Friday, June 20, 2008

How We Read Online

Some interesting observations here on how we read online text... and how we don't.

Useful from an observational point of view ("Is it so for me too?") as well as a great guide to use when writing for the internet.

Lazy Bastards -- How We Read Online.
By Michael Agger
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008, at 1:00 PM ET

You're probably going to read this.

It's a short paragraph at the top of the page. It's surrounded by white space. It's in small type.

To really get your attention, I should write like this:

* Bulleted list
* Occasional use of bold to prevent skimming
* Short sentence fragments
* Explanatory subheads
* No puns
* Did I mention lists?

What Is This Article About?

For the past month, I've been away from the computer screen. Now I'm back reading on it many hours a day. Which got me thinking: How do we read online?

Read the full article here and find out all the juicy details!

Thinking Of Getting A Business Coach?
Lindy Asimus

Aging Disgracefully? Who Says?

Here's a story that is probably being played over and over in aged care facilities around the world. When does an adult lose the ability to choose with whom they will share a physical and emotional relationship?

We often hear that "children become the parents" as people age and in some ways that can be a useful role to accept. But when does one's attempt to help, just become itself, problematic and controlling, for the benefit of self, not those to whom we seek to protect?

An Affair To Remember

She was 82. He was 95.
They had dementia. They fell in love. And then they started having sex.
By Melinda Henneberger
Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at 1:14 PM ET

Bob's family was horrified at the idea that his relationship with Dorothy might have become sexual. At his age, they wouldn't have thought it possible. But when Bob's son walked in and saw his 95-year-old father in bed with his 82-year-old girlfriend last December, incredulity turned into full-blown panic. "I didn't know where this was going to end," said the manager of the assisted-living facility where Bob and Dorothy lived. "It was pretty volatile."

Because both Bob and Dorothy suffer from dementia, the son assumed that his father didn't fully understand what was going on. And his sputtering cell phone call reporting the scene he'd happened upon would have been funny, the manager said, if the consequences hadn't been so serious. "He was going, 'She had her mouth on my dad's penis! And it's not even clean!' " Bob's son became determined to keep the two apart and asked the facility's staff to ensure that they were never left alone together. Read the full article here

If you're of a certain age and your parents are still alive, there is a good chance that you will already be living with some of the fallout from having aging parents, or will face it in the years to come.

What would you do?

Thinking Of Getting A Business Coach?
Lindy Asimus

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Business Coaching Video

I have an inkling that making videos, were I to start in earnest, might become an addictive thing for me to do. Would it be worthwhile? Hmm... Hard to say, but it is certainly true to say, that it allows a kind of communication level that goes beyond the usual framework that we use in business.

In any case, here is my first effort. Kind of fun, I admit.
Feedback welcome!

Design Your Business. Engineer It To Work video

Social Bookmarking - Easy!

Now this is the kind of video that I love. Simple. Succinct. Sensational!

What Is Social Bookmarking?
Why Would I Want To?
How Would I Do It?
Who Else Might Benefit?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Fresh Food People - What A Joke.

Here's evidence of what we've suspected. Competition in the supermarket sector is more fiction than fact. Competition between Coles and Woolworths may be for market share, but it certainly doesn't translate to competitive pricing for the poor suckers aka Customers. We know that the claims to "fresh food" made by the major supermarkets in Australia is bogus. We know that the death of the small independent fruit and vegetable vendor that has happened over the past 15 years is almost complete and now we get to see what the real game is.

Wipe out the small operator with predatory pricing, then when they are gone, the big players can ratchet up prices to whatever level they like, with impunity. We won't even mention the poor old farmer who is being gutted in the process. This from the Brisbane Sunday Mail this last weekend. (Australia)

Vege price outrage—Food giants under fire for mark-ups of 250 per cent

It's enough to make you cry. Customers at Australia's big supermarket chains are paying through the nose for onions and other winter vegetables…and it seems it has little to do with the weather or fuel prices. Brown onions, which fetch 90 to $1 per kilo at the wholesale markets, were being sold for almost 3 1/2 times that price at some Woolworths stores last week. And potatoes costing $1 per kilo at the markets were on the shelves for $2.98 per kilo at both Woolies and Coles. Carrots were almost double the wholesale price and other winter staples such as broccoli, pumpkin and cauliflower all showed big increases. Carrots wholesaling for $1.20 a kilo were sold for up to $2.25 at Coles, while broccoli at the markets for $1.75 per kilo was priced at $2.28 at both Woolies and Coles. The Sunday Mail (Brisbane), June 15.

Feast Yet Famine

Life is strange. In the midst of all this publicity about world food shortages, this item from the news roundup on Hospitality Magazine in Australia.

Something disturbing and ultimately shameful in this.

Our $6bn food waste bill

Australians are wasting $6bn worth of food a year—enough to feed the entire nation for three weeks. The staggering data from an OECD study into food waste in developed countries emerged as the United Nations and IMF meet in Rome to discuss a looming global food crisis. The Australian figure is an estimate of domestic waste from items bought and not used. It does not include food scraps or restaurant and catering waste. It includes unopened yoghurt and milk cartons, whole chickens and tonnes of plastic sealed meat trays, part of the $96bn Australians spend on food each year. Meanwhile, a separate study found an average household produced 5kg of food waste each week. Sunday Telegraph (Sydney), June 15.

More news items on hospitality here

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Relationships and Online Social Networks. Value?

Much is being written in the various networks and blogoshere on the different social media, so-called businesss social media and how valuable each may be - and indeed if there is any difference at all. I maintain that without social interaction, there can BE no business networking of any substance. Here's an interesting blog from Dosh Dosh on the topic, worth reading.

