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Posts from May 2007

May 29, 2007

Why I Bought One Degree

Or possibly more accurately titled, "Why I lead the charge on buying One Degree and dragged three other investors kicking and screaming along with me." (But that's a pretty long title). 

I have been posting on One Degree since the early days and have watched as Ken's vision for the site took hold and a community began to grow around it.  Canadian marketers posted, read, shared their unique POVs and created a body of work that is a valuable resource for new and veteran marketers alike.

When Ken mentioned that he was thinking about selling One Degree, I immediately put up my hand and said, "Me, me, pick me!"  I'm a huge fan of what he has built and hated to think that it might disappear from our toolkits, or worse, pass to someone who didn't have the passion and vision for it.

Over a couple of martinis, I managed to convince a few other folks, who also hold One Degree in high regard, to come along with me for the ride.  They are:

  1. SpinGlobe headed by Sean Howard of Craphammer.ca fame - SpinGlobe is our design and technical team plus Sean will continue to write articles for us.

  2. Daniel Ponech, User Experience Architect extraordinaire  -- Daniel is heading up our business development including site sponsorships, event & job listings and other partnership opportunities.

  3. Rosemary Rowe, Copywriter and Content Maven -- Rosemary will be point on content and contributor wrangling, ensuring we're readable, coherent, and well-indexed as well as creating some of our new features.

It's kind of a different mix, but we're hoping to shake things up a bit.  Ken will continue to contribute his wisdom and insight to One Degree.  Arieh, who has been for many of you the day-to-day voice and contact of One Degree leaves us as Associate Editor, but will continue to offer his valued perspective as a contributor as well.  Ken and Arieh - thank you so much for all that you have done for One Degree!

So today, officially, One Degree becomes a reinvent! Communications publication.  Look for some tweaks, enhancements, changes and hiccoughs over the next few months as we wrap our heads around what we've taken on and start to get a better understanding of what the community wants and needs.

I would be thrilled to receive any feedback you have; we will be conducting a survey in the next few weeks, but personal notes are always welcome.  You can reach me via the contact page or at kate[at]onedegree[dot]ca.

Why I Sold One Degree

833 days ago I did a "first post" to One Degree - a classic Hello World. 1430 posts, 1351 comments, and 40 plus contributors later it's time to say good-bye - or maybe more accurately, "see you later" - to One Degree and the community that has grown up around it.

Today I'm announcing that I've sold One Degree to my good friend and long-time One Degree Contributor Kate Trgovac.

Since taking the role of VP Product Management and Marketing at Tucows about a year ago I've found that my ability to give One Degree the attention it needs to keep it alive and vibrant is increasingly limited.

My goal with One Degree has always been to foster a stronger Internet marketing community in Canada. That's really the goal I had as a co-founder of AIMS and as a volunteer and teacher for the CMA. To me it's always been important that we had a place to share ideas and raise the profile of local success stories. It's too easy to get caught up in the hype about what's happening in "The Valley" or New York without realizing all the great successes springing up all around us.

I hope that One Degree had - and will continue to have - a small role in helping Canadians understand the transformational power of the Internet for both business and culture. This is an exciting day for me as I know that Kate is the perfect person to take over the community we've created and carry on that mission.

I'll leave it to Kate and Co. to talk about what may change here at One Degree but I know that this story is just beginning. I'm writing the final sentences of Chapter 1 here but I know we have many chapters to go.

And I plan to drop in occasionally to add my two cents worth so this is by no means a "Goodbye World" post!

May 28, 2007

Five Questions for Monique Trottier - Work Industries

Monique_trottierMonique Trottier is an owner and partner of Work Industries, an internet consultancy with expertise in web strategy, online marketing, content development and online communities.

Prior to joining Work Industries, Monique was the internet marketing manager at Raincoast Books, where she implemented the company's literary podcast series, making Raincoast the first Canadian publisher to podcast. Her work on social networking, corporate blogging, podcasting and personal blogging has led to speaking engagements at Vancouver's Word on the Street Festival and Wordfest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival.

Monique says: "I particularly enjoy helping people understand the web. If you speak geek, I'll speak geek. But if you don't, I'll talk to you at your comfort level. I like to break the mysteries of the web down so that people feel in control of their website and are educated on best practices for the web."

As part of this ongoing interest in de-mystifying technology, Work Industries offers a "personal technologist" service. Monique sat down with One Degree to answer our Five Questions about it.

