My thoughts on #trump

[blockquote source=”Vanilla Sky”]Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around[/blockquote]

Ok, this is an interesting one to write. Over the last 3 months I have seen some pretty poor human behaviour in the name of politics. At a local level as well as on the world stage, then the results started coming in yesterday…

I do not think Trump is a good human being, but he may be the leader America needs right now. Steve Jobs wasn’t a great human either, but he achieved some pretty amazing things. I have read trump books in the past (ghost written obviously) and whilst I wouldn’t do business in his way, he has become a success, there is no denying that. I am not sure if he planned long ago for this to be his end game, or whether he saw an opportunity and went for it….

While pondering these things, it suddenly dawned on me that I was going against my own philosophy in regards to my place in the world. I had been dragged in to the politics as a planet is drawn in to a black hole. If you get to close, you will never escape the gravitational force.

Locally I got close because of my role in the Village Voice newspaper and our desire to cover important local issues. However, as far as the American election goes, I got close because I fell into the conversation flooding my newsfeed on may social media platforms, coverage in the media and the general topic of discussion at almost every place I have been…

My philosophy with these things is – It doesn’t matter who is currently in power in any government anywhere on the planet – what happens to me is up to me. The government may shape the environment, but I am responsible for my choices and actions within whatever environment I exist.

It dawned on me yesterday, that the market crash probably allowed a greta deal of very sophisticated investors to make a bunch of cash. Even a beginner like me could have traded yesterday and cashed in.

Great entrepreneurs are always able to find a way. Great investors will make money in any market conditions… and it is investors and entrepreneurs who can do the most to change the world. That is why they have a lot at stake and get involved in politics. They want the best environment for them to operate in. As individuals, we don’t get to influence votes, only cast our own.

The democracy that we celebrate in the free world demands that we respect the office – but hold it accountable to the promises made on the way there. It demands that just because our candidate didn’t win, we don’t cry foul – I am still wondering what President Elect Trump would have done if he didn’t win… guess we will never know – and that we as a people continue to strive and do the best we can in the environment in which we find ourselves.

It’s time to focus now on the real issues, locally in our own backyards, and globally. DO our own little bit to make our patch a bit better, and if everyone does that then maybe we will just all be OK.


[blockquote]This post is part rant, part review of Henry Rollins’ show in Springwood at the beginning of the month and part getting me back on track… brace yourself![/blockquote]

So I had a bit of a rant today on Facebook. You can see the post below. It centres around the concept of Slacktivism – thinking that posting something on Facebook to your status or doing some pushups or jumping on one leg while holding your breath does anything at all for the cause you are trying to support. I understand why people do it, it’s because we need to raise awareness… I call BULLSHIT on the concept of raising awareness on anything. Seriously, is there anyone on the planet that is not aware that cancer sucks. Like really sucks! Is there anyone on the planet that doesn’t know that our veterans need to be better looked after when they return from combat. Do we really need anymore debate about Domestic Violence being an issue?

[blockquote]NO! N Fucking O![/blockquote]

Frankly, we need to solve these issues. The fact that we haven’t got a cure for cancer yet but we are looking for water on mars tells me that the governments of the world have gotten their compass for what’s important so far of course, we cant believe they will ever get it back and fund what is actually important to humans on earth. SO it is up to organisations to do good work to try and solve these problems. What does good work need…? Resources – Time and Money. I have said it about business and the same is true here, there are only two resources available time and money. and both are needed by the truckload to solve these issues.

Let’s stick with 22 pushups to raise awareness of Veteran suicides for the moment. Do you think there is a veteran out there who saw a bunch of people doing pushups and thought, OK, I may not do it today – I REALLY hope so… But I feel that hope may be in vain. What is needed is money to get the proper mental health treatment these men and women need to help them with their issues.

There are some many charities that do help them, but all of them need money to carry out their work.

Now there are a number of people whom I really respect that did this challenge, and I admire their commitment, but the process needs to be monetised. The ice bucket challenge at least got that part right for the most part.

I do pushups every day anyway, but today I gave $22 to the organisation and committed to continue giving them $22 every week for a whole year. That is $1144 which goes toward their services. Now if just 1000 people did that, it would be over $1,000,000 – that is how you get help to those that need it.

