On the importance of manners

Around a year ago, there was possibility that the agency I work in was going to be sold. In that eventuality it seemed I would either be out of a job or in one I didn’t particularly enjoy, and with mouths to feed and a preference for loving what I do, I started to look at other options.

Two of the opportunities I explored at that time were with large consulting firms, and as someone who made a conscious decision not to take that career path when I completed post-grad, I was neither surprised nor disappointed to find I wasn’t well suited to either of them.

Thankfully (for me at least) the deal didn’t go ahead, and the last nine months or so have been some of the best of my career – doing great work with an inspired team, for clients who deserve and appreciate our efforts.

However stressful it may have been at the time, in hindsight this was a useful and enlightening experience…

It caused me to consider my professional motivations (nobody cares about what you do – why is so much more interesting and revealing), and rekindled my passion for creating value over and above the needs of my clients and their customers. Job creation, export earnings, making NZ prosper and a better place for us all to live and work in – this is why I get out of bed each day.

It gave me clarity on what I’m really good at, what I enjoy doing, and the kinds of people I like working with.

It also provided me with a reminder of the kinds of people I’d prefer to avoid, and the shining coarsest examples in this respect (other than management consultants, whose dubious nature scarcely requires mention) are the recruiters themselves – duplicitous, self-serving people traffickers to a man. And woman.

I was reminded of this recently, while lunching with a friend. I missed a call and received a voicemail from a recruiter, introducing herself, explaining that she’d found my profile on LinkedIn and would I please call her back. This immediately struck me as odd, as this woman and I had met several times last year. The idea that she could fail to recall our association nine months later was disturbing, but ever willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt I promptly returned her call…

Rings once, sent to voicemail. Ok. I leave a message.

*crickets*

The next day I send an email, thanking her for her call.

*crickets*

A week later, I call again. Call is promptly answered, but she tells me she’s in a meeting and will call me right back.

*crickets*

Another week goes by, another email and another voicemail.

*crickets*

Well, shit. Is that how you want to play it? Ok then.

In all honesty, I’m quite happy where I am and couldn’t care less about whatever this harpy had in mind. However, the fact that someone could request a courtesy, receive it, and then be so utterly rude in return is not something that I will tolerate, forgive, or forget.

Much as I’d love to name and shame publicly, my vengeance is colder and runs deeper. I know people. Fine folks like yourselves. People who engage recruiters, and the talented sons-of-bitches they are so desperate to procure.

As her phone stops ringing, this woman will learn the hard way what the rest of humanity already knew – politeness counts, people.

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

I bought a painting (yay!)

2016 is off to a great start. While in the Hawke’s Bay for new year, I was fortunate to meet Fane Flaws, take a tour of his astonishing home, and buy one of his recent works – Electric Id #1 (gouache on brown paper).

These Psychedelic Ids are just mesmerising. Can’t wait to get it home.

 

electric_id_1_framed

DP2016

And we’re off! Good luck, gentlemen…

Johnny (0)

  1. Christina Applegate
  2. Sharon Osborne
  3. Kathy Bates
  4. Robert De Niro
  5. Melissa Etheridge
  6. Suzanne Somers
  7. Mr T
  8. Rod Stewart
  9. Carly Simon
  10. Ringo Starr

Granma Pip (0)

  1. Billy Connelly
  2. William Windsor
  3. Bill Cosby
  4. William  Shatner
  5. Bill Gates
  6. Billy Joel
  7. Billy Ray Cyrus
  8. Venus Williams
  9. Willy Nelson
  10. Billy Jean King

Dave (6)

  1. Sean Connery
  2. Roger Moore
  3. George Lazenby
  4. Abe Vigoda
  5. Kirk Douglas
  6. Mary Tyler Moore
  7. Prince Philip
  8. Clive James
  9. Stephen Hawking
  10. Tommy Chong

Nick (47)

  1. Lindsay Lohan
  2. Martin Crowe
  3. Prince Phillip
  4. Mohammed Ali
  5. Paul Gasgoine
  6. Joost van der Westhuizen
  7. Stephen Hawking
  8. Justin Beiber
  9. Jay-Z
  10. Michael Schumacher

Sian (0)

  1. Barry Humphries
  2. Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanztta)
  3. Richard O’Brien
  4. Dennis Rodman
  5. Caitlyn Jenner
  6. Eddy Izzard
  7. Hilary Swank
  8. James Franco
  9. Guy Pearce
  10. Craig McLachlan

Moi (0)

