On the daily

Step back in time

My 16 year old son Fynn has a mate, also 16 who for reasons I still don’t understand is obsessed with the music of my generation.

I know this because there was a “gatho” (no, not a party or a rave or a shindig, a “gatho”…don’t ask) at our place and Fynn’s mate was playing DJ.

This was some of his play list:

INXS – Never Tear Us Apart

B52’s – Love Shack

Benny Andersson- One Night in Bangkok

George Michael – Careless Whispers

Earth Wind & Fire – September

Soft Cell – Tainted Love

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf

And so on and so forth.

How someone born in 2002 would end up musically back in the 1970’s and 80’s is beyond me.

But it’s fabulous.

Thanks to the power of Spotify I can now enjoy a blast from the past. Better yet, Fynn and his mates now know all these tunes and I have finally found a DJ for my 50th.

On the daily

The Murdoch connection

Waiting with gritted teeth to watch Steve Bannon, the very worst of America being interviewed on the ABC’s 4 Corners program tonight. He is in Australia for a tour to I assume promote his special breed of hate. Given he was fired from the White House he’s gotta make a buck somehow.

I heard a theory lately that wherever Murdoch is, right wing, extremists lurk.

In the US, Murdoch’s “Fair and Balanced” Fox TV delivered the White House to Trump and continue to be the mouthpiece for the Orange one.

In the UK, Murdoch’s SkyTV delivered the Brexit result the nationalists were after.

In Australia, Murdoch owns The Australian and Daily Telegraph Newspapers. He also owns the Sky TV network featuring an evening cavalcade of right wing, anti-immigrant, climate denying talking heads screaming down the lens at a relatively small viewer base. In combination they delivered one of the poorest organised political coups anywhere in the world. In the end they didn’t get their man in the top job. But it revealed with absolute clarity the influence Murdoch’s media outlets have on the political scene Down Under.

Each of these these countries are facing a nearly unprecedented level of political instability. They are each directionless with no clear policy views.

Canada and New Zealand offer a stark contrast. No Murdoch media interests in either country and both feature clear political leadership.

Chalk and cheese.

On the daily

Putting everything in its place.

After another year of non-filing, of efficiently putting bits of paper in random places, today was the day I pulled the office apart.

And it was glorious. Business-y things in this pile, tax returns in that pile. The kids school reports over here, bills over there. A pile for goodwill. A pile for recycling and some for the bin.

Two observations.

1. The amount of paper in our lives is plummeting if you choose to e-pay everything. That suggests that at some point in our kids lives filing cabinet makers will be going the way of the Farrier.

2. I’m not convinced human beings are wired to be organised. I did a thorough piece of research using a massive dataset made up of my two co-workers in the office here and revealed that a full 66.6% of all workers globally are catastrophically disorganised. The growing number of books and businesses that have emerged to help the hopelessly disorganised supports this view

Of my own experience, while I felt pangs of anxiety through yet another year of disorganised chaos the sense of relief after filing / throwing / burning won’t be enough I fear to keep the habit up.

Why I wonder? There’s a PhD in there for sure.

On the daily

Something from nothing

The work of an entrepreneur is to make something from nothing. And that’s pretty hard which is why so many start ups fail and fail really early on.

I was thinking of this today as I followed the hilarious story of Peter Dutton. Last week Australia endured yet another political coup. A small group of right wingers in the Liberal party (basically the Republicans) self-immolated by axing their Liberal leader and current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in favour of what everyone thought would be Peter Dutton, a not-very-popular Immigration Minister with no real personal appeal. In the end Dutton failed in his bid and we now have Scott Morrison who likes to be called #ScoMo and believes that if all his Ministers wear Australian flags on their lapels they will actually be reminded to work for us, the people who elected them.

Twitter of course lit up over this farce and there was collateral damage. Twitterers nailed Peter Dutton over his coup attempt and backroom dealings. The only thing was many attackers were targeting the wrong Peter Dutton. @PeterDutton5 responded: “I wish the people of Australia would look at my profile and realize I’m a 30 yr old black man before sending me tweets and DMs”

The Australian public then embraced this young man from Texas. Even The New York Times ran a story. We got to learn that he has a wife and they are expecting their first child in January. People urged him to run for the leadership. He dubbed himself the “People’s Prime Minister” and thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, he and the First Lady are coming to Australia next month!

He runs a popcorn empire “SoulFood Popcorn” and I think he’s after distribution down here!

So what’s this got to do with creating something from nothing? Peter has done this in spades. This morning on Twitter he mentioned his wife and given him new golf kit as an early birthday present. The Aussie Twitterverse replied immediately wishing him a happy birthday and letting him know that today is in fact Father’s Day down here. As the People’s PM he will now be celebrating two Father’s Days once his little one is born!

As a lover of golf, I invited him to play golf with Peter during his trip and he agreed! We are also workshopping his business and my sons have agreed to be popcorn taste testers! Twitter can be a hate- filled mess or a place where anything is possible. A place where a random stranger on one side of the planet ends up as the People’s PM on the other side of the planet.

On the daily

Perspective is everything

One of the happy unexpected outcomes from starting our company 15 years ago was gaining an interest in long distance running.

Being based in Portland, Oregon – America’s running capital, it was inevitable. With Nike and Adidas both headquartered in this relatively small town, the place was swarming with runners.

Going for a gallop also allows for some healthy separation from my co-founder who is also my wife.

So for all the years living in the US and now back in Oz, running marathons is a big part of my life.

From a horrendous first effort at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games test marathon event to last year running the Melbourne Marathon I am up to about 15 of them. The US offers multiple races each week so I managed to see much of the country. There were marathons in New York, Phoenix, Tucson, Portland, Las Vegas and Eugene.

This year I am running the Sydney Marathon for the first time in 18 years. It’s special as it starts by running over the Sydney Harbor Bridge at sunrise. I am 5 weeks out and the training miles are getting longer.

Today I ran in Centennial Park as I often do but for the first time ever I did it counter-clockwise. Thousands of miles of running and today I went around it back to front. I did that because it’s part of the Sydney Marathon course and I wanted to see what it felt like.

I wasn’t expecting it but every single part of the park looked foreign to me even though I run it three times a week and even though all I changed was the direction. The rugby fields looked different. The horse riding area looked different. The bike rental place looked different. I couldn’t immediately see the cafe that is so familiar when coming at it from the usual direction.

It reminded me that perspective is everything. In business, relationships, sport…changing perspectives changes everything. Being aware that perspective is key and knowing how to change perspective is such valuable skill. It’s one of the few ways you can change an outcome.

On the daily

Unknown unknowns

It’s been a busy few weeks since landing back in Oz from the UK. While Kim has remained in London I have been solo-parenting and working from Sydney.

The kids may have rickets given their exclusively Coco Pops derived diet under my household leadership.

Kim headed to NY last weekend to speak at the UN’s Youth Assembly addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. She was also a judge for an impact start-up competition and met some amazing young entrepreneurs from all over the world. There were in fact 1,000 delegates from 100 countries.

Kim made an interesting and somewhat uncomfortable observation after learning about these fantastic young entrepreneurs.

In these rapidly changing times, we have the tendency to mistake what we believe is much-valued wisdom with a limited Fixed Mindset that forecloses on possibility.

When we started gDiapers in 2005, we came into it with “beginner mind” as we had no experience in Consumer Goods, fundraising, team building, moving to America-ing and indeed parenting as we had just become parents too. The beginner minds is also known as a “Growth Mindset“. Without it we would have never gotten the business off the ground.

It strikes me that a Fixed Mindset probably comes with age. And as we are now older – 48 (!), maybe we have slipped in our way of thinking. That is a dangerous thing given just how fast the world is now changing. Just when you think you know it all, you realize you don’t. Or you don’t realize you don’t and live a life of unknown unknowns in the famous words of Donald Rumsfeld. (Remember those simpler times of just lying about going to war? Good times. Hit the link – my favorite press conference).

Food for thought.

On the daily

Plastic-free around the world.

After a full 6 weeks in the UK working on our Circular-inspired gCycle nappy product and service for nurseries, landing back in Oz has been quite the shock.

The jet lag alone took a week to wear off but far more seriously was where Australia is on the plastic-free front.

The UK and EU are miles in front with their directive to phase out non-essential plastic by a soon-to-be-announced accelerated target date. Retailers like Iceland, Waitrose and John Lewis are getting ahead of it with bans on a series of single-use plastic items.

Meanwhile back home, Coles one of our two major grocery chains has done a world-class job ballsing up something as simple as ending the provision of plastic bags at the check out.

Details here.

And I came home with so much hope…