I am not officially breaking up with you and I may be around occasionally, but my first love has had a re-design and has changed to be everything I need. You’ve been fun, thanks for the good times.
(That sounds really cheap… good thing I am talking about a blog platform and not a person)
I wasn’t paying attention tonight and I boarded the wrong train home. It looked like the right train, left from the same platform, but it took a different route.
There is a certain sense of surprise you can’t fake when you realise you are on the wrong line, like waking up in a strange bed not remembering how you got there. Such was my feeling when the conductor disturbed by frantic laptop typing.
I collected my things and scurried over to the other platform to head back the way I came and transfer over to make my way home. I hopped off at the transfer station and waited the ten minutes before hopping back on a train that looked identical to the one I had boarded just 30 minutes ago.
Applying my experience to a life analogy, I talk to people all the time who question if they are on the wrong train. Some think they are heading to a certain destination when a life event taps them on the leg. Others hop off one train only to realise the train they board has the same issues as the one they left.
Whichever your situation, I would encourage you to look around to discover the benefits of the train you are on, no matter how short your journey. You never know whether you might find something like free train wi-fi to share your experiences with others.
Apparently my lack of site traffic is a bit of a security risk. Either that, or my views on James Bond films and cultural diversity are worthy of Microsoft censor. The message above was shared by a Facebook friend after I linked to my Tumblr blog this morning
I am a bit suspect of whatever security algorithm Microsoft uses to produce the message. I would think Tumblr would be pretty safe but presenting a warning for every blog post seems a bit odd. Or maybe it is just me.
At a participation rate of over half most developed countries, Facebook is a primary source of referral traffic. Microsoft stopping links is a pretty big deal.
If you are using MSN or WIndows Live Messenger (WLM) this is all a moot point, as the post may not seem worth the risk to bypass a message telling you to “Protect Yourself”. If you know someone who uses WLM and is keen to read Tumblr posts, please advise them to don their spiritual hedge of protection, bullet-proof vest, or sensible prophylactic of their choice before clicking through. Better be safe than sorry.
How has our exposure to media shaped our cultural bias? My current cultural studies guided my thoughts during my family’s excursion through Connery’s fifth Bond’s film.
You Only Live Twice hit theaters in 1967, five years prior to my own release date. In the movie, Bond heads to Japan to once again stop SPECTRE from instigating World War III. The movie formed my first opinions of Japan, a country I perceived as being full of fierce ninja to fight and willing geisha to woo. In my previous posts on Bond I questioned the influence that the movies had on that generation’s outlook on gender equality. You Only Live Twice adds a new cultural dimension of perspectives on Japan and Japanese women.
As women undress Bond in a bath house, Bond is instructed:
"Rule number one is never do anything for yourself when someone else can do it for you. And number two - in Japan, men always come first, women come second."
to which Bond replies,
"I might just retire to here."
You would be silly and immature to take that rationale seriously.
The first time my submarine docked in Japan, I was a 20-year old Sonar Technician and would consider myself as somewhat silly and immature. It was one of my first foreign ports and I distinctly remember my American arrogance thinking we were so much more advanced than other cultures. I knew not to expect Godzilla, but I did half expect ninja and geisha to be walking down the street much like travelers to Australia often expect kangaroos in downtown Brisbane.
What I found was a culture that was so far advanced in style and media exposure that my grunge Seattle background felt backwards and archaic. I experienced serious culture shock that threatened my preconceptions and bias. My options were to realise my error and realign or reaffirm my inaccurate worldview.
Our generalisations towards characteristics such as age, nationality, or gender are based on past experience, stories from those we deem credible, and media. Each of us are presented with the same two options I had in Japan to reassess our position or reaffirm our bias. Generations after the Bond film have reassessed their perspective on women beyond the position portrayed in the film, although diversity studies show we still have a ways to go towards equality.
The film title says we only live twice. Thankfully we have many more opportunities than that to confront our own bias in each situation to challenge our preconceived and perhaps misguided notions.
I am not saying it is easy, however. I still expect to see ninja when I go to Japan.
“Have you done your timesheets?” This question is loathed by managers and staff alike in a professional services firm. I don’t propose to have the answers, but these strategies and lessons learned may help you if you are responsible for tracking your life in 15-minute intervals.
Read more at Sideways Thoughts: Read this if you do timesheets: Seven strategies to get the blue bar under the orange line
As I look further into the IBSA 2012 Environment Scan of the ICT industry, I am thinking perhaps I might have the incorrect industry. The report shows the median age for all job types is over the 39 years of all Australian industries. Surely this cannot be right. How can I be on the low side of median for my industry?
The 2010 report below provides a different story, but has me questioning which industry segment we report in.
