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Carbon Credits and Emissions Trading

July 26, 2008 Leave a comment

It seems strange to me that after all of this discussion concerning Carbon credits, Emissions trading and sustainability – in the short and in the long term – there is only one group of people who will end up paying for the whole transfer into the this total new and changed economy we are as a nation contemplating.

Those people as with the GST (a point of sale – Good and Services Tax (VAT) ) are the end users, the consumers who in the current guidelines will not get any free licenses, credits or otherwise – frankly currently I don’t think Australians as a whole can afford this, not on top of the price of oil and the flow on hikes in basic food needs, as well as rent and interest rates.  We are not a bottomless pit guys and girls.

Under the current guideline policies – as is usual the Government and business seemingly can go on their merry way unaffected by the costs involved – in fact the Government will again come out on top, I say this as any cost increases for services and products – where the price is totally due to the affects of Carbon Credits and Trading – any increase in prices tracks to increases in income for the GST – more money for the Government .  However if we don’t do something – we will end up on a planet that cannot support us – the planet will survive – but  we won’t, well not at least in our current numbers.

It has to be a World wide effort – Yes everyone – Australia contributes less than 2–3% to the world wide problem – whilst it means something I guess, that Australia is going ahead on its lonesome – unless the big polluters to name just a few such as the United States, China, the European Union, India, and the United Kingdom actually get off their seats and do something, Australia’s actions will have little real impact on the problem as a whole. Whilst the big polluters are totally concerned about how it looks, the effect on their own countries – in other words how it spins rather than how it is – within a generation at the most two nothing that we do then will make a difference to the world – it will tumble into a re-stabilisation of climate, different to and perhaps not tolerant of us.  There are a number of scenarios – most of them disastrous – the cessation of the Gulf stream, another ice age – but through all of this the planet will go on – it just will not go on as before – and we will be thinking why didn’t they do something when they could.

OK I understand that you are sitting there saying its not my fault why should I take the first step – because its inevitable and in difficult times its all about leadership – seemingly a forgotten skill in the Governments of the world – in reality what leadership has come down to is “lets do a telephone pole of our sample” – this will tell them what their sample thinks of how popular this or that possible idea might be – then we apply the best spin – and hey presto – leadership today – this isn’t leadership, its the worst kind of political manipulation – and it results in no effective leadership let alone action. Take a stand and make a decision once you have all relevant feedback and input from the stakeholders (thats us as well).  That’s what we put you there for – forget about your legacy – your legacy is us and our descendants – in this case the future of the planet as our home.

I am impressed with the leadership qualities of Kevin Rudd – however he is however way too strong – and doesn’t seem to trust his Ministers, he seems to micro manage – as a result many of his team are absolute wimps or incompetents promoted way above their abilities.  Sad – I think, but true!!  I am worried to how this somewhat self imposed work load will effect his health

All the political positions, from Labor, the Liberals and now we have the Greens trying to come in from the irrelevancy of the political wilderness – they really don’t act like a Greens party in my mind – they are way too aggressive – with little thought of the future of the average Australian. The Green Peace Activist bodies and this stunt recently about invading the power station – is one such  – it has its good points to keep the subject to the forefront – but gosh some of their demands are so ridiculous. I agree we need to develop alternative base load and peak power alternatives – but this transfer of the energy generating burden will take time – currently as I see it the only new viable alternative base load power is Wind, Geo-Thermal and of course Nuclear – which is not really an alternative due to the waste component.  Hydro in Australia – no.  Solar power without a way of storing energy to run the generators at night is not a base load alternative.

The Australian Labor party which frankly has no idea of the exact details of the policy itself is seeking have the co-operation of the Liberals – by frankly attacking and marginalising them and their leadership.  Now this boys and girls is not how it is done – you find common ground and negotiate – not revert to the normal political bulling tactics – you are the people we elected and put in a responsible place to deal with future of our country – grow up – if you cannot then stay in the sand trap with the other kids at Play school where you belong.

Then we have the talk – spin in fact about the idiocy of bringing Costello back to the front bench at the very least – he has absolutely no affinity with the average Australia – no idea of what it takes just to survive today – no leadership skills – that he has shown so far – perhaps he might have changed – Yes – but into what?  Now is the time we need leaders for the future, not people living in the past with some ancient history to prove – Costello after the last election was like a little boy – “I would have won” – bull – at that time I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t have voted for him, in fact if he had been Prime Minister at the time of the last election the rout of the conservative parties would have been absolute, they may never have recovered.

