Was wonderful to celebrate also the voice and efforts of my collaborator and co-organiser of 2016 and current 2017 event, Hannah Wignall. Would also like to shine the light on the other actioneers in the TEDxWellington team who all give their time voluntarily to ensure the capital city and its community gets a fantastic event.
Thank you Mark for throwing your time and energy behind curating the voices and in effect the passion which makes this global event series such a success.
A bank who does co-working / maker-spaces / incubating / mentoring.
Due to online and mobile banking, the use of branches is in decline. So if you run a business which own an array of centrally located urban real estate nationally, what do you do?
Well, Barclays UK (in collaboration with a couple of other folks) have launched Eagle Labs, an experiment in activating their latent spaces and making them available to the startup community as incubators whilst wrapping around supportive services as well.
Was wonderful to be able to visit Eagle Labs Brighton a few days ago and deliver a session plus spend some time advising some of the fantastic startups in the space:
DK gave a brilliant keynote at the Eagle Lab Flight Programme for me where I am Creative Director. The programme is an accelerator run By Creative England in partnership with Barclays UK and their Eagle Lab Programme.
He delivered and inspiring talk with slides and resources for the companies on the programme at the Eagle Lab in Brighton UK on April 21st 2017. Having known and worked with DK at previous events I have run it was great to have him in person in the room with the businesses and clients. The keynote was on “putting the social back into social media” – and with a strong focus on authenticity and voice and remembering that the ‘audience has an audience’ too. Thanks DK – here’s to the next collaboration. Marcus Romer
A superb example of an organisation needing to diversify, repurposing their latent resources (instead of simply selling them off) to add value to a community whilst still ensuring alignment with a potential customer base.
Learnings from developing / delivering an effective and profitable conference.
Last week, over 150 people attended Speaking With Purpose, a one day conference for those looking to increase their public speaking confidence and hungry to develop their storytelling techniques.
This was my first independently-produced, medium-sized, personally-funded event, with folks attending from Tuaranga, Christchurch, Queenstown, Auckland, Palmerston North, Dunedin and all over the Wellington region.
Here’s what I learned:
Pay Your Speakers
In NZ, paying conference speakers for their time / talent is not commonplace (unless you’re bringing someone in from overseas it seems).
Committing beyond the usual “we could maybe find a couple hundred bucks for your time” ensured there’s not only an expectation of quality but also a contractual effort from your deliverers. What better way to contribute towards building a trend for valuing this talent and skill.
I didn’t use a ticketing service and invoiced everyone individually just to see if it could be done (both saving myself some money in ticketing fees and not passing those costs on to attendees plus allowing for a more personal touch). The seven day payment policy for attendees once they registered (which most stuck to) gave me the working capital which enabled quick payment of the 50% venue deposit (every ticketing service keeps the money till after the event you see).
A lot of the above could’ve been outsourced although it was just as simple for me to do than find someone, explain my expectations and follow up with it all.
Offers & Freebies
I experimented with the above offer although it yielded only four sales (the Early Bird rate sold out in a couple of weeks in January and 25s-and-under rate a few weeks before the event).
Finding and gifting on freebies to those in the community who do good things already, drove more traffic and sales than any other strategy as they positively shared the event details with their audience.
Was surprised with the small amount of creative pitches received for those who couldn’t afford the attendee rate (got three, reduced rated two). Although a few offered their services for the cost of attending which is an easy yes. Thanks to Francesca for doing the video above, Jane for looking after social, and Trent for taking some wicked pics.
This wasn’t just a money making exercise, although, to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly on top of the meaty risk of covering the $20k venue costs plus speaker fees, printing charges etc., a financial profit was one of the blatant goals.
It took nearly 4.5 months of my time, probably 25 hours a week (then again I already knew every speaker plus have experience of running events via my TEDxWellington and Collider experience).
The total profit reached into five figures with no sponsors to bring the costs down or partners involved to take any of the operational activities on.
There’s are definite areas for improvement or just things I learned from this endeavour, including:
Refocussing success targets—I was very precious about selling out and hungry to do so. Even though there were only 10 tickets left, it bugged me that I didn’t (and not because of the money I would’ve made). Should learn to celebrate what was achieved instead of getting stressed out on this one big goal (see final lesson).
