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The Rise of the Virtual Assistant

Many small business owners and start-ups struggle to grow their business because they try to do too much. As business owners you seem to need superhero-like qualities to stay on top of your game, but it can be impossible to do everything – no matter how amazing you are. Outsourcing and working with a Virtual Assistant (VA) can allow you to leverage your time, become more productive, get organised and let you focus on your core business.

In broad terms, Virtual Assistants consist of either individuals or companies who work remotely as independent professionals, and use technology to deliver a wide range of products and services to clients. They’ve been around as a service for quite a while, but have only recently found a broad title for their services.

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GAAD lightning talks on tech, empathy and social inclusion

We’re seeing an increased interest in the subject of empathy in design, and it’s about time. As creators of things that other people have to use, it’s always a good idea to be able to understand what people do, and how they do it.

This coming 9 May (Thursday) is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Events are being organised organically in each city to mark the day, and Sydney has something special lined up for us to flex our empathy muscles.

So this coming 9 May, come to an evening of lightning talks at A11yBytes – a11y being the shorthand for “accessibility” (11 characters between a and y), and bytes because – ok, ok… You get it. It’s a community event focused on raising the profile of digital accessibility.

A11Y Bytes. 9 May. 7 lightning talks. 6 pm. Mr B’s Hotel at 396 Pitt St.

There’s a great line-up of diverse and mind-widening lightning talks around social inclusion, technology use, gamestoring and more. This isn’t just for web geeks – it’s for anyone who wants to learn what accessibility means in this day and age, and how systems and technology can affect and enhance life. The heart of accessibility is not about guidelines or codes or regulations. It’s about people, and life, and how we live, how we access information, and how our lives are affected by the technologies of today.

So what are you doing on 9 May? Grab your free ticket to A11yBytes, bring a friend, and come learn something new over a beer or two, and flex those empathy muscles!


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The first webBlastSYD membership survey

webBlastSYD has always tried to be about you, the web-working community in Sydney. Since we went quarterly in 2009 we never undertook a formal survey of you all, until now, that is.

four headshots in a matrix of video screengrabs

Please take 3-5 minutes and take our survey to help us give you more of what you like from webBlastSYD.

As an incentive, EngineRoom Chippendale the co-working space for digital services, is offering two free weeks on the Shared Casual community desk, worth $100, to everyone completing the survey. For a few moments of your time, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the value of co-working for yourself.

It is important to us that webBlastSYD reflects the evolving membership. Please tell us a little about yourself, what you think about the event, and what you’d like to see at future events.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Vimily talks to you at webBlastSYD

At the last webBlastSYD, in the gorgeous Pumphouse, Darling Harbour a few crack interviewers from Vimily came along to ask a few questions and demo their innovative technology to record, edit and distribute interviews and vox-pops quickly and efficiently.

A matrix of headshots

Each person was asked 5 questions, and each question was automatically separated out into 20-30 second video clips and published on the Vimily site. The amazing thing was that everyone knew they were there, recording, but they created no interference to the event, surreptitiously taking part in and encouraging the discussions on the floor but not disturbing the vibe of the evening.

if you’re interested, talk to Katrin after you’ve had a look at the vids to see if they’ll work for your event.

webBlastSYD March 2013 is on

Be sure to register now for WebBlast March 2013 edition next Thursday, the 21st of March!

It’s a change of seasons, and with change comes an opportunity to network with like-minded professionals working and interested in all things web-related.

From conversations with past attendees, we’ve seen everyone from designers, developers, to legal-types, project managers, and entrepreneurs. A great opportunity to meet others outside of your circle and share ideas.

We’ll also be welcoming back the Australian SXSW attendees, who will no-doubt have much to share with us all.

Thanks to our sponsors Campaign Monitor, LaVolta, VirtualOffis, and EngineRoom, who will generously be providing drinks on the night.

Tickets available so register now!

We’ve got a policy of one ticket per registration. Let us know via email, Twitter, or telepathy if you can’t make it and we can free up your unneeded ticket.

So if you want to ensure your friends and colleagues are coming, Tweet/Facebook/LinkedIn or forward them this email so they can register for themselves.

webBlast Sydney, December 2012

WebBlast will be on again at the Pumphouse Bar in Darling Harbour on the 13th of December and we invite you to come and drink to family, health, friends, and spirit in an evening of networking and casual conversation. If you happen to bounce around some work conversation too – you are surely a skilled juggler!

Thanks once again to our brilliant sponsor Campaign Monitor, and welcome to our new sponsors Acquia, LaVolta, and Virtual Offis all of whom will be providing drinks and refreshments on the night.

We’ve got a policy of one ticket per registration. Let us know via email, Twitter, or telepathy if you can’t make it and we can free up your unneeded ticket.

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit … and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

“You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass… You must understand that and strive for Balance in your life.”

– Brian G. Dyson (c. 1991)

WebBlast Xmas 2011!

The populace is like the sea, motionless in itself, but stirred by every wind, even the lightest breeze.
– Titus Livius

The last WebBlast for 2011 will be on at the Pumphouse Bar in Darling Harbour on the 8th of December. Come join us to celebrate the start of Summer!

Thanks to our generous sponsors Campaign Monitor, Happener, Microsoft , and Stamford Interactive twho are providing the night’s cool drinks and refreshments, the stage is set for a wonderful evening of catching up with friends from the industry and finding new ones.

So what are you waiting for?  Register Now!

We’ve got a policy of one ticket per registration. Let us know via email, Twitter, or telepathy if you can’t make it and we can free up your unneeded ticket.

So if you want to ensure your friends and colleagues are coming, tweet/facebook/Linkedin so they can register for themselves.

Cheers,

Alan, Joe, and Caryn

A wonderful time was had by all

A large crowd at the Pumphouse bar in animated conversation

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