Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Canadian Translator

Danby is Canadian.  People like to buy Canadian.  In Canada it means local.  In the US, it denotes quality and North American.  Everyone does not know Danby is Canadian and even if they do, they may not know our language.  We we put up a simple Canadian Translator.  Simply type in the word or phrase you want translated and it speaks back what that is in Canadian.

Try it out.

And ideally tweet it, re-blog it etc.  I want it to go viral and it is funny enough it might.


Speaking of marketing ideas,  I read a book - Do it! Marketing  - 77 Instant ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits and Crush Your Competition by David Newman.

As I have often said - I love marketing.  And even more - I love guerrilla marketing.  And I have no attention span so love a book with 77 instant ideas (many of which are guerrilla).   Because it is 77 independent ideas, it is a quick and easy read that can be picked up for a minute here and there.

i read to inspire ideas and this book did that so for me it is a good book.

One cute story paraphrased from the book - "Sell like a girl"

What can we learn from girl guides from how they sell cookies.

1 - It is who you know.  So as I have always said - nurture a network.

2 - Its not about the product.  I can attest to that - since they changed the recipe 20 years ago, I have not particularly liked them...but I buy them.

3 - Its not about price.  Girl scout cookies are easily 50+% higher than other cookies.

4 - Its not about need.  Who really needs cookies.

5 - Its not about competition.  Cookies are available in any grocery store.

6 - "When times are tough and things look quiet, that's the time to push harder than ever.  Girl guides know how to be persistent.

They did not mention - it helps to be cute to sell - will have to work on that one.

And a blatant plug for one of my investee companies that does employment pre-screening - Plum.  If you can save even one poor fit hire, it is worth screening with a tool like Plum.

And if you thought you had problems getting your luggage - check out the olympians returning home.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Disruptive Marketing book review

I read a book - Disruptive Marketing - What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers can Teach us about Navigating the New Normal by Geoffrey Colon.  (no - I did not make up the sub-title).

In short - I love it.  Partly I love it just because I love marketing.  But mostly I love it because Colon understands that marketing has changed and is changing.  The old time advertising model is dead.  people do not want to be interrupted.  Social media, and social interaction is the new normal.

Despite loving it, there was no clear answer on how to win in this new normal.  That part was not satisfying.

My favourite chapter was 12.  Learn, unlearn, relearn.   Earlier in the book, Colon had admonished people to not rely on their MBA or 30 years of experience.  The gist of chapter 12 is we need to be constant learners and as soon as we think we have learned something, we likely need to learn something different.

I liked a number of the quotes in the book (not only from the author but from other people).

"The most disruptive thing in the market is not technology, but rather the customer"  Tiffani Bova

"Adventure may hurt, but monotony will kill you"  Anon

"For every problem you are trying to solve, you should be asking more questions" Colon  In the same paragraph he talks about asking the question "what if".

"A true scare commodity is increasingly human attention"  Satya Nadella

"There is no failure in the new world of marketing - only learning" Colon

It was a great way for me to spend part of my weekend.  I am inspired (so now all the Danby staff will run away when they see me).

I listened to a short audio book on Habit Stacking.  Not worth listening to because I will tell you the gist of the message.  I have used it for years.

To start a new good habit (assuming you do not want to start new bad habits) - stack it to one you already do.  For example - every time you brush your teeth - do the new habit before or after.  And you can continue to stack on a number of new habits.

Make a list of the regular habits you have - showering (at least I hope this is one of your habits), brushing your teeth, getting in the car, shaving, getting out of bed etc.  Make a list of the habits you want to stack - meditating, drinking (water that is), balancing on one leg, pushups, sit ups, deep breathing etc.  And simply stack the good habits on the other habits.

And for those interested in decreasing risk of Alzheimers by 53% - a new diet.  Of course when you read about it, it really is just the same good diet that we have read about for years.
And for the child in everyone - the executive colouring book that I thought was hilarious.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Viral Coefficient in Social Media

I was approached by an entrepreneur who wanted to know how to make things go viral.  Actually he asked what are early signs that things might go viral.  The following is my reply.

I have occasionally experimented in how to make things go viral.  These same ideas apply to promoting a product like a book.

The obvious - develop a product with a viral co-efficient greater than 1 - meaning if you tell 100 people, you get more than 100 views or users.

My real life example.  I thought I would experiment with my Ted Talk (and the URL I point you to is not the original that had over 100,000 views).  I ended up with over a 10 times viral co-efficient when I sent a personal email to business friends.  For each one email, I got over 10 views.  But over time, that dropped because I was sending it to people I had less and less relationship to.  Eventually it went to less than 1.

One expression I always say is "light 1,000 fires".  A fire is anything that might start the ball rolling.  Examples(and certainly not a definitive list but a start):

1 - Do a blog entry on it.  Enlist other bloggers.
2 - Do a Linkedin update or aricle
3 - Facebook update
4 - Google Plus update (I think people still sometimes look at these)
5 - Do a Pinterest
6 - Send an email to a list or specific contacts
7 - Send a Tweet, tap your friends with a social media presence to help.
8 - do a snail mailing (they actually work again since email is deleted so quickly)
9 - for even better response send a personal note on the mailing.
10 - public speaking/presentations
11 - press release
12 - publish a white paper
13 - post about it on Quora
14 - Instagram
15 - Publish an article on eZine
16 - Do a flyer drop
17 - post handbills or signs
18 - advertise in papers, radio, TV, magazines etc
You get the idea.  Spread the word.  And of course all fires are not the same.  An article on my blog is not the same as an article in the NY Times (but over time, I think the NY Times can improve to be close).

