Gratitude and the Great Recharge

As I ease myself back into regular blogging following a summer hiatus, I’d like to begin by expressing an enormous sense of gratitude.

Last November, when I mentioned I was taking a break from blogging, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of readers who contacted me to check I was OK, several of whom let me know how much they appreciate reading my posts. To each of them (and they know who they are) I am extremely grateful. It’s that level of connection and feedback that helps to make the effort worthwhile.

One of my objectives in going offline for a few weeks was to take stock after nearly two years of disruption, and come back refreshed and re-energised. Like many other people, I was feeling drained and demoralised after multiple lockdowns, extended social disconnection, pitiful political failures, and increasing verbal (and physical) assaults on our notions of liberal democracy. I badly needed a change of perspective.

I was trying to come up with a suitable tag to summarise this goal, and realised that so many terms I thought of have come to be associated with pejorative meanings: the Great Reset, the Great Awakening (or Awokening, depending on your viewpoint), and the Great Resignation were among them.

So instead, I landed upon the Great Recharge.

For me, it evokes a physical energy boost, as well as a mental reframing on how to reflect on the past two years, and identify a way forward. The latter is about more than developing a coping mechanism. It is about retuning my responses to the information we are bombarded with – daily news, social media, advertising, propaganda, mis- and dis-information – and not letting it annoy me or provoke me. Because that is the reaction that the protagonists are looking for, and many of them are not being honest about their agenda, their vested interests, or their sponsors and backers.

As a result, I am trying to block out what is unimportant (not worth the effort of engagement), and not worry about those things I don’t have any immediate control over. By prioritising what really interests me, I feel I can be more creative, positive, enthusiastic and energising. Hopefully, I can be more connected to what really matters (and in the end, focus on what gives me joy). That way, I believe I can create less stress and inflict less emotional damage by not perpetuating the negative energy generated by protagonists who only want their audience to rise to the bait.

If I don’t like something, and as long as I’m not being forced to watch, read or listen to it, then I can simply choose not to give it air time. (“If you can’t say something constructive, it’s better to say nothing.”)

It’s not always easy  – look at all the trash talk, sledging and character assassination that permeates politics, sport, academia, culture and media. It’s pervasive, corrosive, and debilitating – and what makes it worse is that most times, the perpetrators are being paid to bad mouth the targets of their bile. Perhaps we can take a lead from Rafael Nadal, and let the ball do the talking….

Next week: Startupbootcamp Virtual Demo Day – Decarbonize

Summing Up (and Signing Off)

This will be my last blog post for the year. I’ve decided to pull up stumps a little early ahead of the summer holidays and festive season, because quite frankly, after the past few months I need a break.

Cyril Lancelin’s “The Knot” at Melbourne’s Federation Square – one of many public events that were short-lived thanks to lockdown

First, there was the three-month lockdown in Melbourne, and the sixth overall. This has put us firmly in the lead for the world’s longest cumulative period of lockdown, and even now, ongoing restrictions remain.

Second, the co-working space of which I have been a member for nearly three years has been put into voluntary liquidation. So I’m currently looking for a new “home” – although I’m not in a desparate rush, given the time of year.

Third, although we are less than two weeks away from the start of summer, winter has returned, bringing an extended period of cold, wet and windy weather. Whatever the cause, it’s definitely evidence of a change in climatic conditions (and has put a dampener any prospect of “opening up”).

As regular readers will know, inspiration for this blog comes from a variety of sources: meet-ups, conferences, exhibitions, networking events, international travel, live music, etc. All the stuff that I have taken for granted for so many years, and most of which has been severely curtailed (if not suspended) for the past 20 months.

While these activities are beginning to return, it’s far from “business as usual” – and the traditional summer break will mean a prolonged resumption of normal service.

So, all in all, it seems like an opportune moment to step back, re-calibrate, and hopefully return in the new year with some renewed energy and impetus.

Thanks for reading.

Next time: TBA

 

Looking back on 6 years of blogging

It’s that time of year to reflect on the past 12 months, the season of lists and growing wistfulness (to misquote Keats). Time to think about the year that was, and what might have been. I have been writing this blog for 6 years, and it seems like a good opportunity to take stock, as Content in Context takes a break until the new year.

First, some facts. The most popular post this year has been “I’m old, not obsolete”, even though it was published more than three years ago. In a similar vein, my most popular posts of all time could both be regarded as evergreen articles: one about crate digging in Japan, and another about the new conglomerates (update here). This year’s most popular new posts were both about Blockchain (here and here). In fact, I have mentioned the broader topic of Blockchain, cryptocurrencies and digital assets more than 50 times in the past 5 years, starting with a reference to CoinJar in mid-2013. Not too surprising, given this is where I have been focusing most of my efforts over the past two and half years.

Second, as regular readers will know, I have tried to be very disciplined about the frequency and scheduling of my posts. Whether this is purely for my benefit, or whether it helps my audience, I don’t know – but it seems to work, as I need a regular deadline, and posting on a weekly basis avoids the risk of fatigue (my own and the readers’).

Third, I realise it took me a while to find my voice – and to gain confidence in sharing my thoughts and ideas in public. Some of my early efforts didn’t quite hit the mark, as I was either trying too hard or I hadn’t yet identified what made my content have impact. Over time, based on reader feedback, the more I express my own opinions (rather than regurgitating other people’s’ views) the more that people engage with the content.

Fourth, I have always maintained two key principles in producing this blog: 1) every word is my own; and 2) no cash for comment. Over the years, I have been approached by numerous freelance bloggers who want to produce articles for me (for a fee, of course); and by PR firms who want to push sponsored content on behalf of their clients. I have managed to avoid going down that path. Nothing wrong with either activity, but it’s not in keeping with what I set out to do, and it would undermine my desire to be authentic – plus, I think it would potentially compromise my independence.

Finally, writing this blog often helps me to work out my thoughts, and develop them into ideas that I can use for my consulting work. At the same time, this platform allows me to air my views on topics which don’t immediately relate to my professional life – but which are consistent with my personal perspective and tastes. And while this blog doesn’t define who I am, it does form part of my personal branding, and I also hope it is a true reflection of my beliefs and values.

On that note, my I wish all my readers a safe, peaceful and reflective festive season. Usual output will resume in the New Year.

 

 

 

 

My Top 10 Blogs

Following on from my Top 10 Tips for Effective Blogging, I decided to list my most popular blogs so far this year. According to the WordPress stats, these are my most popular blogs this year by number of views:

1. Audiobus – a case study in app collaboration

2. In Praise of Analogue

3. Product Development 101

4. Bring back the Court Jester

5. Six Melbourne Start-Ups to Watch

6. Broadcastr signs off: 9 Challenges for Social Media

7. “If it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen…”

8. “Everything on the Internet should be free…”

9. Would you take career advice from a sushi chef?

10. Ten Reasons why the Lean Start-Up Model is here to stay

My conclusions?

1. Anything with numbers and lists does well

2. Anything about Start-Ups is popular

3. Anything on social media creates a buzz

4. Anything a bit leftfield (sushi chefs, analogue production, Court Jesters) gets attention

5. Audiobus is a phenomenal app!