27 March 2015

What's going on in this Facebook ad? CCIQ marketing is mixing it up.

So my random Friday night Facebook-ing is well underway. Home Ice-cream "jelly tip" ice-cream in hand (yep, I'm having a dry March & April so it's ice-cream instead of red wine), kids are watching the Hobbit Part 100 and something or other, and scrolling down the stream, and I spy this advertisement on the right-hand side of my screen:

Um... okay. What's going on? 

CCIQ of course at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, so naturally you'd think a stock image of good-looking business suit types would be featured. But no, they're cleverly mixing it up and it's just begging to be clicked. 

The message "we get small business" combined with the children asleep in their car seats, is speaking to so many people in small business. Small business people are less the cool corporate types, and more often than not, ordinary mum and dad types trying to find and execute the balance between work and home. 

I really like this approach. It speaks to the heart of who small business people really are. 

I have to say the second part of the execution was less successful for me. I was expecting to see a post about work/home balance, but nope, it leads to what I would argue I doesn't fit with the lead message.  I'm not sure if it's because the voice is different? It goes from "We get small business" to "You sweat the small stuff". It may also be because the lead image is such an ordinary photo (I have photos of my own kids just like this one), but once you hit the site, everyone is a little too beautiful and professionally done.  I do feel like the disconnect is also in part because the link is basically straight to a membership form, rather than a piece of content (a post by someone I can related to perhaps?) telling me that you understand my challenges.  

Despite the inconsistency, I really like CCIQ's thinking here. 

And I'm definitely on the look out for more messaging that get small business. 

26 March 2015

Stop Forced Closures of Aboriginal Communities.

Last week we marched, and tomorrow we march again in solidarity with Aboriginal communities across Australia.

22 March 2015

Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass 2015

The 2014 Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass, Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne.
It's been a week since I've returned from Melbourne, and I'm still reeling from all the fantastic content we have been given. I am so grateful to have been accepted into the fourth class of the Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass at the Melbourne Business School of the University of Melbourne.

Ever since returning home my head has been filled with different ways of seeing my own business and the what, why and how we do what we do.

The Masterclass is divided into three residentials of four days each. The first two days were focused on strategy, and decision making processes, while day three and four were devoted to marketing.

It's going to take a bit of time to absorb everything I've learned, and even longer to being to redefine / refine my existing practices.

I thoroughly recommend the Murra Business Masterclass to all Indigenous businesses, regardless of where they're at in the lifecycle of their business.

I also recommend the program to the Indigenous not for profit sector, particularly those organisations who are moving into social enterprises. In South East Queensland we've had a few discussions with organisations who are actively seeking to develop social enterprises as part of their core business. The value of Murra could see a much surer future of thriving Indigenous enterprises that are self-sustaining and operating well clear of unreliable government funding.

A big thank you to the amazing Dr Michelle Evans for being the catalyst for the growth of Indigenous business in Australia.

09 March 2015

Photo Challenge: 345

If you're a Facebooker you may have seen this challenge go through your stream. I have been handed, by the fabulous sistah Dr Sandra Phillips, the what I'm calling, 345 Photo Challenge -  that's 3 photos to be posted each day for 5 days. I then hand the baton onto another person. (345 = 3 for 5 days)

I'll be posting these in an album on Facebook as well as here. I'm calling this Day 1 set: Traveller's Chronicles.

A traveller chronicles with The Chicken Chronicles

Through the port hole.


I have no idea what tomorrow images will be. Let's see what Tuesday brings.

Working remotely. The challenge of being out of the office for a week.

Today I'm working from Sydney, then on Wednesday I'll be working from Melbourne. I'm away from the office all week and won't be back in Brisbane until late next Sunday. Working remotely is a challenge that I'm gradually getting used to. I thought I'd share some of my copying strategies, and maybe pick up some tips along the way.

Family: The first challenge of course is family. Now that my children are teenagers, it's so much easier for me to leave Brisbane. Mind you, there is still quite a bit of pre-departure preparation that needs to happen before I leave - shopping, appointments, school reminders etc. However I think we're all gradually getting the hang of it.

Technology: The day before I fly out, it's essential that I fire up the Mac Air. There's two main tasks here:

  1. Delete any rubbish the kids have put on it since the last time I used it. (Still trying to work out how to get this Steam App to not auto-open when I turn on the computer every time! Argh!)
  2. Make sure all my apps are installed and have been updated to the latest versions. This actually takes a bit longer than I imagine it will. During any ordinary day, I'll be updating Apps as I go, so I'm always a little surprised by how much I have to do in one go. 
When I'm in the office, I rarely use a laptop. I'm very happy with my desktop, big keyboard, and two screens at my desk. So travelling with just a laptop can be really frustrating because it's limited. On the other hand, because it's limited, it's also less distracting, so it's a little easier to stay focused. 

While the laptop is important to me being able to remain productive, it's really my phone that is my most important tool when travelling. It's my diary, camera, wallet, phone books, and modem. As well as being able to closely monitor emails. I don't know what I'd do without it. Last year, on a few short trips, I didn't even bother with the laptop, had my phone and managed to do everything I needed.

