Tony Robbins Never judge a book by it’s cover, or in Tony Robbin’s case, by his cheesy motivational adverts.

I recently came across TEDTalks, an excellent thought leader conference run out of sunny California.  I saw Tony Robbins on there and thought “what the heck?”

I have to admit it, but he’s a great speaker, and I thoroughly enjoyed his TEDTalk.  I’ll definately be checking in for some more “Mr Motivation”.

Go on, try something new.  You never know.

Going from Good to Great

February 26, 2007

Good to GreatI’ve just finished reading Jim Collins’ Good to Great.

It’s one of those reads that as you go through, you just keep nodding your head in agreement.  There’s nothing in there that is revolutionary, but there are indeed some surprises you’d never have thought of (I’m not gonna spoil them – buy the book!)

What’s good about this book is that it is based on (almost) hard evidence.  It’s not just one person’s opinion – it is the findings of some pretty darn intensive research.

There are a number of key concepts that Jim explains.  He explains them much better than me, but here’s my quick recap:

  • Level 5 leadership.   Show a bit of humility.  Level 5 leaders never seem to take the credit, but they always accept blame.  They are people first and foremost.  They give.  They care.
  • First who.   Get the right people on the bus, then put them in the right places.  You won’t need to manage half as much (if at all) if you’ve done this right.  We all know what happens when you get the wrong person onboard.
  • Confront the brutal facts.  Keep plugging away at your goals, but don’t be afraid to confront the brutal facts that may fundamentally affect your business.
  • The hedgehog concept.  This was my favourite.  Find out what you are deeply passionate about, find out what you can be the best in the world at, and work out what the econommic driver is that brings in the money.  Where these three circles meet – do it!
  • Culture of discipline. Stay focussed on what you are doing, and make it consistent with the Hedgehog concept.  Give people responsibility.  Employ staff that care, and don’t see it as “just a job”.
  • Technology accelerators.  In IT, we’ve all heard that “IT should be enabler.”   I guess Jim is saying a similar thing here.  It’s what you do with it that counts.
  • The flywheel.  Just take it one step at a time.  Don’t go making massive change every strategy session.  Just keep on going, keep on tweaking, building up that momentum.   It just sometimes takes time to get going.  But, boy, once you do..
  • Preserve the core and stimulate progress.  Stay true to your beliefs.  Unerringly.  Set yourself some BHAGS! (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).  Kill off, or change, the sacred cows.

The book provides real-life evidence of great companies as opposed to good.  OK, so these companies they research are massive, but the principles are largely the same.  I got a lot out of it.

Jim has a great website with a truckload of resources.

A Real Photosearch

February 25, 2007

Polar Rose

Wow!  PolarRose looks cool.

I was browsing the Museum of Modern Betas the other day and came across this.  Brilliant.  Visual face recognition for the web!

Bring it on…

Web Two Point Xero

February 21, 2007

Rumour on the street is that Xero aren’t far off a formal launch.  I hope that it will be a great showpiece as to what Kiwi’s can bring to the world.

Xero is a SaaS accounting application.  Except you know it’s going to be more than that.  You know you’re gonna get something a little special when Rod is involved.   Sure, you can get other accounting SaaS apps, but none of them are really “Web2.0” and harness the collective intelligence held within these systems.  You know what will be in an accounting SaaS application.  But what will be in an accounting web2.0 application?

Imagine what you could do:

  • benchmark your costs against other similar companies
  • share cost saving tips
  • share tax saving tips
  • share corporate goals and tips towards achieving those goals
  • collective buying
  • social tagging
  • cross payment between customers

I’m really excited to see what Xero will bring.  There’s not many web 2.0 apps out there that have penetrated the enterprise – but times are a’ changing.

Let this be the first wave of many.

macbookAnother day. Another toy.

My wonderful wife loves our her iMac so much I never get a chance to use it. So I took another plunge and bought myself a shiny white Macbook. No fighting now!

I distinctly remember when I first bought our iMac that I wondered where the “right click” was on the buttonless mouse. Eventually, you work out that the mighty mouse actually does have two buttons (and some more for good measure).

So faced with my new Macbook, I had to work out how the hell to do a “right click” on the touchpad. I knew Apple would have a sensible solution to this, and did not want to cheat by looking it up on the help or the internet. But, as usual, the solution was breathtakingly simple.

