31 October 2016

The High Price of Love

Author :


We have all grown up with the nagging voice of our mothers telling us to not get in cars with strangers, or eat unwrapped candy from the overly enthusiastic middle aged man dressed up as a pirate on Halloween. 

And most of us have fallen into the trap of a little innocent online flirting, with a virtual stranger. It's easy to do when you're enjoying the late night banter over a glass or 2 of your favourite wine, or discreetly checking when they were last online to make sure they're still alive.

After weeks of getting a good thing going, and only thinking it’s a little strange when they say they can’t talk on the phone or their skype is broken, they then somewhat discreetly ask a favour from you.

Your newly acquired flame has found themselves in quite the pickle and needs money for an urgent medical procedure, or they need to fix the windows on the house they plan to share with you one day but all their funds are tied up in the mortgage.

I know what you’re thinking. It seems a little strange but for many, a little cash to help your new loved one get closer to you, then shoot why not?

As the money requests become more frequent and higher in value, the alarm bells start to ring. Are you victim to a scammer?  Or is this just your new lover having a tough time? 

Unfortunately you may very well have been ripped off; as lonely hearts scams topped the list as the most lucrative scams for 2014, costing Australian's a whopping $27.9million.

Also ladies don’t worry it’s not just you, in fact just as many men fall victim losing $14,784 on average, with women losing $8777 per annum stated in the 2014 annual ACCC report.

The number of victims have been on the increase over the last 2 years as the online dating industry has continued to boomed giving fraudsters a large variety of platforms to carefully select their victims.

According to the dating site Reviews of Australia, the online dating world began to boom in the early 2000’s with around 100,000 profiles of singles on the net. Currently there are around 2.2 million singles online every month looking for some kind of relationship. 

Subsequently scammers have advanced their techniques and have greater access to growing technologies.

The good news is, with each reported scams, we're slowly adapting ways to prevent people browsing the online market becoming victims.

The ACCC report of 2014 mentions the creation of online groups rallying together to track, trick and bait scammers so they're named and shamed for all to see. The NSW Police Force urges victims to report their scammers. It can not only lead to tracking them down but prevent it from happening to other victims. 

The NSW Police Force recommends the below handy tips to avoid this happening to you.

Keep your personal details personal:
Never share personal information or photos with someone you don’t know and trust – especially photos or webcam calls of a private nature. There have been reports of scammers using this material to blackmail victims.
Watch out: If an online admirer asks to communicate with you outside the dating website, such as through a private email address or over the phone, watch out – they could be trying to avoid detection. If you are considering meeting in person, choose a public place and let family or friends know where you are at all times.
Search:
Run a Google Image search to check the authenticity of any photos provided. Scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online.
Think twice:
Never send money to someone you’ve met online, especially via money order, wire transfer or international funds transfer – it’s rare to recover money sent this way.
Report:
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
If you have an inkling you’re in a tricky situation with a scammer you can always report it. 

You can report scams to the ACCC via the ‘report a scam’ page on SCAMwatch (www.scamwatch.gov.au) or by calling 1300 795 995.

If you met the scammer through a dating service or social media, you should also inform the dating service/social channel of your experience so that they can try and stop the scammer hurting others. 


With all this said, don’t live under a rock in fear. After all, the online world is just as real as meeting someone at a bar or through friends these days.

Hopefully by continuing the conversation and growing awareness, we can all become smart online daters. 

Sarah Orrell is a Conference Coordinator at Akolade. She joined the team in July 2016 and already thinks she runs the place. Sarah comes from an events background and also recently finished a Bachelor of Business in Events Management.

She once had dreams of becoming a marine biologist but when she discovered maths and science were involved she decided to dominate the events industry instead. After completing her first blog she also thinks she might become a writer too.

Sarah’s greatest achievements to dates with Akolade is keeping the office plants alive.

28 October 2016

The costly effects of ignoring a toxic bullying work culture.

Author :



For most employers, it’s a given that creating a healthy workplace environment is a crucial and mandatory step for any organisation that aims to become prosperous.

