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People Technology

Blogworld 2010 #bwe – My Review

I was a lucky SOB and managed to win myself a full access pass to Blogoworld last week. It was an awesome experience. I have been to many trade shows in the past but nothing like this. And none since I set out on my own last year. I used to go representing my company which is a little different.

I had also never been to a multi-day event, which had parties too.

One thing I have learned about myself over the last year, is that I suck at networking online. I just don’t have the patience for it. I know this may be a bit of a negative being in the online space as there is no better place to meet people who work online than online… But I just don’t like doing it. I don’t like hanging out on Facebook, I don’t like tweeting stuff, I think its weird meeting and connecting with people online.

But hey, that’s just my opinion and personally, I think its a pretty stupid one. I should do more of it. I just feel that the computer is a place of work and learning. When I am on my computer, I am almost always doing one of those things. If I am not doing one of those things, I quickly start to feel uncomfortable and need to get outside, meet some people, do some exercise, do something!

I also know this challenge I have is the opposite of many other bloggers / internet markets who find it awkward to meet and connect with people in person but have no troubles online. I guess its the salesman in me.

So when Blogworld came about, I was like a kid in a candy store. Admittedly, I only went to the full first day, then the clubs afterwards. Even though I didn’t make it to too many events the next couple of days (partly due to the seductive beckoning of the pool, partly due to my hangover), I made it to every party – and after party. I know this was almost the reverse schedule of lots of the attendees who made it to Blogworld. Whichever way you prefer to use your time, you need to make sure you use your time.

I didn’t feel there were too many advanced content courses being taught during the days, but lots of great stuff if you are just getting into new and social media.

The nights were where it was at. I met so many interesting people. Had so much fun. Spammed business cards, collected business cards, pumped my LinkedIn account oh and did I mention the fun?

Whatever the type of person you are, if you work in the internet space I think Blogworld is worth checking out. I will definitely be back there next year if I am on this side of the planet.

So what did I get out of Blogworld (besides the ability to party for a few nights in Vegas?) – contacts. I met people. Lots of interesting people. And its all about who you know right?

Here are some photos including some great content slides from Blogworld:

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People

Bobby Chang from Incase on Socially Responsible Businesses

I got a chance to work with the guys from PathPacific.com in Dublin a while back. We were shooting a video for a product launching in Asia (weird I know). Path Pacific had recently recorded the Dublin Web Summit where Bobby Chang was among one of the many impressive speakers attending. I had never heard of Bobby before, but he is one of the founders of Incase, the company that makes the official cases for Apple products.

He did a great speech on the background of his business, collaboration and building socially responsible businesses. Check it out:

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People

The Importance of Decisions (How a Single Decision Changed my Life)

“Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days…what you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Firstly, apologies for the latent posts… Too busy having fun! A bit of an update, I’ve just landed back in Vancouver where I will be staying for the foreseeable future. I’ve had an amazing time (the best time of my life…) travelling through South East Asia, North America and Europe but I was moving very quickly and found it difficult to find my zone. When travelling, there are so many new and exciting things to see and people to meet, I didn’t want to be spending my time working, or writing about what I was doing. Heck, I even felt that planning my next destination and accommodation was a waste of the valuable time I had in a place. So I’ve decided to settle down in Vancouver and get some work done.

It is interesting the journey that has brought me here. It all started with one key decision: Quitting my day job. I had a very comfortable life – six figure job, nice apartment all that good stuff. But looking back over the last 9 months, and the opportunities I’ve discovered, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been, I’m very happy I made the decision.

Since setting off on my journey, I’ve built a network of online businesses that are netting me a small profit; I’ve become a partner in another business and am at the initial stages of setting up a third business. There is lots of work cut out for me in the future, but I’m excited and think know it’s all going to pay off.

What’s interesting about all of this is that none of it was planned before I made the decision to quit my job. And if these opportunities had arisen before I made the decision (which they wouldn’t have), I may have looked at them negatively or not even given them thought. The initial decision is what sparked the momentum.

So if there is something you’ve been thinking about doing, whether it be starting a new project, asking your girlfriend to marry you or completely changing your life, make a decision and stick to it. Because

“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

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People

My Abstract Timeline

Below is a little about my abstract life to date:

At age 0 I…

  • Was born in Sydney, Australia

At age 6 I…

  • Went to a boarding school in India at the base of the Himalayas

At age 12 I…

  • Was taken around the world by my parents (thanks!) giving me the travel bug. Visited: USA, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and India

At age 13 I…

  • Got my first job (pamphlet delivery)
  • Started my first business (buying bulk candy from the supermarket in the morning and re-selling it at school)

