Engagement & Content

Content of an interesting discussion …. starts the thought processes !

My thoughts at the moment, seem to be focused on “engagement”, the reasons why we aren’t and the bigger picture of flawed corporate cultures caused by basic systemic issues … as I said in the feed yesterday “Everyone is connected, but are we really connecting ?” – I think not .. or worse if we are … we are not listening. I have some views on the reasons for this … but it amazes me that organisations including governments seem to just go through the motions and are seemingly indifferent to the reality .. which is why their stakeholders .. us .. are not engaged (normally) with their strategies … this comes down to the education of the “masses” as well, as for the Gods in the marble halls – we are just too ‘aware’ for their own good.

However with the fragmentation of the mass market in all areas, including mass media, the outcome for me is that instead of organisations making systemic changes to move with the social and technological changes to improve their internal cultures and thus the engagement and transparency with “us”, they basically keep going the way they are going, and one day when the financial world is sorting through the carcass of what were “great” organisations (including governments probably) … they will ask .. too late .. “How did this happen” ?

To cut a long story short, there has to be change in the way things are done … we all need to realise that so far as the Universe is concerned we don’t amount to a hill of beans as individuals (but together ?? ) … as Carl Sagan said in his own meditation … we are just this little blue dot in a relatively small galaxy, within the infinity of the Universe, that’s the reality of our significance … numberless blades of grass or the grains of sands on every beach … in every world springs to mind …

So what can potentially makes us different .. one thing, which is “what if” we believed in engagement with each other, in true transparency (not just the words) we can become magnificent working together .. so what exactly is stopping us .. fear of “everything”, ego .. perhaps !

But we need to start, with one small step, how about within your own circle of influence, and then the circle will grow, and soon (this relies on engagement) .. we have the ability to foresee the magnificence which can be a social engaged one world … utopia, even possible ?? … it must be possible as I can see our potential …probable .. I hope so .. I hope I see the start of it before my time is over .. well this time around anyway.

There needs to be one thing, a world wide social revolution, that holds Governments at all levels accountable and likewise all levels of business … how about we bring all levels of abuse and inequity to the surface …. without all of the hype and b/s of the news organisations who are basically there to sell their own product, their content… so we come back basically to transparency and accountability … so long as there is a “rating” to be improved .. we cannot trust in the ethics of the organisation, who are only motivated by money .. for me (now) money is like the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow .. when you get to it, there is nothing there … and I can tell you from personal experience that money and materialism does not make you happy … but I guess that is something you need to find out for yourself.

By the way, if I hear one more time, “We have always done it this way … “ but this is my point exactly … and here you are talking with some organisation that is in need of change, sometimes surgical change. In any organisation, you must be proactive and always be curious and strive for excellence. To drive policy … that is the function, or it is supposed to be of the Board / owner and the CEO .. to work on the question .. here is the direction we we want to go, how do we get there ? Too many CEO’s work in the company and therefore never understand the reality which is that their company is not entitled to anything .. they may have the best / greatest most exciting wiz bang product or idea in the Universe, but unless you really engage with your market, (before – you take it to market, so they are part of the process) – it will rarely succeed.

This post seems more about engagement rather than content … so next time .. content for your publications …

Ok .. time for my exercise …

Limits to Growth

This is a post I wrote last year on one of the other blogs for which I write

Why are we here? And how did we get here… I think you will find that is the question that people should be asking now, and will be asking more and more over the coming years. Let us look at history just for a while, something which we almost never do, there have been Oh so many instances which we can point to where we as a species, did not learn from the past, and there are two culprits for this beside arrogance and all of the platitudes, like “it can’t happen to me”, “Think positive”, “it will all work out” … this position we are in for one reason, the resources of the planet are finite, the call and demand for those resources by the ever increasing population is causing the very scarcity of the resources to finally be brought into focus… the old scarcity principle is well and truly alive, the trouble is this time it really is real.

Why are we surprised with this… since the Club of Rome was formed in 1968 and with their first major publication in 1972 was Limits to Growth – the Club of Rome, seems to have as its charter .. “to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public.”

The original report, examines fives variables which are: world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion. An update to the original report came out after 20 years, and another after 30 years (published in 2004). Another is expected in the short term, the 40 year report.

