Tag Archives: Work

My workspace

Here’s a photo of my workspace. I’m trying to take multi-tasking to new heights…


Too many screens? People ask what I use them for, and whilst there’s no hard and fast rule, generally speaking I have email open on one screen, Google Chrome open on another and whatever productivity app I’m using at any given time on the third. The Macbook is usually open with Evernote or Sparrow up front.

I’m lucky to have a brain that can cope with parallel processing at work, but I don’t think I could cope with any more than I have here…

Taunting the SEO and social media people with the undead

Black Lantern Captain AmericaWorking at a PR agency and consulting on how people can interact with bloggers and their ilk has always given me a bit more patience, and occasionally respect for the people that pitch me for one product or another. Because I am a bit interested in most things, more often than not I do write about the stuff that people send me or write to me about, from yoghurt to clothing to technology and back again, on the basis that the pitch demonstrates evidence that they’re targeting me on the basis of anything I’ve actually written in the past.

I’m also more than open to offering people a guest blog spot, for what its worth, if they want to write about something that aligns in more or less anything I’m interested in, and as long as its not totally shameless self-promotion.

However, I have virtually no patience with people that don’t even slightly think through why they’re in touch with me, and, like the old Silicon.com/419 scam of old (h/t to Will S on that one) I’ve taking to taunting them.

Personal details redacted, but here’s this week’s fun:

@division6 morning :) was wondering if you’re still accepting guest posts on your blog at all?
@[redacted] depends who from, what for and what about!
@division6 it’ll be from me (my employer), on whatever you’d like it on. What for, you tell me :)
@[redacted] how about a comparative analysis between the undead universes of DC and Marvel comics? Marvel Zombies vs DCU ‘Black Lanterns’?
@division6 lol
@[redacted] No? Ok then.
@division6 don’t think I’ve ever, ever read a comic, nor seen a movie based on a comic.. Maybe The Crow, if that’s classed as one..

I’m hoping someone does take me up on that blog post request. I think a DCU/Marvel undead crossover (maybe with some Walking Dead zombies thrown in for good measure) could be ftw.

Multi-tasking – limited by my brain

Day 127: Multi-taskingI’m in a period of particularly intense focus at work at the moment and that’s not leaving me a lot of spare bandwidth for blogging. Life continues merrily. Despite the first signs of autumn gathering gloomily (mist over the common a few mornings ago), we’ve still got our annual South Coast seaside celebration to look forward to, so sunshine is still firmly on the agenda.

Normal service will resume in about a week and a half. In the meantime, my thoughts may be marginally more half baked than usual – apologies!

The Apprentice

Lord Alan Sugar at Destination Growth '09 So prior to the current series, I’d never watched the Apprentice. The concept reminded me too much of some curious hybrid of actually working and interviewing for a new job through one of those awful milk-round processes where you have to do ludicrous, unrealistic exercises to prove your worth.

Amanda brought me round. As with football and celebrity, and occasionally Eastenders, The Apprentice has become one of those shared frames of popular reference. Everyone has a view on it; everyone gets caught up in the exercises, and for those of us who work in marketing… there’s a thousand lessons of what not to do painted every week.

This week, I have a new phrase for an undifferentiated marketing proposition. The "Every Dog." If anyone tries to pitch me a generic sounding service again, I’m just going to say "No thanks, that’s too every dog." It might even work.

Talking to a colleague today gave me an insight as to why there’s such a strong appeal to the programme. They do seem to find curious, dysfunctional groups of people to collaborate on these projects. The net result is dramatic, exciting, and ludicrous television, in which modestly intelligent people get on so badly that they fail, in many cases, to organise the proverbial piss up in a brewery. Which makes you feel good about your own merits, modest as they may be.

Lord Sugar; thank you for this feel-good television. It’s the best thing I’ve got from you since my Amstrad PC 2286.

Thoughts on consultancy

Been talking to my Dad a bit about the nature of consultancy – principally round the difference between consultants that tell you what you want to hear, and those that tell you what you need to hear. My Dad has always fallen into the latter camp – rarely sugarcoating difficult news, that’s his style, through well over 30 years of corporate lawyering – and I think I do too (although PR consultancy tends to require a bit more… tact).

One of the things that’s really satisfying is when a client takes on a piece of advice, acts on it and changes the way their company operates.

In the context of social media communications as part of corporate communications, I’ve had a considerable amount of experience of this lately. One client in particular took on the advice we gave and has been doing a great job of it – and the feeling you get when this happens is what makes the job worthwhile, and it’s when you know you have a client you’ve got the potential to do great things with.

Great fun. A nice perspective for me to take as I lean back and look at things from the comfortable distance of a sabbatical.


I’m something of a productivity fiend. If something seems fiddly when I’m working on it, in real life or at a computer, I hunt for a simpler workaround, or hack, or shortcut, or whatever’s the appropriate shorthand for it. Hence being a big fan of the Lifehacker blog and Videojug.

I’m also a massive advocate of the cloud. Most of the day-to-day personal productivity tools I use live on the Internet in some way.

So really it’s a mystery that I’ve gone so long without Evernote, a sort of DropBox-like service for text and audio notes and pictures that syncs across iPhone, iPad and any number of PC or Mac endpoints. It took Chris showing it to me on his Macbook to get me thinking I needed it.

