Happy building in portland

Portland Oregon: A Lesson In Purple Cows 

Have you ever had a Blue Cheese and Pear Ice-cream cone? How about a Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper Ice-cream cone? Or maybe you have tried Carrot Cake Batter & Pralined Hazelnuts Ice-cream? That’s not a typo, Salt & Straw has been making Ice cream like this since 2011 in Portland Oregon. And people freaking LOVE it. 

You must be asking now, why the hell do they sell such weird Ice cream? The answer is simple, because people LOVE it. They don’t “like” it, most people “like” Ice cream. But if you are going to travel across the city, pay for parking, wait in line, there’s something special about the Ice-cream. People who go to Salt & Straw LOVE Ice cream and they can hardly wait to try the next crazy concoction the Ice cream gods can think up.

I’m telling you about Salt & Straw because every time we past one in Portland there was a lineup outside the door 15 minutes long at the very least, an hour long at peak times. The Ice cream was priced reasonably, $3-10 cones and bowls. That was the most unique quality that we saw again and again; businesses don’t charge an arm and a leg for unique products in Portland, they’d rather charge an honest price and create mass amounts of demand.  After all, a lower allows many more people to try your creation!

(Yes I spoke with a women who got the Blue Cheese and Pear combination, she loved it, weird.)

Salt and straw portland

But it wasn’t only Salt & Straw that had a completely ridiculous lineup every time we walked by, the famous Voodoo Doughnut was just as bad.

The famous Voodoo Doughnut was a very unique experience. We waited in line for 20 minutes, finally at the front we look at the menu expecting you know, $10-20 maybe? Like you know what you’d find at a fancy Doughnut Delicatessen? Nope, most were under $2 other than the fancy ones.

How peculiar! Any MBA worth half their education would say, “Raise your prices! You could be making WAY more cash money!”. The obvious response to the MBA: “then it wouldn’t be special anymore!”

The reason Voodoo Doughnut is so good is that it isn’t easy to get. You can’t just go buy one from any old store. You must wait in line. But the price point is so anyone can afford it! A brilliant concept, charge an honest price, do something amazing. 

The best part about the entire experience was the box (shown below). The box is a piece of art you want to put on display. You don’t pay extra for it, everybody gets one and as soon as you leave Voodoo it turns into a Social Object (people talk about it).

Voodoo Doughnut Portland

“Good things come in pink boxes”.

Next was the advertising. Some amazing displays of creative work, travelling through Portland will have you kinking your neck a lot. The Lyft billboard shown below was a monstrosity in downtown Portland, our Uber driver pulled over so I could take this picture!

The elephant in the road

Portland is going through a change. You don’t see a lot of super cars. You don’t see a lot of suits or people looking down their nose at you. It’s a very laid back, friendly, west coast vibe. They like to have fun and businesses are not afraid at using humour in their messaging. See below.

Marine Layer Portland

Marine Layer is a clothing company started on the coast. They have fun (like this sign), staff is really friendly and “it’s an Airbnb. (seriously)”. My favourite part.

Welcome to “Nike Biketown USA”

Nike Biketown Portland

A week before we arrived in Portland Nike and the city had arranged a $10 million bike share program in the downtown core. You sign up online or on the app, connect a credit card, and you have a bike for $2.50 per hour. What a brilliant idea! They have stations all over so you don’t have to return your bike to the same place you rented it. Amazing.

I believe they stole this one from Europe, what an amazing service. 1,000 bright orange Nike bikes are all over Portland.

The vast majority of these weird Purple Cow places had several things in common

  1. The best ones had a unique characteristic (Superpower) that they are now known for
    Unconventional Ice-cream, best chicken and waffles, completely original doughnut flavours, and entire library full of whiskey.  
  2. They weren’t expensive
    The restuarnts that had a wait time (Mother’s, Pok Pok, Voodoo Doughnut, Salt & Straw) were very affordable if not considered “cheap” price point to other establishments close by.
  3. They were inclusive; you see all walks of life frequenting the best places
    One of our Uber driver summed it up for us; “you don’t see many suits anymore, people don’t care about the money, they would rather be comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, big money isn’t looked up to here.”