And of course light many of these many times.  And track everything to figure out which ones work.  And you never really will know which one will cause something to go viral.

Part of what causes something to go viral is hitting the right target audience.  You may have a great product for 17 year olds in which case, try to light a fire where they are.  At the same time - especially during start up, you may think you know your target but it might be something different.  So try lots of everything.

With messaging services like Kik or a social media work out apps like Pumpup, a network effect can also kick (or kik) in.  Speaking of Kik - there is an interesting article on their bots.  The more people who use the service, the more people who will want to use it because there are more people connected.  It gets easier and easier to acquire users.

With productivity Apps like Gyst, there is some network effect in that more users will naturally tell others about it if they like it and are excited by it.

The formula gets complex though.  Viral things slow over time as all interested users use or view.  And with users, it is even more complex because it is all about keeping people using it.  Monthly Average Users is a key metric that people track.  So apps need to keep users interested so they remain active.  It is a constant push to add features, remind users, train users etc.

And part of success is about churn - how many users drop off over time.

And the topic of another blog post would be monetization.  Once you have users or views...now what.

Olympics are on.  I do not follow them much.  Canada's Simon Whitfield and Brenda Irwin have some comment on their Relentless Blog.

And just a reminder - save the world, save yourself - eating lentils is healthy for you.
Inspired by my last blog on lighting fires without matches - my granddaughter with a tiny bit of assistance from her dad.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

I have previously commented on negative interest rates.  It turns out they have the opposite to the intended effect - people save - not spend.  Interest article on it here.

I was recently hiking on the beautiful Bruce Trail near Ancaster.  At the Sulphur Springs Rail stop information kiosk has a flyer for a kids summer camp.  It looked great:

Learn how to read maps.
Learn how to use a compass.
Learn how to make an emergency lean to.
Learn how to start a fire without matches.

Now I am thinking it looks perfect then:

Learn how to cook a hotdog over a fire.

Really?  I want to see the tough wilderness camper who has to stay in an emergency hand made shelter and make fire without matches who needs to know how to cook a hotdog over a fire.  Really - would you even be able to find a hotdog tree to get one in the first place if you were lost in the wilderness?

It reminded me of a satirical documentary about the pasta harvest.
I read a book - Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High.  Interesting book.  I found I already employed many of the techniques suggested.

I liked the respect prayer "Lord help me forgive those who sin differently than I"

Thursday, August 04, 2016


I have previously blogged about Bitcoin so was fascinated (and slightly distressed) that there was a $60,000,000 theft of them.

Someone once asked a bandit why they robbed the bank.  The answer "because that is where the money is".  So why Bitcoin?  Because that is where the money is.

It is distressing to see bad guys everywhere trying to disrupt things.

I had blogged about pokemon and the possible health benefits.  Well the first story is out - a guy lost 25 pounds playing the game.

I believe in gamification.   I am a big believer in success habits.  I am thinking of ways to gamify more of those.

Although I usually do not consider the Onion to be a definitive source of information, I think they may be right in the fighting skills of men.

I am reading with interest about negative yield bonds.  I am just not smart enough to figure out why someone would want to buy them.  I know in our business, many companies choose to sell products for a loss which I guess is the comparable.  Again, I am not smart enough to understand why selling below cost is smart.

It reminds me of guy who thought he would make his fortune off change machines.  He bought machines that when someone put in a $5 bill spit out 5 loonies.  He set up 2 of them at the carwash and expectantly went to count the $5 bills in the machines.  Tallied it all up and said "darn - just breaking even.  I need more machines so I can do more volume".

And to balance the world - Josh and Victoria.  You can tell - Josh particularly likes to sit still.  Good thing I work out so still have some arm strength left for holding my grandkids.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Pokemon comments, literacy and randomness

The garden is in full production I am enjoying bountiful harvests of herbs - thyme, basil, parsley, chives, tarragon etc.  And eating zucchini pancakes, soup, casserole, etc etc.   Poor tomato crop.  Fair bean crop.  Good beets and leeks.

Of course what is really going strong is crabgrass and most other weeds that seem persistent and resilient.  Thinking we could all learn lessons from them.  Perhaps I should author a book "Persist like a weed - how to keep growing despite setbacks".


The bird feeder is attracting cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches and even grackles.  But the birds here are Mennonite.   I know that because they dislike having their picture taken (or I would have included them).  And I have never seen one driving a car.


I am fascinated by consumer behaviour so am following the Pokemon Go craze with interest.  I like the idea of the game.  It is active and gets people off the couch.  It can be social and gets people interacting.  And it is not a shooting game.  So it all seems quite good.

I am not a gamer.  I just like the sociological study of them.

Where Pokemon may fail is as another device distraction.  People are having accidents through inattention.

It is interesting that one study says it has peaked.  It is also interesting how people are attached to the status quo already so object when changes are made as reported in this article.  Will have to see.

Trend or fad - we shall see.  Trying to figure out how to make a Danby Appliance trend.


People do what they see other people do.  So the question is - is reading a paper good (intellectual stimulation) or bad (over promotion of bad news).

I suspect she is doing this because the little chat we had when I suggested she was hurting statistics in Ontario by being illiterate.  Speaking of literacy - there is an upcoming event at the Tannery put on by the The Literacy Group (TLG)