Archive for March 16th, 2007

Brisbane- Country town posing as metroplis

Imagine a road network in a very hilly area, (eg West Vancouver plus Alberta foothills times ten).  Build all your major roads/arteries only running along ridges. Then if you turn right or left, you must plunge downhill. Build all your housing in West Van circular one way-in style.  Also it ruins the game if you put up any decent road signs.  I got lost regularly 1/2 block after leaving the house.

 If the local rugby team ( similar rabid fans as the Canucks) have a  game in their small 50 000 person stadium, the entire town is gridlocked in and out for 4-5 hrs prior to kickoff.   They neglected to build any way around the major stadiums. It’s based on the national Aussie practise of making sure all traffic passes through the town before getting back on their version of an expressway. You want to extract the full dollar value from every traveller through.

What is an expressway? Beats me. they look like local roads where you travel 120 Km.  Entrance ramps look like short driveways into a suburban house lot. Couple that with drive -through liquor stores 24/7 and its a bit dicey to drive!  But all the restaurants outside of big centers are done by 8 PM.  Its like Victoria 20 years ago!

Its still a really good town to do business. I got full roi on this trip on my second day.

Impressions after 10 days in Australia- Golden opportunity

A quick post to put down first thoughts after some Brisbane meetings and general travel around Queensland.  This is a land of opportunity for Cdn Software developers.  Australians (natives) tend to be lazy with some exceptions. So they will likely prefer to buy than build their own products.  That being said, they go to extraordinary lengths to maximize/protect their local ownership and revenue streams.  Eg if we had cell phone plans like what is here, Telus would look like a bargain plus Rogers would be known for its exceptional customer service.  Yes it is that bad. 

They talk about customer service, but would not know good service if it hit them in the face.  Here is an example of, even though we all speak English, words do not mean the same in both  countries. I have found success through using stories to illustrate points, so I ensure we are talking about the same thing. 

 I found Aussie tourists outside of Oz have a really bad time with customs and immigration /police. It may reflect a tendency to cut corners if they can.  Literally if a branch falls on the road, they will drive around it all day of they could, or over it.  No one will stop to kick it out of the way if they can get around it.

 Businesses often have some very capable people in the lead role, but they are spread thin, with a dramatic drop in competence as you go down the ranks.  Their northern mining industry is booming,  paying exorbitant salaries to all. This affects the Metro regions. Lack of building trades is endemeic- if you have a trade you can make it big here. Nurses and Docs and technicians are in short supply.  Their practises overall range from 5- 10 years behind the times.   Yet their pay is very high.  Waiters start at $20 per hr (no tipping)

Marketing here is blatant, loud and bazaar “barker” style.  TV selling is a joke.  “Marketing Manager wanted” really means “salesman wanted” . Marketing here is behind the times but so is  professional salesmanship.

 I also learned that I am a skier, not a surfer after a day at Surfers Paradise. It reminded me why I was unsuccessful at snowboarding. Aussies are famous for “understatement”.   “Oh,  its just a little bit of wave today, nothing much” is the equal of,  “You’re not scared of a little deathly venomous snake on the path over there are you?”

A little bit of wave started with 8 foot waves or better followed immediately by ” yah it built up a bit more than we expected, but it was brilliant wasn’t it?  Too bad you took in so much water when that rip tide caught you, bit of a nasty bump from the board on your head, but it was a brilliant day , what?”

If you are thinking about partnering with an Aussie firm, it appears that their customers are more willing to pay to attend a “sales seminar” than we would. Also they do not understand the concept of “trial” or “pilot projects”.  If you are trying to rep an Aussie product in the US/Canada, this  misunderstanding wrto “pilots’, “try before you buy” or “money back guarantee”, will cause issues.  They are still at- “if I say that it works, you will likely buy. “

 More after I repair my injury with their cheaper than water beer.  Oh and they make way better coffees than Starbucks and Artigiano…its wonderful.  The lingo takes some getting used to like “albino chino” = cappuchino without chocolate sprinkles