How to KILL it In the Corporate World (or the Big, Small, Big Theory) – Part 2

Last post I introduced the big-small-big theory on how to get ahead in the corporate world. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you go back because this post won’t make any sense otherwise…

I talked about the concept of how working in a small business produces more productive employees which can then progress faster in their careers but if this were the only factor, couldn’t you just go from university into a small business, maybe even a crappy business working as a manager then move into a job as Head of Equities at Citigroup?

Hellz no!

Big Businesses

See, big businesses like order. They like structure and the LOVE process. And it’s not like its without merit. Start up workers cringe at the thought of filling out forms for stationary and needing to complete detailed expense reports at the end of each month. But when you have 100k+ employees, small numbers make a big difference.

So while big businesses tend to make inefficient employees, who take the long route when encountered with decisions and actions, it needs to be done or the company would implode.

This is why big companies don’t like people from small businesses. It is too much of a culture shock. While the big business doesn’t need to teach them how to do their job (ie how to program) they need to teach them all the processes such as documentation, communication logging, project scheduling etc…

If a programmer spots a bug in a live program, he can’t just solve it like he would in a small business.

He would have to analyze the program. Report it to the support team with a detailed document and submit a support ticket. The support team would then send it to the testing team to make sure the bug exists. Then it’s sent to a support development team that focuses on fixes and upgrades. They will organise a meeting with the developer who found the problem. A solution will be drafted, while consulting with the architect. The project will be approved by the Project Manager. It will be inserted into the project schedule by the coordinator and it will finally be executed.

That may seem inefficient, but it’s necessary. It’s necessary because if every programmer just started hacking at the system, and ONE single guy messed up, causing the system to go down for 10 minutes. It might cost the bank the equivalent of that guy’s entire life’s salaryprobably more.

Understanding this process is essential for anyone working in a big business, and this is exactly what you’re taught in your first few years as a graduate in a big business. In fact, this is basically all you are taught as your first few years as a graduate. Besides how to scan shit… (If you’re a recent college grad and don’t like the sound of this, don’t worry. You can still get some value from this job by adding everyone to LinkedIn)

Small Businesses

Small businesses on the other hand need more of this structure if they want to expand. This is why small businesses like bringing people in from the big guys. They bring order to the chaos. Then they get corrupted… But at least they understand how and why structure is necessary.

Once they pick up some actual knowledge and skills from the small business, they are now a super worker. Who actually knows stuff, has had to make real decisions, not just small tweaks to existing processes and hopefully has results making a real impact on the success of a business. Plus they understand the value of order and process.
At this point they can walk back into a big business in a higher position completing the big-small-big structure.


This method of getting ahead is not without its risks. That being said, no method of getting ahead it without its risks except maybe being born rich or looking like Megan Fox.

Risks include picking a crappy small company that either doesn’t do anything or dies. You should obviously analyse this before you take the job. The great thing about this strategy is that you can look for your small company while sitting in the big one. Don’t leave until you find the perfect position. Look for a small company that is rapidly growing and one that will have progression opportunities. One that has holes in its organisational structure or has huge growth potential (pre IPO anyone?). Look what is happening to Google right now! They are fighting an uphill battle to keep their top staff including recently throwing $3.5 mil at an engineer to not go to Facebook. If you pick your small company right, it can make all the difference.

Another downside of this is work hours and stress. Moving to a smaller company will likely increase both of these elements. If you are planning on having a kid, now is probably not the best time to leave your stable job for a risky start up. Be prepared to work hard in the small business or you will not get the rewards.

Where as in a big business, lots of the time it’s not really worth working hard. Because the reward for doing an exceptional job is usually the same as doing an OK job. If you know anything about the Dilbert Principal doing a crap job will probably get you promoted faster, drinking helps too, but in reality it’s all about personal preference, so networking is probably the best way to go.


The Secret to Eternal Youth – Play the Game of Life (It’s Actually a Game not a Metaphor)

The Game of Life is an awesome game. I’ve been playing it for a couple of years now but have slowed down since I started travelling. I managed a few decent sessions in Budapest but you really need to know people (usually) for longer than a few hours to get them to join in on the fun.

So what is the Game of Life?

The game of life is a game, where in once you join the game, you have to play it for the rest of your life. Hence the name…

The game rules are as follow:

If someone who is also playing the game of life asks you a question, any question at all, at any point in time, for any reason, and within your response to the question you use the word ‘mine’ you have to drop and do 10 push ups. Right then and there.

Here are some examples:

Simple foolery:

Hey, who’s beer is that?


Haha get down!

Ego rubber:

Wow, this place is awesome. I love that xyz thing. Who’s idea was it to come here?


