Publisher, Naturalist, Adventurer & Dad.

Just saw this trailer for The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, which was shown atSDCC 2011.  Am a huge fan of the original, really excited to see where they take the story.


The Rainbow Connection

When I was a kid, our family would sit down on a Friday night to watch The Muppet Show.

With fantastic characters and a profound absence of ego, The Muppet Show was brilliant. Quickly adapting to whatever was happening in the world, it was the pinnacle of pop culture - with quirky humor diverse enough to have both kids and adults laughing out loud.  

The Muppets were immortal.

When I was 11, I read everything I could get my hands on about Jim Henson. The guy was amazing. A visionary who used a turquoise ladies’ coat with two ping pong balls to create Kermit.  I was 10 when he died.  Like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson - Jim Henson is one of the people I look to for inspiration. His magical creations expanded my world.

Naturally when I became a father I wanted my kids to experience the magic for themselves.  I tried to get my boys to watch The Muppet Movie or YouTube’d episodes of The Muppet Show - but like all good pop culture which beautifully represents its time period - it didn’t translate quite as well for today.  

So when when I heard that there was a new Muppet movie being made (one for today), I was thrilled!  This would be my chance to introduce them to what had been a source of so many good times through my childhood.   

Thanksgiving Day we were front row for the morning showing.  It would be our first time at the movie theatre with all 4 of us. Erica and I sat, popcorn in hand, watching our kids mesmerized… Laughing through slapstick moments and smiling at characters I knew and loved. They left the theatre singing Mahna Mahna, do do do do do.

But as much as they enjoyed it - I realized that it was made for me.  

See I left the theatre surprised. I was surprised by how moved I was by it all.  I was surprised at the emotion brought on by the Muppet Show intro song and by Kermit singing The Rainbow Connection. Call it childhood memories or nostalgia, but I was flooded with memories - memories of drawings I had done as a kid, memories of plays I had put on with my brother and sister, memories of books I’d read and many good times.

I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about why it impacted me so much and realized that the mad and wonderful world of the Muppets, had played a huge part in seeding my imagination and with it my passion for creating. It was a forgotten driver of Fuel, Carbon and Tinder.  

I listened to the Rainbow Connection and its words reminded me of that unknown something that we chase in life - that ‘something’ that entrepreneurs seem to have more than a normal share of. That thing that keeps us moving, searching and creating - even without a clear path - a sort of optimistic faith that ‘one day I’ll find it’ - like a sailor called by the sea to discover new places.

So thanks Mr. Henson. I wonder if you had any idea that your characters would inspire a generation..  Maybe a couple of them, to look for the amazing. 

And if not a generation… at least the lovers, the dreamers - And me!

The Rainbow Connection

Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side? Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide. So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it. I know they’re wrong, wait and see.

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when wished on the morning star? Somebody thought of that and someone believed it. Look what it’s done so far. What’s so amazing that keeps us star gazing and what do we think we might see?

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell. We know that it’s probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? I’ve heard them calling my name. Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors. The voice might be one and the same. I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it. It’s something that I’m supposed to be.

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.

  • 2 years ago
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I keep a record of days like today so that one day when I look back, I can talk authoritatively about being discouraged, stressed and having every fiber of my being yelling at me to quit.. and pushing forward anyway.
One of the things I am most grateful for in this life, is that I have a Wife who allows me to dream… and dreams with me!

Live Dramatically.

A couple of months back I forced myself to catch up on the three 60 minutes reruns I had saved on the DVR while travelling.

As someone regularly bombarded with editorial content, 60 minutes remains one of my favorite weekly escapes and is journalistic storytelling at its absolute best. (I have even been known to require our editors to watch certain episodes)

One of the segments covered the amazing work done by famous primate researcher and conservationist, Jane Goodall, the chimp lady. For those of you who aren’t familiar with her story, you can check her out here and here.

In short, as a young shy 26 year old, Jane left for Tanzania Africa on her own, and without collegiate training directing her research, lived with chimpanzees. It was here that Goodall observed things that were overlooked by science and discovered much of what we know about them today, including the fact that they have complex emotions like us.. They love, laugh, cry an even hate.

Regardless of the ‘hype’ surrounding the story I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the facts of what got her there….

These were: Shy girl. Left her home to go to a foreign country and meager conditions. Lived alone for over 20 years. Ridiculed by scientific minds of the day. Beaten and left for dead by chimps… and has spent the remainder of her life involved in her passion

The more I have looked, the more examples I find. Great things only happen when people go to dramatic lengths and live dramatic lives. A regular, safe, socially conformist life never seems to have the impact necessary to make an impact on this world.

  • 3 years ago
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The flexible pitch.

Even in my early teens I was enamored by marketing, I think I was fifteen when I decided that my career should involve the positioning of products and brands.  Im sure I thought I sounded like a genius telling people this. The truth is, I’ve always enjoyed packaging information in different ways and seeing if I can get one group to buy into something that might be less interesting if presented differently, evolving or changing a description to find common interest points.

