Presentation skills

George Negus, the aging sex symbol, on Information Technology

George Negus, who actually isn’t all that fond of being referred to as an aging sex symbol, gave a presentation in Perth at the wonderful venue of the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

He was discussing many things and was thoroughly entertaining, and at the conclusion of his speech answered some questions. I had my hand in the air to ask a question, and before he got to me, he launched on a tyraid about information technology:

“Ask yourself, what has information technology actually done ever done for anyone? Absolutely nothing..”. George proceeded to let rip and then asked for my question.

“Hi George, my name is Justin Davies from Ross Technology, a technology services company……”

Pause, and some general laughter….

“Well, now you mention it, the internet is pretty useful for research and I actually use it everyday…..”

George wasn’t at all wedded to a view that Information Technology and computers are useless; he just wanted a debate. He wanted to get stuck in and argue a point to get a better understanding. He particularly wanted people to think – he most certainly didn’t want people to just nod their heads. And he was also most generous, and I now have a signed copy of one of his books.

How does that relate to The Smell of Good Business?

In my view, not enough decisions or widely held points of view are actively debated enough. A bloody good heated debate, and judicious use of the F word does wonders in quickly test driving a proposition. But you must ensure it is the best idea and not the most strongest personality that wins.

So, I also invite debate. Let me know what you think….

6 thoughts on “George Negus, the aging sex symbol, on Information Technology

  1. This is one of the lost arts of business in my opinion – the debate. People are so precious about their viewpoint and no-one wants to tread on toes. It’s nauseating. Give me a good debate anytime. It shouldn’t be personal, it should be very clearly about the issues – then get into it! “It’s a stupid idea because …” is far better than “It’s a stupid idea!”

    And if you want to lay the blame anywhere, look at the media. There is no debate we just get fed what they want tell the public. There is little balanced argument beyond a 2 second sound bite.

    So, next time you see George, tell him he’s not an aging sex symbol, he’s just an aging Luddite!! 🙂 Let’s see him debate his way out of that!!

  2. Thanks for the comment Bill, I’ve got to agree with you.

    One scenario that I did discover that seemed to be different was in talking with Peter Wesley, the former MD of Wesfarmers Rural. I was fortunate enough to have a chat with him recently, and was discussing some of the fantastic leadership team at Wesfarmers including Michael Chaney and Richard Goyder.

    He mentioned the Agenti method, which was used to thoroughly analyse any business plan, and really thoroughly consider – debate if you will – the options. His last comment was the one that made most impression on me – “We always, always hit our 5 year targets in our business plan by the end of year 3. And they weren’t easy targets.”

    Perhaps the message here is that a systematic approach to assessing ideas leads to a company where good debate is the norm.

    Thanks for the post, and I look forward to more great ideas on your blog as well.

  3. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Cheers

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