Queen City Hack

5 Reasons Why You Need To Come To The Next Queen City Hack

I had the pleasure of judging the last Queen City Hack hosted by Gas Buddy. I was BLOWN AWAY! These teams created some amazing applications, working applications, applications designed beautifully, ALL IN 24 HOURS!!! I couldn’t believe what these teams created and was incredibly surprised! I left inspired, the future is looking very bright. Here are 5 reasons you should get involved with the next Hack-a-Thon:

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What I learned at the Royal LePage Headstart Conference

What I Learned at a Royal LePage National Conference


This September I had the pleasure of speaking at, hanging out in the pool, and MCing the Royal LePage National Headstart conference. I didn’t have any expectations going in other than I knew Realtors liked to have fun, and well I like to have fun so I thought we may just get along!

I was blown away.

The people were incredible. I’ve only spoken at a couple of conferences, this was by far my favourite. I basically made 300 friends that week.

As I was reflecting on an amazing couple of days it was it dawned on me, these Royal LePage folks really get it, I learned a TON. And here is what I learned.

If its not fun its not worth doing

1. If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing!

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“You Shouldn’t Take Moral Issues To The Stock Market, You’re Going To Be Disappointed”


Betting on Zero, a chilling documentary on the reality of how far a business is willing to go to increase shareholder value. 

I don’t like the stock market. This documentary reaffirms my beliefs in that.

The movie Betting on Zero is the tale of one venture capitalist versus another. A good battling evil story for the ages. But if you’re anything like me you probably Googled the company before the end of the documentary and were completely disappointed with our world.

Herbal Life is a pyramid scheme but it continues to grow and the stock price has increased since the movies release

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Queen City Pride 2017

Queen City Pride Parade 2017

The video footage was shot by Brandon and Andy, then Andy edited the same day. What an amazing result. As a part of Strategy Lab it’s moments like this that really make you smile and reflect on why you do what you do. We’ve had a long relationship with Pride Week (long relationship for @StratLab, Ha!), so this ended up being the best support we could have ever offered Dan and his crew. Even with the rain Pride Week Regina pulled off an amazing day.

We couldn’t have been more proud to put the video together as well as capture some amazing stills (photos thanks to Lauren, find out more about her on our About page). You can see by her work she does some amazing work behind the camera.

Pride Week Parade 2017-1 Pride Week Parade 2017-7 Pride Week Parade 2017-4 Pride Week Parade 2017 Pride Week Parade 2017-2

Regina Pride Week Parade 2017 Pride Week Parade 2017

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Dear Montréal, We’re Stealing Mural Festival. Sincerely, The City of Regina.

Dearest Montréal,

We here on the prairies have grown quite fond of some of the pleasantries your fine cultured citizens have the pleasure of enjoying year on year. We feel it is our duty to inform you that we will be politely (and with the utmost respect) be stealing your Mural Festival as well as a few other ideas from your wildly addictive city.

Your streets are nothing short of beautiful. We intend to do the same to our fair city in due time.  Not only do I want to steal the idea of the Mural Festival, I want to take back to Regina a few other parts of Montréal.

Thank you Montréal for your cooperation and willingness to share in your Mural Festival. We from the City of Regina (unofficially), thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

A Regina citizen that appreciates your fine city.

First of all Montréal is 375 years old, yeah that’s older than our country! So you can assume Montréal is doing something right, otherwise it wouldn’t be around. There’s a lot of history there, a lot of history this author had no idea about. The people are proud of their rich cultural heritage, far more than I witness on the prairies. It’s about time to start that rich, cultural, artistic, prairie heritage.

If we want to become a major destination in Canada we need to believe we can be a major destination in Canada.

What you want? CHEESEBURGER!! CHEESEBURGER!!

They Get Hospitality and Customer Service – fast service is a win-win

You don’t wait for meals very long at all. Be it crêpes, burgers, or a famous smoked meat sandwich, the service in most places in Montréal was remarkable. They are FAST! Sometimes you are served literally in minutes after ordering. This is a huge win-win! The restaurants like to have more people through their doors and customers don’t want to stay in one place too long. Serving meals fast is a way to impress customers and help your bottom line!