Rangergeddon

  1. Harry Windsor
  2. Axel Rose
  3. Geri Halliwell
  4. Danny Boniduce
  5. Ginger Baker
  6. Scott Dixon
  7. Susan Sarandon
  8. Tom Wolfe
  9. Robert Redford
  10. Woodie Allen

Michelle (0)

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Angelina Jolie
  3. Elton John
  4. Barack Obama
  5. Charlie Sheen
  6. Bret Michaels
  7. Mick Jagger
  8. Oprah Winfrey
  9. Lindsay Lohan
  10. Mel Gibson

Noddy & Trevor (0)

  1. Chuck Berry
  2. Georgina Beyer
  3. Prince Philip
  4. Dougal Stevenson
  5. Bashar Assad
  6. David McPhail
  7. Pope Benedict
  8. George Bush SNR
  9. Patricia Routledge
  10. Bob Hawke

Gordon (0)

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Kirk Douglas
  3. Hugh Hefner
  4. Bill Cosby
  5. The queen
  6. Sean Connery
  7. Billy Connoly
  8. Ozzy Osbourne
  9. Tom Waits
  10. Prince Phillip

Skull #24

This week I took delivery of my second Fane Flaws piece, this one a collaboration with his wife, Jo Blogg. Just love it.

striped_skull_24

The problem with digital social connections

 

I was interested to see this piece on TechCrunch this morning.

Wiith is described as something akin to Tinder, but with a focus on shared social experiences. Clearly the term ‘shared social experiences’ is open to broad interpretation, and I have no doubt that Wiith will be useful to the same fine people that managed to force Adult Friend Finder to pivot from its initial bearing as a social network for golfers. Deviants aside, Wiith is an interesting prospect and a reflection of a similar idea I had a year or so ago.

Two things really bug me about mainstream social platforms…

The first is selection bias. No matter whether you’re talking about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tinder or Grindr, new connection recommendations are typically based on shared attributes. Facebook wants me to meet Jill because we have 12 friends in common; LinkedIn wants me to meet Bob because we work in the same industry; and Tinder wants me to meet the Harris twins because – well, that ain’t gonna happen ‘cos I’m a happily married man. My point is, while digital social platforms have made it easier to meet new people, the selection of new connections based on the requirement of shared attributes is tantamount to inbreeding, and I don’t believe that’s a good thing.

Despite 500+ connections, my LinkedIn gene pool is so shallow you could dive in and smack your head on the bottom. My Facebook and Twitter profiles are no better – packed to the gunwales with colleagues and contemporaries. This is great for recruiters and those looking for a little industry chit chat, but useless in all other contexts. Back in my bar fly days I used to meet interesting, random people all the time – builders, bailiffs and bartenders (lots of bartenders), famous actors, authors, musicians and photographers, former mercenaries, convicted murderers… Thanks to the social networks’ recommendation algorithms, the opportunities for such wild and exhilarating encounters are now practically non-existent.

The other problem lies in the inherent agenda of social connections. While Facebook is less of an issue in this regard, connection requests are invariably tied up with an agenda of some kind. That LinkedIn request is from a headhunter or would-be supplier; the new Twitter follower is a content marketer wanting to leverage my reach and influence; and that Tinder request (ok bad example – Like I said, I’m a married man and don’t use Tinder).

I’ve come to realise that while our species is now more connected than it has ever been, we’ve also never been so lonely. Our social networks are designed to surround us with people just like ourselves, who invariably want something from us. The opportunity to meet new and interesting people for no other reason than to enjoy human interaction just doesn’t exist in today’s social networks, but it should.

Is Wiith the answer? Will it solve these ills and lead our species to the richness and fulfilment of genuine human interaction? Who knows. Maybe not, but it’s a nice idea and hopefully a sign of more to follow.

DP2015: Call for Entries

Ah, sweet December, my favourite time of year. The endless frustration of insane deadlines and absentee clients, offset by rampant binge spree drinking and a plethora of barbecued pork products. All of this, of course, pales in comparison to the true joy of this festive season – picking 10 celebs and praying to Glub / Uncle Chuck that they meet their mortal end before the next year is out.

That’s right, sports fans, DP2015 is open!

Stoked

Bought my first piece of NZ art – Why The Long Face #2, by Fane Flaws

why_the_longface_2

I well remember the iconic Radio With Pictures opening credits Fane Flaws created in the 80’s, and have long admired several of his other pieces in a friend’s office. The man is a living legend, and I was shocked to realise an original piece of his work was within my budget.

So stoked.