Making the most of your time away: Each time I leave Brisbane, I have a couple of different approaches to making the most of my time away. There are three different things I might focus on:
  1. Make appointments with people I really want to catch up: Because I rarely leave Brisbane, it's great to catch up with people I may have met online, clients or business colleagues. I've done this a few times in previous visits. I'm not a super networker, and I'm still trying to work up the courage to do this regularly. 
  2. Take some time out and explore: Yesterday when I flew in, we headed out to Bare Island at La Perouse. I wanted to go to the Blak Markets, but I missed them by a week. Disappointed at my dodgy time management, but it was still a great place to see. I also when to Circular Quay where I went to the Opera House to see a lecture. I was dumbfounded by the numbers of people there. There were thousands. It's so different from Brisbane. Getting out and seeing parts of the city you're in, adds something to your experience of travelling for work. 
  3. Stay put and keep working: Sometimes when I travel I treat it like a retreat or residential, I just stay still and get working. Without the distractions of family and office, it can be easier to get work done. So even though I'm in a lovely city that I could explore, it's better that I just stick to myself and keep on working. 
The Suitcase: This is probably the most difficult part of the trip. What to pack? How to not pack too much? Will I need that coat? Should I take my sneakers? (ie. Will I really go for a walk?)  What will the weather be like? Is it going to rain? 

I'm not sure I would have any tips to share here at all. 

The carry-on: Last year when I went to WIPC:E, I bought a pacsafe bag. It's both slash proof and skim proof.  It has enough room for the laptop (cords go in my suitcase), sundry personal items, a book and my purse. I'm pretty sure I'll have this bag for years to come.

Saving money essentials: When it's time to go on a week-long trip, I like to take a couple of items specifically to save money.

These are 1) a water bottle, 2) my thermo mug, and 3) a bag of nuts.

Buying bottled water can be super expensive when you're travelling, and at times there's no convenient place to buy it. That goes the same with tea (I'm not a coffee drinker). So I take my own mug with me so I don't have to spend $5 each time. Also, if I'm staying in hotels, the size of the cups are usually so small, they drive me crazy.

Nuts are great because they travel easily in a zip-lock sandwich bag, they lay flat in the suitcase, and a handful is all I need to keep the hungries away.

Well that's it for my working remotely reflection. Do you have any tips you'd like to share?

18 February 2015

Too many small business owners see social media as 'What I had for breakfast'

I'm still amazed by the number of small business owners who still think social media is 'what I had for breakfast'. They see it as a waste of time, silly and frivolous. Or, they think that it takes too much time away from 'real' business activities.

Business owners (and I'm generally referring to micro-business owners like myself) who think this way, are doing themselves and their businesses a disservice.

If all you see of social media is 'I'm going to the toilet now', or 'Look I baked a cake', then you really aren't seeing the full picture.

What you're not seeing in social platforms are the things that I see. When I engage in social media I see

  • the professional development knowledge being shared
  • the change to forge stronger business connections
  • the opportunity to get to know your customers and your clients more deeply
  • a platform to express myself and my business ideas.

If you simply dismiss social media out of hand, I wonder what other areas of your personal and professional life, are given such short shrift. And I wonder, would I really want to work with this person?

In business as in life
you get out what you put in


you see what you're looking for

12 February 2015

Today is the 12th February 2015

Today I -
  • Watched Episode 71 of the #askgaryvee show 
  • Updated two posts, published three pages, approved the final draft for uploading one new product to the Critical Classroom
  • Photoshopped images for marketing
  • Had scrambled eggs on toast for lunch
  • Created an image for our new Freedom Rides product that was uploaded tonight (while watching the latest episode of The Goodwife on Channel Ten catch up) 
  • Ate some cooking dark chocolate pieces for afternoon tea 
  • Took a photo of the tree outside my house (I can't believe I planted it when it was only 20cm high).
  • (Finally) wrote a complete Digital Marketing Report for Dark+Disturbing for January 2015. It has Analytics in it!! OMG!
  • Finished an IM flyer for me to take to our Indigenous Business Networking - Friday Coffee Morning tomorrow at Ipswich. (Now to make the website reflect what we actually do these days)
  • Cooked two fried eggs and toast for dinner
  • RSVPd to a local Chamber event later in the month
Somewhere in there I kissed the kids, washed their uniforms by hand (which is what you do when your machine is broken), and had a few long conversations with family members.

Tonight all I have to do is

  • Format into MS Word the SEQICC's Indigenous Business Survey, then print them out to take to the networking event tomorrow
  • Upload new product, test and then share via networks before I head to bed.
#entrepreneurlife #mylife 

Black Rainbow

The newly established Black Rainbow is a foundation to support Indigenous LGBTI Australians.

They are the ONLY Indigenous suicide prevention and mental health support source for Indigenous LGBTI Australians. They currently have a crowd-funding campaign running to create a National Leadership Group, attend a workshop at the World Congress of International Assoc for Suicide Prevention later this year, and a whole of other activities, including development and roll out of workshops around the country. This is valuable work that needs to be done. Suicide is a social-justice issue, and it's an issue that impacts all our families.

Can you assist Black Rainbow's work? Even the smallest contribution would make a difference.

