DDD Perth: Lessons learnt


MapDDD Perth was held last weekend in, you guessed it Perth, a sleepy little city in Western Australia. It still makes me smile when sharing with overseas friends that they don’t quite understand the size of our beautiful country.
It’s a 45 hour drive, or a 5 hour flight from Brisbane to Perth. The flight is relatively short in comparison to my travels to USA, UK, Europe or Russia, but still a little longer than than travelling to New Zealand.

The conference was amazing, you only have to check out the twitter feed or the DDD Perth Flickr to see what went down, but there were some important lessons to be learnt.

Double check all numbers before transferring money

As sponsor for the after party, I had to transfer funds to ‘My Place Perth‘ (great place to visit by the way, especially on Karaoke night eh Lana!) since the Heritage Bank app does not allow you add new payee’s (for what reason I will never understand), the browser had to be used, navigating a bank web site on an iPhone 6 Plus is not the easiest thing to do. Attempt #1 – add all information, wait for SMS from bank to finalise the transaction, go to messages screen to get the conformation number, switch back to web browser and catch the ‘back’ button, therefore wiping out all data added! Attempt #2 – add all information, again wait for SMS from bank, carefully swap between message app and browser and enter code. All this time having a friend read back the account number and BSB to send to from a pdf invoice received on email. Celebrate the small victory of getting this far, then email a copy of the receipt to venue. Happy days! though short lived!  The owner of My Place gently advised that when she had checked the receipt it was apparent I had entered a 6 instead of 5 in the account number! GAH! So in order to keep the peace, I paid the invoice again, this time via my card. It was not a small amount, and then I had to go chasing the banks to see where my original payment had gone, however, that had to be a job for Monday since banks (for some reason) don’t work Saturday nights. After a number of calls on Monday, I was quietly assured the money will bounce back to my account sometime in the week.

Don’t leave things in your hotel room

The morning after a big party, my brain was not yet firing on all cylinders, 6am and time to get ready to head to the airport. I remember so vividly putting my Bose QC20 headphones (the only noise cancelling headphone I recommend for long flights) on the back of the chair, then noticing they had fallen off, thinking to myself “don’t forget to pick those up”.  I arrived at the airport with that niggling feeling, you know, the one where you think you have forgotten something. First sign of a bad day in progress was the ‘Priority Check-In’ taking longer than normal check-in and bag drop, this is not a usual thing, in fact the service provided by Virgin Australia is the main reason I continue to fly with them on as many trips as I can. Finally, I checked my bag and headed to the Virgin Australia lounge looking forward to some breakfast before the long flight home (which was actually shorter than the one over, but seemingly longer because I had to add 2 hours back on the clock). Lounge closed! WTF, after a quick tweet, Virgin Australia confirmed – no lounge on weekends in Perth! Okay, off to the coffee shop for a sandwich. As I sat wondering why I had that feeling, it struck me, NO, I DIDN’T!? but of course I did, the headphones were still sitting under the chair in the hotel room. I remembered I had just received an email with the settlement account from them, so I replied straight to that advising exactly what had happened and where they were. Boarded the plane and headed home. Monday, nothing from the hotel, so Tuesday morning I rang, a brief chat to house keeping explaining the whole story and I was promised a call back. A short 15 minutes later I got the promised call. “Sorry Mr Usher, we checked and there is no sign of your headphones”.  Oh well, it’s my dumb mistake anyway, but I don’t understand why they were not found. In the meantime a survey email came across my desk from AccorHotels and I took the time to share my thoughts with the COO of the group.  Approximately 30 minutes after my first call from the hotel, a lovely lady named Heather, Housekeeping Manager, called and advised my headphones had been located, yay! I’m not going to go into details here, but in short they ‘turned up’. I received an apology for the late reply to my Sunday email, and to the time it had taken to find them, I also received an email from the operations manager in Perth again apologising and confirming a policy review, hmm. My faith in AccorHotels restored, and my trusty Bose QC’s making the journey (albeit alone) back to sunny Queensland.

Don’t use the phrase ‘guy’ when you meant ‘guys & gals’

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Before the conference I had sent a tweet to a couple of high profile people, namely Pip Marlow – Microsoft Australia MD, and Richard Branson (wonder if we can get that Lounge policy changed?), in support of women in tech, I am a strong advocate that more women should be involved and find it too dominated by men! After being heralded in the opening notes for my push (thank you Pip for your feedback, it’s a shame Mr Branson didn’t weigh in on the subject), I made the faux pas of using the singular, masculine phrase ‘guy’ during my talk. Thanks to Michelle for pointing that out publicly!

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A big weekend, well done to Rob Moore, Jake Ginnivan and the team for pulling everything and everyone together. I met some fantastic people, made some great new friends and some important lessons learnt, but all’s well that ends well.