In 2008 Graham Turner at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia published a paper called “A Comparison of `The Limits to Growth` with Thirty Years of Reality”. It examined the past thirty years of reality with the predictions made in 1972 and found that changes in industrial production, food production and pollution are all in line with the book’s predictions of economic and societal collapse in the 21st century.

There is huge controversy about some of the claims made in the books, however in essence it sheds light on a simple fact, that resources are finite and are therefore limited. This is so important when we look at non-sustainable energy resources such as Petroleum based products (that currently underlies our entire way of living), rather than using sustainable resources for all our product needs.

This of course gets me to another issue, we need an alternative to petroleum products, not to convert basically many food based crops, such as corn etc, as a base for maintaining the status quo and further polluting the atmosphere, we need dramatic research into a sustainable ways to produce hydrogen, as well as any other form of sustainable ways to produce, portable and peak load electrical energy (the somewhat mythical cold fusion comes to mind), some positive early work is already evident – much more emphasis on this work needs to be shown. If we cannot find a sustainable energy source, what do u think will happen to the civilisation as we know it.. as one of the biggest problems with a global market, is how do you ship products from one point to another when there are no oil products to power the ships, road transport, farming machinery and of course airlines. It seems on the outside looking in , countries should be looking to provide incentives to their local industries to at least make them self sustaining in the essentials of life, food, clean water, and shelter – and being communal animals.. a community. Any thoughts…?

Rothschilds – another flawed non-sustainable business model

This is an old post of mine on another site …. but I thought it was worth a reprise here

Inspired by an article by Jesse Riseborough and Simon Casey NATHANIEL Rothschild’s the future 5th Baron Rothschild says he now plans to build one of the world’s largest coal producers. A member of the Rothschild lineage that helped bankroll Britain’s war against Napoleon, he is leading a $USD 3 billion ($A3.12 billion) takeover that will create the biggest exporter of coal to China So what do you think the motivation of this is … perhaps greed and control …. by suggesting he could corner the control of the coal exports to China …. when China’s apparent strategy is to use all the worlds coal before they have to touch their own …. because its cheaper …. and makes excellent strategy … because then they will have the option to burn their own coal totally within their own borders … and so much for the worlds need to reduce burning of fossil fuels. Most Indonesian coal (there are exceptions… yes but few) is generally not preferred for China in any case due to its high water content – so what is the real strategy behind this …? perhaps it is to subtly ( though there is nothing subtle about this) apply pressure to China to just suggest that he can for another advantage or have China as a partner in this venture .. mind you I work in commodities … I think he has a snowballs chance in hell of ultimate success .. going up against a sovereign state in this fashion with their essentially unlimited balance sheet – but as I said … perhaps this is the opening gambit, and this is merely a vehicle for another strategy, yet to be revealed. If China even considers such a block possible, does he really think that China will let someone outside of China control – where importing coal is seen by China as part of an overall strategy … people have to stop thinking that China thinks as we do … they don’t …. their vision runs in decades not our baby steps, in other words the next 3–12 months where most of the western world seems to reside. If we continue down this road, China will have the last laugh …. they are using our greed and lust for money to win this particular battle … and the war … (as they see it) … please wake up and understand.

If this article is true, I would be surprised, as I really would have thought that the 39 year old Nathaniel Rothschild would have come up with a more innovative and technologically savvy strategy … such as control of essential earth minerals … necessary for us in today electronics or perhaps tomorrows energy sources or perhaps research into a sustainable way to make hydrogen .. which could provide a portable essentially non-polluting power source from fuel cells …. but no … with this dated coal strategy which would have been innovative 50–100 years ago .. I so don’t think so – as it has so little vision and is so passe’ ….. do get with it mate, remember what century you are in.

Sustainability, Media and the Internet

This is the edited context of a message I sent to a contact of mine on Linked In ….

For myself I tend to write a bit in my blog and ask the simple question why do companies continue to do it this way … or that ? Whilst websites are “your virtual windows to the world” they are only part of a virtual strategy along with those such as Twitter (@intmf) and even Facebook .. actually Facebook surprises me, I went on there in the past few weeks for a personal page to stay in contact with my friends around the world and it is quite amazing the contacts you receive …

Organisations cannot ignore the internet –  you do so at your peril.