So what did this little ol Canadian from the prairies learn? Location isn’t an excuse. Portland has never been a major tourist destination until the last decade. They are forward thinking with government policy (this attracts the young people). Without the young people you aren’t growing. But the to attract young people it has to be affordable, Portland is. And finally if you want to be a world renown place, company, or even Airbnb, find your superpower. Embrace your superpower.

All the best places in Portland had something special about them, something weird.

Now go find your Purple Cow, your social object or superpower, whatever it is don’t be afraid to be different.

Big Idea Camp 2.alright alright alright-regina

Big Idea Camp 2.Alright Alright Alright

Last year’s Beta version of Big Idea Camp blew our expectations. The participants, the companies involved, and the sheer creativity these students brought to the camp was inspiring enough to grow it even bigger.

Enter Big Idea Camp 2.Alright Alright Alright!!! 

4 days, 8 competitions, 9 corporate sponsors, 2 teams going head to head in the wildest, most creative business competition in North America.

All the fun starts August 2nd and goes till August 5th. Thanks to Cowork Regina for the office space they generously donated for the week. Some of what to expect for the week:

  • The Carmichael Outreach Diaper Challenge. Who can acquire the most amount of Diapers and donations for Carmichael Outreach!
  • The Creative Options Regina (COR) Postcard challenge. Who will design the winning postcard that we’ll print for COR on behalf of you! 
  • The What The Food Truck Downtown Regina challenge. Who will win the Chop style “cook-off” in the park for lunch! 
  • The Capital Auto 30-second spot competition. Which team with create the commercial that Capital Auto actually uses for their marketing material?!? 
  • The Association of Regina Realtors Snap Chat Challenge! Who will complete the Snap Chat Scavenger Hunt first?! Get your filters ready!!!! 
  • The #PulseCity Challenge. How do you sell an amazing superfood that widely unknown but a staple in our local farmers fields? 
  • Financial Friday! A trip to Conexus Credit Union for several competitions with the topic being financial literacy! How well do you know #FinLit? Test your teams knowledge not only on financial literacy but also teamwork and creativity. 

Huge thanks for all our sponsors who make Big Idea Camp happen. Conexus Credit Union, Association of Regina Realtors, The Home Expert Team, Carmichael Outreach, Capital Auto Mall, Creative Options Regina, Regina Downtown, Cowork Regina, and of course Strategy Lab. 

Want to learn more about the funnest week of Summer? Check out the Big Idea Camp Schedule here.

Why it sucks being a coach... some days

Why It Sucks Being a Coach….. Some Days // eps 52 #inthelab

Why it sucks being a coach….. some days

At a given Volleyball tournament of 12 teams, the first three teams go home happy. One, Two or Three are a nice finish, but anything after that really sucks. So the average coach has a 25% chance of going home happy?!? That’s crazy! Now I’m obviously over exaggerating but your win loss record is only one of many things to focus on as a coach. The problem is that’s the easiest thing to single out as a parent, athlete, spectator, did you win? Why not? 

It’s not just coaching, in life we often forget what the purpose is. Is the end goal really just to win the tournament? At what cost? What are you willing to sacrifice? When will one more win be enough? In life, how much do you make? How much did you clear last year? How  Any time I hear conversations like that I feel a little worse for man kind.

The money doesn’t matter, just like the win doesn’t matter. 

Your goal is to get your team to focus not on the win but the bigger issues at stake in sport.

  1. Are you a team?
  2. Are you contributing to that team?
  3. Are you getting better every day?

These can be very hard to focus on when everyone around you wants a win.
It’s hard to focus on creating something amazing in life when everyone tells you to get a “real job”.

