If You Listened

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SEO recicle arrows

Virtually every day of the week I get calls from nice people at companies that want to sell me their search engine optimisation services.

Inevitably the call begins by confirming I am the business owner before the salesperson begins their spiel. This is usually the only piece of listening done for the duration of the call before I terminate it.

Some have bouncy engaging ‘hello I’m happy’ voices, while others offer a tired monologue that says I have done this 1051 times and you are just another bloke who will eventually hang up.

To be fair I have had my fun with these guys… some days I am Igor from Russia… ‘You want to sell me the google? I cannot afford the google. He is a big company!’

Some days I am a Borat like character from Kazhakstan who launches into the only random pieces of English that he knows Salesman: ‘How are you today?’ Me ‘I am VERY happy!’ And so it goes from there.

Some days I begin to enquire about their reticulation issues because that is obviously why they called me… This can take a while, particularly if I shift into English as a second language mode at the same time.

Then occasionally I listen… I let them go… If I am driving with time to kill I sometimes just let it roll to see when they will take a breath, when they will seek a confirmatory ‘uh huh’ or when they will see if I am actually still there.

When I do this I hear the premise their sales campaign is built on. Not enough work, more clients recruited, more money and the typical ‘up and to the right’ spiel. So its always a curve ball when they get to the end of their sales pitch and I say ‘no’. I hadn’t disagreed with them up until then (because they didn’t ask any questions) and they have made an assumption about who I am and the goals of my business.

Salesperson: ‘We can get you more work.’

Me: ‘I don’t want more work.’

Saleperson: ‘You don’t rank on google’

Me: ‘I do for the words that matter to me’

And so it goes on. They want to get me clients in Armadale, Mandurah and Chidlow and I can only cringe at the thought of it.

If just once an SEO guy rang and asked about what I was hoping to achieve in business and whether they could help me improve my current approach I would listen. I’d love to get the business of every person in Yanchep / Two Rocks. I’d love to know better strategies for optimising my advertising so that I generate the right kind of work.

But no one asks those questions. Because they don’t fit the paradigm. No one asks questions that delve deeper into business purposes and ideals.

There is a monologue that instantly repels, but if someone was creative enough and daring enough to take the time to listen to a business owners core philosophy and then offer a sales package tailored to that then maybe I’d have time.

But if you just want to bend my ear with generic banal sales strategies that haven’t worked on anyone else then expect to meet Igor and his dodgy English who will promptly seek to sell you every piece of irrigation equipment you will never need…

Annoying isn’t it?…

How Was Your Experience With Us?

Up to now pretty good…

It seems the latest trend in business is to send people online feedback questionnaires asking ‘how did we go?’

I dunno how many of these I have received in the last few months and no doubt you have too. I get that people want to improve their service, but chances are the only respondents will be those who had a very bad experience because they now have a place to vent.

The problem is that those of us who had a ‘normal to good’ experience are now a bit miffed at yet another email to process and discard. So in reality you may have just pissed off your satisfied clients…

There is a place for feedback in business, but if every time I call a tech helpline I am going to get bombarded with ‘were you happy?/please rate us’ messages (I’m looking at you Exetel…) then I am going to get a little grumpy soon, especially as I have already had to sit on hold and call you several times… And I may even seek another service…

Maybe there’s a better way…


It’s Not That Hard

So you’re leading a school and putting on an information evening for prospective parents?

Here are some thoughts you might find useful based on my own attendance at one this evening.

1. Meet in a room that looks well organized and intentionally arranged for the purpose. The way you set up is your first impression. You are communicating something by how you arrange the room. If you choose to meet in a messy classroom with desks and chairs pushed aside randomly to fit people in then you tell those attending that they are unimportant and not worth making an effort for. You tell people that this is the tone of the school you lead. The word ‘sloppy’ comes to mind.

2. Smile and be positive when speaking to the group. If you are warm and confident then you will engage people and draw them in. If you just have a spiel to get thru on a night when you would rather be at home then people will notice…

3. Help me believe that you are in control of the school. When you speak of the concessions you have made in your behavior policies as concessions to poor behaviour in the kids, you tell me that they are setting the tone and you are being shaped by them. Hearing that there is a 20 min personal fitness session at the start of each day was encouraging. Hearing that fitness often means a ‘walk around the oval’, so that the late kids can get to school in time for the important subjects does not inspire anyone.

4. When a parent asks you ‘what is really good about this school?’ don’t choke on your response and then turn red from embarrassment. At least have some planned responses.


If you have nothing to say, you actually speak volumes. Parents aren’t after salesmen, but they do want to be inspired to believe that your school is worthy of the trust of their kids. They want to know that they are entrusting their children to people who are passionate about their vocation and the community they are part of.

Lets just say that after tonight we have eliminated one school from the equation in terms of high school options for our kids. Disappointing because I was hoping this one would work.

