New Zealand is preparing to exit lockdown and return to a resemblance of normality.
We’ll forgo the hugs and high fives we want to give teammates, my pack training runs will have to wait a bit longer, but shops will reopen, and we’ll get back to some of our old routines.
Kids will return to school
But I’ll miss weekday family breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Something we’d never managed to accomplish pre-covid.
We’ve been working, but those who couldn’t work from home, join us.
Retail, services, hospitality and tourism in its new form can start to piece things back together. It’s a fantastic time to reprioritise. Re-evaluate priorities and what will be the new normal.
There’s plenty of opportunity
The world will be watching to some extent, as we’re the class that the teacher let out to play after the rain. Everyones gonna be envious, and looking out the window. If we make it all muddy, the others will blame us for their teacher keeping them back longer. Time to keep it green and impress with our playground moves!
Fundamentals haven’t changed. Solid solutions, to your client’s big problems, still win.
At FileInvite, our Go Back To Market plan is executing on more of the same tech that’s powering professionals to collect sensitive documents remotely. We’re already seeing that barriers are falling globally and that in the software space, being local is less of an issue.
Here’s some thoughts from a marketing perspective
1. Use your Zoom skills, and ability to focus on needle moving activities, to your advantage. The last months haven’t been distraction free at home. Finding big levers to shift the needle has been even more important. I’d also say: chase big wins, even if they’re on the other side of the world, or local clients you thought you were too small to tackle.
2. The advertising space has had a massive shake up. Being one of the first countries exiting lockdown gives New Zealand a great First Mover Advantage. With Travel and Hospo adjusting, I think we’ll see some big changes in ROI.
3. Marketing with conviction and a compelling value prop will be key. There’s going to be a lot of all nighters as the winning teams, the ones that will have money to spend, are going to be busy earning, building their businesses back up they’ll want no nonsense or no fuss solutions.
4. I also hope we’ll see some quality creative and something different to the current loop of: “Now more than ever, in these challenging/difficult times, we’re here for you, it’s about the people, united in our separation, and thanking our front line staff, (who help you buying our stuff)”.
And a little less unprecedented unprecedentedness please.
What about you?
How are you? Can I help with anything? How have your priorities shifted?
Here’s a Google Tag Manager and Hubspot quick fix!
Under the Cookies, GDPR, and ePrivacy Directive – GDPR.eu websites serving EU visitors need to ensure that users opt in to receiving tracking cookies on their device.
This means adding an acceptance or opt out button to your website that will set a single cookie declaring if a visitor has opted out of cookies or not.
Often little or nothing changes when a visitor declines cookies on a website. Cookies are still active, and third-party scripts are being loaded – this level of non compliance, if caught carries a hefty fine.
What are Tracking pixels and cookies?
Tracking pixels allow you to “cookie” or record a visitor to your site. You can learn about their behaviours though analytics platforms, and match their user profile to other platforms or services that offer advertising.
EG, a Facebook pixel on a website allows you to remarket to a visitor and show them an advert on facebook that relates to their visit to your website.
Tracking pixels are best managed through a tag manager like Google’s GTM, as by placing one line of code into your website you can easily manage and control what universal pixels and conversion pixels are fired by what actions or which pages of your website.
Without a tag manager, it can be difficult to track a users journey and to measure conversion to specific goal events – like purchasing a product.
Without triggers, it is hard to switch advertising off, or progress advertising down a path.
Google Tag Manager
In the simplest setup you create tags – a bundled up pixel code, and triggers to make them appear. A trigger can be as simple as visit any page, or as complex as clicked on a specific link, read an article or downloaded an item.
Google Tag Manager + Exceptions for GDPR
A little handy tool within Google Tag Manager is exceptions to triggers.
If we create an exception trigger, related to our website visitors opting out of cookies, we can then block off all other triggers – therefore remove all other cookies and tracking pixels.
Google Tag Manager + GDPR + Hubspot
Hubspot has a convenient cookie banner module. It allows you to create an opt it banner for your visitors which will set the only cookie you can pass to them, a cookie declaring if they have accepted or opted out of cookies.
Here’s the BUT.
