Monthly Archives: December 2013

33rd Birthday

33 years old, time just keeps marching on.

Claire, Hugo and Evie woke me up in the morning first thing to open some presents:

  • Diablo 3 for my computer
  • A few fresh pairs of sport socks
  • Armani Black Code perfume
  • George & Jude gave me $50 which I’ll add to my Dick Smith Christmas voucher

Ordinarily we’d have McDonalds for breakfast on my birthday, however this morning we delayed that and instead rolled with a standard breakfast instead.

Initially we’d planned to go ten pin bowling at the AMF at the Logon Hyperdome, however as timing would have it – not many family were able to join us so we postponed that for another day when more people can attend as its a lot more fun I think.

We still ventured up to the Hogs Breathe at the Logan Hyperdome for lunch and I munched through a delicious steak sandwich and added an egg for good measure. Andrew rode his motorbike up from Ipswich for lunch and the afternoon which was great.

When we returned back to Upper Coomera after lunch, Andrew and I visited the new Rippit radio controlled hobby shop in Helensvale. I’m really impressed with what the Rippit guys have done since opening their store, there are always people in the shop and they’ve now opened an indoor race track as well.

Later that afternoon Sterle, Lorraine and Jean came over for a cup of coffee and also sporting cream puffs. We enjoyed those and a freshly made chocolate cake that was decorated with a ring of M&M’s around the outside per the request of Hugo and Evie.

As a surprise Lorraine offered to babysit Hugo and Evie, so Claire and I could go to the movies and see the latest installment of The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug. I really enjoyed the movie, the special efforts for Smaug the dragon were absolutely fantastic, I think I could watch that whole section of the movie again just for that alone!

Thank you to everyone that called, SMS’d and messaged me on Google+ or facebook for my birthday as well. I received a swag of them through Google+ this time, many from people I’ve helped through the SEO Questions community – which was really nice.

Next up 34, look out!

Singing Frogs

Hugo was having a shower recently and I popped my head in to ask him to rinse the soap off as it was time to hop out and get dressed into his pajamas. When I came back to the bathroom a few minutes later to check if he was ready, I found him singing an improvised song repeatedly about “rinsing the soap off” and couldn’t resist but to capture it on video given he was wearing his frog shower cap!


Wotif GroupAfter over nine years with Mantra Group, today I resigned from my current position of Ecommerce Analyst and I accepted a new job offer at Wotif Group to head up their search engine optimisation team.

First impressions of Wotif Group are excellent, their recruitment process is very organised. First off the bat was a phone interview which was relatively brief and took about 10 minutes to cover off some basic requirement type questions. For both in person interviews, I received an email from their human resources department in a clearly structured format outlining address, dates, times, interview panel members and instructions once I arrived at the office all ahead of time.

The two interviews I had were great, first was a technical based interview which lasted for about 90 minutes and went very well – I could have kept discussing search engine marketing with Joe for another hour. Second interview with the executive general manager of the department was about 75 minutes in duration and also went very well, easy interview format that felt more like a two way discussion than a one way flood of questions.

I love that the Wotif Group office has LCD screens throughout the office with real-time key performance indicators about how the company is performing today, this week, this month and so forth. While a subtle thing, it indicates that they are measurement based which I think is critical in today’s ultra competitive online environment and that they want everyone in the business to be ever mindful of what they can do to help meet the companies goals.

Exciting times ahead, can’t wait to get started on 6th January 2014!


A couple of months ago, I was talking to a squash player named Karen for an hour or more about her life. I know what you’re thinking, me talking to someone – strange and unusual behaviour.

After talking to Karen that evening, I was completely inspired by the stories she was telling me about her childhood and what she has done in her lifetime. Originally from the Solomon Islands, she was an orphan, became the United Nations representative for the Solomon Islands, moved to Australia, started a law firm, later in life became a lawyer, has an amazing array of commercial and residential property to her name and much more.

With all of the incredible things she has done in her life and amazing success, I asked her if she thought she could do it all over again if given the opportunity and her answer was no.

Puzzled by that response, given the success she has achieved in her life, I asked her why and she felt it wasn’t possible as a lot of her success has come from opportunities and good fortune. Karen said that in her life, every time an opportunity has presented itself – she has gone after it with full force, never leaving anything on the table.

That got me thinking more about my life and the opportunities that I’ve never acted on. I’ve been asked to speak at Australia’s biggest internet marketing conference twice and never done anything about, have been asked to apply for jobs with two separate international airlines, a large Australian based retailer, internet marketing agencies and each time I’ve never done anything about it.

In hindsight, I think I wasn’t acting on it because I was happy in my job at Mantra Group and probably scared about the prospect of change. I’d been at Mantra Group for more than seven years by the time the above started happening regularly and the prospect of leaving a great employer and a familiar work place behind was daunting.

After speaking with Karen, I said to myself that if another opportunity presented itself, that I was going to do something about it – whatever that something might be. This seemingly small change has already lead me to speak at my first conference on search engine marketing and more recently apply for a new job.

Opportunity is about a particular set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Opportunity without action or participation is an opportunity gone begging which might not present itself again in the same format or at all.

Take them when you can.


Public Speaking

A few months ago I was asked to present at the Online Retailer Roadshow in Brisbane, which is a single day conference organised by Reed Exhibitions covering a broad array of topics associated to online marketing.

Historically, I’ve found a lot of one day conferences to not have enough depth in them or they aren’t able to attract the really great speakers but I was completely impressed by the line up for the conference & was in the esteemed company from people like:

  • Kieran O’Hea
    Chief Digital Officer – Brisbane City
  • Faye Ilhan
    Head of Online – Dan Murphy’s
  • Joshua McNicol
    Head of Marketing – Temple & Webster
  • Steve Tosh
    Director Omni-Channel – Dick Smith

My presentation was on unbeatable SEO tips or search engine optimisation for the uninitiated, ie how to make my website have great visibility in Google. 

Since the conference was about online retailing, I decided that I’d cover off a raft of foundation items, technical problems that aren’t handled well in ecommerce websites, tips on building links to their websites, outpacing their competition with great content and maximising the effect that social media can have on a site – which while not a ranking factor for Google, correlates well with rankings due to the fact that great exposure/awareness for a website generally leads to things that do affect rankings taking place such as links.

After getting the majority of my presentation organised, I gave myself a practice run through in the boardroom at work and despite the fact that the boardroom was empty – I felt really nervous for some reason. After I got going, everything began to fall into place and I worked my way through the content without a great deal of effort.

During the run through, I thought I was going fast – spending a limited amount of time on each of the slides and topics but despite that I was way over my 30 minute time allotment – so I cut slides out of the presentation.

It turns out that I should have cut even more slides out of the presentation as even with the reduced content and me still feeling as though I was tearing through the topics – I went over the time limit at the event as well but the organisers gave me a few more minutes which was great.

It’s difficult to find the balance of going too advanced or diving deep into a topic and not providing enough detail for the audience. I know from conferences I’ve attended that nothing frustrates me more than a presentation that I don’t learn something from – so I tried to avoid that with my content by focusing on items that could genuinely improve their online business if they took action to address the problems.

For my first public speaking engagement with an audience of over 100 people, I feel it went really well. There were a lot of people taking notes and photos of my slides while I was presenting, so I think that is an indication that they were finding value in what I was speaking about.

Now that my first one is out of the road, I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for more opportunities – it is a lot of effort but it’s good fun and you get to meet other business owners and professionals which I really enjoy.