I guess this all comes from a growing trend I see to try and be seen to do something without really doing anything. Lot’s of people say they support causes, or are happy to from the comfort of their own home, but how many are really willing to get in the trenches and do the work.

My best friend in the whole world is passionate about saving greyhounds. She works at every single weekend. I am not passionate about greyhounds, but I support her by putting a bunch of free ads in my paper so that we can get the word out about their service. See money talks once again, if they have to pay for advertising, they have less money for dog food and other stuff that is pretty important to what they do.

This is something you see in all walks of life, at all economic levels. But if everyone was just prepared to own the fact they were lazy and more focussed on their own shit (which is fine by the way) and just threw money at these problems, then all of a sudden we might actually get somewhere.

It is no secret that my whole personality, brand, life’s work is to DO STUFF!

Anyone that has even had a passing connection to me knows this. I do stuff. Some works, some doesn’t – I don’t bitch about it. I move on and embrace the fact that at least I took a swing.

Some stuff does work, amazingly well, but I don’t sit back and enjoy the good life, I move on to the next thing. I need to just keep DOING STUFF.

Which leads me to another thing I wanted to share with you today… Henry Rollins. Uncle Hank.

henry-rollins-2016_feel_web_495x300The first time I saw Henry Rollins was when he toured with the Rollins Band, back in the early 90s. He came on stage, dressed in nothing but black shorts, wrapped the mic cord around his hand and sonically assaulted the audience. It was possibly the most intense mosh pit I have ever seen and there were points I actually thought I might not make it out alive, but it would have been worth it.

Fats forward 25 years, or there about, and I was seated in a theatre in Springwood – with some very refined looking folk – awaiting the arrival on stage of Henry Rollins. He walked on stage wrapped the mic cord around his hand and let rip. A very different type of show, but once again, intense. Instead of being sonically assaulted, it was like a story teller that had his hand wrapped firmly around our brains and was squeezing them to see just how far they could be pushed.

There were stories from the road, there were tales of movie & tv roles – but more importantly – there were tales of his travels, and the people that he reaches out to using his tools. Music is his tool, sharing what it had meant to him through his life and how it had been the thing he has used to help others.

The main thing I took from an Evening with Henry Rollins was his unapologetic approach to living life on his terms. Doing stuff that makes him happy. Doing stuff that is important to him. But actually doing stuff. Not talking about it, not planning to do it, not thinking about how he might do it when everything was perfect. Just doing it.

I felt like I was slacking off after listening to Henry that night. I do a lot of stuff. But he does A LOT of stuff.

I would also suggest that he does everything at 100%. It certainly seemed that way. He doesn’t seem to be a person that would leave something in the tank for later. He stood there with his mic for over 2 hours and just spoke, no notes, no drinks, not stopping. Until he was done.

And that is how I will continue to live my life. Doing stuff that makes me happy and doing stuff that matters. Not paying lip service to it. But doing it.

Building myself and the world around me every single day. A work in progress that will never be done, it will just be ‘being done’. Forever.

SO… Be brave, Be bold… DO SOMETHING!
The world already has enough complainers, armchair critics and slacktivists… go and put your energy into something you care about. And fuck what anyone else thinks about it.

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my thoughts about #cebitaus 2016

The ideas boom. An innovation nation. A technology economy… the catchphrases supporting the current government’s budget and their promises for a bright horizon if re-elected in a couple of months.

However, my trip to CeBIT yesterday does not fill me with hope that this is the reality… or maybe all the really cool cutting edge guys are too busy getting shit done to attend?

What did I expect? Not sure, however it was certainly more than I saw. I imagined to see lots of companies with great ideas about VR, apps talking about how they integrate to the new Messenger BOTS on Facebook, or things that even I had not thought about… however, I was left feeling like one feels when ordering burger at McDonalds, full of promise from looking at the picture, but flat and sloppy in stark reality…

Stark… that’s an interesting freudian slip perhaps. I expected to see some ironman level shit at CeBIT, but I just didn’t. It wasn’t there. There were lots of 3d printers, lot’s of fusion splicers (whatever the hell they may be) but nothing that took my breath away. I guess the biggest eye opener for me was when I had a conversation with a guy that was in translation. You know, taking written documents, and translating them to another language.

