Thursday, August 29, 2013

Adrian owner of Bondi Rumba has jus given me a free ticket for Fat Freddy's Drop concert tonight! 

He just made my day! 

As an act of thanking I will give him a free Digital Marketing Consulting session.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Circle of Safety - What every boss pretending to be a leader should know.

Bosses pretending to be leaders should watch this video!.

Has your boss really earned the Leadership position? or is it just "Authority" what she/he actions.

When people feel safe (have a circle of safety) they care about each other and collaborate. This caring, collaboration and work together exchanges create trust, innovation and success.

The role of a true leader is to create this circle of safety and sacrifice anything to protect it.

In the above video, Simon Sinek remind us how our four main chemicals that control all the feelings of happiness and joy, enable us to reward our activities to our best interests and how "true leaders" earned their position by activating the right "selfless" chemicals (no selfish ones); creating and defending their circle of safety around their teams.

Below a quick summary of what Simon talks about each of the chemicals:



  • Allow us to mask physical pain.
  • Give us the energy to achieve physical task with no pain.

  • Feeling we get when we accomplish a goal.
  • We get dopamine when we achieve what we set to achieve.
  • Dopamine make us focus to get to that goal.
  • Dopamine boost is generated when we reach that dream.
  • People love e-shopping because they get that feeling of finding what they were looking for.
  • Dopamine is highly addictive: Nicotine, alcohol, gambling, mobile phone.
  • Completion of Intense cravings for food release dopamine.
  • When people hit dollar based incentives at work they get dopamine releases.

  • Give us the feeling of pride and status
  • When you win something and get public recognition. We get serotonin.
  • It gives self-confidence.
  • Serotonin is attempting to reinforce behaviour that encourage co-operation, collaboration. 
  • I will sacrifize and do good things for you so you can continue to do good things for people.
  • it can get short-circuited: likes on Instagram and Facebook. but it is artificial as we did not do anything for anybody.
  • Conspicous displays of status might offer serotonin but it is fake burst as we did not do anything for anyone to get it. The serotonin feeling eventually runs out.
  • Serotonin is the chemical of leadership. Alphas get first choice of meat and made (special treatment) but it does not come free. Leaders will have to be willing to protect their people in times of danger as they are fitter and better fed than anyone else.
  • Leaders are the ones who are willing to sacrifize themselfs to protect their people and do not break the social contract.
  • That great feeling of love and trust.
  • Oxytocin is trying to get us to look after each other.
  • Physical contact produces oxytocin.
  • Business is about human relations and our willingness to trust someone we can trust our back and we are not going to get stab.
  • Acts of generosity releases oxytocin: spending time and energy with NO expectation on anything in return.
  • Givers, Recipients and witnesses of acts of generosity also can release oxytocin.
  • Oxytocin make us more generous. Make us nicer people.
and one last chemical Simon did not mention on this talk (but in others of his talks) that also help us...

  • The chemical of anxiety.
  • Help us be alert to imminent threat.
  • Make us hyper aware
Is your boss really building an environment where you feel safe so you can co-create, experiement and collaborate freely?

Would your boss really protect you and your team in case of imminent danger?


Monday, August 26, 2013


Why do we write books? In my case, it helps me to think. I would hardly know what I thought about something unless I had struggled to construct an argument and written it down. As I brought my seventh book to completion, a friend, Mark Alder, encouraged me to compile a list that gives some sense of what they are about and why I wrote them. (Incidentally, the bookplate on the left is by my grandmother, Florence Zerffi.) – Stratford Caldecott

The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision Behind The Lord of the Rings (Crossroad, 2005, 2011) 
Originally called Secret Fire when first published by DLT, the book was translated into several foreign language editions including Spanish, Italian, and Russian, and re-issued by Crossroad in an expanded edition in 2012. The Power of the Ring, unlike most other books published on Tolkien’s writing, explores the spiritual, theological, and philosophical meaning of the work – Tolkien’s faith, which was influenced by the Oratory of St Philip, his attempt to recover the spirit of England that had been almost lost in the two
World Wars, his theology of creation and the importance of the human imagination as a means of apprehending truth, as well as the spiritual aesthetics of virtue. In The Lord of the Rings and his other works Tolkien was creating a vehicle in which to transmit to future generations the “light” of a poetic knowledge that is fast dying out and in many places has been entirely forgotten, depriving us of a vital dimension of our humanity. This theme of “spiritual light” was taken up again in the book The Radiance of Being in 2013 (see below).

The Seven Sacraments: Entering the Mysteries of God (Crossroad, 2006) 
The first of two books on mystagogy (the sacramental mysteries of the Church), The Seven Sacraments looks at a range of important sevenfold structures in Scripture and Tradition (such as the seven virtues, the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, the seven days of creation, and the seven Last Words from the Cross), exploring significant correlations between them, and arguing that greater attention should be paid by biblical scholars to numerical symbolism in the inspired text as a whole. The book was intended to open up an approach to the Catholic faith based on a deeper appreciation of its organic unity and of the sacraments as a whole. I am delighted to say that a new, expanded edition is in preparation and should be published by the end of 2014.

Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education (Brazos, 2009) 
The first of two on the Seven Liberal Arts, Beauty for Truth’s Sake concentrates on the Quadrivium; that is, the four cosmological subjects on which classical learning once depended, both as preparation for the study of philosophy and theology, and as the basis of an education for intellectual and spiritual freedom. After looking at the classical and medieval tradition, the book traces the way our secular society developed, and the problems this has created in present-day higher education and the culture at large. It suggests ways in which the arts and sciences, faith and reason, religion and mathematics, could be put back together again, after a long period of estrangement that has created a civilization both deeply flawed and profoundly dangerous.

All Things Made New: The Mysteries of the World in Christ (Angelico Press/Sophia Perennis, 2011) 
A second book on mystagogy explores the mysteries of the Rosary and the Book of Revelation. While The Seven Sacraments had concentrated on examining patterns of 7, All Things Made New examines the use made of the numbers 12 and 4 by biblical and patristic writers – demonstrating once again the merits of reading Scripture and Tradition in the light of faith, with an eye to the underlying structure. The book includes reflections on cosmology and liturgy and a meditation on the Way of the Cross, while the appendices include a brief introduction to Jewish and Greek number symbolism (Gematria), a survey of different methods of biblical exegesis, and an article about the ideas of Dr Margaret Barker.

Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education (Angelico Press, 2012) 
The second of two on the Seven Liberal Arts, Beauty in the Word is about Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, re-interpreted in a way that enables them to be used as the framework for a renewal of the education system, especially at primary level. “Remembering”, “Thinking”, and “Communicating” become the foundations of a curriculum in which all school subjects can be taught in a more integrated manner. These basic human skills develop naturally out of an understanding of our nature as created in the image of God – created for self-gift in the image of the Trinity. The book also examines questions related to authority and ethos within the school. Like Beauty for Truth’s Sake, this book is being used as a text and for curriculum design by teachers and parents in Britain and the United States.

The Radiance of Being: Dimensions of Cosmic Christianity (Angelico Press, 2013)
Radiance of Being explores the meaning and implications of the divine Trinity as a basis for understanding the cosmos. In other words it starts where Beauty for Truth's Sake finishes. Beginning with the concept of “light” in modern science and cosmology, the book goes on to explore the relation of science to faith, and then the questions that arise from the differences between religions and the tensions between religious communities. The uniqueness of Christianity is shown to lie in the Incarnation and Trinity, but this does not justify aggressive polemics or religious violence. The book culminates in an appreciation of the Russian idea of “godmanhood” and divine Wisdom or Sophia.

Not As the World Gives: The Way of Creative Justice (Angelico Press, forthcoming) 
With a focus on the nuptial mystery at the heart of the universe, Not As the World Gives integrates the social teaching of the Church with the spirituality of the Sermon on the Mount. Beginning with Plato’s insights into the nature of Justice, the book explores the history of Christian charity and the meaning of mercy and the virtues, the threats posed to civilization by modern technology, the true nature of human freedom and of “good work”, the challenge of New Evangelization, the foundations of the Way of Beauty, and how to renew a Christian culture. The aim of the book is to show how the “radiance of being” can shine through, not just the natural, but also the social and cultural worlds.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Disco Pants Strategy for your Website

A few weeks ago I found some pretty cool green pants at Topmen store in Sydney. Some friends were playing around with the idea that I should also wear some flashy silver disco pants one day.

Well, according to Betabrand online retailer, their most popular product are this silver flashy Disco Pants their customers love!!.

Checking their website and and interview with the Betabrand founder, I filtered what I today called "The thee Disco Pants Strategy Wins" for your website:
  • Offer something that produce a cultural movement!
  • Let users really own a piece of your website ( read below how).
  • Believe that crazy odd thing sells and can sells millions!
ahh and dot put those dirty disco boots on top of my "Burning Man" leather seat.

The brand: Betabrand, Online Retailer, Clothing and apparel.

The Product: Disco pants.

The "Model citizen" product pages allow customers to be the centre piece of a product page. Instead of having one standard product page, Betabrand allows for thousands of multiple product pages curated by users. This results on people sharing and uploading far more content than traditional product pages.

"Why does there just have to be a single Disco Pants page? What if there were 1,000 Disco Pants pages, and each one was headlined by whoever uploaded the most recent photo? When our Model Citizens share that page with their friends and family, they’re the lead model on our site. What we did was create a hack that enabled people to insert themselves as image number one in the gallery, and then that unique URL was something they could share with their friends and family.". Chris Lindland, Betabrand founder.

