What I'm pondering or thinking about at this time....

Saturday Musings - Winter is Coming...

Winter is Coming....

Winter has come to Melbourne, Australia and not just Game of Thrones, Westeros. Outside my study window, blustery winds pelt pebble sized hail down to create a white sheet of rubbly ice on the grass. Inadvertently I pull the zip of my sweater up a little higher as if that alone will ward off the cold.

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This scenario is replayed out around the world but not just in the weather but in business. You’ve been working hard on your business for years and for some reason along comes an event that completely blindsides you. It could be a supplier changes the rules, a major customer moves elsewhere or even a piece of equipment breaks down. Whatever the event you find yourself thrust into winter.

It’s during times like this that businesses either remake themselves or they fold. During winter, it’s often less about profit (or loss) and more about the resilience of the balance sheet to make it through this time. For small businesses, it’s all about protecting the cash.

Winter is a time of assessing what is really important for your business and what is merely an interesting opportunity. Every expense item should come under scrutiny and it’s less about the size of the item and more about the process of asking the nasty question, “Do we really need this?”

I remember when the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) hit in 2008, marketers had their budgets cut and the bottom started falling out of the pay-per-click market. The double whammy for us was the Australian dollar rapidly appreciated against the $US and climbed to just over $1.10. It was a time of winter and one that very few predicted.

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Saturday Musings – There’s No Such Thing as Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech sounds wonderful but many of us need to have a reality check and realise that it has never existed, it doesn’t exist and will never exist into the future. At this point you may be getting a little miffed with me for such an audacious claim, after all, “Who has the right to tell you what you can say?” Well…..me actually….to be fair, not just me but us.

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As soon as we decide to become a part of a society, we give up many of our rights and the first of these is our “freedom of speech”. Social norms will either chastise you until you submit to good and proper conduct or in the more extreme examples the law will come to bear to assist you in modifying your behaviour.

That being said, I’m actually a strong advocate that society needs to become more tolerant to those people that say completely outlandish things. By tolerance, I don’t mean accept what they are saying but rather allowing them to say it.

For instance, I’m completely against neo-Nazi fascism but I will defend their right to express their views as long as it is in a non-violent manner. Why is this? Every time I hear a neo-Nazi in the news express their outrageous views it reinforces my own perspective to distance myself from their propaganda.

Likewise, I respect a person’s right to express their views on matters such as sexuality. Just because I defend their right to share their opinion does not necessarily mean I agree with their position.

I see there are three problems that have emerged around “freedom of speech”:
1.    Censorship
2.    Lack of considered debate
3.    Who decides what is acceptable?

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vanclute
Ahhh but there *is* such a thing as "freedom of speech". It's just that most people don't understand what it actually means. All... Read More
04 May 2019
mgilmour
Yes, you are right in saying that freedom of speech is freedom from prosecution.....but this has now changed. The patriot act (and... Read More
04 May 2019
mgilmour
Great truths in what you say Rob....many thanks for your contribution.
04 May 2019
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Saturday Musings – What's Easter All About?

Long time ago (about 40 years) in a country far, far away (ie. Canada) I woke up on the Sunday after Good Friday to an Easter Egg hunt. With the recent release of the latest Star Wars trailer I really couldn’t resist writing the previous sentence…..for me, as a child, Easter was all about chocolate eggs and rabbits.

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While at a Good Friday church service yesterday I received a skype message from a client in another nation and I was reminded that not everyone celebrates Easter or even knows why it exists. Easter is a Christian celebration and it does not trace its roots back to Cadbury and Hershey but rather to a man named Jesus.

My father is a church minister and he explained to me how Christianity is summarised at Easter time. Rather than humanity reaching upwards to God by trying to be “good”, God reached down to man by sending us his only son, Jesus. Easter is about remembering how Jesus willing laid his life down for all of humanity and that he became the sacrificial bridge between a loving father in heaven and us all.

I thought this was a pretty good explanation (thanks Dad!) as at its heart Easter is about an incredible act of selfless love.

I’m always amazed at the courage of veterans in the armed forces who lay down their life for others, or police officers and emergency workers that run into harms way (and sometimes sadly die) to save a complete stranger. These individuals express the highest form of love that is the heart of Easter. In fact, the Bible says, “Greater love has no man when he lays his life down for another.” (Michael’s paraphrase).

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mgilmour
Robin, Great to hear from you and I wish you a happy Easter as well. It's so sad that such good people have been lost in their sel... Read More
23 April 2019
Rawgi
I would agree that the giving of one's self to save others is a given, not a choice. the thinking would be, what am i, but one.... Read More
24 April 2019
mgilmour
Couldn't agree with you more.
26 April 2019
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Saturday Musings - Serious Thinking

Is it time for some serious thinking?

For just over a week I’ve been laid up sick and had just enough energy to press the buttons on the TV remote control. Last weekend I found sleep virtually non-existent as the pain my throat from coughing kept me awake….but there was a silver lining to my incapacitation.

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Being ill gave me a lot of time to do some serious thinking. This can be quite a dangerous activity when you’re wondering whether your lungs are about to shoot out of your mouth in yet another coughing fit but being a brave sort, I persisted with my mental dalliance.

Unlike Douglas Adams who wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy I didn’t come to an epiphany that the answer to the ultimate question was 42 but I did realise a few things.

The first is that I’ve allowed myself to become a bit slack. This has nothing to do with work ethic (I work really hard) but more about being slack about how I've been thinking. It’s the old adage of working smarter rather than harder.

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mgilmour
Yes we do monetise .au domains....although given the changes with auda I'm not sure how long we will be able to. In terms of perfo... Read More
12 April 2019
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Saturday Musings - Seek First to Understand

Looking at a bottle of wine from a different perspective.

Understanding another person, whether they are a family member, work colleague or even a close friend is the first stage in developing the relationship further. It’s easy to gloss over issues when everything is going well but much harder when the rubber really hits the road.

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I’ve found that in a tense situation the first stage in trying to understand someone is to really listen. Don’t just hear the words a person is conveying but try and listen to their intent. Is it to build up or to tear down? Even if the other person is yelling at you, they may be doing so because they really care.

The main reason why people try and engage in any sort of discussion is because they care enough about the situation or person and are willing to put themselves on the line. If you’re having a clash over an issue with someone at work then ask yourself the simple question, “Why?” It’s the rare individual that is just destructive and more often than not the other person just perceives the issues from a different angle.

For example, if you put a bottle of wine in the middle of the table and ask two people on opposite sides to describe what they are seeing you will get completely different answers. While both may agree on the shape of the bottle one will describe the beautiful artistic front label and the other the detailed legal notes on the back label.

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Rawgi
I swear you should be a philosopher. It is rare indeed to take the time to see what the other party is really trying to convey. Is... Read More
12 April 2019
mgilmour
Thank you Rawgi for your kind comment. BTW - have you seen em8er? Mark Kern from FF is developing it and it looks almost identical... Read More
15 April 2019
Rawgi
Yes I have seen and have been a backer for Em8er for some time. I registered there right before FireFall took it's last dive. It ... Read More
15 April 2019
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