Click here to start some good: http://startsomegood.com/BlackRainbow 

(If you are unable to contribute financially, please share this link amongst your networks so that we can get the word out there as soon as possible.)

08 February 2015

What happens when the freelancer takes a sickie?

Beside the Hawesbury River at sunset, January 2015.

What happens when the freelancer takes a sickie? Bugger all.

This has been my life this past week. Sick and bed-ridden. While I won't bore you with the details of my illness (nothing interesting I assure you), what is interesting for me is the impact it has on work and business.


I'm not a typical freelancer, I don't work completely by myself, but rather oversee a team of people who all work together on various contracts to do the work of Iscariot Media. However, most of the team members do only one or two specific tasks, with me doing the rest of it. And most of that work (my work) isn't written in a list somewhere, it's in my head. So when I get sick or am not able to do the work, it just doesn't get done. At all.

Unfortunately, no one has built an app yet that can download my brain to retrieve the to-do list.

So as I'm laying there, unable to move, I'm growling myself for allowing my brain to store the entire to do list. It's no bloody different to having all your data backed up on a single external drive. (Oh crap. That's me too!!)

So what am I going to do about it?

Well I'm challenging myself this year to write up projects as if I did have a staff member taking care of it. By doing that, it at least gives me the choice to engage another person to take over a role should I need it.

How am I going to do that? Absolutely no idea.

17 January 2015

Indigenous Business Networking - Friday Coffee Morning [A January Update]

Digital Flyer for the Indigenous Business Networking - Friday Coffee Morning (16 January 2015). Text over the top of an outdoor cafe scene of chairs, tables and umbrellas.  
Yesterday morning, I hosted the first Indigenous Business Networking - Friday Coffee Morning for 2015. This initiative was conceived by me and is currently driven by me as a way for the SEQICC to connect with members, and provide a space for them to connect with each other.

The initiative has costed nothing but my time (though I have to admit that I've put in a lot of hours into this over the past few months). Finally this week I feel like it's beginning to stand on its own feet. More and more people are remembering the event is on, actively seeking it out, and importantly are putting their hands up to be hosts.

Being a member of the SEQICC, like other Chambers and business groups, is not about an organisation serving you. It's not that kind of one-way relationship. Members are not customers, but rather partners. It's about you as an individual member, thinking about what you bring to the organisation and what you need to do in order to get something of value from it.

The membership fee will kick in again in a few months, and I'm guessing it will be a fairly nominal fee. I think it's safe to say, that if members think that the SEQICC (completely run by volunteers who all give their own time) will be running around after people, they'll be in for a rude shock.

There are so many opportunities for individual Indigenous businesses to be promoting their businesses through organisations like the SEQICC, but it requires commitment and resources at their end to do it. Turning up, being involved, lending a hand are all part of the deal.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this gig goes. I'm still excited about it. And I think others are slowly getting there too.  

16 January 2015

Not the #summer post I was going to write

Standing on the steps overlooking a sandy beach and Pacific Ocean on a Sunny day. Swimmers in the water swimming between the lifesavers flags, people on the beach.  
In 2013 and now again in 2015, I'm running and doing the 52 Week Deadly Bloggers Challenge. I've changed the topics a bit from last year, but some of them have remained. I've just realised, in trying, and miserably failing, to do the 2nd topic - SUMMER, that I have unpublished posts on the same thing in two separate years.

Both years I've tried to talk about body issues, specifically being fat in our sub-tropical summer. In 2013 I even got V to take this great pic of me in my togs at Harvey's Creeek in Far North Queensland. But did I publish it? Not on your life.

For the past five years I've been engaging online with fat activism, fatshion, body positivity etc, and it's been completely liberating. For the first time in a very long time I feel great. And I'm the fattest I've ever been and probably the most active (not quite the gym junkie but possibly close). I've read everything I can find on fatshion, fat activism. I've read the Fat Heffalump, Definatalie, and a whole range of other people from Australia and overseas.

However, I'm realising with my two unpublished #summer posts, that there are still some things I'm not yet able to talk about publicly.

I read what others write and I'm inspired because I get what they're saying. They're speaking to me. But I still feel silenced on this platform on this topic. I can talk about racism, and business and a whole bunch of other personal things, but body stuff is still out of bounds. Fuck it.

For the past five years I've been trying to do an #OOTD post, and I still can't.

Will I move this block?

Onward ...  

09 January 2015

Addiction for the new

Why does it feel good to start a new book, a new project, a new job or a new responsibility? 

Beginning is exhilerating. It can be intoxicating. For me, it's the most exciting phase of any project. But it can be addictive. That addiction can be a negative when constantly starting something new means that you don't complete what you've started. That's easily one of my flaws. l love starting new projects, is the grind to complete that I struggle with. 

Each year I make a new set of silent commitments to myself, some of which I follow through, some not. After 45 years, you'd think I would have realised that the addiction to new things is not really the most way to be productive. 

Another way to look at it (given that I'm also a slave to optimism) is that the addiction to new is drawn from a mixture of hope, aspiration and the adventure or heading to the unknown. Can I really give that up?

