2

Just get out there

Road

I’ve just concluded an annual series of eBusiness lectures I’ve been presenting at UWA Business School for the MBA program since 2005. ‘Getting away from the day job‘ to concentrate on the more academic side of ebusiness has always allowed me to think through what I am doing, as well as try to present some practical advice to the students taking the course. As a former teacher, I still enjoy the dynamic of the classroom.

The best bits are inviting local ebusiness leaders into the class to tell their stories. This year, they represented small and large ebusinesses, private and public, old and new. There were some gems of advice from these fellow practitioners, and the class really appreciated their insights.

The Chetty brothers, Craig and Jeremy, made for popular presenters – their infectious enthusiasm for their Student Edge business (now in its 11th year) was plain to see. “Just get out there, if you have an idea” implored CEO Craig, “you have nothing to lose.

Sam Birmingham (he of Startup weekend, Pollenizer, PhDo and CoderDojo) said of startups looking to pitch “most of them should be pitching to clients, not investors“, making the point that by just getting out there, you learn from your early customers, and don’t have to bet the bank (or other peoples’ money) to do so. In fact, you may not need investors til later, if at all. This gets around the current funding problem that seems to exist among the Perth startup community. It also echoes Amir Bhide’s Bootstrap Financing paper of the early 1990s (by far the best thing I ever read on my MBA) about just getting out there, because only by being out there will you be able to take advantage of the opportunities that exist (which you would have no idea of knowing were out there til you get out there!).

Becky Lee, of startup Virtualiis, and Chris Baudia, GeoMoby, wowed the class with their innovation. Stephen Langsford of Quickflix, Graeme Speak of GoPC and Mark Woschnak of rent.com.au, impressed with their perennial good nature and positive attitude, pitted as they are against major competitors with deep pockets. Marcus Tan of HealthEngine, and Claire McGregor (formerly of Agworld), both shared their experience in ebusiness, and everyone was incredibly giving of their time. These people also give back in huge amounts to the startup community in Perth, running events, talking with startups, having various cups of coffee and being the leaders they are.

Let’s watch their futures with interest. All of them have ‘got out there and done it’. The other road was easier, but they all choose the one they’re on. They, and many like them, are an inspiration. Thank you.

0

Bad bad project management

Bureaucracy gone mad

I’ve been involved in many, many projects over the last 30 years or so, everything from a few days of elegant efficiency to months of dreary dreadfulness. Project management is both an art and a science, and no one has ‘the’ answer… but I can tell you some things you should NOT do. Oh yes almighty.

There’s a wonderful moment in ‘Yes Minister’ (the 1980s British sitcom) where the civil servants and the Minister are discussing a new hospital. It’s working perfectly, says the bureaucrat, all systems go. Yes, but there are no patients yet, replies the Minister. Agh yes, but that’s not the point, retorts the first, hospitals work so beautifully without all those patients.

In other words, the system becomes the thing.

Beware of this when bravely beginning your next project. There is no such thing as perfection. No one knows what is going to happen. No one has all the information. Uncertainty rules. The system is not the point. The customer is.

Beware the manager who is very good at documentation, systems and processes, and scoping. Beware the initial projections of so many months, and so many tens/hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars. Run away, my friends, run while you’ve still got a life left to live and the will to live it.

For I can tell you there is nothing more soul destroying, nothing that can suck the living essence from you, than an intricately articulated, detailed project of many months. The times I’ve been told “our scoping will provide us with what we need to build” or “this will just work out of the box” or “the project will take x months and cost $y”… all lies I tell you. LIES!

Well, it’s not that these project managers are lying deliberately (although I have known some to, knowingly, to cover themselves and allow enough wiggle room for the ultimate failure that is to come). It’s just that the world is too complex, consumers too massively unpredictable, rivals often invisible, and a hundred other factors that will destroy the best laid plans of the project manager.

No, reverse the cycle. Think back from your consumer (hint: they are the one you earn revenue from), keep them close, talk to them, survey them, feed them (literally – bring them in for a chat and a meal), listen to them, and build them something they actually need, and will pay for. Something that would relieve a real pain point. And do it fast.

Jack or Jane be nimble, be quick. Do it in a month or three (no more than 3 months, ever, promise me), get out there and watch the customers use it, hear their feedback, and let the project evolve in the marketplace. Never be too arrogant to think you know what they want or what will work. Bring them in to the process, and get those document-wielding, scope-developing bureaucratic system builders well away from your organisation. They sound good, but that is all they are… noise.

