Cat Matson Business Masterclass - video transcript

This is a transcript of a speech from Cat Matson speaks the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor's Business Forum on 30 September 2015 at Richlands. She speaks about her role at Chief Digital Officer and the focus of their Digital Brisbane resources.

I've been sitting in the role now as Chief Digital Officer for the City of Brisbane for the last twelve months and seriously it's one of the best gigs in the world. I actually think I am one of the luckiest in the people in the world, if not one of the luckiest chicks.

The reason I feel so lucky is because I get to do what I love on a daily basis and that is merge geekery with business growth. As you can see behind me, that's exactly what I'm going to talk about this evening.

Just to give you a little bit of an overview, the Lord Mayor mentioned the importance of making sure that Brisbane stays up to date with the ever changing and increasingly digital global economy and that's exactly what the role of Digital Brisbane and the Chief Digital Officer is all about.

So we have three key areas in our remit. The first area is around building capability and helping small business owners just like yourselves figure out what the hell you do in this ever-increasing and rapidly changing environment. In fact, just last night, I hosted a power-up event in Carina. We've got another one coming up in a couple of weeks at Indooroopilly, which is designed to show you in terms of very hands-on how to engage with various digital platforms. Last night we talked about web design. In a couple of weeks we are talking about email marketing.

We also do a lot of work in the start-up eco-system making sure that innovation and start-ups and supporting entrepreneurs is at the heart of our economic development strategy.

The third thing that we do in Digital Brisbane is ensure that anything that we're doing in a smart city capacity is actually far more about the strategy than it is about the geekery - making sure that we're actually doing stuff that enhances Brisbane's liveability.

So in my very limited time, because I know about the upcoming speakers and I don't want to rob them of any of their time, what I wanted to do this evening is rather than talk about strategy I actually wanted to answer some of the common questions that I get asked on a daily basis. What are the tools that I use personally to make my life easier?

So, can I have a show of hands. Who is currently using social media in their business? Almost everyone. Can I have a show of hands, who still thinks it's a total and utter waste of time? There's a couple. Cool. Thank you for your honesty. You need to come along to our social media workshop and I'll explain why that's not the case.

Social media. I think the biggest issue with social media and the biggest thing to consider, particularly if you are still thinking that it's a waste of time, is that the consumers, your consumers, now do the majority of their research through social media. They don't wait to go and talk to somebody at a barbeque on the weekend about who their friends recommend. They go to social media. I can see there's a couple of shakes of heads in the audience - we're going to talk later. I want to know what business that you're in that they're not using social. I'm not saying that social is the be all and end all, but for a lot of businesses, social still rocks.

The problem with social, by the way, it's not that new. Facebook just turned 11. Eleven, people. LinkedIn is older. The problem with social media though is this. How on earth do you keep getting content in to your social media feeds? How do you stay relevant?

For those of you who have ever asked that question, Buffer is my number one tool. Buffer literally acts like a tool that lets you put in different articles that you've read, that you think is interesting, that would be useful to your audience. It puts them into a bucket and then it drip feeds it out to your different social media networks at pre-determined times.

So for example, I know that for me personally, I need to get more things out on Facebook than I do on LinkedIn. So the one article will go out to Facebook at eight o'clock in the morning but it won't go out to LinkedIn until four o'clock in the afternoon. Meanwhile, five other things have gone out to Facebook. So check out It's free. It's beautiful to use and it just means that you keep getting really cool content going out to your audience.

While we're talking about social media, did you know that you can save articles to read later in Facebook? A lot of people still don't know this one. Facebook introduced this tool a little while ago. I'm not going to put a timeline on it, because it makes me feel old because every time Facebook introduces another change I sit there and go wow, they've changed again. But seriously, if you're reading your Facebook feed like I do, still kind of waking up in bed and you see a particularly interesting article and you go, oh, that looks really interesting but I'm not quite awake enough yet to read it. You just press the little down arrow and you save it to read later. What's really cool about this, is when you then think a few days later, or in my case, a few months later, oh, there was that really cool article. It's there in your saved links later on. It works differently on different devices. You just need to look for the Saved Links - sorry you look to Save Link and then you look for your Saved Links to come back to it.

What happens when you read something really interesting that you want to keep on a site that's not Facebook? I know, it's shocking to think, there are sites other than Facebook - there's a few smirks.