I asked him why he was there, hoping to hear him talk about how translation was changing because of augmented reality, or how using AI you could now wear a hearing aid that could translate on the fly. Instead of that, he told me about all the reasons that was still ten years away… Seriously dude? You really think that.

And that there is the problem I see with a innovation nation – so many people are risk adverse. It is not OK to fail in Australia. People are trained from birth that safe is best, get a job, don’t take a risk. Innovation is inherently risky. Stuff doesn’t work, ideas fall over, it is the nature of the beast. In my 23 year career in this industry, I have failed more times than I have succeeded, but I have never, ever, given up.

Persistence is my key ingredient.

Without the ability to say what if… we are only go to be a nation. Not an Innovation Nation.

I gave this guy my ideas about augmented reality translation, it already exists surely (i haven’t looked, but i will soon…) and the machine based translation for the hearing aid, if you think that is ten years away, you will be in the position of the industries that have died at every revolution in the past.

We are at the dawn of a new age. You have to understand that. Things as we knew them will not be the same for much longer.

Think of a world without a device. Think of a world that is hyperconnected, every thing in your house has intelligence, and is there to help and make your life better.

Imagine your own Jarvis (another ironman reference.. it’s true, i have a massive man crush on Tony Stark) an intelligence that exists that you could be connected to throughout your waking hours that worked out all your stuff, booked your flights, made a reservation at the restaurant, did your weekly shopping, woke you up at the right time, told you when it was time to do whatever was important to you… that day is not 20-30 years away, it is in my opinion… 2-3.

The world is at the tipping point of technology answering the call of why we started this journey, making our lives better.

However you, we – whoever you want – will not take our place amongst the pioneers of this new age unless we can be prepared to take massive risks, and be prepared to fail – but always get back up and start again.

Personal Branding – the most important thing to get right in 2016…

I gave a presentation for some buddies of mine last Friday which was all new material. My focus was on Personal Branding and why I thought it was by far the most important aspect for you to get right in 2016!

In this 24/7 media consuming world we live in, everyone can be a superstar, and everyone should be the face of their business.

It is very true what the image above says –
[blockquote source=”Me…”]We recognise and follow people, not companies.[/blockquote]

Think about it, you see a picture of Steve Jobs – You think of Apple… but he has been dead for nearly 5 years.

Think of Richard Branson, you think of Virgin. The Virgin group has hundreds of businesses, and they all benefit from being associated with Sir Richard’s image, even though he never steps foot in most of them.

The list goes on and on, but the simple truth is this. Even if your business is growing and you want your team to be the ones people recognise, having you as a figurehead, or face of the company can only add value in the long run, and help you build your own profile that will carryon to whatever you may want to do in the future.

I am not suggesting for one second that you create a character… I am suggesting you get very clear about the real you that is the one that people are inspired by, put some framework around who that is and make sure you live up to it every day.

Thi sis the basis of what social media marketing is in 2016. You.

Live video – is dominating social media right now and to be able to stream on demeaned you need to be clear on who you are, what you are going to say and a host of other things.

It is not hard, but it does take some work. I suggest sitting down and asking yourself these questions…

  1. Who am I?
  2. How do I present myself, what do I wear?
  3. How do you speak?
  4. What am I talking about?
  5. Who am I talking to?

This is the basis of having these things in place so you don’t have to think about the basics, you only have to think about he content you want to deliver.

I look forward to seeing your personal brand develop 😉


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I will be holding a 4 hour workshop on this topic in April, you can find details here:

The day I became Ari Gold

I am struggling. I have lived my life and run my business always looking for the mutually beneficial situation. Trying to ensure we are always playing win/win. Sometimes, I have found myself in a situation where we were clearly losing but I have always ‘done the right thing’. Taken the high road. Made sure that people couldn’t ever say we did wrong by them.

Where has this got me? It has got me to a relative level of comfort. I’m happy, I don’t have everything I want, but have everything I need… LIES!