Once there is a white paper on the actual details of the policy maybe – then you can talk about seeking input from all stakeholders  – once you actually have a solid proposal of an idea – surely this whole project is a case for a bi-partisan approach – shouldn’t the best brains in the Australia be involved in this, not just the best brains in politics (its like saying a joke like Politics and intelligence, Smart Ass, small fortunes or well preserved ruins – all are real oxymoron (s)) – unfortunately we are dealing with the future of the planet people – and most of you “on both sides” just don’t cut it  – I realise that there are few best brains in politics – not many – but let’s get it right – please for the sake of Australia – get your ego out of the way and start having clear thoughts about the implications on Australia – start making decisions with enough information, and enough time – use the best modelling possible – to understand how it will impact normal Australians.  – Please no more political egos or party driven rhetoric – do what is best your people, Australians.

For those of us not living in the splendid unreality of Canberra with the guaranteed income and great Super & expense accounts – The new system will come as a complete paradigm shift in the way we currently live our lives – a dramatic change – hence Australia permanently will be taking a different fork in the road – surely our entire future is worth a think tank of every interested,thinking and able person to give constructive help on how we live beyond this. We are a world leader in implementing this change – so get it right. Mind you why are we being a world leader in this again?

But just as we are announcing this new program to slash our carbon emissions we are in a real bind – between a rock and a hard place so to speak – as we announce our Coal exporting successes., so are we moving these polluting minerals offshore ??

This is in my opinion the biggest Change Management project ever for Australia – get some help – not from the input from the rarefied, theoretical giants of the Consultant world but people who live a really normal life – not something we learn from a theoretician – talk to the people on the ground.

I was speaking to my very good friend Earl about this – I put some of the above to him, and that there has be a way that normal people can be helped on this and with his usual outside the box thinking he came up with the following:-

“Now if each individual Australian was given an annual (reducing supply of carbon credits they could use as they wished) for use with food, energy, housing and transport, anything – all consumables included, and we could either use or save the credits to trade to people who could not control their consumption, life might be really interesting”.

This way you could pay for the price increase directly attributable to the Emission component using your carbon credits or pay cash – sounds good to me.

Economist Group Bucks the Trend

June 19, 2008 Leave a comment

LONDON (Thomson Financial) – June 19th, 2008 – The Economist Group bucked the print media trend to announce a 23 percent rise in operating profit for the year to March 31 as sales grew and margins improved at the publisher of the Economist magazine, and the group expects this out performance to continue see the article here Link to article

This is an apparent anomaly, the company reported an increase in sales as well as a increase in circulation (by 9%).

I also had the opportunity to research the outgoing Chief Executive of the Group, Helen Alexander – herewith an interview which I find very revealing and we could all learn from her answers – Link to Helen Alexander article.

About leaderships she says:  “On the whole, a good leader can deal with either bad times or good,” says Ms Alexander. What makes for success, in her opinion, is being “calm and un deterred and undeflected”. That means being able to stick to a long-term strategy while still being flexible on short-term tactics: “You are aiming for a point on the horizon, but you can change the route to get there.”

About Strategy she says:   “strategy is not about either short-term or long-term visions, but about combining the two. “You have to have your cake and eat it,” she says. She is a great believer in sticking to a core business: “a strategy based solely on acquisitions is not good,” she says.

I was impressed – a pragmatic intelligent woman who is delivering in todays world – the glass ceiling ?  Think of it this way if we could have a CEO of the calibre of Helen Alexander – where would our economy be – this does not mean woman – or men – just of her calibre – Mind you the glass ceiling is wrong – and should be broken – the old boys club is from an Dickensian era and needs to be opened up to the best executive no matter who that maybe – after all in Public companies we have to maximise return to Shareholders – this means we need the best whoever they are. 

Broadcasting and the Internet

February 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Introduction

The current major incumbents in the media did tend to under-estimate the importance of new competing technologies – the Internet as it is now and as it will evolve is having a major impact on the viability Broadcasting operations.

Before we make a best guess of what the future will bring – we should at first think about what are the underlying causes of these changes – and then how will these changes affect the products and services of the future.  We would be foolish to believe that new technologies will replace all old technologies – Radio was not replaced by Television, Neither has Cinema been replaced by Television.  In fact both Radio and Cinema have gone from strength to strength – in spite of very intense competition from new technologies.

The current situation in which the Free to Air and Old Media finds itself in has come about basically from changes in consumer electronics in the area of Digital communications, in particular – The Digital Compression of Video and Audio Signals – however the high speed Internet speeds currently available in ADSL and in particular ADSL2+ will exacerbate the competition, but the competition from the Internet will come from many, many small sources on the Net  – not from any large organisational entity.

