The slow and long road back to the office ..

July 13, 2021

Oh…you want me to deliver the session in person, in Dublin?

This was a simple enquiry to facilitate a social media strategy session to a group from an organisation and then provide some specific bespoke training on one of the social media platforms.

We were having the usual conversation except the only sticking point was that they wanted a full day session with their group and I was trying to discourage this.

I find that if you stay at training too long then people get tired and what they learn in the morning they end up forgetting in the afternoon. It’s best if they get a chance to slowly digest, process and try it out for themselves.

I normally suggest half day sessions, when everyone stays fresh and then allowing a week in between so that everyone can practice and then come back to progress further.

It must be on the one day because we have the hotel booked” she said.

It was only then that the penny dropped and I understood why she wanted it on the same day.

This threw me as I hadn’t been faced with this in a long time and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it.

Ok, lets do it ..

As it turned out there was a mix up with the hotel booking on their end and the training was cancelled (after all that !!) and while I was disappointed a big part of me was delighted!

I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect and disruption of it.

Travelling and delivering training sessions in person was part and parcel of the last 10 years (pre Covid), but the truth of it is that I have been doing this from the comfort of my little home office (converted bedroom) for the last 16 months and it works really well.

It’s convenient for me and participants, I’ve tweaked my delivery for online and it works really well, it’s cost effective and it also means they get a fresh “Greg” who isn’t after driving for a few hours and all that goes with it.

The big conversation that I was having with myself was “how inconvenient and pointless” that travelling/in person/ hotel experience would be compared to the very convenient way that I have replaced it with, and with no negative impact on the learning experience.

However, I do love the face to face in person training and as a social creature I love the energy you get back from a “live” group and the special learning dynamic that can happen. This will always have it’s place but only when necessary.

I know my simple example of this in person training session will be replicated very soon with so many of those things we have all been doing in the course of our work while working from home.

People have had to take on board new work habits which are now deeply embedded and there are parts about these that are very convenient as well as being cost and life effective and they won’t want to give them up too easily.

We can all talk about hybrid but this could be a very slow and long road back to the office and we need to be really careful to preserve what is working because it is possible to get the job done and ….

Win Happy!

Greg

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Darnella Frazier and George Floyd

May 25, 2021

Something huge happened on the 25th May, 2020 when Derek Chauvin and his “diligent colleagues” murdered George Floyd by crushing his ability to breathe, which resulted in his unnecessary death.

Unfortunately and very sadly this incident had happened many times before with black people in the United States where there still is a colossal problem with racism, which was clearly made worse by the hateful divisive rhetoric of Donald Trump who gave extra oxygen to this raw hatred, in some way justifying and even encouraging these actions by the perpetrators.

While the incident was unbearable to watch and quite inconceivable to a world audience, what made it “huge” isn’t that it happened, it is that we were able to see what happened with our own eyes.

While these policemen are all now equipped with body cameras (for transparency reasons and protection) it clearly makes no difference to their actions as their superiors are ignoring the evidence, but thankfully they can’t ignore what “we” record and what we are able to publish.

The George Floyd case is very similar to the equally shocking Ronald Greene “lynching” by police in Louisiana two years ago, where police footage has only now come to light (it was leaked) to show he was murdered and not involved in a one person car accident as reported.

In the case of George Floyd, 17 year old Darnella Frazier took out her mobile phone and was inspired to record the shocking incident that she was witnessing with her own eyes and she posted it on Facebook for us all to see.

Poor Darnella broke down in court because of the guilt of not being able to do more, but in truth what she did created a huge moment in time, one that will hopefully change our world for the better.

While I have many issues with where social media is going between the “selfie” perfect world scenario on one side and the vitriol on the other, with a smartphone and a public platform you too have the ability to change the world.

A regular 17 year old going about her business with her 9 year old cousin did that on the 25th May.

Greg

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

I’m ready to buy. Are you ready to sell?

April 30, 2021

So the time was right.

We had engaged with this particular service provider before, but the time wasn’t quite right then for us to get value for the service provided so we didn’t engage.

However, they recently reached out and this time the time was right, it was actually spot on and we were ready to do business, so I accepted the offer of a Zoom call to discuss.

On the Zoom call they presented their service and explained how it had developed since before, and I carefully explained why we were ready to engage with them and I further explained precisely how their service could assist us.

The meeting went great, they seemed to understand what we needed and they said they would get back to me with a proposal that would outline precisely how they could assist us and with costings.

It was the hot lead ready to be brought through the door, so very nearly there.

We received a generic proposal, similar to what they had presented on the Zoom call and with quite confusing modular pricing and no reference to the actual solution that we needed and what we had discussed.