Invest in (ethical) PR—I could’ve afforded to pay for someone to get some coverage of the event in gatekeeper publications and in return would’ve probably sold out.
Learning to steer—being an MC is not my most comfortable role, although I’m getting better and a good skill to have in the arsenal, it’s still something which needs more honing.
Build a team—even though I hired my good pals from TEDxWellington to assist on the day, adding a couple more specifically to look after tech and little minor things would’ve been nice.
Find partners / sponsors—see business model above.
Celebrate—I just created a medium sized skill based event in a very small market and succeeded on all accounts. Yet I’m struggling to figure out why I can’t celebrate (with grace):
There have been calls to replicate the event in Auckland plus some individual enquiries to repeat for specific organisations. Will follow up the latter to see if it’s viable, and explore the former through some partner organisations like the Council and economic development agency there.
Later on in the year, am looking to develop and deliver another broad skill / topic based event in Wellington and to build on this experience and learnings.
And next year, do it again as looking at the feedback there’s a desire.
Watch this space.
And finally, the event was wonderfully wrapped up by Ali Jacs, summarising the whole day in one superb poem:
Any successful presentation is not judged by what is said,
but by what the listener received.
So tell me,
What have you received?
Today we’ve heard from some of the best
To help us put our storytelling to the test
Under the microscope of enquiry
To dig down deep
into our own stories
DK brought us the practical slide deck tips
To present like a ninja-boss
To make each word pop like a hot toast out of the toaster, perfectly done
Emotions wrapped up inside each and every word
And in every slide, a story
When it’s all said and done, at the end of the day,
What’s the word you want people to remember?
Speaking with Purpose
Sometimes the quietest people have the loudest minds
And Dr Michelle Dickinson is one of those of those indeed
She started out as Santa Claus
Pulling out gifts of introverted wisdom from her sack,
for us to all receive
before revealing her true identity
The character she became to overcome
The sweaty palms and heart beating like a drum
Those balled up words that caught in the back of her throat
the superhero conjurer
Who can turn sabertooth tigers
Into a room full of kittens,
And with that, the warm, furry, fuzzies of connection began
to weave their way through the room
Michelle reminded us that successful presentation is not judged by what is said
but by what the listener received
And I don’t know about you,
But I received the glorious image of a room full of kittens,
And that’s pretty freaking awesome in my book
Sarb Johal reminded us,
That we should tread with our verbal footprints
Ever so carefully
Social relationships are not rocket science – they’re far more complicated than that.
With so many parts of the brain to process the stories we hear,
Language can be a bridge or a barrier across the spaces in between
For my interpretation of your “we”,
May be more than simply you and me
It could be,
my friends and not you,
Or we as in I,
Or we as in you
Or we as in every liked minded person on Earth
And all in all these situations, “we” has been found wanting in authenticity
And always remember,
Whether you’re finger tapping, gesturing or playing with intonation
Never communicate that you are nervous, you’ll only be atrocious
if you don’t believe your message, your body will betray you
Be Mona Lisa calm, and you will always be tremendous
Just simply tremendous
Now just as that energy loan shark from the morning’s caffeine hit
was knocking on the doors of our attention, to collect….
Emma Hart took to the stage, to take us on a journey
Beyond the stats
Beyond the facts
Beyond communication just for relevance
Into communication for elegance
Whether we seek to shift the world with our words
Or just to stop being bullied in the boardroom
The metaphor is a tugboat
that can begin to turn the course
Of the freight liners of our predominant narrative
pulling us from the dull oceans of the mundane
Into the vast, limitless seas of visual language
Where we share our stories with intent
The less words, the more meaning,
Talk like you talk, not like you write
Any if all else fails, find your inner Eminem or Lauryn Hill
And channel the rapper within
To close us off for the evening,
We turned our attentive ears,
To Glenis Hiria Philip-Barbara, a living, breathing story of culture
The woman who last year inspired me to set out on a journey
Towards kotahi miriona kōrerorero i Te Reo Maori
One million conversations in Te Reo Māori
When you start the narrative of your life,
Where do you begin?