As long as you don’t give up you’re not a failure.

The 75% of the tournaments you leave without a medal makes the other 25% all that much sweeter. There’s a romantic side to sports that Billy Beane talked about in Moneyball and I see on coaches faces time and time again. It seems delusional how much these coaches and volunteers put in just to help the younger generation see a sport through their eyes. It’s really quite amazing to see.

Don’t give up.

I talk to amazing teachers, mentors, and coaches all the time. I feel everyone is on the brink of quitting and getting more “me” time. I crosses every volunteers mind I guarantee it. But the tittle of this post is “It Sucks Being a Coach….Sometimes” because there are these magic moments where you see kids come together, do things they never thought possible, and learn life skills in a completely different way.

This past weekend we has Nationals in Winnipeg. We didn’t do as good as I thought we should (in the tournament), but throughout the weekend I witnessed a bunch of thirteen and fourteen year olds become a team. As a team they cheered on our arch rival at Provincials, Meadow Lake in any game they watched them play in. It’s like they grew up. The crux of the boys coming together was after cheering on a girls team they all went on to the court, lined up to shake hands, and congratulated the girls team on a game well played.

I couldn’t have been more proud.

Life gets hard to teach us a lesson. As long as we don’t cave under the pressure, as long as we don’t throw in the towel, we’ll be okay. The harder the challenge the more important the lesson.

don't give up

Your Favourite show you've never seen

Your Favourite Show You’ve Never Seen // #SocialTV Season 2 eps 1

Welcome back to another exciting season of #SocialTV. With your hosts Greg Moore and Jeph Maystruck.

A couple years ago at Access Communications for channel 7, Greg and Jeph hosted a show together called “Social TV”, the show about local social media stories. We had a riot!! But our viewership never really took off much past my friend Garth. Garth PVR’d every episode. So between Greg’s family and my friend Garth we didn’t have a major following. That didn’t deter us!

Now our dearly beloved Social TV is now onto Season Two of social media madness on air. This time around we’ll be able to share the videos ONLINE, in a medium that doesn’t attempt to control the message. Funny how it took us this long to truly make social TV, well, social.

Greg has a brilliant mind on marketing(works at Look Agency) and he does a podcast on hockey too. He also sends me articles like this….will this be on the test?

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the braedon and brandon episode

The Braedon & Brandon Episode | Between Two Sequoias ||Eps 30 #InTheLab

The Braedon & Brandon Episode.

The highly anticipated conversation that fans have been waiting for, the hotshot in the office, the young gun hailing from North Regina, Braedon McLeod interviews the Strategy Lab co-founder Brandon wu. We recently added a couple folks to our “About Us” page. They’d been hanging around the office long enough so we felt it was necessary to explain what they’re doing before people start asking too many questions if ya know what I mean. 😉

This will go down in the history books as the conversation that changed a generation! Well not exactly, it did uncover some of the secrets to Brandon’s working style and Braedon does make you laugh when he talks sometimes.

Their comedic banter in the Strategy Lab office is nothing short of amazing. Braedon knows how to get under Brandon’s skin, and well everyone is really hard on Braedon ANY time he makes a comment that isn’t exceptionally brilliant. A day doesn’t go by without a lot of laughter. We really make a great team.

Most days Braedon just sits there and codes singing Shakira, and other days he just sits. The way those two talk about designing a website is truly remarkable. A seasoned vet getting grilled by the rookie just to ensure our name is associated with a top quality product. When you care a lot about what you’re doing you tend to get opinionated about your work. Ahhh, the life of a creative.

Watch the video, it’s pretty, pretty, pretty, funny.

Want to meet another fellow who hangs around our office an awful lot? Check out Eddy Alvaro talking about Logo Design here.

Hat Farm on Instagram

The Hat Farm: An Example of Social Enterprise Using Instagram || Eps 29 #InTheLab

Born out of necessity the Hat Farm has grown into an amazing example of Social Enterprise.

