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Hard and Fast

Hot air!

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 26-May-2009 13:42

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces
height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts:
"Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says: "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet
above this field."

You must be an engineer" says the balloonist.
"I am" replies the man. "How did you know."

"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but it's no use to anyone."

The man below says "you must be in management."

"I am" replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going,
but you expect me to be able to help.  You're in the same position you were
before we met, but now it's my fault."


Some people have suggested I'm full of hot air...

Freitas in shock move

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 21-May-2009 16:42

In a move that sent shockwaves through the IT reporting industry, Mauricio Freitas unveiled that he was in fact planning to expand his role in life and free himself from the shackles of Geekzone Blogging.

Highlighting a desire for wearing long trenchcoats and looking like a hitman, as well as the desire to ride a moped around a beautifal island wearing nothing but an open shirt, Mauricio outed himself accidentally as a Bollger for Greekzone at a marketing event in Wellington...


"I've always considered the Hellenic lifestyle one to adopt as soon as possible. The Greeks have contributed so much to the world, compared to Brazil (with only a proposition on body hair waxing!)"

In a timely fashion, Mr Freitas, under dubious conditions and egged on by a raucous P.Pilcher, won a Jabra headset just for turning up in his open shirt. Despite protests from the crowd, another travesty was enabled....

The Jabra headset was found to pair beautifally with his brand new Acer Windows Mobile device, apparently not available to distributors....

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A suitable way to start the new year!

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 14-Jan-2009 21:46

I have been thinking about what to write as my thoughts on 2008, and what I see for 2009... but then, a lot of people have done that, time has passed, and to be honest.... it's in the past, and what's done is done!

But in the Dominion Post job section this morning, I saw this website referenced... pure class!

It's Australian, but it has enough humour to make you smile... and for anyone who works for Telecom, Vodafone or TelstraClear and has gone through a right-sizing exercise... well....

I love this

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 8-Dec-2008 15:54

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By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 2-Oct-2008 21:16

I've been a follower of management theory ever since I was in college, and have been an observer on how people relate to each other and operate (predominantly workplace, but increasingly in personal situations).

Change is frequent, but when it's happening around you rather than directly at you, it becomes very easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. At my age I should know better of course.... but it is very seductive when you think you know where you stand and that you have a modicum of control.

The last few months have been intensive - extremely intensive - periods of change. The pace has been unrelenting, the scope unremitting and the size.... unsurprising. Eventually all change has to consolidate and calm down, before another period begins.

Reading this, you might think, OKaaaay.... I could be speaking of the credit crises, the technology industry or even my personal life.

Reality is a state of mind. People don't see life as it is - they see life as they are. We are often in situations where we have little or no information, yet are trying to make sense of the 'reality' around us, as we see it.

Where it gets exciting - or destructive - is where the stress goes up, the pressure comes on... and then stays there. Most people in the mid-30's know this feeling, that exotic cocktail of being out of control and wondering when it will all just 'stop'.

So why do I write about this now?

There is a lot of change happening for me. A fair amount I expected, but it still needs to be worked through, and emotions experience - a quote I remember from Men in Black is Will Smith saying to Tommy Lee Jones' character 'Ah well, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved to all'.... and Tommy turning round and saying 'Just try it'.

All change makes us stronger, but there is a cost every time. Left unmentioned is that the process of making one part stronger - wisdom - leaves another part weaker - stamina.

The next period is one of personal journey; where one has to 'walk the walk' and other such comments. Knowing what you need to do - and then doing it, with a huge feeling of being alone - now that is truly frightening change.


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Beam me up Allan! Holographic projection from TelstraClear

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 17-Sep-2008 06:52

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be at this event in the Vector Arena, where TelstraClear took the opportunity to outline plans, recall success and show off some truly impressive technology.

Actually I was on one of the stands talking about IP Gateway and Next IP Laughing

I was also fortunate enough to see the preparations first-hand yesterday morning (I arrived early with the Events Managers, so got a back-stage tour), and spoke to some of the folks that put the show together. Really cool stuff, and a real chest-thumping show.

The hologram of Rove was beamed in live across the Trans-tasman link, and there was very little delay - Rove commented that the delay was doing wonders for comic timing. He showed a picture of that mornings Sydney Morning Herald, although the sport section had fallen out of it.... maybe into a large rugby cup....

So a first for TCL, but also a real-revving of the engines at the core of the company....

NB: I work at TelstraClear

- A


By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 10-May-2008 20:17 defines respect as:

-esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
-deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment:

I've been thinking about respect a lot over the last year or so, mainly driven by interaction with colleagues at work and my personal life.

Respect is a profound word; title or position don't confer respect (although it does set an expectation), only word, deed and action. As people it is easy to dismiss people in certain roles or of certain titles, forgetting that they got there because someone had respect for them and trusted them enough to engage them in that role.

I've been thinking about respect because of how it impacts me; how I react when I think I'm not being respected, being ignored, dismissed or denied. Equally, I think about how I'm perceived when I show lack of respect; by my word, deed or action I give the impression of being disrespectful and that it is quite permissible for those near me to do the same.