According to J. Right Sims (Management, 2010. Wellness and Productivity Management. Presentation to the Health and Productivity Management Congress 2010), for companies where employers focussed on creating a healthy workplace culture, it has been observed that employees are:
  • Five times more likely to be engaged
  • Three times more likely to stay in the first year
  • Two and a half times more likely to say that their organisations were creative and innovative
  • Three times more likely to identify their organisation as a high or an above average performer

Recently, a former NSW government worker was awarded $1m in damages after suffering from workplace bullying.

The issue began when she became the subject of intimidation after making an error in an internal job application. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the interrogation came out of the blue and even continued when the worker doubled over sobbing.

The victim was accused of being engaged in an inappropriate relationship within the office and passed off a co-worker’s idea as her own, leaving the victim in shock and disbelief at where the accusations were coming from.

The worker found her mistreatment so intense that she would sit in the bathroom for 6 hours straight without anyone noticing.

The worker worked at the NSW government agency 5 years ago and has claimed she will never be able to work again.

Her lawyer said her payout was to cover two components: one for total and permanent disablement, which was paid out by her private insurer and the other payout for worker’s compensation for past and future earning capability.

Employers have the obligation of assessing any injury or illness risk that employees may be exposed to. According to Comcare, psychological injury risk assessment should involve:
  • looking for pressures at work (risks) that could cause psychological injury;
  • deciding who might suffer the effects of such risks; and  
  • developing management strategies to control or eliminate the risk


Risks should be reassessed regularly to ensure that prevention is aligned with risks. 

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 

In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Assistant Marketing Manager, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable pets; a cat and a dog. 

27 October 2016

VET FEE-HELP overhaul designed to encourage strong employment options.

Author :

A lot has been written recently about the government’s VET FEE-HELP scheme with Education Minister, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham saying that 2015 VET FEE-HELP data is littered with examples of rorting and shonky behaviour from some providers who continue to take advantage of students and taxpayers, tarnishing the reputation of the vocational education and training sector.

Recent changes to the VET FEE-HELP scheme has seen a large reduction in the number of VET courses covered by the scheme down from 825 to just 350 available courses.

The Australian Council for Private Education and Training has advised they believe there was inadequate consultation from the Government regarding the removal of 475 courses from the approved list. In a recent article on www.news.com.au the ACPET advised over half a million students would be denied the opportunity to develop their skills and find better employment, while also cautioning the reduction in approved courses could see large scale job losses in the industry.

Minister Birmingham said the structure of the VET FEE-HELP scheme meant there were too many students being signed up for courses simply to boost providers’ enrolment numbers or to provide ‘lifestyle’ choices that don’t lead to work.

“Australians rightly expect that any subsidies students get are focused on areas of study most likely to improve employment outcomes,” the Minister said.

“Vocational education is a key feature of post-school learning in Australian and it’s fundamental to our future success as we transition to a 21st century economy. This means we also need to ensure taxpayer support for students is targeted at skills that are in high demand and valued by employers.”

The recently released data highlights up to one in five students were doing VET FEE-HELP approved courses not to improve their job prospects, but to pursue lifestyle interests.

“All diploma level courses were eligible under VET FEE-HELP, which meant we had a list of more than 800 courses being subsidised by taxpayers despite many being lifestyle focused with little relevance to employment outcomes,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With our new VET Student Loans program we will ensure providers go through a rigorous application process and extensive monitoring and evaluation to ensure they are delivering education that students and employer’s value, and that taxpayers are will to continue supporting.”

“VET Student Loans will only support legitimate students to undertake worthwhile and value-for-money courses at a quality training provider.”


Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

26 October 2016

ACT NOW – Improving your email open rates

Author :


People say, don’t judge a book by its covers, but in the case of getting your target audience to open the email you have just sent out, your subject line plays a huge role.

Did you know that 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line?

So you have just spent the past 2 hours crafting your EDM that is about to be sent out and inside it has the best offer in the industry that no other company can provide. Imagine how disappointing and sad it will be if your audience doesn’t open the email and no one will know about it and next thing you know, *click*, there it goes in the trash can in less than a second.

Your subject line seems like the smallest part of your email, being at the top of the email chain, and sometimes being un-noticed or forgotten when you have opened the email. However, it is the very first impression it makes.

