February 25, 2015

In the news ... February 25, 2015

Bell Takes Aim At DSL Reports Readers That Criticized Company

You might recall that back in 2013, some DSLReports.com regulars, including University of Manitoba graduate student Ben Klass ( bklass See Profile), filed a complaint against Bell in Canada. Basically, they were annoyed by the fact that Bell's $5 a month Bell Mobile TV service -- which provides 10 hours of live or recorded TV show access each month -- didn't count against user usage caps, while competing services unfairly did.

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Prime Time Ottawa -- How to Survive in Time of Change

At a time when content production and distribution face disruption from technology, changing consumption patterns and evolving regulatory policy, the industry is being forced to steer a new course. Prime Time in Ottawa 2015 brings together some of the most forward-looking players in today’s industry, to share their insights on how to thrive in this time of change.

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Funding from Canadian government essential to spur innovation

The problem with experiments is very simple, says University of Toronto Professor Dan Breznitz.

They often fail.

Which presents a dilemma for those who want to foster innovation: In a world of limited resources, who should be placing the bets on potential winners? And when winners win big, to whom should the spoils go?

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February 21, 2015

In the news ... February 21, 2015

Video | Oscars 2015: Canadian talent celebrated ahead of Academy Awards

The Oscars are still three days away, but the party has already started for Canadians nominated at this year's Academy Awards.

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The Importance Of Social Validation In Online Marketing

Online marketing comprises many factors, strategies, and tactics, but all of them share a common end goal: to get more people to buy your products or services. To get there, you have to step past the competition, increase the traffic to your site, and build better relationships with your customers. The onset of social media has given brands a new means of achieving all three at the same time, at once improving the reputation of their brand and gaining more visibility and traction.

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How Will Online Marketing Change In 2015?

Online Marketing Predictions to prepare for:

Search engines are constantly changing, but we have a feeling things are really going to get shaken up in 2015, at least as far as Internet marketing goes. The game is getting tougher, and the search engines are getting smarter, so we are confident that the marketing landscape will show some significant changes for 2015. What exactly will change? Here are some of our predictions for 2015’s marketing world.

February 13, 2015

In the news ... February 13, 2015

SUPER BOWL Sets Digital Record in Canada

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - SendtoNews recorded an impressive 4.7 million video views during the SUPER BOWL XLIX weekend through its News Partnership Network TM proving that digital viewership now rivals television as the medium to watch. The demand for highlights, player interviews and other content from the most watched Super Bowl in U.S. history resulted in a new record for digital impressions in Canada. Video views totaled 15.7 million during the entire Jan.26 to Feb. 8 Super Bowl extravaganza, with the Monday after Super Bowl attracting the largest audience, with 1.7 million views on that day alone.

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Closing of Sun News

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Feb. 13, 2015) - After attempting to establish Sun News as a viable news channel in the Canadian broadcasting landscape and encountering a series of barriers to carriage, Sun Media Corporation regrets to announce today that it is closing the station. At the time of this release, Sun News Network is already off the air.

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Film and TV Producers Turn into Digital Storypreneurs

A new online course that looks at changing business realites in film and television, and the emerging strategies for success in an online media marketplace, has been developed in Canada, and is being marketed around the world.

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February 07, 2015

In the news ... February 7, 2015

GAME OF THRONES Season Kicks Off on HBO Canada, On-Air, Online, and On Social

After hitting the wall running last week with IMAX screenings across Canada, buzz for the upcoming fifth season of GAME OF THRONES kicks into high gear this weekend with an all new, behind-the-scenes special, 

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shomi™ invites you to come out and play with new slate of family-friendly TV shows from DHX and Corus

TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2015 /CNW/ - While we aren't able to go outside and enjoy Miss Spider's Sunny Patch, this winter doesn't have to be all Blue's Clues.  shomi has everything families need to warm up together this season with new kids content from DHX Media and Corus Entertainment.

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 Tracking the rise of mobile advertising’s dominance in Canada

The 2014 Canadian Media Usage Trends (CMUST) report, the only study of its kind, documents consumers’ ever-shifting media consumption across various digital platforms and devices, chronicling how new and evolving technologies impact the digital habits of Canadian consumers.

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January 31, 2015

Everything we really need to know about social media ... We learned in kindergarten

By Janine Francolini

We live in a culture virtually enveloped by digital media, 24/7. For adults and children alike, social media has become central to our very identities -- both in how we interact with our close friends and family, and in the many ways we present ourselves to, and engage with, our broader worlds. As I prepare to speak on February 5th in New York City at The Meeting House's symposium, "Just a Click Away!: How Social Media Influences our Children's Social Development," I have been acutely aware of my own behavior as someone for whom social media has become essential to both my professional and personal lives.