Convergence

This became very fashionable in the 1990’s – however it seems to me that all these industries, i.e. Broadcasting, the Internet and Telco’s may converge into one industry – but of course there will be numerous cross-industry alliances and ventures. I do not believe that at this point in time, because of the following – TV Sets are viewed from a distance, typically 5-11 times the picture height, whereas computer users interact with their screens typically at 2 times picture heights – This difference means that text and graphics for TV Viewing must be much larger than the ideal size for computer applications.

Secondly – TV is viewed passively, by several people at a time, whereas computer usage is generally a solitary as well as a very interactive activity. The reality is that at this point that Computer style interactivity and TV communal viewing do not mix – except and unless you control the remote control. I see that Computers will be used as a display for TV programs. So in effect any convergence will be a one way process. TV reception will be a standard feature on computers – but using the TV as a “Word processor” or to display long and length web pages – is not foreseeable operationally at the moment.

However as above convergence is not the only thing having an effect on Broadcasting – what I also see is the continuing fragmentation of content production and it’s aggregation through a variety of mechanisms. The media business has always been an aggregator, that is its history and it’s capability. For media companies to have a future this may be where they find it.

What does matter

The reality of today’s digital world is made up of content-foraging consumers. Consumers increasingly have the ability, and perhaps the desire, to blur the distinctions between “newspaper” and “TV” stations. What consumers want, and can get from the Internet, are streams of news, entertainment as well as niche interest content.  Some of its print, some of its video, and some of its national, international, and local news, but the actual control of the content mix is controlled by the consumer.

In light of the fact that many of the new digital sources from the Internet are not high capital companies backed by many millions of dollars – there isn’t a lot of money left in owning a single physical thing that has to be sold or maintained, it’s not just another peer media conglomerate to be worried about; it’s an entity like Starbucks that could just as likely buy a newspaper and/or a TV station.  Although the wisdom of such a decision, being so divergent from their core activities would need to be truly examined.

Increase the Audience

Newspapers and local TV stations have been lamenting the loss of their subscription and classified advertising revenue staples to new intermediaries on the Web who don’t operate under the same capital needs, ownership constraints or carry the burden of having to actually produce original content. With the change in cross-media ownership restrictions, they now have a chance to do things differently. There are obvious cost savings from consolidation of local news organisations and advertising sales forces, they now have the opportunity to offer a new value proposition to local advertisers to provide true cross-media reach, highly targeted local focus, signage and events, sponsorships, promotions, the self-service Internet ad vendors really can’t touch.

Future of Broadcasting

The real enemies of Free to Air Television and Cable Television are inertia, lack of innovation and the complexities of integration. To capitalise on this new local cross-media opportunity will require some radical shifts in organisation and mind-set. Local stations and newsrooms will need to not only reconfigure their operations and services, but also quickly learn how to apply the lessons of online community building, user-generated content, and Web presences or partnerships to add to or increase their traditional media offerings. So far, their track records in tapping new local advertising revenues on the web has had little success – Perhaps the current wave of consolidation will provide the catalyst they need to embrace fundamental change – personally unless the Old and New aspects of companies are innovative, co-operative and working for the common good, I doubt whether they will succeed in the short term.

It is inevitable that Digital will be the future of broadcasting. Free to Air or Over the Air will remain inherently a “passive”,” from one too many” communications system, Digital Technology will multiply the numbers of available broadcast services, including, (1) Free-to-Air Broadcasting (2) near Video on Demand services (3) Subscription Services (4) Pay-per-View Services.  The format of the delivery system will differ markedly from country to country – it is therefore clear that there is no universal solution – Broadcasters will need to make decisions concerning the appropriate delivery systems for their markets. Customers are certain to demand increased portability, mobility and access for the delivery of services – delivery of services from conventional terrestrial and even satellite services will thus remain and essential element of Broadcasting.

Just a simple thought of a income stream – which needs to be fully examined, for a hypothesis sake let’s set up a subscription service. Something that is generally affordable, say less than $10 a month, for any and all content from your subscription server, using for instance Bit-Torrent streaming media  You can pass on the file for free if you want – and when someone tries to open it they get a opening screen saying subscribe here- But they get to watch the program anyway – Tom O’Reilly (http://www.oreilly.com/oreilly/tim_bio.html) runs a successful publishing business on the basis that he gives away his content – but on the other hand makes it really easy for people to buy a copy, and tens of thousands of them do – it really requires a lateral shift – a paradigm shift – By giving it away in the first instance – this gets rid of a huge enforcement load and a huge big legal bill which has no purpose other than to really upset your customer base.

The subscription server could be full of streaming video of your content archives, all news content, series content – after first screening  – a lot of the “making of” programs interviews etc.  People will lap it up, the peripheral content is almost as popular as the actual film. I think the strategy has to be long term to integrate the broadcast content with the Internet (especially for international audience) rather than just using the net as a promotional channel for the TV.

