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Night falls over Sydney: click to embiggenMy week Monday 27 May to Sunday 2 June 2013 was rather different from how I first imagined it.

I ended up spending much of it in Sydney, covering the CeBit Cyber Security conference and recording all manner of conversations — the results of the latter to appear over the coming weeks.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday I covered the CeBit Cyber Security conference, so as usual with such things there was food and drink.
  • On Wednesday I had lunch at the Customs House Bar with some folks from Sourcefire, and they paid.
  • On Wednesday night I was a guest of Kaspersky Lab at their dinner with Eugene Kaspersky at Aqua at Milsons Point. There was fine food and drink, a water taxi there and a Cabcharge voucher for the ride back.

The Week Ahead

Since it’s already quite late on Wednesday afternoon, all I’ll say is that I plan to head down to Sydney tomorrow, Thursday, for an interview recording — at least once I’ve got my ZDNet Australia column out of the way — and what happens for the rest of the week and the annoyingly-positioned long weekend will then depend upon circumstances.

And that’s not all I’m annoyed about.

[Photo: Night falls over Sydney, looking towards the CBD from Camperdown on 29 May 2013.]

“The greatest challenge to implementing social media within any organisation is the willingness for that organisation to accept the cultural change that will ultimately occur. And occur dramatically and at a rapid pace. Social media holds a mirror up to an organization from the external customers/clients/constituents that shows an authentic, and sometimes unexpected, face.”Nick Hodge

“I’d add that that face is almost always unexpected.”Mark Pesce (in private conversation)

Topless gnome Gnaomi, standing near the book The State of Africa by Martin Meredith, from the opening to Stilgherrian Live episode 48

Clearly I’m not going to get anything else written until I respond to The Gnome Situation. I’ve been reading the comments and mulling possible responses for days. It’s getting in the way of actual, productive work. So here we go.

No. I will not be removing Gnaomi from my desk.

Discussing an issue as important as rape through the proxy of an anthropomorphised piece of clay seems, to me, a poor tactic. Nor will I compromise the actual or perceived independence of my media output, no matter how worthy the cause.

There’ll probably be people at ActionAid who won’t like or understand that outcome, so here’s the long explanation…

Read the rest of this entry »

CeBIT Australia logo

Here’s my 5-minute presentation from WebForward@CeBIT last week, on the importance of authenticity when using social media for business.

It’s recorded on a Nokia N80 phone by Mike Seyfang so it’s a bit rough, but you’ll get the content. You’ll also hear me swear a few times because, well, that’s apparently what I’m now expected to do.

One key theme is that if businesses try to micro-manage every aspect of the communication between their employees and the rest of the world — denying that there are mistakes, or that some people don’t like them — they’ll end up becoming paranoid psychotics. I hope to expand upon that in due course.

Mike also recorded the presentations from my co-panellists Hugo Ortega, Kate Carruthers and Nick Hodge, but not Laurel Papworth for some reason.

I did see a “proper” video camera on the day, so I think CeBIT will place higher-resolution video online in due course. I’ll let you know if and when that happens.

[Update 22 March 2014: Since the Qik video service will cease to exist on 30 April 2014, I've embedded a YouTube copy of that video instead.]

Cnut of the Week graphic

It being Thursday, and despite the heavy CeBIT-related workload, there will be an episode of Stilgherrian Live tonight. That means nominations are now open for “Cnut of the Week”.

We’re looking for people, organisations or other entities who are futilely trying to hold back the tide of change. It has to be something in the news in the last week, and you have to explain yourself. Nominees have to be not merely doing bad things, but failing to notice or adapt to the change around them.

Everyone who nominates and leaves a valid email address goes into the draw for a free t-shirt of their choice from our friends at King Cnut Ethical Clothing.

Nominations for “Cnut of the Week” are open until 8.30pm Sydney time, and you must nominate at the website for it to count. And also, when we draw the t-shirt winner, you must be watching the program and email us the code word within 5 minutes of your name being announced, otherwise we’ll pick someone else.

(Of course, neither they nor us are as lame and unethical as to share your email address with anyone else. I for one have site policies about this sort of thing, and so do they.)

At 8.30pm you should be watching Nick Hodge‘s program @NickHodge before Stilgherrian Live starts at 9.30pm.

Who do you nominate, and why?

CeBIT Australia logo

Last year I told CeBIT to FOAD after I’d been underwhelmed in 2007. They said thank you, and issued me with a discount code and a media pass. This year they’ve invited me to participate in a panel at WebForward@CeBIT. That means I can offer two random scroungers deserving readers a cheap ticket.

CeBIT is the big IT trade show thingy running 12 to 14 May, with a bunch of conference streams attached. WebForward@CeBIT is one of them.