And with that, my first post for the 2015 Deadly Bloggers Challenge is complete. Will I finish it? Hmm. Let's see shall we.  

31 December 2014

Last sunset for 2014

Here is a view of last sunset of 2014 from a North-West Brisbane suburb. 

<insert obligatory reflection of this year's achievements and failures plus aspiration statement of 2015's hopes>

29 December 2014

On being blocked ...

Random pic of Brisbane from Mt Cootha. It was a very hot, humid and hazy day. 
Like most mornings, I warmed up to work today with a quick scroll through Twitter. IndigenousX was an interesting feed (@arabella_ya is on fire! this week), so I had a quick scroll through her tweets from this morning and yesterday. Her tweets led me down another path, and led me to click on a tweet from yet another person (to get context of what was potentially an interesting and informative conversation), and I was very surprised to find I'm blocked from seeing a particular person's tweets. Upon further investigation I realise this person has blocked not just my personal account, but four other accounts I publicly run.

To say I'm surprised is an understatement. I've followed this person in the past, though I doubt I've ever actually @replied them myself. Their tweets come up in my feed regularly through mutual interests and mutual follow/ers (which is why I didn't realise I'd been blocked until this morning). This person is a leader, and I see myself more as a follower, so it's not unnormal for me to just follow and not engage. (I'm very much a reader of interesting tweeps, I honestly never notice or care if they follow back).

But rather than focus on the "blocking" - it's Twitter after all, not an "IRL" relationship - I don't know this person, so I shouldn't care what s/he does. It's really none of my business what is going on in their minds - it does make me wonder how people who only know the digital me actually perceive the kind of person I am -

  • Am I seen to be sitting too much on a particular political divide? In real life I am fairly flexible about my politics (left on some things, right on others). 
  • Am I seen to be in-allegiance with particular factions or online friendships that may be distasteful to this person? In real life I follow and engage in all kinds of online (and real life) relationships who on the surface are incompatible? 
The blocking really does demonstrate that you can't control how people think of you. I honestly didn't think I ran accounts that were of the potentially polarising, staunch, or trolling type. I'll grant you my accounts are boring enough to unfollow, but distasteful enough to block? 

One day I may meet this person (the world IS that small), and I won't raise this in discussion. I can't let it be important enough to matter. Who knows, they may have blocked for a reason that has nothing to do with me. It could be a personal safety issue. Having a real digital presence (ie. not an anon or alias) requires that we give something of ourselves to the unknown. In order to do that we have all developed individual coping strategies that allow us to be here in safety. I can't judge this person on how they cope and how they do their business, so will do my best to make no meaning from this beyond reflection. 

It's all very intriguing, and food for our thoughts. We continue onwards ... 

* I did block someone (circa 2009) in the early days by mistake because I didn't understand the difference between unfollow and block.

Note: I'm deliberately trying to not identify the particular tweep in question because this post is not about them, but a personal reflection on my experience. I'm interested in questions about how we make meaning and understanding the world and our relationships within in it. Please don't ask me who it is because it's not relevant. I have to respect people's choices to run their accounts how they choose to (trolls excepted)

25 December 2014

Christmas 2014

Have just realised that the little mini post I wrote last night (Christmas Eve) and posted, I actually posted to the wrong blog! *

Here is what I wrote:

<blockquote>I'm sitting here alone surfing iView while waiting for a load of washing to finish. 

About half-an-hour ago, I realised this has been one of my personal Christmas traditions for nearly two decades - get all the stuff done, kids in bed etc, one more load, then bed. I wonder if it has something to do with having quite a few years with kids in nappies (we had our babies before disposables were the norm), and a little personal strategy,  to try to have "one day off", albeit just a day off from the washing that never ever ends. 

The kids are teenagers now and can, & at least part of the time actually do their own washing. There really is no need for me to be awake now. 

Although the bonus now is, I now have iView and Shiraz (��) to keep me company. #lovemylife </blockquote>

After deleting the post (thank goodness she doesn't check her blog much!!) and reposting here, it's now 11.10pm on Christmas Day and almost everyone is in bed. A few stray teenagers are putting in the good fight to stay awake, but even they won't last much longer (FYI: Over-tired teenagers are worse than over-tired toddlers). I'm sitting here in the lounge, about to inhale a WizzFizz, while finishing this post, before I take a loooonggg shower and sleep. 

Today's Christmas was a success. There  were some annoyances - people not behaving the way I expected them to. I will make time to have conversations with those people during next week. 

For me, in addition to being about taking the time out of our busy lives to spend time with family, Christmas is about the meal. I have no pics, but our menu was:

- Cousin T's Chicken with Penne Pasta with a lovely tomato sauce.
- Coconut Curry Chicken
- Jiang Xi Chicken (aka Vermicilli Chicken)
- Fried Scones (I believe if you're in Canada this is called Fry Bread or Bannock) 
- Glazed leg of Ham (thanks Mum)
- Namus
- Belecan 
- Rice

For dessert, which was MANY hours later (after nap time), we had my home-made Christmas Cake, a Christmas pudding, custard  and icecream. 

