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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Linkness. What we’ve been reading | September 30, 2011

by Nextness published September 30, 2011 posted in Linkness

by ti.mo on FlickrWelcome to Linkness, our weekly attempt to sort the internet’s wheat from the chaff.



  • When we talk about creating a culture of experimentation, perhaps we don’t talk enough about creating its essential counterpart – a climate of optimism | Only Dead Fish
  • Billion dollar brains: the new generation of tech CEOs | FT.com
  • 4 ways that Chinese businesses are redefining customer service | Co. Design
  • “Accelerating change” is not just a wrong idea, it’s an unoriginal one | Matt Edgar



  • The information arms race: how political operatives use predictive analytics, or microtargeting, to craft hyperspecific messages and peel away voters from their opponents | GOOD



  • The creative needs to stop trying to create culture and start trying to corral and curate it | Zeus Jones
  • Once it had to do with awe. Now it just means “great”. How did the word “awesome” conquer the world? | More Intelligent Life
  • The consequences of writing without reading | Imprint
  • On writing headlines: one man’s “linkbait” is another man’s “interesting.” | PEG 2.0

On Nextness this week.


You are boring your client’s socks off.

by Nextness published September 28, 2011 posted in Management

Yawn! You are boring your client's socks off!Of one thing you can be certain, and that is that *you* often help create the most boring experience any human can be forced to endure. So writes our COO Chris Savage in today’s piece for Nextness, cross-posted from his excellent management and business blog Wrestling Possums. Chris tells you what causes your clients to snooze – and, in three words, how to solve this problem forever.

Stop being so bloody boring! Here’s how.

Watching a two hour music concert of four year olds you’re not related to?  Reading ancient “Knitting Weekly” magazines in the doctor’s waiting rooms? Watching grass grow? None of these compare to what you make your colleagues and clients suffer when you, quite simple, bore their socks off. How do you do it? Same way I do: by giving mind-numbingly boring presentations. Come on now – you know you do it. But fear not! Help is at hand.

Presentations suck. But they don’t need to.

Sitting through presentations, particularly new business pitches, is the most boring thing in life. I know. I have sat through hundreds of them. Most are poorly constructed, and terribly presented. Dark rooms, endless text heavy power points, monotone speakers, telling the ‘client’ what the client has already told them. And, in agency world, if there are five agencies pitching, four of them often present the same idea and approach. Boring. Deadly.

Clients have also often made up their minds on which agency they will select before the final presentation. (Getting on a short list does not mean you have a shot at the business.)

The answer?

Here’s the one proven way to break that mould, delight your audience and greatly enhance your chances of winning… of getting agreement and a ‘yes’ to whatever it is you are asking for: KEEP IT SHORT.

It’s as simple as that. Keep your presentations to 20 minutes or less.

In my industry, 45 minutes or an hour is the usual time allotted for a presentation, followed by Question Time. Start your presentation like this: “Thanks for the opportunity. Now – our presentation is going to take 20 minutes. We will then give you a detailed proposal document,  and can then discuss any aspect you want to in more detail at that time.”

If you could look inside the client’s mind, you’d see one very large word: “YEEEEEEEHA!”  Clients love it. They cheer up. Sit up. “Brilliant!” they say to themselves. “Not another boring, bland hour of torture. If you can do it in 20 minutes, I’ll pay attention!”

Get to your Big Idea or Core Concept within seven minutes.

Bring up the one thing you want your client to remember about your presentation more than anything else within the first seven minutes. And finish within twenty.

It’s not always possible. I know. Sometimes clients give you 3 hours to present. They might ask you to spend half an hour each on six topics. So- do six 12 minute presentations instead. Same concept applies.

Give it a go. Be brave. Keep it short. You’ll see your audiences faces light up with relieved and delighted smiles when you do. And you’ll get that all important ‘YES” far more often.

Chris Savage is the Chief Operating Officer of STW Group. His blog Wrestling Possums is a resource of stories, insights and ideas for anyone interested in building successful careers and businesses in professional services. Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisjohnsavage.




Our little blog is growing up!

by Nextness published September 26, 2011 posted in STW Group

Emily BarlettaThis week Nextness celebrates its first six months in blogland! It’s been a busy six months, with:

Our greatest hits.

Here are our Top 10 reads according to Google Analytics. If you missed them the first time: please enjoy. If you like them, help us celebrate our birthday by passing them on to your friends!

Thank you.

