Thursday, September 29, 2005

Business Futurist Frank Feather

John Bishop linked to this article in his latest newsletter. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds interesting. The future is always interesting! And to confirm it's not just me interested, I was at a marketing conference Monday and Tuesday of this week talking with others about the big F word - the future - and what it's likely to look at.

One thing's for sure, the rate of change will only get faster.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Great Public Speaking

Great Public Speaking is a great blog! I've been a subscriber to Tom Antion's email newsletter for years, but often didn't have time or inclination to look at his newsletter.

My recent appearances at seminars (including one tomorrow!) persuaded me I need some help in the whole public speaking area, so I looked closely at his latest issue. Thankfully, he has a blog!

Ah, blogs, how wonderful they are? Why? Because (mostly) they have bite-sized bits of information. And that's what most people need, most of the time. Especially people like me, with very diverse information needs. I don't want (or don't think I want) a whole homily on one subject, I want bites of info on 12 different subjects.

So anyway, it's a great blog. Go there and get some neat little nuggets if you're at all interested in public speaking. My favourite post? Ty Boyd's Public Speaking Tip on ENERGY for Tuesday, September 13.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Zealand Herald - Kiwi ad man gives advice to Pentagon - Thursday 22, September 2005 00:15.00 AM - National News

New Zealand Herald - Kiwi ad man gives advice to Pentagon - Thursday 22, September 2005 00:15.00 AM - National News

"A Fight for a Better World". I like it. Much better than "War on Terror". Emphasise the positive, what you're fighting for, rather than against.

Mind you, a "Better World" is just as subjective as "Terrorism". But there ya go. In fact I'm about to start reading a book that may balance up my view on the whole "War on Terror" thing... The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror by Natan Sharansky.

Sharansky's a former political prisoner in the USSR, and now a passionate Zionist in Israel. But it's really interesting what I've read in my "sneak reads" ... he met a Palestinian who was campaigning not so much for a Palestinian homeland but for democracy in Palestine, and found that these two diametrically opposed people (Sharansky and the Palestinian) agreed on this key point. Anyway, I'd best read the whole book before reviewing it.

Coming back to the article... Gotta love Kevin Roberts - he was a great inspiration in my last year of high school. Then he was head of Pepsi in New Zealand and he used his position to introduce some of us students to the world of business. He just lives and breathes passion. Great guy.

Enough sycophantic ravings for now! Catch you next post.

Virtual Handshake/ Character

If you're not signed up with Ryze yet, I heartily recommend it. It's a business networking site, and not one that I've put to full use yet, but the scant participation I have had in two discussion fora has been quite helpful, even if just to say I was discussing business with colleagues in India and the USA.

On Ryze there's a group called Virtual Handshake, based on the book of the same name.

Today I spotted a neat post on the topic of character:

"Character must be earned. It is not rewarded or taken lightly. One's whole being is affected by the quality of their character. It is, after all, how people will see and respond to your words and actions that will determine what "type" of person you are perceived as being.

Funny how we have a way of "knowing" when someone is of good or bad character. Character is not something you can touch but you can feel it, you can't really see it but you know the signs, you can't hear it but you get the verbal signals. Somewhat like the wind, you know it's there because you know.

In this Forum (Ryze) and in life....character can make or break your personal and business success. People can tell what your real motivation is by summing all of the above signals together. i.e. if you're in it only for the money, they'll pick up on this and back off. Conversely, if you are sincere and in it to help them better their situation and meet their goals they're willing to work with you at all levels."

What's really interesting to read is the replies to this post and the wonderful variety of perspectives that the group brings.

Thanks to John Veitch for pointing this post out, on the Virtual Handshake NZ Yahoogroup.

Getting back to the post about character, it made me think: some people distrust dealing with people over the internet because it offers anonymity and prevents you from really knowing someone.

While that's true, it's also true that the internet allows you to know a person better than ever, if that person keeps a blog, participates in fora (okay, forums, but that grammar bugs me!) like Ryze and LinkedIn, and has an informative website.

LinkedIn even lets you offer endorsements for people you've worked with. And I've noticed on some blogs (like Scobleizer) a map showing where the blogger is, right now. Talk about always-on! If you want, anonymity can disappear.