I was most happy with the Namus. I have only really eaten it a few times, and have never cooked it before. I made it last night before bed. I had no idea if it would work, but it did. Of course, the kids decided to have a 20 minute debate with me about whether me saying "it's cooked in vinegar and lemon juice" was "technically accurate". Is there a word for people who debate every aspect of your language? The word smartarse comes to mind but perhaps there's another? 

The other thing I did this year which I'm really happy about is I created a SHARED Photo Album on Facebook. The only people who can see the album are the CONTRIBUTORS, those who are my immediate family. So far, Mob in Canberra and Cairns have added to the album. It's part of my recent move to "make private" specific aspects of my digital expression (but that is for another post).

Well done family on creating a lovely Christmas.

The task tomorrow is to eat left overs and to NOT be tempted to head to the Boxing Day Sales. Avoiding at all cost! 

Hope your Christmas, dear reader, was a good one. 

* Accidents like that happen when you help your friends with their blogs.

01 December 2014

Goori Advent Calendar

Isn't she deadly? Our Goori Advent Calendar is for sale on the Critical Classroom website. When you buy it you get a download that has two versions. One is a colourable one - it's blank - for the kids to colour in a circle per day. The second is a high quality reproduction of the original painting. It can be printed onto a thickish paper (the one above is on 210 gsm), and then framed. 

The painting is by Yugambeh-Bundjalung artist, Lisa M. Buxton. She painted the original years ago, and it's been kicking around my office for that long. We created the vector file of it so now it's available for everyone. 

Go and buy it!! 

24 November 2014

Writing saved my day (and my mind)

Can I tell you something? This morning I woke up so cranky. I was pissed off and angry. I have so much undone right now and with more responsibilties (mix of professional, community and family) coming up. 

Much of what was on today's to-do list is unpaid, and mostly unacknowledged (by those who will benefit from it), but I've committed myself to it, so I have no choice. I have no doubt that this fed into my anger. 

I arrived at the studio feeling intense. There was no time for small talk - walk in, computer on, make tea, sit down, and straight into it. 

By lunchtime though, my anger had subsided to a simmering intensity. While I was still in "it", I was definitely coming down. 

Some days, when I'm angry, I can't work. I'm unproductive and distracted. Today however, and it may have been the fact that I have absolutely run out of time (no time left to fuck around), I stayed focused and got my work done. 

What I noticed though, and what made me relax, was writing. I wasn't "free" writing, it wasn't journaling. I was on task - writing a newsletter and a few blog posts.  But it was incredible how over four hours straight writing calmed me down completely. I don't think the writing was great, it's pretty much pedestrian stuff. But the process of looking for the right words, reading and re-reading the text, thinking of how best to phrase an idea, got me out of my head. 

I'm still busy. I'm still catching up. The next three weeks are going to be insane with professional, community and family commitments about to bottle neck. I think I'll be booked until New Year's Day. 

Right now writing here is probably a bit of a luxury (if I have time to write here, I could be doing some "real" work), but for other people watching telly, exercising or maybe drinking is their unwind. For me right now, writing here is mine.  

So I'm going to keep writing, or at least I hope I will. It might just keep me alive. 

22 November 2014

A long week (and missed deadlines (again)

Spectacular view from Allens, Level 28 Deutsches Bank Place, Phillip Street, Sydney
A huge week - and am completely behind in my deadlines (AGAIN!).  Though, it was all in a good (and inspirational) cause.

On Sunday I headed to Sydney for a three days of meetings. One of the highlights of course, was braving the Sydney roads and heading out to Maitland two and a half hours north (and a bit west-ish). There I finally met Debbie Barwick, one of the true pioneers of Indigenous Business. Debbie runs the Mandurah-Hunter Indigenous Chamber of Commerce as well as the New South Wales Chamber of Commerce. Debbie and I had an chance to talk about how chambers, compare similarities and note differences. We also had a chance to talk about the National Network of Indigenous Business Networks and Chambers of Commerce.

By Thursday I was home again, heading straight to the SEQICC Indigenous Business Networking event at Nomad's Palace at Eat Street Markets. It wasn't as well attended as I'd hoped it would be, but in the end I had some great conversations and met a few new faces. The SEQICC has been operating for nearly ten years, but growing and developing a strong and Indigenous business networking organisations, is a long road. It requires that we continuously be open to new ideas, new approaches and new ways of servicing our community.

There is a momentum building in Indigenous business right now. I'm really looking forward to being part of it.

Of course, my long week has meant that I've missed a bunch of deadlines (again). Onward and upward. 

11 November 2014

Things (quotes) that make you go hmmm .. a Brisbane G20 quote that will make your eye twitch.

One thing you notice consistently about Australians is they will not tolerate injustice and there's nothing more unifying than when somebody gets the rough end of the stick.

Quote is by police negotiator Tony Clark, in an article by Kathy McLeish, on the ABC News tonight.

I can say nothing more, except 'Excuse me? Did you just hear what you said?" Read more for yourself 

Small business - stop chasing followers

Despite being a decade old, there are still many in business new to "social media" as a marketing tool.

Wearing my Indigenous Small Business Supporter hat, I still see many small business people (especially when they're starting out) posting things like,
"only 40 more likes to 500"
 "wow! We've got 1000 followers now"
"help us get to 300 followers and we'll give something away".