This is why it is really important to write enticing subject lines to get a chance for your audience to open your email and not let your hard work go to waste. Here are some tips to get you started in the making the best subject line:

Keep it short and sweet

There is a general rule that I go by when writing subject lines: Keep the length under 12 words. When the subject line is too long, the end of it (and probably the main point of your subject) is cut off. With over 40% of emails being opened first on a mobile device these days, your short and sweet subject line is even more important.

Use personalisation

Using personalisation like including the name or their location in the subject line gives a feeling of rapport and being personal. It was shown that subject lines that included the first name of the recipient has a higher open rate than those that did not. Examples include “Happy Birthday Andrew” or “Sarah, we have a special offer for you…”, alternatively if you use “you” or “you’re”, it will sound like you are speaking with them directly.

Make sure your subject line is in line with the content of your email

So you’ve just got them to open your email (yay!), but unfortunately the content does not reflect or even acknowledge what was written in the subject line (no…). There is nothing more disappointing or frustrating than that feeling of curiosity and then realising you have been tricked. Not only will your audience feel annoyed and won’t open your emails next time, but worse they may even unsubscribe for your list. As a marketer, that is the worst result for us as I can no longer get in touch with them again until they next sign up. Make sure your body reflects the message in your email.

Create a sense of urgency

Subject lines that has a sense of urgency that the person must ACT NOW, has a 22% higher open rate. Using words like “24 hours only”, “Expires this Friday”, encourages the reader to act now rather than later when there is a chance they might forget.

DON’T USE ALL CAPS

Yes, we want to create that sense of urgency, however it shouldn’t be done by using all caps in your subject line, it’s almost like you are being yelled at. 85% of people prefer an all lower-case subject line and an all CAPITAL LETTERS SUBJECT LINE appears very disruptive and may be viewed as spam.


If you know your content is great, don’t let it go to waste by having a bad subject line. Good luck!

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 

In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Assistant Marketing Manager, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable pets; a cat and a dog. 

25 October 2016

A new weapon in the war on drugs

Author :


Surely filming the moment a young boy is told he has lost his mother to drugs is reprehensible, yet Brenden Bickerstaff-Clark’s video has gone viral.  

The video, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times, shows a father sitting across from son at a picnic table, cigarette in hand.

“I got something I want to tell you, okay? Give me your hand,” he begins before pausing to collect himself. “Mommy died last night.”

 “What?” The boy asks after a moment of stunned silence.

“Mommy died last night, okay?”

“What do you mean- my Mom? How?”

“From drugs.”

It’s not the only stark depiction of the realities of drug addiction which has swept the internet recently.

Photos of parents passed out in their car after overdosing on heroin with their four-year-old boy looking on from the backseat made the rounds on social media sites. The photos were shared by a police department in Ohio.

Both the video of the boy being told his mother had died and the photos of the unconscious parents were shared to raise awareness and deter people from using drugs.

This emerging ‘trend’ of depicting the brutal reality of drug abuse is a new approach to a stubborn issue and may prove to be more successful than their staged counterparts.

Experts argue that our approach to dissuading children from trying drugs may be having the opposite effect. Carson Wagner, an Assistant Professor at Ohio University, argued that seeing anti-drug ads made some child

In his 2008 study, Wagner found that participants who were primed with anti-drug messaging were more curious about using drugs than those who hadn’t seen the ads.

This argument is supported by Melbourne rapper Matthew James Colwell (better known as 360) who recently revealed his battle to recover from methamphetamine was made more difficult still by the Victorian government’s anti-ice TV campaigns.

Colwell claimed the government “have zero idea that simply showing a picture of a pipe will have every addict itching.”

Raymond Blessing, TaskForce CEO, agreed that no good comes from the ads. “Our front-line staff say that the advertising demonises users, creates stigma and some clients say it gives them cravings. So it most instances they just wipe it away. It certainly doesn't appear to have any positive aspect; it just seems to create more of an issue for them about initiating cravings or causing that kind of activity in their mind.”


While the brutal images appearing on our screens may disturb and alarm the viewer, perhaps that’s what we need to win our war on drugs. 

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

24 October 2016

What businesses can learn from Donald Trump's election campaign.

Author :

GrAl / Shutterstock.com

It may be the American election campaign, but there are very few people in Australia (or the rest of the world for that matter) who aren't aware Donald Trump is running for the Presidency of the United States of America.