A good place to start is with the purpose
The foundations of your story
Literally to hold fast to your foundations
And Glenis’s middle name Hiria means to be held
So let’s hold these words like the gift of language
Balanced on the tips of our tongues
Or like snorkestral maneuvers in the wharenui
Punctuating the darkness until the early morning light of te rā whiti
Let’s store them in the treasure trove of our voicebox,
To call upon anytime we need to find our kaupapa
We each hold individual strands of story
That have unravelled behind us throughout our past
But when we weave them together,
With purpose, passion,
Presence and conversation
We get a beautiful rope of storytelling creation
One of the key lessons I’ve learned in telling stories is to be succinct,
So haere ra, ka kite ano koutou,
to both the introverts going home for a nap
And those heading downstairs for a drink
Since arriving over five years ago, Aotearoa definitely feels like home.
Due to the international audience and network I’ve been luckily enough to accumulate over the years, here’s a couple of ways to get your bums over here, live the dream and add value to this progressive little nation:
If you’re in the tech industry then *Looksee Wellington gives you no excuse to explore opportunities in the creative capital. If you’re free 8-11 May 2017 then hurry and submit your details to the site:
“…we’re bringing 100 of the best people we can find to fill 100 great tech jobs right here in Wellington. It’ll be four days of pre-arranged job interviews, meet-ups and exploration, with all flights and accommodation paid for. At the end of the week there’ll be offers to jobs you never knew existed in a place with a lifestyle you never thought possible.”
*Edmund Hillary Fellowship is the brainchild and result of the good work my pals at Kiwi Connect has been doing. Be sure to check the small print though as applications can set you back $850-$3,000 if applying from overseas (although this is cheaper than other visa routes):
“Global Impact Visas (GIVs) is an innovative new visa programme that aims to give visionary entrepreneurs, investors, and startup teams a platform in New Zealand to build, incubate and support ventures with global impact potential.”
Soon after registering the organiser reached out to invite me to say a few ‘inspirational’ words at the beginning. With the theme of “networking technology for social change” definitely lighting my fire it was an easy yes, however, leading three social media sessions and one on creating videos on your mobile phones sessions later, being a simple attendee was somewhat scuppered.
As with all good unconferences, the agenda is never set with the participants defining the events content. Switching mindsets early on and being open to offer as much as to take from these community focussed affairs certainly increased my enjoyment, plus the conversations provoked by the sessions definitely added to my knowledge / understanding.
Huge thanks to the organisers and sponsors of the event. Volunteering, attending and supporting such initiatives is so important in building informed communities of practice from which good things always are born.
“When I asked DK to share some insights about what he’d learned from running TEDXWellington at our community unconference, his answer was a very quick yes. His opening words really set everyone up for the day in terms of creating an atmosphere where people were willing to freely share. The well chosen stories gave people confidence to take a leap into the unknown. From there, many participants, probably two thirds, took the opportunity to join a impromptu session DK ran. It was a delight to have DK involved in our day, something I hope we are able to do again.” Stephen Blyth, Organiser, NetSquared Wellington
Was very surprised how little my ideas and tactics have changed, spruced them up a little though and here they are:
1. Finish the presentation the night before—it stays fresher in your brain than if you completed it a few weeks previous. Gives you time to add in new industry and sector developments plus it also offers the opportunity to add in references from earlier talks (if it’s more than a one day event). Most importantly though it doesn’t give you a chance to practice (GASP)…
2. Don’t practice—a great talk is like a conversation (and no conversation goes the way you planned, no matter how many times you practice it in your head). Sure, run through it once or twice to check the timings plus transitions etc but this is more an exercise of knowing what you want to convey rather than rehearsing exactly what to say verbatim. Remember, you can practise your talk but you can never practise speaking in front of a room of strangers / your colleagues / your board etc.
3. Don’t do lecterns—it forms a physical barrier between you and your audience. Less is definitely more in this instance and before you say, “where do I put my script?”…
4. Never use a script—if you know your stuff you don’t need it written down. This method means: head down, losing intonation / connection with your audience / professionalism. We don’t talk the same way we write and it just doesn’t work. If you’re an organiser of any events / conferences, ban podiums and scripts. It will scare a lot away but I guarantee you’ll be left with fantastic speakers who simply know their stuff.
