The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Event Review: Consumer Trend Seminar — September 24, 2012

Event Review: Consumer Trend Seminar

I have been a big fan of Trend Watching for a couple of years now, mainly after stumbling across their monthly trend briefings. So, I was really excited when I heard they were bringing their Consumer Trend Seminars to Sydney.

I headed along to the half-day seminar, which is being run in 13 cities over the next couple of months. It covered the key global consumer trends as well as top 10 Asia Pacific consumer trends. The final session was an interactive workshop to help attendees apply their new-found knowledge. Or to put it another way – how to convince their bosses to implement their new ideas!

Parts of the seminar were tailored to the Australian audience, with a smattering of Australian businesses mentioned. And the information was certainly up to date, with all the video interviews with consumers on the streets of the world, only just days old.

Henry Mason, Trend Watching’s global head of research, ran us through the mega trends and also a number of the sub-trends and I’ve reproduced the full list below.  Don’t you just love some of the names – Statusphere, Infolust, Fuzzynomics, Social Cramming!

But what defines a consumer trend? Trend Watching calls it:

A manifestation of something that has ‘unlocked’ or newly service an existing consumer need, desire, want or value.

Trend Watching isn’t just listing what’s hot right now or peering into a crystal ball and “guessing” the next big thing. I see their value as being able to look across markets and industries and identify ideas that can be combined or applied in new spaces. It’s about helping you catch “the wave” before it catches you!

Here are a couple example and insights that stood out for me:

  • Consumers are increasingly desiring the “unique” or to put it another way – they no longer want to keep up with the Jone’s, they want something different

  • Status stories, skills and smarts. How are you empowering your customer to cram or quickly develop new skills and enabling them to tell the world?  Virtual visibility is now a social currency – does it really matter if it is not seen and recorded online?!

  • Are there ways your business can bring features of the online world, offline, to provide a more relevant experience for your customers? An example I loved was a clothes racks that show how many “likes” that particular item has received online

  • What info do you have that you can make accessible to your customers, which will help them feel empowered? The rise of DIY health sites and services are examples of this

  • Are you keeping an eye on the needs of the emerging consumer markets? Two examples of these new consumers were given – Virgin and Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Consumers. Virgin consumers are newly affluent Asian consumers that are buying certain products and services for the first time. While BOP consumers want urban conveniences that cater to their more limited lifestyles and prospects. Both of these consumer markets are growing at a dramatic rate, and businesses need to get better at understanding their specific needs

  • Is your brand being as relevant and interesting as possible? If not, you run the risk of not being “discovered” online because the majority of consumers are now using the online to discover by “default”, they are not actively searching for you anymore

About our Ambassador // Lisa Fox is a recovering a Government Lawyer and the Cofounder and Director of the peer-to-peer rental site, Open Shed.  Lisa is passionate about spreading the word about the Australian Collaborative Consumption movement and helping Australians access what they need when they need it! Connect with Lisa via @_lisafox or @openshed.

Event Review: TEDx Macquarie University – No Boundaries — September 2, 2012

Event Review: TEDx Macquarie University – No Boundaries

I must admit I like my weekend sleep-ins, but there are some events worth waking up for. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself when I was on the train to Macquarie University early Saturday morning for the start of TEDx. However, I most certainly wasn’t the only one. More than 320 attendees, partners and team members were part of this year’s event.  As soon as I arrived, I was glad I had. I was greeted by the friendly student volunteers and a delicious coffee (thanks Emily and the Fresh Ground team).

For those unfamiliar with idea of TEDx, these are independently organised TED events – with themes and guidelines from the original TED (Technology Entertainment and Global) conference to discuss “ideas worth sharing.” There have now been more than 16,000 talks, given at more than 3,200 TEDx events in 130+ countries.

This was TEDx Macquarie University’s second year, and it was great to be back a second time to see how it had grown.  I think it’s great when localised versions of events such as TEDx find ways to tie in and work with the community. Some of our inspirational speakers were also professors at the university, and many of the event staff and organisers were either current students, or alumni.  It was these little touches throughout the day that helped make this TEDx event unique and unique to Macquarie University.

Thanks to Liam Darmondy, Jarryd Daymond and the TEDx team for hosting and all the great speakers who came and inspired us. Videos of the talks will be available soon on the YouTube channel, and the photos are posted here.

Event Review: Opportunities for Startups — August 30, 2012

Event Review: Opportunities for Startups

Nick Healy from DEC Communications recently attended Opportunities for Startups, a Young IT Professionals Forum that explored the opportunities for startups in Australia.

The Sydney start-up scene is alive and kicking in 2012. In the past few years kick-starter style outfits, incubators, coworking spaces, accelerators, angel investors and venture capitalists have emerged as driving force behind innovation and entrepreneurship.