At age 14 I…

  • Was ‘recommended’ by my principal that I should leave school, half way through year 9 due to constant mischief and rebellious acts against authority
  • Got a job at the Pizza Hut Call Centre (I was too young to legally work but lied about my age)

At age 15 I…

  • Went to TAFE (a community college of sorts) and completed my year 10 in 4 months
  • Worked in Data Entry, Desktop Support and whatever else I could find

At age 16 I…

  • Became the youngest Australian to get their CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • Also became a Microsoft Certified Professional
  • Got my first real job in IT
  • Travelled to Hong Kong and Japan

At age 17 I…

  • Returned to TAFE to complete my High School Certificate (HSC)

At age 18 I:

  • Lost my job in IT as my company closed down
  • Worked in a bar, cafe and restaurant
  • Executed my first stock trade

At age 19 I…

  • Graduated from TAFE with my HSC and a mark of 94.95
  • Was accepted into a Bachelor of Commerce at Sydney University (top business degree in Australia)
  • Got a job as an Undergraduate Accountant in a Finance Company
  • Got a job as a part-time Mortgage Broker
  • Got a job as a part-time High School Tutor

At age 21 I…

  • Quit my 3 part-time jobs
  • Got a full-time job as an IT Recruitment Consultant in a Public Firm, youngest consultant ever employed.
  • Switched to part-time Uni

At age 23 I…

  • Made $140,000 for the financial year
  • Purchased my first property
  • Dropped out of University
  • Travelled to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

At age 24 I…

  • Quit my job as a Recruitment Consultant
  • Set off to travel the world: Asia, North America, Europe and counting…
  • Started an e-commerce business
  • Started affiliate marketing
  • Started this blog
At age 25 I…
  • Continued to travel… Mostly Canada and USA
  • Learned to Snowboard
  • Attended numerous conferences in the Internet Marketing Space
  • Grew my Internet Marketing Company
  • Sold my E-commerce Store
At age 26 I…
  • Lived in the Dominican Republic for 8 months, learned to surf
  • Built my internet marketing company significantly revenues, profit, staff
  • Started Vitoto
  • Also traveled to the US, Thailand and Australia
At age 27 I…
  • Moved to San Francisco to work on Vitoto where I currently am

Well, that’s all so far… Feel free to contact me regarding anything I have done or if you are doing something similar and want to network. I am always open!

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People

What Drives People? Money? Passion? Purpose?

Great speech from Dan Pink on what drives people.

Click here if you cant see the video.

Dan Pink – Drive

Takeaways:

– Money is a great driver for repetitive quantifiable activities
– Money is not the best driver for creativity
– People are more inclined to do things because of purpose, mastery and a sense of contribution

It’s interesting to see how many of the successful companies like Google have integrated this work philosophy into their cultures.

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People

Working while Travelling: Distractions and the Zone

I’m on the train out of Edinburgh, a very impressive city to say the least. The medieval town is blessed with exceptional geography making it the perfect location for a castle and line of defence. The history is deep and the streets so charming you can wander for hours and not get bored. I leave this historical town after an interesting morning, very relevant to my personality type which according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator is ENTP.  For those that don’t know, Myers Briggs is the oldest and most used personality type classification index available today. It was developed in WW2 and is used by the military, banks and universities to help determine if people are the right fit for certain tasks and positions. ENTP is the strategist personality type.

One interesting characteristic of my personality type is we are innately disorganised. It’s not that we can’t be organised when needed, it’s just we tend to not be bothered. Instead of spending time organising stuff, we’d prefer to spend it doing stuff. We also have the ability to ignore mess. If something is messy but not directly affecting the task we’re trying to achieve, it won’t affect us emotionally. We don’t notice messy papers lying around our desk but if someone were to come with a bucket of tar and throw it all over our desk and chair that would affect us. When some travel, they travel on a strict itinerary – every stop booked, every sight planned and guide book in hand as they power through their destination of choice. I kinda do the opposite.

Take today for example. I checked out of my hostel at 10am, spent two hours deciding where to go then jumped on a train at 13:06. I missed the bus to London due to a Windows 7 update so decided on Whitby – the home of Captain James Cook (the guy who found Australia). I felt like going somewhere that wasn’t so commercial and a little off the beaten path. I also wanted somewhere I could get some work done.

Working while travelling is seriously hard, it’s hard for a number of reasons but I find the most difficult part is switching your mind between work and play. Everyone is having a good time talking about their adventures it’s difficult to get into the mindset of work. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a ‘digital nomad’ who is just as efficient on the move as when stationary. One of the downfalls of my ENTP personality type is I tend to get wrapped up in having fun. This leads to lots of fun and good times for all but also means some stupid shit happening from time to time, a pushing aside of other responsibilities and inevitable spending a little more cash.  Like yesterday I was supposed to go on a highlands tour at 8am to see the Lochness and Scottish Highlands. I had my alarm set for 7am like a good boy, but after finding myself on a pub crawl, ending with me crawling back into bed at 5am, it didn’t happen… I had an awesome night probably more fun than I would have had on the tour but I lost my deposit and missed out on the experience of the highlands.