 Just this morning, I was in a 5 a.m. taxi headed to the airport, and realized how cold and rude my behavior may have seemed to my cab driver, who kept talking to me as my eyes stayed glued to my phone checking early morning emails and posts. He was right there in the front seat, and I'm not proud to say that I was too wrapped up in a different conversation to respond gracefully. I think most of us have some version of that kind of digital distraction that doesn't reflect who we truly aspire to be.

 When it comes to our kids, the worries are multiplied. Just the other night, I heard a story from my friend of three boys who were seniors at a local school. They were expelled from school over an unfortunate sexting incident, the latest case of a growing national phenomenon. We are concerned, rightly, about our children's privacy, online bullying and about a digital trail of youthful indiscretion that can follow our children in ways they may not consider -- concerns we never had to worry about when we were their age. It is overwhelming to us all as our policies and educational systems struggle to keep up with the speed of our ever-changing digital world.

 The good news? We can find some encouragement and comfort by going back to the pre-digital basics and keeping it simple with common sense from the heart. Because almost everything we need to know about helping our kids navigate and use social media productively and happily we all learned ourselves in kindergarten. Here's what I mean about some old-fashioned rules we can apply to the new digital road:

 1. Walk Before You Run: Go slow when introducing social media to your children. Just as you carefully selected your child's first library of books, take the time to put together a resource list of tools and sites that are an appropriate fit for them developmentally.

 2. Listen First, Talk Next: We can use social media to learn about and listen to dialogues our children are having. This is the most important lesson of the#IWillListen campaign. Having a trusting, open relationship with our children is a key element in building a foundation for navigating through these tricky issues. As parents we have to be present to hear what our children are expressing about their lives, online and off.

 3. Play Nice in the Sandbox: It seems like such a simple idea, to play nice with others. But too often we know social media is associated with meanness. It doesn't have to be that way. It's possible to have social media with soul -- using this remarkable digital technology to make meaningful connections, recognize and champion others, acknowledge the feelings we and others may have and draw families and friends closer together even when we are geographically distant. Social media can do that, but only when we act with integrity and presence.

 4. Look Both Ways Before Crossing (and hold my hand!): Each time your child enters into a new social media platform, it's critical to take the time to make sure you and they understand the dynamics and implications. So, just like crossing the street for the first time, parents need to stay close.

 5. Take a Nap, and Get Your Rest!: Sometimes we need to take a break from it all. When we disconnect our connections are so much more meaningful. We adults have learned later in life that there's too much of a good thing when it comes to social media. Taking time to unplug is essential.

 6. Color Outside the Lines: As in other areas of life and learning we want to teach our children not to be afraid to be their own person, online and off. Just because their friends are on social media, it doesn't mean they have to be. Kids need our support in whatever choices are authentic and comfortable for them. I am probably the only mother on the planet who wishes that her adolescent son would get a cell phone and use a little bit of social media.

 7. Tell the Truth!: Being aware and honest about your own use of, and feelings about, social media is key to having meaningful conversations and connections with your children. Opening up authentically about your own questions and concerns can lead to productive dialogues with kids of any age. Honesty is the first step towards awareness and awareness can lead to healthy choices and change.

 8. Perhaps Most Importantly, Practice What You Preach!: Long before kids have spoken their first words, they are watching and observing us. That's why it's critical for parents to model healthy social media use, for both work and personal communications. If you are feeling, or are observing, smartphone and social media addictions in your self or your children, put yourselves on a social media diet and say no. This is one frontier where kids and parents are truly exploring together how to find the right balance. A few unplugged hours outside together as a family can work wonders in many ways!

In the end, social media is an extension of what we already know, say and feel about ourselves. And the basic rules of good behavior still apply. The immediacy, pace, and multiplier effect is new, and that can be both scary and empowering for us all. It's up to us to decide if we can infuse these tools with the values that make us truly human -- at every stage of our lives.



Janine Francolini is the Founder of the Flawless Foundation and serves on the board of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the USC Gould School of Law and is a member of the Dorothea Dix Think Tank, advancing their mission to decriminalize mental illness. She serves on many advisory boards in both the non-profit and corporate sector. Janine earned a Masters' degree from Columbia University and had a 15-year career in education. 

January 29, 2015

In the news ... January 29, 2015

Subscription streaming services are growing fast in Canada, will dominate

TORONTO - While there’s no question over-the-top video services such as Netflix have become a “phenomenon” in Canada, the same can’t be said about subscription music streaming services, which have not been taken up to the same degree by consumers.

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Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple top list of Canada’s most influential brands of 2014

Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and YouTube – these brands all have something in common, and it’s more than all being luminaries of the tech industry.

Read more.

Target Canada: A lesson in brand marketing?

Last week, Target pulled the plug on all its stores across Canada, closing 133 stores and laying off over 17,000 employees. To make matters worse, Target Canada’s former CEO’s paycheck was more than all of its employees combined, according to reports.