Betabrand - Disco Pants Product page
The technical Specs

You are not into Disco Pants...
What about those awesome Banana pocket ones...


Why there is NO "DISLIKE" option on Facebook!

I do not know why! - Weekend coffee break -  Random thoughts

My Hypothesis:
  • Mark Zuckerberg parents did allow poor Mark to express "Dislikes"
  • Wrongly thinking that allowing for "Dislikes" will not create more Facebook connections and engagement.
  • Mark Zuckerberg massive fear to get "Dislikes" on his boring status updates.
  • "Dislike" in American culture is not acceptable.
Would you "Dislike" the couple above and "Like" the couple below? Or do we have to like everything shown up on Facebook feeds, status updates and comments?

Wake up Facebook! and get into the real world where we possibly comment equally on the things/people and activity that we do not really like in order to make it better or to avoid them.

Not having a "Dislike" option on Facebook status updates/posts is like always buying a Chilli that is not spicy! 

Facebook: Stop taking the spicy out! and get real!

and yes, we know there are some Firefox and Chrome extensions that allow you to add a 'Dislike" button but they come with adware and stuff that possibly you do not want.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Find out the benefits of Agile Methodology from a Scrum Master

Last month, I assisted Illawara Digital Conference where I attended and learn from some keynote speakers including Daniel Young from Ebay Australia and some others.

I also got in touch with Justin Urbanski who works as a Scrum Master using "Agile" Methodology for new product development. Justin kindly shares his view about Agile Methodology in Australia and its benefits below. 

Mauricio: Why are you so passionate about "Agile" Methodology?
Justin: On the train ride to the 2009 Agile Australia conference in Sydney I was reading "Agile Estimation and Planning" by Mike Cohn. On the train ride back I was writing my speech to management on why we need to go Agile. The conference is not the sole reason I am so passionate. When I first started reading about Agile it just made sense to me. In a way it was sort of how I liked to work anyway.

Justin Urbanski - Scrum Master - Australia

M: What does "Agile Methodology" mean and what are its key benefits compared with other project development methodologies?
J: Agile is an umbrella of methodologies. A team should choose which methodology is right for them. Agile differs from the traditional Waterfall method in that it promotes iterative development and self organising teams. Instead of doing 6 month software releases, in Scrum (one of the methodologies) we have 2 week sprints. At the end of each sprint the product is potentially shippable. Everyone can then inspect where the product is at, how the market is going, what the customers want and adapt every sprint. That's the difference and one of the key benefits. 
In Scrum cross functional teams work through tasks. The teams are also self organising. I used to be a project manager and assign tasks to individuals to ensure that the project completed on time. I don't have to do that anymore. The teams simply pick off the highest priority tasks and work on it within a sprint. The team members decide who works on what. It's hard to explain but because the teams are working in short sprints and they continually inspect and adapt and eventually they become high performing. The teams talk about how they can get better and better both technically and organisationally. Its not a manager telling individuals how to improve, its a team understanding how they can go faster. That's the benefit.

Agile Methodology Cycle

M: You are a Scrum Master. What are the benefits of having a scrum master in a project development team?
JYes I am a Scrum Master. A Scrum Master serves the team. The Scrum Master does everything he or she can to help the team and make them as productive as possible. Like a coach on a football team, the Scrum Master should observe the team and help them adapt.

Scrum Master Position within a Product Development team

M: Is there anything on "Agile Methodology' that we could use for digital marketing processes, ie: managing social media, improving Search campaigns, producing content, etc?
J: I don't see why not. You just need to determine which methodology would be best for your team. For example Kanban may be the way to go. It helps teams prioritise and limit work in progress. 
In Scrum you have a Product Owner. Their responsibility is to control the budget and vision. So they set what things should be worked on first to achieve greater return on investment. I don't see why you could not do that in the digital marketing space.

Kanban Methodology simplified 

M: For entrepreneurs, is there any risk of taking/using "Agile methodologies" in their product development processes?
J: No, and I believe it would be beneficial because you continually inspect and adapt. A great book to read is "Thelean startup" by Eric Ries

M: What are your top two project development management tools you would suggest for teams to track Agile projects (Jira?, others)
J: I am very familiar with Jira and it works well. I would suggest the Atlassian suite which includes Greenhopper and Confluence. Because they are both Atlassian products they integrate easily. Greenhopper is the Agile part and helps teams organise and plan sprints. Confluence is Atlassian's wiki. I love it because it enables teams to collaborate and document quickly.

Jira Dashboard - Example

M: Is there any specific products/services or even industries that tend to be better fit for 'Agile methodologies" why?
J: Agile is targeted for the software industry and I believe suits the development of any software product. Web based products tend to be the best fit because when you inspect and adapt each sprint there is something to show. Plus web based products tend to be more volatile and also easier to release each sprint.

