NeoNeighbourhood.comHazel has finally made the big step away from her successful career as a book publisher and editor to take on the position of Editor-in-Chief at online startup NeoNeighbourhood.

This in itself is an exciting development, not least because the kids and I will get to see much more of her. No more leaving the house at 6.45am to get to her Sydney office, and returning at 7.30pm.

In fact, no more leaving the house. She works from home now.

If you haven’t visited NeoNeighbourhood, take a look.

The format is pretty simple: take the greatest cities in the world and tell people where they can eat, drink, sleep, shop, wander to get the most exciting and engaging experiences.

Add global guides on really interesting developments in music, books, websites, design, art and a bunch more.

Then add sections on finding the job you want, the house you want, the car you want, the financial advice you need and the great ideas that may change the world.

And then give the site visitor the ability to personalise it and play with it all.

To its starting three cities of Melbourne, Shanghai and London have been added Hong Kong, Sydney and Perth. Next up is Paris, followed by Brisbane, Singapore and on.

Selections are based on appeal to the discerning and high-spending Neo demographic. Every city entry is based on personal visits by NN reviewers.

Part of the philosophy is that such a level of recommendation based on personal experience is going to be more rewarding than wading through automatically-indexed search engine returns.

It has the single ingredient that to my mind is the determining factor for long term success: quality.

The content is brilliant, the way it’s delivered to site visitors is appropriate and interesting, and the revenue generation prospects are outstanding.

In a typically perverse manner, however, I have decided I have to leave the NN project.

There are quite a few factors influencing my decision, among them:

  • it’s been harder than usual working to someone else’s design
  • the chain of communication between the management group and the developers (Bam) is more impaired than improved by having me as interpreter
  • my work for other clients is suffering

I have in no way lost confidence in the project. Quite the opposite – I just don’t think it needs me in there.

I did say to the Neo Group that my aim in taking on the project was to make myself redundant and, while I don’t think I’ve quite achieved that, I think the project can only benefit from my forcing the project management group to deal directly with the out-of-house developers.

Needless to say, I’m still informally involved with NN, particularly in supporting Hazel to make the transition to web work.

Ultimately, I remain confident that will be a fantastic success.

It feels funny to step away from something that is clearly going to be a success but I’m content that it is the right thing to do for all concerned.

Watch out for it: It will be big.

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