The strength of lifestreaming services lies in their ability to help you develop persistence in relationships, which itself will enable you to gradually build a network of people around you. These are individuals who’ll provide you with feedback, information, conversation, empathy as well as support for your present or future initiatives/goals.

Lifestreaming makes it easy for a group of people to be informed of your opinions and events in your personal life. It’s like taking up a phone and calling a few hundred people at once. It’s effortless to talk to many people through Twitter/Plurk as well and using these services not only strengthens your existing relationships but broadens the range of people you can know.

When it comes to ROI, we often instinctively know what is most important and hence worth pursuing. We are interested in developing strong relationships with others that share similar interests/goals. Hence, some of us return to these sites again and again.

Read the full blog post here:
Social Networking and Relationships and The Value of Twitter etc

Friday, June 13, 2008

Overwhelm. Nature's Prompt To Get Organized.

Meeting with new clients, it is many times the same story, told in a different way, but comes back to the same elemental position...

The business is doing well, but the place is not well organized and as a result,

things aren't getting done that should be,
things are getting done that shouldn't be,
some things are getting done that we didn't know
some things we thought were getting done aren't and we didn't find out until a customer complained

The upshot of all of this of course, results in a lot of messiness that adds nothing to the smooth running of the business, but does tend to lead to things like missed deadlines, added and unnecessary stress, double handling, errors and ommisions, poor operational management, and of course, lower profit!

There is a reason that overwhelm feels so horrible. It is a sign that your body is trying to tell you to stop and get things in order.

Looking at the long list of "Things To Do" can itself seem overwhelming. Even knowing where to start, prevents many business owners from doing something to address the situation. In reality, it is not nearly so onerous as the task may appear, and that's precisely where someone who is outside the business can help to give you some clearer perspective and guide you through the process, to come out the other side, with a well defined system for all the components of your business and processes documented to ensure that when staff changes are made, your intelligence and knowlege of how things work in the business is maintained and not lost out the door with the departing person.

Do yourself a favour. When you feel those first signs of overwhelm, start thinking of where you can call to get some help. There are no medals for 'soldiering on' and trying to do what you have neither the knowhow nor time, or skills set to do alone.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Clay Shirky - Love, Social Collaboration & The Internet

Clay Shirky vid on life, social networking and love on the internet. I love the story of the Shinto temple. Grandfather's Axe all over again... it's had 3 handles and 4 new heads, but it is the same axe!

Clay Shirky articles

Big love.

Are You Oversharing On Your Blog?

Over on the New York Times, Emily Gould writes a piece about sharing - or Oversharing, as the case may be, when writing blogs and on social networking platforms. It's an interesting topic that she covers in some depth, and raises the issue of where our privacy and right/write to say what we like stands when it involves Other People and what is essentially their business, and perhaps should be their call on what to keep private and what they may be willing to share. Willing to share now... and later down the track when the rosy glow of a love affair may be long cold.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises for me when I first became interested in Myers-Briggs personality typing and joined a group for my own type, was to see where we fell into areas of "likeness" in some ways, but even more so, where the differences showed up. From an NLP perspective, the preferences in the MB are but a limited selection of what we might refer to as meta programs. Just a selection, certainly not all, but some fairly important ones. One of the big differences for me, was the notion of how discreet individuals were, when it came to sharing personal information. Now some things come up in the course of discussions, and they can be quite personal, and yet some people could perfectly well describe what they wanted to say without the gory details, while others seemed incapable or perhaps it was more uninterested, in keeping their intimate details to themselves. Definitely, in some cases, to the point of Too Much Information.

Now of course, we have the issue of identity theft gaining purchase as an issue that needs to be managed, and discretion once again seems to be a useful mode of operation, and yet with the explosion of social media, we have more people than ever able to find out more about people they know (and some they don't know), than ever before. Twitter, Facebook, Business networks like Ryze and Linkedin and the networks that relate to them, means that there has never before been more opportunity to know more about people you may have seen somewhere, or heard of somehow, or are thinking of employing. For those seeking employment, or promoting a business who is not yet aware of how much information about them may be on the internet and just a Google search away, this is likely to come as a surprise!

For me, it comes down to this. Would I say the same thing in company? Fortunately, I am rather comfortable with speaking my mind no matter where I am and in what company. I can live with it if some people don't like my point of view, (or more commonly) don't understand it.

It must be a very sticky situation for those who like to keep different 'faces' for different people in their lives.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Riff: Kmart's Abstinence Pants Maker Says: Yes You Can!

The Riff: Kmart's Abstinence Pants Maker Says: Yes You Can!: "Kmart's Abstinence Pants Maker Says: Yes You Can!

Yes, I said 'abstinence pants.' Kmart in-house designer Piper & Blue has jazzed up this year's summer collection with a pair of sweatpants for teen girls that say 'True Love Waits' in your choice of colored bubble letters. No, there is no corresponding set for boys.

But there is an official Piper & Blue designers' blog that lets you know how you should be thinking about your summer couture. And maybe it's just me, but some of the suggestions seem a little risque for the True Love Waits crowd. 'Top garments like coats and jackets are what an onlooker sees first,' warns the blog. What do they see next? Well, if you wear their 'football jersey,' that would be 'a casual outfit that's super stylish and easily accessible!' Easily accessible? Uh oh. 'These days, you don't need a bank account like Britney's to get Lindsay's look.' You, too, can model your style on two of our culture's pillars of Christian morality. That particular post is entitled, 'Hollywood Glam? Yes You Can!'"