A few interesting things…

Over the last few weeks I have been taking care of Customer Care for our Cadimage Tools International Customers. It is certainly a job where you get right down to the detail and consequently you may have noticed a drop off in my blog postings!

I have also fallen behind in reading everyone else’s blogs but I have come across a few things that are either great, cool, I agree with or just plain weird!

There is the recently released Dell Adamo which is a pretty cool looking, extremely thin laptop.

Xero has made two great announcements – Xero Personal and a massive increase in Revenues

Andy Lark has a good point about Rugby going globalit must be tough being in the US and not being able to watch the All Blacks. I also though his post on Critical Non Essentials was interesting.

There are the Mindflex puzzles where you use your brain power to move objects!

Lastly there is a post about 10 Secrets To Staying Informed About Web Design – I think this could help me keep up with all my blogs not just those on Web Design, but I haven’t yet had time to read it!

A good piece of timing

Our recent holiday in Cairns happen to coincide with an R&R visit for the crew of the USS Essex and the USS Tortuga prior to some ‘exercises’ with the Australian Army.

With security the way it is I was surprised to be allowed onto the Essex let alone take photos.

The USS Essex (LHD 2) “Iron Gator” is the largest ship in the US Marine Fleet carrying 1800 Marines, 1200 Sailors and 33 aircraft.

It is known as an Amphibious Assault Ship as it carried a huge array of ground vehicles which get transported to land via three enormous hovercraft that are also stored on board.

At 257 metres long it isn’t an aircraft carrier so carries helicopters and Harrier Jets (which take off vertically.)

The Essex Medical Department can be expanded to a 600-bed hospital with a 14-bed intensive care unit and 46-bed impatient ward, by far the largest at sea with the exception of hospital ships.

Xero Analysis – Sam Stewart

So most of my readers by now will know I am a 100% Xero convert – though I am still waiting for the much anticipated Foreign Currency Release later this month to complete my transition.

Anyway I was recently catching up on Rowan Simpson’s blog and discovered a link to a wonderful analysis of investing in Xero and a model (I suggest you read the article and download the model from Sam’s site) to determine customer numbers and revenue requirements to achieve an acceptable rate of return on your investment given the risks etc.

While I found the analysis extremely comprehensive I was more intrigued by the author – the name rang a bell.

Reading various other posts on www.samstewartnz.com made me more sure this was an old acquaintance from my university days.

So I sent an email with a few snippets of history that would have been a  little strange were it not the same Sam Stewart but as it turned out it was.

Sam has spent time in Wellington after studying at the University of Auckland and is now currently in Brisbane.

Just goes to show you don’t need to rely on Facebook to catch up with old friends!

63km is a long way to run…

Which is why on Saturday we did the 5 man-relay not the Solo Ultra-Marathon of the Te Houtaewa Challenge 2009

At 8:30 Saturday morning Sally set off to run the first 3 km section of the 63km Relay down Northland’s Ninety Mile Beach. For the next 4:47:19 we took our turn to run a 3km section and then drive down the beach slowly making our way from the bluff to Ahipara.


The team consisted of:

  • Gav
  • Ed
  • Wazza
  • Sal
  • Me

All of them seasoned pro’s having run the event as many as 6 times before (it only started in 2003!) I was new to the relay but had run the extremely monotonous Half Marathon back in ’99.

The guys were a little nervous at the start when they heard there were 5 other teams entered this year, however the nervousness was uncalled for as we ended up winning by over 45minutes.

Hats off must go to Tony Ahern though as he finished only 38 minutes after us having run the whole 63km himself!

Hats off also to the organisers – the event is very well run and has a fantastic Far North Community feel about it.

Watching History Being Made

Sometimes watching history taking place is not what it is cracked up to be.

Last night I watched history being made in the Super 14 as the lowest score ever was recorded – 6-0 to the Highlanders over the Crusaders.

That said even in such a low scoring affair and against an under strength Crusaders side a win is a win and must be enjoyed! Not only did we beat the Crusaders but we also became the first team in Super Rugby History to hold the Crusaders scoreless – an amazing feat in itself.

As a Highlanders supporter since day one, life has been pretty tough – we had a great couple of years in 98/99  but since then nothing much has eventuated and it was the Crusaders themselves who denied the Highlanders their only title chance.

One of my friends is a Crusaders supporter who has had one up on me for a long time  – I can just hear the excuses he’ll be making about last night!

