TUMI Gets Acquired

When I started traveling a lot to speak at conferences, present workshops, and help organisations with their collaboration journey my luggage was … pretty basic. It worked, but it didn’t hold up well to my demanding life on the road. And some of the early new luggage and bag purchases I made didn’t do any better either – seams ripping (Victorinox), wheels falling off (Samsonite), shoulder straps coming undone on laptop bags (Mandarina Duck). As a luggage newbie I thought I was spending good money to get good luggage, but the promise was not always matched by the reality. After the shoulder strap came undone on my laptop bag while I was carrying it, I purchased my first TUMI laptop bag in Hong Kong on the way back to New Zealand after a European tour. Given the high price of TUMI, I’d always held off spending the money, even though I’d eyed them in many locations around the world. While that was my first TUMI, it wasn’t the last – and it did pretty much stop me buying any other luggage brands. Given the quality and workmanship of the TUMI products, I didn’t want anything else.

With respect to the wheel falling off, I had purchased a new Samsonite suitcase in Sweden in October 2010, and then on the very next trip a month later (November 2010), one of the wheels fell off the suitcase while I was walking to my second-to-last meeting in London before catching a flight back to New Zealand. I was not happy. I vowed never to use that suitcase again, and so purchased a new suitcase on the Strand (not the cheapest place on earth) to get me home. The broken Samsonite was repaired when I got back to New Zealand, but I have never used it again.

So it is with some trepidation that I see that my not favourite luggage brand is buying my favourite luggage brand. Samsonite, please don’t break TUMI.

Hello World

It has been a while since I have written here, and the simple reason is that due to sickness in my family, I needed to take a few months away from work to care for my wife and children. I was able to complete a few short duration projects during those months, which greatly helped with cash flow, but have basically been away from the office since early September. I think we are getting there … we are not completely there yet, but definitely getting there. I had a good portion of last week in the office, and I’ve spent most of today here too … which does feel weird after being away for so many months. In looking back at the recent months, it’s been the longest time I haven’t been working for over 25 years. Maybe I needed some time out too.

Anyway, just a quick greeting from New Zealand. Have a blessed Christmas and holiday season.

Driving Authentic Active Use of Office 365 – a Workshop in Auckland on August 24 2015

UPDATE (August 4) – New Date and Location; now Monday August 24 at the Rendezvous Hotel Auckland

If you or your organisation are using or evaluating Microsoft Office 365, I will be running a workshop in Auckland in two weeks on Driving Authentic Active Use of Office 365. The workshop provides a forum for learning and engagement about helping end users to incorporate appropriate Office 365 capabilities in their day-to-day work. During the one day workshop you will learn what authentic active use looks like, and what needs to be put in place in order to lead users to this outcome. You will have multiple opportunities to discuss and debate what you are hearing with other delegates, and to share experiences in driving authentic active use of Office 365 in your organisation.

The workshop will be held at the Rendezvous Hotel Auckland on Monday August 24. The workshop runs for the whole day (9am to 5pm). It’s going to be a great day. Here’s the agenda:

09.00am … Opening Comments
09.30am … What Does Authentic Active Use Look Like?
10.30am … Morning Break
11.00am … Organizational and Business Context for Authentic Active Use
11.45am … Drivers for Authentic Active Use
12.30pm … Lunch
1.30pm … Developing Competence for Authentic Active Use
2.15pm … Strategies for Cultivating Authentic Active Use
3.00pm … Afternoon Break
3.30pm … Extending Authentic Active Use
4.15pm … Building Your Framework for Authentic Active Use
4.50pm … Closing Comments
5.00pm … End of Seminar

Spaces are limited, so please move quickly if you would benefit from attending.

I hope to welcome you to the workshop in Auckland later this month.

