want-to-annoy-people-play-devils-advocate

Want To Really Annoy People? Play the Devil’s Advocate

To the devil’s advocate: STOP IT! The devil is doing fine on his own, he does not need your help. 

Do you ever find argumentative people love to talk about the exception to the rule? Finding the one in a millionth chance and using it as “evidence” for what could happen. It’s a great way to stress yourself out. Also a good way to determine if one is a know-it-all. Do they like proving someone wrong by arguing the exception to the rule?

Why do we do it though? Why do we cause this undue harm on our minds always trying to determine “what’s the worst that could happen?” Sure it’s good to understand what’s the worst that can happen, but to act upon it, or be planning based on it is silly. If we’re constantly worried about what’s the worst that can happen we never look at what’s the best thing that can happen! Ever bring that up in a planning session? Probably not because optimism isn’t generally looked fondly on in the business community (until lately!)

What’s the WORST that could happen? What’s the BEST that could happen?

A part of our brains are built to do this, to protect us. But that same part of your brain telling you to run from danger in a dark alley is the same part that’s holding you back from doing something amazing. In ancient times running away from what scared us was a smart tactic but in today’s world we need to seek out what scares us and push through it. Playing devils’ advocate is a way to assess what’s the worst that could happen. They problem with this is that the “worst” rarely ever happens, but our brains love to focus on the smallest negative piece of feedback. So instead of finding a solution to the obstacle in the way we think about how bad the feedback was and we never move on.

worry-wort

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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.

Do you think people want to follow a faceless company online

How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy // eps 45 #InTheLab

How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy

Common sense is not so common when it comes to social media. “Businesses act too much like businesses online” – Conrad Hewitt

Conrad shares with us why he thinks a lot of companies get it wrong with it comes to social media and their online marketing presence. Running accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram he sees it all right now and from the sounds of it he’s not happy! It’s easy to sound professional and to echo “business jargon”, it’s hard to create a personality that people come to like and trust.

It’s hard to argue against developing a personality online with so many local examples (@ReginaPolice, @KiltedBroker, @Eric_Dillon@BradWall, @Nenshi). All these folks don’t exactly “follow the rules” when it comes to social and their fans absolutely adore it. Don’t take yourself (or your business) to seriously online.

With the amount of options we all have to buy what you are selling from someone else, you have to figure out a way to cut through the clutter. Being different is now the safest thing your brand can be.

I wish your pictures on Instagram were more business like

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Upliftingstshirts dot see eh website

The Aftermath of UpliftingT-shirts.ca | eps 40 #InTheLab

“It worked, it really worked!”

We went into this class not knowing what to expect. It was my first time teaching entrepreneurship and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for some hands on learning!! A few weeks back before we started UpliftingTshirts.ca I filmed this #InTheLab episode asking the question, how do you teach entrepreneurship?  At that time I had no idea what would happen with our newly founded company disguised as an experiment disguised as a class.

A business disguised as an experiment disguised as a class

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Capital C the Movie

The Sharing Economy: The Biggest Change Since The Industrial Revolution

Presented Nov 24th at the Regina Realtors Association Business builder day. Here are some of the videos we had a look at.
From the documentary on Netflix, Capital C comes the story of “Freaker USA”. One of the coolest Kickstarter success stories.

Freaker Kickstarter from freakerusa on Vimeo.

Next to put into perspective what goes on in a given year of search on Google.


Finally when you get depressed about when someone says something bad to you online watch this:

Country Music artists read out angry tweets written about them.

I don’t think you can find a better song about the new online world. And Alanis Morissette just had a way speaking to my soul. Hope you enjoy!

 

Want to see a brand new website the @Stratlab team just launched? Welcome to Normanview Dental

At Normanview Dental we want to see you smile-dentists regina

Advanced education in saskatchewan

I Would Do AnyThing For a Like But I Won’t Do That: Post-Secondary Social Media Marketing

When it comes to Social media don’t forget the social part of it. No one cares about you until you care about them. Engage, interact, retweet, like, and share. Help others and eventually they will help you.

People only go online for two reasons, to solve a problem or to entertain themselves, nothing else. Remember this when you’re publishing on your website and sending email.

Don’t tell people to like your institution, give people reason to like it.

Don’t tell people to follow you online, give people a reason to like you online.

Don’t tell people to share something, give people a reason to share what you are doing.

A “Cribs” style video to showcase your school

Tell your story as to why you’re going to school

 The best University/College Recruitment Video Ever

The Top 500 University/College/Research Institutions in Canada

Marketing and communications professionals of colleges and universities in Saskatchewan

humans vs robots

Humans vs Robots || Eps 21 #InTheLab

Humans vs Robots, a series of Podcasts produced by NPR’s Planet Money Podcast that are nothing short of amazing. The first one I listened to on the way to presentation in Saskatoon, I used one of the stories in my presentation. It was that good!

As the human race progresses, we invent easier ways to do things. The lightbulb put the candle makers out of business. They were outraged. Why wouldn’t people support the candle makers anymore? Doesn’t society have a duty to support the candle makers?!?