This was followed up with a generic follow up message from sort of an automated CRM system, that made no reference to our meeting or the follow up proposal.

I responded to their proposal asking for some clarification and quite honestly I am none the wiser as it gave me a bunch of modules and options that were difficult to navigate with no attempt to create the bespoke package of services that I know will meet my needs.

A simple “further to our meeting and based on your requirements you outlined, what would work best for you is a combination of module 1 and module 3 and some extra consultancy hours and this will cost €xxxx

Unfortunately, they want me to try to figure out the part that I need them to figure out!

I’m not sure if they know it, but we were nearly over the line.

I was ready to buy, but I’m not sure if they are ready to sell.

Greg

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The special gift of music – the playlist with Declan Murphy of THE 4 OF US

March 30, 2021

Music has played a special role in my life, ever since a Spanish student that was staying with us one summer in 1977 and he had brought his tape recorder and a selection of his favourite albums.

I spent weeks, night after night listening to bands like ELO, Supertramp and the wonderful Lou Reed and I was hooked.

The first proper album I bought for myself was The Boomtown Rats debut album, while I was staying with my aunt and uncle for a few days in Dungarvan when I was 13.

My first concert was Thin Lizzy at the City Hall in Cork when I was just 14, quickly followed by Eric Clapton and then Rory Gallagher.

As well as being an avid collector I ended up doing some work with local bands for a short while and even though I never managed to fulfil my dream of working in a record company, I did mange to fulfil another one, which was owning my own record stores in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Dublin. They were called BlackTrack.

I still buy music the whole time, but I do think you can miss a trick and never listen to some gems, so at the beginning of this lockdown 2021, I decided to brighten my year and expand my collection by asking the wonderful, Declan Murphy, songwriter and guitarist with one of my favourite bands, THE 4 OF US to pick out his favourite 12 albums, one for each month of the year.

He shared his list with me on the Win Happy podcast as well as having a big chat about his love of music, the joy of collecting music, the band and his fascinating story.

The conversation ended up being a huge one that stretched over three parts and he totally cheated by managing to squeeze in 16 classic albums. Even though I have a big collection, I was surprised that I just had two of his 16 – in the meantime I’ve managed to get hold of the other 14 and am loving each and every single one of them.

He was very gracious and didn’t include any of the THE 4 OF US albums, he could have as they are all brilliant.

Let me know if you agree with his choices.. 

As I say, enjoy the show!

Part 1 : Must listen to music to brighten up 2021!

Part 2: Its just too personal to me

Part 3: Happy Accidents

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day and looking in the Covid rear view mirror

March 18, 2021

So, the ISAG (Independent Scientific Advocacy Group) last December were advocating for an approach (mostly known as Zero Covid), that they said would have us out of lockdown and enjoying some return to freedom on St. Patrick’s Day.

They were talking about a similar approach to how New Zealand had dealt with Covid, whereby we could potentially be enjoying a mask free life in our country, meeting friends, eating in restaurants, drinking in pubs, celebrating our special national day and most importantly getting “Back to Normal”.

I myself was a big advocate for the approach they were taking, as I believed it made total sense and was the only way for us to get out of our grave situation with minimum loss of life, health, jobs, damage to the economy and mental health.

I went as far as blogging about it, tweeting about it and even giving their team some pro-bono strategic guidance about their communications – we even did some design work to help simplify their messaging. I am not involved now, but I do support what they are doing.

Note: I was quiet surprised at the abuse I took in some quarters for supporting that approach and was even targeted by the “brilliant” Gript crew (…very strange). The “we are all in this together” horse bolted in April 2020 and still hasn’t come back!

On one hand we can now throw our eyes up to heaven and say the ISAG crew were talking rubbish and isn’t where we are right now proof that they were totally wrong

OR ..we can now look back and say they were spot on all along, and if only we had done what they said then, we would be in a pub with a creamy pint of Murphy’s toasting our national day and the end to the hardship we have all endured at varying levels.

So…were they right or were they wrong?

Let’s take a look..

What they were advocating for was:

  • An aggressive suppression of the virus by going into a sharp, decisive lockdown
  • Quarantining all visitors to the country for two weeks to ensure those entering were not introducing even more Covid and possible new variants
  • Some cooperation with Northern Ireland (who were in a worse mess at the time) about people moving between jurisdictions
  • An effective contact tracing regime to focus in on any cases that happen
  • A sensible opening up of the country on a county by county basis

While all of this initial effort seemed very extreme, a sacrifice by the population for two months or so could have us in a much better, enjoyable place for 2021 while we all waited for vaccines.

Initially many of the usual suspects argued that this “Zero Covid” crew were a bit nuts and what was being suggested just wasn’t possible here – as I said I took a small amount of that abuse for my small part in advocating for the approach.