On the back end, the module only switches off Hubspot’s universal tracking codes, so if you have Google Tag Manage enabled, we’ll need to create that exception to switch off the rest of your pixels in Google Tag Manager.
Hubspot’s cookie that’s used to keep track of the visitor’s choice, is an _opt_out_cookie with the value “yes”.
We’ll use this as the exception to block our tags.
Step one, create a new variable in Google Tag Manager that will contain the value of the cookie.
click Variables in the left hand menu and at the bottom find User-Defined Variables click new.
In the pop-up that appears, choose “1st Party Cookie”
Give the variable a name and enter the name of the cookie you are going to read
Step two, create a new trigger
The variable we just created will now be used in a new trigger. A trigger listens on your page (or app) to certain types of events: forms that are sent, clicking on buttons, loading a page. A trigger also ensures that a tag is loaded or blocked when certain conditions are met or just not.
Under Triggers, choose > New
In the pop-up choose the type ‘Page view’ and then choose “some page view”
We set up our trigger as follows:
In the first field select our newly created variable __hs_opt_out
In the middle field we have chosen “contains”
In the right field we entered “yes”
If there is no cookie called “hs_opt_out_cookie” or if the cookie contains “yes”, the trigger will fire as an exception and block the other triggers.
Step three, add your newly create trigger as an exception to all the tags you are currently firing.
As a final check, use the preview function of Google Tag Manager and check your changes with an incognito tab of your browser, where the cookie opt out prompt is still yet to be triggered or set.
Your site should now have no tracking enabled, when a user opts out of cookies.
With the 12hr done, my last long race of the year is the Auckland Marathon. A very different event. Brutal, but fun.
Two weeks out I had a terrible 10k run, was struggling from the second kilometer. I felt tanked coming up a hilly section and had to button off to walking pace. I ground to a stop at 8 k and had to rest before heading back to the car.
I thought I had no stamia for 10k, let alone 42, until I realised that I hadn’t had lunch that day and was running on a series of 5 hours sleep nights.
Pre race week was supposed to be simple MAF/Zone 4 5k runs to Saturday, but… Wednesday felt really great running with the lads for an estuary lap so did 8k at around 4:43 pace.
Shape Shifter, In Colour is playing at full volume and I check my watch is ready and see my heart rate clicking up each second. The starter hooter sounds and we’re off.
About 1300 people behind us and 300 ahead.
Out and up the hills feels fine. Left calf is painful, much like it was at the start of the 12 hr. Put it down to nerves. I miss the first aid station as its a mess of grabbing and pro offered cups.
At Takapuna I think of Greg’s Gel protocol and get my first one in the mouth and stupidly swirl with it. It’s everywhere and my mouth is dry as. I try to crack a joke about our Kipchoge slipstream V pacers being missing and everyone’s too focused.
We chop through the new extra bit – pre Smales Farm and I figure I need water so jostle to the inside. Get a cup of water, get two good sips in but doesn’t feel like enough.
I figure I need a good drink before the bridge, so from Smales to Akoranga I kick slight ahead of the pacer to give myself a clear solid grab on a right side water.
I stay just ahead of him until the bridge, cutting the tangents through the corners to minimise distance.
Pacer says we have time on the bridge and we go over at 5:13 pace and I Croft a few on the way to Shelly Beach road, and push ahead to be clear for the next aid station and have my gel.
I swallow mouthfulls and it works loads better but a little dude who’s fallen of his pace ahead of me heads left, then right, then left, then right for the water table in front of me.
I have to grab both his shoulders to save leapfrogging him or getting buried under the pack bearing down on us. I get clear and grab a Powerade.
We’re good from here out and round the shorter section – missing the tank farm this year and we peel left to some thunderous cheers from volunteers and crowds near Victoria Park.
Onto Quay street and the mental “ticked off the half” hits quite a few. I pick up 40 spots before the 25K. Some were almost hyperventilating and I could feel myself starting to pick up my breath in sympathy.
I start to compose, and have another Gel before the aid station pre Okahu Bay. Felling pretty good. Pace is good. I start to decide what I can shout at Mark and Steffan who I figured I’d see any second coming through with the 3 hour pacers . We get out past Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium and I manage a “Go Ninja” for both and go mate for three others I spot before the turnaround.