Thank you to all the STW Group contributors and curators, our guest bloggers, commenters, readers, and Twitter friends who’ve supported our first six months.

If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see on Nextness over the next six, please tweet us! @STWnextness.

Image: The image on this post is of a thread on paper drawing by Emily Barletta, via I’m Revolting.


Linkness. What we’ve been reading | September 23, 2011

by Nextness published September 23, 2011 posted in Linkness

reddle | leontjew on Flickr

Welcome to Linkness, our weekly wrap up of business and creativity reads. (Image by leontjew on Flickr)



  • Hassle maps: how asking “What do I hate about this product or process?” can generate great ideas | Fast Company
  • Qantas and the airline quality gap | Harvard Business Review
  • Secretly nimble: why Apple’s famously guarded about their upcoming product releases | Jason Osgood
  • Fringe Benefits: Why (unlike politicians) startups mustn’t appeal to the masses | A smart bear
  • MIT Medialab: What happens when you gather the world’s most imaginative minds under one roof? | The Atlantic
  • J.J. Abrams’s new megacompany could allow him to overturn Hollywood’s rules | Vulture


  • It’s important to read this unsummarisable post about the future of social media and the “internet of things” | russell davies
  • #Occupywallstreet: social media as a strategic frame | Cyborgology
  • It’d be great to have an app that remembered how you found cool stuff online | Boing Boing
  • WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell has ‘fundamental’ doubts over whether Facebook can carry adverts | Telegraph
  • The four technologies you need to be working with | Harvard Business Review
  • Tech community, are we MTV or TED? | The Washington Post
  • The MakerBot 3-D printer offers the possibility of manufacturing products in the home almost as easily as printing a document with an inkjet printer | NYTimes.com
  • Taxonomy of technological risks: when things fail badly | Boing Boing
  • How to score genuine digital impact at scale: some insights gleaned from PepsiCo’s experience in digital | iMedia Connection


  • Why being relaxed makes us spend too much money | Jonah Lehrer
  • CIA pitches scripts to Hollywood | Wired.com
  • More than 30 million climate migrants in Asia in 2010, report finds | guardian.co.uk
  • Why 21st-century teens can’t talk on the phone | The Faster Times
  • The 10 best Amazon reviews. Ever. | Fast Company
  • The New New Journalism, circa 2011: “In the future, journalism will be either very short, or very long. Nothing in the middle will survive.” | Robert S. Boynton, Byliner
  • Graphs (and self-esteem boosts) open closed minds | Ideas Market – WSJ


  • Basquiat meets Mario Brothers? Digital poet Jason Nelson on the meaning of art games | guardian.co.uk
  • Stop stalling, start creating | Goins, Writer


  • Continuous partial employment: a shift from having a job to having a life | Bryce dot VC
  • The future of fitness and health | TNW Insider

On Nextness this week.

  • A time and a place for ideas. | NEXTNESS
  • Nextness visual diary | September 21, 2011 | NEXTNESS





Nextness visual diary | September 21, 2011

by Nextness published September 21, 2011 posted in Inspiration

In Nextness visual diary, we select fascinating art, craft, design, film and anything else we’ve loved looking at. Did we miss anything you really liked? Tweet us @STWnextness.

1. The art of Google Streetview.

9eyes9-eyes is a collection of beautiful images found on Google Streetview. The 9-eyes of the title is taken from the nine cameras that Google sends out on each car they’re using to document every street in the world.

2. Razorbombing.

Razorbombing | Buzzfeed

Razor brand Schick has done a few clever things with a new campaign they’re running. They’ve branded “razorbombing” as “the new planking” and partnered with Buzzfeed -- a scoreboard of virality that updates in real time -- to run a competition asking consumers to enter their own photos. The prize? $10,000. Can memes be artificially created? Who knows, but it’s nice to see work that’s so in touch with what the internet loves. Bonus: more good work from Schick.

3. Ursus Wehrli.

Ursus WehrliIn Ursus Wehrli’s The Art of Cleaning Up (or Die Kunst, Aufzuraumen), the Swiss artist/comedian tidies up things we didn’t even realise were messy. This is his TED Talk on tidying up art. His website.

4. Compressed liquid.

“I combined everyday soap bubbles with exotic ferrofluid liquid to create an eerie tale, using macro lenses and time lapse techniques. Black ferrofluid and dye race through bubble structures, drawn through by the invisible forces of capillary action and magnetism.” (by Kim Pimmel, via@mikearauz)

5. Kalder at home.

Kalder at Home

The incredible home of artist Alexander Kalder. More.