Haha get down!

Advanced trickery:

What is the name of that bomb thing between that blows up when you step on it? They have them between North and South Korea…

Land mine?

Haha get down!

As you can see, it’s pretty straight forward.

The game can get very deceptive and seeing how it is played 24/7 you can really catch people at inappropriate times.

The game is the secret to eternal youth because its a constant reminder to always have fun. To be juvenile. To not take things so seriously. Failed attempts, triumphant successes and harsh defeats will all bring a smile to your face.

Maybe not while you’re doing push ups in a fancy bar wearing a suit, maybe not while you’re half way through a conversation with a cute girl and you get done, maybe not after you’ve been woken in the middle of the night, asked a question then forced to do push ups. But you will eventually smile.

And with that smile, you will remember the good times. With that smile you will realise there are still more to come.

I’m very young, but I hope I never stop playing The Game of Life.

You shouldn’t take life to seriously. You’ll never get out alive. Van Wilder


Are You a Decision Making Douche?

My latest and faviouritest book is Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. I have the audio version and am on my third listen. Which is no small feat as it’s a monstrous book.

The book is crazy famous and has been used by countless athletes, actors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, coaches etc…

For those who don’t know, Psycho Cybernetics is the father of self help books. Its topics include self image, emotional state, action quota, decision making, success mechanisms, happiness, visualisation and I don’t even know what else. It is literally like 5 books in one. Each time I have listened to it, it has been like whole book of new information.

It is one of those books that will resonate with you differently depending on where in life you are. This is why I think so many people go through it multiple times. It’s like reading a different book the next time around.

One of the topics that stuck with me this time around was the topic of decision making. I wrote here how important decisions are and how much of a dramatic impact they can have on your life.

Maxwell Maltz goes into decision making in great detail. Here are some of the takeaways:

Making a decision

Making a decision is incredibly important. While you should use the information you have to assess the pros and cons of a decision you should not dwell on it too long. Decisiveness is one of the strongest traits of any leader and is a key hiring characteristic for management in the corporate world. Being able to quickly come to a decision, act on it and have others follow you creates motion instead of stagnation.  Motion is the breeding ground for innovation, creativeness, success and happiness. Stagnation is the breading ground of doubt, lethargy, boredom and depression.

If you are thinking about doing something, decide if you are going to do it or not, then act on your decision.

Locking away the Decision

This brings me to the next point. Locking away a decision. Once you have made a decision, you need to lock it away in the ‘lock box’ as so famously quoted by US Vice President Al Gore. There is no use worrying or stressing over whether or not you made a correct decision after you have made that decision. Once the decision is made, you should completely detach yourself from the outcome of the decision and just work on taking action. All analysis and concern should be done before the decision is made, not after.

If you spend time thinking about whether or not the decision was the correct one is that going to help you achieve your goal?


Worrying and stressing about the ‘correctness’ of your decision is a stupid waste of time, energy and emotional state.

Making the Correct Decision

In his lectures to business leaders, Maltz quotes a few cogent remarks from his attendees:

“Dr. Maltz, the truth is that there are few inherently right decisions or wrong decisions.  Instead, we make decisions, then make them right.  That’s what leadership is all about.”

“You can always correct a poor decision, but if you do nothing, you can never get the time back.”

As stated above, worrying about whether your decision was the right one or not is not only stupid, but it increases the chances that the decision will end up as the wrong one.

If you decide to start a project, but spend all your days worrying if it will be successful or not instead of working hard to create the output necessary to complete the project, you are creating the result of a poor decision.

Whereas if you had decided you are going to start a project and work five hours a day for the next two weeks on it and not worry whether or not it will be successful, you are creating the results of a completed project which has a higher chance of being the correct decision.

You can significantly alter the outcome of your decision helping to determine its success factor.

Moral of the story

If you’re thinking about doing something, decide and move on. If it turns out you made the wrong decision, make a new decision and move on. Don’t stay in a state of limbo and don’t worry about if you are making the correct decision. Worst case scenario you fail. Who gives a fuck! NEXT.

People Technology

Abstract Education: The Khan Academy

This site is truly amazing and could turn out to be one of the most important websites in the world. Abstract living at its finest. I urge everyone to share it with everyone they know.

Its a site with videos teaching educational concepts. It starts with simple concepts like 1+1 and goes all the way into college level and calculus.

The Khan Academy is helping people all around the world, giving them access to a free, first grade education.



Gangster & Innovator – Mark Burnett @ Blogworld

One of the more interesting events that happened during the day at Blogworld was a keynote by Mark Burnett and his following publicity stunt.