Logistics and Registration
What: Driving Authentic Active Use of Office 365 – a Workshop with Michael Sampson
Where: Rendezvous Hotel Auckland on Mayoral Drive
When: Monday August 24, 2015 from 9.00am to 5.00pm
Who: Facilitated by Michael Sampson, Collaboration Strategist
Pricing: NZD$679 per delegate (including GST)
Special Offer: If you purchase two tickets, you can bring a third delegate for no extra cost

To register and request payment by invoice, please contact Michael.

When is a Laptop “Lightweight” and Thus Doesn’t Have To Be Stowed During Take-Off and Landing?


I’ve traveled a bit with Air New Zealand recently, and one of the wording changes during most safety briefings onboard is that you can keep using certain gadgets during take-off and landing. The words said go something like this:

Since you are onboard an Airbus A320 (or Boeing 777-300), lightweight handheld electronic devices may be used in flight mode during take-off and landing. Heavier items such as laptops must be put away in your carry-on baggage, and put away in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you.

With the availability of lightweight laptops, when does a laptop fit into the previous definition versus the latter? For example, are these lightweight devices or heavy laptops?
– Apple MacBook 12, 0.92kg
– Apple MacBook Air 11, 1.08kg
– Apple MacBook Air 13, 1.35kg
– Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with keyboard, 1.1kg
– Lenovo X1 Carbon, 1.3kg

I guess airlines such as Air New Zealand are talking about the borders and boundaries between these definitions, and the elasticity thereof.

Where do you think the boundary should be? “Handheld” (therefore laptops are excluded), or “lightweight” (therefore some laptops are included)?

Behavior vs. Behaviour


When I started working with David Ferris in the late 1990s, since many of our clients were in America, I gave up my New Zealand English for American spelling. Even though I should go back to New Zealand English now, I prefer the American way of spelling many words – such as organization and prioritization – and tolerate most of the others (color?).

The word I can’t bring myself to spell in an American way though is behaviour. It just looks weird to take the “u” out of it, and besides, since behaviour is about what “you” and “I” do (act, perform, carry out, put into practice), the “u” needs to be there as a reminder to all of us.

Workshop Experiments – Where to put those items you no longer want to hold

I head to the United States at the end of next week, and will be presenting a custom version of the User Adoption Strategies Workshop at a client conference in Florida. Whenever I go away I allow myself a small budget to “experiment” with new ideas, new gear, and sometimes new bags (the latter of which often doesn’t fit the criteria of a “small” budget!). My main experiment on this trip is a way to stop losing the things I use during a workshop when I put them down. A whiteboard pen for example, when I have finished writing on the board. Or my wireless presenter, when I want both hands to emphasize some points during a case study or other story. And of course my trusty black sports whistle, which is always very effective at re-capturing attention after a workshop discussion.

My normal approach to the above items is to put them in my front pockets (which I don’t like doing), to put them down on the lecturn or a chair at the front, or … to just put them somewhere else. And then I get so engrossed in the story or discussion that when I return to presentation mode, I have to look around to discover where I put the particular item. It’s not a big deal, but it presents an opportunity for improvement in my view. Or at least an experiment to try a different way.

So here’s the experiment: wear a Arc’teryx Aperture Chalk Bag (in black) on my waist in the middle of my back. My pen, wireless presenter, and whistle will go in here when I start, and whenever I stop to put one of these items down, it goes straight back into the chalk bag. I don’t do rock climbing, so I purchased this specifically for the experiment. I’ve tried this experiment three weeks ago in a facilitated discussion down here in New Zealand, and it worked great, except I pushed it a bit far by having pens of different colour in the chalk bag, and when I wanted to find a particular colour, I had to bring all of them out to make my selection. In Florida I’ll limit the number of items to three, each with a different shape for tactile-only identification.

Do you have any experiments on the go at the moment? Would you do my one in your work?

(One of my friends commented that the trick with this experiment will be to not make it “geeky.” I said the intent was very much not to be geeky but immensely practical, and he got that, but maintained his concern about the perception of geekiness. I’ll see how it goes.)