I would say in passing I am not a fan of unsolicited direct marketing in any shape or form – even subscription based direct marketing has serious flaws in its business model, because it doesn’t interact, it generally dictates.

The Internet is about building relationships and through that communities, too bad (to name just one, who should know better) Television, Publishing and Films (old media attitudes) just don’t get it, they need to realise (there are organisations that do) that this is the 21st Century (I say that lot) and start using it properly as a real part of their strategy instead of alienating your virtual family by using them as Email fodder.

I have written about this a number of times, old media needs to think laterally and develop a new business model, for the internet, especially in the world of copying of digital files …. they could make money out of this … but instead they make the lawyers rich and damage their brand and lose their business focus in the process – by trying to control the uncontrollable.

Old media, has thrown money at buying internet operations, to try and fill a hole in their own business model, however as one example only you just need to look at what a disaster News has made of MySpace by forcing them to comply with old media philosophy (about control – which is such b/s) as with the internet the truth is that no one is in charge.  You are either on the internet or not .. trying to be on the internet behind pay walls will not get you a wide audience …. of those who will subscribe, many will have the the same antiquated values as your own, or those who relate to the scarcity of this “resource”. There are many ways to make money on the internet, advertising seems to provide a handsome return for the majority.

News’s idea of an Digital Newspaper subscription is likewise flawed –  guys and girls get with it.

People do want to be a part of something that interacts with us, asks our views, nurtures and supports the relationship .. they do not want to be dictated or lauded over … these days people vote, in the idiom of Facebook by unfriending (disconnecting) you – all connections are about choice, and the normal basis of the decision is the status of the two way relationship. When people purposefully disconnect this seriously damages a organisations brand in the view of the ex subscriber, people talk about their experiences … but because there is no way to measure why people really disconnect (no there isn’t) even though people try.

Other organizations who are deeply involved with the internet and its technology are the legacy carriers who are stumbling forward and falling over continuously, in Australia one who comes to mind is Telstra –  I talk about them here superficially –  I hear from various sources that AT&T is suffering serious problems with their customer service and network as well. This may be similar to the issues with Telstra which from where I sit is evidently a lack of a strategic vision from the board and a very flawed organisational culture.

The only way to operate in the internet, or anywhere in fact, is to operate with ethics and honesty as your base values, with a total accountable and transparent culture actually giving a dam about your customer –  too many organisations say they do, then like with the ANZ Bank –  someone in their organisation didn’t get the “this is our new culture memo” ingrained into their own values and personal culture, their lack of personal integrity and values damages the organisations as a whole … this reflected very badly on the ANZ Bank especially after being recognised as a sustainable bank on the world stage.

The whole flawed philosophy of business is expedience …. whatever gets it done, the trouble is it doesn’t – these flawed strategies just widen the gap between the provider and the customer.

Anyway, way too much to talk about here … if you like we can chat one day or I can give you one of my blogs to check out .. (I have three) …

Broadcasters need to change – to stay relevant and viable

I wrote the below to a company in the UK about their response to a submission of mine.

“ I am not sure you will read this, but I will take the chance you may, I have been all across media, from Radio, Television and Content production, now more focused on strategy for current and future delivery systems, and how companies, particularly those former monopolistic media companies, such as Television will survive and prosper.

What I wonder, and perhaps you can enlighten me, why Traditional (old) media does not view the Internet as a partner instead of a threat, it is the ideal resource to allow them to form “true” partnerships, rather than the current viewpoint of most broadcasters where they treat these “communities” in anything but an accountable and collaborative way, they either totally ignore their feedback or treat them as a target for Email fodder… the potential for the internet to build support, communities and a future (though a more accountable and transparent one) for old media is there, it is profound, it just needs to be tapped with the right strategy.

Traditional (old) Media needs to be more open and inclusive, they need to provide content that their customers (which isn’t the advertiser) want to view, value them and treat them with respect, why not to start with a treat,  for example, like asking your customer base what they want to see, or how they see this character or that character or that relationship develop, this is the essence of the difference between old and new media ( although the whole idea of being tied to the end-user would be impossible and abhorrent for a really creative soul, Broadcasting is not about true creativity … it is about putting bums on seats ), however if those in Broadcasting are not responsive with a collaborative strategy, traditional media will be about as relevant to the future of content production and delivery, as the current manufacturer of buggy whips are to mass transit.