I clear the turnaround and there’s no dread yet. I feel it coming into Mission bay and looking at my watch (like a rookie) I think I can let the pacer go a little as I gotta nail this aid station. I get a good grip, clamp, sip, get going and keep rolling.
A few shouts to the 3:45, 4:00 and 4:15 pacers – Super supportive, wonderful people, but why do they have to be people I know and need to respond to. I wasn’t up to talking at that point. I fade slightly and it is this segment that costs me 20 seconds.
I get a second wind here as we approach Hobson Bay and the lights. I chat for 5 minutes up and over the little rise with a South African who talks about the Comrades pacers needing to be a few min ahead so the back of the pacer pack makes it on time. I get a boost as he sounds real fresh and I think we can go for 5 together.
I’m about to ask him and he spurts out “I’m done my legs are dead”. He bails and a whole bunch are tanked in the headwinds and start walking.
I add another 20 to the tally from here to the last aid station where my watch hits 41.6 and I think I’ve got 12 mins to do less than a kilometer on my watch (it can’t be more than 2 course KM surely?). I walk through the last aid station and get a two handed grip on a water then choke on a Powerade.
My heart rate zooms as I try to pick the pace back up and stop coughing blue stuff.
I loose two spots here to guys through the aid station and do what I feels like a sprint from the Council (Vodafone) building to the finish, happy that there’s a good partition between the 21k walkers and those running to finish the marathon this time.
3:31:40 on the clock. 3:31:20 net and 43k on my watch. With a PB to the half I knew I’d struggle to negative split so super happy with this and the fact that my Split rank for my last 4 splits was about 40 – 60 spots ahead of my race rank.
A departure from marketing and management to record one of my recent passions, running.
In July I was invited to join a group of enthusiastic amateur runners, dads that fit running in around their kids, work and life called the Night Ninjas. The orange and black top, I wear with pride. We may not be Eulid, but we sure as heck give running our all.
The Friday lunch run saw a gamut of nervous pings, cramps and ankle clicks as I tried to get my 5k in for the day early and get off my feet. I used memory position number two on the standing desk for the first time for a good 5 of the 8 hours at work. I tried to get off my feet as much as possible. (Number two = sitting. ‘Cause you know, you stand for number ones, sit for number twos. #dadjokes).
Also picked up some running shorts with linings as I was worried about chaffing. I heard an ultra audio book earlier in the week talk about how he borrowed some girl pants to meet the mandatory long pants/thermals gear requirement in Europe and the seam (only in girls pants) nearly cleft his pair in two! 😨
Beef brisket for dinner, porridge breakfast and into the car to pick up ice for the chilly bin. Heading down the motorway its spitting on the windscreen. S#@%. I turn off at Constellation Drive and there’s a hole in the clouds over the track 👍. Apart from 30 seconds mid morning, it didn’t rain at all, a blessing from the chafe spirits.
Pup tent up, chilly bin on, food laid out 👍 I say hi to the crazy old walking fulla while he has his pre race cigarette and puts his Bob Marley wig on.
A moment’s silence for Sri Chinmoy and transcendental running bookends our preparation.
We’re off. I keep with Brad Luiten (fellow Night Ninja, super fast half marathoner in recovery) for the first .004 meters and then let him go. He’s running his own race and all. I Keep telling myself to slow down. (I know I’m slow, but I knew I needed to be slower to last). I run a 1 hour 50 minute half. 20 minutes ahead of last year (at the 6 hour event) but think ok, I’ll bank the ks.
A pee stop and three kids purees later, 3:55 marathon. 35 mins up on last year and I feel good. I reward myself with a walk for 3 laps, then run a bit more cause I want the 50 in 5. Done. And then mega urge to pee straight after.
Thought I’d been drinking enough at every 4/5k but its brown like black tea. I start sipping electrolytes every 5 laps, then 3, hoping I can clear things up – literally. I try to run but feel like I’m going to pee myself. I decide to walk it off and see what happens. Drinking electrolytes every lap helps.
About here I unlapped myself one lap from Brad, once. Was awesome to have him giving me a pat on the shoulder every now and then as he passed, but he’d put in a massive effort and buttoned off, just for that bit, as he hit 60k.
