When I used to write

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The past few weeks have been asking me to get back to blogging. But some have been really introspective weeks. It is that time of year –

What have I accomplished in 2013?

What do I want to do differently next year?

A year ago, I dove head first into a new job. I re entered the corporate world after a two year hiatus. I didn’t know if I would last months or years.

And now I do. I know what I love. And I know what I don’t. And I accept that my life has to have a mix of both to provide me with a full and balanced happiness.

As I’ve settled back into myself, I have also wanted to write. But I’ve been conflicted about the ego of writing essentially about my life, and placing it under a URL which is my name. One of my biggest influences in getting back to it has been Fred Wilson of avc.com. When I first embarked on blogging, I read a lot. And wrote a little. At that time, Fred mentioned in a post why he blogged and how it helped him organise his thoughts. I’ve tried that approach this year, but without publishing. It works.

So I’ve decided that this year I will publish. Sometimes my posts may help others as they wrestle with similar questions and issues. And sometimes they may just be observations. We’ll see how it turns out.

My commitment to myself: to publish. Good, bad, and boring.

If I help just one person in a year, that’s ok. Because I am sure that structuring my thoughts and putting pen to paper will make me better at my day to day, which is bound to help all those who have to deal with me regularly.

Have a happy new year and challenge yourself to take one risk each day this year.

How Much Emotional Intelligence Does A Turnaround Need?

Photo Credit: elephantjournal.com

I had to share this piece from my new fave email, The LAUNCH Ticker. Since this is the second post in a row where I focus exclusively on this great newsletter, I will try to generate my own thoughts next time. But this is worth sharing.

I’ve inadvertently* worked in a turnaround setting before and I can see how important this stuff is. I’ve never worked for management with this level of understanding of people when I’ve been in a turnaround setting and it has always shown in the outcome. Continue Reading…

We Agree: Apple Not So Easy To Use

I read this on today’s LAUNCH Ticker:

@johnbattelle: $aapl products no longer easy for him or wife to use; cites fails in Lion, crappy productivity apps, ‘other’ storage prob on iPhone 4 – Link 9:09AM
@jason: I think iCloud is really confusing for folks, and I had Lion crash my machine (required a new install). I’m not sure if these issues are a trend yet, but JBat tends to find these trends early. I wonder if Apple is getting a little less diligent or if they just haven’t made products this complicated on the cloud/software side before? – 4:36PM

Just this week, Andrew and I discussed how we would look at alternatives to Apple on our next tech upgrade cycles. As our kids start using iPods and other devices, we find it too complicated to manage via iCloud. I wish we could send some of the great online customer experience people over to Cuppertino to focus solely on sorting this out. Device experience is clearly a different skillset to online experience (including the online via pc and online via mobile device challenge).

Love to hear of any tips for managing iCloud across a family. And if you don’t subscribe to @jason’s LAUNCH Ticker, I suggest you give it a try.

Three Reasons Facebook is No Longer Fun

By the River

By the River (Photo credit: urbanworkbench)

More and more, I am seeing how Mr. Zuckerburg might have missed the mark on his transparency mantra. Our lives are multifaceted. There is certainly a place for separation between these facets, especially one’s professional life and personal life. Not because we have something to hide personally, or professionally for that matter. But simply because in the new world of Facebook being used for business, our personal feeds are so polluted by messages that are “work” that they are no longer “fun”.

We live and work in an era of unprecedented connectivity. Many of us watch television with an iPad on our laps – viewing two screens simultaneously. And that same connectivity allows us freedom to work from anywhere and therefore at any time. This benefit brings a risk: the only way to shut down professionally could be to disconnect personally. Isn’t that sad?

I live on the opposite side of the world from my family and many of my friends. When I moved to Australia, Facebook was a wonderful way to share what I was up to, how my kids were growing, and to hear about the important and banal moments in their lives. And then the marketing started.

In order to promote my business, I need to be connected to a number of organisations, many of whom do most of their communicating through Facebook. And so I can only really log on for enjoyment if I’m also prepared to respond to work related things. And even though I own a small business, and I’m usually prepared to jump on a good opportunity, I’m old enough to know from experience that I’m no good to my business if I’m burnt out or unfocussed.

