Hubud: Workplace Utopia.

So I managed to do a brand strategy song and dance in front of a room full of people (who also joined along in a guided dance)…but we’ll get to that story in a sec.

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Here’s another story for you…

Nemara and I had one minor “disagreement” in our year of travel (really – just the one). It happened in Florence and it had to do with the internet.

In all of our travels, before agreeing on a house to rent I would walk in with my internet speed testing device and look at the bandwidth speed (whilst Nemara would look at the kitchen) – internet was a priority!

It’s one thing to offer “free wifi”, but free SH#T wifi is even WORSE than no wifi at all!!

Anyway, back to the disagreement.

We were in Florence, walking along the lovely river banks and trying to figure out where in South East Asia we would like to land after we left Europe.

Our preference was Bali – specifically Ubud.

So I did my usual background check and I find that internet in Bali is nearly the WORST in the WORLD!! We’re talking 52kb connections here people. Hardly enough to open a news page let alone watch the new One Direction music videos.

I put my foot down. We could simply NOT go to Bali. I wasn’t going to spend 2 months battling a 52kb connection whilst trying to finish off theportl.com. We simply would have to go somewhere else.

And so the tussle began. Right there on the river banks of beautiful Florence.

Nemara wanted to go to Bali, and I wanted high speed internet (which seemed like a Balinese impossibility). The stand off was mighty. Nemara in her “but I want to do yoga for a month” corner, and me in my “I want to be married to my laptop in perfect harmony” corner.

It was a standoff.

Later that day, after “agreeing to disagree” – I found out about Hubud and it was as if all my joyous internet dreams had come true. Here was a place RIGHT IN UBUD, perfectly set up as a co-working space for people like me – GUARANTEEING a 4-6MB connection.

I can still remember the feel of the grin on my face.
We could go to Bali.

So here I am, writing to you from the bamboo building that is Hubud. I’ve nearly clocked up 100 hours here, and honestly it has been one of the best working experiences of my life.

The founders (just a couple of guys) are awesome, the staff are super friendly, there are monkeys that frequently knock on the windows to get your attention and there is a raw vegan cafe downstairs that sells fresh green juice by the bottle.

I am in workplace heaven.

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So back to that Song and Dance…

As part of the awesomeness that is Hubud, every week they invite one of the members to give a talk on whatever it is they know most about. It’s a great way to share skills and ideas to such an eclectic mix of people.

So after basically moving in here, I was asked to do a talk – and for fun, I chose Brand Strategy.

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I named the talk: So your Brand Walks into a bar.

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If you don’t know my point of view on branding, it basically goes like this:

Brand Strategists just tell really good stories.

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How I believe you can tell the best story is to think of your brand as a person – and not as some “construct” on a piece of paper. As an example, I used the “person” I’ve developed as being the brand strategy for The Portl. His name, is Frank Lee.

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Frank is The Portl – personified. He has a complete backstory including the fact that his mother is in musical theatre and his father is an accountant, and he just happens to be the world’s ONLY International Boyband Consultant…(really, there is an ENTIRE backstory I can tell you about Frank).

I explained that I wanted to be the “face” of The Portl – and so I BECAME Frank Lee (not all brands should do this – this was just my example)…

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THEN! I explained that the ONLY QUESTION you ever need to answer when it comes to branding, is “what is it my brand would do now?”…

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And if you can answer this question, then my friends you have a good brand strategy.

So,

I get to this point in the presentation and decide to put my theory to the test. I asked “Frank Lee” what he would do, and his response was: “Create a Brand Strategy Dance and then teach it to the people”.

And so this is what I had to do. You know – to show the people that these are the kind of things your brand would do! (not necessarily you). So I put on the pink jacket, became Frank for five minutes and proceeded.

Lucky for me, the whole thing was caught on camera…you can witness the dancing spectacular below.

(Here are the lyrics that were on the screen during this):

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So thankyou Hubud, you’ve been amazing. I can’t believe a place like this exists! How can I even bring myself to leave!

I’m sure I will return soon – as I am just so excited by the abundance of power points and the level of “connection” that this space offers. Truly awesome.

www.hubud.org