Looking laterally for mentors


At Deloitte I was lucky to have mentors to impart wisdom and insight to guide me through the first few years of my career. I naturally looked upwardly to those with more experience and success. There was huge value in this tacit knowledge, but I quickly learned that I was seeking direction for a walk of life that might not exist yet.

I wrote back in 2011, ‘greater wisdom leads us to people who we can learn from and teach’. After keeping my eyes open I realised that my mentors are actually my friends and peers.

Identifying the person that you admire is easy. Finding the characteristic of someone willing to share is harder – someone who will create the space for you to find answers while asking the right questions.

Remember to look laterally for these people. The fluid knowledge of your peers can always be applied to your lateral experience.  Don’t be limited by looking upwardly at the success of someone else as a static blueprint of experience to follow. The world is constantly advancing, their experience is frozen in a time and place while your life is happening now.

Edit: From @rexster: “We seek not the answers but to understand the questions” – Kwai Change Caine

Thanks to Sarah for reading the draft at The Little Mule

Steel workers, deploy


I work on the internet, which means I spend a lot of time thinking about an environment where I don’t have to think.

Instead of an industry based on structuring ambiguity, it would be great to pioneer an environment driven by experiences that delight the world.

If we are the steel workers and manufacturers of the digital world, why aren’t we building that? We are the assembly line, let’s start shipping something awesome.

Unhappy with a product? Build it. Bored with a UI? Design it. Have a story to tell? Write it.

Connecting – the future of interaction design and user experience

This 18 minute documentary is an awesome introduction to interaction design and user experience. It explores the future of the interaction design field. What piqued my interest are the thoughts around what will happen in the future when the digital and physical worlds intersect, enabling the connection of colonies that are not simply human based.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

Social: Driving the new organisational brain.


Everything is designed to grow and everything is evolving at a rapid pace, including the way we work.

Social has the ability to transform behaviour. The killer experience of connecting through technology and the networks that have emerged in the last decade is staggering. The real magic for me is seeing the human aspects of technology come alive even more through intuitive and user centred design.

This progression of social is rapidly accelerating in the enterprise social network (ESN) world as products like Yammer and Salesforce Chatter work to sync the social fabrics that we are a part of and adapt them to the work environment.

As we step away from the traditional working model of 1-to-1 and towards 1-to-many, it’s not just about surfacing SMEs and providing a platform for knowledge exchange, it’s about creating a central organisational brain and a unified community.

These ESNs represent the edge: where the organisational brain is smarter and it’s capacity to make an impact goes up. They are nurturing the next organisational brand.

It is vital that we help guide that leap in the organisation, both through the people within it and communities that are a part of it.

This facilitates the evolution for human impact, organisational impact, and community. When people are empowered to use and do things, they are more likely to create this impact.

To grow, it’s about listening to people in the network, supporting and guiding them in the right direction and empowering the organisation to maximise impact.

Generating a mental map of Melbourne

Similar to Manhattan, the Melbourne CBD is a network of streets, a grid. Once you become familiar with your surroundings you can wander around, turn endless corners and still be aware of where you are. And yet, you can still stumble upon a new lane way or discover a whiskey bar on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

The experience of exploring the city with headphones on and being guided by a Google map is familiar to most of us – our destination recommended by Foursquare’s Explore feature or a tip from a friend, the journey of getting there drawn from Google’s multiple layers of data.

The challenge of finding new coffee in the city is a unique one. A write up on Broadsheet drew my attention to Little King Cafe, the map guided me up Flinders Lane and through the arch ways of St Paul’s Cathedral. Now when walking from the Bourke Street end of the city I simply wander in that direction, sometimes diverging from the path, but always ending up at my desired destination.

Mental models generate their own map of the grid, not made up of geological surveys and sensis data but the unique experiences and memories that lay hidden away in our subconscious.

Little King Cafe is now a part of my mental map of Melbourne.

Maps have meaning because they filter out all the chaos in the world. How different would Melbourne be seen through the cognitive views of its inhabitants? Maybe our routes would be different, some landmarks forgotten and others elevated (Starbucks would be omitted).

Of course, the only way to expand our mental data set is to explore.

I have nothing, nothing, nothing, if I dont have the interwebs.

Last Saturday I dropped my iPhone 4 in the toilet. I pulled the ol” phone in the back of my jeans pocket thang. Despite my best efforts to revive my beloved gadget (including three nights resting in a zip locked bag of brown rice), it never returned to life.

I spent most of the afternoon in mourning. I could not check the time, check in to a location, claim back mayorship of my favourite cafe or update my Twitter feed every ten minutes. The actual loss of voice and text did not cross my mind until the next day.

I was surprisingly relaxed by my lack of connectivity over the next four days. I lost the compulsion to engage in my hyper-connected lifestyle.

If you build it, they will come 

The term, “If you build it, [they] will come” reigns true with me because every morning at 5am, I:

  1. Turn off my alarm
  2. Check my email
  3. Check Twitter for iPhone for notifications

These actions have become second nature. Etched in stone after four years of daily smart phone usage.

On Sunday it occurred to me I could only be contacted via Twitter or Facebook. This left me chained to my apartment and it”s Wi-Fi connection while I made plans for the afternoon.

