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Clarke Ching's Rocks and Snowballs Blog

Rewarded for failing?

clarke ching

Several years ago a colleague of mine, Iain, asked a senior executive who was visiting our site if he could share any stories about folk within the company who'd been rewarded despite failing. 

He couldn't. In fact, although the exec was respected and articulate and clearly very capable the question flummoxed him.  Which was strange since the company's leaders often said they wanted people to take sensible risks and said we shouldn't fear failing.  

Iain's question was, I think, rather clever. 


Australian Siri

clarke ching

I've got an iPhone and I use Siri quite a bit while I'm walking to work, "what's the time?", "what's this song?", "message my current wife and tell her she's lucky", and so on. 

The only bit that really annoys me about Siri is that I have to chose the Australian voice to get the best translation for my kiwi accent and then she answers me back in an Aussie accent, "All right, cobber, it's 10am and time for a smoko break", "it's Neil Diamond ya big poofter", "Wife?  You should be so lucky, lucky, lucky", and so on. 

Is this how skynet started?

clarke ching

My scales emailed me over the weekend to tell me I've lost 20 pounds. 

It is actually 22 pounds now, or 10 kg, but that's not the bit that's got me excited ... My scales sent me an email!

Is this how skynet started?


The Cost of Failure

clarke ching

The Zara clothing company work very differently to most of their competitors.  That's why, in 40 years, they'e grown from virtually nothing to 7,000 stores world wide, and why their founder is now the 3rd richest man in the world.

I'll drip feed some of their ideas here over time, but first I need to plant a few seeds before I water them.  

Seed #1: the concept of a low cost of failure.

Read on.

Alice,aged 8, grumpy with me after I made her walk up a hill on a hot day.

Alice,aged 8, grumpy with me after I made her walk up a hill on a hot day.

I'm not sure if the photo of my daughter, Alice, is technically good but of the thousands of photos I've taken in the last year it is my favourite.


When her older sister, Aisling, was born in 2002 I bought a book from Amazon about how to take photos of kids.  It had 3 simple rules and a whole lot of photos explaining them:

1.  Take photos close up so you can really see your kid, rather than a stick figure.

2. Use natural light - again so you can see your kid's face.

3.  Take loads of photos, but only keep a few.


Way back then I had a film camera and although I knew point 3 made very good sense, it scared me because it cost a lot of money (to me) to take 36 photos then get them developed.  I knew logically that 1 or 2 good photos was better than 36 crap ones, but I still didn't follow the advice.

Nowadays, of course, with digital cameras, the internet, home photo printers, and cloud storage, the COST OF FAILURE - or to put another way, the COST OF EXPERIMENTATION - is incredibly low.  Rule 3 is much easier to apply.


The weird bit is that when we went whale watching in NZ, Aisling, who is now 11, and I had a bit of an argument.  I asked her to follow rule 3 - click, click, click, click, click when the whales were out and about then sort delete the bad photos later - but she wanted to carefully compose her pictures and delete any bad ones as she went.  

I said, 'You'd don't need to do that - you've got a 16 GB SD card.'.  

She said, 'Don't care.  I don't want to take bad photos.'

This conversation went around and around and she ended up with no good photos.

I guess there's a financial cost of failure and - I'm not sure what to call this - an emotional cost of failure.


More to come.

How to be a cool parent.

clarke ching

Buy an apple TV for your kids.

Get them Netflix so they get used to watching stuff on their apple TV.

When it's their bed time, rather going to them and saying "it's bed time", launch keynote on your iPad then airplay a presentation which says, "It's bed time, children", to their apple TV.

They love it!


Nine year olds gets Agile!!!!!

clarke ching

My wife overheard this conversation between our 9 year old Alice and her best friend Lucy:

Alice:   Would you rather have a big house with a small garden or a big garden with a small house?

Lucy.  A big garden.

Alice: Me too, because when I got more money I could pay to add on to my house.