Category Archives: Philanthropy

The death of contracting as we know it

Here’s a prediction for you… the number of opportunities for contractors will significantly reduce by the end of the decade and will be replaced by a radical new model for managing fluctuations in the demand for staff.

Don’t get me wrong. Clients will still need to use temporary staff to manage the growth, ebb and flow of their organisation’s staffing needs. However, and we’re already seeing it, clients are now making some extra demands that, to be frank, will seem impossible to meet using the old school staff augmentation/body shopping models.

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Filed under Business, Everything else, Philanthropy, The Different Company, Uncategorized

Chanting naked in the bush… err, maybe not

Stop. Take stock. Move forward.

How long has it been since you stopped and took a couple of deep breaths, pondered your navel, and performed a stock-take on life? Can you still locate your navel? See anything below it?

I know I haven’t done such a stock-take for more than a decade and, I’m sure, probably far longer. If you take a look at my work history (http://au.linkedin.com/in/marktipping) you’ll see I’ve been self-employed, either as a contractor or a business owner, for basically the past 18 years. And that’s been a whole heap of work.

Like many, I’ve ridden the feast vs famine tides. I’ve lived a life that, on reflection, was far more in tactical mode than strategic – get the next contract, find someone to deliver an outcome, keep paying the bills, and try to steal a few days here and there to call a holiday. All the while knowing there was so much more to do and so little spare capacity to deliver it.

Heck, I planned to take six months off in 2001 after my first daughter was born, but my good mate Stocko had me at a seminar on the Gold Coast the day I left work – only to then spend the next six months, not with my new daughter, but working on creating a new business. Then factor in my life’s other noises: an acrimonious relationship with the ex; two pre-teen daughters; and, step-fatherhood. There’s a lot of sh*t going on!

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Filed under Business, Everything else, Philanthropy, The Different Company, Uncategorized

Three Life Changing Things (aka things that make you go “hmmm”) – Number three

Er. Not to put too fine a point on it, I met my wife

So now, without further adieu, the third instalment in my three seemingly un-related and life-changing events. I met my wife – yes, that was the event that started it all for me.

Firstly, don’t panic. This is not some namby pamby story of how I met Vanessa, fell in love, got married and lived happily ever after surrounded by roses, eating chocolate and drinking red wine – hmmm, excuse me for a moment, time to pour a glass.

Pause. Gentle gurgling sounds of cabernet sauvignon hitting crystal.

Ahh, now where were we? That’s right, well, meeting V was life changing for me, yes. But something you want to read about in excruciating, cheek-blushing detail? Er, no. Probably not. No, this is about the work Vanessa was doing when we met and how finding out about it, and being inevitably drawn into it, changed my life.

“I honestly didn’t do it, Guv. Stand on me.”

Vanessa was the Project Director for the University of Melbourne’s Innocence Project (UoMIP)

I’m sure you’ve heard of Innocence Projects – and if you haven’t, you need to – so I won’t go into great detail – except to say they investigate claims of wrongful conviction (see www.innocenceproject.org for the original US-based project).

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Three Life Changing Things (aka things that make you go “hmmm”) – Number two

Scavenging on rubbish tip

You know what he needs right now? That’s right, a bloody good steak and a glass of red wine.

A regular business lunch

In my last post I described the most recent of my three seemingly unrelated life-changing events: moving house. Well, this is the second instalment – the impact on my life of a regular “networking” lunch.

A few years ago I was helping a software development house with their go-to-market strategy – they had developed and successfully patented some really cool artificial intelligence technology. A friend suggested I come along to a small networking lunch of (mainly) businessmen to spruik about the opportunity. So off we went to the wonderful Stefan’s Charcoal Grill in Balwyn (http://stefanscharcoalgrill.yolasite.com).

As is often the case at these type of events, the newbies (that was me) are introduced and then you get to say a few things about what you do. I waxed lyrical about artificial intelligence, spread of activation cognitive theories and codeless programming.  Polite smiles greeted my efforts. No one understood a word … but no one really seemed to mind, overmuch.

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Filed under Business, Philanthropy

What’s the point? I mean, REALLY – what’s the point?

Sooner or later in life, and often several times, most of us will mutter the words: “What’s the point?”

Initially it’s “what’s the point of doing such and such?” But later in life, it often becomes “what is THE point?”

What drives you to ask the question is as varied as the answer you give. For me, it kinda snuck up on me – no big-bang, crisis-style crying-out-loud “WHAT’S THE BLOODY POINT?”, but rather a growing realisation that I was somehow missing the point. Whatever it was.

OK, I’ve always done my little bit to help others. We all do. Nothing huge: a raffle ticket here, a donation there, even a charity ball now and again. (Which is always a tad embarrassing with my two left feet on the dance floor!)

Time to give

Sometimes, it’s just time.

Like most, I’ve done enough to maintain my perception of myself as not a bad bloke, and I’m pretty sure that most others would agree, and those who don’t … well, we needn’t go there.

I always said that in a few years time I’d start really giving back. But, like losing a few pounds around the waistline or cleaning up the study, I’ve never really got around to it. “I’m sure I’ll get around to it one day” I would say to myself  – just need to pay off the mortgage; get the kids through school; buy a yacht, and save for that apparently endless European driving holiday, belting around the Alps in a Ferrari. (I’m still going to do that one, but it’s another story.)

But, over the past several years, a few things have changed. I met my wife, I started attending a regular business lunch, and I moved house.

These three seemingly unrelated life-changing events, which I’ll share with you in more detail in future blogs, led to me forming friendships with some of the most inspirational people I have ever met, and some of the most vulnerable, too.

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