I am constantly amazed at people that will not work together for the greater good. I have had recent experience of this trying to organise cross media promotions in our region and getting other media outlets to be on the same page and work together for the good of the business community, what did we get? The same underhanded tactics of trying to out do each other and get their fair share.

I am a big fan of the show Entourage, and the subsequent Movie that came out last year (Finally). I have also been watching a show called Ballers recently, created by the some of the same guys. Both shows are about high stakes, volatile environments in sports and entertainment.

One of the main characters is Ari Gold. Super Agent to the stars, the man that takes no shit, curses like a sailor, nearly loses everything, but always comes out on top and gets the deal done.

Part of me loves Ari. Part of me loathes him. He is the worst husband, father or friend you could ver have, but he is the fiercest, most loyal agent… In the end though, Ari manages to reconcile both sides, and is able to be the good guy, but not before his final battle in the movie.

The lesson in all this for me is – get battle hardened first. I have been trying to be like the zen master making sure we didn’t upset the path along our way, but all that happens is that we hold back on truly getting what should be ours.

That has to change. In one of our businesses, our newspaper and media business we have some great opportunities to expand, and have chosen relatively soft targets in terms of your locations for launching new papers and websites, because I didn’t want to compete with other people – what if they were just like me? Had everything on the line to try and make their idea work?

I was having this conversation with Kellie the other afternoon, and her mother’s instinct is different than mine.
As a mother she is protective of her family. She wants security knowing that we have all we need. I as the docile male never feel threatened and live in the belief we will always have want we want because I am strong and brave and can do anything.

But when it comes down to it, I have chosen to be the nice guy, rather than getting what my family wants far too many times.

I need to channel Ari. I can be a nice guy later, but for now, we need to steam roll on and achieve the outcomes that we are capable of.

It’s time to get into the fight and win. It’s not that I think we can’t be better than our competitors, it’s that I know we can. Our products will be far superior, they really won’t stand a chance. Should that be my problem?

I remember a colleague once saying to me that sometimes you have to cut off the hand to save the arm. It’s the cost of leadership, making the tough choices for the betterment of many at the cost of a few.

As I grow into the leader I wish to become this year, and build the organisation I wish to build – there will be costs, human costs. I must reconcile myself with the fact that we will have a huge positive community impact in the markets we enter and some collateral damage is inevitable.

It’s not something I am completely ok with yet… but I will be.

And just because I plan to channel Ari, don’t think I am going to start wearing a suit 😉


Need to know who Ari is?

Do the work!

I have been chatting with Tom recently as he is on holidays and using his time to play Fallout4 on the PS4, watch you tube videos about Fallout4 and generally become obsessed.

Now I know what that is like. I remember the year I got HalfLIfe, I played it for hours every day, or the year I got Return to Krondor on my PC for Christmas, I actually spent all Christmas Day and Boxing Day playing it…

I did however remind him that he can use his brain and time to create games, rather than just playing other peoples.

As many of you know he has been dabbling in this for some time now, and after a few false starts has some pretty solid ideas and now some skills to actually make it happen.

What has been interesting to me though is the fact he is actually going a bit analog. He has started making his own boardgames. He made a maze runner game, designed the board, the cards, the game play all by himself. The design is rudimentary, but the gameplay is really good. It is also easy to understand, he was able to play the turn based game with his sister Oilvia who is only 5, and she was able to understand and enjoy the game.

As my career has always been largely digital (except for the whole newspaper thing of course…) I at first said why didn’t you just make it as an app, and Tom then said something that floored me – it was more fun this way.

At that statement, I had to accept he was right. He is doing what most of us dream of, doing what he loves and enjoys the most. Granted he is not making money out of it, but I have no doubt he will one day.

What is more exciting for me as a parent though, is the level of concentration he showed while creating his game, the determination to get the character cards just how he wanted them, and his dedication to the story of the game – he actually wrote a full family tree of all characters and a back story to the game.

He put in hours and hours doing this. it was this that lead me to the realisation that one of my lessons had sunk in for him, rewards are always on the other side of hard work. He did the best job he could do and finished the game to a standard he wanted before a single dice was rolled. The reward for him was not getting paid, it was the game and being able to play it.

At 11 there is not a much more you could expect of a child, that is fast becoming a man. And given the phenomenal success of exploding kittens on kickstarter last year, maybe he could even make money out his boardgames as well.

