Why I love the internet

by Alistair Helm in

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The truth is, this post is not trying to 'boil the ocean' to fully articulate why I love the internet - that would take pages and pages and I might end up boring you with all the great advances, services and experience we take for granted today that we never thought possible just a few years ago.

The truth is this article is in celebration of a friend of mine (I call him a friend as by virtue of the web, I follow him - although we have not met for many year, we worked together briefly a decade ago). He - being Richard Westney, otherwise known by his twitter handle of @HRmanNZ as you might infer is a professional HR Manager. His twitter profile states 'trying to raise the HR/Recruitment bar' thorough the use of social media.

I share a kindred spirit with Richard as my modest ambition is, in a somewhat parallel way, trying to raise the bar on real estate from both the perspective of greater consumer understanding of the property market and from the industry perspective trying to create greater transparency around processes as well as to shine a light around efficiency and professionalism all empowered by digital technology. My impact may be small, but my ambition knows no bounds!

Richard writes an engaging blog called "Up the Down Escalator" in which he shares insights and opinions on the HR industry and all it's different guises and forms and is never shy in expressing his opinion. This 'platform' is what I love about the internet and what I love about the freedom and efficiency of being able to 'publish' thoughts, insights, opinions and even musings on matters that are a trigger to wider issues, everyday issues and challenging issues - having them able to be found by everyone who has a desire to read and comment on them in an open manner - all for less than the cost of a meal per year (if you exclude the cost of time taken to write). I feel an overriding desire to thank Google for without Google we would always be the poorer for not being able to be able to find such inspiration and thereby allow those who wish to have a voice to be heard and respected.

Richard recently posted an article titled appropriately "The 12 blogs of Christmas - my gift to you!" in which he has collated and curated 12 other practitioners within the HR industry to share his platform to communicate their thoughts to a wider audience, as he says people who in some cases do publish on their own site or not but who benefit from the aggregated audience platform that Richard has created around his very specialised area of interest which is HR.

My specialised are of interest is property and the real estate industry and I would welcome anyone from that industry to share their thoughts and opinions and I will gladly provide for them a platform to share their views with a wider audience at this time of year - a time for giving. Drop me a line or post your thoughts as a comment on this article.

The internet is the democratisation of communication, in a world becoming paranoid by fears of spying and interception of data we should not allow our paranoid fears blame the internet, the internet is a great asset. The internet does not spy on us - governments and organisations are the agents of such actions - justified or otherwise - yes we fear invasion of privacy but humans have grappled with just such challenges for centuries. More than a hundred years ago with the invention of the camera and recorded film people were wary of the loss of privacy, again in the later decades with the invention of audio recording and latterly video recording just such concerned were again aired. Each time people established new processes and behaviour that not only dealt with the issues but benefited from the innovation. It is called progress and it seldom happens without some cost.

I am pleased to be living in this era and able to take advantage of the opportunity of the internet, how it has enabled us to communicate in an open manner, to foster innovation as the internet knows no boundaries and no politics, it is at its heart a sharing ecosystem; computer to computer, person to person, object to object - owned by no one, company or government yet maintained by us all for the common good - an ideal, certainly, but one we have achieved in lightening speed that can only accelerate.

I value the opportunity to be able to share my thoughts, opinions, insights and views and just like Richard and many other specialists in this country and internationally I think we all benefit from the collective contribution. My congratulations to Richard on his platform and community, here's to many more such people.





The price of property / the price of talent – why the secrecy?

by Alistair Helm in


I have in the past commented about the fact that a significant number of properties on the market are advertised without an asking price – the endless substitutes of “By Negotiation”, “Offers”, “Auction” and “Price on Application” to name but a few amount to over 11,600 properties on the market today. It is my opinion that all properties should be presented for sale with a clear indicative price – this is the way property is marketed in most other countries, so why are we so different here is NZ?

The answer may have been provided by the article I found today by a respected commentator on the HR industry – Richard Westney in his article dramatically titled “Show me the Money!!” shares the very same surprise and frustration as to why job adverts are not posted more often with a salary range. He smartly in his article draws reference to the potential for this behaviour to be hard wired into the kiwi mentality after all, he says “We do the same with houses. Everyone has an idea of what they want when they are selling, so why not just say so?

Richard I salute you for championing this issue, even if property is not your forte!

What I found very enlightening in this comparison between advertising of jobs and homes was the comments from readers of his article. A valid comment was made as to confidential information of a salary range for the recruitment within a company where the role being advertised might have incumbents on the same level. This question was answered very well in the ensuing dialogue. However returning to the property market, such an excuse would have no foundation as there are no identical properties which could take harm from such information becoming public – in most cases such information is seen as beneficial.

Property for sale should have a clear price or at least price range. I believe that a lot of the current frustrations in the Auckland property market in particular result from buyers seeking out properties based on CV and setting their expectations based on this (no need to reiterate how I think this is so misleading and should be ditched!). If agents were to advertise property with a realistic expectation of the likely price range we may find that the buyers approach property more realistically, thereby avoiding wasting their time (and money) on property that turns out to be beyond their budget. That would bring more efficiency to the market, all it would take would be a bit more transparency.