5. Let your client dictate the topic not the content—I once had a very needy client who heavily dictated the content of a presentation to the point of even signing it off weeks before. It’s the ONLY time the organisers didn’t think I delivered (even though three quarters of the audience thought I was good/very good). Coincidence maybe, but experience tells me otherwise.
6. Move—the best speakers are passionate and passion means movement. Move around the stage / floor. Move your arms, your face, your eyebrows. Communicate with your body not just your words / slides.
7. Look at your audience—don’t pick a spot at the back of the room / hall and drift off. Sometimes this is hard if you’re speaking on a lit stage but you can still make people out. After a while you can have some fun with this: I like to pick out those yet to be convinced (you’ll spot them through body language—the ones with their arms crossed and sitting back in their seat—once you have them coming forward and sitting on the edge of their chairs and nodding their heads you know you’re onto a winner).
8. Bullets kill people attention—people can read faster in their heads than you can read it out loud. Break each point up into a slide and use one word titles for each to direct your talk. They act as cues for the topics or a point I want to convey. The figurative underline comes from the images/video plus the story weaved around it.
9. Fool your nerves—those damn butterflies can turn into courage-eating moths which can eat you from the inside out. Trick them. The emotional and physiological response to fear is exactly the same as when you’re excited. Tell yourself it’s not nerves but positive anticipation and after a while you will create an ingrained learned response.
10. Enjoy it—if you don’t have fun speaking then don’t do it. There are other ways to promote yourself or spread your message.
Would you give an airline and their partners access to all your phones images and files?
Air New Zealand has the best customer flight experience I’ve ever experienced during my global travels. I feel very lucky to live in the same country where I fly often on this superior airline.
However, at the end of last year, a recent change to their very useful little smartphone app requesting a new permission created a small but massive privacy issue for its users.
The new update requests access to all images and files on my mobile (see opposite). Why?
Well, I tweeted asking for clarification and the reason: access will give me the user an opportunity to add an avatar and / or change background images of destinations (although the app will never see anything but those images selected).
So that’s full access to a users images and files on a users phone for a little customisation.
That’s like giving your house keys to a friend who has agreed to hang a painting for you. Although in doing you have to agree they never return your keys. They state it’s ok as they only will ever go in and do what they promised. You kind of trust them although they have the keys to your home. They can share these keys at any time with other people. You won’t ever know unless you ask them.
That’s what Air NZ just did.
Of course this is probably a limitation of the software and operating system they are designing in although certainly not something to just accept without further exploration.
Lots of other tweets followed after my initial queries above which then switched over to Twitter DM discussion (which you can download and read yourself here) during which time I was given the email address of the Privacy Office to pursue further.
Here’s the questions (in bold) I posed with the airlines responses (in italic):
1. It’s been stated a couple of times that the app permission request ONLY sees the single image file used to create a new avatar not all files which is stated in the permission update. Please would you evidence this via a video or software workflow please (bearing in mind I’m not a coder or app developer).
The Air New Zealand android app does not access a user’s photos without their knowledge, and does not access a user’s gallery folder. In order for a photo to be uploaded to the Air New Zealand android app, the image must be saved locally within the app on a user’s device. The process required to save the image locally is declared by the Google Play Store as an ‘Access to photos’ permission, hence why the permission is sought during the update process.
The online team and the Privacy Office have confirmed that the image is only saved on a user’s device, and Air New Zealand has no access to user’s photos (including the image chosen by a user)
Due to the commercially sensitive nature of the information, Air New Zealand is unable to provide the position stated with a video or software workflow. We hope the detailed explanation provided by Air New Zealand in this, and your earlier correspondence suffice in covering your query.
3. It was mentioned access to all information held by AirNZ could be gained although there’s no specific route for this. Would you please outline via a simple graphical workflow of how to gain this information plus the timelines involved (again, I have requested it through the means described in previous conversation and at time of writing still no response)?
I can appreciate the intellectual property nature of some of the software stuff and hesitation in illustrating what’s happening openly, however, the option still remains that at anytime the app could change it’s function and then access the files / photos as no further permission would be needed or requested from its users (as that has been agreed to). Again, a future scenario which is probably not intentional, however, with foresight this should become obvious in terms of the privacy issue it’s creating.
