Don't bash your competition

Stop Bashing Your Competitors || Eps 34 #InTheLab


I have a beef to make. Why do we insist on bashing our competitors? I mean, you have an obvious bias against them, they run a business that’s very similar to yours in YOUR industry. They probably even copied some of the stuff you do! Still not a reason to insult your competition.

Why shouldn’t you bash your competitors you ask? Well, several reasons.

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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. ūüėČ

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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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

Authentic Weather App Screen Shots

9 Apps That Will Make Your Life Better and/or More Entertaining – Eps. 20

A couple years ago, 60% of apps were¬†never even downloaded. That’s a startling stat. I’m sure it’s not exactly that bad now but geez, when it comes to apps we sure do have a choice, A LOT of choices. Before you demand your marketing department to “make a company app!”, make sure you do your due diligence. Before you just hop on the app ban-wagon make sure you’re solving a problem or entertaining us. Otherwise you’re boring us.

There are only two reasons people go online

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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

What books do you read when you're in a bad place?

Three Books To Read When You’re In a Bad Place – Episode 18 #InTheLab


Every time I speak I get some interesting questions, this one really got me,¬†“you said when you’re in a bad place, you had some books you recommended, what were those books?”.¬†It caught me off guard, they were obviously not in a good place and were looking for help. With little deliberation I came up with my top three books you have to read (specially if you’re in a bad place).

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin SharmaThe Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Robin Sharma also wrote the amazing book The Leader Without a Title. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a tale that I believe everyone needs to read. The story of the big hotshot lawyer who wakes up unhappy too many days in a row. He had to make a major change.

Going through highschool and university money is a big thing. You can’t argue that money gets you a lot in life. It’s the goal for most coming out of school, make money, money, make money, money. But the only rap song that tells the truth about money is¬†Mo Money, Mo Problems.¬†

There’s something bigger in life to focus on, something that will make up much MUCH happier than money ever can. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is like a secret weapon, to put the odds in your favour. You’re going to be more confident, less argumentative and you’ll be able to reflect on what you really care about in your life.

Life’s about something big, something you’re going to do. Read this book, it’ll help.

 

The Alchemist by Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A magical fable about following your dream.¬†A worldwide bestseller, Paulo Coelho takes you on a journey through finding your life’s purpose.

I read this book when I was on the fence about what I was to do with my life. After reading the Alchemist somewhat of a peace came over me, I knew what I had to do.

“When you’re doing your life’s work, the universe has a funny way of helping you.”¬†When you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing the star align. When you follow your heart it can be risky, when you risk it all to follow a dream, there lies a potential reward in your decision. This book is about those tough decision in life and why you should follow your heart.

This would be a perfect book to read in grade 11. By grade 11 you know what you like and you have one year left to change your horrible habits. Read the Alchemist, start brainstorming what you should be doing with your life. Then spend grade 12 preparing to do your life’s work.

Man's search for meaningMan’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Everyone has bad days, everyone has bad weeks, no one has a perfect life and no on has completely no control over their life. You always have, and will have control over your attitude no matter what.

Viktor Frankl wrote this book before he went into an Auschwitz concentration camp in World War two. There, he survived, unlike many of the people around him. He made it out and rewrote the entire book. It’s a remarkable account of how powerful the human mind can be, and what we humans are truly capable of.

In life, we’re governed by triggers and responses. No matter how bad the trigger or how terrible your response, there is always a moment in between where you can decide how to react. We always have a choice.

Do you know how powerful that is to a child? No matter what, they can remain positive in the face of extreme adversity. They just need to hear it from people who had it as bad as they do, or in Frankl’s instance, much, much worse.

We all have bad days

It’s never about the bad day you have, it’s about what you do to make tomorrow better. It’s always having that growth mindset that no matter what, tomorrow will be better. Reading will help you through the tough times. Another¬†thing you have to start doing that will actually manufacture happiness is volunteer. Well, not just volunteer, help people, the more people you can create a positive impact for, the better. Start small, make one person feel awesome every day and I guarantee you’ll be a happier person.

 

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