Amalgamation, not Armageddon

ZAA104 – Marketing for Business

It’s great when somebody accidentally gives you fodder for a blog through something they say that they maybe didn’t mean to say.

And I know it’s two blogs in a matter of days but this guy just hit a sweet note with me and I needed to get my thoughts down.

At this week’s tutorial, we had a special guest who was talking about marketing, oddly enough, and his role is to market Tasmania.

Pretty simple task you’d imagine. Sheffield

All he has to do is tell people about the great scenery, fantastic food, ripper wines and whiskey, MONA, Salamanca, Tasmazia, Barnbougle, Port Arthur and Cradle Mountain. See, just by name dropping I have done all the promotion that this mob has to do for the whole year. People will google these terms and find enough information for a week-long holiday in the Apple Isle.

So, if marketing the state is so easy, what’s making it so hard?

Tasmania is an island state with a population of about 500,000.
That’s not earth shattering in any way and pretty common knowledge.

Where this organisation finds hurdles is dealing with the 29 municipal areas in the state.

Each municipality is fighting for its share of the tourists, the website hits, the good reviews and to have their story told by the statewide body for promoting Tasmania.

This is something I’ve considered for a long time in the local government sector, Tasmania is over serviced for councils.

A rationalisation of councils would cost jobs and be very unpopular, as it was in 1993 when the state Liberal government went through with the Local Government Act of 1993 and created new councils, much to the distress of local communities.
This act joined
Deloraine and Westbury to form Meander Valley Council, Waratah and Wynyard to form the Waratah-Wynyard Council and Penguin and Ulverstone to form Central Coast Council, among others.

This act maybe didn’t go far enough and the amalgamation of Devonport, Kentish and Latrobe to form Mersey Valley or Don Council didn’t happen.
Kentish and Latrobe are part of a resource sharing agreement.

Identity is key and amalgamation is a loaded word. Merger is another that conjures up negative connotations. Cradle

I believe that, and let’s take the area I know best, one municipal area for North West Tasmania known as Cradle Coast would be a great kick in the right direction.

It’s an anecdotal but well known fact that Tasmanians are scared of what they don’t know and are very reluctant to learn about it. This rationalisation of King Island, Circular Head, Waratah-Wynyard, West Coast, Burnie City, Central Coast, Devonport, Kentish and Latrobe into one “super council” would reduce administration costs and streamline promotion of the area.

If it came to it, current council boundaries could be kept to ensure that each 1993 Local Government Act council could have one elected member to the super council. The “Member for King Island” for want of a better term.

Jobs in works, planning, corporate services and technical services would stay as, despite there only being one mayor, there is still the same number of bridges, roads, ratepayers, nature strips and garbage bins to collect.

Could this work? Well, I’m not sure. I mean, I believe in the concept but I’m worried about the great unwashed looking it in a negative way and will continually complain about it. Much the same as the North of Tasmania complain about the South and the South bitch and moan about the North.

Tasmanian’s don’t play well with each other and I think this is the major stumbling block in any forced or voluntary council amalgamations.

If an adult debate was had with people thinking critically and in the best interest of ratepayer rather than if they get elected again, this could, nay should, work.

I mean, working together is something taught to kinder kids, sharing is something taught by parents to their toddlers and why wSue Hickeyould you want to be elected to a position where a tough decision needs to be made only to run for the hills and not objectively view the content of the debate.

Here’s something the naysayers might want to consider if they are concerned about being elected again, if you are paying one mayor instead of nine, there could be downward pressure on rates. What would your constituents think of that?

 

Do you have a thought on rationalisation of councils?

Do you think there is anything we can learn from sporting amalgamations that decision makers could consider?

I’d love to get your thoughts on this controversial topic, leave me a comment, like, dance a jig, share this blog.

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Business as Not Quite Usual

Associate Degree in Applied Business

Term four started yesterday and this shapes as a big term. By the end of it I will be a long way to completing the UTAS Associate Degree in Applied Business but, in a change from last term, there is no specialisation in brackets (Sport, Recreation and Leisure).

That’s because the game has changed.

I’ve got a taste for this study thing, and I like it!

So, over the holidays, apart from using the time to chill out and half my workload with no Uni and just family and work (I say just, but you know what I mean!), I took the time to investigate what happens next once the Associate Degree is complete.

Metro Bus.jpgI discovered that articulation is not just a word about buses. These buses are known by the kids as “bendy buses” by the way.

I discovered that I won’t be doing the unit, Designing Events, which I was looking forward to, sacrificing that for Business Feasibility and Costing.

I also discovered that my workload after Christmas is going to go nuts!

Why change? Well, I’ve always been a bit of dreamer. This has sometimes worked well but sets me up for great failure too sometimes. But something about this dream is different.

Different to the dream of wanting to open the batting for Australia at Lords or the dream of kicking a goal for Geelong after the siren like Tom Hawkins to sink Hawthorn in a Grand Final, or even the dream of driving a Formula One car, these things will remain dreams as they are only just more likely to happen than me bumping by bum on the moon.Homer Business.jpg

This dream could make a difference. I have a theory I’d like to test through research at a post graduate level. Honours or maybe even further.

Attending Uni at this stage in my life has given me more drive and clarity than I would have had if I jumped in straight out of school. It’s like I had a 15-year gap year to “find my true self” and gain some life experience”.

I certainly did both of those! Two marriages, three kids, three tattoos, one piercing, six hockey clubs, four cricket clubs, two football clubs, a rugby club, three knee operations, a hip operation, living in three states and losing my mind have all landed me in a place where I can study hard with a genuine purpose to it.

It gave me the chance to explore and work out what I really want to do and what I really love.

My family and sport.

It would be a very brave person to try and study my family, so I won’t do that!

But I can study the business of sport and, in particular, officiating.

I won’t give the ending away but rolling into the articulated Bachelor or Business Administration will give me the opportunity to make a big difference in the way a very marginalised group is viewed and maybe, just maybe, get to the bottom of why this is the case.

So, that’s the plan. I’ve enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration with a view to do Honours and maybe beyond.

Sam The American EagleIt will mean a lot of time and effort but the pay off at the end will be so worth it.

It will be the completion of the biggest project of my scholastic and professional life, just tipping out the 55-acre mango farm I irrigated in Mt Larcom, Qld, and will be an example of the benefits of higher education for my kids.

It might also encourage other who don’t know what they want to do when they grow up to look at higher education, even 15 years after leaving school when they know what they want from life.

 

Do you like what you read when I start babbling into MS Word?
Drop me a line, like or share if you do. I’d love to see what you guys think.

There is also this cool thing on WordPress where you can see what counties the people reading these blogs are from. I’d love to add a few countries to my list. If you know someone living overseas, share the post with them and see if we can get the tally up to 20!

World Mental Health Day and Me

No, the irony is not lost on me.

In the absence of course material during the “school holidays” and a desire to put words on paper I’m going to tackle a very personal issue.

The irony is, today I woke up and knew straight away that being around people was going to be the worst thing I could do from a mental health aspect.

I called in sick to work, went back to bed and contemplated what I could do today. The irony is that today, October 10, is World Mental Health Day.

BiploarI’ve been pretty public about my issues with Bipolar Disorder but today seems different as the issue of the day is the culmination of eight very busy weeks where succumbing to urges to curl up and hide was not an option.
This led to today, a scenario that Sarah and I refer to as the “crash”.

In the past it has led to some pretty dark places. Manic episodes with no sleep, crazy ideas and a drop in self-esteem that ends up with introversion which, if anybody who knows me at all will tell you, is definitely not the norm.

The crash is the result of so many factors. Not sleeping when manic, soldiering on when depressed and putting on a public face. I call is the mask.

Anybody who has worn a mask to a fancy-dress party in an attempt to be a certain character knows thatZorro after an hour of so or acting, dressing, talking and swinging a sword like Zorro and you get sick of it.

Try wearing a mask, hiding what is truly rattling around inside your mind for eight weeks. It’s exhausting just being the version of yourself that people expect.
The mental exhaustion is one thing which contributes about 60% to the crash. The other aspect, a lot less spoken about, is the 40% which is flat our physical exhaustion.
Wearing a mask for so long takes it out of you physically.
 There is the constant smiling, laughing and being involved in office banter that requires elevated levels of energy that you just can’t muster.

I put together a Facebook post in a group of people I have only ever met via Facebook and never face to face. I lamented that I crashed. This group raised a very interest point about living in a 24-hour society. With mobile phones, news channel on Foxtel, social media and people having access to you whenever they want it’s doubly hard compared to 20 years ago to escape life for a while. Even when we are in bed, what should be one of the most sacred places there is, we are not truly alone with our phones next to the bed used as alarm clocks.
This additional pressure to react to every post we are interested in, tag friends in posts, keep up to date with rolling coverage of a celebrity scandal or know how close Kim Jong Un is to pressing the big red button makes life harder and adds to the amount of time you need to wear your mask. Model T

This is one reason I love umpiring cricket. For six hours on a Saturday I am incommunicado. It’s just me and my partner on the day facilitating a game that is about 160 years older than the Model T Ford, about 180 years older than television and about 260 years older than Twitter.

So, this Mental Health Day, spending it watching the Simpson’s, penning this little piece and watching the kids play has been about all I have been able to cobble together.

That said, the cathartic nature of writing has made this a great Mental Health Day.

 

If you relate to anything in this blog, I’d love to hear your story if you are comfortable telling it. Remember, Mental Health Issues are nothing to be ashamed of. Statistically one in 55 people in the United States live with Bipolar Disorder. That means that at least ten of my Facebook friends are in the same boat as me. If you are in this boat, get your oars out and let’s pull in the direction of a world where Mental Health stigma is BUSTED!

Term Three – Reality Check

Well, term three has come and gone like Geelong’s hopes in the Preliminary Final.

The Grand Final has been played in two of the major football codes, a great day was had watching the Tiges and Crows and now we are into the second week of some R&R before hitting the books once more in term four to complete the first half of the Associate Degree in Applied Business.Dangerfield.jpg

What can I take from the term just gone?

I got the opportunity to do some “study” in Melbourne watching two games of footy and seeing how a club operates on match day. Looking beyond Toby Greene kicking Luke Dahlhaus in the face and the 30 touches that Dangerfield against Richmond in a great win in Geelong.

I also saw the other side of study, the side that I didn’t want to see. A failure.

It was a kick in the teeth to balls up an assignment that badly to see a fail mark on the screen when I opened it up for a look. But as I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks, you don’t win or lose, you win or learn.

And that’s what I had to do. What went wrong? How did I get it so wrong? The answer is simple. Effort. It was a course I didn’t enjoy and therefore gave less time to than the other course (sports administration) where we were encouraged to be creative instead of the hard and fast rules and regs of business finance.

The “this goes here” and “if this happens you respond with this” of business finance just didn’t ring true to me. If nothing else, it reminded me of a great verse from Australia’s greatest poet which was first published in 1889.

“And I somehow rather fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal —
But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of ‘The Overflow’.”

BanjoThese lines from Banjo Patterson rang true as I labored over figures of balance sheets gearing ratios, profit and loss and all manner of business things. I thought it was meant to be simple.

I have this, it cost me this much to get/make it, therefore, I will sell it to you for this and be rich.

But it turns out there is a lot more to it that I just wasn’t prepared for.

Now there is an interesting concept. Prepared.

In the cricket umpiring world, we are constantly chanting the six P’s when we are dong crocodile sprints around Blundstone Arena. “Perfect Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”.

In this case, the business finance course, nothing could be more true.

If wasn’t until late in the course that I discovered Investopedia. An accountant or banker’s heaven which big words, ratios, percentages and lots of gobbledygook that gives money men a warm and fuzzy feeling.

I can see I’m going to get well acquainted with it if there are any more subjects like this one.

With all that said, I’m enjoying the couple of weeks off but I’m mad keen on term four with Marketing for Business and Event Management on the menu.

Remember, please feel free to share, like, comment on any of these blogs. I write them for my own catharsis but enjoy looking to see how many people and reading my rambling and love getting your feedback on any of the topics.

Touching the Stars

ZAA111

Have you met your hero? Shook their hand? Got an autograph or a selfie?

How did it make you feel?

Connected? Valued? Part of something bigger?

There is an age old saying that you should never meet your heroes. I totally reject that.

As part of the final assignment for ZAA111 we investigated a possible business opportunity based around a game of football at UTAS Stadium in Launceston. I’m not going to give away the ending of the investigation but it raised a really interesting point about the connection between fans and stars.

Lillee.jpgEveryone has someone they look up to, aspire to be like or want to emulate in some way. Even the greatest Australian fast bowler of them all, Dennis Lillee, wanted an autograph. That was from HRH Queen Elizabeth II at the Centenary Test at the MCG in 1977.

For me, meeting some of the big names as a fledgling sports reporter on the North-West Coast of Tasmania gave me such a buzz. Cathy Freeman, Kerry O’Keeffe, David Hookes, Sarah Milton and Fraser Gehrig were just a few of the stars I got to meet. It was a thrill. And this is what I looked at most intently when we as a class were looking at this possible business opportunity at UTAS Stadium.

Initially I thought we could get it off the ground without the support of Hawthorn Football Club. This was because, mainly, I’d rather see the Poms win the Ashes than Hawthorn win or profit from anything. But the more we considered it, I was talked around by my colleagues that having Hawthorn involved was a good thing.

Then it dawned on me that meeting some players would heighten the experience for those paying to be a part of what we were considering doing.

This brings me back to the second question; how did it make you feel?

For me, getting Imran Khan’s autograph in 1992 was a huge deal. He was the best cricketer on the Imranplanet and was playing at the Devonport Oval. I felt connected with the biggest star in my favourite game. The fact he took 10 seconds out of his busy schedule to sign a bit of paper for me, looking back, spoke volumes of the man who was adored the world over for his cricket and, in recent years, his political and humanitarian work.

This access was so much easier back then. On that same day, I watched Imran in the nets. Just me as an eight-year-old watching through the net as he carved up the poor, hapless net bowlers who had volunteered to have a trundle. It turns out those net bowlers were two of the all-time greats. A couple of blokes called Wasim and Waqar.

Now it is so much harder to have access to the stars. After AFL games a player might sign a ball and kick it into the crowd. There is nothing personal about it. A better situation is the fast bowler resting at fine leg signing mini bats in between deliveries.

We, as sports fans, hang on every word from our heroes. We demand access to them and I think that somNiki Lauda.jpge sports are doing it far better than others.

In Formula One, the media has almost unbridled access to the drivers, team bosses and past greats. It is nothing to have a live interview less than an hour before lights out with Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Niki Lauda or Christian Horner.

Cricket is getting there with players on the microphone while fielding and players interviewed in post-match situations. All very contrived but at least the general punter watching at home can get a feel for what the players are thinking.Eddie.jpg

The smaller sports I think do it best. In a past life I worked in hockey. Kookaburra’s Tim Deavin, Eddie Ockenden and Jeremy Edwards were available for selection in their club side when they were home and posed for countless photos. They would chip in with events understanding full well that the people they were servicing were the very people who encouraged them along the way.

This ability to interact with stars of the game is what people love. They love a hero and love being able to reach out and touch the stars.

Have you met your hero? Who was/is it? Did it change your opinion of them?

Leave a comment, I’d love to see who your hero was/is!

 

Procrastination, I’ll do some tomorrow

Procrastination

ZAA103

I recently failed an assignment in the ZAA103 course on Business Finance.

It didn’t get me too far down as I knew in my heart of hearts that I buggered it up royal so was hoping for a pass so I could tick the box.

Then there was the final assessment of ZAA103. Worth 50 per cent of the mark for the term in this course.

So, I hooked into that with all the confidence in the world, didn’t I?

Well, no.

I took procrastination to a whole new level.

In fact, it was that good, I’ll go and make a cuppa and put pen to paper on this blog to tell you all about it.

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Right, perfectly steeped cup of tea.Tea

Where was I? Oh, yes, procrastination.

This is the biggest problem that any Uni student faces. Particularly when a subject is a little bit tough, or boring, or you don’t like the lecturer or some shiny object crosses your eye line.

For me, it was all a bit tough. I thought I had shot the course to pieces and that nothing short of a high distinction would save my bacon in this course. I didn’t understand the material no matter how many times I read it.

The final assessment looked daunting. Two hundred pages of reading boring annual reports trying to find the nuggets of gold that would take the assignment from a “P’s get degrees” to a high-quality piece that would get me to pass this course.

So, I filled the wheelbarrow with firewood we wouldn’t light, researched some of the topics, watched the footy, watched some cricket, didn’t work on it on a certain night because something was on tele (maybe an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress”) and generally put the likelihood of passing this unit on the back burners as the deadline for the final assignment loomed large.

Then, on Thursday, the piece of information that was to be my savior came through.

“Hello,

Given the number of requests that I am getting for extensions, I am going to generally extend the due date for the final assignment until Monday 25th September 2017 at 5.00 pm.  If your assignment is not submitted by this time, late penalties will be applied as per the subject outline.

Fidget SpinnerThank you to those people who have already submitted their assignments.  I appreciate your dedicated work.”

Yes! An extension. This means I’ll be able to work on in Saturday when there is no cricket, a late start to the footy and then have Sunday to review and submit Sunday night.

That was until we had a cleaning frenzy at home trying to see unwanted items we had and clearing out the clutter in our lives. Great procrastination as I had a whole afternoon on Gumtree while watching the Richmond v GWS game.

“Saturday night I’ll get into it.”

Yeah…. nah.

Sunday was my first game of cricket for the season. “I’ll hook in when I get home from cricket, should be an early finish”

Yeah…. nah.

So here it is, Monday lunch time and I have just submitted it. This little 1,000-word number and a spreadsheet containing financial data and it’s all done. The question is, was it worth the stress?Procrastinate

In looking back now, I should have just climbed into it like every other assignment. I found that the one that I have failed I fart arsed around and found a million reasons not to do it until the very last minute. Hopefully the one I submitted today doesn’t suffer the same fate.

 

If you have enjoyed what you have read in any of my blogs, please feel free to share, like comment etc.
You can also follow this blog by clicking on the links up the top right of this page.
These blogs have been read in 14 countries around the world and I’d love to see more.

 

 

Have you “voted?”

In a break from the blogs about Uni with gratuitous references for cricket and footy, this one is to tackle what I believe is the biggest political issue of 2017 or indeed the term of this parliament.

I “voted” today. I say “voted” because the postal survey is to find out what the country thinks about same sex marriage. You vote in an election which is binding mandate, you respond to a survey.

Point of order number one. The language is wrong.

I’m not going to divulge how I responded. I believe that every Australian who is asked to respond to this survey has the right to have his/her opinion recorded in private. A “vote” is a sacred right of all Australians and should not be flouted publicly.
Further to this idea of a secret ballot comes to the notion of this survey being divisive.

No mSame Sex Marriageatter how you respond, be it yes or no, you will alienate people within your family, peer group, employer and even your colleagues.
You may have been brought up in a conservative family, conservative voting, bible believing folk who you treasure due the way you were raised. “Voting” yes would put you at odds with them. It would make them question if they raised you right, with the principles of teachings they hoped to.

You may have friends or family in same sex partnerships. People who have been with a partner longer than your first marriage lasted who are screaming out for the chance to share the same fundamental rights as heterosexual people. By voting no, could you look them in the eye and say that their19SESSION.jpg partnership is less valid than yours?

And what does my transgender friend think?

Point of order number two. You are going to be right and wrong in the eyes of people you love at the same time.

I must protest at the campaigning that is going on around the survey.

It is a truly American thing to have celebrities and companies endorse a certain political party, candidate or cause.
How has this crept into the Australian ethos?

National sporting bodies like Cricket Australia, the Australian Rugby Union, the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League have all publicly endorsed the “yes” campaign, for whatever gain they have dreamt up.
This has caused a few eyebrows to be raised, the main consternation was when the ARU said it supports same sex marriage, but it’s best, most highly paid and highest profile player, Israel Folau came out and said in a tweet he did not support same sex marriage based on his religious beliefs.
This put Folau at odds with his employer and caused great backlash from other high profile athletes and Australian celebrities.
And what good came of it?
None.

Folau was ostracized for his opinion which he was perfectly entitled to and those who responded to his thoughts bit back hard at his right to free speech.

Point of order three. There were no winners.

If I may make a final point.

It should not have come to this.
If you look back at recent Australian history, each Prime Minister (let’s start with Bob Hawke) has had one or two big ticket items they can hang their hat on. They might not have been popular items but they achieved a mandate at the polls and made changes in the interest of the nation.

Even if they might have been misguided in some cases, they did what they set out to achieve.
HRudd Sorryawke floated the Australian dollar.
Paul Keating led us through on the biggest recession we have seen.
John Howard brought in the GST and introduced us to gun control.
Kevin Rudd said “sorry”.
Julia Gillard was the first popularly elected female Prime Minister, and,
Tony Abbott stopped the boats.

Malcolm Turnbull had a chance in the lead up to the last Federal election by giving the parliament a conscience vote on same sex marriage. He opted not to and now governs with smallest majority in the 116 years of federation.

Vote how you will, your sovereign right is your business.

I would love to hear what you think about this blog. I don’t care which way you vote, as long as you do and can reconcile your decision in your own mind, because, that is all that matters. The politicians didn’t get a conscience “vote” but you do.