MIA – My Reticulation Blog Gets Hammered by Google

I regularly check my webstats for my retic blog as its my main source of online hits.

I’ve worked hard at developing the blog over the last year and it was ranking really well with google. If you searched for ‘how to fix a solenoid’ or some other retic issue I would be on the front page every time and even multiple times. That was all part of the plan…

Then yesterday I noticed my stats were down. Instead of 50 0r 60 visitors I had 3… and its 38 degrees in Perth so I’d be thinking people would be searching for this stuff. Today I managed another 3 hits. So I decided to google the common things people search for and discovered that I no longer have the same presence – in fact its like I have ceased to exist.

So then I googled ‘why my web traffic has dropped dramatically’ (ironic hey – using google to find out why I don’t rate on google…) and came across ‘google panda updates’, a period ‘clean up’ of the web by google computers and based on whatever algorithm they currently used I got shafted. If you google this subject you will find plenty of others also shafted – some who have lost jobs because the ‘computer said no’.

A bit more research and I discovered something I did wrong which was to put ‘hidden keywords’ on my main site. I first built it 3 years ago, long before I had the blog and at that time wasn’t too keyed into this stuff – but then I forgot about it… and I am guessing this is why I got hit.

Of course there is no real come back on this stuff. Google don’t owe anybody anything and they can do what they like with their system, but suddenly we realise how utterly dependent on them we are. Clever bastards – and if your computer is reading this then – yes I’m talking about YOU!

So what is my solution?

Well the beauty of my blog was that I eliminated the need for ‘google ads’ and my advertising budget dropped hugely. I was ranking highly organically and getting heaps of calls. But now… well I just upped my google ad budget to compensate for my apparent disappearance off the face of the virtual planet… They have me screwed…

Another alternative I am considering is re-branding and kicking off with a whole new identity. It seems some folks have been forced to do that. Give we no longer live in Brighton it may be a possibility anyway, but its a lot of work…

I reckon I get 60% of my work thru my website so its a big hit to take and one I need to get sorted asap.

Just a bit frustrating…

A Cat Confession


I don’t mind cats.

No really… I have owned cats and quite like an animal that can look after itself to some degree, unlike a labrador that whines every time it gets put out.

But we have about 15 cats in our street now and I am ready to cull a few – sounds much nicer than ‘kill’ but means the same thing…

On either side of us and across the road are 9 cats who seem to love my car, our garage, our campervan as places to sleep and leave their cat hair and footprints. Even worse they do that disgusting territory marking spray that reeks for centuries afterwards.

I regularly walk out of my front door to see 4 cats sunning themselves on our front lawn. Normal cats would say to each other ‘quick – let’s get out of here!’ But these ones just laze around like they own the place.

I want to chase them and kick them… really really hard. I want to remind them that they are not my cats and ought to stay away from my house.

They walk past our rear sliding door in front of Winston who cracks a complete psycho every time he sees them. I think they like to taunt him. I would love to let him loose and see what might happen…

I found a cat in our campervan today – I heard it rummaging in there as I walked to the bin. The kids had left the garage door up and this creature had taken advantage. I lined up at the door of the garage to kick it as hard as I could, but in the dark it got past me. Bugger.

Some days it feels like these creatures own the street. Friends drive cars up the street only to see cats lying there who refuse to move until the last minute.

Our next door neighbour is a lovely compassionate woman who rescued two cats from the other woman across the street who refuses to get her cat sterilised. It has had 4 litters now and is pregnant again. Our neighbour also feeds two other strays, so they keep hanging around.

I would like to poison them all but I worry that I might get found out. I’d much prefer if everyone had one cat and kept it indoors so it wouldn’t be a nuisance to everyone else.

I have considered giving Winston the same freedom these cats have, letting him live out the front of the house, letting him crap on everyone else’s lawn as the cats do on ours, but I reckon people might think it rude…

Ok – rant over.

If there happens to be a news story about a spate of dead cats in Butler then you know where to look.push divx movie onlineseraphim falls dvdrip

Playing for Nothing?


Someone has their head up their dark bits…

The back page of the West Australian today reports that Peter Bell of the Freo Dockers is now ‘playing for nothing’. He is receiving a mere $2000.00/game… Wish I could have made a cool $2K a game back in the basketball days.

To be fair to Bell, he has taken a huge pay cut and it seems is playing for the Dockers more out of loyalty and love for the club as it goes thru a difficult time. Hats off to him for not doing a runner when the money dried up.

But to describe this as ‘playing for nothing’ means somebody needs a reality check.