I get it. It looks good if your page has a good number of followers. It tells visitors that other people think your product must be good, and it can serve to validate your hard work. 

But it's really important, that in the race to reach a number ending in '00, or '000, or even '0,000, you don't forget what it is, or should be about. 

It's not about the numbers, it's about the engagement. Having 10,000 followers is easy if you have enough money. But 10,000 followers who don't care about your product are worth less than 10 followed who love your content.

Spend less time worry about getting new followers, and more time serving the ones you have - with great content and a worthy product.

10,000 likes is great, but if no one buys your stuff, they're just a waste of your precious time. 

04 November 2014

Amex's Shop Small Campaign is all Jab

Last night while watching catch up (yes. I'm guilty of not hating on Ten's Party Tricks. I quite enjoy it), this add appeared throughout the program. It's a good little ad - good sentiment, well made, and released at the right time (in the lead up to Christmas)

However, I'm bewildered as to why American Express would run a support-small-business-this-Christmas campaign. While it's an excellent sentiment, very few small businesses take American Express due to their high merchant fees (it costs businesses more to take a payment using an Amex card than other cards).

But perhaps the intention here is to create meaningful content that supports the needs of the market/audience it wants to have. Through this campaign American Express is becoming an advocate and champion of Australian small business. And rather than focus on the purchaser (as in Visa's Priceless pitch), it's choosing to focus on businesses who are still reluctant to accept Amex cards. If you can convince stores to accept Amex, buyers will not be as reluctant to use them.

The Shop Small campaign looks like its working to create goodwill before going for the sales pitch somewhere down the track. If you're a Gary Vaynerchuck follower, this is clearly a jab (and a very good one), before the right hook.

Looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

An introduction to Gary Vaynerchuck if you're unfamiliar with his work: http://vimeo.com/89621314

Innocent Victim

Authorities today told the waiting crowd that the missing victim of the Sunday Nanna Nap incident  had been found after being missing for two days.

The victim was directly airlifted to a waiting team of health professionals. It is reported she is stable but still in a critical condition. More updates as news arrives. 

* I fell asleep on my glasses, then couldn't find them. Wearing my back-ups. Good for distance, but not great for reading. :-( 

28 October 2014

Less than 24 hours in Cairns, we descend.

We had a brief getaway in Cairns and Innisfail last weekend for a family function. Turns out we were in Cairns for less than 24 hours, but it was worth it regardless, as we had a quick catch up with family.

Here is some footage I shot as we were landing. It's a little shaky but I love how you can watch the shadow as we descend.


23 October 2014

Miss Dhu and the fight to end Black Deaths in Custody

I'm on the bus on the way home from the National Day of Action for Miss Dhu, a young women who died while in police custody a few months ago, and my mind is a haze.

Miss Dhu ended up being part of the criminal justice system because of $1000 in unpaid fines. Two days later she was dead. Her death represents a sickness in our society, and in the systems we have created. Systems that do not see Aboriginal people has being human. Systems that abrogate responsibility when someone dies. Brother Ricky Pascoe today said
"the system is the prison, not just the room with bars".
How true is this statement? We are all part of a much broader system, and any "choice" we have is qualified and limited. Some of us are better placed than others to navigate the world, and this privilege means that it can be hard to see what life is like for those who live outside it.

But there are too many rules, often unspoken, or even at times ever-changing. So many rules that if you're not equipped you will more than likely fail. The criminal justice system for too many, is the end of the line. Sister Debbie Kilroy said today
'Miss Dhu's death reminds us that the system sees Aboriginal women's lives as disposable". 
Too many Aboriginal women and men end up in jail. What impact does this have on our community's greater well-being? How can we allow a generation of women and men to be lost to incarceration?

As a mum, I cannot imagine how Miss Dhu's mother and family must be feeling today. It may be some small consolation to them that people from all over Australia are thinking of their daughter. But their grief is unimaginable to me. As we stood there this morning, one sister requested that Archie Roach's song,  Child play. We bowed our heads as this beautiful, sorrowful yet hauntingly appropriate hymn was played.  So many, too many souls now gone. Few stood there today without tears and breaking in their hearts.

The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was a comprehensive investigation and clear direction forward into matters of black deaths in custody. I remember how excited we were when the report was published, followed by anger when, over the proceeding decade, it became clear that few of the report's recommendations had been or would be implemented.

The ongoing over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system is a matter of national importance. Yet it receives scant public interest, and apparently even less policy interest. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to be killed while in police custody than by the so-called menace of terrorism. Yet where are the advertising campaigns and press interest? If you're not seen as human, your deaths and your sorrow are not as important as others.

I have a (slight) hope that Miss Dhu's unnecessary and senseless death puts a spotlight on Australia, and leads to change. We must continue to talk about the this issue, to keep it in the national spotlight, whether it be through the streets, or in other ways, like art, movies, literature, academic writing, classroom activities. We must continue to keep talking, for to stop means we no longer exist.

My thoughts are prayers are with Miss Dhu's family, and many other families around the continent, whose loved ones were taken from them too early.

21 October 2014

Vale Gough Whitlam

Spent the morning glued to ABC 24 News. What a man and what a legacy.

