Friday, June 4, 2010

Measures of Success

With $8000 in my proverbial pocket, I started dialling some Wine Reps.

I had an idea in mind. The bottle shop needed to cater the 1-5 bottle market, the real convenience of the bottle shop is that a Member could grab a bottle or two on their way to the car. Mostly, people aren't carrying a case to the car, some will but not the core.

The other idea I had was that the primary objective of the bottle shop was to increase membership of the Officers' Mess.

My thoughts on achieving the latter is to expose as many people to the services and at each point offer them a reason to join. In the case of a bottle shop, offer great prices to everyone to increase exposure but at every turn a nagging discount that quickly makes it worthwhile.

But what are the measures of success?
Well we can talk about return on investment, but as a not for profit we really only need to cover the reorder cost of the wine. Maximising profit is actually contra to the core mission of the Mess Committee.

Mess Membership is a poor indicator as there are close to infinite influences.

So then what?

Well the irrational part of me suggests that as good a measurement as any is for it to stock particularly great wines, namely:
Penfolds Bin 407
Elderton Command
Samuel's Gorge Grenache
Teusner Joshua
St Hallett Old Block
Kellermeister Sable

But, even more importantly, to discover new great wines, but that is another tale...
What would your measures of success be? What would your wines of choice be?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

If you build it...

On the 28th of April 2o1o, the Officers' Mess Committee approved a proposal to take over the dilapidated and run down bottle shop facility. In all fairness it wasn't the bottle shop that was dilapidated or run down, but just the stock and the interest.

Without knowing the specifics of the history of bottle shop, I know that the management of it was contracted out. This not only included staffing it, but buying the stock and pricing it. It is difficult to expect a commercial entity to put its capital into Wine on the shelf with limited expectation of a return on investment. Thus begins a downward spiral (invest less money, offer worse deals, nobody comes etc etc)

In many ways it makes sense that the Committee owns the stock. The capital that they have belongs to the Members, the wines bought with it represents a provision of a service to those Members and if profit is only an enabling motive then the Committee makes different decision about investment. This is not a pure ROI problem...

The primary goal of the Committee is to service its Member's needs, a measure of success is the membership ratio (number of Members/number of potential Members). Profit simply acts as an enabler to this effect. Probably not worth pointing out that Lean and Six Sigma doesn't work here...

The Committee agreed to the proposal to relieve the Contractor of their contractual obligation to stock the bottle shop, and this was a mutually beneficial situation due to the unanticipated incentives discussed. The approved budget was $8000 to stock the bottle shop, now the challenging bit began

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Into the Breach

The first of my events as the Wine Officer was the Capital Wines Tasting, well it wasn't the first thing I had done in the role. I had been to meetings, I had been to a Wine Appreciation Dinner (Clovely Estate), I had scheduled events with some of my friends (you will hear about them as they come to pass) and I had ended up hosting the De Bortoli Tasting, but nose to tail the first gig I had was the Capital Wines Tasting.

Now timing can be everything, the first cold weekend in Canberra, the weekend after ANZAC Day... Everyone goes to ground. Straight home, do not pass go, do not stop for free booze!

That told the story, the wines showed well (although the reds opened up with a little warmth) and while I am sure that Jen would've nearly overfilled the room with personality... it doesn't make for a good event if the people don't come...

Things didn't bode well for the Eden Road Wine Tasting

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Australian Defence Force National Australian Football Championships [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]


Department of Defence Media Mail List

MSPA 100/10 Friday, 9 April 2010

Australian Defence Force National Australian Football Championships

What: 2010 Australian Services Australian Football Association (ASAFA)
National Championships.

Why: The championship games will determine the Australian Defence
Force (ADF) national champion men's and women's teams, with Navy the
defending champion in both arenas.

The national carnival also provides the pool of players for
selection in the ADF Men's and Women's All Stars teams, with the ADF
Men's All Stars to play against a Combined Emergency Services team, as
part of a Services Challenge in Adelaide on the Anzac Day weekend.

