Category Archives: Work

Parking Infringement Notice

Today I parked in Macintosh Street in Auchenflower and walked to work. I’ve parked in that street in nearly the same position more than a dozen times in the last few weeks without any issue.

When returning to my car this afternoon, I find that I’ve received a parking infringement notice. Initially I thought it was an actual parking ticket but after reading it later I find out that it is a warning and not an actual penalty notice! Who knew that parking inspectors could issue a warning – amazing!

Brisbane City Council - Parking Infringement Warning Notice

First and foremost, I am totally impressed that the parking officer didn’t take the opportunity to penalise me – clearly I was doing something wrong but instead he/she chose to give me a warning – so impressed.

The offence listed on the ticket says:

Contrary to official traffic sign parking for a period longer than permitted maximum

That didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I’ve never noticed a parking sign in the area.

Wotif head office is located in Milton, not far down from Suncorp Stadium. In a lot of residential streets in the area there are signs up stating that ‘resident permits expected’. From speaking with people at work, I understand those signs have to do with encouraging people to take public transport (included in the ticket price for Suncorp Stadium) to avoid thousands of cars descending into the local area when an event is on.

I assumed I must have been warned for parking in one of those areas, which I thought was completely unreasonable since in a street about 100m long there would have been 10 cars parked on each side of the road – some of which could have belonged to the owners of the associated houses.

To check what might be going on I turned to Google Street View and you won’t believe it, but right beside where I park my car there is a street sign which I presume says maximum parking duration two hours. In the Google Street View photo the top of the sign itself is obscured by branches/leaves of a nearby tree – maybe that is why I didn’t notice it or I could simply be blind.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to drive past the area and check if that sign is still there or what the official parking requirements are for Macintosh Street. Whatever the case, I’m grateful to the parking inspector that they gave me a warning instead of just penalising me given that I was parking, albeit incorrectly, in what is otherwise an empty street not annoying anyone.

Hugo Helped Wotif

Claire, Hugo, Evie and I are sitting down at the table eating dinner when a discussion takes place that goes a little something like:

Hugo: What did you do at work today Dad?
Al: I was trying to fix a website today mate, it was broken.
Hugo: Ohh, okay.

A few minutes lapses.

Hugo: Dad, I know what is wrong with the websites!
Al: Really, what is wrong with them?
Hugo: Did you check that the power is plugged in and turned on?
Al: No, I didn’t think of that – I’ll tell my boss Shaden about it tomorrow.

A few minutes lapses.

Hugo: I’ll write your boss Shaden a letter so she doesn’t forget.

Hugo's letter to Shaden

Later that week I was on the phone to Shaden and I though she’d enjoy getting a glimpse into the mind of a five year old boy, so I scanned and emailed it to her the next day. Shaden thought it was super cute and so did a few of her collegues in Sydney.

I told Shaden that if she wanted to make Hugo’s day, that she should write and post a letter back to Hugo. Hugo loves keeping special little things and I knew that he’d think this was the best thing since sliced bread and it’d go straight to the pool room.

The following week I kept an eye out in the post for a letter from Shaden and it arrived, however instead of a plain old letter – it was a small parcel in a bubble wrapped postage bag which contained:

  • a letter
  • a pair of Wotif sunglasses
  • a small bottle of Wotif SPF30+ sunscreen

Shaden's reply to Hugo's letter

It’s a small thing but I love that Shaden took a couple minutes out of her day to reply to Hugo, he absolutely loved it. What I think might be even more awesome is that she signed it off with “Daddy’s Boss” which I mentioned to Shaden on the phone because that is how Hugo and Evie often refer to Shaden.

As a thank you, I sent Shaden a photo of Hugo sporting his new gear:

Hugo Wearing Wotif Sunglasses

Pretty sure I have one of the most awesome bosses in the world.


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!

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.

Mantra Group Wins Circle on Cavill Trade Mark Court Case

Mantra Group have been involved in a Federal Court case since September 2009 which involved the company taking action against Stephen Andrew Grant and Tailly Pty Ltd who were allegedly breaching the trade marks owned by Mantra Group for the popular Circle on Cavill building located in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

Mantra Group own the management rights to Circle on Cavill, which provides them exclusive access to the onsite letting business. While the management rights provides Mantra Group exclusive onsite letting, it does not prohibit an individual owner from renting their apartment on a short, long or permanent basis.

The accommodation business that Tailly were operating relied on individual owners providing their apartment to Tailly to manage for them or Tailly renting the apartment from a real estate agent and subsequently sub-letting the apartment to consumers. Tailly marketed, advertised and sold the private apartments using various names that were derivatives of the Circle on Cavill trade mark owned by Mantra Group.

Mantra Group claimed that the third parties in question, were deliberately infringing on the companies trade marks and set up elaborate networks of web sites specifically built, promoted and advertised to mislead and deceive consumers in an attempt to source bookings for the Tailly accommodation business.

On Friday 26th March, the Federal Court of Australia handed down a landmark judgement which relates to web sites misusing a companies trade marks. The court found that Stephen Andrew Grant and Tailly Pty Ltd had been infringing Mantra Group trade marks by owning domain names, which were identical or deceptively similar to the Circle on Cavill trade marks and by setting up web sites on those domain names to offer a service in the same category that the trade marks where registered in, was a clear violation.

John Swinson of Mallesons Stephen Jaques has provided a detailed synopsis of the ruling and its implications within the hotel and accommodation industry titled Federal Court decision enforces trade marks over internet marketing of strata-titled property.