online presence, how much time you have free per week, how much you like to be paid per hour/project and anything else you feel applicable.

Thanks – I hope this is the beginning of a flourishing relationship!


Talkin’ about my generation

I’m publishing my speech from last night’s International Association of Business Communicators‘ gala dinner. Geoff Kelly (founder, Kelly Strategic Influence), Andrew Maiden (executive director of communications and media relations at Telstra) and I delivered a playful poke at what each generation brings to the communication profession. It was a light-hearted and glam evening with a 140 professional communicators in the audience.

Photo courtesy of @annyetta

‘Talkin’ About My Generation’: What Gen Y brings to the communication profession?

Good evening members of the IABC. I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard so far and thanks to Geoff and Andrew for their degenerative pleas. Thanks also to the Victorian committee for having me.

Apologies in advance for the notes and for my propensity to read – my brain stops working after 140 characters.

So I’m here to wrap-up the sentiment of the infamous Gen Y. We’re also known as the Millennials or the generation that gives the press good link bait. The ABS says we’re born from 1982 to 2000 but this changes as frequent as our supposed commitment to the workforce.

But what’s in an age? If there’s one thing we’ve bought to the communication profession, it’s that we’ve flattened the system using digital technologies. No longer are we represented and described by two little numbers. We see beyond this primitive form of understanding and dive more into the full psychographical picture. People can now connect via their interests, ideas and beliefs rather than age. I know the majority of the people I talk to online are from older generations and I love that we communicate as equals.

In 2010, Australians spent 34% of their media consumption online, which equates to two days out of every working week. Yes, two days. 22% of this time is spent on social sites. Social media is perhaps the biggest game changer ever seen in our industry. And if you head to Silicon Valley, you’ll find Gen Ys like Zuckerberg creating the platforms that lead how the majority of the world now communicates.

We’ve introduced continuous and non-disruptive forms of communication. While others are barking down their phone handsets demanding attention from their victim, we’re digital natives plugged into the matrix. Heck, my least favourite part of my iPhone is the call function.

Gen Ys communicate without even trying. We’re constantly delivering real-time updates to our ever-expanding networks. We have ambient awareness of what’s happening through effective short bursts of information. In Amber Case’s TED Talk from December last year she even refers to us as cyborgs – people who rely on their external brains, such as mobile phones and computers, to communicate and even live our secondary lives. Try explaining the concept of a second life to older generations and no I’m not just referring to the poxy virtual world of the same name.

I recall one time I was at the Friday morning social media meetup and was enjoying a conversation with a friend when a late Gen Xer walked over to introduce himself. He made a snide remark about my inability to put my phone down. While I’m sure he thought I was breaking some sort of social grace, he had failed to understand the skill of multitasking. Yes, I can hold a conversation while responding to client work via email, texting my partner and posting Twitpics on the @socialmelb Twitter account, couldn’t he? The situation was only made worse when the same gentlemen caught me a few weeks later glued to my phone seeking Google Map directions.

Gen Ys trust each other more than media institutions. We believe in peer-to-peer communication to disseminate information through our networks. We share news and knowledge via text messages, emails, chat programs and social media. We know what makes something viral. We encourage conversation, interaction and dialogue between two parties. We’ve democratised the media landscape. We prefer co-creation to one side controlling what’s published.

This isn’t about broadcasting carefully crafted messages from old-school media outlets. It’s about listening. Listening is a crucial part of communication, yet it is only with the advent of social media that we’ve really started to become obsessed with it. A simple search using ‘social media monitoring’ as keywords delivers millions of results. Sure, mainstream media monitors have been around for a while, but these hardly cover mentions from the long tail or consumer sentiment. We now have access to such valuable data and feedback, changing communication forever.

For too long, communicators have been at the mercy of the media, stalking journalists in the hope of a mention in some dying masthead. Gen Ys understand we’re all media companies now. Individual influencers can have more power and reach than the leading established brands. Australia’s biggest YouTuber Natalie Tran of the Community Channel recently teamed up with Lonely Planet to video her around the world travels. While Tran is approaching a million subscribers around the globe, the somewhat digitally stunted Lonely Planet is beginning to understand the need to team up with these new-world celebrities.

Gen Ys also want to know who is behind everything – we crave transparent and authentic voice. We don’t respond to overtly commercial messages or biased propaganda. We want our friends to tell us their honest opinion directly. We want more people to have their say. I trust my network more than I do authorities.

If I’m travelling and looking for a place to stay, I prefer using sites like Airbnb to traditional accommodation providers. Most hotels to me are such sterile environments devoid of community. Airbnb is like eBay for space, where people from around the globe rent out their spare room or couch. Better yet, the site has recently added Facebook Connect functionality so I can view if and how I’m related to the host through my network. Now this is a brand that speaks to Gen Y.

If I’m making a purchase, I’ll often research online, check the product out in-store and then head back online to buy it cheaper from overseas. And don’t cringe; most Gen Ys do it.

And while I’m at it – stop all the thinking there’s an online and offline. It’s just one big communication soup.

If you think this all sounds too much, I recently saw a video of the upcoming Gen Z at a conference and they scared the hell out of me. Demanding, fearless and independent. They’re nothing like we’ve ever seen before. They’ve always had the internet. I’ll be interested to see what’s it like when they hit the workforce.

But as I stand here boasting about Gen Y traits and changes in communication, I must admit, I think the majority of generational stereotyping is bullshit. We create the barrier by thinking there’s a difference between us. We need to unlearn and relearn. I can list countless people from older generations that are as digitally savvy as me, and earlier adopters of new communication platforms. I also know a handful of Gen Ys who aren’t on Facebook and hate Twitter with a passion. We’ve all built the current communication ecosystem together. All we need to remember is we’re all humans and communicate without judgement and with respect.

I’d like to finish now as I know in the way of more alcohol and hopefully some hilarious-to-watch dancing. I also haven’t checked my phone for 10 minutes and am getting notification anxiety. But most importantly, I’m looking forward to speaking with you and not at you.

Thank you and good night.