Where: Whitten Oval
417 Barkly Street, Footscray West, Melbourne

When: The draw is:
Game 1: 14 April - Whitten Oval
1300: Women - Army v RAAF
1500: Men - Army v RAAF

Game 2: 16 April - Whitten Oval
1200: Women - Navy v First game loser
1415: Men - Navy v First game loser

Game 3: 18 April - Whitten Oval
1100: Women - Navy v First game winner
1315: Men - Navy v First game winner

Who: Players and officials will be available for interview in the
lead-up and during the championships. Photo editors are welcome to send
a photographer.

Media note:
The ASAFA National Championship is the major event for Navy, Army and
Air Force footballers and provides an opportunity for players to
represent their respective Service and the ADF. Spirited and fair
competition is the hallmark of the championship and spectators are more
than welcome to witness the high-quality action.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664


Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545
Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at


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and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914.
If you have received this email in error, you are requested to contact
the sender and delete the email.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Handheld Cellphone Bans Don't Reduce Car Crashes After All [Driving]

Unfortunately, the answer will be to up Policing

30 January 2010 5:31
by Brian Barrett

Handheld Cellphone Bans Don't Reduce Car Crashes After All [Driving]

According to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, hand-held phone bans have no effect on the frequency of car crashes. Wait, what?

Now, this seems different from specifically texting while driving, which is demonstrably dangerous. But in the four states the IIHS studied, the implementation of a ban on hand-held phones behind the wheel made no difference in the number of accidents:

Month-to-month fluctuations in rates of collision claims in jurisdictions with bans didn't change from before to after the laws were enacted. Nor did the patterns change in comparison with trends in jurisdictions that didn't have such laws.

Honestly, this makes some sense, given that it's not phones themselves that are the problem, but the distraction they cause. There are plenty of other legal methods of taking your eyes off the road, and a hands-free conversation isn't necessarily any safer than one where you've got your phone in your hand.

It's unlikely that this will cause any states with bans of cellphone use while driving to backtrack, but it may force other local governments to look a little more broadly at what's behind all those collisions. [NY Times via IIHS]

Driving Bans Cellphones Laws Legal Studies

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

‘Legs Tight, Butt Tight, Breathe!’ Inside an Air Force Centrifuge

starWired: Danger Room
27 January 2010 5:29
by Noah Shachtman

‘Legs Tight, Butt Tight, Breathe!’ Inside an Air Force Centrifuge

Reason # 6,247,568,657 why I will never become an Air Force pilot: There’s no freaking way I could pull 7 Gs. Watch these wannabe dogfighters give it a try at the centrifuge at Randolph Air Force Base. The fun starts about 1:55 in.

Air Force Randolph AFB Video Fix

Sent from my iPhone

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010: A belated beginning

I started this post on 17 Jan 2010, but life got in the way... It went a little something like

In the week of heading back to work for 2010 after a generous 2 month holiday, I figure it is time to declare the goals of 2010. I realise this is a little premature given that I haven't reported back on 2009, but I will catch that up in the coming weeks.

This will be a series of posts as I explain the reasons for the goal and how I plan to achieve them, but for now the 2010 Goals:
Health: Waist circumference <= 100cm
Reading: The Bible
Cooking: Sauces and Beer
Finance: Improve my net position by 10%
Family: Spend Quality Time with Hayden and Julie
Study: Finish my 2nd and 3rd Masters Degrees and take my longest break from study since Pre School

I am sure I would've explained a little rationale behind the goals, instead I have drifted along a path. As always, I can't help but think I am exactly where I should be.

Early in the year, I became aware that there was a position on the Canberra Officers' Mess Committee as the Wine Officer. And given that wine is something that I am passionate about, I decided to take it on. The role of the Wine Officer is to nurture the appreciation of Wine among members and provide opportunities to access great drops.

Some of the ways that we this had previously been achieved is through a combination of tastings, Wine Appreciation Dinners and through a bottle shop service. Although only remnants of the Dinners and a shadow of a bottle shop remained.

I will aim to describe the Wine Officer's journey through this Blog over the coming weeks/months.

But before I sign off an update on the original goals:
Health: Start 115cm - Now 105cm
Reading: Not Started
Cooking: Not Started
Finance: Improved by 7.5%
Family: What does that mean?
Study: Two assignments and two subjects remaining in MSysEng

New Goals:
Health: Spend 45mins/day exercising averaged over the week