Feeling flat? Blame Sydney!

Are you feeling as uninspired today as I am? Been like that all week? Perhaps it’s what I’m going to start calling “The Sydney Effect”.

OK, if you’re not in Sydney this won’t work for you. But today it’s not just me feeling flat. So is my office manager. So is The Other Andrew. So are most people I’ve spoken with on the phone — and email volume is definitely down today.

A few years back I was talking with a psychiatrist who’d practised all over the world, including Sydney, London, the US, Europe. He’d noticed that in every city, each day his clients would be in different moods depending on what’d been happening in their life. Every city, that is, except Sydney.

In Sydney, if his first client was depressed, then everyone else that day would be depressed too. If that first client was angry, so was everyone else.

He didn’t know why, he just knew that it happened.

Maybe I should run a test each morning. Phone someone at random, see what mood they’re in, and plan the rest of the day accordingly.

Burnt out sofa, burnt out life

Photograph of burnt-out sofa on Stanmore Road, Enmore

“Want to buy a sofa, going cheap?” Mike, the bloke sitting on the veranda, laughs — amused that the discarded furniture was torched. He’s annoyed they started the fire too close to the fence, though, scorching the paw paw plant that’s just starting to come into fruit.

Somehow the conversation turns to the weather-beaten old homeless guy who was camped out nearby most of this week, but who’s now been moved on. “Keith? Nah, he’s not into money,” Mike tells me. “He’s a millionaire though.” Come again?

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Pricing is just Perception, Lesson 1

Consider the Sony SVRHD700 Digital Video Recorder. This fine-looking piece of kit has dual high-definition digital TV tuners, HDMI output and a 160GB hard drive to store up to 23 hours of HD video. The even finer Sony SVRHD900 is identical — except for a 250GB hard drive, storing 36 hours.

Now a 250GB hard drive costs just $30 more than a 160GB. But by adding $30 of hardware, Sony can charge an extra $200 for the whole machine — $1499 compared with $1299.

Why? Because you get 56% more storage, and 20% more model number, but pay only 15% more. Bargain!