The photo is from Tom’s trip to our office at Launchpad.

Rise Early – Work Hard – Strike Oil

The only thing I would add to this… Consistently #success #quote #peristence

A photo posted by Rich Evans (@richevans) on

This week is the first week of my new schedule for 2016. Back at work properly and working towards having a great 2016.

I listened to a Robin Sharma podcast just before Christmas where he talked about morning rituals and the benefits of the 5am club.

I have had the last couple of mornings to myself at home as Kel is away for a couple of days with the kids, so I was able to get up at 5am and test how it worked for me.

So far so good. Up at 5am, straight onto the exercise bike for 20 minutes, 20 minutes of strength exercises -pushups, lunges, planks and setups today, 20 minutes of quiet time to read or think.

Today I read about olive oil producers in Tuscany, an article in the AFR from Saturday.

Then I had breakfast, today some left over tomato and quinoa soup, a tea and then cooked up my lunch for today/tomorrow.

Cleaned up the Kitchen, then went and had a shower and got dressed for work.

I had everything done and was ready by 8:30am. Easy! I’m sure throwing kids and school and extra pressure in to the mix will make it a bit more difficult, but that is why it is great to start forming my new habit now.

Robin went on to talk about how research was showing that it took 66 days to install a new habit. Not the previous 21 days idea that has been the thing everyone has used for so long, and held themselves to, thinking, how did I slip off the bandwagon after i made a new habit, well the truth is in 21 days, you are not even halfway there… so that might explain it.

The research has been around a while, but for many of us, we had read or heard it takes 21 days at some point in our past and that is just what we believed to be true.

Here is a link that explains it in a bit more detail:

What I have found after just two days of keeping this up, is I feel more energised and relaxed – able to cruise in to my work day feeling like I have already achieved things, and made progress on things that are important to me. It gives me time to reflect, time to be grateful and time to dream.

The flip side is how well I have been sleeping the last few nights. Getting up early and expending energy through the day has allowed me to sleep well at night, not wake up and toss and turn.

We all make resolutions, but most are a distant memory by the time the end of January rolls around, because we don’t have a plan to keep our resolutions. We just have a dream.

Hope is not a plan, hoping to lose weight doesn’t help lose weight. Hoping to make more money, doesn’t make more money, so you must detail how you will achieve these things.

Thos that know me well know I always have a well written goal, a plan to achieve, a supporting spreadsheet and a very clear picture of what is next. This doesn’t mean it always works though, but it does give me a track to return to if the wheels fall off at any point.

It’s never a straight forward road, it’s a dangerous rocky road no matter what you are trying to achieve, as life has a way of getting in the way of even the most aspirational dreams.

Don't let a change in the plan deviate you from your goal #quotes #hardday #stillhustlin

A photo posted by Rich Evans (@richevans) on

So far this year we are on track, and hopefully being a member of the 5am club is a step in the right direction of achieving our dreams this year.

Comfort zone? What’s that?

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you” zig ziglar. #quote #success #outofmycomfortzone …

When writing my goals this year, I decided in 2016 I wanted to add a bit more playing into my life, I wasn’t sure what form it would take, just needed things aside from work as part of the equation. And so I find myself on the morning before my first performance in around 15 years, I am singing, acting and generally playing the fool as the narrator in a reimagining of Hansel & Gretel for the next three weekends.

This week was hugely challenging for me, I felt out of my depth, not able to keep up, and like I was not a ‘real’ actor. But I was not prepared to do anything half assed so I jumped in and did the work, the only thing I could do, and now, on the morning of our opening day I am PUMPED!!!

There were two reasons I was out of my comfort zone… The first one obviously was I have never acted. I thought I had a couple of lines and a few songs to learn, but it was a lot more, and it was hard, rhyming dialogue that connects the entire show. The other ‘real’ actors were relying on me.

Secondly, it was because I wasn’t in control. Our director, my friend Cath, is a creative genius and this is her thing so I had to take direction, not something I am normally good at.

I feel grateful for the experience as it has pushed me out of my comfort zone massively, particularly the second part and given me a new appreciation for the power of collaboration.

