I've been so excited by this story since yesterday I just had to share. Yesterday Danny told me that one of our developers, Simon, had launched a game on the iTunes app store. I was interested but to be honest, at least initially, more polite than excited. That was until Simon introduced me to "Nutty Bugs", and then I was blown away. I am not easily impressed, but it's not an overstatement to say that I was stunned. Stunned, not just because I had no idea about the project, but because what they have created is so complete and professional. In six months they have not only developed a game, they've started a company, they've integrated it into Facebook, in fact they even needed to learn how to program the damn iPhone. Seriously, I can't see any difference between this game and those launched by much bigger organisations. It's impressive, the game play is great, it's good fun, maybe even a little addictive.

That isn't however the part that excites me

What excites me is the entrepreneurial spirit these guys have. I loved getting this skype message from Simon as orders rolled in a little faster after I tweeted "my heart is pounding with excitment!! thank you!!" In Gary Veynerchuks book Crush It, he talks passionately about the fact that if you want something bad enough you have to Crush It!. You have to throw yourself at something, you have to work through the night while your friends sleep. You have to commit your personal time to your passion constantly. Then you have to get up and go to work so you can pay the bills until your successful. In my opinion, not many people have the heart and stamina to do that but ... Simon and his partner have done exactly that. Launching however is just past the starting line, getting noticed will be as hard. When they get there, their success will be completely deserved. I'm of mixed emotions, I know that if this takes off a great developer will probably leave us, but I would never want to deny someone the excitement of chasing their passion. Well done guys, you have my every support, and I trust success will be with you soon.
I just had a wonderful evening with CEOs from some of New Zealand's best companies. The group was brought together by Better By Design to visit some of the USA's best Design-led and Innovative companies. It's going to be an amazing week, challenging I am sure, but an interesting thing happened tonight: if you like, a small distinction became clear to me. There I was talking to Diego Rodriguez a partner at Ideo, a brilliant design company, and Perry Klebahn a consulting associate professor at Stanford Design School, two great people who were truly gracious in the knowledge they shared. To be honest, I was little in awe, I wanted to launch into the Queensberry story, to sell what we do and why what we do matters, but I got stuck. The first reason was, my normal story is an IT-led one, and I was in Google, Facebook and Apple territory so that was going to be hard to get anyone excited about us. The main reason however was I don't really care about that anymore. Sure IT is an enabler, but it comes at what we do from the wrong direction. We make tens of thousands of albums a year, all in New Zealand and every single one different. Not a little different, completely different. Like this one by Johannes van Kan of Virginia and Richard's wedding in Barcelona. This was a truly special event, set in a beautiful church and the story carefully captured and presented by a very talented photographer.

So why don't I care about the technology any more?

Well of course I still do. It's an enabler, but what I care about more is the fact that, unlike the people we met at a printing exhibition last week, we aren't bragging about having taken all the people out of the manufacturing process. In fact we celebrate the fact that people are crucial to the process. Have a look at this video, and listen to the talk about it on blogs and around twitter, and you realise that there is a yearning in people for 'things that are special', items 'made for them' and for objects 'made with love'. We do this - this is Queensberry - and I am incredibly proud of it. We make albums for royalty, celebrities and the not so famous. And in that moment when we make your album, it is the only one that matters to us.

And why am I scared?

I'm scared for two reasons. It's easy to get caught up in the technology, and I must admit I am one of the worst. I love my iPhone 4, and in fact right now it looks like Apple threw up on my desk. I love sharing and I love watching my friends and family through Facebook when I can't be with them. But I am also scared because in our desire to share, I think we forget to 'remember'. Throwing images on Facebook is great, but if history is any guide it is unlikely that Facebook will be around when our children or grandchildren are wondering where they came from. I don't really care if it's an album you store them in, but people need to take more care of how they bring these images through the different changes in technology. I'm even more concerned that people start to highlight what's precious. A DVD of images is great, but how does anyone know which people and memories are most important? Your wedding day is precious, it's a carefully staged and choreographed event. Everything is perfect, but sadly with too many people their memories fade as quickly as the flowers, because they don't care about the photography until it's too late. We're ok! Fortunately Queensberry is ok, we have a strong brand and our core message is simple, and heard by the people who get us. We are storytailors, it's not our job so much to tell you how to tell your story, as to help you tell it the way you want it to be.

Every so often I come across a project that speaks to my interest in celebratining human interaction, story telling and technology. This one certainly does that. You too will see why I feel curious about how the world is feeling right now and how long it will be before you are curious too?

Once you've watched the movie, go and play at, it's fascinating.

Thanks to Justine for

It's funny, we must have been on the same wave length tonight. I saw Justin's

about this TED video, excitedly I wrote this post and then found he'd done the same. I think that perfectly sums up exactly how powerful an idea this is. Enjoy.

Empathy is good but it needs to be considered Wikipedia describes Empathy as the capability to share and understand another's emotions and feelings, and is characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes". This connection to others is both an honorable and natural feeling, but can also often drive us to do something that, is the completely wrong thing to do. Since joining the Fire Service I've seen many situations where peoples empathy for another has not only caused them to be unable to render help, but on occasions has actually put everyone in danger. In a blog post the other day Seth Godin talked about empathy and asked marketers to not assume they know how people are feeling emotionally. His logic was that unless you had had the same experience, how could you know how a person was feeling and that it was therefore dangerous to pretend you do. I agree with this, but in a stressful, high anxiety situation, peoples imagination and emotions can run away on them if the environment is not managed and if people do not control their own state. As we grow, we develop a strong natural empathetic response. It's that feeling that makes us want to rush over and help someone we see struggling, or aid someone in pain.

The problem is, if we get caught up in that emotion - we actually lose the ability to help.

What I've discovered, partly through training and partly through observation is that there is a space (a period of time) between the stimulus (what happened) and your response to it. For some people that time doesn't seem to exist and they react so quickly, so the challenge is to take a deep breath and take as long as needed to respond appropriately.

'Feel' but don't get caught up

It's important to have empathy and show compassion, but you can't get caught up in the emotion of the situation. You help best when you are totally present and strong.

What's your role

Be clear, "what's my role in this situation", and respond appropriately. At the scene of a car accident it would be a natural instinct to want to help a crying child first and remove them from the situation and give comfort. But to remain effective we must control those feelings, and do what is right. To solve an emotional situation effectively there should be a process that works best

The same situation we see on the Fire Ground exist in normal life.

To be effective in our jobs, our businesses, and our families, we need to learn to have empathy without over reaction, this allows us to assess and then act in the most effective manner. If not the situation becomes overwhelming and we lose both our clarity of thought and the creativity required to solve the problem at hand.

Empathy can become an addiction

It feels good to be connected emotionally to people, but it is not always best to be like that. Build a strong emotional muscle to help guide your response as It's a lot easier to assess and react to a situation by looking in 'at it' rather than when you are 'too close'. In business we're required to make big decisions in stressful environments, think strategically under pressure and set an example for our employees. Don't go running into any burning building without taking a minute to control your frame of mind. Cheers, Stephen.
Derek Sivers did a talk at TED about this crazy dancing guy and what we can learn from him in terms of leadership, and more importantly about the importance of the first few followers. "If you want a movement, a leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous". What you really need however is the first few followers, you need to nurture these people as they indicate to the masses that following is ok. Because they help to establish momentum, we need to love and embrace our followers as equals. In the video watch a movement happen in under 3 minutes as Derek dissects some lessons ... BTW This video was shared by the very inspiring Brian Johnson of Philosophers Notes fame. I would thoroughly recommend them for those interested in this sort of thing