The Hat Farm started at Carmichael Outreach in Regina. Carmichael Outreach is a place where people can get clothing, food, a cup of coffee, help with housing, drug addiction, plus pretty much anything else people need when they have no where else to turn. In 2014 Carmichael Outreach served 53,689 meals to people in Regina. In 2015 it’s looking like that number will be closer to 70,000. They’re growing, and that’s not a good thing. I mean it is great people who maybe weren’t getting a meal last year have the chance to but as an organization they can’t just keep growing.

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Between Two Sequoias w/ Braedon McLeod || Eps 25 #BetweenTwoSequoias


Braedon from Strategy LabI met Braedon back when he was in highschool and still full of piss and vinegar. I was the assistant coach of the Senior Boys at Winston Knoll and there was this young spitfire of a Volleyball player that looked at the world through a different lens. He was a little shit disturber, didn’t like authority but would compete no matter what. He was a competitor. We didn’t see eye to eye at first, but slowly I began to understand where this young fellow came from.

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The magestic Canadian beaver riding a magestic canadian goose

What’s The Best Part About The Canadian “Brand”?

We’re the stereotypically friendly and polite to the rest of the world.

How cool is that?!?

We were in Las Vegas, leaving to the airport to go home and my worst fear happened. I forgot to tip the bellhop who kept our bags all day long. And everyone knows you don’t mess with Karma before a flight!! What do you do, our cab was driving off!

Like any decent Canadian person would do, you stop the taxi. Run out to the bellhop counter and leave the tip you forgot to leave, no questions asked. I did just that. When I returned to the taxi, the following line out of the taxi drivers mouth was the best,

“Oh you folks must be from Canada!”. 

He was right. I laughed and said, “how did you know?!? Is our accent THAT bad?!”. “No” he replied, “it was the good deed that tipped me off! No one is that nice, other than Canadians!”. 

This is the second time in a foreign country people have told me Canadians are the nicest people. Personally I couldn’t be happier with that stereotype.

But remember, when you travel aboard, you HAVE to be nice to people. You have to be friendly, and you have to be polite. Lets keep this reputation going that Canadians are the nicest people in the world.

Happy Canada Day!

Canadian Gangsters...

Canadian Gangsters…

Canadian Graffiti

Biggest protest in canadian history

Robin Williams quote about canada

Featured image photo credit: Found on reddit

Big idea camp website

Big Idea Camp 2015 – Episode 19 #LetsChangeEducation

Wall Street meets Scarth Street

“Wall Street meets Scarth Street”

 

Ready for the best week of Summer?!? Welcome Big Idea Camp 2015. We combine the two best parts of school to create the most effective learning environment possible. Field trips (working with real companies and organizations) and team based competitions.

In school, getting out of the classroom was when you started learning (outside your comfort zone) and team based competition teaches students many different applicable skills such as, communication, empathy, leadership (more importantly followership), listening, initiative, trust, and of course teamwork.

In school field trips were the best! You got to learn from the experts in the field doing their real job. This is what we want to create. A real learning experience. We’re working with companies and a couple non-profits to offer the students real case studies on problems businesses are currently facing. You’ll get to offer ideas that may get implemented by an actual company. How neat!

It’s for highschool students (grades 9-12), you don’t need prior business education whatsoever. We’re going 9-4 for 5 days straight! You’ll never sit in a chair longer than 30 minutes. Big Idea Camp will keep you laughing, keep you on your toes, and get you thinking about YOUR big idea.

Silicon Valley meets Qu'Appelle Valley

“Silicon Valley meets Qu’Appelle Valley”

 

7 hours of non-stop learning every day

6 team building challenges

5 field trips to local businesses

4 case studies with local organizations

3 pieces of limited edition team gear

2 energetic instructors

1 summer camp you’ll never forget

Find out more here: Big Idea Camp Dot See Eh!

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