Read more.


January 05, 2015

Welcome 2015

2014 was a very interesting year! Lets see if 2015 can be even more intriguing.

Is there something you have resolved to do this coming year to be more innovative? New career? New start-up?  Are you planning anything that will dazzle the crowds? 

This year shapes up to be a turningpoint for a great many people I have talked to. For One Degree I have been working on a revamp and a slightly new direction. More on that in the coming weeks.

What about you?

Share what you have in store for us in 2015 in the comments.


December 23, 2014

The best of the Holiday Season

To you and yours, wishing you 
a very 
Merry Christmas and a
New Year! IStock_000010911941XSmall



December 12, 2014

Start-ups: What It Takes To Win Interview: John Ruffolo, CEO of Omers Ventures

Most successful start-ups have a few key elements in common.  Without them a start up will not likely be anything more than a lifestyle business - one that provides the owner a decent lifestyle. By definition a lifestyle business is not a start-up.

What do we mean by ‘start-up’? It is a business built to grow exponentially. Many business ideas require capital to grow, but some will scale, growing quickly with small changes to the process, via the internet. For our purposes this is what we define as a start-up.

It is important to note that a start-up can be built from anywhere. With today’s tools of distribution being in a large market like LA, NY or SF is not necessary. With a clear focus on GROWTH, start-ups can come from anywhere like Ottawa, Waterloo, Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. So we asked John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, what drives GROWTH?

The first element without question is PASSION. 

Ruffolo puts it this way, " In the very first meeting I am listening for what drives this person. Make no mistake, the success of any business comes down to a single person and their leadership. Even if there are co-founders, there is always that single driving force, that passion that never backs down. Apple’s Steve Jobs and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg each had a great team of extremely talented people around them, but they were the source of the constant flame that always burned bright. They had a passion that called them. In Steve's case it was 'make a dent in the universe' and in Mark's it was 'connect everyone' “.

Ruffolo says “Every start-up encounters many obstacles and pitfalls.  Passion is what carries an entrepreneur through to fulfill the vision, no matter what. Passion, or 'what drives this person' to solve this issue must be deep enough to carry the day – or weeks, months, even years. Making money is a natural result and should always be distinguished from starting a business. I have seen too many so-called entrepreneurs who were passionate about making money cause their start up to fail because they had their eye on the wrong ball. Being passionate about making money is not the same as being passionate about solving a problem that a lot people will value."

The second ingredient is CREATING VALUE.  Remember that small group of snowboarders who wanted to sell stuff to other snowboarders online? Sounds easy enough, until they dug into it and found out that consultants and programmers wanted their first born to help them set up a functioning e-Commerce website. One of the co-founders learned something about programming with Ruby On Rails. The next thing you know their friends were asking if they could help them. Those were the early days of Shopify, driven by a simple passion: to sell snowboarding stuff online.  As the business grew so did the vision. Now for as little as $19.95 month with Shopify anyone can sell anything anywhere in the world online. That opens up a lot of possibilities! Steve Jobs would say that made a dent in the universe.

The idea itself is clearly a key ingredient. Often the best ideas are born out of a mutual personal need. One person sees a need and realizes if they need it others probably do too.  A Santa Monica couple hated leaving their dog in a "pee-filled kennel" when they travelled. They discovered a lot of other people shared their view. So many in fact they built an on-line service to connect people to in-home dog sitters - and it has scaled. It is now global. The owner's vision of pets staying in loving homes rather than cold, impersonal kennels is being fulfilled. As long as they stay true to that vision, that passion, and practice sound business management, the money will follow.

The third ingredient is EXPANDING YOUR VISION IN KEEPING WITH YOUR PASSION.  John Ruffolo believes good business management advice is plentiful. “There is no shortage of books and business gurus who will dole out advice on request (and often without request). Understanding the passion that creates new business and causes real change in the world, well, that's a completely different story.  Aaron Hirschhorn's love for dogs and his desire to have them lovingly cared for when he travelled lead to a business beyond most people's belief.  Definitely, he made a lot of 'right' business moves but it was that passion - that vision that had him continue through thick and thin - through the many obstacles being a start up throws at you.”

The fourth element is SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE AND IMPLEMENT SOUND BUSINESS PRACTICES.  Unfortunately the fact is many co-founding situations are a group of good friends who happen to be together when the idea was conceived. There are many roles that must be filled with committed, talented people, yet not all roles warrant a “co-founder” status. You must decide which roles are mission critical to your idea and if you feel you need a co-founder, partner with the absolute best person you know.

The fifth element is HANG ON. It is quite a ride, which explains why many come back for more.

1. Find something you are passionate about. (Other than making money)

2. Create a solution that others will value.

3. Keep expanding your vision, in keeping with your passion.

4. Surround yourself with good people and implement sound business practices.

5. Hang on!


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