He picked it back up (too fast for me). I eat a kids custard. Thomas Watson had slowed enough by now that I tagged onto him to get to 60 kilometers in 6 hour. He’s tall so we took turns as wind breaks for each other, good chat.
Thanks to Daniel , Oscar, Stu-Pj , Richard, Gene and Stuart, with encouragement, Ninja TV, Pies and Jellytips which all gave energy or motivation to run harder. 👍
65k in I take a long lap for third Kumara and mash and a relieving-ly clear pee. I feel the two toe blisters starting to move around and squishing. Cramp spray every 4k turns to every 4 laps. It’s not working, I start marching.
I call my wife to check on her and kids, while i start to march a few laps.I tell her I’ll be here ‘til at least 10:30pm as I run the numbers and start to doubt I’ll finish in time.
I Get emotional.
Why the heck did I do 12hs?
I’m tired. Maybe if I can’t make 100 in 12, I can lap the outside till I get it done, maybe. I said I’d be home around 10:30pm, right?
I see this bunny on the grass inside the track.
I Ignore him. Laps later, he’s still there.
I try and work out if I’m ahead of the female 12 hour racers. It takes me 6 laps to see that on the scoreboard. I realise that I haven’t been acknowledging my counters. S#%, did they get me those last laps? (they did).
Then a lady in front sees the bunny too. I tell her I’ll take a picture to see if it’s real.
Dunno if I can, need rest.
75k I eat the pie Richard brought me. Can feel the vegan Sri Chinmoy-ers envy/disdain. Mince is awesome. Pastry lines my mouth, dry. I down three cokes, sorted.
Might get the 100
I test the legs, cramps still there at top of calves, bottom of hamstrings but I want to see if it flares up or is just bearable. I start doing the maths on marching it out to 100k. I’m gonna fall short, heel blisters squish, but don’t want waist time checking them. I’m thinking: the march is working, speed up a little, keep moving.
If I sit down. I won’t get up. Like those guys there, who were sitting the last three lap.
Can’t do this
The cramps start to ping on long strides. I try to run a couple, walk a couple around 88 , 90 and 92. Cramps get unbearable with any speed. I’m on pace by my watch but short on lap count by two, I think. I take a gel. March hard. Take 3x the RDA of cramp spray. Take another gel 6 laps later as the first tasted good.
100k – It’s on
I get a lap count and need ten to get the 100. Gene counts me in from five and I risk pace. Cramps are building but bearable. I run the final three laps, then and 2 kilometers more to get it done. Who cares if I pop blisters now.
I land after the burpee and kneel for a second. I catch my breath and realise I’m done. I get happy its over. Everything hurts. The cramps are now in my abs, lats, quads, hammys, calves and toes.
Blisters all busted I swagger over to the finish and celebrate.
I then spend 45 mins packing up the tent and gear like 102 is my age.
Sunday. Jandal 5k
I jalk (Jog and walk) out 1.5 kilometers after warming u with a 3 kilometer walk with the kids in jandals to keep my running streak. Monday, a slow 5k and its back to #5keveryday and thinking of what’s next 😃
In work and in life I’ve tried to follow a continuous beta mantra.
Always be testing, upgrading and improving.
\\ This is a sidestep from my classic business and marketing posts, but bear with me.
One thing I’ve been trying lately is daily journaling. I haven’t perfected it and I use an alarm still to prompt me every morning to do it.
It’s a practice that many of the world leaders, smart investors and creatives use to improve. Of those interviewed for Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans, a majority had daily practices of: journaling, meditation, waking early, physical activity and shocks to the system (either intermittent fasting or cold water immersion).
The book’s a good read BTW, or digest each podcast for the whole story, uncategorised.
Here’s a little video with the details (sorry if you’ve seen this on IGTV)
We often get quite granular with our KPIs and goals, but how often do we really review what’s working?
Here’s the template I use as a prompt.
What went well What am I grateful for and what went well yesterday I can be proud of and replicate.
Today’s three Things that if I get them done will move the needle
Today’s experiment What am I going to try today. Something new.
What didn’t work? What do I need to follow up? What can I celebrate? Who should I connect with and connect to someone?
What can I share that I’ve found useful?
Hope you guys find this useful.