This comes back to the working while travelling. It’s not that it’s hard to find a cafe and do some work. It’s hard to get into the mindset of “ok, its work time”. When travelling you find yourself with a few hours here or there. Yes you could pump out the work needed in those little breaks, but with constant interferences getting in the headspace to work is hard.

There is a lot of talk going around the productivity blogsphere about single tasking, removing interferences and total immersion. These topics focus on how you are more efficient when focused on a single task without disruptions. The concept is if you are working on something, say writing and you get distracted from your task, it takes your mind about 15 minutes to get back into that state of focus. This is why multi-tasking is not advised. This happens if your wife knocks on the door and asks you what you want for dinner, an email pops up which you decide to reply to or you go on a pub crawl. Travel is full of distractions like this making it much harder to get into a zone of work. Even if you find yourself with a few hours free here or there. This is where I am jealous of the J’s (the polarity to P on the Myers Briggs). They have everything so ordered and planned. They will plan when things are going to happen and will be mentally prepared to execute them when the time comes. They may miss out on 5am Edinburgh benders and trip changes due to Windows 7 updates, but they probably get more work done and save money in the process.

One of the key elements for me being productive is controlling my environment. Your environment can help to influence emotional state. And creating a productive, single task minded state (let’s call it a zone) will result in high levels of productivity. It also helps you to eliminate distractions and focus on a single task. There are 3 elements important to creating a productive zone:

Physical Location: Put yourself in a location that is conducive to productivity. If you work in sales, working in a sales office with energy around you will help. Internet marketers: A quiet room with access to your computers. Fiction writer: maybe a writer’s cottage in Greece or the Elephant Cafe in Edinburgh (Harry Potter fans?).

Physical Distractions: Set yourself a work schedule and let your distractions know about it. Tell the people in your life that this is your work time and you need it free and free means free. Let them know that a 2 minute disturbance equals more than that in lost productivity. Turn off your internet (or at least disable email if you need the net) for periods of creativity.

Emotional Distractions: These are harder to control. If you could control these on tap, you wouldn’t need the other two above. A simple method to help control emotional distractions is to schedule them for later. Having a fight with a loved one? Got bills you need to sort through? Annoying neighbour keeps throwing rubbish in your yard? Make an entry into your calendar for things like this you need to do.  Even an entry that says “emotional distractions” is enough. This helps if you find yourself thinking about them while trying to work. Instead you can say – its fine, I will think about it tomorrow at 10am in my allotted time.

These are some basic tips to help keep you in a zone of productivity and manage any distractions that life my throw at you.  I’m on my way to create myself a little zone for a few days. I hope you find yours.

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People

Vinay Patankar

Vinay Patankar is the founder of Process Street, and the author of Abstract Living.

You can find out more about Process Street by visiting http://process.st

Vinay Patankar
You can connect with Vinay Patankar on:

Twitter or LinkedIn

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People

The Currency of Social Value

When we say the word currency most think of money, foreign exchange, ice grills or the $ sign in Ke$ha’s name. But currency is simply a medium of exchange. Coins, notes and plastic are just one form.

Time, mobility and authority are a few other forms of currency. But today I want to talk about a currency called social value.

Social value is an interesting concept – most people know it exists but few have quantified or qualified it.

Social value is what gets you into a night club, it’s what lets you dodge a ticket with the police, it’s what attracts a large crowd to your party and it’s what gets you the girl.

Social value is not only useful in social situations it also helps greatly in the world of business.

What is Social Value?

Social value can come in many forms and different people will value different forms. Below are a few:

Offering Positive Emotions by Being:

  • Fun
  • Interesting
  • Engaging
  • Exciting
  • A good listener
  • Empathetic

Offering Physical Stimulation by Having:

  • Contacts
  • Knowledge of interesting places
  • Knowledge of interesting activities

Offering Vicarious Status Through:

  • Fame
  • Power
  • Education
  • Good looks
  • Belonging to a certain ‘class’

By now you probably agree that at least a few of these can bring influence at some level. But notice none of them are material? No yachts, platinum credit cards or diamond rings – things associated with the currency of money.

So what do you do with social value?

Social value can be traded like any other currency. It can be traded for different forms of social value, for time, money, authority etc…

Examples:

If you have certain contacts that can get you into a cool party, you could ‘trade’ access to that party for the time of someone who brings interest and humour to the night.

Or if you have fame or power, you could trade that for time by having others complete menial tasks in exchange for ‘being in your presence’.