If you don’t know, who Mark Burnett is, here is a Wikipedia excerpt:

Mark Burnett (born 17 July 1960) is a British television producer, known for creating and/or producing competition-based reality television shows such as the American edition of Survivor, The Apprentice and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Mark Burnett’s international productions include: Amne$ia Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?, which has been produced in over 55 foreign countries, The Contender-Asia (a Thai kick-boxing version of the American Boxing-Competition show), and The Apprentice which has been produced in over 21 foreign countries.

Mark Burnett is pacting with casino and resorts giant Genting Intl. to launch a $20 million joint production venture. Mark Burnett Prods. Asia will produce original content for Asian broadcasters and license those formats in markets around the world, including the U.S. The TV venture, the first for Genting, marks the latest overseas expansion for Burnett.

For a guy who use to be in the military and worked as a nanny, his talk sounded awfully familiar to a Tony Robins presentation. Which is not a bad thing in any way as Tony Robins is a gangster (the cool kind) and I’m a self help junkie.

The interesting portion of the talk was at the end when he launched his new TV show: Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

While I am no fan of Sarah Palin, I am a fan of Mark Burnett. For his TV shows, his marketing skillz and most recently his gangster Tony Robins like jargon.

During his keynote at Blogworld, he announced this TV show for the first time by having stevegarfield whom I don’t who, but seems to have a decent sized Youtube channel, upload the first copy of the TV Trailer to his Youtube channel, tweet it out then asked everyone in the room to also tweet it out.

This is the video that was uploaded to Youtube.

The official first tweet
The official first tweet

At the time of writing this video is currently on ~82,000 views. Not bad for 10 days.

Who knows if this tactic will work or not but I like his innovation and guts for giving it a shot. Plus its Sarah Palin so no one really gives a sh!t if it works anyway…

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:


My $1195 Blog Comment

Last week Mashable had a competition to promote their up coming event Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. The competition was to leave a comment in response to the question “What is the future of blogging?” and they picked 5 winners from their favourite responses.

So I entered my comment, as you do, and what do you know – I was selected as a winner. Yay!

Below is my winning comment:

The future of blogging will be a continual movement away from the one sided, board of director selected, opinion led information flow. A continual pressure against traditional media outlets as bloggers become the main sources of influence across all mediums including written, audio and video. Media moguls will no longer influence elections and wars, bloggers will. Bloggers will replace newspapers, radio and TV stations as truly enlightened individuals have two way conversations with their readers and deliver exactly the kind of content that they want.

Blogging will continue to remove the barriers to entry in becoming a global influential force, allowing people from all around the world – including third world countries – to step up and be heard by everyone. Something that was almost impossible in the world of media control.

I believe blogging will help create an equal distribution of information, where the people who are heard are the people who deserve to be heard because they have the strongest message. This in turn will help to enlighten the global population and eventually increase the equality of living across the world.

Now I’ve just got to get to Vegas…


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


The Luggage Conundrum (or How I Chose a Travel Bag)

For a traveler, a bag is like the hermit crab’s shell. It’s the last line of defense for your most valuable assets (besides body parts). Many people will give you advice when choosing a travel bag. People, who know lots, people who know little. The salesman, the taxi driver, colleagues at work and your mother. People who have travelled the world, people who have travelled the mall and people who think a backpack is what their kids use to carry their lunch to school.

And now me! I’m not an expert on bags by any means, but I had to quickly upgrade my skillz as my bag was going to be my new home for the next 12 months and I didn’t want to regret my purchase. Below is the breakdown of how I made my decision.

Your bag choice is dependent on 3 key factors.

  1. Where you’re going
  2. What you’re doing
  3. Your body type

In my situation, I am going on a diverse trip that will include cities and mountains, formal and informal. This means that I wanted a bag that would cover a variety circumstances. I am also 182cm (6 foot), meaning I can handle most types and sizes of bag. This is different to someone going on hiking or on a business trip.

Below is what I looked for in a pack:

  1. Easy to pack and access stuff
  2. Easy to maneuver – on average, across all terrain
  3. Durable
  4. Lockable
  5. Designed to suit both formal and non-formal occasions

The Options:

Trekking Backpack

Trekking Backpack

These are your standard, top loading, mountain climbing backpacks. They give you the most back support, the best waste strap and weight distribution of all backpacks, which is obviously helpful if you are climbing a mountain. They are also very durable. Unfortunately most of them are top loaders, which I found from my last trip was incredibly annoying. If you wanted to access something in the middle of the bag, you need to pull everything out. I can imagine this would be more annoying on the side of a frozen mountain, but maybe less annoying than a sore back… they are also not lockable, mostly come in bright colours and generally look pretty sporty.