Having been resoundingly and repeatedly convinced of the inadequacy of the iOS WordPress, I’m now writing these blog posts on it using my foldaway bluetooth keyboard on the commute home. The posts will save locally into a text file which will sync to my other devices when I fire up Evernote on there. Wonderful.

Now, unlike Seinfeld, when I wake up with an idea in the middle of the night and scribble it down, I not only won’t have to worry about illegible handwriting and losing the punchline, but it’ll pop up on my desktop later on when I’ve all but forgotten I wrote it down in the first place.won’t have to worry about illegible handwriting and losing the punchline, but it’ll pop up on my desktop later on when I’ve all but forgotten I wrote it down in the first place.

The product, for those interested, is intuitive, designed for touch, and works seamlessly. A joy.

Tech blog post to follow

I know I’ve been blogging about food non-stop (its the diet, the wedding planning, the general mania), but tomorrow I’m going to take a little break and get back to technology with a post about a new global broadband study we’ve been working on with my clients over at Cisco. It’s a topic I feel pretty passionately about myself and there’s some interesting perspectives being published tomorrow – watch this space.

The dangers of collaborative playlists

Had my work stag do on Friday night. It was awesome, needless to say – I work with good people, and my work best men did an exemplary job in organising the venues.

In the hour or so before we left the office, as is our habit on a Friday afternoon, we kicked off a collaborative playlist on Spotify to get people in the mood. Given my impending marriage, you might expect some cheesey / romantic tunes, and indeed, there were one or two of those. However, it seems that there are some cynics in the house (and even more on Twitter as @qwghlm, @krsjn, @flashboy and @jat45 started kicking in their own contributions). Think Charlie Brooker’s moodkill playlist and you’ll have a sense of what’s on there.

If you want to see how the final playlist shaped up, point Spotify here. Be warned; there are some fairly horrible songs in there :-).

Christmas Holiday Craziness

Christmas has been amazingly busy so apologies for the lack of posting and hope you all had wonderful seasons and enjoyable new years. Some of the things filling my time:

1) Flights to and from Malaysia

2) Introducing Amanda to about 30 people in my extended family, another 20 in my extended extended family, about 20 additional family friends and a number of randoms and associates. She did amazingly well in overwhelming circumstances and I think mostly had a good time!

3) Visiting Taman Negara in Pahang, where we jungle walked, I spoke Malay to Orang Asli, and we stayed in the delightful Traveller’s Home.

4) Visiting Malacca for a dim-sum fest, travelling on a ferris wheel at the Malacca River Pirate Entertainment Park (consisting of four rides), an interrupted swimming session on the 9th floor of the Ramada Renaissance caused by a brief monsoon shower.

5) Reading: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, finishing the brilliant Bad Science and diving into the Inkheart trilogy, as well as devouring the brilliant ‘Invincible’ Ultimate Collection 1&2 which Arvind bought me for Christmas.

6) Saying “I’m Batman” a few times following Sheila and Dave’s purchase of a full Bat-costume for me for Christmas.

7) Shopping with Amanda for the ‘ring’ and learning from my Aunty Ann about the four Cs of diamond shopping.

8) Three days in the ‘honeymoon’ suite of a less good hotel in Pangkor, including a scenic tour of the Island, some slightly grotty beach, and the most awesome clamshell poolside showers. Flickr will soon have photos. Despite grottiness, was a lovely escape and involved driving down some wonderful plantation road and all the adrenaline that entails (overtaking the lorries involves finding a window and then accelerating into oncoming traffic).

9) A lot of food, including Roti Canai, Dim Sum, Cantonese & hokkien mee, peanut-free Satay, Bhatura, Dhosai, Appom (sp?), and even fish and chips and lamb chops for good measure.

10) Tourist visits to KL Tower, Central Market

11) Shopping visits to 1 Utama, KLCC

12) A lot of jetlag

13) A fantastic Christmas eve featuring the increasingly infamous hat game and the family’s first Secret Santa, a resounding success (I got a Superman Belt Buckle which I failed to work out was from Geets, but she didn’t clock that I’d given her Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker DVD either, so we were even)…

14) New Year’s Eve on Asian Heritage Row in Central KL

…and a great deal more. The first couple of days back have been characterised by jetlag, kitchen construction, a cold, and initial attempts to improve healthiness through swimming and resisting completely unhealthy food. This will be helped by the completion of the kitchen…

Anyway, if you want to know more on any of the above points, let me know and I’ll find some time to write further.

Post holiday email count: 960 in my work inbox, down to 560 after initial pass on Sunday and down to a mere 368 after a second pass early this morning. Fingers crossed for a sane January, but it seems doubtful!

Byte night fundraising

Brands2Life is fielding a team for this year’s Byte Night charity sleep-out – a team of five will head onto the streets of London and rough it for an evening to raise money for Action for Children – a great cause.

Byte Night this year is on the 3rd Oct — my birthday — so needless to say I’ve made a craven excuse and ducked out — but would really like to support the cause, so encouraging my readership to donate, and donate generously! I have donated some cash towards an office bake sale the team coordinated, offered my (limited) skills as a guitarist as a prize in the raffle silent auction (I’ll be giving someone a guitar lesson), and will make sure I have an ‘extra cold’ beer the night they’re camping out.

Please do donate generously here.