One Degree: What was the impetus behind developing and offering a "personal technologist" service?

The "Personal Technologist" service started as a way to address the growing number of friends and family who were asking [Work Industries' founder] James Sherrett and me for technology advice. We didn't see ourselves as computer experts, camera experts, DVD experts--but our friends and family did. We're good creative generalists, we can figure things out. In many ways, their demands influenced the creation of the personal technologist service.

Continue reading "Five Questions for Monique Trottier - Work Industries" »

15 Cool Things I Learned at the 2007 CMA Annual Convention

I had the privilege of attending, and speaking at, the 2007 Canadian Marketing Association Annual Convention in Ottawa earlier this month. Here are a few fascinating tidbits I gleaned from the many excellent talks and presentations I attended:

Continue reading "15 Cool Things I Learned at the 2007 CMA Annual Convention" »

QotD: Social Media - Global, Local, Canadian?

John Wen from Wunderman Toronto sends in this Question of the Day about social media:

Our counterparts in the US asked if there were any social media particular to Canada. It got me thinking about how global the social web is. New found friends from the far corners of the world. But as Facebook's recent experience in adding Toronto and other Canuck cities has shown, local connections count, perhaps more so than the global ones. My QoD is: are there any Canadian social media particular just to Canada? Does it really matter since we are so close the US and we can simply adopt/localize what's come from there?

What is your response to John's question?  As Canadian marketers trying to appeal to a Canadian audience, are there social media that you prefer or recommend?

CaseCamp - June 12 - Toronto

Cc6 Come out and participate in Toronto's one-year anniversary CaseCamp,  *June 12*.  We’ve got a brand new venue with a great patio, and, as always, attendance is free for everyone.

CaseCamp exists as an open forum where anyone interested in Social Media and its application can come to share their knowledge and learn from the wider community. That community is you, and has grown tremendously over the year.

CaseCampToronto4 had over 150 attendees (from our istoica photo booth), some of the most diverse, creative and passionate people you’ll ever meet. I encourage anyone who has never participated before to schedule this one in your calendar. 65 people already have! You can register on the wiki.

May 23, 2007

Five Questions for Bill Marshall - Vortex Game Competition

Bill_marshall_portraitBest-selling author, political strategist, film, television and theatrical producer, organizer of Royal and Papal visits and the G7 summit, Bill Marshall continues to leave his mark on Canada. Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, recently acknowledged Marshall's unique gifts by presenting him with the Order of Canada. "He has played a major role in developing Canada's film industry and culture. Originator and co-founder of the Toronto International Film Festival, he helped to build it into one of the world's most successful and prestigious events of its kind. He was also instrumental in forming the Academy of Canadian Film and Television, the association that promotes these industries and honours outstanding achievement. In addition, he is a film producer and served as President of the Canadian Association of Motion Picture Producers.

Marshall originally conceived the initial concept of the McLuhan International Festival of the Future (MIFF), and continues to oversee the creative elements and development of programming for the festival.  One of the most exciting aspects of MIFF is the upcoming Vortex Videogame Competition, a great opportunity open to emerging videogame developers. The event is sponsored by Telefilm Canada and OMDC in partnership with George Brown College and MIFF.

Continue reading "Five Questions for Bill Marshall - Vortex Game Competition" »

Growing B2B With Collaborative Web Technologies

My last video from the CMA's National Convention & Trade Show was with Mark Zwicker, VP of Business Development at St. Joseph's Communications.  Mark provided a case study for attendees, and stressed that while clients are generally resistant to changes, providing analytic proof of bottom-line savings are hard to overlook.

Attention Social Media Fence-Sitters: Watch This Video

If you are on the fence with whether you should be blogging, podcasting, or interacting online - this video is for you. David Jones, SVP at Fleishman-Hillard, provides some helpful tools for evaluating if social media is the right medium for your brand.

Shot while attending the CMA's National Convention & Trade Show.

May 22, 2007

Hillary’s Misguided Foray into User Generated Content

Hillary_for_presidentOne of my favourite things to do is watch political parties and candidates – or companies, or TV networks – jump on what they think is a bandwagon and then misapply the principles that made it a success in the first place. That’s why next season’s network television lineups are full of Heroes-themed supernatural content and freaks.  What audiences have responded to in Heroes is a fantastic concept, great characters and a propulsive narrative, not the fact that the characters on the show have cool powers.