Old media has to become relevant to the future, they need to stop lamenting about their past glories. For instance the Internet, will not have in the short term, the capacity to deliver product to all, as Television and Cable / Satellite technologies do…I wrote a paper about this and other new growth business models back in 2008, though currently some aspects are changing, conventional broadcasters do have a real positive, and that is unlimited “connections” if you like, the true mass media model, something that under current and short to medium term prediction of capacity, the internet does not – but that gives old media a breather, it is not a reprieve.
 
Broadcasters need to change direction, as I guess I am doing, re-inventing themselves in a new guise, they need to find a different business model – but I guess my point is, just as in the past, the dire predictions from the other old media such as Radio and Cinema has had to do, they had to find a different way to prosper, they will have to specialise, but first of all they need to listen.

When Rupert bought MySpace .. it was a disaster waiting to happen (and I thought so then when I wrote this and this about Fox and old media), MySpace is now floundering because of the stereotypes and the inflexible and unrealistic short term strategies that Fox tried to impose on the organisation – Fox, like many in the industry are just not structured or psychologically equipped to operate in the internet, as they like most conventional media is looking for the quick fix, the magic bullet, when there is none

They need to face and change, not only change to their structure and the organisation, but more importantly to their old viewpoints, a true change of culture is needed … do get with it, please remember what century you are in ( I am saying that a lot lately ),  your consumers do not want what you think is best or spin, they want respect and to be valued, especially the future generation s –  the up and coming new consumers, including my sons ‘Y” generation  … respect them, ask them what they want and listen and that will help you mold your future.

There is so much more to this .. but finding someone who will even listen, and is open to the inevitable changes needed, that will make them a force in the future is almost impossible to communicate to those who can make the change – now that is irony.

I don’t really want to be the one to say I told you so when it all crumbles and the jackals are there looking to the future picking over the remains of the carcass of old media.

Thoughts anyone –  or send me an Email

Telstra and the NBN

Research , tells us that the sale of Telecom Australia which was established in 1975 (to eventually become Telstra) had been an issue of public policy debate for well over a decade. It was talked about in the late 1980s and early 1990s as the Hawke Labor Government implemented a micro-economic reform agenda that included the privatisation of a number of Commonwealth assets including AUSSAT, the Commonwealth Bank, Australian Airlines, the Commonwealth airports, the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) and Qantas. Labor generally opposed any sell-off of Telstra, but did consider the splitting of Telstra on a number of occasions

From the attached link here we can see that the Australian Senate has passed the legislation to split Telstra into a retail and wholesale (network assets) parts, Telstra, the monopolistic legacy provider of all Telecommunications infrastructure in Australia.

To me this whole situation is moot.

The Australian Government sold Telstra when it went private under a former Australian Government, and the government was paid for this assets and the remainder of this , though there is not that is left (approx 10%) is owned by the  Future Fund a government entity which was established in 2006, basically to meet the long term commitments of Public sector Superannuation payments…. see here.

My point is that we are using some of the same money that went into the coffers which we ere paid when Telstra went Private to exchange the Privately owned monopoly that was Telstra for another monopoly which is the National Broadband Network … the only difference being that this one is a government monopoly.

In a few years when the Government has spent tens of billions of our dollars on the NBN and its implementation, they will probably privatise it. Then essentially we will be back where we are now, with a Private enterprise monopoly –  funny does anyone else see something here that looks like Telstra, feels like Telstra and smells like Telstra  –  ah… then its Telstra by another name.

Surely it would have been cheaper just to buy back Telstra, just wait a while, until its shares lose more value they will be giving them away with your breakfast cereal.

Or perhaps they didn’t want the aggravation of trying to institute the massive structural and cultural changes that would be necessary for Telstra to change from the former monopolistic anachronism into a relevant, sustainable, transparent, accountable customer focused organisation, in short into a viable business model … Wow !! No wonder they are going for an alternative, actually I agree, it seems to be an almost impossible task.

