Australia 2020 sumissions close 5pm today

While there’s probably a thousand things I should be doing for my little business, at least part of today will focus on the Australia 2020 Summit because submissions close at 5pm today, AEST.

I find the process odd. While I well understand the need to prevent the summit delegates being overwhelmed, there’s a limit of 500 words on each submission — but also a ban on photographs and other images. Sometimes a diagram could explain things much more effectively, but no this time.

My main challenge, though, is going to be coming up with one clear message for my 500 words. There’s so many things which could be said…

My first posts at Topic 9

I’ve started posting things over at Topic 9, the website I set up for my contributions to the Australia 2020 Summit and beyond. Illness prevented me going to BarCampSydney 3 on the weekend, so the question What can we do here? is still open. I’ve also posted a list of the delegates to the governance topic, and a summary of the starter questions in the topic area’s official background paper.

[Update 17 February 2010: The website at has been killed. For the moment, I’ve linked to the pages at the Internet Archive.]

Australia 2020 rejection letter finally arrives

Thumbnail image of Australia 2020 Summit rejection letter

This morning I finally received a letter (pictured) telling me that I hadn’t been selected for the Australia 2020 Summit. Gosh. I’d already figured that out from not being on the published lists of those who were going.

Apart from the rather late arrival of the news and the traditional passive-voice bureaucratic writing style, there’s two interesting points about this letter.

  1. I left the “title” field of the nomination form blank, since I don’t use them. I think titles like “Mr”, “Miss”, “Mrs”, “Ms” etc are an archaic way of labelling people. Nevertheless they felt compelled to use “Mr/s”, even though I had filled in the gender field.
  2. The official website said that people who applied via email, like me, would receive an email reply. They can’t even follow their own published procedure.

I really am trying to find good-news stories about the Summit, I really am…

The problem with changing what you do…

… is that if you want to do a New Thing, you have to choose an Old Thing to stop doing. Otherwise you run out of hours in the day. And that doesn’t work.

I’ve written before how I’m starting a business called Skank Media, and the new Topic 9 website is the first project out of the starting gate. Certainly since the beginning of this year I’ve been spending more time writing too: 133 posts in January 2008 compared with just 16 a year before. I’ve spent more time in dialogues online too, re-establishing links with my community.

What’s the Old Thing that’s stopped?

I’ve been getting less sleep, certainly. And less exercise. But I’ve also been doing less work for my “old” business, Prussia.Net — and therein lies a problem. Prussia.Net is what generates the income.


Yes, cashflows are down. And because I wanted to change Prussia.Net itself, that change process takes more time of its own too. Some client projects are running terribly late. I even lost a wonderful long-term client a few weeks ago because I couldn’t dedicate enough time to their change process.

Big Oops.

So for me, today’s the day I start sorting out that chronological challenge. Here’s how I’ll proceed…

Continue reading “The problem with changing what you do…”

Topic 9 website finally launched!

I’ve finally launched the website for my adventures to the Australia 2020 Summit and beyond: Topic 9 at

It’s pretty sparse to begin with, and I’m not quite sure exactly what I’ll be doing there — so suggestions are more than welcome. Some thoughts so far are:

  • Gathering links to everyone else’s writing about this topic area for the Summit.
  • Articles on people or ideas on how government could work in the future.
  • Interviews with the delegates before they hit Canberra.
  • Act as a central point of contact for whatever media coverage we can generate out of the summit, whether I go or not.

I certainly need to spice up the design a bit. I’ve kept the Tarski theme as used on this website and Skank Media for consistency, but it needs a tad more differentiation. soon, my precious ones, soon…

Any other ideas?

[Update 17 February 2010: The website at has been killed. For the moment, I’ve linked to the pages at the Internet Archive.]