"For your tomorrow, we gave our today"

Shrine of Remembrance Family Explorer Trail picture

Update 2014:
While the 2013 Holiday program has ended, there are other Shrine activities on.  See here for details.


Is the quotation which springs to my mind when I visit the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance.  As school holidays are nearly upon us, The Shrine of Remembrance reminds me that they are running a school holiday program.

Spring into Anzac School Holiday Program- Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne

Spring into the spirit of Anzac and learn about Australian military history with the Shrine’s new Family Trail, full of educational and inspiring activities for families to do together.

Explore the Shrine’s building, gardens and memorials, discover the wartime jobs for men and women, and find out about the role fulfilled by animals during times of conflict. Families will have the opportunity to participate in a short commemorative ceremony featuring the Ray of Light.

All families who complete the spring school holiday program will receive a goody bag, Anzac biscuits and entry into a prize draw to win a $500 RACV Resorts voucher.

The Shrine of Remembrance would like to acknowledge the support of the RACV as competition sponsor for the spring school holiday program.

When:  Daily, Saturday 21 September – Sunday 6 October 2013, 10am – 4pm

Where: Shrine of Remembrance Visitor Centre.

Cost: Free, donations welcome.

Program length: 45-60 minutes

Suitable for: Ages 6-12

For more information : What’s on at The Shrine

Ball juggling

Sheepie Back in October 2006, one of the CSC Australia sales reps rocks up to my desk
“That price quote Wayne gave us for support 4 different versions of SheepBotherer, is unacceptable, the customer won’t wear it AND I want you to change it!”

Who’s doing the work?
“Ah, Wayne’s team.”

Wayne has a fair idea of the cost to do it, his team has been doing that type work for the last year.
“Ah, but the customer thinks it’s too expensive”

Perhaps the customer needs to realise that juggling 4 balls is more difficult than one ball.

Now go away.

It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled, or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat, and dust, and n blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt

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Newsflash: Steve Riley has left the building!

Sheer bloody madness.  First Jesper leaves, now Steve has been re-structured out of a job.  First heard Steve (and Jesper) speak at TechEd 2005 in Brisbane.  I think the talk was “SEC301 – Common security screw-ups we have known and seen.”  Best darn security presentation I’ve ever sat though.  Was worth it for that presentation alone.  From memory, it wasn’t that widely attended either.  People don’t know what they missed, or are going to miss now that Steve is gone.


Friends, as a part of Microsoft’s second round of restructuring, my position was eliminated yesterday and my employment with Microsoft has ended. While there were many rewards that came from my job, the most satisfying element was knowing that our time spent together helped improve everyone—whether at conferences or through this blog, I’ve learned as much from you as you’ve learned from me …
Steve Riley Microsoft Blog: Good bye, and good luck.

Steve’s new blog is here.  All the best for the future Steve.
Update 18/10/2011: Blog gone.  LinkedIn link here.

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Performance Management, the one where we pay lip service to the concept.

The GPARS Performance Cycle At my last employer, there was a focus on “Performance Management”.  I always felt, even as a team leader, that we paid lip service to the whole process.
eg.  we were going though the motions.

Performance Management has many goals.  The primarily one is to ensure that the team is working towards/contributing to the objectives of the business.  The credibility of such objectives would be shot by the employer producing the objectives 6 months into the business year.

It was also shot like a lame duck, when one of our Human Relations people, was giving us a update on the Performance Management programme.  A couple of chaps were discussing a point which was raised by the HR person.

SHUT UP, I’m giving a presentation

bellows the HR person.

I can’t remember the substance of the programme update, but all the attendees remember “Freida Nurk” as the HR person who told people to shut up.

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Lessons from Scoble – why PodTech failed.

I used to think Robert Scoble SUCKED.  I found his work at Microsoft Channel 9 sucked because it was all Microsoft-centric.  Gee, what a surprise eh?  Bloke works for Microsoft, so OF COURSE he’s going to be all "Hoo Rah Microsoft".

Glad I’ve changed my mind (ie. I was wrong) and now have him on my RSS feed list.

Saw this over at FriendFeed, and some of Robert’s learnings are worth noting.  DO READ the whole feed to get the context.  My comments in BLUE.

I sure learned a lot about how a company can screw up big time.

Brother, I know how you feel.

Major learning’s for me?

  1. Have a story.
  2. Have everyone on board with that story.
  3. If anyone goes off of that story, make sure they get on board immediately or fire them.

Other things I learned:

  1. Make sure people are judged by the revenues they bring in. Those that bring in revenues should get to run the place. People who don’t bring in revenues should get fewer and fewer responsibilities, not more and more.
  2. Work ONLY for a leader who will make the tough decisions (see above).
  3. Build a place where excellence is expected, allowed, and is enabled.
  4. Fire idiots quickly (didn’t happen at PodTech — even if you count me as one of the idiots).

Working for people incapable of making a decision SUCKS. Learn to manage your boss in that case. Or leave.

Failures of companies often happen around failures at the leadership level.

Particularly when they say one thing, and then demonstrate something else.

We never played together as a team. It is why entrepreneurs need different skills after they start their companies. It is not enough to sell people on a dream. You must coach your way to it too.

I have been thinking about what Furrier said about me not having a full picture of what went wrong. First of all I don’t think he is right, but if he is I will add one last learning: never work in a VP position when those above you don’t share a complete picture of the business with you. Especially when that business is a social media one that was pushing transparency and community values.

Never worked as a VP, but that seems right. If you can’t be informed at the VP level, there is no hope for the company.

FastCompanyTV is making our bosses happy (we’re bringing in more revenue than is being spent) but we’re a private company so we don’t discuss our finances in public. About our audience. I’d argue that I know more about our audience than any TV show does and we’re soon going to require logging into FastCompanyTV to comment. Who is making tough decisions? I have a boss and he has a boss but the community is really our ultimate boss.

Listen to your audience. Your audience is the customer and your bosses.

Some Scoble links:
Scoble’s Google Reader Shared Items
IBM unveils nano-projector based VirtuaHuman with 1TB of memory

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On top of your game

It is truly a pleasure when the phone goes *ring* *ring* and the following occurs:

“I’ve got a problem with a printer freezing.”, says the desktop support tech (Tina Brown).

Have you tried:

  1. reinstalling the printer driver?
  2. reinstalling the print driver?
  3. disabling all the unnecessary network protocols?
  4. locking the printer port to a particular network speed?

The answer back:

“Yes, yes, yes and yes”


I think to myself: ‘How am I supposed to get that FIGJAM coffee mug, if you know all the answers’

Ok, what do you think we should do next then?

“Upgrade the printer firmware, and then upgrade the print driver.”

Well ok, let’s do that.

It’s not that I’m particularly talented at IT, it’s just that I’ve been around long enough to be able to psychically debug most problems.  Except when I meet someone who’s been in the trenches nearly as long as me.

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Good first impressions – receptionists

It’s been my experience in IT, that good first impressions count, and often those first impressions are formed by your reception staff.  If your reception staff seem to directly descended from the SS-Helferin guards from Ravensbrück, then you have problems.

Your reception staff should be:

  • neatly attired
  • well spoken
  • helpful
  • smiling, and optionally:

I can think of only three receptionists in 20 years who meet these criteria.  All the rest, you’re not memorable, that’s for sure.

* Why optionally you ask?  Well in some countries, attractiveness is a form of discrimination.