On paper, he's not really the candidate that most quickly springs to mind. He's a TV personality. He's a property developer. He's a billionaire, a casino operator, a hotel owner, but he's not a politician nor a policy expert. While it can be said he can surround himself with those things, the reality is as Commander-in-Chief he is lacking in some of the basic skills required.

If it was an application process, such as applying for a job, you'd have to say he probably wouldn't make it past the first round of resume reviews. 

But there are some lessons in his campaign that business owners should be paying attention to. Not the mugging for the camera, the outrageous statements based to appeal to only a small target of the population while repelling others. Nor the us against them operation that saw him win the Republican Nomination and possibly the keys to the White House in the November election. 

What Donald Trump has in spades is self-belief and confidence. It's an attribute that should be admired - even if you don't admire his grasp on policy.

Whatever the reason for Donald Trump's election campaign he has turned American established society on its head. The rogue candidate who won the nomination despite his flaws. Up against a more seasoned opponent, a candidate who has lived in the White House as First Lady, has been a lawyer, a Senator and the Secretary of State, on paper at least it should look like he doesn't have a shot in the dark of winning in November. 

So how did he get there?

Anyone who has read his book 'The Art of the Deal' can see the key points he made live and in technicolour on their TV screens. Donald Trump is part showman, part businessman and all about the win.

In 'The Art of the Deal', Trump outlines a series of strategies to being successful when it comes to negotiation. Nothing overly new or inventive but they work. 

Think big:

If you've spent any time at all following the Trump campaign, the first of his strategies is bluntly obvious. Think big! Trump wants to be the Commander-in-Chief, you can't get much bigger than that.

Protecting the downside and the upside will look after itself:

Preparing for the worst in this situation is losing the race to the White House. Looking after the upside however is also most blatant. Even if he loses the election Trump will emerge a winner, a bit battered and bruised, but a winner none the less. The election campaign has given him and the Trump brand world coverage he couldn't have dreamed of. Whatever he does next, wherever he goes the camera's and world's media will follow. 

Maximise your options & use your leverage:

The ultimate goal in an election campaign is to win. But Donald Trump isn't playing only one hand here. Realistically he has a slim to no chance of actually winning the election. By leveraging his campaign to create even more brand awareness and expand his influence into political circles, he has set himself up to launch whatever comes next (rumour has it he's looking at creating Trump TV). The publicity of the campaign, leveraged to launch his next venture practically guarantees it will be front page news across the world.

Enhance your location:

In this situation it's more about enhancing your exposure and your reputation. While Trump's reputation has taken some major hits during the campaign, he's showed no signs of backing down. Instead he's ramped up the rhetoric, said and done more outrageous things. If the rumours of a conservative television network are true, he's more than achieved his goal. 

Getting the word out:

This is something Trump has never been shy of. He's an absolutely brilliant self-promoter. He may not have what it takes to be the best President the world has ever seen, but he's run a campaign that captured and sucked the air out of his rival Republican nominees. Every time the media began to sway behind another Republican nominee in the lead up to the Primaries Trump pulled something out of his bag of tricks and diverted the media attention to where he thought it belonged. Himself. 

Fight back:

Trump is nothing if not a scrappy fighter. In that respect he reminds me a little of former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Both men do their best when they are backed into a corner. Neither one backs down, or away from a fight. The problem for Trump in this situation is he's fighting a losing battle when he tries to take Clinton on at her own game. For Trump, fighting back is about muddying the water and attempting to suck away the media coverage of Clinton's campaign. 

Deliver the goods:

This, is the one area of the election Trump has the most difficulty finalising. The reality is his policy knowledge is limited to slogans. He's surrounded himself with conservative and right wing media barons, not policy experts or politicians. As President his policies are best flat and lacking depth. As a potential media baron however, he's positioning himself and a possible network to go head to head with other conservative news channels like Fox, and there he could more than deliver the goods.

Have fun:

Despite him looking like he's about 3 seconds from having his head explode most of the time, there's a part of Trump that is having the time of his life. While he can't control the conversations or the 'leaks' that may be impacting his campaign, he's definitely enjoying his moment in the sun and he's learning. 

