With that was the realisation that when someone says that of you without having met, you have achieved respect in the online world and managed to make a real connection through words and deeds.
Andreas has me pegged... I am a natural born helper. I enjoy helping others either using my own expertise or recruiting great people from my network with the right know how. For me to appear in this series, is interesting for whilst not quite an online rebel, as Steve and Roger know I do not fully buy into the ethos. I network quite simply because I enjoy it, I am not here to sell anything.
To me networking is about listening... everyone has something to say.
To me networking is about doing... unless you take action nothing happens.
Finally in online networking, we are all truly equal until something proves otherwise.
In my day job, I trained as an accountant in the days of LSD.. and I do mean pounds shillings and pence.
Whilst working as company accountant for a firm in Blackburn I first came across computers. Does anyone remember the Commodore Pet? I went to a demonstration of payroll accounting, and in 30 minutes the computerised payroll system did what it took me a day to do. That was the beginning of a journey which continues to the day... I learnt how to design and code software.
My first foray into commercial software was designing a system for travel agents which we called Travelog. It sold well throughout the UK. I then decided to become involved with Sage Software and became with friends a dealer. We sold Sage Accounting systems into many businesses in the Northwest.
Three of them were manufacturers... and Sage did not have a system which catered for their needs and did not have the expertise to write one. I persuaded the three of them that I could, and so over the following two years, working together we create a system for manufacturers.
I then started to demonstrate the system to other manufacturers and at one of them I met my business partner Marilyn who was able to sell systems in the Midlands which is why I now live there close to the customer base.
In the intervening years we heard Sage needed Bill of Materials expertise and after fighting off the competition we literally sold coals to Newcastle. This led to our systems being sold via the Sage dealer network and as Sage were selling in Australia, we visited Melbourne and Sidney many many times.
The software was also the reason we travelled to Nagoya, Japan at the invitation of Toyoda. We taught them about UK manufacturing systems and we learned first hand all about Just in Time. It was an amazing experience. They bought the software and helped us to improve the system. We developed a system for distributors and now this and the manufacturing software are our core products. I am very fortunate to enjoy my work, helping to provide ongoing live support and to count my customers amongst my friends.
I was not born an optimist or at least if I was it took a life changing event to make me realise I should be.
I know the exact day my life changed...
I was at my wife Doreen's bedside in the hospice and we were discussing the future for our two sons. Paul was 19 and at university in Manchester and James was just about to take his gcse mock exams.
Just six months before Doreen, James and I had been having the time of our lives travelling the length and breadth of Australia. Even sitting out a hurricane in Cairns could not dampen our spirits. Doreen was at home there, as she was most places and my best friend was having a wonderful time.
So much had happened in the intervening months and now we were planning a future without Doreen being part of it. It seemed so unreal and unfair.
Doreen was attractive, intelligent , caring and much much more and we were mere months away from our 25th wedding anniversary. I could not be angry for there was nobody to be angry at. Tears yes, but anger no. Sometimes we just feel so powerless and empty. In that moment sat at the bedside talking to Doreen, I learned that we owe it to ourselves to make the most of each and every day. For we can never know what the future holds and that our time ,love and caring are the greatest gifts we can bestow on our family and friends.
There was one promise that I made that night , to devote myself to ensuring that both Paul and James always felt our love and support and that I do everything in my power to be sure they were both happy. So it was then that something in me changed and I started on the path to becoming an optimist for rest of my life. Ten years on James is happily married to Karen and both are on the corporate ladder to success. Paul and Kate are equally successful, and are one of the happiest couples I know and both my sons would make their mother proud.
And I have rebuilt a happy and fulfilling life, with help from family and friends old and new. Everybody has the free choice each and every day to decide how to spend their day.
Our thoughts determine our actions, positive thoughts bring positive actions and results.
My online networking life began by reading a book.. 'Awaken The Giant Within' by Anthony Robbins about eight years ago. Something within the book struck a chord and I decided to join the Anthony Robbins online community. I was amazed by the warm reception I received and the genuine support that members provided for each other. So when I chanced upon Ecademy, I was more than pleasantly surprised to experience the same sense of Community.
But nothing happens unless you make it... one day I read a blog by Freddy and his outlook in those words resonated with me, I wrote to Freddy.. .within days the Optimism forum was born.
We are the 11th busiest group on Ecademy... not bad out of 6041 groups. We have helped many people make a start of realising their dreams. Freddy and I, indeed all the members, have and will rally round to provide help to anyone who asks.
A weekly column from Clare, author of Time Management for Dummies, which is interesting, positive and highly informative.
A weekly skype Chat at 7pm every Thursday, which I run, it has been running since 19th October 2006 and everyone is welcome to join in.
Over the years we have held meetings in the UK and throughout Europe. On a personal note I have made many long term friends through the forum. Freddy is the eternal optimist... I am the pragmatic optimist.
Open Minded Days... getting people to think and work together.
We held our first day last year , are siting out the recession and are probably going to hold a new one in 2010. This was a case of a group of people who hitherto had engaged only online, creating an event which worked. The team consisted of Andrew, Jim, Maurice and Vladimir with a strong supporting cast.
The Best Website Competition. Sarah and Irina and I ran the best Website Competition on Ecademy. We had assistance from Steve, Barbara, Chole, Sally, Delphine and Sandeep. This really was a cross continent virtual team working remotely judging 60 entries and finding a deserved winner. The volume of work undertaken still amazes me, especially by Irina.
BBT.. Business Blog Tuesday was the brainchild of Sarah and with help from me and Irina, it ran for many weeks promoting blogging on Ecademy.
ECOM is a system I designed which stores all your Ecademy and LinkedIn contacts in one place and makes them available off line. There is a windows version which I support and a Mac version which Dan created and supports.
The Ecademy Twitter League and now the Ecademy Twitter Lists are my ongoing contribution to the Ecademy world.
If I could I would spend my days travelling, there are several places which have become favourites over the years.
Truly an island of dreams... memories of clear blue skies, coral reefs, fish swimming in a clear blue sea, mai tai's and much much more. Bula!
In Singapore, East meets West and I have spent many weeks with friends simply soaking up the diversity of a great city.
Melbourne is truly a cosmopolitan city, and I an fortunate to have visited many times over the years. It is a place I instantly felt at home, and this was due do the people I met, the temperate climate, the sheer beauty of the country and quite possibly Australian wines.
The Online world
Over the years I have been fortunate to meet many of the people I have encountered online, and to me that is the ultimate aim of online networking. Sometimes however it is not possible to meet, we can be divided by thousands of miles. This brings me to Irina, a true friend, who successfully manages to bridge the thousands of miles between Saratov and her friends in the UK and Europe. We live in exciting times as far as the online world goes.
I am a member here on Ecademy, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, Superfan and Last Thursday. Each of them is unique, with varying feature sets and differing outlooks, the one thing they have in common is some amazing people. I do enjoy helping people, I do jump in where angels fear to tread sometimes, and will always do so.
I enjoy researching and mastering new systems and am fortunate to be able to beta test many systems before they become public. Thus if someone seeks help, it is willingly offered... I especially love helping people who are willing to go out on a limb and create something new.
This brings me back to Nick and Vanessa and I am as excited as they are about #theNTShow, an innovation on Twitter.
I simply am the 'techie behind the techie' providing help and support and solving problems.
I contribute guest technical blogs to both Nikki and Sarah's websites.
At this moment I am looking forward to meetings next week in Stratford and to seeing many more of you in the coming months and years.. The journey continues.
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