Monday, January 19, 2015

A tough weekend has come and gone - now back to work

I'm quickly learning that after a great holiday of making the most of life, getting back to work is great, but the following weekend makes for such a tease. I feel like I am living from weekend to weekend now!

Having a BBQ on Friday night with friends led to the typical conversations that we all have about fishing (I'm making a broad assumption there). So the next morning I was out on the Auckland harbour with friends, trying to catch some big fish. We managed to get a few snapper! Happy days!

Here is a video of me catching a fish. If you watch it long enough, you'll get a good laugh out of it.

To top the weekend off, I did 80km's worth of cycling to ensure that I reached my weekly goal of 250km/week. Due to the fishing on Saturday I had a bit of catching up to do. Early on Sunday morning I ended up with a puncture, the second one in two rides. I posted my frustration on Instagram.

A photo posted by Social Biz Guy (@thesocialbizguy) on

It's always interesting to see how much glass there is on the road after a Saturday night. Young people seem to think that throwing glass bottles out of car windows is a great way to dispose of them. It's pretty dangerous to say the least.

One of the things I like about Social Media, is that when I share my experiences with the world at large, I get to make new friends. People engage because they think they might be able to add some value. As I shared this experience on Twitter, a fellow cyclist gave me some good advice. Once again, it is good being able to connect with someone new.

 Often we use Social Media to spread our influence as "Subject Matter Experts". In the past this was a great way to gain some credibility and recognition. However, things have changed. I am now finding that Social Media provides better value when we share our experience. By doing this we often end up engaging with the 'real' subject matter experts.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Zealand Police target users of Uber Taxi

Over the past few days I have read a few stories in the news about the New Zealand Police targeting users of the popular Uber Taxi platform.  They go as far as kicking passengers out of vehicles and leaving them on the streets, sometimes potentially compromising their personal safety.

As with a lot of countries, the New Zealand taxi industry is heavily regulated and there is good reason for this. However, it would appear that taxi drivers are losing market share to users of the Uber Taxi app. Hence, complaints from the taxi drivers to the police.

The word 'disruption' comes to mind. A term that I have blogged about numerous times as I have debated using both sides of the argument.

People vote with their feet. If they can find a better service elsewhere, then off they go. Every business needs to be agile enough to change their business model to better meet the needs of rapidly changing consumer behaviours. As New Zealand is reasonably isolated from the rest of the world, trends often take a while to become reality. The New Zealand taxi industry should have seen this coming from a mile off and changed their business model to suit.

Rather than fighting serious crime, the New Zealand Police seem to have little more to do than to punish the New Zealand public for using a new service. Yes, the Police are upholding the law, but just as quickly as consumer behaviours change, we need to be able to change the law to enable people to abide by the law through times of change.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My predictions for 2015 - 2016 for the New Zealand economy with a focus on IT projects

I know, it's a bit late being that today is Monday 12th January 2015. However, it is my first day back at work after an amazing break during the Christmas and New Year festivities. Here in New Zealand, we have been exposed to great summer weather.

While the fishing hasn't been too good, I have spent considerable time cycling and trying to get fit again. With over 1,100km's in the last six weeks, I'm probably the fittest I've been in a few years. Now, let's see if I can keep it up with my often busy work schedule.

I go into the year with a great deal of optimism. Over the past 12 to 18 months, the New Zealand economy has been gaining strength. The New Zealand dollar is currently strong against the USD and the AUD.

I'm predicting that this year, the Information Technology sector will place the industry in a good position for boom times in 2016. There are a number of large projects that will suck up skilled IT workers. The largest being a 2 billion dollar project with Inland Revenue (the New Zealand tax department). If I recall correctly, the project was awarded to Accenture during 2014. As with all good government projects, the budget will probably double and lead to a mess ahead of the next election for a new government. Good news for the pockets of those of us in IT.

It is my understanding that there will be a couple of other significant IT projects within the private sector that will also compete for resources. Then there are a number of start-ups like Xero and Vend who seem to be adding to the current strain on IT resources. All this should make for an interesting couple of years.

So, in a nutshell, my prediction is for a strong and fruitful 2015 as projects gear up to lead us into a bumper 2016.

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Monday and there's only 16 more days until Christmas

It's usually at this point where we ask ourselves "Where has the year gone?"

This question gets me thinking, does it mean that the year had no significant achievements or milestones, or does it mean that it was full of them providing no time to rest? For me, it seems that every year older I get, the faster each year goes.

This year started with 'go live' on a significant IT project at Toyota Motor Corporation of Australia. Approximately 3,000 employees showed up for work to be greeted by a new email system (Microsoft Outlook 2013) as a replacement for Lotus Notes. After 11 months of project work, the team and I delivered a successful project, after that I returned home New Zealand for a bit of rest and relaxation.

