Nailing it

Gavin Blake is Nailing It

A thoughtful person knows that a picture tells 1000 words and a wise person knowing this chooses their pictures carefully.

This is what Gavin Blake, the subject of this weeks ‘Nailing It’ does.


Gavin is an expert at condensing ideas, systems, procedures and conversations into a graphic anyone can understand at a glance. Check out his business .

When your job is to make audible information visual you have to have a special brain that switches between listening, digesting and depicting. It’s a skill most of us don’t have.


Too much or too little information the result is not representative of the message. Just the right mix and the result is amazing. Check out his work with Collaborative Consumption advocate and guru Rachel Botsman.

Gavin provides his services to big companies like Google, Unilever, PwC and education institutions like the Australian National University.

Gavin is most famous for graphic facilitation at TED in the US and TEDx in Sydney, Dubai, Canberra, London, Dubbo and many more – in fact, he has the world record for most graphic facilitations.

What Gavin does is help speakers who have these mind-blowing ideas communicate better. What he does is cool, but who he is, is even cooler.

He’s a great friend to many, father of two and husband of one.

Few people understand innovation the way Gavin does – having facilitated innovation from the best in the world.

Gavin subscribes to the Gladwell “10000 hours of mastery” philosophy that basically says focus on your strengths and unique qualities and the world opens up. He is an embodiment of this belief. This is why talented cartoonists and such line up to learn from him.

On top of this he knows how to build customer relationships with humans.

An example of this might be when he turned up at the hospital after my brother suffered a heart attack. He said with a laugh “I hear you need a heart starter” and he threw on the table the latest issue of Boars and Babes Shooting Magazine.

This created laughter amongst my waiting family who were mostly concerned with grave thoughts of “what if…”. Giving us a chance to laugh at bikini clad women atop 100kg dead pigs was the perfect “break-in-the-vibe” that no well meaning phone conversation would have come close to achieving.

What made this moment equally special was that we had only 12-months earlier got to know Gavin, when my brother and I put on TEDxDubbo.

Gavin had provided his services at cost to our little TEDx event in Taronga Zoo (Dubbo). We got the opportunity of knowing Gavin that bit better when he missed his plane the day after the event. He says it was because he didn’t wake up in time but I suspect it was just so we could all hang out more.

Whatever the reason I’m eternally grateful for him missing that plane.

It’s not just because he makes me laugh, has a great brain, an amazing talent, awesome personality or charitable heart.

It’s because he is Nailing It with such fun and genuine enthusiasm. Thanks Gavin for being such a humble yet inspirational person that I look up to.

Photo Credits for this article go to the fantastic Natalie Hunfalvay more of here work can be found here

Will Davies is Nailing It

Will Davies is the subject of todays ‘Nailing It’.

He is a lot like me except for being tall, handsome, physically fit and commercially far more successful.

That is to say, I look up to him on many fronts.

Will has been a friend since Uni days where he was already expanding his mind by heading off to the School of Philosophy before getting to the pub. Will was studying Finance and Philosophy simultaneously.

After a brief stint at Ernst and Young, Will trained for his real estate qualifications and became a mortgage broker. He built his book and had a staff of 20. But he sold the business after realizing what he really loved was protecting the environment and not mortgage broking.

The money in mortgages wasn’t a sufficient enough reason to live in a way that wasn’t doing absolutely what he loved.

Mind you he still is heavily into property with his own portfolio in Australia and a fund with 4 others that has purchased 70 properties in the US. He also part-owns a Gym and does Angel Investing.

He is now a social entrepreneur, addressing the very real environmental issue of car pollution with a collaborative consumption inspired business – Car Next Door. Car Next Door wants to reduce the demand for cars by 70% by 2020 and take out the associated carbon and solvent pollution in the process. This is an audacious goal.



In the time between selling his mortgage broking business and starting Car Next Door, I was Wills neighbor. I witnessed how he was going through his search for the right business that aligned his commercial interest and passion.

At the time he, his wife and baby were living on a top floor balcony in a block of units but had somehow managed to get these huge water tanks, drums and reed beds onto his balcony. He was actually seeing if an aquaponics business could work. He was testing it by putting his food waste into a tank that fed algae that in turn fed silver perch that he ate.

It was a genuine engineering feat and worked practically if not financially.

Will and Suz Wedding

I was so impressed that he wasn’t guessing – he was experimenting – albeit like a mad scientist.

Will is not just a business guy or greenie. He is also really socially connected. One of his side projects is match-making. He has introduced 8 couples that have since married through his speed dating events each year –

At 35 he is still playing Rugby and recently told me his list of injuries “so far this year I’ve got a perforated eardrum, damaged rib cartilage, corked leg and got my foot stomped on”.

Will Football -2nd row middle

Will is actively helping others find what they love to do by being a Director and Coach in Living Leadership the program that caused Will to find his purpose and ultimately sell his mortgage broking business back in 2007.

You know he “gets” leadership and would be great in the role when you hear him justify his football heroics. He adds casually after listing his injuries: “its good for my kids to see me running around”. He has 2 boys under 3.

Will Davies Dad

(I think with that list of injuries its possible to put them off).

Will is creative, inspiring, entrepreneurial, green, pragmatic and friendly. When you add that to his ethics and charms you know he is going to keep ‘Nailing It’ with Car Next Door or whatever comes next.

Will Davies, thank you for being the great leader and social entrepreneur that you are.

Dr Tim Sharp aka Dr Happy is Nailing It

This weeks Nailing It goes to Dr Tim Sharp – Chief Happiness Officer of the Happiness Institute.