M: What are Australian companies implementing best practises Agile metholodogies?
J: In Australia there are too many companies to list who is doing best practise. The thing is that every company is different. If you have the right people and the right coaches then hopefully those people are getting the most out of their Agile journey.

M: Is there anything Agile teams should avoid when using Agile Methodology?
J: Firstly avoid ScrumBut. If you do not Scrum properly then you will not get the most out of your teams. Secondly be patient. Your Agile transition is a journey. It takes years to get it right.  

M: Can someone use Agile methodology for everyday activities? how?
J: Yes there are people using it in schools and I have even used it at home. At home I setup a Kanban wall to help organise our family activities.

M: How we do compare with America on the adoption of Agile methodologies and what companies in Australian are taking the lead?
J: I don't know the stats or about America but Agile in Australia is thriving. In 2009 there was the first Agile Australia conference. We now have 5 or more Agile conferences per year in Australia. The leading companies are Thoughtwoks, SMS MT, Suncorp, and Atlassian just to name a few.

M: Where people can learn more about what you do? please send us your website, blog, twitter, etc.
J: The best way is to just contact me via email for any questions your readers may have. 

M: Anything cool or funny that you have experienced by working with Agile teams?
J: The coolest thing is watching a Scrum team grow into a high performing one. That's what I love about Agile. Its about the soft skills just as much as the technical skills. The soft skills allow teams to build the rapport that enables them to produce remarkable software.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

How we know

This is a golden age of scientific discovery. Nevertheless, the most basic things about ourselves remain a mystery. What is consciousness, for example? It is clearly correlated with processes happening in the brain, but that’s not what I mean. What is it, in the sense of what is it made of? It obviously isn’t made of matter or energy. Matter and energy are things we think about, things we are conscious of, but they are not what we are conscious with.

And how do we know what is true or false? Not because one neuron has triggered another. The reasons we give for our beliefs depend on logic and the laws of thought, not on what happens to be going on in our head. If another neuron had fired, it wouldn’t have changed the truth or falsity of the statement I have just made.

Catholic philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas have a theory of knowledge. In one way, it is quite close to modern empiricism. It says we base our knowledge on what the senses reveal to us. (Nihil in intellectu quod non fuit prius in sensu.) But it is what we do with what the senses give us that make it interesting. The Thomistic theory says that we subject it to a process of
“abstraction”. This means that we extract from it universal archetypes or “forms” – so, for example, in a certain red and fragrant confusion we discern the form of a rose. It is this form, combined with matter, that makes the rose a thing. The form is real, and without it neither our knowledge of the rose nor the rose itself would exist.

Like a house illuminated by natural light from the five windows of the senses, our soul receives information from outside. But how do we “process” this information? How do we arrive at the forms that enable us to identify what we see, the constants and universals that enable us to recognize a flower or a tree, a cat or a dog? The Thomistic philosophers, basing themselves on a controversial passage by Aristotle, are not much help. They say we abstract the form by the light of the active intellect, which is then received by the passive intellect. Knowledge happens in us when the passive intellect thus becomes identified or united with the thing known.

But there is no explanation of this “light” of the active intellect or how it works. The description I have given, based on what St Thomas says, is a series of metaphors. (He is obviously not speaking of natural “light.’) Why could the active intellect not be understood in more Platonic terms, as the forms themselves present in the memory of the soul? Then in order to recognize a rose or a tree all we would have to do is match what we have received through the senses to the imprint of the forms within ourselves.

The difficulty now lies in understanding the nature of this “memory of the soul,” which is not the same as our memory of what the senses perceive. But this is no more difficult than understanding the “light” of the active intellect. Nor does it mean that we perceive the forms directly – let alone God directly – in this life. In fact, our knowledge of these forms is obscure and confused, but that is enough to enable us to see an ordered world of distinct and distinctive creatures.

It may even be exactly the same thing that the scholastics are talking about—the light of the agent intellect. In the primordial contact with our Creator, when he breathes into us the breath of life, we acquire this source of light within ourselves. It is an image of the Son of God himself, who is the locus and synthesis and source of all forms, the archetype of archetypes. Thus to “know” anything in this world is to recognize in it some facet or glimmer of that primordial light, that supreme form, which one day we shall see face to face.

Being itself is radiant, is a kind of light. This light is love, the act of self-giving. It is the spark at the beginning of our existence, the point where our existence continually flows out of God in his creative act. We are from the beginning a form individuated by matter, preserving within our depths the luminosity of the idea in which God sees us and we shall see him. Writers in the Augustinian tradition sometimes call this spark the “eye of the soul” or of the heart, the apex mentis, the “cutting edge” of the soul, but it is simply the highest part of the intellect, and it is implicit in everything we know.

Photo by Rose-Marie Caldecott.