Talking about freelancing and globalisation in Katoomba

Monday night’s discussion about freelancing in a globalised marketplace went rather well, I think, so I’ve decided to post the full audio.

The event was organised by Publish! Blue Mountains, and as I said previously the title was “Surviving and thriving as a freelancer in a globalised market”.

Radical changes will hit a freelancer’s world over the next two years or so as we move to a globalised marketplace. Firstly there is the rapid rise of internet-enabled outsourcing through sites like Freelancer.com, allowing projects to be advertised globally and often awarded to the lowest bidder who may be in a country where $10 is a decent day’s wage.

Secondly, increasingly sophisticated and intelligent automated systems are now taking over many tasks that historically required human creative input. Just in the writing field alone, we already have US college sports coverage written completely by computer.

Where will this technology (and the marketplace driving it) take us? And what can we creatives do to ensure we’re not replaced by cut-price doppelgangers and robo-scribes?

Naturally things like Freelancer.com and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (named after the original chess-playing robot hoax) and even 99designs came up.

We also drifted into the idea that Australians are the most spoiled people on the planet and we’re too used to our expensive lifestyles. Yet we also recognised that the Australian character provides something that’s worth paying for. And I threw in the idea that we shouldn’t try to imitate Silicon Valley because that was a unique collision of US defence money with Californian counterculture.

Other things mentioned were Seth Godin’s book Linchpin (others recommended him, but truth be told I’m not a fan myself), and my rant about crowdsourcing.

While some of it sounded a tad depressing, I think it ended up being quite positive. Either way, it was fun.

Here’s the full audio, starting off with the voice of Publish! Blue Mountains chairman Steve Krinks.

Play

If you notice anything particularly fascinating while listening, do feel free to add it into the comments.

This audio is ©2012 Stilgherrian, since I recorded it and, heck, I led the discussion. But if you want to use this anywhere do feel free to ask because I’m usually quite generous in such matters.

On Monday evening you can listen to me in Katoomba

This coming Monday 4 June, I’m leading a discussion entitled Surviving and thriving as a freelancer in a globalised market for Publish! Blue Mountains, “a non-profit association of the region’s top creative and publishing professionals”.

The event is subtitled “How to avoid being outsourced to the lowest bidder (or worse still, a robot!)”

Radical changes will hit a freelancer’s world over the next two years or so as we move to a globalised marketplace. Firstly there is the rapid rise of internet-enabled outsourcing through sites like Freelancer.com, allowing projects to be advertised globally and often awarded to the lowest bidder who may be in a country where $10 is a decent day’s wage.

Secondly, increasingly sophisticated and intelligent automated systems are now taking over many tasks that historically required human creative input. Just in the writing field alone, we already have US college sports coverage written completely by computer.

Where will this technology (and the marketplace driving it) take us? And what can we creatives do to ensure we’re not replaced by cut-price doppelgangers and robo-scribes?

The discussion will be held at Clarendon Guesthouse, 68 Lurline St, Katoomba from 5.30 to 7.00pm. My guest speaker slot and the open discussion runs from from 5.45 to 6.30pm, with drinks and networking to follow. It’s free, but you should RSVP to connect@publishbluemountains.com.au. The bar will be open.

Weekly Wrap 55

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. If last week was a bit thin, this week more than made up for it — and as I noted yesterday, I’m knackered.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 93, “Are we missing the bus on Gov 2.0 data?” A popular Sydney Buses app died when Sydney Transit cut off the data feed after just a few weeks, citing lack of server capacity. Developer Ben Hosken is disappointed, but he’s more concerned that developers aren’t making enough use of the government data on offer. I also speak with developers Benno Rice and Adrian Chadd.

Articles

In addition to these, I wrote a fifth piece for ABC’s The Drum, but that hasn’t been published yet. And there’s a couple of pieces I’ve been working on that I must finish and file tomorrow.

Media Appearances

I did five radio spots this week, which is a record I think. Well, except for when I worked full time in radio, obviously.

  • On Tuesday I spoke with Louise Maher on ABC 666 Canberra about the photographic project Everyday Photographs, Extraordinary Journeys, which I inspired. Well, partly inspired.
  • On Thursday morning I spoke with Adelaide radio 1395 FIVEaa about the National Broadband Network. I’ve already posted the audio.
  • A little later on Thursday morning I spoke on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters about the current state of play in information security. I’ve already posted about that.
  • While I was talking live on Radio National, ABC North Coast NSW broadcast an interview with be about Facebook and Social Media that has been pre-recorded. Alas, I don’t have a copy.
  • On Thursday afternoon I spoke with ABC 774 Melbourne about Bitcoin a digital currency. And I’ve posted that audio too.

Corporate Largesse

None. We’ll have to fix that. Dear PR Operatives, my junket calendar for July is empty. You know what to do. I prefer an aisle seat.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: The afternoon sunlight can be fierce at The Grand View, an image taken in The Grand View Hotel, Wentworth Falls, yesterday.]

Fine posts for 2010

Since the list of most popular posts for 2010 was pretty disappointing, here’s my personal selection of eight more timeless posts for this year — listed in chronological order. Happy reading!

As usual, this does not include the material I wrote elsewhere, for Crikey, ZDNet.com.au and ABC Online. That’s all listed on my Media Output page.