20 October 2014

Opening Speech for Shannon Brett's I didn't get to cry til now.

Shannon Brett's I Didn't Get To Cry Til Now Indigenous Art Exhibition

I was honoured in 2012, to be invited to open Shannon Brett's I Didn't Get To Cry Til Now exhibition at the Tanks, in Cairns.

To start I would like first to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Yidinji people, and acknowledge their ongoing sovereignty of the land and sea. I would also like to acknowlege the people here today. I’m from down south, from Brisbane. I’ve known Shannon for a few years now from when she was a student at Queensland College of Art doing the Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art. And I’m very humbled to be here to speak about the exhibition and to introduce Shannon’s work to you all.

It’s been a long time since I was a teenager and my early twenties were literally twenty years ago. And in reading this body of work, I’m conscious that it’s primary audience is not me, but my young daughter, my nieces and other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in this community and in communities around the country.

You see, despite the fact that women have come yes indeed come along way, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (and men) have come along way, there is still so much work to be done.

As a parent, I worry about the messages that my daughter is consistently being sent. The dichotomous messages about how to behave, what to expect. If we look at images of young women online - so much of it is about exhibitionism for a known or unknown audience, it’s all accentuated cleavages and pouty fish lips. On television, there are consistent messages that if you’re not skinny you don’t deserve nor will you find love. High profile journalists and media sources tell our young people that on the one hand, they’re being raised in the most dysfunctional families in the country, and yet on the other, if they get too much of an education they could end up not being authentic enough to live and work within their own communities.

I also worry for my three teenage sons, what messages are being sent to them about how women behave,  about what women expect, and about how women wish to be treated. There are so many messages - both racist and sexist - that seem only designed to keep young people confused and mentally battered.

bell hooks has labelled this type of representation as being part of the project of White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. That, is that “the interlocking systems of domination - of race, sexism, misogyny, homophobia - that define our reality”

Patricia Grace, a Maori writer has argued that books (and the media) can be dangerous to young Indigenous people, as they do not reinforce our values, actions, customs, culture and identity, 
  • when they tell us only about others they are saying we don’t exist; (how many young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women appear regularly in as three dimensional characters across Australian media?)

  • they may be writing about us but are writing things which are untrue; (how regularly do media outlets across the country create and re-create racist narratives about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)

  • when they are writing about us but saying negative and insensitive things which tell us we are no good; (The Australian newspaper anyone?)
To me Shannon’s exhibition, I Didn't Get To Cry Till Now, is an attempt to speak back to the representation and stereotype Aboriginal woman. She demonstrates and makes explicit, that behind the stereotype, behind the narrative, there is a person, a human being. She brings forth the racialised and gendered self that is rendered Invisible by the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchial project that is colonised Australia.

Mary Graham, a Kombamerri Elder and philosopher has talked in her work about the reflective and questing Aboriginal mind. One that is in tune with community and that seeks to understand ourselves and maintain relationships with others. The questing mind, to be on a quest, a challenge, to question, to think critically. This resonates with me, when I see Shannon’s work. Her work is about her, and about the women and men in her life.

Shannon isn’t the only one, she’s not the first. Others have gone before her - Destiny Deacon, Fiona Foley, and Dianne Jones, and many others. Shannon continues their legacy as story tellers who speak back to power, who represent their own families and communities, who gives voice to those who are rendered voiceless in the ongoing colonisation of this land.

I’ve known a few artists at the start of their careers and watched as they’ve gone from being emerging to established artists. That journey can take over a decade. But I have no doubt, that Shannon with the support of her family and community, will continue to grow from strength to strength. Ladies and Gentleman, I would like to introduce to you Ms Shannon Brett …


18 October 2014

Indigenous Business Networking - Friday Coffee Morning

indigenous business networking - friday coffee morning

It has to be said up front that I loathe early mornings, and I don't drink coffee. I had one cup of coffee once ... actually it was a few sips of a cup that someone made for me. So let's get that square straight up ...

Despite loathing both these things (early starts + coffee), this morning I hosted the first Indigenous Business Networking - Friday Coffee Morning for the South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce. I say the "first", because I'm hoping that there will be many more.

Look, the thing is, I fu3king love being in business, despite how haphazard my business practices might be. I love the thought of going out and hustling for the next gig. The reality is, this is much more exciting that pulling a fortnightly wage (probably a hugely unfair description of employment .. but there you go ... ). (sorry kids)

I also love the idea of Blackfella businesses finally, after EVERYTHING, of making it, and smashing the competition. This may not be my business, but I can see a few out there who are doing just that (I'm thinking of Gilimbaa and Carbon Media here).

I've written a post on the SEQICC site, that explains what the event is, and how I'm involved.  In this post I invoke Working Girl. If you know, you'd get the reference straight up. 

It's 12am, and with that, goodnight.

Cheers, Leesa

Ps. I hate the smell of coffee. Give me straight black tea any day. 

08 October 2014

Exacting revenge on shoddy journalism

Yesterday's shocking and disrespectful Courier Mail front page made me wonder if some "journalists" and their editors would benefit from a dose of their own medicine. 