When Dr Tim Sharp aka Dr Happy suggested we get his business and my Angel Massage business together so that all of the customers had a “genuinely happy ending”, I laughed very hard (and then promptly used the idea, we now use a “leave-behind” with some of his happiness hints after massages….).

You might expect Dr Happy to be somewhat like the Robin Williams portrayal of real life Dr Patch Adams, who makes jokes to make the sick happier in times of need.

Dr Tim Sharp aka Dr Happy

Dr Tim Sharp aka Dr Happy

As demonstrated by Tim’s suggestion on happy endings he is not without a sense of humour, but Tim displays more calm and contentment than Robin would have ever been able to portray.

His work is less about making the ill better and more about making everyone better. You don’t have to be suffering from mental illness to enjoy the benefits of positive psychology.

You can be “ok” and still massively benefit.

Positive Psychology for anyone unfamiliar in this day and age is the science of happiness.

Dr Tim was an Academic and clinical Psychologist in his 20’s to mid 30’s, but over the last 10 years has spent his time literally writing the book on happiness.

Via Penguin and Finch he has penned: The Happiness Handbook, The Good Sleep Guide, 100 Ways to Happiness – a guide for busy people, 100 Ways to Happy Children: a guide for busy parents, Live Happier, Live Longer – a guide to positive ageing and The Happiness Diet (you can find them all here on Amazon).

Live happier live longer - Dr Tim Sharp

Live happier live longer – Dr Tim Sharp

I’m trying to write my first book now and appreciate what an epic feat it is to do this. Yet Tim includes 50+ corporate speaking engagements per year and his work as Adjunct Professor at UTS and Adjunct Professor at RMIT sees him teaching a new generation of business and health students.

Dr Tim 2

Then there is his work as a coach to executive leaders, being Chief Happiness Officer at the Happiness Institute, owner of Tim Sharp and Associates and regularly appearing on TV and in the media.

With some people when they have such demands on them they close off from others – friends and family included. Dr Tim knows that is not the path to happiness and has instead managed to become somehow more open.

It’s actually a fantastic business story in itself. The way Tim sets up his information inputs – from the apps on his phones to his Google alerts – he gives himself a rich and relevant information diet.

Then he manages his time beautifully using lists, calendars and priorities in a way that I envy. Finally he has mastered using social media and timely one-off chats to maintain deep relationships with a wide and diverse network.

Dr Tim Sharp - 100 Ways to Happiness

Dr Tim Sharp – 100 Ways to Happiness

It’s not just his great attitude – it’s his skills that cause him to be Nailing It

Outside of his professional life Tim loves sports of all codes and attends regularly. He has genuine concern for Australian society and sits an advisor on various charities and corporate funds that address social issues. He is also an Australia Day Ambassador.

In 2010 he was recognized for this whole area of his work with the Future Leaders Award.


Dr Happy has a wonderful relationship with his wife and his two teenaged kids. They manage to have holidays that look really cool.

Every year they make there way North to the famous Woodford Folk Festival.. Tim usually speaks and then they spend the days hanging out a listening to live music. That’s a cool family!

Dr Tim Sharp is not a comedian. He is a thoughtful, funny, engaging, “renaissance man” who has helped thousands of Australians. And he is: Nailing It.

I personally want to say thanks for his ongoing kindness, patience, generosity and positive influence in my life. Thanks.

Dominic Green is Nailing it

This weeks Nailing It goes to Dominic Green. I first met him through my brother (David) some 5 years ago in Dubbo (Regional NSW).

Full disclosure: I am one of Dominic’s clients, he did a lot of the work in drafting my Crowdfunding Legislation Reform submission to CAMAC.

At that stage Dominic had left the big city lights where he was a recently graduated lawyer and economist studying carbon accounting.

Dominic Green - Green & Associates

Dominic Green – Green & Associates

In the “bush” he was able to exercise his brain on the many evolving carbon and renewable energy projects taking place West of the great divide.

He started pioneering legal work on carbon sequestration through pyrolysis (burning plant waste in the absence of oxygen) among other things.

Dominic was young, brash and direct. He had a career as a male model under his belt so his presence in a country town along with his ex-model fiancé was noticed.

After the breakdown of his relationship he returned to Sydney where his litigation and broad skills were more in demand. But being seen as inexperienced he started at the bottom of the food chain.

He quickly rose through the ranks to become the company top earner and whilst he wanted to become a Partner there was “no room at the inn”.

So he upped and left to start his own firm Green & Associates.

The firm he’s created is startup friendly with fixed price, win-only fees or variable fees as the client needs. This flexible, client-friendly nature reflects Dom’s desire (impatience) to get things done.

From representing alleged criminals to startups he truly has one of the most interesting case-loads and day-to-days of anyone I’ve met.

It is rumoured he jointly represented two bitter rivals that took the legal and non-violent path to reclaiming money from someone that owed them both. This person could only have the funds if he proved the existence of an artwork in his possession was authentic.

This verification was long and complicated but eventually resulted in a sale and in turn repayment to the rivals. Dominic was said to have managed all the parties through the transaction.

But Dominic is not all about wheeling and dealing, he has done pro bono work for environmental regeneration charities and more recently has assisted me with drafting crowd-sourced equity funding (CSEF) legislation.

This inspired his tag line: law in black, white and green. On top of his legal work he is also privately developing resorts in Indonesia and dating some of the most beautiful women on the planet.

Whilst this type of nailing it contrasts with the usually wholesome family-raising qualities espoused by this column, I can still recognise (as most would) that in the world Dominic occupies he is definitely nailing it.

For your environmental work, legal brain and social nous, thank you for helping me and others like me – you are nailing it.