To Challenge Authority

Our job is to monitor the centres of power. I think that, in the end, is the best definition of journalism I have heard: to challenge authority – all authority – especially so when governments and politicians take us to war, when they have decided that they will kill and others will die.

– Robert Fisk, The Great War For Civilisation

Telstra and Fake Stephen Conroy – Dealing With Mavericks

“’Have we made it impossible for bright rising stars and maverick go-getters to live within our organisation?’ When we become too preoccupied with policy, procedure, and the fine-tuning of conformity to organizational standards, in effect, we have squeezed out some of our most gifted people.” – Hans Finzel, “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make”
(via The Practice Of Leadership)

Telstra’s ongoing failure to realize what a gift Leslie Nassar is for them boggles my mind.

But not really. I’ve had first hand experience with how poorly large organizations in Australia handle mavericks.

When I left Microsoft in 2004, it was partly a result of my blogging and slightly critical comments I made about Microsoft in a blog post. Like Telstra, Microsoft’s local management at the time felt it was unconscionable for an employee to say something negative about the company in public. And I wasn’t even saying something negative about their products, in fact it was the opposite. I said the products were great but the marketing didn’t reflect that. Which, let’s face it, wasn’t the world’s best kept secret. Everyone knew that then, as now, companies like Apple and IBM were stomping all over Microsoft’s marketing. I was just speaking what I felt was the truth. That, apparently, wasn’t one of Microsoft “core values”. Anyway, things got nasty, and I resigned.

Now – I’m not saying I’m the world’s smartest bloke, but I think in the five years since I’ve left Microsoft, I’ve demonstrated that I can do a thing or two. I think I have some potential. Could Microsoft have used that potential? Could they have embraced and extended my maverickness for their own benefit? Perhaps.

I think the same thing when I read what’s going on with Leslie at Telstra. He’s obviously demonstrated that he’s a clever and creative personality. He’s generated lots of press even before he was outed. Surely a smart company (and a smart manager) would be thinking “Let’s figure out how to use someone like this to our advantage”, and not “let’s crush him if he doesn’t fall into line”. I’ve met his big boss, Telstra’s CTO, Hugh Bradlow, a few times over the years. I’ve even done a few podcasts with him over the last year. He’s obviously a very smart guy.

But let’s be honest – Telstra has brand problems. Stop ten people at random in the street and ask them what they think about Telstra and what do you think you’ll hear? Good reports or bad reports? Surely this is a company that could benefit from someone who is smart, sassy, funny and cheeky.

Don’t fire Leslie – give him his own show on Telstra Media. Turn him into the new John Clarke.

If I had the funds, or if I was running Optus, I’d hire him in a heartbeat.

Then again, if they fire him they might be doing him a favour. It’ll give him a chance to land at a company that values people with original ideas.

UPDATE (1.45pm 26 March): Leslie sets the record straight and tells Hugh Bradlow to go fuck himself.

GDay World 367 – Jeffrey Katzenberg


On today’s show I get to chat with one of the most powerful men in Hollywood – Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation – about their new film MONSTERS V ALIENS and the introduction of their new 3D technology. I also chat with the director of the film, Conrad Vernon.

It’s About Time The Education System Woke Up

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Children will no longer have to study the Victorians or the second world war under proposals to overhaul the primary school curriculum, the Guardian has learned.

However, the draft plans will require children to master Twitter and Wikipedia and give teachers far more freedom to decide what youngsters should be concentrating on in classes.

I hope this goes through in the UK and that it inspires the various state education departments in Australia lift their game. I’m still horrified at how little integration there is in my kids’ classroom with the net. At home they LIVE on the web, research on it, watching videos, play games, talk to their family and friends. At school, they get MINUTES on the web over the course of an entire week. It’s a joke.

A great podcast by Ian Kath

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Your Story Ep 32 : Andrew. Trash Video, Film Making and Filipino Search for Wang Wang.

Wang Wang 1
My mate Ian Kath (@iankath) who joined me on last week’s live podcast, does his own terrific podcast “Your Story”. I listened to his most recent episode where he interview Andrew Leavold, owner of Brisbane’s infamous “Trash Video”. It’s a terrific story about a guy with a passion for obscure films who realizes his dream to own a boutique video store but it’s more than that. Andrew also is making a documentary about forgotten Filipino “midget-xploitation” film star “Weng Weng”. You have to check out the clips on Ian’s site to realize how brilliant this guy was. An 84cm-tall action film star who made James Bond spoofs – as the James Bond character. And listen to Andrew’s story, it’s one of the most entertaining podcasts I’ve heard in ages.

Particles Have “Free Will”?

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The gist of it is this: They say they have proved that if humans have free will, then elementary particles — like atoms and electrons — possess free will as well.
Princeton mathematician John Conway (best known in geek circles for his “Game Of Life“) and his colleague Princeton mathematician Simon Kochen, are apparently about to give a series of lectures in which they intend to demonstrate that elementary particles have “free will”. However the advance press is quoting them as saying that these particles have free will “if humans have free will”, which, of course, I have demonstrated many times that we DO NOT.

I’ll have to invite Conway onto the show to debate this in more detail. He and Kochen are obviously super-smart guys, so I look forward to seeing what evidence they have that humans have free will, let alone elementary particles.

17 Catholic Priests In One Diocese Accused Of Sexual Molestation!

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Oswald was the 17th priest in the Santa Rosa diocese to have been accused of sexual molestation, church officials have said. The church has acknowledged paying nearly $25 million to an undisclosed number of people who asserted they were molested by at least six priests. Most victims were preteen boys when the incidents were alleged to have occurred.

The Roman Catholic Diocese in Santa Rosa, California, has agreed to pay out another $1.3 million to settle another two sexual abuse lawsuits. The most shocking paragraph in this story, however, is the one above. SEVENTEEN PRIESTS IN THE ONE DIOCESE HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MOLESTATION???!!

Tell me why the authorities haven’t stepped in and SHUT THE PLACE DOWN? That is what you call ENDEMIC. Something is broken. Of course, I argue that the Catholic Church is broken, full stop. It needs to be held to account for its crimes, just like an Enron or an AIG.

John Pilger on “The News” and the US Agenda

Watch this video from Australian journalist John Pilger if you’re at all interested in where our modern “news” organisations came from, why they can’t be trusted, and how they support the agenda of the elite, both Republican and Democrat, Liberal and Labor. This is one of the most inspiring speeches I have heard in a long, long time.

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