Available for Consulting or Workshops in the United States (end of April 2015)

It looks likely that I’ll be in the United States for a client project at the end of April. The committed days will be Monday April 27 and Tuesday April 28. This means I will have some days available for other engagements – consulting or in-house workshops.

Those days are:
– Wednesday April 29
– Thursday April 30
– Friday May 1

Are there any opportunities to serve you and your team while I’m up and on the ground?

Please get in contact to discuss if so. Thanks.

Remote Consulting on Collaboration Strategy

In recent years my international travel has picked up substantially, with public seminars, in-house workshops, and client consulting on the agenda while I’m on the road. When I’m not on the road, however, I still work with clients around the world on their collaboration strategy. This involves discussions and document reviews, with most of the time invested in the latter. For example, these client projects were delivered completely remotely, with no travel required to work with the client:

  • University (New Zealand, 2014) … Provided input on the firm’s adoption and change management strategy for its new SharePoint 2013-based intranet and collaboration environment. Required reviewing the university’s strategy documents, providing written input, and engaging remotely with members of the project team. This was an example of the Auditing Your Collaboration Strategy service.
  • Legal Services Firm (United States, 2013) … Provided an external review for the CIO of the SharePoint 2013-based intranet designs from an external agency. Review comments highlighted opportunities for improvement, as well as various areas of concern to address in the design phase.
  • Financial Services Firm (United States, 2013) … Provided input into the design of the strategy and governance approach for a new collaborative workspace based on SharePoint 2013. After the proof-of-concept was implemented, provided a review of the lessons learned, and gave direction for the pilot phase of the initiative.
  • Legal Services Firm (United States, 2013) … Reviewed the delivery approach for classroom training, and provided input for improving the effectiveness of future sessions. Developed a User Adoption Approach for the firm’s new SharePoint 2013-based intranet.
  • Professional Services Firm (London, 2007) … Provided input into the collaboration strategy and decision approach when selecting a new collaboration technology platform. The client was comparing and contrasting an IBM infrastructure with a Microsoft one.

Therefore, if I can be of help to you with your collaboration strategy in 2015, it may be possible for us to work together without requiring any travel on my part. Of course, that does depend on the nature of the engagement, but the following services fit very nicely into a remote discussion and document review approach:

– Reviewing your internal proposal for a new collaboration strategy.
– Reviewing your proposed approach to user adoption.
– Reviewing your designs for a new collaboration-rich intranet.
– Reviewing your thinking and approach for choosing between collaboration tools from major vendors.

Once we have agreed a timeframe and scope, you will send me the documents or presentations that encapsulate your thinking. I’ll review them, and write up a response to the points raised. This will include feedback on tightening the message, adding other data points, considering different perspectives, etc.

If you would benefit from an external independent viewpoint on your collaboration strategy activities, please get in contact.

But we have the same Queen!

There has been some discussion in the UK about making it easier for New Zealand and Australian citizens to enter the country, among other members of Commonwealth countries:

During a debate in parliament at Westminster this week it was argued Europeans were being unfairly favoured over citizens from Commonwealth countries, on the back of a report which claimed UK visa restrictions had resulted in a steep decline in Australian migration in recent years.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell wanted a reformed system which placed more restrictions on European immigration and didn’t “alienate or exclude” people from countries with longer and closer historical links with Britain.

“Being a subject from one of Her Majesty’s realms or being from a Commonwealth nation should count for something when looking to visit, work, study or live in the United Kingdom,” he said.

“At the moment it appears to count for little.”

The Tory backbencher called on the government to seriously consider London Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposals for bilateral mobility zones between economically developed Commonwealth nations.

Having been in and out of the UK numerous times in recent years, I would love to see this go through. The interrogation at the UK Border as to why I am entering (always on business) has often led me to want to say “but we have the same Queen.” I respect the right of each country to set its own entry requirements, but would be delighted to see an easier pathway into the UK if these changes are introduced.