It’s much the same with user generated content. Just because it’s a tactic doesn’t mean you should use it. Especially when your strategic application actually succeeds in reinforcing a major perception liability.

For those of who you haven’t been following along, Hillary Clinton is currently running for President of the United States. Her critics say that she lacks a clear vision and that she tends to leap on the bandwagon. On her website May 21,  she launched a poll to allow visitors to choose a fairly major part of her campaign.

I don’t want to be overly harsh, because there are a number of great things about the fact that Hillary’s running and that she is trying to integrate her audience into her campaign. It’s the topic she’s chosen for her foray into UGC that’s troubling and, unfortunately, it highlights some deeper issues with her public persona.

Hillary wants you, or at least the US  public, to pick her campaign song.

Yes, you too can help craft Hillary’s campaign by picking her campaign theme song! (And no, you don’t have to be in the US to have your say! I voted!)

Continue reading "Hillary’s Misguided Foray into User Generated Content" »

May 17, 2007

StartupNorth.ca: An Insiders' View of Canadian Startups

Attention all Canadian startups! Announcing the launch of Startupnorth.ca, a place for the Canadian startup community to tell their own stories, profile their successes, learn from their failures and share knowledge.

StartupNorth.ca is spearheaded by serial entrepreneur, consultant and Firestoker founder Jevon MacDonald. “When I looked at the Canadian startup scene, I saw a lot of great ideas, great talent and a steady flow of these ideas and people to the Venture Capital pools and acquiring companies of Silicon Valley,” says Macdonald.  “I run a small Canadian startup and I feel that there needs to be a conversation about startups, finance and living in Canada so that good opportunities will not slip through the cracks."

MacDonald set out to create a place to review “the life, and death of Canadian startups” and to build a community of users who are passionate about building great companies in Canada.

Continue reading "StartupNorth.ca: An Insiders' View of Canadian Startups" »

Jeremy Gutsche Unlocks Cool in Ottawa

Jeremy Gutsche, of Trend Hunter Magazine, presented during an afternoon session at the CMA's National Convention & Trade Show on how to _unlock cool_.  His presentation outlined five steps on how to open and harness cool. Click the video to find out how Jeremy helps companies unlock cool use it for their marketing techniques.

Don Tapscott Inspires At The CMA's National Convention

Don_tapscott_cma The best presentation at this years CMA's National Convention & Trade Show was from Don Tapscott, of New Paradigm".  Author of Wikinomics, Don spoke on the transformation of marketing, and described the web as "becoming a new form of production," as all users connect to it and collaborate.

Don outlined four drivers for this shift of the web, and provided detailed examples and metrics to buttress his claims.  While the concepts might be straight-forward, when integrated they become a highly thought-out and developed map for change:

  1. The "new" web -> Web 2.0 (consisting of a variety of mediums):

    • The Thing - the utility we use to connect to the web.
    • The availability of broadband mobility, and high-bandwidth capable devices
    • Geo-Spaciality - The availability of the web from any location
    • True-multimedia
    • Web Services
    • Integration
  2. The Net Generation - For the first generation to grow up entirely on digital technologies Don provided the following quote to describe them; "We [the older-than-baby-boomer-children generation] are all digital immigrants, they [the kids] are all digital natives."
  3. The Social Revolution
  4. The Economic Revolution (consisting of four caveats);
    • Peering
    • Transparency - being open
    • Sharing -Mass Collaboration
    • Acting Globally

Continue reading "Don Tapscott Inspires At The CMA's National Convention" »

May 29 Double-Header from Profectio: Social Media Marketing and Consumer Engagement

Join us for our double-header of events on May 29th ... Guiding Light – Social Media Marketing

The Internet is constantly changing the way consumers communicate with you, your brand and your company. It is no secret that the Internet's impact on business is important to the bottom line, social media's impact is becoming increasingly something that all lines of business and levels are taking notice of.

Speakers: Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO, Helix Commerce International Inc., Eli Singer, Managing Director, Social POV

When & Where: 8:00AM to 10:30AM, MTCC, Toronto

Engage Me

The online world is changing faster then some advertisers and marketers can adapt to. Consumers are being offered more and more choices on a daily basis of where to spend their time and money. They are also being offered many opportunities to share their content such as photos, video and opinions.

Speakers: Joseph Pilotta, Ph. D. - BIGresearch, Adrian Schauer, Managing Partner, Vortxt Interactive, Alfredo Tan, Strategic Alliances Director, Sympatico/MSN

When & Where: 1:00PM to 4:30PM, MTCC, Toronto

Get more details and sign up at Profectio!

