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Hi everyone, thanks for being such excellent readers. I have moved my blog to and will be posting regularly about my thoughts on business, social media, social enterprise and the books that I read and review. Hope to see you all there!

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Boy, am I excited for Sunday. TEDxAKL is brought to us courtesy of Richard Hollinghum. It will be an amazing day filled with ideas from motivated and engaging speakers. Of course, as with every TED talk, there is so much more than just the talk going on; people who attend TED events are change-makers, so get your networking on.

If you haven’t already heard of TED, I urge you to check it out at and you must watch this talk by Hans Rosling (my favourite speaker ever) on how to think about poverty. If you are not entertained and informed, I’m at a loss for words 😛

Check out the TEDxAKL line up here. All amazing speakers and of course they will be blowing us away with ideas we might not have heard about, should know more about, and should be supporting.

So, why am I excited? Well, I am speaking too. I get three minute with which to strut my stuff, and get my idea across. It is a simple idea, but one which is an integral one for the future of our world, our earth and for billions of people worldwide.

Here is the preview: “Problems faced by our world today, by all of us, are gradually approaching D-Day. We need to act on all the issues that will impact us and our earth. But how can we act, if we aren’t educated and we don’t think about the issues? Justin’s idea – think about the issues, act on the problems, choose to make a difference. He tells us the story of the Tabaka Tribe in Kenya and how Fair Trade has given them real opportunities and made a difference. Think about the issues facing us today – poverty affects billions, environmental change affects us all. Take action – talk about the issues, make the changes in your life. Choose to make a difference. Without you, we have no chance.”

Hope to see you there. For tickets visit

If you can’t make it in person, there is always the opportunity to check out the livestream visit I will be on at 11.30am. See you all there.

Hi all

Sorry for not posting this week. I will next post on Monday. But, unfortunately, Vital Link is in overdrive so I am fully focused on that at the moment.

Don’t miss me too much 😀

Justin (-;

Twitter has been a great resource for expanding my professional network. But I never could have imagined making amazing friendships.

Having connected through twitter, met in person as various events, and now meeting regularly as friends, I have realised what an amazing and motivated person Jason is. He is truly an inspiration to us all.

A few of the things I love about Jason:

  1. He is a talented networker – charming, practiced and I suppose his love of people is an added bonus. He is a testament to how to connect with people, and his philosophy is to help out every person he meets in some way.
  2. He is a giver. This is great, and as I mentioned before, he is out there to help people first, before asking for anything in return. This philosophy puts him in great stead for the future, which I imagine being a “gifting-driven” economy. Good on you, Jase.
  3. Jase is great to talk to, always has something interesting to say, or someone amazing to talk about. Meeting with Jason is fun and engaging, sometimes I don’t want to leave.
  4. Finally, he is an asset – a connector. I am an ideas man, and have only just started building my network. I have two ideas at the moment waiting to be acted on. Both of which, I wish only to spark, not manage myself. I have asked Jase whether he can connect me with people to get them started – which he has done a great job of. Thanks Jase.

If you want to connect with a great mind, find Jason here:

Blog – The People People – (all about networking and people)

Thanks, Jase, for being a great friend.

I did the following guest blog post for the Fair Trade Futures conference – the largest fair trade event in North America. Find out more about them here.

What is the goal for fair trade?

My thoughts: Fair trade wants to make ethical consumption an everyday, every-purchase occurrence. I relish the day when fair trade is no longer needed.

Through good news, bad news, or a friend – you have heard about fair trade, right? That is what gave you the passion to support it. So that is how we get more people to support it. We have to tell them about it, and talk to them about it.

Social networks play a huge role in this goal, because they connect the people in the movement. Remember, people are vital; fair trade needs the support of everyone for it to work.

How can you use Facebook and Twitter?
  1. Talk about fair trade with your friends on Facebook – send them links to your favorite articles, videos and stories.
  2. Educate yourself about fair trade – read blogs, articles, watch videos and talk to people.
  3. Buy fair trade, when you go shopping, when you are online.

Tell your friends, tell your family, tell a stranger – the more the merrier. Use your social networks.

By doing so you can make a difference to the billions of people in poverty.

About the author: Justin is co-founder and CEO of Vital Link Group, a company giving you the power to support fair trade on your social networks. To find out more about Vital Link, follow @vitallinkgroup and @justinvitallink or become a fan on Facebook.

Equality? Or equal opportunity?

Ever wondered how the world should work? Should people be treated exactly the same, equally? Or should we simply be given the same opportunities?

I am of the strong opinion that everyone is given opportunities in life, and it is the actions we take as individuals that defines us. I believe that in life, we should be given equal chance to attend school, be given equal rights, be treated the same way as others and have the same opportunities as others. I do not believe that you should be the right over someone else with the same opportunity, to win over them. The competition should be judged fairly and equally – and the deciding party should not be influenced unfairly in any way – other than by significant factors.

For example, in South Africa apartheid was a huge problem, and whites were given, not only preference but, complete freedom over blacks. This is not equal opportunity, the black man does not have the same right to compete for a job as the white man. Unfortunately, despite the shift in power from whites to black, in South Africa, the discrimination continues. However, the system works in favour of the black man. This is not fair to either party, and is not a free environment.

I believe that everyone should be given equal opportunity. I am a believer in the the Free Market Economy, I believe that everyone should be able to make every choice that affects them personally, on their own, and should not be forced to do so. I believe that an employer in South Africa should be told by the government that he must employ a black man, regardless of whether the better candidate is white, indian or black. This is not a good system of control.