There is no escaping the work though… Your goals are always on the other side of hard work.

If you want to come and see the fruits of my labour, blast furnace theatre on Facebook has all the details.



All things take time

Many things in life take time. Good wine, good whisky, and in my case, good ideas.

For some time now, my fingers in many pies approach has bewildered many. Am I the tech guy? Am I the online marketing guy? Am I the newspaper guy? Or am I the food guy (thanks to my very public journey with BBQ Master reaching its culmination just before Christmas,).

This weekend I will have my first outing as the actor guy. Playing guitar and entertaining audiences at a local production of Hansel & Gretel. Another strange deviation…

The answer is obvious to me, I am all these things, but mostly I am a creator. I am lucky to be able to create things, it is a talent it took me a long time to realise not everyone knows how to use. Every one has it, but not everyone can use it. When you are the custodian of a creative vision, you can’t understand why people don’t see the same things as you.

You can look at a tumbledown house and see the amazing home it could become with some creative renovation. You can see a seemingly insurmountable business problem and find a creative way to resolve the issue. Creative thinking is a key skill in business and in life, and it turns out, I have been under using my creative talents immensely.

I am not a huge believer in some unseen universal force that has ultimate control over what we may or may not achieve, nor do I believe in putting things out into the universe. I believe in building self. Building self belief, building that part of your mind that can see something so clearly that you know how you can make it your reality.

Everyone has this ability in some capacity, but like any muscle it needs to be worked. You need to exercise it daily and then you build the muscle so it becomes stronger and can become a powerful weapon in this battle called life.

But how do you flex your creative muscles when you haven’t used them for so long? Just create something, draw a picture, write a poem or a song, write a story, take a photo of something beautiful. Start with the small easy things, and get your creative vision back in tune.

Modern society has developed this ability out of most people. We get told where to go, what to eat, how to dress all through our mainstream media experiences. Marketing is a dictatorship run by companies interested in profits, not improving your life.

Creative thinking allows you to have your own lens – an ability to see the world as you think it should be. For those of us that are brave enough to take the leap of faith into an entrepreneurial lifestyle, it also allows you to design your life and achieve the outcomes you desire.

One of my favourite techniques that I use on a daily basis is to do a ‘Self Interview’. The way this works is quite simple. Whenever I am alone, because doing it front of others might lead to them having you committed, I interview myself. I imagine that I have been asked on to a TV talkshow, in the year 2020 to talk about my amazing success and the fact we are an overnight success story.  I ask my self a question in my mind, then answer it out loud. For example – “So Rich – tell us about the REDD Group” I would ask in my mind, then I would talk about how I visualise our company will be in 2020, when we have just sold off one of our businesses to Facebook for 1.5billion and we are about to setup a foundation that will continue to educate young entrepreneurs and startups, but now all profits will be directed back to the foundation to run workshops and camps for school kids. This answer is given out loud. It comes out of my mouth, and back into my ears.

This results in a number of things – first of all, it helps iron out any issues I am not clear on. Why would Facebook pay 1.5billion for an as yet unnamed/undeveloped platform, what would that business have to look like in terms of scale, revenue, market share? Secondly, it allows me to work backwards from a clearly defined outcome I want to achieve and design a pathway to it. It is just creative thinking.

Most importantly, the more I do this, the more confident I am that I can achieve it. and thats when the magic happens…

Here is my theory: life is a cycle. It starts with environment, which shapes our beliefs, which then creates our habits, which gives us our outcomes which in turn, creates the environment we live in.

That’s IT! There is nothing more. Therefore you must intervene in one aspect of that cycle to make change. The easiest one to intervene in is the environment. Change the people you hang out with, get a new job, move to a new city, whatever it may be, changing environment is the easiest.

But that will not immediately change your beliefs… thats where the element I mentioned earlier comes in – time.

I changed my environment 4 years ago with a tree change, but it has taken four years (time) for it to actually create new beliefs, new habits, and now new outcomes.

The universe didn’t do this. I did this. With the help of the people in my environment.

Will we sell my secret project to Facebook for 1.5 billion? I don’t know for sure, but if I star making decisions about my life and time that reflect that is what I am aiming for… there is surely no downside.