6. When high fashion is funny.

The Lanvin Fall 2011 Campaign Movie is probably the only fashion video you’ll crack a smile watching. It works.

7. This is a painting.

Carly WaitoArtist Carly Waito’s stunning paintings of minerals.

8. The golden mistake.

Golden mistake“I made these custom “mistake” keys for my keyboard a bit back. Solid gold  and Z keys. The ones we are constantly pressing to go back in time. Cast to work just like the originals on my everyday keyboard.” Eric Elms via I’m Revolting.

Bonus, for beginners wondering if they’ll ever master their art or craft.

Jonathan Hardesty’s Journey of an Absolute Rookie: for nine years he learned to paint by making and posting something new every day; before and after. (Via Waxy)


A time and a place for ideas.

by Nextness published September 18, 2011 posted in STW Group

Tongue House | Image by Brendan ReadA derelict old building in Sydney’s Chippendale, once home to some nesting pigeons and not much more, has been transformed into a playful and effective creative space by STW company Tongue. An ideas agency with a digital backbone, Tongue worked with Siren Design to build a space to make their agency mantra of “big ideas delivered” come to life. Does it work? See for yourself.

“At Tongue we’ve literally created an entire workspace based around ideas. Every part of our office is a living demonstration of who we are as creative people,” says Tongue Managing Partner and Executive Ideas Director Joanthan Pease (@jonathanpease). In this guest post for Nextness, Jonathan gives us a peek behind the walls of Tongue House – and shares his top ten tips for creating a time and a place for ideas.

Continue reading this article


Linkness. What we’ve been reading | September 16, 2011

by Nextness published September 15, 2011 posted in Linkness

R U OK? Day skywriting | The Thought TreeThis week was an important one for STW Group and a not-for-profit we’re proud to support: R U OK? Day. It took place yesterday; its goal was to help reduce our national suicide rate by getting Australians to reach out and make contact with others. Read all about it here. Visit the R U OK? Day websiteTwitterFacebook. The official day is over for this year, but the lesson remains: in the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life. Now, here are this week’s top strategy and creativity reads:



  • Amazon’s new convenience store delivery lockers | PSFK
  • Walmart seeks boost in search and e-commerce with @walmartlabs | Advertising Age
  • Instagram and Intuit founders discuss lean startups, pivots, and what makes a product successful | TechCrunch
  • Dreams of mobile payments lead telco to try banking | GigaOm
  • Amazon’s future is so much bigger than a tablet | Wired.com



  • “Silicon Valley is littered with companies whose fortunes are tied to what you might call “OPP”- other people’s platforms.” | Fast Company
  • Most product teams don’t know if they are making their product better or worse; that’s why customers feel a twinge of fear every time they have to update or upgrade | TechCrunch
  • Four points for technology in politics from Obama’s jobs plan | techPresident
  • Australia has the second highest level of smartphone penetration in the world |Official Google Australia Blog
  • 7 tech predictions for the future from a Google Creative Director | TNW


  • A guide to swaying majority opinion | The Atlantic
  • Why keeping up with RSS is poisonous to productivity, sanity | Ars Technica
  • Unicef: children stuck in ’materialistic trap’ | The Guardian
  • The “Kreayshawn quandary.” Is digital killing the luxury brand? | Adweek
  • Photo-sharing communities springing up around themes, places | JWT Intelligence
  • The German solution: saving books by keeping them expensive | The Millions
  • What our future might look like if we don’t trash the planet | Fast Company
  • Outrage as Huffington Post seeks teenage bloggers to not pay | Advertising Age
  • Death to banner ads! Social media campaigns that worked without them | Fast Company


  • How Tumblr created a design culture with no design team | Co. Design
  • 5 timeless insights on fear and the creative process | Brain Pickings
  • A vivid story can put us in a more altruistic mode, a study shows | Neuromarketing


  • Retail renaissance: how customers love shopping in the “real world” more than ever | trendwatching.com
  • You look at me like you’ve never seen a neo-hipster before | McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
  • Place no faith in articles: ‘The,’ ‘an’ and ‘a’ are banned in iPod age; trying to ‘turn a brand into a religion’ | WSJ.com

On Nextness this week.

  • How to dominate the internet like a boss: a simple productivity guide. | NEXTNESS
  • Thursday September 15 is R U OK?Day. | NEXTNESS