Let me know if you’ve got a Journaling tip, habit or continuous beta effort in play.
What if real estate offices leveraged their prime – centre of the neighbourhood – offices, by turning them into startup hubs and really respond to the gig economy?
A while back I was pondering over the two great problems that real estate agencies have:
Maintaining a constant source of great leads
The overhead of having to have a physical High St office like all of the other brands.
In today’s economy everything is moving to an ‘as a service model’. People are renting everything to avoid the initial costs of starting a business.
A number of startup hubs are forming in core cities around the world and their features of very similar to the needs a real estate office.
If you think about a high performing real estate office the staff should never be there – they should be out selling. They only group or regroup to align and share the current listings or to attend a training session or to run a large – normally after hours – auction. With their schedule of open homes and visiting clients the office could be left free for startups to use as Co-working spaces.
These freelancers and startups could be a constant source of residential leads that have brand awareness. Or as they scale enough to require their own space, expand the rent roll of a commercial Property Management arm.
To increase brand equity and surprise and delight those using their the coworking space the real estate company could bring in presenters. They could present and train them on sales and marketing – and the agency could leverage the presenters to teach their own sales team.
Expanding their services beyond just property they could branch into:
opening a cafe
a print house
a digital agency
and all of the other ‘as a service’ offerings that a startup would consume.
Each time extending the rent roll of that commercial real estate agency.
Ultimately the real estate brand and it’s agents will become the hub and source of all of its thriving and a community.
And isn’t that exactly what they all want? Inbound leads arriving daily!
Here’s hoping a brand takes this up.
I would love to support them with the logistics and bookings and connecting with the startup community through marketing.
Do this weekly. Heck daily – if you’re brave enough. Challenge your team to do regular retrospectives.
The biggest #GROWTHHACK I can think of is consistent and regular review of:
– What worked?
– What didn’t?
– What are we going to change?
The best organisations have mastered this rapid iteration and constant velocity of improvement. Taking cues from Ray Dalio’s Principles – the top 1% document their change decisions so that even the way they learn (and make decisions) evolves.
I’m an Achilles heel, but I know it! The nature of our industry implies we have teachers, head teachers, academic leaders and a principal or CEO.
This centralised hierarchical structure means we have clear interfaces with the government and regulatory bodies, roles with built in dependancies, and bottlenecks when it comes to decisions. From a risk perspective these bottlenecks are strategic weak points. Heck even my current job title, Head of Marketing, sounds ripe for lopping off and leaving a lifeless directionless body…
It’s an org structure that historically has been well adopted, but is it the right structure for today’s VUCA world?
Beyond my KPIs as a Marketing Director, I see my role in any organisation as head of distribution. Where possible moving from a centralised system to a distributed model. At least in terms of our marketing capacity if not the wider organisation.
Creating scaffolding. Enabling with tools that allow open records, transparency around actions and accountability, and systems that empower my team to make decisions that better serve customers.
So why did the centralised systems form?
When we identify chaos our first reaction is to classify what we’re seeing, create order and build complex systems to make the chaos understandable and tolerable. It’s why we have forms, policies, procedures and why everyone (except well intended guests and relatives) puts the coffee cups back in the same spot. It creates efficiency.
But at the start, who decides if your draw goes knife-fork-spoon or spoon-fork-knife?
Historically we had tribal leaders that knew what to do and could make decisions. Without procedures or scaffolding, we would look to those leaders for guidance. It seemed like the right way to run a company. When you get a lot of bodies together it seemed easier to control them through orders and one commanding voice. Think of that guy on the megaphone at a busy ferry terminal or at the start of a marathon, barking orders usually on a platform in a top down fashion.
A tribal leader was usually, in Darwinistic fashion, the toughest or strongest one that could win the battles.
Decentralised Was A Step Forward
As globalism spread, we realised that a certain degree of decentralisation had to occur. If just, as an example, to scale and let the East India Company make decisions that couldn’t be shipped back and forth like goods every month.
Progressing slightly, decentralised movements gave some resilience. Each node has a head and the required body parts to function. But the constant battle is to standardise processes and procedures again in order to make sense of the differing markets. You loose economies of scale, as you gain some independence and diversity of revenue.