The car put horse and carriage drivers out of business. The Better Business Bureau put the snake oil salesmen out of business. Cassette tape put the record stompers out of business, the digital camera put Kodak out of business, Napster put 60% of the record industry out of business, Google put the phone book out of business, what do you think will be next? Are you in that industry? Better yet, are you in the industry that’s going to displace a current market?

Dr. Nick Bontis talking about industry displacement and why you need to retool, relearn, re-certify, re-professionalize to stay relevant.

The Planet Money Podcast

Human vs RobotPlanet Money podcasts

In this podcast they lineup three competitions of the epic showdown, HUMANS vs ROBOTS!

Battle 1: Who can fold a towel better?. At MIT there’s a project that has students developing an algorithm that allows a robot to reach into a load of laundry, grab a towel, and fold it in to a prefect square. The students did just that, but it took the robot 18 minutes to complete the task. They also had a young child try folding a towel. It took less than a minute.

Humans 1 Robots 0

Battle 2 was Ellie. Ellie is a computer program that interacts with people. It was made for people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression. The theory was that some people just won’t open up to another human, what they’ve been through sometimes it too traumatic to tell someone. But it’s easier to talk to a machine that won’t judge you.

Ellie the psychologistThis part in the podcast is worth listening to alone. They have a war vet from the Canadian Military talking about his experience with Ellie, it was a positive one. His story is a moving one, I won’t ruin it for you. Go listen to it!

Human 1 Robots 1

Battle 3; who can write faster a machine or a journalist from the BBC?

Yup, they’ve created a machine to write the news. All the major websites (Reuters, Yahoo news, Huffington Post, etc.) have stories created by WordSmith, a software program that can write news articles. All you need is a companies annual report (the competition in the story was based on Denny’s annual report) and WordSmith puts together an article that isn’t fancy but gets the point across.

The result? WordSmith took two minutes to finish the articles, the journalist took just over seven minutes however the journalist had a little more flare to his article.

The judges had to give it to the robots.

Humans 1 Robots 2

 

The Machine Comes to Town

This is a story about a small town in the US that’s slowly being taken over by factories, and no, not traditional manufacturing factories, robotically run factories. This is completely changing the job landscape for many people in North America. It’s scary but you can’t stop technology, some how you have to get a head of the curve.

iWaiterAt what point to you become the food runner and what point to you stop making tips

The future of restaurants will involve this thing called Ziosk. It’s like an iPad for your table where you can order on, get a drink refill, and order dessert. What will happen to waitresses and waiters? They interviewed some of the staff at an Applebee’s that has Ziosk’s. The wait staff hate it, not surprisingly, but it shortens table turnaround (very valuable in casual dining) and increases dessert sales by 30%.

Just think, you may be ordering your next meal from a machine, who will you tip? Do machines need tips? The future will tell.

The Last Job

This podcast is a fictional story of “the last job”. It’s kind of funny, but also somewhat erie. What will we do in the future? We won’t all be working. What will we spend our time doing? It’s an interesting thought.

Whatever we learn before age ten is the hardest to get a robot to do

Everyone has a superpower

Why I Give Away Stickers Regularly – Episode 15 #InTheLab


Hugh MacLeod says the future of marketing is social objects. I wholeheartedly agree. That’s why I give away stickers regularly, I want someone to be inspired a week, a month, a year after I have met them.

"Never half ass Two things. Whole ass One thing." -Ron Swanson. Find this sticker and more because it's NEW STICKER DAY!!!!!

A photo posted by Strategy Lab Marketing (@stratlab) on

There’s something special about seeing a sticker you gave someone displayed in public. It’s like a badge of honour. If you can make stickers that make people feel good or inspire them, bonus!!

We all have a vested interest in making the people around us happy, why not encourage the people on your team with an uplifting sticker, postcard or (fill in the blank).

Stratedgy Lab Stickers - Weird equals Awesome

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2001 Tweeters in Regina

Who Are The Top 2,001 People on Twitter in Regina? [Searchable Local Twitter list]

I’ve been there too, sitting alone on a Friday night wondering; how many people are actually on Twitter in Regina?

Well thanks to a wonderful tool called FollowerWonk we can now find out!

Followerwonk allows you to do searches for people on Twitter. You can search by location, by a word or phrase in the bio or by several different factors. Below the list is made up of people who have self selected their location to include the word “Regina”.

The list is ranked by Social AuthoritySocial Authority is a metric developed by Moz that helps cut through the vanity metrics out there and measures influence on Twitter. Who would have thought that gaining Followers wasn’t the only thing you use Twitter for.

I first sorted them by Follower count but it wasn’t cool to see all the bots and people who hired bots and the bots who hired people at the top of that list. This is a much better look at the Regina Twitteratti.

Want to find yourself or your ex-girlfriend from Highschool? Hold ‘Control’ and press ‘F’ then type your Twitter handle.

 

In other news check out some of the more recent blog posts on the Stratlab blog!

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