Tag Archives: Tedx

Sydney Ideas lecture series and why i’m interested (Part 1)

3 Apr

Since i’ve landed back in Sydney, one thing has been pretty much in my face the whole time, i cant ignore it and now dear reader, i have to tell you too.

It’s the idea’s, too many ideas to ignore, Sydney is a very stimulating place to be

I was watching a Tedx talk last year, by O.E Wilson and he was asked to give a talk about advice to budding scientists.

His advice was.

  1. Learn as much as you can in your own field
  2. Learn as much as you can in fields outside your field
  3. With technology and emerging technologies branching out and creating new fields, some of the new fields will cris-cross and hey presto, something irrelevant is a hot topic.

Sounds like good advice? Take a look for yourself.

Some examples that come to my mind are:

Original Mac fonts


1, When Steve Jobs was going to college, the lectures he attended were not the ones he was supposed to attend, one of his favourites was on ‘fonts’, so by the time of the apple computer he had all kinds of fonts loaded on, which became his ‘killer app’ advantage, a bold start to a global dominance for Apple.


James Dyson cleans up the competition


2, When James Dyson was fixing his wife’s hoover (men helping women with house work is called ‘Chore play’, it frees up time for ‘other activities’ in the bedroom (and apparently it works too?)

Anyway, Mr Dyson on his knees realized the problem he solved with a spray painting device was the problem with the hoover, and over 1000 proto-types later, he’s in the hoover business and he spends 10 million pounds protecting his ideas in court too.

The idea being that unrelated industries are related, all you have to do is make the connection


I’ve been going along to the Sydney Ideas series too and i have been learning all sorts of interesting things outside of my usual IT profession, but i think ideas that could prove useful in anyones profession.

I went to a talk entitled:

The globalisation of Chinese porcelain and their significance for history, archaeology and antique collection by Dr Baoping Li

In this richly illustrated presentation, Dr Baoping Li will rely on over twenty years of research to explain the significance of Chinese porcelain to our understanding of history, archaeology, cultural studies, and the collecting of antiques in China and the world.

Chinese porcelain


Dr Li has first-hand experience working with porcelains found at the site of a lost city in North China that was part of the Mongol Empire, ancient Angkor in Cambodia, and an Arab merchant shipwreck of c. 826 CE found in the Java Sea that provides the earliest physical evidence for direct trade between China and the Middle East.

I learned:

  1. By the procalain found at a site they were able to prove the site was not unoccupied for what was previously thought for a 100 years
  2. From the porcalain Dr Li was able to tell what social class the occupants belonged

Another i went to was entitled

Who Built the Long Wall of Quang Ngai? Territory, Security and Trade along a Vietnamese Boundary, By Dr Andrew Hardy

 Dr Hardy historian of Vietnam, associate professor at the French School of Asian Studies

I learnt:

No documented evidence could be obtained for the wall (127km) that would separate indigenous people of Vietnam and the Vietnamese in question

Quang Nagi


Another similar wall had been build between Cambodia and Vietnam, both kings sent 5000 men to build the wall, since evidence could be obtained for that wall, we can safely assume it was a similar agreement.

Also, when it comes to territory, Vietnamese had markers to indicate their territory’s and if anyone moved the markers, this was taken as an act of war and all hell broke loose!

How does this relate to me?

Well there are times when there is little or no documentation for a project, but at the same time you need to construct testing documentation and you need evidence to support what your are trying to achieve, the idea is, its been done before, all you need are the ideas and you can pretty much do most things.

But whats the idea?

How to drive traffic to your site, the easy way

3 Dec

The Walker Art centre digital media team


Last week, i went to a presentation by Nate Solas, he is a senior media developer (he’s the guy in the middle, sitting down) for the award winning Walker Art Center, you see i’ve been attending quite a few lectures, meet ups, technology events, after all, i’m in Sydney and there is quite a bit going on, all you have to do is look.

I will share some of the interesting points i learnt from his excellent presentation

To get people to your site, all you have to do is write good content, so if you write something, make it good, people will come back to read more time and again, you can see this through the ‘Long tail’ of your site, i highly recommend this article by Chris Anderson, from Wired to get a deeper understanding of the long tail

Chris says:

Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.

A longtail states that there is more value in the sum of things that get small demands than on the big demand things.

It’s taking statistics to a new level, there is the longtail of travel

What a long tail looks like


Its the bottom line going across the bottom is what your aiming for. For the
Walker art centre started investigating the long tail, more specifically who these people were and what they were doing, they got to understand their business in a different way.

Whats interesting is recently Facebook changed their algorithm, the Internet has some new laws too, it favours stories that are based on good content, people will keep coming back and find content through search tools, good content doesn’t have to be on the sidebar, people will dig around for it are we in the era of digital archaeologists?

Nate talked of a ‘Long tail’, some might be forgiven for thinking it had something to do with cats, and it did to a degree, interested?

I watched a talk by Ken Robinson, in case you dont know who he is, Ken Robinson is a education reformer, one of the most interesting people you will listen to, he is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere

Ken Robinson


His TedX presentation has been viewed more than 4 million times (at the time), he said that his son showed him a youtube video of someone playing with a cat, it had 8 million hits, which was funny, but also true

What works in driving audiences to your site are, special interest groups. The Walker arts centre, launched the new site, it got a lot of traffic, they held a big rock concert, they got huge traffic, they held a cat movie festival, called ‘The nine lives of the Internet cat’, the graph went off the scale.

C is for….Cat


Continuing, Nate mentioned a few rules when you attract special interest groups, that he likes to adhere to

  • When you attract a special interest group, don’t make them look at other stuff, if they come for cat videos, give them cat videos
  • You need to Measure more and guess less
  • Stop inventing and start iterating
  • Do the obvious thing excellently
  • Give the user a sense of community, for the Walker Centre, they put the weather temperature on the front page and it’s been a huge success, people like knowing that it’s ‘Cloudy and 46 Fahrenheit’ around the centre
  • The Walker centre is happy to have links to other sites, it gives them credability too, people appreciate it and that brings people back

You can watch the entire festival cat videos here

This funny cat video has had nearly 49 million views, enjoy!!

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