May 26, 2009

Bloody Boy Racers

So this article has me all riled up on this topic again. John Key wants to crush boy racer cars.

Let me put this on the web one more time:


The culture that surrounds these morons is incomprehensible. They are bogans who do not obey road rules, challenge unanimous laws, and more importantly, they kill and injure innocent people with their vehicles, through reckless driving on public roads. One death, even one injury is completely unacceptable.

When I spotted a link on Facebook from the Christchurch group, I had to comment:
Sorry, but if you are a car enthusiast, you wouldn't be driving around in it like an idiot disrupting communities, drinking while driving/running people over, or doing anything that would remotely attract the attention of the police!

Respected car enthusiasts recognise the benefits of well organised eventing as there are speedways you can hire to put your car to the test - Meremere and Pukekohe are perfect examples.

Public roads are NOT the place for "boy racers" or any form of drag racing IMO. If they do, the idiots definitely deserve to be stripped of the vehicle. As for crushing, well John Key might be shitting in his own electorates of favour, but at least the roads will be safer, because IMO, this issue is about preventing death - not a road toll, but deaths caused by anarchic drivers.
The introduction of CTP (Compulsory Third-Party Car Insurance) would be a good start, New Zealand. Why the hell is this not law already? Aunty Helen - did you see a proposal of this very nature in your 8 years as Prime Minister? Now John Key has the chance to do this, but instead he strikes a vendetta on boy racers, by threatening to crush their cars as a last resort ("if the message doesn't get through, then this should").

Speed Racers are nothing new. Today's "Classic Car Clubs" were once road hogs, they are now elitist collectors with well organised (and generally interesting) events. CTP would instantly take un-insurable vehicles off the road, and I would hope the price tag, and paperwork involved will help boy racers understand the true meaning of "car enthusiast". Classic Car Clubs understand that if a car is not roadworthy, or not WORTH being on the road for fear of damage (and now crushing as a last resort of penalty), then it's common sense to keep it off the road. You wouldn't accidentally kill anyone should the steering fail down the main street, or going past a school.

If it's about respect and status, boy-racers are deluded.

Mowing down and killing people at parties, killing innocent people in head-on collisions at over 160kph, juvenile attitudes toward the police, and disturbing the peace are not the kind of things that earn respect.

There is a difference between having a passion for your car (a car enthusiast), and being a complete idiot (out of control driver).

May 5, 2009

Twitter for Business

We are putting our feet in the sand, to see how Twitter will work for business.

I'm hoping that by giving this a fair shot, it will help strengthen our relationship with the online visitors, but also increase brand loyalty in an ever-expanding cloud of options.

More important than anything though, it's evolving a well known brand toward a new audience, who are increasingly engaging with social networking and new technologies, who are also realising, or already know "all the potentials" that exists within.

I am currently looking at the following options;
  1. Who should be allowed to update it
  2. How we are able to link multiple accounts to our brand account
  3. Developing a company policy, specifically focussed on Twitter use/abuse
  4. What kind of content do we tweet
  5. Understanding how to monetise Twitter, and possibly generate a revenue stream
There's plenty to learn about Twitter. If you're looking at doing this yourself, then perhaps you can drop your thoughts in the comments section of this post. I'd love to know how your experience unfolds.

I did find a great article by Chris Brogan - and since he has allowed me to, I can repost the guts of his article here on my blog.

Perhaps you can extract these valid points, and use as part of a presentation should you find that Twitter could be valuable to your business (or the opposite effect), especially if you need to convince the powers-that-be, either way.


50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

First Steps

1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
2. Add a picture. ( Shel reminds us of this.) We want to see you.
3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
9. Throw in a few humans, like RichardAtDELL, LionelAtDELL, etc.
10. Talk about non-business, too, like @astrout and @jstorerj from Mzinga.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

11. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
12. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
13. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
14. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
15. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
16. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
18. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
19. Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. - Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
20. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

21. You don’t have to read every tweet.
22. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
23. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
24. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
25. 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
26. If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
27. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
28. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
29. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
30. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

31. Twitter takes up time.
32. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
33. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
34. There are other ways to do this.
35. As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
36. Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
37. Twitter is just for technonerds.
38. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
39. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
40. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

41. Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
42. Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
43. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
44. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
45. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
46. Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
47. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
48. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
49. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
50. Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

What's up with the NZ dollar?

How the heck does foreign currency work in a recession?

Look at the NZ dollar vs the US dollar in the last few days. I see no change to what its usually like before the recession: NZ$1 = US$0.577280 (May 5, 2009)

It could be worse I guess. I'm thinking that since the US market is so big, it can recover from a large fall very quickly. As the NZ market is tiny in comparison, the US dollar has a magnetic effect, affecting the overall threshold between the countries - even if NZ's economy weakens.

Would I be right?

The effect of the recession (from a naive casual observer's point of view), looks like it's hammering most major countries, but not crippling it. Perhaps this is because of the sheer volume of people finding alternative ways to generate income... by the way, did you know the internet is 40 years old?

Australia is of interest in all this, as only now it's approaching two consecutive quarters of negative growth, it's taken a while to be "officially" in recession. Australia really has kept itself buoyant so far, and the grip of recession may not be as severe as other big players in the long term. I suppose it's a good time for Kiwi's to live in Australia. The 2009 Australian Budget is revealed next week. We will watch (and learn) with interest, the true shape of the Australian Economy, coz in New Zealand, it's stuffed right now.

Meanwhile, folk are enjoying themselves in luxurious swimming pools on skyscraper roofs in wealthy Dubai, living it up.