Travel Backpack

Travel PackTravel packs are fast becoming the preferred choice for post-adolescent vagabonders. Basically they are trekking packs but with a different ‘access structure?’. Instead of top loading the bag, they have zips that go around the bag opening 1/3 – 2/3rds of the bag. This makes it much easier to access things inside, it also makes them lockable. The downside to the change in shape of the pack is less support and weight distribution. But unless you are going on 10+ day treks, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Travel packs also come in tamer designs, sections to pack away the back straps and generally look more presentable.

Wheeled Backpack

Wheeled BackpackThe tool of the flashpacker. Wheeled backpacks are relatively new, especially the models that work well. A decent wheeled backpack will come with wheels and a handle that pops out to move across flat surfaces plus shoulder and waste straps. They will open almost as well as a suitcase 60-80% giving excellent access. They come in formal designs that allow you to pack up the straps and wheel it around to look important like. On the negative side, they are the worst backpack you can get. But again, you probably won’t notice this unless you are going on long treks or you over-pack. They have a frame like a suitcase to keep the shape and they are built for optimal weight distribution while wheeling, not trekking.

Duffle Bag/Wheeled Duffle Bag

Duffel BagAhh the duffle bag, usually sported by athletes (I think they get them for free?), mobsters (AKs and cash of course) and private school kids in Sydney’s North Shore (no idea why – and they’re all from a store called Country Road). Duffle bags open well – about 2/3’s of the bag – making packing and accessing your stuff a breeze. They have a single shoulder strap and some have wheels making them good for inner and inter-city gallivanting. However, a single shoulder strap can become very uncomfortable and is ergonomic suicide for your back if you’re carrying over 10kgs and walk for more than 30 min. They either look sporty or dodgy and no frame means that smart clothes can lose their shape.


SuitcaseI am not going to explain what a suitcase is. If you don’t know what one is, you’re an idiot and should stop reading my blog. Suitcases are good because they open up 100% of the way and have a strong frame. This means packing, unpacking, and accessing your stuff is great and they also keep delicate clothes and other items intact. They will come with wheels, making them good for city movement but try and get on a crowded bus or walk down a pebble airstrip with one and you suddenly find yourself in a world of pain.

My Verdict:

The wheeled backpack. As mentioned above, I was looking for 5 criteria in my selection. The only pack that matched all of these was the Wheeled Backpack. I am not going to be hiking for the next 12 months, I will mostly be in cities and towns. I may have to walk for long distances, but most of the time I will be on a road where I can wheel. It was a close decision between the travel backpack and the wheeled – the argument was “wheeled backpacks are gay and you will look like a geek not like a cool hipster backpacker” – but in the end, I chose functionality over fashion. Function over fashion is key when moving towards a minimalistic lifestyle. Plus I can always open it into a backpack before I walk into hostels so I look cool.

The Pack:

The best rated wheeled pack I found was the Victorinox Trek Pack plus. This thing has more patients than you can throw a stick at. Plus Victorinox is known for its quality luggage, lifetime guarantee and perfect wheels.

Unfortunately, they don’t sell these in Australia anymore… I don’t know why something about being discontinued or upgraded something… and ordering stuff from the US to Australia is a freekin nightmare.

So I went with the Caribee Fast Track 75 pack.

Carabee Fast Track

The Fast Track is a good option. For starters, its 1/3 the price of the Victorinox. It has a good access structure, with a main section and bottom section for breaking up your stuff. Both of these open well giving about 80% access. Both sections are also lockable. It has strong, big, treaded wheels that can go over rough terrain, has wheel covers to protect my precious clothes from the dirt plus is built with a durable, waterproof material (although water can still get in from the zips). The waste strap is good, holding most of the weight of the bag when using as a backpack and it looks fairly professional (black colour) when all the straps are packed.

All in all, I’m quite happy with my purchase. I have not tested it in harsh climates or over razor blades but if it performs particularly well or poorly in a given situation, I will update this post.

UPDATE: After using this bag for 6 months, I am extremely happy with my purchase. There has been literally no damage to the pack anywhere. The wheels are seriously a god send when you’re tired and not having to constantly take your bag on and off while moving around trains and busses is great. I ditched the day bag that it came with for a bigger computer backpack. So not having to carry a bag on both my front and back also makes everything much easier. In 6 months, I have used it as a backpack less than 10 times. This has only been for long walks on rough ground everywhere else I wheel it around. The compressor straps are great, making packing neater and easier. And the internal pockets and compartments are wonderful for keeping things organised. So yes, very the happy.

What kind of bag do you use?


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!