For a long time, we liked to kid ourselves that Tasmania is a ‘natural laboratory’ that’s home to a world-class research community. This is not and never was true. But it could be.
Sure, we have some top-notch researchers doing amazing stuff here. You don’t have to dig very deep to find them. Add to that our indisputable advantages in certain niche areas such as marine science, biotechnology, forestry, and health, and the potential is impressive indeed.
Our state is geographically and ecologically diverse, clean and green, effectively self contained, and it offers a lifestyle appealing to many people.
But we need to stop saying things like we’re an ideal base, and that we’re a hub of research activity, and, instead, prove it. This is eminently achievable in Tasmania, much more so than it would be in any other Australian region. The outcome would be unique and serve as an extremely solid marketing and promotional tool for our state.
Our state could become a small-world network.
As the MC ended her intro and revved up the audience for the last performer of the night, Rachel the barmaid plonked her teatowel on the sink and took the stage, to rapturous applause. Who will get me my beer now, I thought, but only briefly, as the beer FOMO was quickly replaced with, What the Budweiser is going on here?
Turns out, Rachel Joan is one of New York’s finest stand-up comics. She also runs Old Man Hustle, a tiny twelve-seat dive bar on the Lower East Side of Manhattan next to a Hebrew religious goods store. The comedy show she organises virtually every night at 8pm is free. And bloody good. The Hebrew store closes at 6, just so you know.
Somehow, me and the missus scored two of the highly-coveted bar stools, despite arriving a few minutes after the advertised kick-off time. When the show started a few minutes later there were another dozen or so folks standing, cramped into the narrow space between us and the wall. A capacity house.
At this point we were yet to learn that our gifted barmaid (I say ‘gifted’ because I know one when I see one) was the headline act.
The MC took the stage to the usual whoops and hurrahs, the audience high on anticipation, or at least on a gutful of the $3 Genesee-and-a-shot-of-tequilas so popular in the area.
I have it on good authority that explicitly quantifying what you’re writing about in the title of your story leads to a higher click-through rate. That’s a shame, because so often the “Six things you didn’t know about cataracts” or “Eight reasons not to believe a digital marketer” stories can leave you feeling a little ripped off. You get the impression that somewhat less work has gone into that particular list than went into, say, the three laws of thermodynamics. In an article I saw recently, “Seven ways to get a flight upgrade”, the number-one tip was:
Be a frequent flyer.
As if you can decide while you’re in the check-in queue to magically become one. You either are or you are not a frequent flyer with that airline, and speaking as someone with a bit of travel-hacking experience I can tell you that anyone who is not a frequent flyer need not trouble themselves with the remaining tips in that particular article. Smile all you like, dress to the nines, if you ain’t Platinum status you’ll sit where you’re bloody well told, you cheeky sod.
Anyway, thanks for indulging me. To the point of my essay, which I could argue segues nicely from the frequent-flying gripe because it was a plane trip to Japan that prompted the idea.
Here are some ‘objectives’ I randomly plucked out of three current government strategic plans. You know the type of document: the one that sits on the organisation’s website to demonstrate that they’re on the ball and forward thinking. It'll be apparent that it’s a strategy document because it will have the words ‘strategic plan’ in the title.
Serious stories about communication
told in a silly voice.
I dig a little deeper than most comms folk. From science at university, to a cold-and-wet career as a commercial diver, to working underground, and for the past 15 years as a communicator-at-large, I've had my fair share of weird experiences in all sorts of situations. It's given me a fair-to-middling grounding in all things explanatory.