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My Top 5 Articles From Last Month

The top five articles of the month

1. Dubai Police will use facial recognition and Google Glass to look for wanted criminals

Why is this important? The next step in the interconnected web is using software and hardware to better serve at our jobs. For Police enforcement this means facial recognition software. It’ll some time before it comes to Canada but I’d be willing to bet not as long as we think!

2. Select seven to hold ‘Internet reboot’ keys

Why is this important? Did you know if the internet goes down due to a terrorist attack or natural disaster 7 people hold keys of which 5 only have to meet in the U.S. to re-boot the internet. Have you ever thought what would happen if the internet goes down? I’ve never until now. We assume it’ll run forever, uninterrupted. But have you ever been working and the internet went out, what did you do? It happened last week at a clients office, I was lost, scared, lonely and I didn’t know what to do. I hope you never face that desolate situation ever.

3. The Psychology Behind Costco’s Free Samples

Why is this important? This article was fascinating, basically if you want to increase your profits, offer free samples, well for Costco it works quite well. When speaking with young marketing minds they usually jump to

4. The best Canadian Business schools for Marketers

Why is this important? The Globe and Mail decided that ranking Canadian Business schools might be of interest, well you’re right, it isn’t. UNLESS you’re in highschool, love marketing, and want to go to the school where most people like you would go. A neat little experiment that the Globe has tried here, the real question is do you trust the rankings?

5. Starting today UK citizens are free to copy MP3s, CDs and DVDs for personal use

Why is this important? The first major country to revamp their copyright laws to reflect the change that the Internet is caused to the music industry. You can now download songs and movies for personal use in the UK. It won’t be long before more first world countries follow in the UK’s footsteps.

Your Privacy vs Being Accessible

Eric Schmidt quote on privacy

The new world is I’m Googling you the second you email me. I’m going to find everything I can about you. Google can find almost anything these days. I should be able to search your name and contact information and find all relevant information about you. I mean it’s 2014, you have to assume everyone is going to Google you at some point, right?

Now the privacy pundits will tell you to stay as anonymous as you can, as Lloyd Christmas once said, “lot of bad drivers out there!”. But REALLY, really?  How many people do you know who have been stalked?  Is that even still a thing?  We’re too concerned about privacy that we’re losing out on business opportunity.

I had a meeting booked with an organization, the night before the meeting I search the person I was meeting with on Google (I do this with a lot of people surprisingly) the only site other than LinkedIn said she was in Swift Current not Regina. I sent an email asking about her whereabouts, I receive nothing in return. I Googled the organization to find a phone number but there’ only a Regina contact. The “Contact Us” page had a form to fill out, no numbers. Finally I search for her email because for sure her phone number would be in the salutation at the bottom of the email right?  Wrong.

It was 30 minutes till a meeting with someone in another city that I had no number for, what would you do?

I didn’t make the meeting.

The lady called, she was upset. I didn’t mention the difficult time trying to find her contact info let alone a phone number. She didn’t want to hear what I had to say, her mind was made up.

I hate offending people. I don’t like upsetting people. I really try hard never to miss a meeting. By that time I think it was for the best. To help someone with social media when they won’t as much as publish a phone number is relatively impossible.

Answer the new phone. Be accessible, especially your workplace. Nothing says we hate our customers like not being able to find a phone number to call.

Google yourself. Google your company. Google your company name and “contact info”. See what comes up. If it isn’t exactly what your customers want then change it.

Oh yeah, how your customers find information about you will change, it will always change, it’s in your best interest to ask them periodically if you’re still providing information where it is most easily accessible.

6 Parables of Business Strategy

beautiful women

I found these a while back, I didn’t write them but they are gems of business advice.

Parable 1:
A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.
Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, “Who was that?”
“It was Bob the next door neighbor,” she replies.
“Great!” the husband says, “did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”

Moral of the story :

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Parable 2:
A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest apologized “Sorry sister but the flesh is weak” Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129 It said, “Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.”

Moral of the story:

If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Parable 3:
A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out.
The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.”
“Me first! Me first!” says the admin clerk. “I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.”Puff! She’s gone.
“Me next! Me next!” says the sales rep. “I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.”

Puff! He’s gone.

“OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”

Moral of the story:

Always let your boss have the first say.

Parable 4:
An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him,

Can I also sit like you and do nothing?”
The eagle answered: “Sure , why not.”
So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high > >> up.

Parable 5:
A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the
energy.”
“Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.”
The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.
He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:

Bull might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

Parable 6:
A little bird was flying south for the Winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying
there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to
realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:

(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
(3) And when you’re in deep , it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

What To Do About Your Fear of Writing

Terrified of writing?  Most people are, that’s why it’s always good to remind yourself of why you go through with the arduous task of attempting to create masterpieces regularly.  I found this wonderfully inspiring quote on the fear of writing on Reddit.com, written by none other than Ira Glass himself.  Yes, the Ira Glass, you know the one who hosts Public Radio International’s This American Life podcast.  The podcast that has 1.7 million listeners.  He’s easily one of the best story tellers of our generation.  You must read this:

You need to write. That’s the only thing that will make your writing better. You’re afraid to write something that’s shit, that dishonors. But even Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” It’s just a starting point. You have to get something down in the rough before you can perfect it.

Stories about your ancestors are what you should write. They engage your feelings because they mean something to you. You need to be emotionally engaged in your story. If you write about things that you don’t feel about, you won’t care about the material, and it will be gray, flat, and lifeless.

So start. Once you get your first draft, go back through and polish. Do it until you’re happy with it. Walt Whitman, the famous poet, started writing Leaves of Grass at 37, and kept rewriting it to perfect it until he died at the age of 72. You don’t have to publish it. You can keep it secret, and polish it until it shines with its own light.

But you have to get it on paper first. Here’s what will happen: You will write, and a lot of it will be shit, and you will worry that you’ll get run over a bus and someone will find it and know what a hack you are. But you ignore that inner perfectionist, because it’ll keep you rewriting the first paragraph until it’s perfect and you’ll never get anywhere. You keep going until its done. You write the whole thing. And then, when you’re finished, you read it.

You won’t be happy with it. You’ll cringe over the awkward sentences, the poor transitions, the pacing, blah blah blah. But you’ll find these moments of beauty captured in words, like poetry, alive and breathing. And you’ll move back a paragraph and build to that moment, and then the page will come alive, and you’ll feel the rhythm of the words and how their energy leads into the next moment. And you’ll struggle with the turn of a phrase that’s not just right until, with a twist here and a tweak there, you realize you’ve captured one of life’s secrets on the page, and you’ll glory in it. You keep going like that. And every time you do, you’ll feel your ancestors smile.

This is the way it’s done. This is the way that it’s always been done. Read more

Tell Me a Story

If you want to get your point across tell me a story.  Stories, fable and urban legends have all been around for years for a reason, they are easy to remember.  History’s told in stories; our ancestors told parables to pass on knowledge.  Think about how a chilling urban legend will be remembered for years, how does this happen?  It’s a story.

When we’re told a story we actually go through a metal simulation in our minds, this is why it is much easier to remember than random fact, it’s like we’re actually there.  From Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick it says this; “Why does mental stimulation work?  It works because we can’t imagine events or sequences without evoking the same modules of the brain that are evoked in real physical activity”.

Our minds have a difficult time piecing random fact together, but put in our minds a vivid picture of the story you are telling and we can recite it almost word for word as if we were there.  So if you are an educator, manager, or anyone that needs to make a point stick in some ones mind (which we all should be striving for) develop your idea into a story, you’ll have a much better chance of the intended remembering it.