Here are the three problems I see with Facebook that have reduced how much I use it as a consumer:

1. Interlaced personal and business messages have made my timeline a scrolling marketing billboard.

Who doesn’t want some leisure time that is not trying to sell you something?

2. Requirement to be friends with someone before they can become an admin on your page.

Working virtually means that I don’t actually know some of these people, though they do a great job and are indispensible to my business.

3. Requirement to use Facebook as a business tool results in it moving to the list of things I only want to use with a professional hat on.

Meaning that I’d rather share my life somewhere else. I just don’t know what that somewhere else is yet.

And it seems that many of my “in real life” friends have noticed this too as the updates they post (or Facebook’s algorithm allows me to see) have reduced substantially over recent months. Yes, Facebook is a great tool with a phenomenal user base. No, Facebook is not going to thrive as the information superhighway’s billboard service that it has become.

Algorithmic tweaking is clearly focussed on that ever important number of how many posts we each see from any of the contributors to our newsfeed. Facebook is still thinking about their customer, but that customer is no longer each of us as a person, it is the businesses they need to pay  for ads and feed Wall Street.

If you have a solution for keeping it fun, please share it in the comments. 

Diary of a Mumpreneur: Next Up Display Advertising

When I sat down to write this post, the sheer number of things that have been done in the past month to move Oola forward was really exciting. And it could not have come at a better time to recall those small accomplishments as we draw to the end of the school term, and I know that I’m facing a couple of weeks where very little gets done apart from entertaining the eager and energetic school kids I love so dearly.

It’s funny how with each accomplishment comes a list of lessons learned and new actions to complete! Here’s a couple of things I’ve learned this month that hopefully can help you with some ideas without having to make the mistake first.

1. Communicate every new product. We’ve grown our inventory by about 50% over the past 4-6 weeks which has been exciting, but I realised that we’ve added lots more than I’ve managed to communicate. I sometimes put new products on Facebook through a photo gallery, and sometimes in our newsletter, but other times they just go up on the site quietly. A definite area for improvement! And for those of you spending a winter afternoon indoors, we’ve added lots of beautiful wooden puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers as well as significantly increasing our range of Ravensburger Jigsaws for older kids. We’ve also added 500 piece puzzles which I’ve heard are difficult to find in bricks and mortar stores.

2. Newsletter experiments. I’m very aware that people are reading newsletters more and more on mobile phones – a really high proportion of Oola newsletters are opened on iphones. So I adapted it to be easy to read on a mobile phone. And then I had my lowest click through ever! I brooded over this for a few days, and am still not certain whether it was the content, the format, or the timing. This is a lesson in progress …

3. Use a Virtual Assistant! A couple of months ago, I wrote about needing a team. I’ve since started working with Michelle from Consider It Sorted. Just having someone else to help pick up some of the details I can’t manage has been invaluable. This is one where I wish I’d done it sooner and am delighted with the results.

Despite all the activity, I’m ready to embark on a new advertising approach: display. I’d love the thoughts and advice of any of you who’ve used display advertising – what sites worked well, not well, did you use an ad network like Nuffnang or Google, did you use the same creative across all channels, the list goes on.

The irony of me asking these questions is that in my past career, I’ve been the media owner, the one trying to convince advertisers to spend their dollars with my company. It is amazing how intimidating it is to be on the other side of that equation. I could really use some advice.

Thanks so much in advance!

Photo credit: BrittneyBush via Flickr

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This post originally appeared on Diary of a Mumpreneur 14 June 2012. 

 

 

 

My Guest Posts from Diary of a Mumpreneur

For the past few months, I’ve been guest posting on the Connect2Mum’s Diary of a Mumpreneur feature. Once each month, I provide an update of what’s going on in my business distilled down into 400 words. So far, I have not published these on this blog, but decided that going forward I will.

Because C2M requires a login, I am providing a link to the full contents of each post here with a link back at the end to the original. If you’re a mum in business, C2M is a great community, and I’d encourage you to take part.

May 2012: The Happiness of Hard Work

April 2012: Where’s My Team? 

March 2012: Toys, Toys, and more Toys! 

February 2012: The Accidental Entrepreneur

If there’s something you’d like to hear about, let me know and I’ll find the time to share it.

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