No longer known as the domain of eccentric entrepreneurs with ‘big ideas’, founding, funding and growing a business from a start-up to something more is increasingly an open book to anyone with the drive, determination, smarts and professional network to make it happen.

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) this month hosted a captive audience of Sydney’s hopeful start-up community and start-up curious for an in-depth 3+ hour workshop and panel session that covered some of the “A-B-Cs” of Opportunities for Startups in Australia.

The Commonwealth Bank’s (very slick) open plan offices at Commonwealth Place played host to Opportunities for Startups. A fitting surrounding for such a forum with a space designed to promote freer flow of work and ideas.

Among forum panellists were some of Sydney’s startup and innovation notables (see below) all there to frankly and openly share their experiences and war stories of working to take an idea and turning it into a successful business model.

Opportunities for Startups panellists included:

  • Kim Heras – Co-founder at PushStart, one of Australia’s top startup community accelerators.
  • Anoop George – Senior Director and Country Head at MindTree Australia
  • Natasha Rawlings – Direct Marketing pro, Founder and CEO at StreetHawk, a mobile shopping startup
  • Philip Takken – Audit and Assurance Senior Director at Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (“TMT”) practice in Sydney
  • The night was facilitated by Jenny Bhuiyan, Event Convener at the ACS and head of the Women of Entrepreneurs Sydney Chapter

Revealed early by speakers in sharing recipes to startup success was that not one seems to be the same. All had learned things the hard way and offered the audience insights into what worked for them, what didn’t and what others can learn from their experiences.

Perhaps most intrinsic to all panellists was an emphasis on speed and pace when moving in the startup space. When asked for their top tips to share with anyone considering/contemplating jumping into the startup game, the following pearls of wisdom were shared:

Startup Tips Shared by Panellist over the Evening:

  • “Fail Fast”: Find out what doesn’t work quickly
  • “Learn Fast”: Learn quickly from your mistakes
  • “Understand your profit model”: Passion will only get you so far
  • “Always have a financial buffer”: Be prepared for a considerable period of time without income and all the psychological pressure that goes with that.
  • “Pick your co-founders carefully”: You’ll be spending a lot of time with them
  • “Spread the word about your business”: Share your information and ideas with people outside of the business
  • “Sell from the Start”: When you’re trying to sell to someone – that isn’t your friend – you will find our very quickly what people really think of your business and products
  • “Persevere or Pivot”: Keep going but be ready change and recalibrate very quickly
  • “Keep your business plan simple”: Complexity can kill
  • “If in Australia, be prepared to spend time attracting investor dollars”: Australian investors generally require a working profit model before making a commitment
  • “Learn how to do things yourself”: Whether it’s basic HTML coding, sales and marketing, you can’t afford to pay people to do everything

About Ambassador // All about Social Media, PR and travelling, Nick is big on any form of written, verbal and visual communication. By day, Nick is a PR and Social Media Consultant at an independent PR and Communications based in Sydney, @DEC_PRConnect with Nick via @NickHealy

photo: cc license, basheertome

Event Review: Stump the Strategist — August 23, 2012

Event Review: Stump the Strategist

What: Stump the Strategist #28 featuring Dan Ilic – each monthly event has a themed topic followed by the chance to share your marketing challenges for the resident strategists to solve.
Where: Step Change, Level 13, 338 Pitt Street Sydney
Over Heard: “It’s like drunk football!”

I had the pleasure of attending my first Stump the Strategist event this week with guest speaker Dan Ilic. It’s on every month, hosted by the folks of Step Change. They bring in a variety of cool speakers, put on food, drinks and get some discussions happening. It’s a free event too (woo hoo) all you need to do is register beforehand.  According to their website, it’s like ‘Who’s Line is it Anyway? Mixed with ‘The Gruen Transfer’ and a little bit of ‘Thank God you’re Here.’ 

Dan’s talk was on the death of television, and had the audience interested and laughing right away. I found that Dan’s thoughts on working with online influencers particularly resonated with me. When we look to the future of advertising it’s not in traditional television, but in a new age of bloggers and even vloggers. After the talk, Dan and our team of strategists took four unscripted audience questions to answer. They were timed and had nine minutes to address each marketing or business challenge. The audience could then vote if they answered it… or had been stumped.

Overall a great night, and enjoyed the focus on audience participation. If you’re interested in finding out about future Stump the Strategist events, keep an eye on The Fetch Sydney. You can also get a preview of the current upcoming talks on the website.

Event Review: WordCamp Sydney — August 5, 2012

Event Review: WordCamp Sydney

This event review is brought to you by Doug Millen, from our Fetch Community Ambassador team in Sydney.

WordCamp brings together WordPress end-users and developers to share good ideas for doing great things with WordPress. WordCamp events are held regularly all over the world, and on 21-22 July 2012, WordCamp came to the University of Sydney for two days of community-building, as well as fascinating insights and useful ways for using WordPress effectively. Here are eight lessons I learned from my weekend at WordCamp.