Do this, and you will live to enjoy new projects, and so will your customers, your staff and ultimately your shareholders.

4

The great, the good and the ordinary

TedxPerth - Ernesto Sirolli in action on the main stage

TedxPerth – Ernesto Sirolli in action on the main stage

Public Speaking is an art form, borne of confidence, passion and clarity of thought. It also takes preparation, and time (experience). I used to hate the notion of being singled out in class, now, 40 years on, I love the chance to speak in public, and try to improve every time. 13 years of school teaching probably helped (if you were not on your game, or ill prepared, you were, rightfully, eaten alive.)

Last week I attended 5 very different events where various people spoke publicly (breakfasts, sundowners, luncheons, and all day conferences), and I also got to be a moderator in a panel, and spent one day delivering 7 hours of lectures. A talkfest! As usual the speakers ranged from the boringly dull, cringingly dreadful to the stunningly inspirational. Some were seasoned professionals, and some were fairly new to it. Some were household names, others I’d never heard of. But all were having a go.

By the far the best was Ernesto Sirolli who spoke at TEDxPerth last Saturday on the subject of sustainable development. He sauntered out onto stage, and standing on the famous circular red carpet, he immediately started telling stories that captured his audience. “How stupid are white people,” he asked, “when we are trying to do good in poor countries?” In one project he tried to bridge a river, only to realise that once it was half built (which took many months) the river itself moved about kilometre every year, making the whole exercise redundant. In another he grew the most lovely Italian tomatoes, only for the hippos to come out and eat them all. “You want to help local people? Shut up and listen!” he implored. He went on to passionately intone about all the good that lay in the Millennials (20-30 year olds), and how they were going to solve the problems of the next 100 years. He walked off to a standing ovation. A similar talk he gave to Tedx in New Zealand garnered 2 million views on Ted.com.

Another Tedx Perth speaker was Sash Milne; she is the Perth Mum who last Christmas decided that she was never going to buy anything new again (bar food and petrol), so revolted she was about the commercialisation of the season, and how much rubbish we end up buying. You could have heard a pin drop, it was a powerful message, explaining how she connected with people, when she abandoned ‘material things’. Her voice crackled with emotion. It was spell-binding. I doubt she’s had much experience in public speaking, but the power, belief and passion came over. It made it even stronger.

I’m not criticising the other people I heard at TEDx or the other events I attended, but these 2 stood out for me. Two very different speakers, both electric, speaking from the heart, taking their message to the audience, and, importantly, communicating clearly with passion and belief.

It’s not that hard is it?!

0

Maps and me

Abbreviated version of a talk I gave to WA Spatial Excellence Awards 2014 last Thursday. You can view these slides on Slideshare.

I love maps. I reckon I first became aware of mapping when I was 10 years old, in a geography class, and we were using those wonderfully drawn British Ordnance Survey maps.

The geography teacher (wonderful old Mr Law) made the subject come alive. I was fascinated by all the detail on those OS maps, the churches (showing whether it was a spire or a tower), the post box, the gradient lines… even where there was nothing, there was detail.

Today sadly people are, as a rule, map illiterate. A recent US poll revealed that eight out of ten want to bomb Syria. Sadly, a similar number cannot locate Syria on a map.

Laughable if it were not so dangerous. I feel much the same every time there’s another report of a lorry wedged in some old alleyway because its driver used sat nav instead of common sense, or when I read that park rangers in Victoria keep being asked for the postcode of mountain peaks.

Who needs a boring old map and compass when you can just tap in the address for Mount Bogong and follow the screen on your smartphone?

As atlas sales plummet so those getting lost rises. Funny that?! According to Mountain Rescue England and Wales, the total number of call-outs in 2004 was 965. Last year the figure was 1,486 — an increase of 54 per cent.

But the real sadness in all this, quite apart from all those idiots with hypothermia and all those stranded juggernauts, is that millions of young people seem destined to grow up without appreciating the sheer beauty of a decent map. I had that joy, and it has held me in good stead.

I am certainly not denouncing all the joys and seismic progress we owe to digital mapping. I am a digital business guy.

It is telling that when the British car industry was designing the new State Bentley for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2012, the designers asked the Palace what sort of sat-nav device Her Majesty would like installed in her state-of-the-art car.