The “cooler” the dining experience the better your odds of success

Montréal really gets outdoor dining. Patios, terraces, tables in the middle of nowhere, some of the most romantic places to share a meal with someone are in the most unique places. We can easily steal this idea. We just need to talk to the City of Regina about allowing dining establishments more leniency on “where” they can setup tables to serve you. “Creating Instagramable Moments”.

Does It Cost To Get In? Nope.

Never short on fun (free) things to do 

We went on a Tuesday till a Saturday and there was the Mural Festival, The Francofolies Festival, as well as a beer fest going on near by. They were all free to attend. That means the organizers must have some great funding to be able to put on acts like that throughout the week. The Mural Festival was an entire street blocked off and shops, restaurants, and artistic acts lining the way. Amazing art pieces now cover the not so boring concrete jungle most cities become.

There’s a free app called Cite Memoire that tells the history of old Montréal in 22 different projections telling the history of Montréal.  Some of these projections were literally hundreds of feet in the air and you could only see them after a certain at night (had to check the app). They were breathtaking. Talk about “creating Instagramable moments” what a smart idea!

 

cite memoire

Got street art?

It’s beautiful just to walk around, the Street Art is amazing

Many of the most spectacular ones were from last year and 2015, Mural Festival is a way to keep making your city more artistically beautiful. The amount of tourists walking around snapping pictures of the Murals was also amazing (guilty!). What a brilliant way to make your city more beautiful, once a year hold a “mural fest” invite famous artists from around the world, and BOOM, every year there are more places with stunning art for everyone to enjoy.

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Imagine if you could

My Favourite Business Book of All Time

Maverick written by Ricardo Semler in Brazil published in 1993. A transformational business book from start to finish. Completely counter what you’d come to expect from a Ricardo Semler MaverickBrazilian industrial tycoon. I think Mr. Semler is one of the most thought-provoking, honest, most humble leaders I’ve ever come across.

Semco, a heavy duty industrial manufacturer has no rules to live by. You pick your own hours, pick your own pay, pick your own vacation times, heck you even vote on your own managers regularly! Twice a year you fill out a 30 question questionnaire about your management and division you work in.

No one has a long term contact. No one is employed longer than 6 months. Everyone’s salary is openly known by anyone who cares to know.

Semco is the most democratic company I’ve ever read about, and they did it in a 1980’s Brazilian economy. Not the beacon of sought after economies you once thought, on the contrary, Brazil was avoid by many businesses because of the government, high inflation rates, and a fast growing unpredictable future. It’s astounding what Ricardo and Semco accomplished during this period in Brazil.

How did they get it so right?

Ricardo lucked out in a sense, his father build a multi-million dollar company. He became of age and realized it would never last in its current state. Plus the fact that second generation wealth is squandered 70% of the time, Ricardo had to make a gamble.

He was courageous in his decisions but the theme throughout his career and the book was that he cared (and still cares) dearly about people. It’s so refreshing to see in someone like him in a leadership role, putting people before profits.

Telling, forcing, commanding, never works. Inspiring, helping, listening, always does.

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Why You Won't See Any Blouses or Ties at the Stratlab Office

Dress Code? Nah. Why You Won’t See Any Blouses or Ties at the Stratlab Office 

In Ricardo Semler’s Maverick he tells the story about the first few times he came in on a weekend. The first thing he noticed “people dress differently when they come in on the weekend, why is that?”. They did it to be more comfortable. But don’t we want everyone to be comfortable when they are working all week long?

The dress code era at Semco was ended.

The executive dealt with the obvious backlash. “What if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way someone is dressed in a meeting?” Ricardo’s answer; “if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way one of our employees ‘looks’ then that’s probably someone we shouldn’t be doing business with”. Wow, that’s leadership.

Isn’t that simple? Why do you try to make your staff conform? Because you’ve always done that? That’s not a good reason why. Ask your staff, what they think, you may stumble upon a smart way to make your company culture better.

The original dress code disobeyer

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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

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