When we look at what has happened since then until this St. Patrick’s Day (our supposed “freedom” day):

  • We came out of the October/November lockdown when there were still too many cases in the community (we stupidly allowed schools to stay open despite outbreaks)
  • We never controlled international travel or the border with the North
  • Christmas shopping and entertaining kicked in
  • The UK variant came to Ireland with all of the thousands of people returning home for Christmas and….

BOOM !!!

We had an explosion of Covid with an incredible amount of cases and the inevitable deaths that followed.

Suddenly that aggressive and inevitable lockdown was needed and there was no issue with the general public, we knew it was necessary and with that more and more people were seeing the sense that the ISAG crew were advocating for, except instead of a “hill” of Covid cases in the community that we needed to suppress it was suddenly a colossal “mountain”.

OK, we could still do what the ISAG were suggesting, but the scale of the problem meant the St. Patrick’s Day target was now unrealistic, but instead a few weeks later if we did the right thing.

What did we actually do?

  • We took the tough lockdown on the chin, including home schooling (sensible and necessary) – the only exception is that the lockdown period needed to be longer (how long will it be?)
  • And…a token effort to restrict “unnecessary” travel (as we know there are still thousands travelling each week unnecessarily)
  • And….despite the talk about hotel quarantining we still haven’t managed to put an arrangement in place
  • And….schools will return and the community spread will kick off again
  • And….we are stumbling through a vaccination programme (my 85 year old mum will receive her 2nd vaccination next Saturday , my 47 year old brother in New Jersey received his two weeks ago!)

The most significant problem since December is that the flights kept coming with all sorts of visitors from everywhere including new Covid variants from Brazil and other places.

A simple question may be asked: how bloody stupid are we in this country?

Basically, we can’t go beyond 5kms in Ireland, but you can go to Lanzarote!

As far back as last summer Ireland has been “so good” at putting restrictions on it’s citizens, but for some stupid reasons that I will never fathom we have to leave the back door open, which leaves us on this St. Patrick’s Day, not free but looking into a fog of uncertainty with no plan, a shambles of a vaccination rollout and staring down the barrel of a 2021 and even more hardship and economic devastation.

As well as the high number of deaths and sickness since December, the other very serious problem now is that people have lost patience and lost faith and compounded by extremely poor communications a very depressed country is ready to explode.

So, a big salute to the dedicated ISAG crew who persisted with their very simple, spot on approach that could have had us raising our glasses together in our favourite watering holes.

You were right, all along and for whatever political reasons those in power did not do the “5%” that would have us out of this mess.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The very special Natasha Lynch

February 22, 2021

Natasha Lynch

At the end of a long work day we could be found trudging from the office weighed down by the usual stresses, challenges and issues, on the way to retrieving the car from the car park and heading home.

And there she would be, and regardless of the day that you have had it immediately would get better.

She was beautiful, inside and out.

When you would bump into Natasha at anytime you were 100% guaranteed to get a warm, friendly greeting, full of enthusiasm and positivity and she would always leave you with a hug and a feeling like your whole world had brightened up, at least for a while.

Of course she was a great business woman and of course she was a really lovely person, but that gift of making everyone that she met feel immediately better was really special and something that will be a huge loss.

Natasha, you were loved by many and will be missed by so many more and a sincere thanks for making me feel so good every time that we met.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Wayne, her two boys, her dad Tony and the many friends, colleagues and students who all had the benefit of some of her precious time on this earth. Her greatest legacy is that her kindness and brightness will no doubt live on in all those she interacted with, even if just for a moment.

Natasha, they will be lucky to have you up there

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Saying “let’s do it” when most of us just wouldn’t dare!

February 18, 2021

Ciara O'Toole - Going Solo on Lake Como

I’m sure we have all been away on holidays in a special place and you pass an auctioneers window and gaze at the houses for sale and think “what if“?

While it’s a nice dream, quickly after 60 seconds you rationalise and the dream is gone.

For me that place would definitely be Siena in Italy, and while I have had this idea for a while I can think quickly for a bunch of very logical and rational reasons why it just couldn’t work …maybe when I retire (isn’t that the easy way of dodging the thought? )

If Covid has taught us anything, it is that you can get your work done from anywhere, hasn’t it? Of course, there are other reasons why I can’t and it doesn’t take me long to list them in my head.

Ciara O’Toole, our very special friend and her husband gazed at that window in Lake Como and decided “lets do it“!!

She was just married, without a word of Italian, a house in Dublin with a big mortgage and a great career as a marketer…crazy idea Ciara!

What I love about her is her adventurous spirit, that ability to “go for it” without a strong safety net and hey, let’s see what happens!