My vote is for everyone to have equal opportunities in life, and then the freedom to choose which of those opportunities they take. They should have the opportunity to go to school, the opportunity to be treated on equal grounds, and the opportunity to make their own choices unrestricted by government. If I have better skills, experience and knowledge I deserve to be paid for those assets.

Why should I earn the same amount as a street sweeper, when I have spent the time being educated, and making an effort to pushing my life in a particular direction? Why should I be told what I am worth, instead of determining that and seeking that for myself?

My question to you is: do you vote equality or equal opportunity? Why?

This #followfriday is dedicated to Camille Strowger of BezzeraEspresso.

I have had the pleasure of great conversation this week, especially about #coffee – so fascinating! It all started through twitter, where I discovered a confident and outspoken person talking to some of my tweeps, it was @BezzeraEspresso. So I struck up a conversation.

Camille is a young entrepreneur; very passionate about coffee and people. She recently started selling Bezzera Coffee Machines in New Zealand and has done a great job to promote the conversation about coffee. Coffee is, apparently, something many people are passionate about, and love talking about.

Camille tells me that she became very passionate about coffee when she made her first latte, while working in a café years ago. She now talks about it to everyone she can, drinks it all day, and sells machines that are beautifully engineered.

If you are a coffee-o-holic, or just love talking to a great conversationalist, connect with Camille at @BezzeraEspresso.

Thanks Camille for the great conversation, I look forward to buying myself a machine soon.

Want to know more about Camille and Bezzera Coffee Machines? Follow her on twitter, find her on Facebook, visit her website and have fun talking to Camille.

I did the following guest blog post for the Fair Trade Futures conference – the largest fair trade event in North America. Find out more about them here.

How did fair trade become a global name, brand and label?

It didn’t just jump out one day into our vocabulary. No. It started because of a movement, a movement that a group of people saw a need for, and decided to lead.

People, worldwide, were being exploited because they had no options; they were paid very little and treated poorly. All because they were living in poverty – in suffering – already. I mean, how could it be any worse for them?

But, we found out. We didn’t like it. We decided to stop it. And a movement was born.

Today, fair trade stands for ethics: a belief that products should be produced and manufactured fairly and ethically. This belief is what empowers the fair trade movement. This belief is the passion that drives millions of peoples’ choices every day.

This is your belief, your passion. You make the choices, you have the money.

On behalf of the billions of people worldwide living in poverty, thank you.

Thanks for being part of a tribe of people that believe in ethics and fairness. Thanks for caring.

People are the key, people with passion – people like you.

About the author: Justin is co-founder and CEO of Vital Link Group, a company giving people the power to choose and be recognised for it. To find out more about Vital Link, follow @vitallinkgroup and @justinvitallink or become a fan on Facebook.

40 years to repeat your mistakes

I made an observation recently.

You may or may not know that there have been four major economic recessions in the last 120 years.

1890 Panic of 1890
1930 Great Depression
1970 Little Depression
2010 Credit Crisis

Now, I wonder if you noticed the gap between each of them.  40 years.

Why do you think that is?

I think that may be due to the generation gap – rather two-generation gap. I think history has a way of repeating itself, not because that is the way of things, but because people eventually forget what happened in the past – they make the same mistakes. I hypothesise that the 40 year gap, is the time period that is takes for people to forget – and make the same mistakes.

This may be because the leaders in power at the time of each recession are the grand-kids of the leaders from the last recession. How many people actually remember what happened when their grand-parents were in around? How many know and listened to the stories that our grand parents can tell us? I don’t think enough of us.

Lesson: Listen and learn from your grand parents.

Do you think that this is a reasonable conclusion? Do you think I’m talking bollocks? Let me know, I would really like to discuss it.

I did the following guest blog post for the Fair Trade Futures conference – the largest fair trade event in North America. Find out more about them here.

Fair trade is losing its power as a brand and a label. Why is that?

Fair trade has become so strong in the western world, particularly when we think about coffee, that cafés that do not use fair trade beans, are losing business. This means they need to do one of two things: (1) buy fair trade beans and become a fair trade organisation, or (2) create their own ethical label and grab some customers back. Many are taking option (2) because it is cheaper and more personal to the customer.

A friend of mine owns his own café, and does just that. He can tell me how much he paid for the coffee, who produced it, the working conditions and progress in the community. Find out more by looking at the comments here. This adds a lot of value to the customer, which (at this stage) fair trade cannot.

This is not a BAD thing! Why? Because the producer is better off (and wins when the café wins), the customer feels closer to their coffee (they know more than the fair trade system could ever tell them), and ethical consumption is better off overall.

So fair trade is losing its power, but ethical consumption is up, and the public recognises it more-and-more. This is great news for people in poverty everywhere, and for the fair trade movement.

So what was fair trade’s purpose? Fair trade was the stepping stone to point us in the right direction. Fair trade brought attention to the issue. Fair trade made the people aware of the problem. Fair trade was a movement, because of a belief.

People are the driving force behind ethical consumption. Fair trade will end one-day, but that day will be the day when we no longer need fair trade. That day will be the day that every company produces and manufactures ethically and fairly. That will be the day to rejoice, because we have succeeded in changing the world – for the better of billions of people who were suffering.

That day may be far away. One thing that will bring it closer is if people talk about fair trade more, consume fair trade more, and invest in fair trade. All these things will accelerate us toward that goal. Social networks, like Facebook and Twitter play a huge role, you can read more about that on the next post.

About the author: Justin is co-founder and CEO of Vital Link Group, a company giving people the power to be part of the movement. To find out more about Vital Link, follow @vitallinkgroup and @justinvitallink or become a fan on Facebook.

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