While the media crows about the trip ups in Trumps campaign, if you look at what he's doing under the context of his past behaviour he is negotiating with the American public and by extension the world, possibly for the Presidency or possibly for whatever he has up his sleeve to concentrate on next. 

Businesses - and business people - in Australia tend to be a lot more conservative and risk averse than our entrepreneurial cousins across the world. We, as a nation aren't particularly embracing of chance, preferring instead to do what we know we can do and not risk making a mistake. 

If you don't take a risk you never have the opportunity to grow, to develop and to achieve new and exciting things. Whether you're launching a start-up, working for a boss or own your own business employing the list of techniques and strategies above could help you to master the art of the deal for your organisations own future.

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.



21 October 2016

Turning marketing copy into lead generation and sales

Author :

In the late 1980's the book, The Art of the Deal was released to a huge amount of fanfare and success. The book detailed the rise and rise of American billionaire property developer, and future Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump. Purporting to give an insight into how to go from the poor house to the Penthouse the book is a time capsule of it's era.

For most businesses owners the idea of reaching the heights of people like Donald Trump is a bit of a wistful dream, but who hasn't spent a good portion of their time daydreaming about what it would be like to own a successful business, live a life of glamour and success?

While most of us may never reach the levels of success of Trump and his ilk, there is nothing stopping us from taking our businesses beyond their comfort zone.  Having worked for everything from large multi-nationals, to start up enterprises I've witnessed first hand the plateau a business can reach, what I refer to as it's 'natural comfort zone.'

Working in the events industry, producing conferences in a saturated, and relatively small market, means the importance of words takes centre stage. You can produce the world's greatest conference, with the best speakers ever assembled, but if the message you are trying to get across fails to reach it's audience you're doomed from the start. 

A lot of businesses depend on good word of mouth and direct marketing. While we'd all love to have marketing budgets like the big boys in town, but the reality for most SME's is you make do with what you can afford. 

When you're writing to sell there are several key strategies you should consider implementing. Copywriting is, at it's most basic, the art of using words to sell a product. Whether that product is a conference or a personalised fitness programme isn't relevant. The strategies and techniques remain the same.

Before you even put finger to keyboard you need to remember two things. Firstly, writing marketing copy needs to be genuine, no fluff, no over-hyped promises. Consumers today are too savvy to fall for promises you make if they don't believe you can follow through on it. Secondly, you have to know who your audience is. Without doing that you're taking a scatter-gun approach, throwing out a million emails and hoping to reach the ideal candidate. 

Once you've figured out the answer to 'What's In It For Me' (which is the first thing your potential customer is going to ask if they read your marketing copy), you're ready to start getting some ideas on the screen.

Genuine, honest and upfront sells the day:

We've all seen marketing copy that makes promises you doubt the company can fulfill. When you're writing a promise or a deliverable in your copy ask yourself 'what does this actually mean.' If you can't get give yourself a clear answer, scrap it and start again. A writing teacher of mine once told me writers need to learn to 'kill their darlings.' While that particular piece of advice came at a novel writing class, it's relevant for copywriters as well. No matter how beautifully crafted the sentence is, no matter how many engaging action words you've used, if it doesn't push towards the final message, cut it.

Marketing speak is useless:

I can hear the collective gasps already, but it's true. Writing copy when it is aimed at landing a client is about being specific. This is one of the most blatant missteps in copywriting today. Do your research. Instead of guessing "Company X has helped thousands of people just like you" give your potential client the actual figure. "Since opening it's doors, Company X has helped 11,000 people just like you to reduce their operational costs by an average of 15%." The more specific you are however, the more you need to be able to back it up. Don't fluff it, be honest.

Call to action:

We've all heard of the instructions 'include a call to action'. Be blunt about it. Most of the people you are targeting aren't going to waste a month reading your email. Get to the point and do it fast. Instead of putting a line such as 'if you would like further information or to register your interest, please click here', be direct and to the point. "Enter your email address here for further information," says exactly the same thing, only faster. 

Get to the point:

This tip follows on from the previous one. It's not enough to be blunt with your call to action. Make the commitment to get your message across in the least amount of time. Padding out your message/content with adjectives may impress the boss, but it won't do much for your potential client. When you can, show a picture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, after all. Combine a picture with a direct message and you'll have a much higher hit rate than if you just use words to hide the fact you don't really have much to say.