So one of the apps that I really love, and again this is another free app, is called Pocket. It literally lets you copy and paste bookmarks from any site and just put it into a little bookmarking site. I have Pocket on my iPhone. It saves them and they're available offline. So for me, I only get to fly once every couple of months, but that's my reading time, because you can't do anything else right. There's no wifi, there's no internet connectivity. You can't do anything else. But all of my links are available in Pocket that I've saved up over the last couple of months. It's awesome.

Also for me, when I'm thinking, oh now, I'm quite sure I saved that particular link, it's either in Facebook or it's in Pocket. So it's another really cool app.

Oh yeah. I don't know about you, but I struggle to keep up with industry news. I really struggle to find where I'm going to get my sources of news, which publications, and there are only so many different websites in one day that I can check out. So I use Feedly. It'd be a couple of years ago now that Google shut down its Google Reader app. This is kind of what came in its place.

Basically what I do with Feedly, it's like an electronic subscription service. I can search by title, so for example if I know that I want to stay in touch with Council news or Brisbane Times or Harvard Business Review. I can go and look for those titles and it will add it to my feed. Or if I just want to see world-leading information, I can search by category. So for me that's all things geek.

I can search by title, search by category. I then add them to my feed and then every morning when I'm having my long black at the coffee shop across the road, literally on my phone I go through my Feedly feed. I stop. I read the things that are of interest. I post the things that are of interest, some of them I put into my Buffer account so they're feeding out to my social media feeds. Some of them I add to my Pocket so I can come back to them later. It's all being done on my phone. It's all being done really easily and I still have one of the little iPhones by the way. I'm not doing it on an iPhone 6 Plus.

So Feedly. Again it's free and it means that I don't have to go searching the web for news. It all just keeps getting fed up to me.

Oh, who has more than one person in their business? Who has more than two? Who has more than three? So you know that funny little complicated calculation that says I think it's x squared minus x, being the number of people squared minus the number of people actually gives you the number of relationships in your business.

As soon as you start doing project management with more than one person, it starts getting complicated, right? Trello, easily my favourite online tool. It's free, again. Seriously, it's cool. It's online post-it notes, with a twist. This little image here represents all the different, like that's one board, one project, and all those columns represent the different elements of your project. All of the little cards on the lists operate like index cards. I can put a checklist on them. I can put notes on them. I can use them to set a reminder which actually puts a calendar reminder in there for me. Don't tell anyone but I run my entire business unit on this thing, on Trello. It's free. It's awesome.

Who loves, and I mean loves, the accounting side of their business? The bookkeeping, the GST, Julian, Councillor Simmonds does [laughs]. We've always said you were a freak, but that's okay. We've confirmed it now. Who loves the accounting part? There's a couple. For the rest of us, there's Xero. I'm not a numbers person. I'm really not. I've run my own small businesses, GST, profit and loss, the end of year accounting stuff breaks me.

Online accounting platforms like Xero make your accountant's job easier. Make your job easier. Reduce your accounting bills and actually lets you see your performance as you go. It's not free. But out of all of the other ones I've shown you today, that's the only one that's not free.

There's a lovely squeak on this stage. We should do a line dance [laughs].

They’re a handful. It's funny, when I was asked to do this particular presentation and share some of the tools that I use on a daily basis, I had to sit down and think, well what are my absolute top ones? These are the top ones. These are the tools that literally make my day to day business life easier. That's all there is to it.

Now as Councillor Simmons has suggested, no we don't have time for me for questions, but if you wanted to tweet me, that work's really well, because I answer tweets often. If you wanted to email me, that works kind of as well, but not as awesomely because my inbox is overflowing. So tweets work. But the number one cool tool that you really need to be using is ours, Digital Brisbane.

The Digital Brisbane business unit, part of Brisbane Marketing, which is part of Brisbane City Council, is purely and simply designed to support business owners just like yourselves navigate. Not just the digital economy, but literally doing business when there is a new digital tool on a weekly basis that promises to save you money, make you more money, save you time, get your sanity back. We help you navigate that. That is exactly what we do.

The Digital Brisbane blog showcases how all sorts of businesses, from fruit shops to dentists, how they use digital tools in their businesses. We showcase a number of events all around the city helping you understand how to use different digital tools in your business and we will help you find the right suppliers as well - if you are looking for a web developer, if you are looking for a social media consultant, if you are looking for somebody who can do your SEO.

So it is with humility that I say the Digital Brisbane resources are the number one cool tool out of tonight's presentation that you should be using.

Go back to the Digital Business Masterclass videos.

09 June 2016