May 15, 2007

A Crash Course In Microsoft's AdCenter - CMA Reporting

Owen Sagness, VP at MSN Canada presented at the CMA's National Convention & Trade Show on reaching online objectives - with a case study on the Microsoft Sympatico portal. Owen presented some interesting statistics during his presentation, like the following:

  • Advertisements with audio and video have a 10% higher click-through than ads without.
  • The three top search categories are: Travel, Research, and Finance.
  • Canadians are the highest to adopt new technology.
  • Nearly 50% of complex queries go unanswered.

Click the video for a quick tutorial on Microsoft's AdCenter.

Sears.ca "CGM-driven" Wishbook Campaign leaves me feeling like Scrooge

I saw an announcement from Media in Canada  today titled "Sears Trying CGM for Christmas Catalogue". Ooo, CGM - yay consumers! But alas, Tiny Tim, I got excited too soon. While checking out Sears.ca's campaign, I encountered three very cranky Christmas Ghosts:

Ghost #1 "Voting" does not equal "CGM"
I read the Media in Canada article which basically said that Sears is letting customers vote on one of four pre-selected catalog covers (presumably) designed by their agency. CGM is Consumer Generated Media. The consumers have generated NOTHING here, except an email mailing list for future exploitation by Sears. It would be CGM if Sears committed to picking a design that was created by a consumer. I'm not sure if this is a mis-label by Media in Canada, or Sears.ca trying to play the "we do social media" card. Either way .. unfortunate.

Continue reading "Sears.ca "CGM-driven" Wishbook Campaign leaves me feeling like Scrooge" »

Canada Post at the CMA's National Convention & Trade Show

Donna Reid from Canada Post presented a case study at the CMA's National Convention & Trade Show on direct marketing to small businesses, and spoke about Canada Posts' Venture One initiative. In her lecture Donna noted that a good database takes a good three years to begin to have data which you can then extract useful information from. 

Click the video to hear all about the program.

Five Questions for Pete Forde - Looking Real Good

Looking_good_logo Pete Forde slaved away in the shadows of Microsoft development for a decade until Ruby on Rails clicked its heels three times, forcing Pete to help found Unspace. Demanding, innovative, and not a little eccentric, Pete is the sort of person whom interesting projects tend to follow around. Pete's concern for quality is as much a personal drive as it is a professional one, and informs his approaches to programming and brainstorming with unwavering strength. Pete has deftly handled clients from retail entities like Chapters to energy brokerages and government institutions — all while managing to drum in a rock band in his "spare" time. Dedicated to the idea of constructive community, Pete is the monthly host of Toronto Rails Pub Nite, and couldn't be happier to go to work every day with the most intelligent people he's ever met.

One Degree: What is Looking Real Good all about?

Looking Real Good is a fun, non-commercial web project where every day there is a new, interesting person on the homepage for 24 hours. People are encouraged to upload portraits of themselves, and describe where they come from and what they are passionate about. In contrast to similar concepts, we do not allow visitors to comment or vote on the photographs. We're hoping a smiling face will inject some positive energy into your day when you get to work in the morning.

One Degree: How did you come about the idea, and what do hope to accomplish with it?

In Toronto we have NOW Magazine, which has a weekly My Style feature. My sister Lindsay is a talented costume designer; we both read that page even though it sucks. I wanted to support her work, as well as adapt the NOW feature for the web, but without the suck. One common complaint in web development circles is that we have these specialized abilities, but they are often only used to realize the dreams of other people. Simple concepts like Looking Real Good are an opportunity to do something fun that hopefully makes the world a slightly more interesting place.

Continue reading "Five Questions for Pete Forde - Looking Real Good" »

May 14, 2007

Links From The Backchannel

Here are some links from the Backchannel our readers found interesting.

Not sure what the backchannel is? See "Bookmarks from the Community" in the sidebar for details on how you can get involved.

May 09, 2007

The CMA National Convention: Networking in Ottawa

Next week the CMA's National Convention & Trade Show will be taking place in Ottawa.  Spanning three days, the event is laden with insightful marketing gurus, throughout the well laid out agenda. The CMA describes the event as one which "will provide you with the knowledge, leading edge solutions, and competitive advantage you need to take your business to the next level of success." 