Distributed Independent Organisms – Starfish over Spiders
Modern first world society has become so dependent on centralised structures that we are all just 9 meals away from anarchy. So how do we mitigate this reliance? Re-wilding and home grown organics maybe? We’d be distributed for sure.
What if we look back beyond our assumption that an organisation is a tribe that needs leadership. What if we saw it as an organism?
Highly responsive, naturally resilient and adaptive, distributed systems and organisations cannot be controlled. This is in fact the basis of internet, a distributed system.
Here are a few more examples:
Wikipedia – Where no one author or contributor is responsible for verifying an entry, it has become a very strong source of basic encyclopaedic knowledge.
Terrorist cells – Modern terrorist cells are very hard to immobilise as each cell operates independently and can do so without revealing themselves through communication with others. In fact the most effective counterterrorist efforts have been conducted in cell like, rogue units, operating disconnected from the typical structured (predictable and traceable) Seal and SAS efforts.
Epidemics – AIDS and Bird flu are particularly hard to fight as our antibacterial usage struggles to combat continuous mutation and developing separate strains.
Enspiral (New Zealand) a cohort of self managing, distri ventures.
But why create something so organic/different from our current societal norms Nick?
Are generation X,Y and Z customer and cause, not company focused?
Centralised organisations are very internally focused and looking up for guidance. Internal noise in many instances can drown out the outside world. At the very least it can leave your speech filled with acronyms and make communication with customers difficult.
Leaders now need to focus on managing the environment, connecting people with the purpose of the organisation and maintaining accountability.
Is it time to remove our exoskeleton and open up a connection with the customer?
Should we let the customer decide or lead the way?
Developing small distributed agile teams I believe is the way to go. It will take a while, and many may never to shed their hierarchies.
Design thinking and distributed teams are a good step in the right direction.
My biggest lesson of 2017? WEAK TIES ARE A GOLDMINE!
TL/DR: The more random and diverse my network — the more my career grows and the more exciting (ad)ventures become. Take thirty seconds to think through your conversations in January. Connect your contacts to someone that could help in the comments below.
At the time I could reach every user on Facebook, with just 2.8 degrees of separation.
Here on LinkedIn, I connect to add value. There’s a great mix, of English, Russian, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese in my feed each day. Contrasting opinions, debates, and support. I can manage the egos, clickbait, and fluff.
This variety sparks creativity, innovation, and alternatives.
I encourage you all in 2018 to make a new connection each month, with a personal invite, to someone different.
WHY SEEK DIVERSITY?
What got you into a mess won’t get you out of it.
A wise man knows how little he knows. Think through an idea in another language or from the perspective of another culture. If you can’t, ask a friend who does. They might have a solution. Side note, Empathy is gold.
Two heads are better than one.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. — Jim Rhone
If you really want to grow you need to be spending time with people that are more evolved than you. I’m not calling you an ape or neanderthal, but I want to complete an Ultra Marathon, so I’m not spending time doing 5k park runs with amateurs in skate shoes.
Hemmingway was such a successful writer because of the people he connected with and the scene he was in. Tim Ferriss, Benjamin Franklin, Harrison Ford — all accredit their success through proactively building the right connections with people they felt embarrassed and amateur around.
I know someone who works there.
If you’re in business development and just connect with industry or those in #bizdev your echo chamber will never reverberate with the sound of leads.
If you ever need to make a move or switch roles, your workmates and previous colleagues aren’t as much help as a connection at a prospective employer. I’m yet to secure a role through a recruitment agent, maybe in the future one will break this streak.
Procurement and finance will love you if you can source supplies at mates rates.
There’s a reason old boys networks, Lions clubs, Rotary and the Freemasons continue to grow.
Get off the internet and out to Meetups, coworking spaces or Creative Mornings. Attend a new one every other month.
Use your contacts, ask for recommendations.
Get a hobby, run with strangers (note with not after, that gets you new friends and a lot less freedom to attend Meetups).
Join the local business council.
Join the Rotary or Lions club. Join the Bikers club?
Use my contacts — I’d be more than happy to make a connection?
Use this article. Ask for contacts in the comments.
Thanks for reading. If you’re feeling generous, connect me with someone you think I or others should know in the comments below!