In Ciara’s case lots happened, including a few nasty bumps and wonderful experiences but it has been and continues to be a great adventure!

Did I tell you she learnt how to fly a sea plane and wrote a book about the experience?

If you get a chance at all you might read her book “Going Solo on Lake Como” and maybe tune into the episode of the Win Happy podcast with this intelligent, funny, adventurer, marketeer, entrepreneur, author and pilot who tells her incredible story that is full of many twists and turns!

Let’s celebrate those who say “Let’s do it”, and maybe think about that being you next time you look at that window. 

Check out Ciara’s website by clicking on this link

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Pushing out to the edges..

February 7, 2021

Dave Grohl

I was reading an interview in the Irish Times weekend Magazine with the singer/songwriter and guitarist of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl where he was chatting about their new album, ‘Medicine at Midnight‘.

The band are a few decades into their career and Dave had also been the drummer with Nirvana, and just 25 years old when that band finished due to the death of Kirk Cobain. I wonder did he play that famous gig in Sir Henry’s in Cork – were you there?

The Foo Fighters are a huge band and they have a big following and with each new album there must be a pressure to stick to the “winning formula” and style that has earned them so many loyal fans, or do they refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and go down new paths, that could be quite risky musically and commercially.

In the interview Dave says “You have to feel comfortable and confident enough to push out to the edges a little bit every time you do it – otherwise it’s just not fun, it’s just not exciting

My question for you is – is this just the privilege of musicians, writers and artists to think like this?

Is it just these types of people that can have that luxury of “pushing what they do out to the edges” just because life gets boring and less fun, or can that thinking apply to all of us?

This life of ours isn’t a rehearsal. and we do owe it to ourselves to “push out to the edges” – of course we have to pay the bills, but we can also refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and explore some new paths.

The opposite is just too big a price to pay..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

Art and the things we are missing..

January 30, 2021

White Horse Ballincollig

I was chatting to Brendan, my son who is in the middle of his 14 day “luxury” stay at the ‘Holiday Inn’ in Auckland in New Zealand as part of their two week mandatory quarantine period.

The one thing that really struck me from that conversation was him describing the very surprising sense of overwhelming relief of being away from Ireland, from being away from restrictions, from being away from constant thoughts about hand sanitising, keeping our distance, mask wearing, not hugging, walking past our favourite establishments which are all closed, inevitably chatting about it with everyone and listening to the incessant dark news feed, and living each day under a very dark Covid cloud. 

He thought he was managing the whole thing fine, getting on with things as we all do BUT … it has been non stop and it has been creeping into all of us incrementally in a way that we I’m not sure that we will fully appreciate until it’s all well and truly behind us.

(You can hear this conversation on the Win Happy Podcast by clicking this link).

In tandem with this conversation, I was reading a very interesting piece in the New York Times by Melissa Kirsch about the huge role that art plays in our lives.

She wrote about “how we are all waiting for things to open up so we can resume what we think of as normal life” and the fact that this simple idea suddenly feels daunting.

She wrote about “the promise of going to a play, hearing live music or standing awed before a painting that much more exciting to anticipate

We have been missing so much, it is hurting in ways that we haven’t been able to fully process and the sooner we get back to all of those simple pleasures we can start to heal and living again.

I’m imagining a fantastic meal with friends in The White Horse in Ballincollig, before heading upstairs to their beautiful, intimate and very special venue to watch a gig. Maybe it’s THE 4 Of US, Mark Geary, John Spillane,  Jack O’Rourke, David Syme, the White Horse Guitar Club or Allman Brown. Whoever it is I’m imagining being back there, standing at the bar chatting to the barman and waiting for another feast of music to top up my soul.

I miss it.. 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Thank you friend..

January 20, 2021

Men's friendship

Maybe it was something that I specifically said in my email about a bad nights sleep or maybe there was just a hint in the some of my other content, that I was under a little bit of a cloud yesterday?

Whatever it was, like all good friends he sensed that my mood wasn’t quite what it should be.

Within minutes my phone rang and it was him.

We chatted about work, about football about Covid and about families and of course he did ask me why I was a bit off colour and not sleeping. He did get it out of me that this was getting close to Dad’s anniversary, and at this time three years ago we were watching him gradually fade away, day after day and the sad memories were weighing heavily on me.

As always, a problem shared is a problem halved and we also got the chance to talk about how he was feeling – his dad sadly passed towards the end of last year.

I am so grateful to my friend for taking time out of his busy day to reach out – it took away the cloud.

So today, and all days, pay close attention to those you love and your colleagues to what they are saying and how they are saying it, and if you can make the time, reach out.

Thank you Roger..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland