2021 Festive Season

Happy birthday David Bowie.

I had the best Christmas day. My daughter and son-in-law hosted a beautiful lunch and our family enjoyed being together with food in the garden. I was enthralled by my grandson and was in bliss watching how he navigates his backyard and extended family. It was the best day ever. On Boxing day I visited my son’s new place and enjoyed a stay with him and my son-in-law showing me around their new neighbourhood and home and enjoying more delicious food.

I’ve spent a little time working on my new place, which still hasn’t settled, so I haven’t done anything major yet. It’s been good to be in the space and I’ve changed my plans a few times due to noticing more.

I’ve been listening to a lot of astrologers and have found out there are many systems, which has set me back a little as I try to work out which is most relevant for me. I have relistened to the Mystic Medusa rant on Saturn in Aquarius “Imagine if we had basically highly qualified public servants whose role it is to enact the will of the people.” That was in reference to technology that could allow the people to vote on each issue. Saturn in Aquarius sounds promising and then it will be followed by Pluto in Aquarius.

I watched a 6 season series on ABC Iview called Stella, a BBC production. It’s a lighthearted comedy about a community and there were so many beautiful scenes in it.

I listened to an old lecture from Margaret Atwood from 1994. I have no idea how I came across it, to be honest, but still gold. She has a brilliant sense of humour.

I’ve consumed a heap of other media as well. In between sitting outside watching bees buzz around on my unmown lawn and catching up for coffees and chats with friends. I’ve continued my daily practise learning Portuguese on Duolingo.

I’ve made some progress on the book about The VRI experience and completed my first interview this week with a past staff member. There is still so much to do. Time is strange because I often felt like things weren’t happening fast enough and I wasn’t doing enough. Looking back though, a lot happened, more than I realised.

I’m very grateful for my own experience of 2020. As far as the new year goes I am looking forward to Chinese New Year on Friday 12th February. The year of the Ox sounds better than the year of the Rat.

Guard your joy at this time.

The Modern Techniques of Sales and Negotiation

A local company, In2 Project Management hosted Jack Corbett to deliver sales training and I was fortunate to win a ticket to the event. Neil Betts and Chris Allford from In2 have been supportive of our project – The VRI – and worked with me in 2014 to help me realise the vision we had for a community space. They are an appreciated part of our whole community approach that has made The VRI what it is.

Jack Corbett practises what he preaches. I got a pre-event call from his sales team to ask what I was most seeking from the training and this was well and truly covered with humour and humility by Jack in the training. He packed a lot into the 5 hour session, covering the process of sales and negotiations as well as sharing a lot of learning, presenting and business improvement tips. I received a call after the event and had the opportunity to work on my elevator pitch with one of ISR’s team members, which was a bonus.

Jack’s company ISR gave participants access to his LMS allowing us a vast range of resources to interact with. The training session was packed with value and my friends who attended were impressed. One of the bonuses he offered was a live call on overcoming objections a couple of mornings later, lots of us showed up.

The last sales training I did, was in the 90’s with Money & You, when I was on the sales team. When the opportunity to do this training came up I reflected on what I needed to improve. That’s where the learning process begins isn’t it? Looking at yourself and thinking about the results you are getting and what could be better. This was reinforced by the call from ISR.

What I most wanted to improve was closing a sale. One of the distinctions I got was to stop talking and give the client/customer/person the opportunity to think. Interestingly I’ve been doing the Lifeline training this year and the learning has been similar. It is more powerful to listen and to allow people to think for themselves.

I’m very grateful to the In2 team for sharing this learning opportunity with our region. The training was very affordable and improved sales is something we can all benefit from. The investment of time (and $$ if I hadn’t been a winner!) was entirely worth it.

21 July 2019

I finished ‘Everybody Lies – What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are‘ by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz this week. It was about how, as you might imagine, when we are speaking to a person, we tell them what we think they want to hear, or base our response on who we want them to think we are. Our searches and big data from sites like Google, Facebook and the multitude of sources that we leave evidence about who we are on, as well as what we do, that is tracked by our devices, will reveal a different truth.

Some of the examples he uses to demonstrate his knowledge are not what I would focus on if I had the knowledge to access the data, but the methodology is what I found inspiring. There are so many great questions that data could answer. When you add AI to the mix, the potentials are boundless. In Stephens-Davidowitz’s conclusion he says

“Social science is becoming a real science, and this new real science is poised to improve our lives.”

I started trying to learn data analysis and only completed one unit. The maths and the language were difficult, but I can’t help but feel if I learnt this language and the formulas it would be helpful to respond more thoughtfully and meaningfully to our community. At the very least it would give me more direction to further test in.

Is data analysis a part of social science study at our Universities? Perhaps it would be a valuable addition. I found this MOOC and have enrolled but I may have to finish the other other one I started to have the skills to do it.

I had a little play with Google Trends . I think I could lose many hours on that site and may in the future. You can look up searches based on years, geography and compare search terms – see below.

There have been trials and errors in the time I’ve worked in my current role. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to learn as much as I’ve learnt in this last six years. There is so much more to learn.

One of the tools he discussed was data doppelgangers, which led me to read this – https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/data-doppelgangers-and-the-uncanny-valley-of-personalization/372780/ and who hasn’t wondered about the ad targeting. This article is 5 years old so I imagine a lot of progress has been made since then.

There are existing resources like – https://data.gov.au/ which is open data from the government. I had a look at the Latrobe Valley sources available. There was nothing there from Department of Education, DSS or DHHS. There is a lot of other information available, some of it quite old. I will take more time to see what I can learn.

This book was recommended on the Impact Boom podcast – Bradley Clair & Nicholas Kamols On How To Power On With Your Social Enterprise. These two guys have been doing amazing work around the planet with recycled electronics and it’s a great story. There’s references in the podcast to some great social enterprise projects in schools that Tom Allen has worked on. I’ve previously read Bold and have started Abundance by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler, so the final recommended book to read from this podcast is 21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.

Impact Boom posted this week 60 Recommended books that global changemakers are reading in 2019 , there are some great books I’ve read on it but many many more to read.

On Friday night I saw this post from Rob Rees, who is a mentor I have had access to this year. He delivered the Kitchen Challenge program at The VRI earlier this year and I have seen a lot of growth in the participants that did the course. I have been thinking about it and reflecting on how we can shift our projects from hybrid non-profit to social enterprise. It’s not a new thought but the clarity of this image cut through some confusion I feel when I hear the term ‘social enterprise’ applied to government funded projects.