Also noted as a great networking and business generating venue, the event would not be complete without a great speaker lineup. The three-day event will divide itself between Intensive and Concurrent sessions, as well as a variety of keynotes and plenty of networking time.  Take a look at the program timetable to see the daily setup of the event, and then visit the registration page. I will be attending the conference as well, so feel free to introduce yourself and say hello!

The iTunes Advertising Enigma

There's no question in my mind that Apple has done more to advance the medium of podcasting than any other company. For that, I will always be grateful.

Nevertheless, I am still shaking my head in bewilderment about one thing I recently learned related to Apple and podcasts: nobody can buy advertising to promote their podcast on iTunes.

Sure, when you go to the iTunes podcast directory there are all sorts of banners and buttons promoting the virtues of various podcasts. I, like many people, had assumed that the producers of those podcasters had paid to have their podcasts promoted in this way. After all, this type of advertising model exists on a number of other podcast directories, and it's something many of us are familiar and comfortable with.

But get this: I assumed wrong. (Yeah, yeah, I know the old saying about making assumptions...)

Continue reading "The iTunes Advertising Enigma" »

Live from Emetrics: Google Analytics - The Next Generation

At the Emetrics Summit today in San Francisco, Brett Crosby of Google Analytics announced the launch of a new version of Google Analytics.

Jeff Veen, also of Google and previously at Adaptive Path, then took the audience on a tour of the enhanced features, including improved drill down capabilities, email reporting and drop-in/punt-away dashboard building. Developed with a healthy infusion of customer experience design (thanks Jeff!) web analytics industry jargon has been replaced by more marketer-friendly terminology. Categorization is also much more intuitive and visualization is definitely a big step up. And one major annoyance IMHO has been fixed...the browser back button now works!

The crowd at the Google booth was large after the announcement. Google was upgrading accounts at their booth, and giving away free t-shirts. Any new Google Analytics accounts will automatically be moved to the new interface. Existing accounts will be migrated over to the new interface over the next few weeks. Once accounts are migrated, they will be able to access both the old and new interfaces for 30 days. Read this post by Google Product Manager Jeff Gillis for links to a tour and other helpful resources.

May 08, 2007

More Brands Entering Second Life

In case you haven't visited your favourite metaverse recently, here are a few of the brands that have entered Second Life:

Coca-Cola launched its Virtual Thirst program ... a design contest that solicits ideas for an in-world vending machine that dispenses, not Coca-Cola, but the ESSENCE of Coca-Cola: refreshment, joy, unity and experience. Coca-Cola also has a MySpace page and a YouTube channel to support the contest. Visit the Virtual Thirst Pavilion in-world.


Lacoste, close on the heels of L'Oreal Paris' beauty pageant, is holding their own avatar model search.  Six avatars will be chosen to share a purse of a million Linden dollars and will pose in unique Lacoste clothing for a photo shoot.  Find out more on the Lacoste site.

Continue reading "More Brands Entering Second Life" »

May 07, 2007

Social Media Sticks It To The Man

Digg_logo_2 Last week news broke that popular social media news site Digg.com had removed articles in its index after being pressured by big media through legal manners.  In an article posted on Digg (at which point it was Dugg) was the deception key for the newly-released HD-DVD format.

The decryption key -  a 16-bit character string - became an illegal number to publish (based on the DMCA), and any article published containing the number was treated as illegal and in violation of fair use and the DMCA. In true community spirit, web users were outraged by the event, and began finding new and interesting ways to publish the key, and then Digg them.  Realizing the community outrage, Digg.com's founder Kevin Rose issued a press release on the on Digg blog, claiming that:

after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

He signed off his post with this line: "If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying." This sign of social media, and the way educated and empowered web citizens use the web, is something companies, and marketers, should embrace, rather than lock-down.  This whole fiasco likely publicized the circumvention technique, rather than suppressing it - it was a total PR nightmare.  In addition to this, the number spread laterally across social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as users expressed their unrest after feeling abused. What are your impressions on this whole fiasco?

May 03, 2007

A Whole New Scene - National Rewards

Logo_scene What began as a pilot project in Toronto, the Scene card has now become a national rewards program.  The Scene card - a rewards program partnered with Cineplex and Scotiabank, it allows users to accrue points redeemable for free movie tickets.

Piloted in Toronto on January 24th, the program's wide success in the Toronto market, as well as with a Facebook group, it was a natural step to take the program cross-country. This rewards program is not only highly-targeted for specific rewards, but the program has endless possibilities partnering with upcoming major motion films.

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