For this to actually happen would perhaps require the board of Telstra instituting (and paying for) the changes, they would have to care and give a dam, a necessarily focused team would have to be imposed on Telstra –  independent of the operational structure, and finally the will and commitment to spend many billions of dollars over perhaps 7– 10+ years.  Then if successful, Telstra might have a possibility of resurrecting a worthwhile business model … this is part of what I do …. I am so aware of the enormity of the task. However there is no choice, Telstra has to be rebuilt from a organisational, structural and most important a cultural point of view, otherwise it will be as relevant to the future of communications technology as is the current manufacturer of buggy whips. Personally I see much of Telstra’s problem is a lack of a coherent vision, including the active involvement of all stakeholders, until this happens Telstra will not be relevant and competitive – long term.

Such transformations are possible, I once had hopes that the culture of the ANZ Bank which I considered such a success story, however my previous article about Green-washing here – has shown me, that the changes appear to be only skin deep, the culture has not appeared to change as I had hoped… greed is still greed – a sustainable accountable culture does not seem to have taken … very sad.

Well back to the article, I foresee a long term career here, as after working on Telstra for about 10 years a few short years later (or even sooner) we would have to do it all over again, to refocus and change the culture of the NBN after it goes back to private ownership …. so I could move from Telstra to the NBN … to institute similar organisational and culture changes …. then I could retire and write about the experience … but what an experience it would be.

Does anyone else see a cycle here…. ?  The real problem is that these decisions are not driven by anything other than incompetence, short term strategy, expedience, and ego –  after all,  they are politicians.  Could it be that the Labor Party is trying to correct the fact that Telstra was privatised in the first place ?

Essentially the problem is that nobody learns from the past, they always think this time it will be different …. without a underlying commitment to an ethical and sustainable culture as the basis for the paradigm, our egos, will screw it up … do you think it is possible for us to put aside our egos and actually work together  … pretty please ?

Limits to Growth

Why are we here? And how did we get here… I think you will find that is the question that people should be asking now, and will be asking more and more over the coming years.

Let us look at history just for a while, something which we almost never do, there have been Oh so many instances which we can point to where we as a species, did not learn from the past, and there are two culprits for this beside arrogance and all of the platitudes, like “it can’t happen to me”, “Think positive”, “it will all work out” … this position we are in for one reason, the resources of the planet are finite, the call and demand for those resources by the ever increasing population is causing the very scarcity of the resources to finally be brought into focus… the old scarcity principle is well and truly alive, the trouble is this time it really is real.

Why are we surprised with this… since the Club of Rome was formed in 1968 and with their first major publication in 1972 was The Limits to Growth – the Club of Rome, seems to have as its charter .. “to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public.”

The original report, examines fives variables which are: world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion.

An update to the original report came out after 20 years, and another after 30 years (published in 2004). Another is expected in the short term, the 40 year report.

In 2008 Graham Turner at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia published a paper called “A Comparison of `The Limits to Growth` with Thirty Years of Reality”. It examined the past thirty years of reality with the predictions made in 1972 and found that changes in industrial production, food production and pollution are all in line with the book’s predictions of economic and societal collapse in the 21st century.

There is huge controversy about some of the claims made in the books, however in essence it sheds light on a simple fact, that resources are finite and are therefore limited. This is so important when we look at non-sustainable energy resources such as Petroleum based products (that currently underlies our entire way of living), rather than using sustainable resources for all our product needs. This of course gets me to another issue, we need an alternative to petroleum products, not to convert basically many food based crops, such as corn etc, as a base for maintaining the status quo and further polluting the atmosphere, we need dramatic research into a sustainable ways to produce hydrogen, as well as any other form of sustainable ways to produce, portable and peak load electrical energy (the somewhat mythical cold fusion comes to mind), some positive early work in many areas is already evident – much more emphasis on this work needs to be shown.

If we cannot find a sustainable energy source, what do u think will happen to the civilisation as we know it.. as one of the biggest problems with a global market, is how do you ship products from one point to another when there are no oil products to power the ships, road transport, farming machinery and of course airlines. It seems on the outside looking in , countries should be looking to provide incentives to their local industries to at least make them self sustaining in the essentials of life, food, clean water, and shelter – and being communal animals.. a community.

Any thoughts…?