Here’s how you do a right click: place two fingers on the touchpad, and click.

Here’s how you scroll: place two fingers on the touchpad, and drag them.

Bloody brilliant – it makes you laugh out loud.

And this two finger thing, it’s just a taste of things to come with the mega-patented multitouch technology we’re gonna see in the iPhone.

Signing off, with two jubilant fingers,

Unashamed Mac Fanboy

Teqlo. Mashups with no code?

February 19, 2007


Ok, so Teqlo is now in open beta.  It’s a “make-a-mashup” platform requiring no coding whatsoever.

It’s a really neat concept, but I can’t help thinking it’s like those “make your own computer game” programs that came out all those years ago for the Vic 20, Commodore 64 and Amiga (Yes, I was a Commodore FanBoy!).  Fun, but you couldn’t really build that killer game.

I found Teqlo way too geeky – it’s even more geeky than Yahoo Pipes, which is beginning to grow on me (and that I still find buggy).    In addition, the widgets on offer still appear to be the usual suspects – eBay, Google Maps, etc.  Just like with Yahoo Pipes, you are still largely restricted by the content and APIs on offer.

It’s a great start though, but a way to go yet.

Hopefully, more and more enterprises will start opening up their data through RSS and other APIs.   That’ll be fun then.

RSS Half Feeds Pizza Me Off

February 18, 2007


I noticed that a couple of sites I regularly check out have finally moved towards FULL RSS feeds ( and AUBlog). About bloody time as well. Having to click to access a full article (and wait for my browser to fire up and page to render) is just outright annoying. I don’t know about others out there, but I generally take my reading effort elsewhere.

“Oh, but you won’t access our website if we provide full feeds”, you hear the ad grabbing swines whinge.

“Well put ads in your feeds”, says Mr Frustrated! “Just make it easy for me. I like your content but don’t scare me away. Your competitor is just a click away.”


Keeping your iPod yours

February 17, 2007

A colleague and I were talking about our shiny new(ish) iPods the other day. We got onto the subject of DRM, and copying music in general.
Both of us discovered that we had almost no copied music on our iPods!

Now it’s really easy to copy the whole of your friends music library and add another 10,000 songs to your iPod collection. But “collection” is the operative word here.  Yes, it’s free (albeit theft), but it is simply not part of your collection.

I currently have 4454 songs in my personal collection, and when popping my iPod on shuffle, I can recognise each and every song.  That’s because its my music, my taste, my collection.  And one which is valuable to me because I’ve forked out countless money for it over the years.  I enjoy it more, too.

I think that’s why my colleague and I have almost no copied music on our iPods.  I’d stick my neck out here and go as far as saying that all true music lovers are the same.

Yahoo Pipes!

February 9, 2007

Yahoo Pipes recently launched in a blaze of glory.  OK, they sprung a big leak on the first day and needed to “call the plumbers”, but eventually they got it back up.

It’s a kind of RSS aggregator/filter/mashup tool, with the added benefit you can share your pipes.  Personally speaking, I think it’s a bit of a geeky tool and a step too far for Joe Public.  But for those willing to persevere you can build up some pretty powerful piping.

It’s all kind of dependent upon RSS feeds themselves though.

Let’s face it, the vast majority of RSS either comprises news or blog postings – meaning that it’ll be used mainly as a news aggregator and filter.  When people truly start harnessing the potential of RSS to distribute data as well as news, that’s when the fun will really start.  Someone’s already done an eBay price watch pipe – using eBay’s RSS API.  There’s an apartment search on there, using Craiglist’s RSS API and Yahoo Maps API.   So why can’t stock markets have RSS feeds of latest market prices (I know one that does)?  Why aren’t more job sites providing customised search RSS (thank you Seek)?  Gmail has an RSS feed – why none of the others?  TradeMe RSS feeds on “My Favorite Searches”?

Once we start seeing more “data” over RSS than just “news”, then I think Yahoo Pipes really will start blowing.

Are there any “out there” uses of RSS you’ve seen out there?


February 9, 2007

MacAdsI love the ads to GetAMac.  So, so true.  They’re all up on the Apple site – all twenty odd of them.   There’s six UK ads as well.  Brilliant.

My particular favorite is the Vista security one.

Do want to allow that?  Yes or No?