Back came the reply: none at all. The Queen and Prince Philip, it turns out, prefer an Ordnance Survey map. And, as far as I am aware, the State Bentley has never got lost.

I alighted on these West Australian shores 17 years ago, and after doing an MBA here at UWA changed career course, going from being a school teacher to an internet entrepreneur.

Our idea was to put real estate on maps on the internet. After all, property is all about the 3 Ls as someone used to say… Location, Location, Location. Why couldn’t we see properties for sale or rent on maps on the internet? Well, no one had done it before, so we set out to find out how to do it.

Imagine our delight to find that Perth was a centre of GIS expertise – take an isolated mining town like Perth or Vancouver and there ye shall find GIS technology. We knocked on the door of Prof Julie Delaney here at UWA and asked her is what we wanted to create was possible.

Sure it was, she said and gave us a few GIS consultants to go see. 5 months later we launched aussiehome.com, as far as we know, it was the world’s first interactive map based property site.

We plotted the properties on the map, so people could see where they were, alongside the schools, parks, beaches, shops and transport systems. People buy a lifestyle when they buy a house. They buy into the local community. They want to see what’s around, what the neighbourhood is like. Our initial maps were very rinky dink, but they sort of worked. We deployed 4 types of mapping software, and spent $100ks to get them to work.

Our tag line was “putting your home on the map”, which we thought was quite clever. Although it seemed to confuse some, as did our name, as people used to walk in off the streets looking for home loans.

A few months after launching in 1999 a real estate agent rang us up and told us to hide the address of the properties on the site.

“Which bit about a map-based property web site are you not getting?”

Stony silence.

A few years later none of them really worried about showing the address; the era of open information had set in; giving away more info reduced the tyre kickers anyway. It meant real estate agents could spend time with those that wanted to buy; they’d seen everything on the market already.

And so we built ourselves a nice little online business all due to our distinctive mapping, 7 years before Google Maps came along and gave it away. The software, data sets and consulting fees were significant, but it was a worthy investment. It was our sizzle, and to us, we were proud to be pushing the envelope. And when Google Maps came out in Sept 2006, we leapt on them and made them sing.

We were the first to introduce mapping directions to every property, and as far as I know, the still only site to allow users to map their home open route according your starting route and where and when the open properties were located.

When apps came along, we transferred this to the app environment – an obvious move, as people had these devices with them as they went around looking for properties.

10 years went along and we sold the business to REIWA, and my team and I got to run reiwa.com. I stayed for 3 years before moving to my current role at Business News.

2 weeks ago I notice reiwa.com has relaunched with mapping at its core – even the new logo tips its hat to Google Maps. Their tag line “be WA streetsmart” is all about mapping.

At my current position at Business News, I am looking to how we can use mapping to show off our amazing array of data – how about mapping every business in our Book of Lists (4000 businesses and 14000 executives), mine sites, map stories where relevant, show where the public companies are and quantify the market cap of West Perth? All possible.

Where is mapping going into the future?

Presumably more accuracy, more handiness, more mapping will surround us – corrected sat nav, and I hope beautiful mapping will appeal. People of all nationalities intuitively understand what maps are. Mapping is, you could say, an international language; and apart from great music what else is there that can do that?

There will be business opportunities wherever mapping itself helps solve problems. For what I have discovered about business can be distilled into one sentence: if your customers have a problem that you can solve, then you will create value for them; if you create value then they will pay; and if they pay, you’re in business. (It’s amazing how many businesses forget this simple rule.)

I am sure most of you are doing some really cool stuff, and for that I salute you. Keep going, keep pushing the boundaries. We’re living in exciting times and the best ideas are still to be discovered.

Thank you for this opportunity to address your Gala Dinner; congratulations to all of you that work in the spatial industry, and well done to those walking home with awards tonight.

0

Scotland the Brave

vote-yes_vote_no_for_web__wide

The signs are that the vote for Scottish independence this week is going to be close. The NO vote (or ‘No thanks’ as the posters politely put it) has been ahead for years, but as the voting day drew close the YES camp crept up, and for a time took a slight lead. I don’t think anyone really knows how it will go.

