Beware Your Corporate Partnerships

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Current Affairs, Marketing | Posted on 28-06-2010

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Choose to partner your brand with another and you’re buying into their corporate reputation… and this might not always be what you expect:

Beware of your corporate partnerships!

NYC Event: Social Media & Democracy

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Australia, Current Affairs, Internet | Posted on 20-04-2010

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I’m heading to an interesting event put on by the Aussie consulate in NYC tomorrow night, Social Media and Democracy: The New Era of the Citizen Elect (who knew the editor of the WSJ is an Aussie?)

Let me know if you’re in NYC and want to tag along – and yes, I’ll be sure to live-tweet it and post some follow up thoughts here.

From the Advance site:

Victorians Abroad and Advance invite you to Social Media & Democracy: The New Era of the Citizen Elect at 6pm on Wednesday 21 April.

Join leading Victorian, Robert Thomson (Editor-in-Chief, Wall Street Journal) and a thought-provoking panel moderated by Evan Ratliff (Wired) for an eye-opening look at our digital future.

*What is the future of the new era of the ‘citizen elect’?
*What tools can help create a healthier democracy and engender ideas?

*What can the Government of Victoria learn about citizen engagement as it heads into an election year?

*Opportunities, pitfalls and strategies for this new form of digital collective action.
Join us for a behind the scenes look by key Australians and Americans who are leading this exciting new era of governing through social media.

Keynote speaker:

Robert Thomson

Editor-in-Chief, Wall Street Journal

Panelists:

Andrew Rasiej

Founder, Personal Democracy Forum

Vice President of Communications, NARAL Pro-Choice New York / National Institute for Reproductive Health

With questions moderated by:
Evan Ratliff
, contributing editor, Wired magazine and writer for The New Yorker, New York Times, Sunday Magazine, Men’s Journal.

Wednesday 21 April, 2010

6.00pm to 9.00pm

Bowne

Level 50, 55 Water Street

New York, NY  10041

Men are from Mars, Women are Watching Glee

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Current Affairs, Humour, Internet | Posted on 13-04-2010

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This post is spurred by the spontaneous explosion of Glee related excitement stemming from the women I follow on Twitter right at this moment.

Here’s a quick look at the #Glee related enthusiasm appearing in my Twitter stream right now:

But this phenomenon does seem to be isolated to women (well, a few of my gay mates are also pretty darn excited), and the male/female divide has never been more evident than the current Google Hot Trends rankings:

#3: ‘what time is Glee on Tonight?’

#5: ‘Ashley Dupre Playboy pictures’

So essentially, while every woman in America is pining for Glee to start, every male is trying to find pictures of a former call girl in the nud.

NB: If you’re not familiar with Google Hot Trends Wikipedia has a good explanation. I keep track of it via RSS – it’s interesting keeping a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist via its hourly updates!

Google Hot Trends is an addition to Google Trends which displays the top 20 hot searches (search-terms) of the past hour in the United States. For each of the search-terms, it provides a 24-hour search-volume graph as well as blog, news and web search results. Hot Trends has a history feature for those wishing to browse past hot searches.

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General David Petraeus on the Power of Ideas

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Current Affairs | Posted on 02-04-2010

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I read an interesting (if somewhat sycophantic) Vanity Fair feature article on General David Petraeus – the man behind America’s succesful ‘surge‘ strategy in Iraq and now the key stakeholder in Afghanistan.

For some quick political background so you know we’re I’m coming from: I was extremely strongly opposed to the Iraq War – I joined 200,000 people marching against it in Sydney on February 16 2003. Once we’re in there though, I want to see us do the right thing, and I’ve been a supporter of the surge strategy and am strongly in support of keeping more troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan for the long-term (key influencer on my thinking here: Niall Ferguson).

The key section that stuck out to me from the Vanity Fair article was David Petraeus’s rigid adherence to the power of ideas (along with a lesson in perseverance):

Petraeus was sent to head the Combined Arms Center, at Fort Leavenworth. He left with a mandate to shake things up, and the assignment in his case was to be temporary, but it is a command that epitomizes the word “mundane.” It runs all of the army’s combat-training centers and schools, and is responsible for crafting army doctrine. It was an important job, but has often represented a career dead end. Petraeus was enough of an intellectual to know what many men of action do not: ideas precede and determine acts. If you want to change something as big as an army, how better than to change the way it thinks? In 2005, from his base in the heartland, Petraeus went to work drawing up a new set of doctrinal manuals for the modern military—he called it “Full Spectrum Operations”—which posited that all future military efforts would be some mix of offense, defense, and stability and support operations. He and the school commandants under him called for new curricula and new reading lists at army training centers, emphasizing cultural awareness, people-friendly tactics, and a broader range of tools. Petraeus believed the pre-9/11 soldier had been taught what to think. He wanted the post-9/11 soldier taught how to think.

As part of an overhaul of army instructional materials, he recruited a team of unprecedented diversity to draft a new field manual on counter-insurgency, inviting not just scholars and soldier-scholars but human-rights activists, journalists, and diplomats. In addition to emphasizing population protection and civic rebuilding efforts, the new manual underscored the importance of earning trust through transparency. It stressed telling the truth even when the news was bad, bending over backward to avoid arresting and killing the wrong people, and persuading those among the enemy who were reconcilable to abandon the fight in return for concessions, incentives, and opportunity. It also (and this piece is often overlooked) called for relentlessly isolating and targeting extremists, those who will not reconcile. So as you add friends, you subtract enemies. Petraeus says, “The idea is to go to bed every night with fewer enemies than you had in the morning.” The manual not only galvanized a movement within the military but also became a national best-seller, the first army manual ever reviewed in The New York Times Book Review (and favorably at that).

Petraeus went off to Baghdad in early February of 2007 with a mandate from the president to put counter-insurgency into practice. The surge, then, was not just an infusion of new troops. It was an infusion of new ideas. He took with him some of the scholars, military and civilian, who had helped him write the counter-insurgency manual. The assignment was a stark illustration of the difference between academia and the military. In academia you publish and subject your work to criticism and comment, and sometimes your ideas are shot down. It can be a humbling experience. In the military, you publish, and then you arm yourself for battle. If your ideas are wrong, you don’t just suffer criticism. People die.

The other section I’ve got to highlight as a red-blooded male is the man’s sheer toughness, as shown by his recovery from a 1991 training incident that sure a M16 round shot through his chest, tearing out part of his lung and blowing a four-inch hole in his back:

He was back at work in record time, demonstrating to the hospital staff, just days after surgery, that he was not an ordinary patient by removing the IV tubes from his arm and dropping to the floor to do push-ups. The medical staff took note of his toughness. The insertion of a chest tube between his ribs, without anesthesia, had produced only a grunt.

The full article is well worth a read – it’s good to know that a bloke like this is leading the unglamorous and oft-ignored conflict in Afghanistan.

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