In one of my first memories involving a pitch, I must have been around 10yrs old. My sister was saving for a her grade six backpacking trip and had recruited us to sell badges made on Dads ‘badge machine’ to help her raise the $200 she needed. The occasion coincided with an annual horse race called the Melbourne Cup, an event similar to the Kentucky derby.  So we photocopied and colored images of horses and put them in the badge-making machine.

I remember strategizing with my brother as we would offer a badge to one person, then try variations on the offer as we went person to person.  After a while I got pretty good at knowing what the story should be based on the surroundings.  If they were a senior group it was ‘buy a badge for your grandkids’, if they were a couple it was ‘buy a badge for your sweetheart’, if they were from out of town it was ‘buy a souvenir badge’.  There was always some way to make the purchase of the badge make sense.  The day was a huge success and my sister got to go on the school camping trip.

I muse every now and then as I prepare a proposal or a pitch at how the process doesnt vary too much from my badge selling experience.  Effective pitching is centered around the notion of presenting a message that touches on the points which are relevant to the reciever.  The major differences between a good and bad pitch are how it is received, not how it is given.

Thats why pitching should be flexible.  In the same way your audience varies each time you present, so should the pitch.

Navigating the Web’s Constant State of Flux

Had the opportunity to sit down with The Next Web Journalist, Joel Falconer to talk about the story of Fuel and the adventures of starting a company in the midst of the stormy web. 

For whatever reason I just remembered a favorite Sir Joshua Reynolds' quote which apparently hung over Thomas Edison’s desk: “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.” 
A nice reminder to be less ‘busy’ and to make more time for quiet contemplation.

For whatever reason I just remembered a favorite Sir Joshua Reynolds' quote which apparently hung over Thomas Edison’s desk: “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”

A nice reminder to be less ‘busy’ and to make more time for quiet contemplation.

  • 3 years ago
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Brilliantly done! Todays ‘Jules Verne’ inspired Google Logo.

Brilliantly done! Todays ‘Jules Verne’ inspired Google Logo.

  • 3 years ago
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No reward without pain

Our 4 year old, (Grayson) noticed his 1 year old brother (Ronin) holding a new toy car.

“Mum, can I have a car like Ronin?” he asked.

“Ronin got the car because he had to have 6 shots at the doctors today” Mum explained.

Never one to miss out, he came back with, “Let’s go to the Dr’s so I can get a car?”

Hoping to close the case on what might become an issue, Erica replied, “Sure… if you want 6 shots.”

Weighing out the question for a moment he replied “hmmm… So what can I get for no shots?”

I was rolling in laughter when Erica told me this story. You’d have to know Gray to enjoy it as much as I did, but it suffices to say that he is alway trying to figure out how stuff works.

I thought a lot about his reply for the next week. Don’t we all wish we could get our ‘toy car’ without our ‘shots’?!

I was also intrigued by what was a great step in logical process for Gray. That is the ‘process’ of determining value. In his typically inquisitive way, Gray was trying to weigh out whether the 6 shots represented good value.

He now knew what 6 shots would get him… The toy car! (Which granted is really cool), but what if ‘no shots’ got him something… maybe a plastic ring (which he really has a thing for). This would have substantially reduced the ‘return on investment’ which those shots would have offered!

Toy Car image by bending light

Fail and fail often.

I was recently asked to participate in Rob Rammuny’s Weekly ‘Entrepreneurs Project’ where he asked this question: If you were only allowed to offer an entrepreneur one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

Interesting question and some great replies from a range of online entrepreneurs.  My reply is below.

"If I were to offer entrepreneurs one piece of advice, it would be to fail and fail often.

Most people are scared of it, society at large despises it, but the plight of entrepreneurs is to challenge status quo and whether we like it or not, that challenge comes with a huge fail rate. Accept that failing along the way is part of the process, embrace it, learn from it and push forward. More often than not, an ‘overnight success’ is years in the making and the result of many failed attempts.

Why is this so important..? Because failure is hard, and even more so for entrepreneurs who tend to channel ‘idealist optimism’ to have believed it was possible in the first place. The trick is learning to embrace it as part of your success process. So go ahead, roll up your sleeves and act… if it doesn’t work, re-evaluate and try again.  Thomas Edison swore by this practice.”

  • 3 years ago
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FUEL Notebooks now on Evernote

We recently partnered with note taking app ‘Evernote' on three exclusive Notebooks in conjunction with their newly released Trunk feature. 

If you use Evernote you can simply add them as a notebook here.

Carbon Launches

After 3 years of frustration with our advertising options at Fuel, Adelle and I are really excited to launch Carbon Ads, an ad network focused on targeted groups of readers.

Under development for over a year, we built the custom ad platform around the concept of Circles, hand-picked groups of quality advertisers and publishers.

We decided that we could improve the experience for viewers/readers by keeping the readership groups hyper focused and only allowing relevant, interesting ads to be shown. In this way, readers value ads as helpful recommendations and advertisers get the highest possible return for their ad buy.

We leave the gate with publishers in Design, Coding/Dev, Photography and Art/Culture with more circles planned soon.

Check it out here.


In training


In training

Made By Tinder


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