Given the average wage of a full time worker in WA is around $1300.00 (skewed upwards by some very high mining wages) he is actually on a pretty good wicket.free lives of the saints the credo download

Blasphemy & Missional Solidarity

Jarrod McKenna

Jarrod McKenna’s Wednesday’s with Gandhi:

“My experience tells me that the Kingdom of God is within us, and that we can realise it not by saying, “Lord, Lord,” but by doing God’s will and God’s work… Do you know that there are thousands of villages where people are starving and are on the brink of ruin? If we would listen to the voice of God, I assure you we would hear God say we are taking God’s name in vain if we do not think of the poor and help them.  If you cannot render the help that they need, it is no use talking of service of God and service of the poor. Try to identify yourself with the poor by actually helping them.”

Mohandas Gandhi, (March 31, 1927) from “Mohandas Gandhi: Essential Writings” by John Dear, p. 81


I don’t think there would be many who would argue that as Christians we can affirm with Gandhi that “we are taking God’s name in vain if we do not think of the poor and help them.”

And while Radiohead’s fans are excited the bands been thinking creatively about questions of economics and how they distribute there next album, what does that look like in our lives as God’s people? (economics and justice that is, not so much our next album distribution) Does it look different from the bands PR exercise (not that I’m not stoked Radiohead are letting me decide what to pay for their next album!)

What does it look like to move from ‘church charity’ run by some sweet old ladies, to being ecclesia of missional solidarity?  (not to disrespect radical nannas everywhere doing awesome stuff!)

For you or your community what does ‘doing God’s will’ when it comes to ‘the least of these’ look like? What are you inspired by, that it might look like? What do you long for it to look like?

Our crew have really struggled with this stuff. I don’t mean struggle in the noble sense. I mean struggle in the sense of it being bloody hard! Nearly as hard as living with each other 🙂  And like much of our life as community, it’s left us with not much to show other than some colourful (and painful) stories and a burning desire for God, for healing, for justice, for the kingdom and an awareness of our own brokenness and sin. Should we all move overseas to the slums we have only visited with our expensive cameras? Should we all just join UNOH?  What does it mean to practice hospitality when you’re continually stolen from, physically threatened and taken advantage of?  When all you’re left with is their used needles, hardcore porn, broken promises, and debt. When you show up in court to support them but they dont. When you’re dumped with other people’s toddlers for days on end while they get high and you have to decided do you ring DCD and your only comfort is the lament of the Psalmist and your sisters and brothers prayers. Only to find out that our parts of the body of Christ are bagging you out without praying for you or seeking to correct or encourage you. Please don’t hear me writting these things out of bitterness. I write as a brother struggling with what “actually helping them” (as Gandhi put it) looks like (anybody else?).  Sometimes I come out of visiting in prison and just feel like crying for a day. Maybe these are the stories we need to tell too aswell as the times we come out feeling totally inspired.

Recently I was contacted by a pastor (of what most would consider a successful mainstream church), who had opened up his home to someone who had lived on the streets for years. This Pastor wanted to talk through the heart ache of seeing someone throw away the opportunities offered to him because he was stuck in cycles he couldn’t break out of. Maybe these stories are as important to share as the “success stories”? Maybe these are the stories that can ween us of the quick fixes and easy answers that we can so often hear to our worlds deepest problems. Maybe if we told these ones too we’d celebrate God’s transforming grace all the more! And real joy would truely be our strength.

Some of our crew were recently hanging out with a similar community to us in the States called ‘The Simple Way’. The Simple Way have a huge public influence through the success of Shane Claiborne’s wonderful book “The Irresistible Revolution” (which I highly recommend!!)  But we were joking if we were to write a book it would be “A how [not] to” (shout outs to Pete Rollins who I also highly recommend!!!!).  Maybe our book would be called ‘The Resistible Revolution’ or ‘The Very Resistible Revolution’. 🙂

So for those of us who believe James 2:15-16 is part of the inspired Scriptures what does this look like in a world where 3 billion of God’s children live on less than 2 dollars a day?

Who are a good example of an alternative?  Is Gandhi a good example?  Is St. Francis of Assisi? Is our Lord? (Seriously!) If we say they are (or if we say ‘Jesus is Lord’) what does that look like for us as the church practically?  Who are the communities or people who inspiring you to see Christ glorified in the churches response to  poverty and ‘affluenza’? What churches in your city have encouraged you in the journey by their witness?

Anybody else need to voice failed efforts 🙂 Prayerfully reading the quote from Gandhi, what does God stir in you?

Straight Shooters

A tip – if you want to ‘dish it out’ then make sure you can take it.

If you consider yourself a straight shooter only because you can throw your opinions at other like missiles then you’re really just a bully or a dickhead.

If you want to deal in strong opinions and debate ideas then fine.

But don’t recoil and then criticise or gossip about those who do it back at you.

As you were…big trouble in little china dvd download download employee of the month dvd contact dvd download

The Ongoing E-bay Laptop Saga and Incompetence in General

Am I Too Nice?

It might sound like a strange question… especially to those who know me.

