The merry second lives of Telstra

Friends, industry watchers, readers; I come not to bag Telstra, but to praise it. The evil that telcos do often lives on after their Investors Days, while the good is often lost during interminable speeches.

Friends, industry watchers, readers; I come not to bag Telstra, but to praise it. The evil that telcos do often lives on after their Investors Days, while the good is often lost during interminable speeches.

Let it not be that way with Telstra.

Yesterday at Telstra's Investor Day, the company was showing off the virtual Sydney CBD it had created in Second Life. It was very nicely done -- like the real thing, only without the homeless, graffiti and litter, like a CBD co-opted by the Singaporean government.

Did you know Telstra is officially leading the world in Second Life? No, me neither. I assumed that them jumping on the bandwagon four years after the virtual world opened its doors along with every other Tom, Dick and me-too merchant wasn't exactly cutting edge, but what do I know? The man on the advert said Telstra is at the "global forefront of innovation in Second Life", so congrats there to Sol and team.

Justin Milne, BigPond's MD, added a nice footnote on Second Life -- he said that the company doesn't know what type of applications will become popular in virtual worlds but BigPond will definitely be on top of them.

I got very excited when I heard that, because I knew I could help out the global innovator that is Telstra. So, here's the skinny fellas: I hear sex is quite the thing in virtual worlds. Bearing in mind BigPond is all over popular applications, I guess we can presume Justin's avatar is dusting down those nipple tassels as I type. Good on you, sir.

For Telstra says it will be ahead of global innovation, and so it must be, for Telstra is an honourable telco.

Another great service showcased by Telstra was QR codes. Honestly, they're cracking. No, really, I've never got why they're not more popular. Get to know them, you'll like them. I'm rather fond of them myself.

Happily, Telstra has decided to get involved, launching its own QR code reading software with some cobblers brand name that's slipped my mind for the moment. "Only from Telstra!" trumpeted one exec.

That's funny, I thought, I could have sworn QR code reading and making software is everywhere over the net. Anyone, anywhere, can use QR codes; use them to encode text or URLs, like Telstra plans to. In fact, I thought, I'm sure QR codes are heavily used in Japan. I guess the Japanese didn't know that QR codes are only from Telstra. Go figure.

But Telstra says they're only from Telstra and so it must be, for Telstra is an honourable telco.

Telstra does get a hard deal from the government, doesn't it? Take that AU$1 billion the government had saved for a bush network. The cheeky devils had the temerity to give the contract to another company!

But as said Sol Trujillo yesterday, like the brave little soldier he is, "We're not whinging, we're not crying." Not whinging, not crying -- launching a legal action (or two) against a government minister and losing, granted -- but not whinging or crying.

I got the impression that Senator Coonan keeps Telstra's top brass awake at night as they gently shake with rage, but Trujillo says that he spends just "two percent" of his time thinking about regulators and, so he must do, for Telstra is an honourable telco.

And yesterday those self-same top brass told us they had turned in yet another project two months ahead of schedule. They did that with their CDMA equivalence program too -- getting it done several months before it was due. Bless you, Telstra, and your work ethic. No wonder you haven't had time to turn on more ADSL2+ exchanges with all that's going on.

On a completely unrelated note, did anyone ever watch that Star Trek episode where Scotty was questioned about how he always managed to complete engineering projects ahead of schedule? He revealed his tactic was to multiply the time needed for a job by four and publicise that deadline so he could cover himself in glory when he turned in his work in a quarter of the time it should take. Good episode that. And back to Telstra.

And lastly, when questioned about how many users are still on the soon-to-be-extinct CDMA network, honourable Telstra wouldn't cough up a figure. They can't be too sure anyway, they said, and there are lots of factors affecting the number that could distort it.

One such variable that could send that all-important number off kilter, according to one of the Telstra types on stage, is people who have bought a CDMA phone and keep it in the car and don't use it much.

Good point. I know quite a few people that pay a regular subscription to not use their phone. Good, honest people, who like to keep their SIM active and keep their mobile in the glovebox. Actually, hold on a minute, I don't know anyone like that. Not one.

Still, I guess me and Telstra execs move in different circles. If Telstra says there are gloveboxes in rural Australia bulging with unused phones, so it must be, for Telstra is an honourable telco.

Well, thanks for reading this blog. I've had a word with Telstra's marketing boys and they said apparently I should tell you:

  • Upwardly Mobile is spearheading innovative cleverness.
  • Is "Only from ZDNet Australia!"
  • Was delivered three days ahead of schedule.
  • Has cut its cup of tea requirements by 20 percent in line with a caffeine reduction plan that has buy-in across all management.
  • Is planning to keep beating the living hell out of all blogs, everywhere, on any subject, until the end of fiscal year 2010 and beyond.

It also invented the Internet and can fly, by the way.

Thanks guys.


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