Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Some good tips on using LinkedIn

This is a great video on how to get more out of LinkedIn. The tips are basic but powerful and well worth considering for the sales professional.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Job post on LinkedIn: It's a f**king great place to work!

For a lot of my readers the title of this blog may appear to be a contradiction of who you know me to be. But it is the way that employees of the tech start-up, Vend, choose to describe the place where they work in their attempt to attract new talent for the role. Take a look at a copy of the job post below:

This post has gained reasonable attention on Social Media with a number of bloggers commenting and various discussions on through the likes of Twitter. Blog posts include:
Trying to look at this objectively, I concede that, as others have pointed out, this is a polarizing topic. Readers will either see this as acceptable or unacceptable. It's hard to argue when nobody wins. 

Vend is one of New Zealand's greatest SaaS success stories. While mixing with people in the HR and recruitment industries, I have become aware of Vends outstanding achievements being made in regards to work style and innovation. I have held the organisation and its employees in high esteem. However, with a bit of gutter talk, my view has somewhat diminished. I made my view known through the use of Twitter

Within minutes staff from Vend began to defend the company with a numerous tweets such as:
Before long, I became aware of a key saying/motto that is often used at Vend, "Just f**king do it!" Upon hearing of this I became concerned about the treatment of the staff. As a manager, I was reading it in the context of someone being told to just get on with the job. Telling someone "Just do it" should only ever be a last resort and is usually a failure of the manager to get buy-in. In my books, it is a no-no! Therefore I compared the statement to the working conditions injustice of modern day slavery.

After accepting an invitation from Kirsti Grant, to visit the office to understand more about Vend, I agreed to take her up on the offer. Within minutes Kirsti was on the phone to organise a time. I have respect for her - she's bold!

So I arrived at reception and there to meet me was a young lady with a puppy - cute (I'm talking about the puppy). Kirsti came out to meet me and within a few minutes I had a chance to talk to Vaughan Rowsell (CEO).

One of the places Kirsti took me to was the boardroom. There across the wall in while neon lights were the words "Just f**king do it!"

While touring the rest of the office, I came to understand that this term is not a command, it was more about empowering employees to do what is right by the customer. It is actually about enabling the employees to feel that they are trusted to make good decisions. Vend has ensured that trust and transparency are embedded into their culture.

Part of the Vend model of trust and transparency is to allow people to come to work and be 'who' they are. This includes bringing pets to work. It includes providing work spaces that support different work styles. It includes openness and accountability to each other.

The message I got was "If you are use to using colourful language at home and you feel that it is part of who you are, then don't stop being who you are at work." 

Over the years I have become accustomed to what some people consider to be offensive language, I am so desensitised to it that I don't notice it being used most of the time. Towards the end of the tour, Kirsti pointed out that she had used several curse words however, I had hardly even noticed. They don't stick for me. Personally, I choose not to use such language, much to my shame I have from time to time.

The following email came from a self confessed anonymous "potty mouth":
"I am a potty mouth myself and am ok with it in certain context and if used sparingly.  But I found the advert to come across like a bunch of wanna be cool kids inviting people to their cool gang and anyone who disagreed with them clearly isnt cool enough.  I come from Wellington business circles and am have been surprised with this type of 'auckland cool' versus 'wellington cool' in business.  The difference being that the latter are smart, interested in new stuff and respectful to others without having to be loud about it, whilst still having fun.  Vend's advert and culture shows the complete opposite, people trying to be cool, like all the right things, dress a certain a way and drink at the right spots. It's embarrassing."
Here is another comment from an anonymous source stating:
"Not only would I not apply for the role, I will not do business with them either as that attitude they have means they don't care about me (as in the customer) and that's its all about them."  

So in conclusion. Vend has great people. It is an awesome and exciting place to work. There are reasons why it is doing so well and projecting to grow its employee headcount from 200 to 400 at the end of this year. It has to be an exciting place to work. I would really like to work at such a place. But I couldn't work there. I can cope with working around some of the worst language, but where that language is ingrained in the corporate ethos, it would go against my own personal values and the value and respect I have for others.

I learnt that the use of such language doesn't define the employees of Vend. They have some awesome and friendly people. Sports clothing & design company, Nike had a similar phrase; "Just do it!"

Vend doesn't need to use this sort of language to be great. Why? Because their people are great! Their product is great! Their leadership is great! Their work style is great! Dropping coarse words from their vocabulary would not be detrimental to their business.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Should I post things on Social Media as a brand or as myself?

Yesterday, while participating in an online Twitter chat about Social Business. A question was raised about posting things on Social Media as a brand or as yourself. In this short video clip I address this question.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Time and Attendance software in the cloud

When I am talking to customers about Time and Attendance, it is interesting how often I am asked about cloud based solutions. Only a couple of years ago, businesses were very shy of any mention of cloud based software, often known as SaaS (Software as a Service)

Here at iDt Group, we have a cloud based time and attendance solution (Biotime) and we even have biometric clocks that have been built specifically to work with Biotime.

One of the things I like about cloud based solutions is that they are constantly being updated. Bugs are being sorted, new functionality is added and the user interface typically becomes more and more appealing. With on-premise software, you typically have to wait for a yearly upgrade along with the expense of installing and configuring the upgrade.

One of the other main advantages of the current round of updates is speed. There has been significant improvement in the performance of Biotime.   

I have recently seen some of the changes that will be rolled into Biotime in the next few days. The new style of customisable widgets is pretty cool, allowing the user to customise a dashboard to their liking. There are also a host of there features that are currently under wraps.

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.
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