On 14 May I’ll be joining my colleagues Laurel Papworth, Kate Carruthers, Nick Hodge, Hugo Ortega (who I don’t think I’ve met) and chairman Jye Smith to discuss how you can “Capitalise on Social Media for Business”.

Because I’m a panellist, I get two tickets to the full 2-day conference at a discounted price of $178 + GST instead of the listed $1295 + GST.

If you’d like one of these discounted tickets, make your case by 9am Sydney time on Wednesday 6 May. Explain why you’re deserving, and I’ll pick the two scams reasons I like.

If you miss out, you can still save $160 off the on-site registration price by using the promotional code stilwebca09. You’ll need to insert the code when prompted during on-line registration at www.mycebit.com.au.

Stilgherrian’s links for 03 March 2009 through 07 March 2009, containing traces of nuts:

Did people really think I’d end up brawling with Jason Calacanis at CeBIT last week? Sure, I called him a prick and wrote about the evil cult of the Internet start-up. But he does actually have good points.

I met Mr Calacanis when I found myself recording the 2 Web Crew podcast on my borrowed video camera. Since I was concentrating on getting good audio, the vision’s a bit shaky, but at least you’ll see what it was like during those hectic 16 minutes.

I may disagree with Calacanis’ priorities in life, but that’s hardly unique to him. He does do business transparently, however. He makes sense and calls a spade a spade. And he’s certainly been a successful entrepreneur.

He’s also a tireless promoter — of himself. Now that’s not a bad thing when you’re trying to build hype around a new business. But it’s a character trait that Australians reckon is bad — which is perhaps why we so often fail to market our own innovations.

I was also amused to see the swarm of Calacanis fan-boys and girls buzzing around him “like flies to a dead sheep”, as I said on Twitter. Guys, a little less cult of personality and a little more independent thought will work wonders in your lives. Success is not achieved through frottage with the successful. Unless you’re a hooker.

So, Jason, here is the promised blog post saying that you’re not as much of a prick as I thought you were.

Crikey logo

[Note: This is a slightly edited version of an article I wrote for Crikey this morning. The main difference is a bit more linkage. There's more CeBIT / Transaction 2.0 material to come.]

In 1980 futurist Alvin Toffler wrote The Third Wave. Following the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, he said, we’re now experiencing the Third Wave, or what might be called post-industrial society. Australia’s surfing prowess means nothing here, though. We’re still pissing in the shallows, barely held up by leaking floaties.

Why is tech-literate, well-educated Australia so bad at marketing and profiting from its own innovation, from the fisheye lens to gene shears? We do innovate, you know.

“Australians expect the government to do everything for them — but the government’s clueless,” explained journalist and evangelist Duncan Riley at yesterday’s Transaction 2.0 conference. “The Australia 2020 Summit is a classic example. The Internet was seen as an ‘emerging’ industry. Emerging? We’ve had it for 20 years! In the US alone it employs 7 million people.”

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Next week is packed! How can I get the best value out of CeBIT Sydney and the associated Transaction 2.0 conference, as well as Microsoft’s ReMIX 08? What should I record or broadcast? What should I write about?

CeBIT Sydney logo

CeBIT was always on my agenda. Despite being disappointing last year and despite annoying me with a flood of email, it’s still the biggest IT trade show in Australia. It’s worth going just to see who’s confidently spending money on promotion, if nothing else.

I’ll be touring the trade show floor on Wednesday 21 May. If you want to meet up, let me know. Maybe I should even do a Stilgherrian Live Alpha from the bloggers media room? Whaddyathink?

If you still haven’t organised your free pass, you can register online using my promotion code: stilcs08.

On Thursday 22 May I’ll be at Transaction 2.0, with an interesting set of speakers. Again, it’s a matter of choosing the priorities. Who should I talk to? Should I pick a fight with Jason Calacanis?

ReMIX 08 logo

But I kick off the Geek Week on Tuesday 20 May with ReMIX 08, where Microsoft says I’ll “experience all that is new in Silverlight 2, Expression 2, IE8, Live and a host of other great web technologies… You will also see how local Australian innovators are creating the next generation of engaging websites and unprecedented user experiences for the web.”

Provided they build it with Microsoft’s tools, of course. ;)

That’s unfair. Microsoft is changing. It’ll be interesting to hear what they’re up to.

Now my only challenge is working out how all this fits into one week, while still leaving room to do some billable hours for clients.

CeBIT Australia logo

The irony about the CeBIT email flood is that it makes them look desperate — yet their PR person told me yesterday that at this point, three weeks out from the start, they’ve already got more registrations than they did on opening day last year. So why do the emails keep coming? My guess is that at some point weeks ago, some executive somewhere signed off on a marketing plan, and now everyone’s dutifully following it. How… old-fashioned.

01 May 2008 by Stilgherrian | 6 comments

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