Now, I'm working as a Sales Executive for a New Zealand company that provides Workforce Management Solutions. After working for so many years with IBM software, it has been a challenge to build new relationships with Human Resources and Finance professionals. Thanks to Social Media, this has become a lot easier.

With only 16 more days left this year, I find myself to be rather focused on what I can do to maximise my time this side of Christmas. Monday provides a great opportunity to review the status of my opportunities and how I can best progress them. While closing more sales this side of Christmas is likely, I am keen to ensure that I am off to a great start in 2015.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Orcon strikes again - no VDSL broadband

Last night I was due to give a presentation to an audience of 100 registered (mainly paying) participants within a virtual conference. I ran a few tests to ensure that everything was set and ready to go. A few minutes later, my wife told me that her laptop was not able to browse the internet. So, I blamed her useless laptop.
Just moments before the presentation was to begin I went back to my laptop to connect and what would you know? The internet was down. There couldn't have been a worse time. I got onto the phone and called my ISP (Internet Service Provider) to ask them what was happening. I'm a loyal customer of Orcon.

The customer support person who answered the phone went through the usual process of trying to eliminate the obvious things that would go wrong with an internet connection. Rebooting and resetting the router seem to be as much as he was able to advise me to do. Neither of these things worked, so I decided to use my mobile phone as a wireless hotspot.

As internet connectivity on mobile devices can be unreliable, I did find that I lost my connection to the conference just minutes before the end of my presentation. I managed to reconnect to ensure that I could respond to a question and answer session. You can imagine, that for a professional speaker these sorts of technical issues are really embarrassing.

Once the virtual conference had completed, I got back onto the phone to Orcon customer support. It didn't appear that a call or fault was logged from my initial call. The person on the other end of the phone logged a call and he escalated it to the second level support. He then proceeded to advise me that the connection could be down for between 12 hours and three days. I said that this was unacceptable and then got off the phone feeling quite frustrated.

This afternoon, I have come home to do some work. I noticed that the broadband internet connection is still not working. I called the support desk again and the person that I spoke to was not able to give me any satisfactory update. He reminded me that it could be anywhere between one to three business days before my connection would be back up and running. That would mean that my connection went down on Wednesday evening and may not be up again until Monday evening. Again, in this day and age, this is highly unacceptable.

After getting a little bit frustrated, I decided that I would escalate my predicament to a supervisor. I asked the young man if I could please speak with his supervisor. He was reluctant to put me through to the supervisor. I was persistent and insisted that he did, finally he made an attempt to put me through. The supervisor was apparently on the phone.

 I then asked to speak to the supervisor of the supervisor. I was placed on hold for a considerable amount of time, maybe up to ten minutes. The young man came back to me and said that the supervisors supervisor was also on the phone. Not wanting to give up, I asked for the supervisor from the next level up. Again he came back to me to say that that person was also on the phone dealing with a customer issue. So, now we have three supervisors on the phone dealing with customer issues. They must have some fairly significant issues if all of the supervisors are on the phone, especially when I'm trying to escalate. This would also suggest that other people were having to escalate their issues. For some reason my confidence and their ability to deliver a good service has significantly diminished.

I decided not to muck around, so I insisted that he provide me with the name of his CEO. After all, if I was going to have to keep escalating to the next person above the person I was asking for, I may as well get in touch with the person who can really make a difference to my problem. Now, I know that Orcon has recently been purchased or acquired by CallPlus, but this happened a few months ago. The young guy on the end of the phone could not tell me the name of his CEO. He told me that he didn't know who his senior manager was! What sort of a business is it when people don't know their own CEO?

To save some time, I did a google search on the phrase "CEO of CallPlus". Within seconds, I identified that the CEO is a gentleman by the name of Mark Callander (twitter account). I can't believe, that the young man at the call centre could not be as resourceful as myself and actually use an internet search engine. It would have saved himself some time and embarrassment. I asked to be put through to Mark, however I was told that he couldn't even find a phone number or email address for Mark. Again, I ask, what sort of a company is this when staff cannot engage with their CEO? How do you ever ask them to raise something with senior management, when they don't know how to connect withthem?

So, here I am now, waiting for my high-speed internet to be reconnected. I could be waiting for as long as next Monday. I understand that it could be earlier, however even 12 hours is a long time in this day and age. Having being a customer for approximately 10 years in a consumer driven culture that lacks loyalty, you would think that they would treat me as a VIP.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Announcement: Social Biz Guy Virtual Connection (Mentoring & Coaching)

You asked for it! And I've listened.

I am proud to announce that I am launching a new service that will provide mentoring and coaching for people interested in how to get value out of social media. This is being done through a virtual community and is powered by the IBM Smartcloud.

As an introductory offer, the first 20 people to email about joining will get a free one year subscription, valued at $600.  If you would like to take up this offer then please email NOW!

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