As an ironic aside, the above response from the airline wasn’t signed and / or named. I requested a name so I could direct my response personally but they stated: “The Privacy Office email is a shared inbox, we do not disclose the names of individuals.”
As a further aside, I requested all information that the airline has on me on 19 December 2016 although at the time of writing this blog post I have yet to receive anything.
I finally got the names of those in charge of Privacy which are the GM Governance, Risk and Compliance and the Senior Manager Data Protection (thanks public affairs office as privacy office wouldn’t share). Can imagine they are good humans and interested in responding in the comments about the above and looking forward to them doing so.
So for any Air NZ customers reading this: did you allow the app update and think about the above? Did you think about the consequences and others I haven’t thought about? Would you like the options to roll back the update if it was granted?
Just before making this blog post live today I checked the update and permission request again on my mobile.
As you can see from opposite it seems someone else also challenged them about the above in the app comments.
Furthermore, it appears the airline has admitted it was a fault plus rolled back the permission requests.
Fantastic news and a wonderful surprise.
Obviously, there’s been a great amount of energy expended on all those tweets, conversations, emails (from myself and the staff at Air NZ) not to mention the crafting of this blog post, however, it’s so important to keep asking these types of questions related to personal privacy of companies with whom are requesting more and more data from us.
At the time of posting no-one has gotten back in touch with me personally to cite this mistake and reversal of requested permissions.
*all of the above related to using Android.
Had a personal email response from the GM Governance, Risk and Compliance, apologetic as to the delay in the airline sending through my requested data (it’s now two months since the original request). Someone else from the Privacy Office then got in touch requesting lots of data already held by them via my Koru membership. They also requested I email them a scanned copy of an ID or mail it.
The above citation for extra information is not anywhere online or explained as a process which a user has to go through. The data the airline already holds is enough to qualify the request.
Obviously, I welcome any instances where clarification of identity is needed to combat fraud, however, actions which undermine personal privacy should always be refused. I responded stating this and also offering two solutions: the first to show my ID to any of their colleagues when I fly for validation and then for that person to send an email or call any person to qualify it, or to take a phone call to answer any personal identifiable information held by them.
Still waiting on a response.
Am hoping also my pro bono offer of assisting them in the human centred design approach of them reimagining their current data request process will be taken up. Truly keen to assist in making this airline a fully rounded excellent company.
Also received the following response from Senior Manager – External Communications | Group Communications:
“Thank you for getting in touch with your queries around the photo permissions on our android app. Our developers have been working on an update to support the ‘avatar’ functionality without the need for the user to provide access to their files/photos and, as you may be aware, a new version of the android app (v 3.19) was released early this month. Installs of the updated version, or any new installs, will ensure that the user’s permissions will be updated and it will no longer request access to their files/photos.
Please be assured despite the relatively broad permissions with respect to photos on the app previously it was never our intention to collect any personal information from the files or photos on our customer’s phones and we certainly didn’t do so.
We take privacy very seriously and privacy is designed into all of our systems that collect, process or store our customers’ personal information.”
Good to have the reversal of the app design and it’s questionable permission requests validated.
Would be great to know if the decision was due to internal work on road mapping and realising it’s impact or users asking questions like myself and others via Twitter / app comments / other avenues (or maybe a bit of both)? Would also question if this case has created a new thinking about feeding back to those who have raised points which are now resolved (as again, I didn’t get any personal responses but found out of the changes after my own research)?
Don’t want to diminish the decision here, more keen to celebrate the impact of procedures which are at work here.
Brands struggle with these things. Of reversing decisions. Of getting things wrong.
We should celebrate the new decisions and actions which rectify mistakes. Show gratitude and humanise the instances (and encourage similar language from people representing the organisations). Because every company, no matter how large or small, are built and moulded by infallible and glorious humans.
Well done Air NZ for fixing an error in their app design. Looking forward to seeing the same rigour and simplicity applied to the personal data information request.
Got confirmed with a phone call I am who I am so hopefully the personal data request will be put through and all information received in due course.
Got my personal data via email from the privacy office. Lots to wade through although there’s nothing about app use.