Edit:

Business is fast-paced. With traditional business models giving way to new and emerging trends it's easy to fall into the habit of rushing copy into the market. Don't. Take the time to re-read, to edit, to rewrite. If you can, leave the copy overnight and come back to it in the morning. Time has a way of bringing up some obvious problems you may have missed in the rush of creativity. Edit your piece to the best of your ability and before you hit send make absolutely certain your sales message is front and centre in your copy.

Final note: When you write sales copy for a living, you need to think about your customer. You need to know exactly who you are writing for. A well written piece of copy not only attracts the target audience, but repels those who don't fit thereby saving both them and your company time, by weeding out the lookers and making room for the buyers. 

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

18 October 2016

How Amazon could disrupt e-commerce supply chain

Author :

We live in an age where technology is constantly changing and transforming businesses and how they operate. For example, Uber can become the world’s biggest taxi company without owning any cars and Airbnb can become the world’s biggest hotel chain without owning any bricks and mortar. 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, shopping online from the comfort of your home is now the norm. Who’d ever have imagined that people would buy apparel and footwear based on an image online without trying them on?

Hence, the rise of the digital revolution, diverse customer behaviour, and aggressive competition has reshaped the Australian retail industry as we know it.

Retailers are under colossal pressure to offer a wide variety of last mile fulfilment options in the age of speed to market delivery. In fact, according to an econsultancy report, 50% of customers would abandon a purchase if retailers can't provide sufficient delivery options.

The execution of last mile delivery has never been more crucial to meet the evolving demands of the diverse customer segment while ensuring an engaged seamless journey from click to delivery.  The key here is customer experience. It doesn’t matter if your website is fancy and easy to navigate, it can all fall apart if the courier fails to deliver your order on time and without delays.

Recently, word broke that Amazon is considering creating its own fleet of air freight shippers to compete head to head with UPS, FedEx, and the USPS.  Amazon has already disrupted cloud computing with Amazon Web Services.

However, the big questions is: will customers pay enough for rapid delivery to cover all these new costs? Is this the way of the future for all supply chains?


Amazon deliveries already account for 4% of UPS’s overall business, around $2 billion worth of revenue. Will other retailers take Amazon’s ambitions as an example and also attempt to take over from big courier companies?


The best part of my job as an Assistant General Manager – Production is to create and manage my own conferences from concept to delivery, identify future conference topics as well as giving me a chance to expand my business card collection. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, you will always find me having lollies on my desk or you will catch me browsing on fashion sites during lunch breaks.

17 October 2016

It’s not me, it’s you: breaking up with bad tech habits

Author :


Advancements made in technology like the smart phone, Google Glass and Apple Watch mean that we can take the internet with us everywhere now. The down side is that we take the internet with us everywhere now.

With technology’s constant presence, it’s vital to maintain healthy technology habits to ensure your health is in tech-top shape.

Here are the top five habits to break ASAP:

Leave screens out of the bedroom

I’m guilty of using my phone in bed before my eyes become too heavy or I drop my phone on my face. Not only can receiving a work email in your place of slumber increase stress and make a restful night’s sleep more difficult, it’s also proven that the artificial light from our phones can damage your sleep cycle. The exposure of blue light confuses your brain (is it morning or night?) and affects the way your body produces melatonin- the chemical that makes you sleepy. For a good night’s sleep, put the phone down.

Stop using your phone as a social crutch

This is probably a habit of the more introverted among us (myself included). When faced with an awkward social situation or dwindling conversation, the temptation is to bury ourselves in our phones. Over use of technology has been linked to depression because it prevents us from socialising- something we need to do as humans. I love the idea of a phone bowl when dining with a group. Everyone leaves their phone in the bowl and actual conversations ensue.

Shoulders back

This is particularly important for office workers. Research shows that sitting for 8 or more hours a day can put you at higher risk of muscular skeletal disease, diabetes and obesity. Ensure your chair height and posture is correct with this how to guide.

Take a break

Remaining in the same position for a long time can cause blood clots and staring at a screen for hours on end can cause eyestrain and affect your vision. Get up and stretch every now and then. Get a glass of water. Step outside to breathe. Chances are you will also be more productive upon your return.

