I am returning to Australia

It is now official, Elizabeth and I are returning to the sunny shores of Sydney, Australia.

It is with really mixed emotions that I share this news. I have truly loved living and working in London. One feels so much more a part of world developments and a player in new and developing trends here. From a work point of view, the UK, as the hub for Europe, is seen as the second most important market behind the US – it will be this that I miss most when working back down under. Proximity is also another thing I will really miss. Sydney is a bloody long way from just about anywhere.

But there was never any doubt that we were going back. The sun, surf and family and friends is just too big a magnet for now. Oh and we are also getting married in February – here (click on the architectural images as it isn’t built yet).

We leave here in mid April and will travel for three months backwards along the silk route. We start in Turkey then continue through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and then Thailand. We are knee deep in visa applications at the moment and building Excel matrices, budgets and travel plans nightly.

Neither Elizabeth or I have plans yet for work when we get home, but are eagerly accepting any information or contacts. So drop me a mail at matthewgain@hotmail.com if you have some leads.

More updates to follow.

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Windows 7 Beta video demonstration

My colleague and friend Steve Lamb (AKA @actionlamb)was giving demonstrations of the Windows 7 Beta at Tuttle Club yesterday held at the ICA.

Chris Dalby, who I didn’t get to meet there captured a video demo from Steve and posted on Vimeo – embedded below for your viewing pleasure.


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10 predictions on how brands will use Twitter in 2009

If only I had a penny for every blog post I have read about Twitter. For a long time now there have been predictions that the tipping (or Twipping as I like to refer to it) point has been reached. And with discussions about it on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, articles in mainstream media and these results being registered by Hitwise, it is hard to disagree. But what will be the trends regarding Twitter and brands trying to reach their consumers using the medium?

Here are my predictions for marketing and Twitter in 2009:

  1. Growth will continue to grow exponentially and mainstream media attention will mirror the hype around Facebook in late 2006/early 2007
  2. Stacks and stacks of money will be thrown at Twitter apps, but like Facebook apps this will be a short lived fascination and the return on investment will decrease quickly
  3. The yoof will realise the power of the medium and have their voices heard in marketing boardrooms all over the world
  4. Those cheeky monkey yoof will realise they are being heard and monitored and will purposely mess with marketeers heads by sending conflicting messages
  5. Brands will realise they can improve their customer satisfaction if they refocus their efforts from managing inbound customer enquiries to identifying how to proactively engage users at the point of need
  6. Some brands will not get when to engage and interrupt conversations simply because someone mentions a product name
  7. There will be lots of user generated PR tactics from mobile phone brands that involve Twitpic
  8. Phones will start marketing themselves as perfect for Twitter just like 3 did with the INQ and Facebook
  9. Traditional advertising on the medium, like on Facebook, will fail
  10. The cool kids and trend setters will move on, yet lots of marketeers will still think they are reaching them

But hey what do I know? Disagree with me, let me know what you think.

The Burger King Twitter feed impressed me when they first contacted me having just tweeted about their marketing, though it didn’t engage me long term and I unfollowed two weeks later:

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Obama’s Blog

I wondered not that long ago ‘can the transparency continue?’ With today marking Obama’s inauguration and the launch of a new White House blog, it seems that the commitment to new media and hopefully the transparency that works best when engaging on this medium will remain.

There is no Whitehouse Twitter or Flickr account yet and it seems comments are removed from the Whitehouse Blog, but it is good to see his commitment to continue to use new media now within the President’s office. Keep it up and keep evolving it I say.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Tips for Aussies wanting to work in the UK

Reading Young PR today I came across this news.com.au story about Aussie behaviour in the workplace.

The survey the article sources comes to the conclusion that us Aussies are considered to behave rudely in the workplace by our US and UK colleagues. There are some other dubious findings, apparently we bring too many friends into the office and also get offended if we aren’t offered a drink. The survey has been done for PR purposes by ServCorp – a virtual office company.

Being in PR I know only too well not to put too much credence in these kind of surveys, and the findings seem a little on the bizarre side, but I do think there is some truth to the finding that we are rude.

Having worked in the UK for the last two years I have learnt a lot about my working style and how best to curb some of the behaviour that will get me in hot water over here. Of course these things will be different for different people, but in case you are considering working here in the UK I have prepared five top don’ts:

  • Don’t be so direct – us Aussies tend to ‘tell it like it is’ however from my experience the ‘direct’ trait is almost unique to us and gets a lot of people offside. So take your time, sugar coat bad news a little, and if your client asks you what you think about their idea – maybe suggest ways how it could be improved rather than saying it is shit. Which brings me nicely onto my next point:
  • Don’t bloody swear all the farking time – I swear a lot. I tend to do it in general language, I’ve been known to do it when speaking with my boss, I’ve often done it when speaking with media, and have even done it when pitching for new business. Sometimes it is OK, because it grabs attention, but use it sparingly or you might find find yourself alienating some fuckas.
  • Management hierarchies matter – in Aus we tend to be pretty lax about management hierarchies. It isn’t unusual for say an AD in a PR agency to brief the AE skipping the AM and likewise for an AE to ask the advice of the AD skipping the AM on the way up. We do this because it may save some time, be cheaper, or simply because we are so bloody direct and that is the most direct way to get the job done. But here in the UK it can get people’s nose out of joint. Use the chain of command or at the very least ensure the middle person is involved in the communication.
  • Don’t be the annoying proud Aussie – us Aussies have a beautiful country, we have wonderful beaches, generally sunny weather and like a drink, but so do people of other nations. There are beautiful beaches outside of Aus and some of them have rocks, and you know rock beaches are ok, it tends to mean the water is crystal clear. Don’t carry on about the weather there are plenty of places in the world that have lovely weather and Brits know only too well their weather is shite. And yes we do drink, but we aren’t the best drinkers in the world, I think some people in the North of England have claimed that and it ain’t pretty. So be proud of being an Aussie, but recognise that other people are proud of where they are from too and realise that ever country has its good parts.
  • Don’t think people will hire you because Aussies are known as hard workers – there are lots of hard working Aussies and there are lots of lazy Aussies. There are hard working Brits, Poles, Yanks, but there are also their lazy equivalents. Most British employers will be more concerned about the fact you come from a small market that they consider to be quite behind the UK market – this is what you should be focussed on addressing first.

Us Aussies get on well with the Brits. We share so much in common and there is a really fun rivalry between both countries – especially on the sporting field. But there are fundamental differences when working over here. In my case I spent six months not knowing what I didn’t know and so went about my business thinking it was easy and exactly the same as back home. The next six months were some of the hardest in my working life as I realised what I didn’t know. I thought I would never learn what I needed to know about doing business here in the UK. Now at the two year mark I know what I don’t know – I think. I have now curbed those most abrasive aspects of my work behaviour and have also learnt to warn people I work with that working with me will be different. And do you know what I haven’t been fired yet.

If you have other advice I would love to add it to this.

ausday 311208 thumb Tips for Aussies wanting to work in the UK

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