Either way, when we as people choose to not show or demonstrate respect, the results are awful.

As a manager, if I allow my staff to act out of course or not treat each situation seriously, I am failing myself, my manager and my staff. If I don't listen to my children when they want attention, generally I am showing a real lack of respect for them - which impacts self-esteem and set's them up for the future.

Equally, being left out, ignored, over-ruled without explanation or treated with contempt shows a tremendous lack of respect to me, and impacts my perception of the person or people acting that way. It makes me cross when it happens to someone I care about, or happens from someone I care about or expect more of.

Sometimes I dismiss as lack of experience on other's part; sometimes I am left with the view said person or people are not worth my ongoing respect.

Such a simple word, and yet such a massive effect on how we work, play, and act around others. Hard to build up, genuine to take with you wherever you go, and easy enough to destroy when not paying attention.
So why write this abstract in a technology column?

Technology is dirty. It involves muck, compromise, mess, argument, ego clashes and so on. Most companies involved in technology have dreadful starts in any new endeavour, and build up a reputation for success that earns them respect. But having to live through the early part of the endeavour is painful in the extreme for all involved.

Orcon is going aggressive on LLU; I am sure there have been some real wins and some really nasty situations with stressed out folk. Ditto WorldExchange and their VFX service, which appears to be getting better all the time. When Vodafone, Telecom and TelstraClear enter the new arena full-swing, it's highly likely the same situation will occur; pain for the early adopters, a lack of respect for those who built these services, and a gradual building by WORD, DEED and ACTION of real success.

It is easy to be harsh, to dismiss or ignore, and to be critical. In some cases deserved, in some cases unfair.

As a person, the hardest part for all of us is to treat everyone around us with respect.

Yet when we don't, we ultimately let them and ourselves down.

- AK

So where are we at?

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 15-Apr-2008 22:04

I've been quiet on my blog for the last few months, and have barely had time to keep up with what is being discussed on this website. A few emails have been exchanged with Mauricio, but on the whole I have, as some friends describe it, turned into the 'International Man of Mystery' and disappeared off the face of the planet.

Reality is that I've been working on some major product development for my employer (one of which comes to market tomorrow), projects which are the culmination of just over 2 years of my life. So I've been keen to make sure it's not all a crock of!

Once again, I've noticed the industry has been bullish about technology, promises have been made, dates have been missed and great concepts have evaporated. UBA, or 'Naked DSL' has limped to the market, LLU has become a little anti-climatic, Wellington Council has backpedaled on installing fibre - which I wholeheartedly agree with, it was just wrong to waste council time on this topic! - and there are suggestions that Telecom's new mobile network is not coming to market quite as quickly as has been touted.

I spent several hours today with some good people from Telecom, folks who know their stuff and are really keen to engage with the industry and genuinely develop for the country. The most frustrating thing for them - and for me - is to meet with people who don't know what they want, or aren't strong enough to challenge and have a good discussion. It always amazes me that discussions and decisions made in the space of minutes or hours can have an impact lasting for many years. I wonder what the next 5 years will look like based on what was said today. Heady stuff indeed.

I'm quietly optimistic.

I actually do believe there is some really great stuff coming to market over the next year or so, and I wish I had a few more people to help me get moving faster.

There is so much change happening now that the pace is truly, maddeningly, frustratingly out of control.

Wouldn't have it any other way. But for all the technology, the development, and everything else that is happening, I wish I had more time to communicate with people. There just never seems to be enough time.

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Tim Miles to run PGG Wrightson

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 17-Dec-2007 20:32

This news seems to have snuck out today. After a year or so of non-executive 'consultancy', Mr Miles is the new head of PGG Wrightson....

In a strange turn of 6 degrees, I work for a company whose CEO used to run Wrightson's and had an agreement with Vodafone, only now doesn't. And his former employer has hired the ex-Vodafone boss....

NZ is very small sometimes....

O2 wins iPhone deal for the UK

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 18-Sep-2007 21:29

Way back in July I reported that it looked like the iPhone deal for the UK had been won by O2 (former employer of mine).

Althought it's taken some time to come to market, it's now formerly announced - out on the 9th of November, at £269:

True to operator form - there's nothing on the O2 website (, or in fact the UK Apple website. Cest la vie.

antoniosk's profile

Antonios Karantze
New Zealand

I'm a born and bred Wellingtonian, and have chosen IT and Telecommunications as my industry, as a Commercial Manager.

Credits include but are not limited to:
- The O2 Xda smartphone range, and O2's range of 3G Mobile Internet services
- Numerous TelstraClear Mobile and IP voice products

In my journey through the industry I have worked at
- Bellsouth NZ
- Telecom NZ
- ICO Global
- T-Mobile International (formerly One2One Communications)
- O2 Plc
- TelstraClear
- Vodafone NZ

I'm a fan of technology, and what it can do for people and business... and I enjoy bringing new things to market and seeing them grow. Enjoy the blog, take the time to think about what I write - it's not technology heavy, and is my reflection on life and the people around me.