Archive for the 'Storytelling' Category

Wanted – used car for $8,516.58

Keith February 13th, 2008

I want to buy a second-hand car, and I am posting this to see if anybody out there has a suitable one for sale, or knows of one.  What I am looking for is a small to medium-sized hatch-back.  A Toyota Corolla is one good example of what I would be happy with.  Ideally, it should be no older than a 2000-2001 model, but I would prefer a low-mileage car.  Less than 60,000 km on the clock would be great.  Not too fussed about the colour – preferably not black or too dark.  A car that is available in Melbourne (Australia) is preferred.  And here’s the main point – I want to spend no more than $8,516.58 (AUD).

We recently lost our second car (the one I used for commuting) when it was written off in an accident on the Lorne-Deans Marsh Road in Victoria here on 29 December last year.  We had loaned it to my daughter and a friend, who were on their way to the Falls Festival.  Some vehicles in front of them stopped rather abruptly, and they didn’t stop in time.  The good news is that no-one was badly injured – although they did collect some interesting bruises.

I am taking the approach of posting this request here, as well as circulating it via LinkedIn and Facebook, just to see how social media and my network may be able to assist with this situation.

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Anecdote workshop schedule for 2008

Keith February 11th, 2008

Anecdote has released its workshop schedule for 2008. Check out the full schedule. The next workshop in Melbourne is Narrative Techniques for Business on Wednesday, 27 February.

About Narrative Techniques for Business

Surveys and metrics can uncover trouble in an organisation, but they usually don’t help you identify the reasons for dysfunctions, let alone generate the resolve to springboard people into action.  Instead, learn to use stories as listening posts and tap into the emotion to spark action. In the Narrative Techniques for Business workshop you will learn:

• How to find and collect stories
• How to make sense of the stories, and then
• How to design interventions that improve how things work

Participants practice each step in the process with one another and receive feedback that improves their understanding and ability to work with organisational stories.


The cost for a one-day workshops is $495 (early bird discounts apply, see website for details).

Life, the universe and…

Keith October 11th, 2007

“Hey, did you hear the joke about the Zen master who ordered a hot dog?”
“He said, ’Make me one with everything.’”
    – Cris Johnson, Next

Ad astra per alia porci

Keith October 4th, 2007

How’s your Latin?  I have just read that this was a favourite saying of John Steinbeck.  Apparently all of his books carry this insignia.  Although I have read a Steinbeck or two, I don’t remember noticing this.

A  clue – apparently a professor once told Steinbeck that he would “be an author when pigs flew”.

Mythical Creatures

Keith October 1st, 2007

They come in the night. 

The only way that you know they have been is when you come into the office the next day, and notice that things on your desk are just not quite where you left them.  The phone headset is dangling off the edge of the desk.  The paperweight has been moved.  The puzzle ball has had a piece knocked out, and you have to remember how to put it back together again.  Nothing ever seems to be stolen, or actually broken – yet.

Some have a theory that the visitors are real people – that they are cleaners.  There is no evidence to prove this theory.  Things are no cleaner.  Like other items on the desktop, any visible dirt has just been rearranged, not removed.

No-one has ever seen one of these mythical creatures.  All we have is the evidence that they have visited in the night, and departed, leaving only the enigmatic evidence of their passing…

The two things wrong with the world

Keith July 23rd, 2007

A highlight from KM Aus – Michel Bauwens on “Peer to Peer – the new paridigm for social innovation” (my paraphrase):

“There are only two things wrong with the world today. We treat nature as if it was infinite; and we limit the immaterial world by imposing artificial scarcities (such as copyrights). Let’s swap this around. Let’s swap material accumulation for intellectual and artistic accumulation.”

See more on Michel’s site.

Nothing is what it seems

Keith March 15th, 2007

“Everything you have seen here has been an illusion.”
 - Eisenheim 2007

“If the main theme throughout my writing is, ‘Can we consider the universe real, and if so, in what way?’ my secondary theme would be, ‘Are we all humans?’”
 - Philip K. Dick 1957

Telling stories

Keith January 17th, 2007

The original title at the top of this blog was: “It’d take a lot of it to make a man laugh.”  Why?  Of course, there is a story behind it… 

I heard it from my father many years ago, when I was a child, living on a sheep station near the town of Birregurra in western Victoria.  He relayed this story from his boss – Charlie, the property owner - who was a participant.

It was 15 August 1945.  Everyone in the town was celebrating V-J day – victory over Japan, and the end of World War II.  People were driving up and down the main street, making lots of noise.  Most likely a fair amount of alcohol was also being consumed! A man named Mark Ward, in the transport business, was riding on the bonnet of one of his own trucks.  The driver stopped suddenly, catapulting his passenger forward.  As he slid forward, one leg caught on the front bumper of the car, resulting in a very nasty compound fracture.

When visiting him in hospital later, Charlie commented to Mark, “God, it must have hurt!”  Mark replied, “Well, it would take a bloody lot of it to make a man laugh!”  

This has always seemed to me to be a quintessential example of Australian humour.  Our traditional humour is black, self-deprecating and sarcastic.  Maybe this has been shaped by the harshness of our environment or by the convict origin of European Australia just over 200 years ago.  It is a strong part of our culture.  This is a country where our most holy national holiday (ANZAC Day) is a celebration of a famous military defeat (at Gallipoli).

Stories can convey so much information, often in a few words.  In this example, a brief narrative can say so much more about culture than reams of written analysis.

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