So what am I saying? Let's sum up:

* Get yourself on Ryze and join the Virtual Handshake network
* If you're in New Zealand, join the Virtual Handshake NZ Yahoogroup
* The internet can offer either anonymity or transparency. My pick is that transparency will win out, and people who choose to be shady will find it hard to do business, as their customers favour companies and individuals who are above board.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New blogroll

I've just discovered blogrolling, so you'll see a much longer list of links along the right hand side of this blog. These are the ones I tend to read more often, and skewed towards the interests of people who would likely read a blog about leadership.

Happy reading!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Creating Passionate Users: The Smackdown Learning Model

Creating Passionate Users: The Smackdown Learning Model

This resonates with me and the way I learn. Some pretty good stuff about communicating in a way that cooperates with the brain on this blog. Some of it dovetails a little bit with the storytelling and creative writing stuff I'm studying right now.

Thanks to B2Blog (one of my regular reads) for posting the link to Creating Passionate Users.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Roy Williams' 40-year cycle

Intriguing words from Roy H Williams' Monday Morning Memo today:

We Baby Boomers had beautiful dreams back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but we didn't do much about them. It was enough back in those days just to "Visualize World Peace" and sing wistfully about a brighter tomorrow. Remember John Lennon's song, Imagine?

Imagine no possessions.
I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

But dreaming didn't change the world. We don't all live in a yellow submarine.

Those who have heard me explain Society's 40-year Pendulum will recall my conviction that we're in the third year of a new generational cycle that will be remembered for its small-but-effective actions rather than its grand-but-impotent dreams. This new worldview is clearly communicated in the recent movie, Batman Begins, when Bruce Wayne's childhood friend says to him, "It's not who you are inside, but what you do that defines you."

Monday, September 05, 2005

Review: The Last Samurai

At last! I fulfilled another patriotic duty by seeing another film that was made in New Zealand!

The Last Samurai is the kind of story we don't get a lot of these days - an unashamedly romantic, epic piece.

What's most unusual is the attitude toward war shown in this film. It doesn't glorify it, but it does distinguish between fighting with honour (the old Samurai way) and fighting for greed and cowardice (the imperial soldiers mowing down Samurai with a Gatling gun ... a horrifying, wonderfully done scene).

Perhaps the best message from the whole film was the message inscribed on the sword given to Tom Cruise's character, Algren:

"I belong to someone who combines the old ways with the new."

(Or something like that - it sounded much more profound on screen!)

And that's the heart of the film. Soulless, tortured Algren comes to fight against the Samurai, who are standing in the way of democracy and progress. He discovers true peace and in return, without really intending to, shows the Samurai leader that while a man may not be able to change his own destiny, he can sure try.

As you watch this, look at the journeys taken by the Last Samurai's two main characters. It's a well-crafted movie, so believe me, as they go through their journey, you'll be coming along for the ride!

Review: Sun After Dark by Pico Iyer

Time magazine's William Boyd says, "Pico Iyer is among the finest travel writers of his generation."

I'd have to agree. Not that I've combed the breadth and depth of 'travel writing', but I have just loved Sun After Dark : Flights into the Foreign, Pico Iyer's latest book.

I got it expecting vivid descriptions of exotic locales, and that I got, but more than that, Sun After Dark is an inner journey as well. I should say a series of journeys, as the book includes pieces from the mid-90s through to 2002, but in reality it's a unity: seeing the world through the eyes of Pico Iyer.

Paradoxically, learning of a place that I'm seeing very consciously through the eyes, perceptions, memories of someone else, actually helps me understand that place more. Perhaps a bit like Being John Malkovich? Perhaps not quite, but surprisingly similar.

Iyer takes you to deserted Yemen, magic (in both ways) Bali, Cambodia's ancient capital of Angkor, and also introduces you to people: Leonard Cohen, now living with Buddhist monks in California; and the Dalai Lama - the rock star spiritual leader whose quest to free his country fades further in the background as the world demands answers to peace and happiness from him.

In one remarkable chapter, Iyer also discusses the country that never existed until half a century ago - the land of jetlag.

Iyer's writing is delightfully imperfect - he tends to use long ellipses in the middle of short sentences - and conversational.

Want to go places? Start with Sun After Dark : Flights into the Foreign. I can't remember the last book I read that left me with such an urge to simply be myself.