However, aside from a low scoring game, the biggest irony yesterday was that 3 games of rugby were played in New Zealand in glorious conditions – why therefore can we not get a full one day game of cricket played against the Indians!

The Power of the Internet

Using the Internet to communicate and sell is basically taken for granted these days, however from time-to-time it never ceases to amaze me on how quick things can happen. Also because everything is handled electronically the ability to monitor and analyze results is incredible – in days gone by it was time intensive to try to determine responses to direct mail campaigns and the information was never very accurate.

Yesterday Cadimage Tools announced the release of a book – the GDL Handbook:


At 4:18pm I sent 3942 Emails to all my Customers – (customers who have opted in to receive Newsletters so not Spam!)

The Email, while focusing on the Book, also had a couple of other topics of interest to our customers and included a series of links that the customers could follow for further information about the Topics.

Within 2 minutes of sending the email customers were already clicking the links.

Within 10 minutes the it was easy to see that the two links relating to the GDL Handbook were the most popular links.

At 4:24pm we received the first Sale of our new book! 6 Minutes after the original email – Wow!

By 10:19pm (6 Hours 1 minute after email) we had orders for 9 Books from Australia, Germany, Luxembourg and the USA

Having now arrived at the office (8:12am next day) I have looked at the ‘link stats’ which are also interesting:

In the first 16 hours:

We have received 709 Clicks from 403 Unique Customers (approx 10% of email recipients)

229 Clicks have been registered against a PDF of sample pages from the Book

130 Clicks have been registered against the Product Page on our Website where customers can purchase the Book

While some of these numbers aren’t necessarily big, it is the speed of them that amazes me.

Now while the above makes it sound easy to do business on the Internet this is certainly not the case:

  • We have invested for over 4 years in establishing our International eCommerce Website
  • The Book has taken Andrew Watson over a year to write
  • It has taken 3-4 weeks to get all the marketing and launch material together

The main point is though, all this effort is being rewarded and because of the infrastructure we have build we know we can easily launch new products quickly and make sales from around the world.

The Inauguration!

Currently being in Atlanta I couldn’t help myself but to post a short piece on what will likely be one of the world’s most historic events – the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama!

Last night I flew over the top of Washington and based on the statistics I was hearing today I think that is a close as I want to get!

They are predicting over 2 million people will head out to see the inauguration ‘live.’ I say ‘live’ because by some accounts some people will actually be as many as 27 blocks away from where it all takes place.

To cap it off today (the day before the big event) is Martin Luther King day so in the words of one man I was talking to at breakfast “we’re in the middle of four days of celebration.”

Some people are saying the inauguration overshadows the importance of today – I believe however it actually makes the significance of the event that much greater.

I know tomorrow virtually the whole US will stand still – I am sure there will be plenty other places around the world that do so too.

Note to self: Must Blog more in 2009!

Being relatively new to blogging I am still learning the ropes and as the title suggests I want to blog more next year.

That said, next year is only 9 days away so I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and those us in the southern hemisphere a great summer break.

For those of my readers in the north hopefully this image will show you what we will be enjoying.


Till next year… see you later.

iPredict – NZ Predictions Market

With the two major news topics in NZ currently the Financial Market Turmoil and the upcoming NZ General Election the following website is of particular interest.


iPredict is New Zealands first real money predictions market. At a time when everyone is debating whether the current market should be left to sort itself out (as general theory suggests it would) or should be bailed out it interesting to observe what is, from my point of view, a new type of market.

Prediction Markets have actually been around since 1988 and harness the wisdom of crowds.

Like a stock market, stocks can be bought and traded and based on this trading a price for a predication is established that represents the crowds wisdom.

The majority of the current ‘stocks’ on iPredict deal with our upcoming election. Even if you don’t want to become a trader it does provide some interesting insight.

Research shows that Prediction Markets have a very high success rate and from an election point of view the reasoning for this is:

Prediction markets beat political polling for two reasons. First, they ask the right question. Pollsters ask who you will vote for. Prediction markets ask who is going to win. Second, prediction market traders put money where their mouths are, so it pays to do a little homework.

iPredict is owned by Victoria Link Ltd, itself wholly owned by Victoria University of Wellington, and the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation (ISCR), also in Wellington. Our primary purpose is academic research.

While iPredict allows traders to make money I have found it just as interesting to monitor the stocks without actually yet purchasing.

Check out the website for more information and to sign up if you are keen to trade!