I soldiered on for an entire business day. With my email and Twitter only a click away I felt that there was no need for a mobile phone. I then remembered something that I was expecting an important call from the office. Working client side, I did not have the access to my landline extension. With that in mind, I caved the next morning, walked into the Optus store and placed the microsim into an iPhone 3G.

Return of the 3G

I turned on the iPhone 3G and it could not connect to the internet! I was immediately agitated. I could not even find a post office in the middle of the city with a bud because of my lack of Google Maps. For me, it was on like Donkey Kong!

Sans iPhone 4, the lack of interconnected left me refreshed and relaxed. I did not feel the need to be instantly contactable. However, as soon as the iPhone 3G returned I could not bear the thought that I would be unable to return to my previous compulsive behaviour.

Is this some form of psychological warfare? Without my phone I am content. With my whack iPhone 3G I simply feel disconnected.

So, I bare the question – when did it become all or nothing with technology?



I am officially living the country music digital dream.

The amazing team at Country Music Channel have given the the opportunity to assist them in running the digital side of the festival.

After an evening of culinary preparation at Misty’s Diner

I am currently sitting in Melbourne Airport terminal waiting to board my flight to Newcastle for the CMC Rocks The Hunter Festival.

I’ve got my dirty boots, my MacbookPro, my FlipCam and iPhone and I am ready to roll.

The Johnny Cash Project: Where country music, art and new media collide

The Johnny Cash Project is an online collective project that employs crowdsourced art to produce a video for Johnny Cash‘s “Ain’t No Grave”, a track from Cash’s posthumous album American VI: Ain’t No Grave released earlier this year.

Music and art have the potential to be about participation, engagement and collaboration and this project is a testament to that.

Witchery changes the retail game….with e-mail marketing?

At the moment we are all over social media. From Facebook and YouTube to Twitter and LinkedIn, we are embracing these technologies at a rapid pace and they have staked their claim in both our personal and professional lives. And yet, amidst the social media buzz we sometimes forget that they are promotional tactics to be be used as a part of the wider strategy.

Retail sales have decreased across the map in recent years. As a result, consumers are constantly being offered “special prices” and “markdown sales” or my personal favorite, the multi-year Myer Stocktake Sale. With a wide spectrum of marketing currently taking place with the aim of expanding revenues, one of the more interesting promotions is Witchery“s 20 Days In 20 Ways.

Witchery is a leading Australian fashion brand who are taking a direct e-mail marketing approach with their recently launched 20 Days In 20 Ways campaign. In this campaign, Witchery sends out a daily email to subscribers with a different discount offer each day. For example, if you spend $150 casino online you receive 25% off, if you spend $250 you receive 30% off and if you spend $500 you receive 35% off.

Effectiveness? Today for the third morning in a row my sister asked me what the Witchery offer was for today. When I replied that it was 30% off all all full priced Witchery womenswear, we made plans to purchase the cropped blazer that we had been eying for some time.

20 Days In 20 Ways is a clever use of marketing that is driving interest online and getting the brand noticed.

Is direct e-mail marketing being overlooked?

The weight of Twitter summed up in one Tweet by Scott Monty.

I am not in a position to present a complex analysis of the authority social media but when I saw this, I felt it was an explicit demonstration of Twitter“s role in the new media landscape.

This is a reply tweet from Scott Monty – head of Social Media at Ford .

twitter” src=”http://www.juliahughan.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/scott-monty-twitter1-300×122.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”122″ />

Read more about Scott Monty, Ford and their social media strategy here.

Have you had any social media moments where Twitter”s real-time effect has come into play?

Lady Antebellum is playing with karaoke. How is your brand engaging with its audience?

For me, successful branding equates to three words: connect, engage and enlist.

When you are a music artist – you are the brand. To develop a successful music brand, you need fans or brand evangelists. It’s not simply about using free promotional/social tools including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to spread the word. It is about maximising every impression made between fans and the music product. If the initial music impression is active, then it is more likely to generate the music consumer’s complete attention.

Country music group Lady Antebellum uploaded an audio track of their duet with Maroon 5 titled ‘Out Of Goodbyes’ onto their YouTube account. In the video, they also included the songs lyrics. Why is this relevant?

Lady Antebellum not only increased the likelihood of the potentially transient consumer paying attention to their video by making the music a foreground experience, they also engaged the viewer with lyrics, generating a deeper initial impression. Methods like this are small yet effective ways of prolonging audience attention.

How would you engage your audience with the music product?

Insert Generic Blog Title Here

Alright, this is technically my second blog. My “pioneering” blog Theoretical Country is where I posted my “ramblings about a digital country music honours thesis”. Well, we are now fast approaching November and I am preparing to submit the longest and most rewarding research project in the history of my twenty something life. With that in mind, I feel it is now an appropriate time to spread by proverbial wings and launch a blog that online casino serves a wider purpose than my musings on country music and scholarly communications theory.

In fact, it has been in the last six months that I have truly had an epiphany about my own life – communication is central to the human experience. We function through messages whether we be the sender or the recipient (that would explain my Twitter account). Now, why this failed to occur to me during my five years as a communications student truly is a mystery.

I have also discovered the complication that I am consistently facing: I have a multiplicity of thoughts running rampant in the  24/7 inner monologue that is my head and no platform to share them on. So welcome to Digital Red Dirt.