In Australia one of the networks Internet sites is very bad at doing this – it enables no interaction, and treats visitors as trailer fodder. There is a trivial – “Email us with your story” or “”Have your say” – both of which create emails – in other words they break the connection. This is not innovative or a paradigm shift in approach – this server site needs to be run by someone who knows what they are doing on the Internet.

At the end of the day you are talking to one person, not an “audience”. There is no need to inform people of the changes, they will already know.

Also consider the freeing thought – stop trying to control the viewer, the listener or the reader – you will fail – involve them – turn your audience whether it be on the free to air transmission or on you well branded (same name) web site – into rabid promoters of your channels programmes and digital products – there are successful business sites on the Internet now doing just this.

The Internet

The Internet suffers from serious congestion especially when too many users attempt to retrieve information from a particular site or even at busy times of the day. The Internet will become very important for Broadcasters as a new delivery mechanism for; broadcast Services; on-demand services and, especially the delivery of services to international audiences.  Rest assured that the Internet will evolve and develop a wide range of services we cannot envisage at present. However, at present and unlike Broadcasting – the Internet is not well suited to the simultaneous delivery of programme content to very large audiences and it cannot offer services directly to mobiles and portables economically or easily – this form of “TV” will remain something for major events such as the cricket or the Olympics etc.

It is clear that today’s Internet cannot deliver high quality Broadcast quality content or video on demand – however this limitation is I believe will not be permanent, and to provide such a service almost every element would need to be replaced – but it is conceivable.

It is impossible to predict what new services will be successful in the market place – but at the end of the day whatever you are viewing whether on a TV or a computer screen – attractive and informative content will be a key factor.

The Internet as it is now, and as it may be conceived for perhaps the next 10 years does not mean the “death of Broadcasting” – Broadcasting in all of its forms will remain ubiquitous – the Internet will become very important – Broadcasters I believe will become a major source of content for services & content for the Internet now and in the future.

Proposals

Essentially the future of Broadcasting is about forming a relationship with the individual people in their audience – about forming a community – where the TV station listens to and places credence in their thoughts – there are lots of way in doing this for instance:-

These are the ideas I would implement, which provide a increase in involvement with their audience..

·         a forum on the Internet (on each stations site) for each station where people can have their say in different aspects of the stations operation – Accountability & feedback  – to the station and “why they did this or that” with a response by someone of substance. 

·         Also there should be a presence on the Internet by the stations – say promoting their stations operations – advertising the stations premium content on the Internet.

·         each viewer can fill in a preference – after joining a stations “club” – where the station keeps them informed of new happenings in their areas of interest – further to the idea of a subscription server as noted in the original document.

·         Next – the technology for this is available now – is to offer a free customised TV station per interested person on the subscription services – where they are viewing their preferred program content – the provider can then supply targeted advertising at a premium to their normal rate with the customised content.

I have other concrete ideas to maximise audience connection and thus ratings for the station or network.

Conclusions

I am passionate about the future of Broadcasting, New Media and the Technology that enables them – where both of these areas are going to evolve. In particular how we infuse the influence of the Internet and other emerging digital platforms into the mass media business models.

Very few Media companies in Australia are building new business models most are not. Some are throwing money at the threat by buying Internet operations thinking that this will plug the holes in their future Income profile, whilst others are actually doing what is needed to make the Internet an ally, by building communities.

I am positive that formerly monopolistic media enterprises can both survive and grow their income streams but they will need to do so by following a different business model to that of the past, new strategies for the movement into Multi-platform Broadcasting; and onto other emerging digital platforms; Overseeing production of innovative inherently cross media television programs; the acquisitions of new innovation content experiences for free to air and online; I want to contribute to, and help guide that process.

LIFE

October 19, 2007 Leave a comment

You dream, you visualise and you create the future you think you want – the next day your dream has become your new reality – (is it what you thought you wanted) – and as you look back to those times – you know in your heart that they were the best of times  – I didn’t know – I was too much in a hurry to grow up…. why didn’t someone tell me – I have made mistakes – we all have and do, we are human after all – relationships and hearts were broken – one day you are dreaming the next, your dream has become your reality – it was the best of times – my youth, our youth – if only I had realised. Now I have – is it later – lessons have been learnt – what we should and shouldn’t do – to grow and search for our passion during our journey.

Remember everything you are and everything you will become is already within you,

I don’t believe it is ever to late to start your life – start now and enjoy your life – start now for the rest of your life..

 

Portable Power

April 12, 2007 Leave a comment

My father once had a watch that would wind itself, I wonder if anyone is working on the idea of a way to use movement, such as the movement of our body to charge things like Mobile phones and other mobile items… like Laptops etc…??

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