I don’t think I have ever been described as ‘nice’, let alone ‘too nice’. A ‘complete bastard’ – yes. Too nice? Nope.

But here I am now 8 weeks after purchase and still no laptop. What kind of a moron advertises that the product will arrive in 1-6 days and then can’t deliver in 8 weeks?… (Yes – you do a detect a slight note of anger in my keyboard)

I have said all along that I actually believe the seller is genuine – and that a laptop is on its way… But its not showing up at my doorstep.

I will be in Melbourne at the end of next week and I am not going there with an exercise book and pen as work tools!…

Having tracked the seller down to this home address in Sydney I rang and emailed today and demanded a refund. He told me only had $1200.00 he could give me. I could take it and try and recoup the rest thru E-bay. (He also told me it was another purchasers cash… so I could screw some other poor bugger in the process)

As if…

Or he would send another one via Fed-ex and it would arrive early next week.

I must be a complete dick because I agreed to wait another week, subject to a tracking number being in my inbox immediately after it is sent…

If I am nothing else, I am bloody minded and obsessively persistent in nailing people who jerk me around like this. So I am not letting this one go. I will be after this guy with everything I’ve got if there is nothing on the table next week.

I am also still chasing the dropkicks at Connected hosting who (after 7 weeks) are yet to send me a login and password so I can upload a website.

They have taken my money and won’t return calls or emails and my letter of complaint to the manager two weeks ago has not received a response. The bad news for them is that I managed to track down the manager’s mobile phone number today… so unless he is up for me calling every single day I reckon I will get a result here shortly.

This kind of incompetence makes me really really mad, because it is so unnecessary.

It seems that in the last few weeks I have been on the receiving end of more incompetence than I can remember.

On Tuesday last week we drove the Falcon to Malaga to get LPG gas fitted. The day before we checked twice to make sure it was ok to drop it in. That morning the kids were sick but we drove the 40kms down there in rush hour to drop the car off… and the guy on duty reckoned he knew nothing about it… ‘Can’t do it this week mate’. He started to get narked at me. That wasn’t going to work with me at that moment.

‘I’ve just taken time off work, driven from Quinns Rock with two sick kids, so you just get it sorted and find out what went wrong because I am not driving this car home’. Sometimes people know when you mean it…

He got it sorted.

As it wasn’t his mistake (his boss booked it in and didn’t tell him) I told him he could keep the car till Friday rather than picking it up on Wednesday. I thought he would appreciate the extra time and he did. But come Friday when we had driven all the way down there and organised our day around it he told me that it might not be ready… We could come and wait – maybe thru till 5.30pm – or we could pick it up Saturday.

I let Danelle deal with it…

Is it just me or does anyone else encounter this kind of nonsense?

Amway – business or cult?

I wouldn’t describe myself as the most patient man in the world, but I can put up with a fair bit of nonsense before getting narked.

However one bunch of people I simply cannot abide , are those so called ‘friends’ who call to show me a ‘business plan’, a great way of becoming financially independent.

I remember the first time it happened. He was a youth group leader and I was his youth pastor. I didn’t even smell it coming. I liked the guy and thought he liked me. Then next thing I know he is drawing pictures and asking me what I want more than anything else in life… (For you to go home dropkick!)

Then there was the ex youth pastor, turned church planter, who I hardly knew, who called to see how I was going. I found his interest nice as he was a well known idenity in the Perth scene. Then he asked if he could show me a business plan… I politely told him I wasn’t interested. Sometimes I am too nice for my own good. (No – its true!)

Then two of the folks in my last youth min both hit on me, as well as a friend in the community. I went to a life coaching seminar where I met a guy who wanted to ‘explore things more with me’. I met up with him only to discover it was Amway again… There have been one or two others, but the common denominator is always the same. ‘How would you like to make more money than you have ever dreamed of and live free?’

If anyone asks me that again I think I may just ask them ‘how would you like to kiss my butt?’

I refuse Amway on several grounds:

– there is no get rich quick scheme that works and is ethical. If you want to get fast money then just rob a bank. At least its blatant theft.

– it promotes greed but under the guise of godliness, which makes it even more slimey in my opinion.

– you risk losing all your friends by having to hit on them and get them signed up

– I can’t be bothered spending ’10-15 hours a week’ on a ‘business’ when I am prefectly content. Amway suggests that I ought to be discontent with my life as it is.

– it sounds dangerously like a cult.

If anyone ever calls you to show you the plan then ask them to read this first, then meet with them and ask them how they enjoyed the book!

It is a first person insider account of a man who moved high up in Amway, did not make the momey he expected, worked his butt off in the process and was subject to incredible cultish mind contol and abusive practices.

I don’t think anyone sets off into Amway with bad intentions, but the evidence would seem to suggest that there is much research that needs doing before signing up.

So if you happen to approach me with a ‘business plan’ don’t say you haven’t been warned.