It’s a laptop, not a lap-top


Using your laptop on your lap can result in health complications from minor conditions such as skin dryness to more serious maladies like reduced sperm count. Not to mention you are likely to have terrible posture when using your device on your lap- hunched shoulders and neck cranked. Leave the laptop on the desk.

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

14 October 2016

69% of fraud perpetrators are your employees

Author :


A recent report by KPMG entitled Fraud Barometer: The face of Australian fraud in 2015’ revealed an alarming statistic of internal fraud cases in Australia. The report highlighted that the most common perpetrators of fraud are business insiders – including management and employees. In just the 6 months up until September 2015, fraud committed by management averaged $3.3m in Australia.

The following infographic shows a disturbing view of the number of perpetrators who are employees and managers in organisations. Collectively, this amounts to 69% of fraud perpetrators.


A few weeks back, former HR Manager of Dingo Australia was charged with fraud and tampering with records. It was alleged that the former employee pleaded guilty to improperly using the company credit card 27 times and altering records to make these expenses appear legitimate during the period of 16 July 2015 to 7 June 2016, totalling to $1797 defrauded.

As a result, the former HR Manager was sentences to 3 months imprisonment, which is suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay back the $1797.

Fraud isn’t just the involvement of the improper use of money. In April 2015, Australia Taxation Office told 20,000 of their officials that one of their colleagues had lost their job and has been prosecuted for lying their way into the company by falsifying their work history on their CV.

In 2013, the Public Service Code of Conduct was changed to allow bosses’ power to take action against public servants who were not providing correct information in the recruitment process. A clause was also added that employees will be liable if they fail to act with “honesty and integrity” during the hiring process.

The Tax Commissioner, Chris Jordan emphasised that lying on the CV will not be tolerated as white lies.

“Falsifying your qualifications or work history is deceitful, and chances are you will be caught out eventually, especially if you're hired for skills and attributes that you simply don't have,” he warned employees. “Don't let ambition blind you to the requirement that you act with honesty and integrity at all times.

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 

In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Assistant Marketing Manager, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable pets; a cat and a dog. 

13 October 2016

How to manage your time for networking and building relationships

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Talking to strangers as we go about our daily business doesn’t seem to be a problem for us, but when it comes to strangers at a networking function, we clam up? It is the same thing! Well, kind of. First of all, we’re not trying to impress that person that we’re talking to at the convenient store and we may be trying to impress that all important prospect at the networking function.
Although we’re not trying to sell in either case, when we’re at a business networking function, we’re trying to build the business relationship that could ultimately lead to a sale, a speaker or to a job offer. Business networking is the key to your business success whether you are the owner of a small boutique company or just starting out. Some people say it’s who you know that’s important but I beg to differ just a little. I believe it’s actually who knows you that is important. You want to make sure that plenty of people know who you are and what you provide.
Many professionals are perfectly aware of the importance of networking and the advantages it can bring, and yet will still probably admit to not engaging with it nearly as much as they should.
One reason is that networking isn’t something you can commit to half-heartedly. It requires a concerted effort, from simply finding new groups of people to network with, connecting in a meaningful personal or professional way – making that first contact, forging some sort of bond and then nurturing it regularly.
For others, it is the actual act itself – manoeuvring opportunities to meet people, striking up the conversation and trying to stay insightful when talking to people of greater seniority or importance. This process can cow introverts and extroverts alike.
Many people feel they simply do not have the time to do all of this on top of the demands of their job and their personal life.
Arguably, in order to build lasting business relationships, you need to change your perceptions of networking as a distinct activity but as a form of personal development. It is an opportunity to practice making valuable conversational contributions whilst at the same time staying true to your own personality. Technology has, of course, made us all networkers now anyway, with our personal and professional networks tallied up as proudly displayed numbers of followers, friends and connections.

Networking face-to-face certainly takes more effort than a couple of clicks, but if done effectively it actually allows you to generate new ideas and to generate your influence. Effective networking enables you to offer more and have more impact. 
The best part of my job as an Assistant General Manager – Production is to create and manage my own conferences from concept to delivery, identify future conference topics as well as giving me a chance to expand my business card collection. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, you will always find me having lollies on my desk or you will catch me browsing on fashion sites during lunch breaks.