If Scotland does vote YES for the split from the UK, then the UK will lose about a third of its land mass, but only 8% of its population. It is unlikely the British PM David Cameron would keep his job for long (being the man who lost the Union), and yet (ironically) it would give his ruling party a much better chance of locking in political power for years, as it hardly has any MPs there. Labour would lose 40 seats in Westminster, the Conservatives only 1. Both sides of power have vested interests to keep the status quo. Possibly the worst (yet most likely) result is a close NO. The discontent from north of the border will rumble on for many years to come; nothing really will be settled.

What do I feel? Not much really. I’m British (English) and love Scotland – having honeymooned there 20 years ago and visited many times. My Uncle Jim is from Scotland. A lovely man, he is gentle and considerate, soft spoken and as passionate a Scotsman as ever there lived. A mad keen Scotland (and Chelsea) football fan. It’s a beautiful country. I wish it well, whatever it chooses.

Being an Economist by training though, I cannot reconcile the YES camp’s argument. It has to be more emotional and a ‘feeling’ that you can do better on your own. National pride. Yes I know countries with smaller populations (NZ, Singapore) have done well on their own, but this is a different situation. The economic sense of keeping the pound as the currency, but with monetary policy set by another country south of the border seems madness to me. Interest rates set by Bank of England for its own unique needs while the Scottish government may very well have its own priorities. 7% of Scottish jobs are in financial services (more than the 6% in oil) and many of those jobs will move south. Not independence really, but dependence. Much worse than now. Would they be allowed to join the EU, would they move to the Euro? How could they handle their own Defence? Public services? Economy? The GDP per head is lower than in the UK, they will no longer be drawing the benefits from their slightly richer, larger southern brother. They will have to pay for it themselves.

Staying in the union, Scotland seems to have the best of both worlds. Will it be Scotland the brave, Scotland the foolhardy, or Scotland the self confident?

0

How to rule the roost with Twitter (and why you need to)

I’ve been on Twitter now for over 5 years, and this Tuesday I’m speaking at the AMI annual conference on ‘How to Rule the Roost with Twitter – and why you need to.‘ I believe I only know a small fraction of what Twitter can do, and probably practice even less. But if you were to drop me on a desert island with but one social media, I would take Twitter. Why? Because, it’s so damn powerful, and yet like most of the best things, incredibly simple.

Here’s a link to my Prezi

I remember getting on Twitter (rather begrudgingly – why do we need another social network? and with such a silly name?) and within 6 months I was running seminars that other people would pay to attend, to learn about Twitter… from me! Most people do not (and have not) persisted with it, most notably Bunnings, who seem to have ignored it with much disdain ever since they sent out their first (and as yet only) tweet on the 3rd Feb 2012 (having joined in May 2011 – so presumably they sat around and strategised what their first tweet would be for 8 months?). What a lost opportunity. Masters has tweeted out over 2,600 times and counting. They have a higher Klout score, thousands more followers and are engaging with their marketplace, being human, being social. Not that it’s a numbers game. It’s actually a quality, deep game.

With Twitter you can pin down topics, hear what people are saying about things right now, and interact, learn, engage and pass it forward. You can discuss, listen, remind, laugh, have a little dig, and discover incredible content.

The only way to find out is actually to go do it. Like most things.

2

Nice bucket challenge

ice bucket challenge

The #icebucketchallenge is the viral social media event of the year, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few weeks, you’ve probably seen countless videos in your news feeds or read about it online, in the paper or on TV news.

I succumbed last Sunday. My kids enjoyed the set up and execution, and one of the three people I challenged completed it within 24 hours. I’d first noticed it a week or so ago and now it’s reached saturation. The US charity that benefits has had $100million in donations in a month, more than twice what it raises in a normal year. Last week the UK charity’s website had more hits to its web site in one day last week than it receives in a year.

Along with the fun and good cause came the inevitable criticisms – of wasting fresh water, high % of donations going to admin, the narcissistic show-offs and icebucketchallenge fails. One of the founders of the challenge actually died (in an unrelated diving incident) earlier this month. He had started the whole thing to raise awareness and donations for a 20 year old friend who had just been diagnosed.

Motor neuron disease (which is also referred to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, sometimes Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a particularly nasty and progressive muscle wasting disorder for which there is no known cure, and usually leads to death inside three to five years. I have known 2 former colleagues who succumbed to MND, and the pain and anguish of their loved ones was terrible to bear as they saw these fine people literally waste away. Steven Hawking is one of the most famous people afflicted. He is one of the 4% that last over 10 years – he has lived over 50 years with it having been told he had 2 years at best. He (of course) also did the challenge.