Yesterday’s post about the gender split in the industry noted two “Multimedia specialists and web developers” and “Graphic and web designers, and illustrators”, leading me to think I had the right segment. And yet the Australian Bureau of Statistics focuses ICT on manufacturing and wholesaling. What my studio does for a living may fall into “Computer consultancy services”, but that could be interpreted many ways.
The 2009 Creative Industries Economic Analysis by the Federal program Enterprise Connect attempts to resolve this by including “software development and interactive content” as a segment in the creative industries alongside film, advertising, and publishing, and architecture. The Enterprise Connect report references another IBSA report on on the Cultural and Creative industry which does not include software development. So which is it: is software development in the ICT industry per IBSA or the creative industry per Enterprise Connect?
I have been observing this conflict for the past decade. My studio is a “digital agency” as well as an “ebusiness solutions provider”. There is a segment in the industry that provides creative digital services for high-value online transaction that are critical for business success. We sit in an evolving cross-section that census reports struggle to keep up with.
When I started in the industry over a decade ago as a 27 year old project manager, I was 2 to 5 years older than most of my team. At 40, I am still older than most in the studio, but not by much. The influx of young guns building iPhone applications out of high school are now mixing with their older counterparts who built their first website using FrontPage and DreamWeaver.
My industry is moving rapidly, resulting in a blurry snapshot of the median age for what we do. Perhaps I will just use whichever numbers don’t make me feel as old.
In doing research for a diversity case study, I came across an IBSA report on the Australian ICT industry. The female participation rate in the ICT industry was noted in the 2010 report at 29 percent, while female participation in all industries averages 45.3 percent.
Segments within the sector where females are between 30 percent to 50 percent include:
Two segments that where females have a higher representation than men include:
I currently have a greater proportion of female to male managers, while applications for developers reflects the ICT averages noted above. As one who participates in the recruitment process, I ask whether the issue of equality is about availability, opportunity, and/or structure of our society.
Is it a matter of making the industry more attractive or more accessible to females looking for their future career? I’ll add more thoughts after my assignment.
I would be interested in your input in the interim…
Marissa Mayer made a buzz when she became CEO of Yahoo last week. Headlines have focused on the relevant (her accomplishments), the irrelevant (her “fabulous” lifestyle), and the questionable (she’s pregnant). I consider how much of our success is due to our ability and hard work and how much is just opportunity and luck. The answer I expect resides in a humble place in the middle somewhere between extreme self views of a god and an impostor.
Read more at Sideways Thoughts: Marissa Mayer as the new Yahoo CEO: On the challenge, her details, and the risk of the “impostor syndrome”
Retailer David Jones announced last week they would be adding 200 “style advisers” across its 36 stores in time for the upcoming Christmas season. Armed with iPads, these one-on-one service roles will meet customers at the door, accompany them around various departments, offer advice on styles and sizes, and help customers pay for multiple purchases in a single transaction. The positions will be trialled over Christmas and are based on the personal shopper concept introduced at the CBD stores two years ago.
The company has also hired 100 new supervisory staff and is adding about 200 staff in support functions such as IT, digital marketing and operations and reached an agreement with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association for a new enterprise agreement to give more than 9000 staff a 10.2% pay raise over the next three years.
Cross over the proverbial retail street and Myer is planning on cutting 100 back-office staff in marketing, IT, human resources and merchandising in what it calls the toughest conditions in 25 years. What contributes to a “toughest condition”? Challenges noted include higher occupancy costs, higher wage costs, and the inflation of other outgoings including utility charges (note “carbon tax” was not specifically mentioned as a reason).
Not mentioned here is the growing impact from online competition. Perhaps this is due to examples of stores that are adapting to the change. Such examples of responsiveness cited recently in the Australian Financial Review include replacing standard bar codes to prevent “showrooming”, integrating web return centres, pick-up locations, free shipping outlets, payment booths, and drive-through customer service centres for online sales, and offering non-cash methods to pay online.
When talking about online competition, a response I often hear is that retailers need to capitalise on areas such as service where they can differentiate. It appears as though David Jones is doing just that. Myer may respond with a similar approach, but the news bites at the moment appear to offer opposing strategies of investment versus cost reduction.
It will be interesting to see which strategy the Christmas market votes as the winner. From my perspective, I am fortunate to have a resident style adviser who takes great care to ensure I do not embarrass myself (or my family). If not for her, I’m thinking David Jones would get my business as compared to wandering aimlessly in a department store or trial and error of online.
You know how words change their meaning when you read something over and over again?
SwiftCompare’s “Loading Folders” did this to me as I compared two hard drives when backing up files today. I was struck by 1) how much information is contained in two words, 2) how much knowledge is assumed when we give a message, and 3) the degree to which communication is contextual.