1. There’s a community doing great things with WordPress in Australia.

People came from all over Australia and New Zealand for WordCamp Sydney – this was no small weekend workshop. I was delighted to meet developers, users and business owners from everywhere, including Travis, a developer from Adelaide, who helped me to see that events like WordCamp bring a sense of belonging and connectedness for freelancers who thrive on spending time in a community of people who work with the same tools.

WordCamp Sydney has been great for bringing together a community of people who work with WordPress.

Travis Hensgen @_traversal

Between them, WordCamp organisers Dee, Tracey, Peter and Alison have travelled to four WordCamp events across Australia and New Zealand in the last 12 months – and now they’ve brought WordCamp to Sydney again. It really was inspiring to hear Dee talk about the excitement she feels in bringing together this group of people.

2. You can do pretty much anything with WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world (ref) – even the New York Times uses WordPress. Tony Cosentino showed off a plugin for nearly every purpose (but warned not to install too many). Sofia Woods shared principles and tools for building, managing, and maintaining communities with WordPress. Several other talks covered everything you might need from back-to front-end, including themes, extensions, SEO and commerce (all slides here).

3. Accessibility is important. Really important.

Some one in five Australians have some form of disability, but accessibility isn’t just about providing a ramp into a store for people with mobility difficulties. Accessibility is also about making websites and multimedia interactive and understandable for users with different abilities of sight, hearing and physical dexterity.

Joe Ortzenzi gave a super simple (and funny) walkthrough of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, with examples of poor design and accessibility and gave a few tips for making sites and online media more accessible:

  • Use alt tags to provide informative descriptions of photographs for users with impaired sight.
  • Add a ‘skip to content’ link on each site page so that users with screen readers don’t have to listen to the entire navigation sequence.
  • Use semantic structure in your code (title, h1, h2, em) so that even if your site doesn’t look pretty it still makes sense.

Joe recommended the great new Sydney-based service Access iQ for helping developers better understand and implement web accessibility standards.

4. When blogging, just write – focus on perfection is your worst enemy.

Kate Carruthers was full of useful tips on blogging, but two ideas stood out and everyone was relieved to hear them!

Blogs are full of ideas and thoughts captured in time. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t write a masterpiece – it’s about getting your content out there and starting discussion around it.

A blog is like a puppy: don’t get one if you can’t look after it properly.

Kate Carruthers @kcarruthers

Kate gave common sense advice for getting started with WordPress sustainably and carefully (and legally). Check out Kate’s slides for helpful resources.

5. You can make a visually appealing, functional site with WordPress.

Phil Peet teaches design at a TAFE in Sydney. In his talk he broke down the process of setting up a WordPress site into the simple things the casual user wants to get started with.

6. There are tools for WordPress that make SEO easy.

Lisa Davis laid everything out on the table – everything you need to take care of to ensure that search engines understand your site and connect you with the people you want to reach. Lisa explained how to use title, h1 and h2 tags (step 1: don’t ignore them), listed the best plugins for SEO on WordPress (Yoast was mentioned by multiple presenters), and reminded us to use 301 redirects and to place content on 404s so that we don’t lose visitors.

7. There’s is a lot that can be done on your server to speed up your site.

Good morning, freedom-lovers! began Jeff Waugh’s 3 pm high performance guide to WordPress. One of the strongest characters at WordCamp, Jeff gave insights into what goes on inside servers running WordPress, including how php works and how you can refine your server to your advantage. He recommended using nginx instead of apache to reduce the amount of shovelling that goes on. To keep things speedy, he suggests hosting web services and DNS close to your audience. This means don’t host from Texas if all of your visitors are in Melbourne and Sydney.

Give WordPress to someone you love.

Jeff Waugh @jdub

In one of his examples, Jeff used to show site load times – pretty cool for exploring what parts of the entire process of loading your website are letting you down.

8. Become an expert in the tech you know and love.

Find a framework you can become great at and use it, rather than just being good at it – unless you really need the money!

Bronson Quick @bronsonquick

Bronson Quick is a bit of a WordPress pro and his advice was well-received! There was pretty strong representation of developers who use the Genesis framework (including co-organiser Dee). So it’s not just about WordPress – it’s themes, extensions like widgets and plugins, child themes, the list goes on…!

All presentation slides from the event are available on SlideShare and keep an eye out in The Fetch for future WordPress Sydney meet-ups.  A big thank you to Alison, Dee, Peter and Tracey for organising this event and having us along to WordCamp 2012. We’ll see you next year.

About our Ambassador // This article and photography were contributed by Community Ambassador Doug Millen. You can connect with Doug through his site or on Twitter @dougsky.

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