Someone should create a publication that specialised in delving into the personal lives of shoddy journalists, those journos who have gone that step too far. 

I wonder if they might amend their practice, if we splashed their unmasked image across the paper (and remember, it's an image that is in every newsagent, supermarket, Facebook feed and Twitter stream across the region/state/country). I wonder if they would rethink the questions they ask and the stories they wrote, if the world were suddenly let into their worlds, their relationship status, their unique and perhaps odd habits. 

When I see and read stories that have gone too far, all I can think about is what if the shoe were on the other foot?

29 September 2014

Learning to write for others

In early September I was approached to do some writing for a Murri business - two posts per week for two months. I replied that I'd never done that kind of work, but I'd be happy to give it a go. Last night (Sunday night) I posted off drafts of the next two articles at around 2.30am.

I'm pretty much half-way through the job, and I thought I'd write a quick reflection.

I have a loose-ish deadline of each Monday (as the posts get proofed, edited, and approved, then emailed to the web administrators), so I form the ideas during the week, often writing on the weekend and sending off on Sunday night/Monday. The client is Murri, and we personally lead similar lives. I'm also free to write about issues that Mob experience, and face.  Some of the content I write for the client, could easily be written here and wouldn't look out of place.

I think writing for this client isn't as hard as it could be, but bloody hell it's hard work.

Reflection so far:

  1. The posts are almost ALWAYS on my mind. Every part of my life and reading goes to forming possible ideas. The client has given me a list of keywords and possible topic ideas, but producing two posts per week means that I'm looking for a variety of concepts - or new ways to say something similar. So if you see me during the week and I'm kinda looking a bit vague, it's because I have a deadline. 
  2. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, reading, clicking, browsing. On the outside, it looks like I'm being completely unproductive, but all of that information I consume, goes into forming posts for the client or even for my own websites. I've also decided to head to offline - Murri novels as well as newspapers and magazines, to get inspiration. 
  3. The other thing I've found is that while I tend to think about the post for about five to seven days, playing with possible "hooks" or approaches to the post, the actual execution of the piece is around an hour or so, sometimes shorter. I've learned to trust that it will come. At midnight last night I still didn't have it, but by 2.30am, I'd written the two posts and sent them off. I suspect I get a little high out of not knowing if I'm going to find the hook for a post in time. Clearly I love living life on the edge.

One thing I do have to get better at is keeping notes. I'm so bad. I have an Evernote account, and it's a complete mess right now. There's no order or structure to it. I'd like to get to the point where I can create a file of quotes or passages that either inspire or can be used down the track.

It's an interesting experience - writing for others. I've done it only a few times (Brisbane City Council, State Library of Qld), and only as one offs. I also feel like I'm not as effective as I could be as a writer because I have had no training in writing. My only training is my Bachelor of Commerce and my incomplete Masters degree. It's all just trial and error - writing emails, and posts. I have given thought to doing a Grad Dip in Communications or something similar, as a professional development activity. Basically, I have no idea if I'm any good, but people keep giving me work, so perhaps I'm not as bad as I'm programmed to think I am (yes, that old self-esteem bug again!). I'm a thousand miles from even thinking about calling myself a writer.

I do wonder if it could become a full-time gig. I'd be concerned that I just wouldn't be able to pump out enough interesting, coherent, or original words each day. More to ponder.

Anyway .... onward, upward, and over ....

27 September 2014

River Fire 2014

Perhaps it's because we live on a hill. Perhaps it's because we all live in walking distance to each other. 
Perhaps it's because Brisbane in September is beautiful. 
Perhaps it's because we are just looking for any excuse to have "fancy" cheese and a spot of beverage. 

It may be some, all, or none of the above  reason/s that RiverFire is a thing in our house. 

Usually what happens is the kids (now teen/adults) fire up the pit (a collection of old pavers in a circle) in mum's yard (she lives on the highest hill) and roast marshmallows, I purchase a beverage or two, and consume ridiculous amounts or cheese or chocolate. We take our chairs and manage to find a vantage point, usually on the footpath (along with many other residents of our suburb) taking our radio with us so we can enjoy the distant pyrotechnic display in simulcast with a local radio station. 

This year however, courtesy of the cashed up neighbours who paid for another neighbours' trees to be "trimmed" this week, we sat beside the back shed, with our view only slightly encumbered by foliage. 

In past years we have marvelled at the dump and burn of the F1-11s, but now that they are retired, we have only a few other fighters and the fireworks. 

I think I inhabit the sphere of people who scoff at such displays of firepower, with Riverfire being seen as a eco-unfriendly, resource-wasting, superficial, 15 minutes of fame.

I know I too should scoff but I can't. 

Perhaps it's because of the anticipation.
Perhaps it's because it marks the end of the Brisbane Festival.
Perhaps it's because the weather is wonderous. 
Perhaps it's because of the ACDC/Phil Collins soundtrack.
Perhaps it's because I like to have a drink.
Perhaps it's because I enjoy having my family around me, and love that others in my neighbourhood also use Riverfire as an excuse to fire up their BBQs and get together with their peeps. 

It may be some, all, or none of these reasons. Whatever it is, I hope Riverfire continues well in to the future.