While the repetitive challenges across social media (amusing at first) might be wearing thin for some, and be annoying for others, there is no doubt that a huge increase in awareness regarding this terrible disease has resulted, plus extra millions has been raised. This has to be good. Yes, some people do the challenge to show off, but the whole idea of the challenge had this at its centre, and is why it went viral. It included video (so easy to do now on your phone, click, up it goes to facebook or instagram) and the chain-mail letter idea of challenging 3 others meant it mushroomed. It also brought the world together a little bit – I’ve watched challenges of rock stars, politicians and adults and kids from all over the world. I’ve seen school and Uni friends I’ve not seen in decades do it, friends of friends and others.

The challenge has resulted in various forms of humblebragging (people trying to act humble but showing off – it is public after all), jealousy (people decrying the whole thing with aloof protest) and not a little creativity (my favourite being India’s rice bucket challenge, where Indians give poor people a bucket of rice and challenge others to do likewise).

Making this all possible of course is social media; none of the this would have happened without the connected world we live in; and for one thing, I prefer a connected world, to one where everyone is disengaged and removed.

Do the challenge or not; no skin off my nose – but all along, you can but marvel at its scope and power. If it helps find a cure for ALS, who are we to argue?

For more on ALS and to donate: http://alsa.org

2

On Demand, Everything

{ In flight entertainment of yesteryear }

{ In flight entertainment of yesteryear }

I think I was on my first long haul airplane flight 30 years or so ago when the idea struck me. Back then jumbo jets took 30 hours to fly to Australia from the UK with 5 stop overs. At your seat you could flick the channel of the entertainment system’s handset to hear comedy, the latest pop hits, or classical music. There were maybe 12 channels tops, but to me this was electrifying – imagine being able to listen to what you wanted, when you wanted, and go back around the channel again laughing along to your favourite comedy routine, or listening to your favourite tracks.

On that same trip I bought my first walkman (in Melbourne’s Victoria Markets) and slipped in a cassette (remember those?) of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I listened to this on a continuous loop for weeks. Listening when I wanted, where I wanted, anytime. Reverse, play a favourite track again.

They say the head of Sony persisted with the Walkman’s development even though research suggested people wanted larger, bigger HiFis not a small mobile device you had to listen with headphones. He said, “No, this will be a hit – people are bored.”

Yeah, walkmans reduced the boredom of youth, but they also gave us instant entertainment, when we wanted it, on the move. It was the first mobile device, a forerunner of what was to come in the 2000s with the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Back in the 1980s, the idea hit me that I (and millions more like me) wanted to consume music, or comedy, and favourite TV shows or movies whenever we wanted, at anytime. The idea of listening for the track on the radio or waiting to sit down and watch a show at a time appointed by someone else did not seem as good. VCRs were part of the solution, but were not mobile.

Perhaps it was around this time media splintered, and the era of mass broadcasting started slipping slowly away. Before this time, with maybe 3 TV stations across one country, a joke or event would pass into the national consciousness overnight. Everyone would be talking about it the next day. Everyone else had sat down and watched too.

No more. Apart from the odd realty TV show hit, we don’t seem to sit around and watch shows anymore. [Although even those wither on the vine pretty quickly.] We binge consume on DVD packs, from downloaded services or saved Foxtel IQ. We want it now, whenever, at anytime.

This desire for ‘everything on demand’ was always there, but untouched. Now, it’s the new normal. It’s a challenge not only for media, but for every business out there.

5

Another thing happened at Stirling Station

I often take the train from Stirling Station into work in the city, but I was not there earlier this week when a commuter got his leg stuck in the gap between the edge of the platform and the train. (see video above, or click here).

Poor chap – he was one of the last onto a packed train, and stood on the door opening, only to slide down and get lodged. He could not free himself, but within minutes all the passengers got off the train and without any fuss carefully pushed it over so he could get his leg out. All ended happily, and he walked free, a little bemused and embarrassed and took the next train into work.

Such is the speed of our human connectivity, the video and the news of the escape shot around the country being featured on all the WA and Aussie media outlets such as ABC, and then off around the world including the UK, Iran, India and Russia.

