Why I am not using Facebook now

Facebook has been a part of my life for over 10 years. It has been a useful thing for communicating with friends and acquaintances across the world. It was very important when I was running a large online gaming community with people from almost every country involved.

However, the business practices of Facebook are at best questionable and several incidents recently have led me to stop using it.

The trigger was when Facebook put a button saying “Boost this post” on the administrative page for a group I administer. I clicked this button to see what it did, expecting something similar to what most forums do to put the post to the top of the view. Instead, it commenced an advertising campaign (on a relatively trivial message to a group) attracting charges. I discovered this when I received a message offering to increase the distribution of the advertising for further fees.

Following the link to “manage your ad” I tried to find how to cancel it. The only options I could initially find were to change capped amount to spend. I did eventually find an option that appeared to allow cancellation via a “Cancel” button and that appeared to work. But it did not! resulting in a continuation of the advertisement.

So here the real fun begins. I challenged them over a charge of 22 Euro. I suspect that many or most would just pay up and put it down to experience. I challenged this because it is as near to a scam as you can get. It may be an official one as far as Facebook is concerned.

The reply to my challenge and narrative of events was the corporatoid “you agreed to the terms and conditions”. However, as I pointed out repeatedly, I had not knowingly authorised an advertisement or to pay for such an advertisement. There was no indication that I was clicking on a button that would automatically trigger a bill and advertise a private post (to the closed group) to some unidentified audience. What sane person would authorise such a thing anyway? A reasonable person would expect to see some kind of dialogue to confirm agreement to committing to an advertising campaign, most especially when such a commitment is hidden behind jargon such as “Boost”. I have searched the terms and conditions to see where I might have signed up for advertisements by clicking a random button on their website but have failed to see this in terms I understand. It smells very scammy to me. It looks scammy. Probably is one.

What all this says to me is that Facebook cannot be trusted. Not with my online data, knowledge of friendships, personal information or to not take money from me without my authorisation.

That is why.

Well, hello there …

May you be condemned to live in interesting times.

It may be more than a year since I posted here. A long time and yet, it went by so fast. It has been an interesting year. I think I will celebrate the ending of 2018 with three articles. Plus maybe a dozen book reviews. Possibly an update or two in cricket umpiring, brewing and other personal things. Definitely a bit on work.

A quick catch up

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to to , We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. ”

Steve Jobs

The following is a little bit catharsis and a little bit still feeling bruised. I will not go into the messy details – for multiple reasons …

I was working as the Managing Partner with a longstanding management consultancy firm with responsibility for the Public Sector. 2017 was a very good year for us and a major project received an award for best change project of the year from a project management body. We had a small team in Canberra and a decent pipeline of work. However, at the end of February the owner of the business (based in the UK) called and told me that staff would not be paid the following day. I will not go into all the details but the key thing to note is that the liquidator sought funding from creditors to pursue the company directors for a significant amount of money.

For most of the staff, the Australian Fair Entitlement Guarantee helped out by paying most, if not all entitlements apart from redundancy. There were three employees that were not so lucky while still getting some of the lost pay and leave entitlements. Superannuation that was not paid was also lost. Overall a nasty business.

It would most likely have been possible to save the business and continue on with a restructure, had the UK directors approached it the right way. Work I was asked to do to find alternative investors was successful in finding them but the UK directors were not able to negotiate an arrangement due to time constraints and associated issues. Fair to say that March was a busy time for with nothing but additional travel bills to show for it.

One staff member in Canberra was able to start a piece of work we had just won after we were able to negotiate with the client to “novate” the contract. Half the other staff were able to find alternative work fairly quickly, however two had some difficulty. The way the company was just shutdown overnight  caused a lot of stress and anxiety to staff – that is an understatement.

Personally, I was in the fortunate position to choose between offers. I chose to join a company with which we had been doing work on a partnership basis for the past two years. It was the path of least resistance and the right one at a time when much was still uncertain. I worked with them from early April until the end of December. We had a number of goals in mind when I started and, while the revenue ones were exceeded, we were not able to win the larger pieces of work which would have allowed the achievement of growth and margin targets. As a consequence, I notified the board that I would be finishing up. I am now looking forward to a “new set of challenges”, I think the current orthodoxy demands.

I will go back to nearly a dozen articles that I started to write and left unfinished over the past year or so. I seem to have ideas and not enough time to finish writing them down.

Three articles

So what do I need to write about?

Working with Smart People. This is after seeing the remarkable reactions from several employers over the years.

What is Consulting Today? A general question that should be asked. The title is Consulting Now!

Startups, Business Agility, Design Thinking and Customers in the real world. This is a little of the trend(s) I have seen in the past decade.

… here goes

100 years ago…

One hundred years ago, in August 1917, my father was born.

Born in the First World War at a time his uncle was about to become involved in the battle of Polygon Wood. He was a teenager during the Great Depression and fought in the New Guinea islands in the Second World War. He died a few months short of his 65th birthday from emphysema – passive smoking did it because he never smoked. This is the eulogy I should have given at his funeral, but was too young to give – maybe a little shorter. You do not have to read 😛 Continue Reading →

Life goes on …

The more observant of you may see that I have not posted for over half a year. This is why…My mother died in mid September after a lengthy period of illness that included minor strokes, frequent trips to hospital with breathing problems and heart problems. Her death certificate was blunt. She died from the results of smoking. She also died at peace. She signed a document instructing medical staff not to revive her and informed them she was no longer eating anything. For someone at around 40 Kg that meant she would not last long. I drove up to Queensland to be with her at the last only to miss out by under two hours. The photo attached to this post was taken in July before I left for Europe.

Continue Reading →

Hello Again World!

Starting to get back online.

The headline is that after a failure at Servage, my blog was corrupted. Several things could be fixed but others could not.

On a new host now at Go Hosting and things are much better. I will reconstruct old posts as I am able to retrieve the content.

Research on WWII

Looking through a lot of online resources, I have been able to get a sense of what my father experienced during his time in the army. There is a book that I need to read called Green Shadows which is a history of the 1st and 2nd New Guinea Battalions where he served in the last months of the war. The ACT Library has it and I can borrow it on Monday. It is clear that he enlisted relatively late – 10 December 1932. This was because he was in an essential occupation, (brick and tile making?) I think. Continue Reading →