Where have you been?

As you will see, it has been a long time between posts! My excuse is that “I’ve been busy” (a VERY weak excuse I’d suggest).

For the intervening period I’ve been both cat-herder at one of Australia’s big-4 banks (trying to get their collaboration tools in working order whilst teaching their two IT-provider ‘Gorilla’s’ to Tango) and, for the last two-years, as CEO of a couple of companies developing and launching a new approach to sound amplification and playback (Acoustic 3D Holdings Ltd – and their commercialisation-arm and Licensee, Vastigo Ltd) .

The bank job made use of my guile and cunning – and some technical understanding; the later actually required me to polish my scientific understanding!

As CEO of a smallI, lean start-up in new technology, I’ve¬†essentially been head of sales, chief cook and bottlewasher. That I must sell something that we are constantly re-defining – that is occasionally ‘broken’ by our ‘improvements’ and, more importantly, goes against 139 YEARS of ‘conventional-wisdom’ is no small feat. ¬†To make the job possible I’ve had to learn much new stuff. Studying psycho-acoustics and nuero-science online has been both rewarding and challenging – and again, time consuming.

Still, it has been ‘a real education’ to deal with all of the various issues raised by a start-up public company – fund-raising, governance, product manufacture, supplier negotiations, etc, etc… And, at last, it looks like it may at last turn all this hard work into money – as a few of the sound industries more enlightened companies begin to show interest in the first of our patented technologies!

Gamenomics

I’ve just been to a CPX meeting hosted by Deloitte at their Bourke Street office – the presentation was given by Dr Stefan Walz, leader of the GEEL (Gaming and Emerging Entertainment Laboratory) at both RMIT and Stuttgart Universities. The theme he explored was that of ‘getting off the network’ – in short, how we might address our increasing addiction to being online.

Now, this may sound odd coming from someone who clearly spends much of his career looking into opportunities for ‘gamefying’ business and life processes – but as Dr Walz pointed out, that only goes to show that the majority of folk these days see games as only existing ‘online’. Once upon a time, and not that long ago, no games where online – online didn’t exist as a concept, nor as a technology.

I’m not telling you this because I long to re-instate board-games – or because I’m entirely against electronic games (I’m not entirely against them). I’m telling you this because, for me at least, the penny has finally dropped! I have finally realised that ‘gamification’ is a technique that can be used to influence human behaviour (online, or IRL – In Real Life) in exactly the same way that ‘economics’ (or should that be ‘economification’?) is used to influence human behaviour. Hence the study of how games influence – and can be tailored to deliver specific behavioural outcomes – should perhaps be known as ‘Gamenomics’.

Of course, Gamenomics might then also have a role in sales? After all, Economics are critical in selling (or at least those who sell purely on price, would have us believe) – so perhaps the next ‘great leap forward’ in selling is to figure out how to engage our customers in some form of ‘game’ that they might enjoy, and which rewards them for winning (i.e. buying from us). Clearly the ‘reward’ cannot be financial (that would be economics – or possibly corruption!) but should be psychological – it should appeal to their inner being (their inner child, their competitive streak, their need for validation, etc…) in much the same way as World of Warcraft does ( the ‘crack cocaine of gaming’).

There. Think on that.

Cold call experiment continues

Following further ‘experiments’ in physical cold-calling, I think it is safe to say that the ‘surprise’ factor (shock and awe?) of doing something so very out of the ordinary (i.e. walking in off the street and asking for assistance from the receptionist in getting to talk to someone in their organisation) fails to engage. Worse still, the shock seems to trigger the organisations defences!

Admittedly I only tried very large companies – and the approach may work in smaller companies that still function on a human scale – but clearly such a direct approach to large targets is futile. A more informed approach is required, I think. The need to “have a name” was apparent – many receptionists don’t actually know who does what these days.

So, how to get “a name”? The company website may offer the names of the executive – seeking that person will likely garner you their PA. But that probably only works if you want to go to the very top as your opening gambit – and in many cases, those folk are based in another country. Perhaps a Google search – with sufficient search criteria to narrow it to the country and role you seek? This too largely fails, invariably you will get hundreds, if not thousands of results – almost all of which are job ads, or news articles about sexual harassment, with names withheld to protect the innocent!

The ‘social network’ might be next. You are looking for a name you don’t have – so Facebook won’t work. Linked-in it is then. Linked-in provides a fairly useful search function which, whilst inclined to overwhelm you with options (some relevant) does provide profile info that you may use to further refine your search. Of course, it can only find folk who are themselves members of Linked-in, and it doesn’t give you a phone number or email contact – but it does offer a linked-in connect request. I personally won’t send a connect request unless I’ve met (or at least spoken to) the person -I just think it’s rude and smacks if spam. Anyway, the key outcome is that you have a ‘name’ so you can call the organisation and ask for an individual (not a role) and hopefully the human firewall will revert to ‘maven’ and connect you up. Or will they?