How does that Help in Business?

Social value is too big of a topic to break down in a single post but here are two examples of business use.

Situation 1: You want someone’s time

If you want someone’s time (a form of currency), you will need some form of currency to trade. Of course you could forcefully ‘take’ someone’s time by cornering them in a meeting room and chewing their ear off, but more than likely this won’t end productively.

Money will work if you want to buy something and they are providing a good or service. Authority will also work but only with people who report into to you.

But what if you are trying to sell something, gain advice or want free media exposure? Offering social value may be your only option. If you can display to the person you will be funny, interesting and a good listener who will implement the advice given – chances of booking that meeting are higher.

Situation 2: You want someone’s money

I want you to think like a middle manager in a Fortune 500 company. You have a $1 million pa budget, small change for a fortune 500. With your budget you need to purchase goods, say software and office supplies. Both software and office supplies can be obtained through many resellers, all selling the exact same product for very similar if not identical prices. So why would you choose one supplier over another? You’re not even spending your own money.

The answer is: whoever gives the most social value

The salesman who takes you out for drinks and shows you a good time. Who brings you to events and introduces you to new, useful contacts. The salesman who makes you laugh or always has the latest on your favourite sports team. That’s who you’ll buy from.

So what do I do Now?

Social value is something you should always have in mind. Are you taking more from an interaction than you’re giving? If so, you may be pissing someone off.

If you call someone to ask for help understand you’re taking a currency off them (time) and be sure to try and give some form of currency back, either now or in the future. This will ensure a healthy relationship.

What about Friends?

Glad you asked.

The currency ‘exchange’ changes greatly with close friends. Through spending time with someone and building shared experiences the exchange starts happening over longer periods of time, years instead of minutes. This is a good thing don’t worry. Please don’t stop doing favours for your friends because it’s not a fair trade.

That being said, it’s still something to keep in mind. Large inequalities in currency exchange have been the downfall of many relationships.

Pay it Forward

I learned this term the other day from reading Colin Wrights book: Networking Awesomely. Paying it forward is offering value without seeking value in return. If you’re always out giving any form of value (including social), chances are you will receive some back somehow somewhere. Colin goes into depth on this subject talking about how to give value without seeking return but at the same time not being taken advantage of.

This was a brief overview of social value. Social value is used in every relationship from romantic, family, friends & business. It’s used everyday by everybody. It’s not something that one should try and manipulate but understating its value (!) and being aware of how you interact with the world may come in useful down the line.

Have you experienced the value of social value?

Share!

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People

Networking Awesomely Review

The other day I read a book by Colin Wright called Networking Awesomely. Colin lives a truly abstract lifestyle as a location independent professional, moving to a new country every 4 months as he runs his design studio remotely. The country he moves to is decided by the readers on his blog Exile Lifestyle. In this book, Colin talks about the lessons he has learned about networking and meeting new people as he travels the world.

Review

Networking Awesomely is a guide to networking in the new world. It encompasses old school networking strategies, new school technology and a touch of awesomeness. A book perfect for both newcomers and veterans alike Colin philosophises, deconstructs and simplifies networking from every angle. A strong message to rethink the boundaries between your lifestyle, friends, business colleagues and even sexual partners – this is a book not just on networking but on life. For the more experienced you will receive at the very least a number of handy tips to network in common (and some uncommon) situations plus a refresher on many of the important life lessons once learned.

Colin incorporates lifestyle design, social dynamics, the concept of value, frames of reference and more to help build confidence, attractiveness and social skills – turning you into a natural networking machine. But don’t let the big words scare you as Networking Awesomely simplifies the lot making it an easy read for all. With stories, humour and a cheeky attitude it will be tough to put this down once you start. This book wont leave you dreaming about what could be either. Colin delivers many “do it now” tips including advice on fashion, social networking shortcuts, email scripts and business card design to get you networking awesomely right away.

Another interesting aspect to the book is the input from other bloggers. Not only is this empirical evidence of Colin’s ability to network but gives extra spice to the material. You will hear from many new world networkers about their approach, thoughts and successes from networking.

We all (should) know networking delivers exceptional value in all areas of life. A small investment to improve this skill is a no-brainer. It only takes one person to change your life. Buy it now!

You can check out the book here.

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People

Overcoming Failure, Adversity & your Parents by Harry Potter Author

Takeaways:

  • You don’t have to let your parents influence your direction in life “There is an expiration date on how long you can blame your parents for pushing you in the wrong direction”
  • Failure is OK
  • Think about all the positives in your life
  • The value of learning from your failures and experience against the value of learning from school
  • A reminder on how lucky we are to live in a democratic society
  • The importance of giving back

Watch Video

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine.