I was invited by Telecom to spent the past weekend at the TelecomONE Innovation Unconference - a unique event in the fact the schedule is set and completely run by the participants (similar to Kiwi Foo Camp).
The unconference was something I'd never participated in before. Each session was a open discussion between people rather than a traditional speaker-audience format. Topics were far reaching from should carriers provide content, how to best filter the Internet with the less geeky question should NZ go completely organic? Information within discussions were protected by the FriendDA - participants were free to discuss anything, with those of us listening agreeing not to pass on any information without asking permission first.
We were a mixture of Telecom employees from the different divisions, suppliers, plus "externals" such as myself. Impressively, all the Telecom internals took leave on Friday and they were giving up their weekends for their employer, unpaid. This is not to say Telecom didn't go to considerable expense: they put on plenty of food, kept us well watered and organised a great venue with lots of separate rooms for sessions.
There are some very smart people at Telecom. Some of the sessions really challenged my technical knowledge, giving me good insight on why particular decisions have been made and what the future holds. Some of the best discussions were those over meals, or held in-between sessions.
The weekend has drastically changed my perception of Telecom. I no longer see it as a slow, confused, and lumbering behemoth - Telecom contains some clever and passionate people who are working hard everyday to make positive changes to NZ's biggest telco.
Why do you make it so hard for me to topup my T-Stick (mobile broadband) when I run out of credit? I sold my Vodafone data-card so we could start this new and exciting relationship together because your speeds were so much better, but you make it so hard to top up my account.
When I ran out of credit about 20 minutes ago you did this.
When I tried to login to Your Telecom you locked me out.
Seriously, I'm offering you money, why do you not want it??
Lance Wiggs also blogs about some well overdue improvements to Your Telecom.
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) has both advantages and disadvantages for business software. One of the biggest benefits being able to get updates for "free" - you don't need to upgrade the software on your desktop, as the application vendor handles this all for you, on their end.
The GST increase on October 1 is a significant change to business accounting, and could be a good reason for businesses to start using Xero. Since the GST rate hasn't increased since 1989, most vendors will have this hard-coded in. Xero have already made the necessary changes, and businesses already using them don't have to do anything come October 1.
Something I received recently also helps sweeten the deal:
Disclaimer: We are a certified developer for Xero. I have also checked with Xero about promoting this offer on my blog, and they are happy for me to do so.
Quick to make a buck
Not one to miss a marketing opportunity, T-shirt purveyor Mr Vintage has created a benefit T-shirt with a seismograph in the shape of the Christchurch Cathedral to support earthquake victims. How lovely! From every sale, $5 will be donated to the Red Cross quake appeal. How generous ... Or is it? The T-shirt costs $29.95, so if they sell 150, Mr Vintage will bank $2842 (minus an estimated $6 each to make) and Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal will get $750. Plenty of businesses will be trying to capitalise off the earthquake in Christchurch - 'buy this product and we'll donate [insert amount here] to such and such appeal. Please, just donate the full amount directly. Or make an automatic $20 donation by phoning 0900-33-200.
Not one to take any criticism lying down, Mr Vintage issued a reply on their blog and issued the following challenge back to Ana:
ANA. It's really easy to sit back in your ergonomically designed computer chair and surf the Internet, picking out little things and printing them. It's harder to actually do something about it. Luckily, we're giving you the chance to.
THIS brand new 'Ana Samways donation t-shirt' is available for $1000 online at www.mrvintage.co.nz - just for you. There's but one t-shirt being printed that reads "I Love Sideswipe" in a lovely little pink heart
100% of the $1,000 will go straight to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, and if you're cool enough to make this donation - WE'LL MATCH YOUR $1000. Everybody wins, especially Christchurch ?
Good show Mr Vintage. You could've easily turned it into a mud throwing fest, but this way, the victims of the earthquake benefit with your rather creative solution.
Further to my blog post in March about my dramas with Euro Car Rental, there is an interesting article in the Herald today about them:
Two Christchurch car rental companies have been ordered to pay $43,710 in fines and reparations for ripping off foreign tourists, prompting a warning from the Commerce Commission that it is watching the tourism sector closely.
Directors of both companies, Kylee and Gary Harris, plead guilty to 18 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act by:
- Telling customers they had damaged cars when they had not.
- Lying about repairs to rental cars that hadn't been done.
- Levying charges that had not been disclosed.
- Promising late model cars but then supplying cars up to eight years old.
- Saying they were "Qualmark" endorsed when its membership had lapsed months ago.
Thanks to alikat and kiwitrc for the heads up.