  1. 50 to 50 #1: Born in Gawler, the first of what was intended to be a series of 50 posts leading up to my 50th birthday. Well, I got a few done, and you can find them in the 50 to 50 category.
  2. Internet hosting: the cost of support, the first in a series of three articles to help people understand how internet hosting services work from a small business perspective.
  3. Internet hosting: the cost of reliability. The second. Alas, the third article has not yet appeared.
  4. Why I’ve deleted my Facebook account, which is self-explanatory.
  5. Jetstar, Powderfinger to exploit fan’s enthusiasm, one of my rants against the evils of “crowdsourcing” that’s really just unpaid labour.
  6. Homophobic beat-up by Sun-Herald’s Heath Aston. Sometimes the popular stories are also the good ones.
  7. Return of the Hallucinating Goldfish: Help! Another brief piece about my little metaphor for government.
  8. Problematising the discourse: clear communication fail. A stumbled across an unfamiliar word while reading newmatilda.com, and that triggered an essay on choosing appropriate vocabulary for your audience.

You might also like to check out my personal favourites from 2009 and 2008.

Most popular posts of 2010

As the first of my new-year posts, here’s a list of the most-read posts from 2010.

  1. HTC Desire to OS X tethering via USB. Hardly the most general article, but it shoes how you can attract website traffic if you have useful how-to information. Of course this article is irrelevant now that the HTC Desire runs Android 2.2, which has tethering as a built-in function.
  2. Cheap fake tan and fat thighs? Snooki! This is embarrassing, really, but I get traffic to this post because Google Images lists it as one of the first few results for “snooki fat”.
  3. ICT Election Forum: what questions? This one puzzles me. The post just mentions that the pre-election forum was happening, and I asked people to suggest questions. Maybe they’re really looking for something else.
  4. Why I’ve deleted my Facebook account, which is self-explanatory.
  5. Homophobic beat-up by Sun-Herald’s Heath Aston, about a very grubby tabloid attempt to smear a politician.
  6. Senate to re-open Bloggers versus Journalists. When I write about journalism, it usually gets retweeted heavily through media circles. It certainly makes a difference to website traffic.
  7. Jetstar, Powderfinger to exploit fan’s enthusiasm, one of my rants against the evils of “crowdsourcing” that’s really just unpaid labour.
  8. Adam Schwab’s NBN reply, which is Mr Schwab’s response to my article Adam Schwab’s NBN “analysis” arsehattery.
  9. Time to dump 20th Century “leadership”?. The main point is that you can’t just bolt some sort of “government 2.0 module” onto steam-era bureaucracies and magically bring them into the 21st Century.
  10. Selling the NBN: couldn’t you do better?. I have no idea why this, of all the things I’ve written about the National Broadband Network, was one of the most-read. It’s certainly not the best.

Just like last year, many older posts also continued to be popular. Indeed, as I worked down the website traffic report, I filled all ten slots in the non-2010 list while managing to find only two stories from the current year. Yet more proof that the more material you have on your website the more visits you’ll get. Don’t delete your old material, people!

However something that worries me is that so many of the items are listed not because people were reading the posts, but because other internet users had hot-linked to the images — that is, included them on another website — or robots attempting to post spam in the comments.

OK, the Top 10 posts of 2010 that weren’t written in 2010.

  1. 67 Australian SAS captured airbase defended by 1000 (March 2008). I think this one only makes the list because the photo keeps getting embedded in various military geek forums.
  2. Live Blog: Internet censorship forum, which is only in the list because for some reason or other it was hit heavily by the spambots. Who would read a live blog from a forum back in 2008?
  3. Julie, I want to make you a star (in a Samantha Fox kind of way) (September 2007) My ode to Julie Bishop, popular because of its photograph of Samantha Fox.
  4. Hello Kitty, you’re dead, and other surprise products (October 2007) People link to the (fake) photo of the Hello Kitty AK-47. Few seem to realise it’s a joke.
  5. Apple iPhone parodies (January 2007). Another embedded photo, I reckon. I must make sure my traffic reports filter out that stuff.
  6. Spaceport America, designed by Foster+Partners (October 2007). I’m puzzled why this one is on the list. Maybe people linking to the photos again?
  7. Live Blog: Politics & Technology Forum 2009 (February 2009). Another artefact of the spam robits, I think.
  8. The Madness of Corey Worthington Delaney (January 2008), proving once more that the lowest common denominator wins.
  9. My new hero: Hideki Moronuki (January 2008). Whenever the work of Sea Shepherd is in the news, people stumble across this post and discover that — shock horror! — I’m no a fan of that organisation.
  10. Oz soldiers design own recruitment ads (April 2007).

None of that surprises me. The most common searches which brought visitors to my website were “steve irwin jokes”, “stilgherrian”, “heath ledger jokes”, “julia gillard”, “hideki moronuki”, “snooki fat”, “sas”, “fisting”, “snooki is fat” and “hello kitty ak 47”.

You might also like to check out my own selection for what I think were the best posts from 2010, plus the lists for previous years:

Weekly Wrap 24

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets and in the media and so on and so forth.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 65, “Hello cloud, meet cookies. Goodbye privacy”. My interview with Kevin Shaw from iappANZ.
  • A Series of Tubes episode 119. Ruckus Wireless engineer Steve Chung talks 802.11n streaming and I talk about the OECD’s comments on the National Broadband Network, privacy and crowdsourcing.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

They have lovely biscuits at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: A close-up of my eyes, taken by Trinn (‘Pong) Suwannapha, cropped out of the photo he took for my US visa application.]