About a week earlier I was standing on the same platform, waiting for a train to work. As the crowds gathered in the gloomy light, the train arrived, completely packed. Hardly anyone got off, so hardly anyone could get on. Me, and about 200 people had to let it pass. Another came and went. Same story. I wondered why Transperth would be putting on so few trains (and only 3 or 4 carriages per train) at rush hour when there were so many people waiting at our station? Then a familiar voice said ‘hello’ and it was Chris Baudia, CEO of GeoMoby – a Perth based tech startup company. We squeezed onto the next train, and had a quick catch up. Chris has recently flown to Seoul and won a global hackathon – yes, won the whole dang thing, against 2000 participants from all over the world no less. A few days later I am standing in the kitchen at Spacecubed (the centre of the start-up community in Perth), and I notice Chris’ award tamely sitting there on a side table. Such a modest fellow, our Chris.

So, here’s to Chris, GeoMoby and the spirit of the start-ups. They do amazing things, with no budget, and are forever pushing envelopes. And here’s to the wonderful Perth people who pushed the train together to free that guy at Stirling station. As an Iranian said on a blog regarding the incident: “Aussies are good when it comes to working together to get something done, even if its (sic) something unplanned and needs to be done immediately.

My only quibble – do you think Transperth could lay on more or longer trains so people don’t have to be crammed onto them? It would prevent someone getting their leg stuck again (or worse), and the ridiculous waste of time waiting for a 3rd train before having a hope of getting on. Too much to ask…?

8

Social media and customer service

customer service

A CEO (of a company in the UK) put out a circular to his staff last week asking them how they could use social networking to “improve customer service” or “reduce potential complaints“. I find the question itself interesting (and revealing) – customer service is the experience the buyer has when they interact with your service. It’s totally in their mind. It’s how the phone is answered, it’s how reception looks, it’s every little thing… These days everyone expects good customer service, even great, so the objective now for businesses is to ‘wow‘. Only by ‘wowing’ can you set yourself apart. It’s the new normal. And that’s got to be good for customers.

A few years ago, as we started our small online business, I remember reminding my staff that we had to wow our customers every day, at every opportunity. Considering we had pesky real estate agents as customers, that was going to be a challenge (!) We did not use social networks to “improve customer service” or “reduce potential complaints”. We used good old fashioned manners and courtesy. I employed people (irrespective of their IT background) who could learn fast but had a deep seated desire to help people. These two aspects were all we needed.

Roll on ten years and we’re in an era of social connectivity. The water cooler conversation of old is twitter today. Organisations in 2014 can use social media to actively watch what people are saying (using # and @ discussions on their name), they can engage with their customers, answer questions, post ideas, ask things, forward good thoughts, thank people for their points, etc. even turn around complainers. Most companies have a full time person on this, or a team of people.

Example – I was giving a “Twitter for real estate agents” course a few years ago, and an agent I will call Barry (for that was his name, bless him) did a search on his own company and was alarmed to find this one tweet had been put up only a few hours earlier: “Property —— <name deleted> are the worst real estate agent – stay away! ” Barry was distraught. What should he do? Could he sue the person? Delete it? After he calmed down a bit, I asked him to call his office and see what this person was talking about and why. He came back and said it was already sorted, the person had been a tenant and had not got her bond back, so had vented on Twitter. OK, so what now? Barry tweeted her back saying he’d sorted out the issue, and to call him in the office if things were not all fine. A few hours later, the tweet was removed (only the person who tweets can remove the message). Problem removed, and I bet that lady had a high opinion of the company as a result, and told her friends about it, as I am telling you now.

Ignoring twitter does not stop people talking about you anyway. Better to be ON there and (at least) surveying the conversation, then maybe taking part, engaging, adding, contributing …

My favourite example of customer service and social media is one I use a lot in my talks – that of Peter Shankman in 2011 and his fantastic true story of Mortons steakhouse. This actually happened, and was not a set up! Peter’s story of how a steakhouse got a meal to him after a long business day and a flight back to New York provided so much free press and positive attention for Mortons over the next few days and months, worth in the multi millions, and all for a simple act of being awake, involved and having the wherewithal to act.

By contrast, I posted 2 Aussie companies and their comparative use of social media around customer service.

Can social media be used to  “improve customer service” or “reduce potential complaints”? Sure, but that’s a bit like saying can you use the phone (or words, or technology, or…) to give great customer service. You’re asking the question the wrong way round.

Infographic above: from Clicksoftware 2012