Steam Whistle Beer box

Be Kind To Others (Especially When It’s Not Expected)

Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Character is about treating people like a friend of family even when they are a complete stranger. To me, few things in life are more important than building your own personal character.

 

10 years ago I was at my first conference (I attended 13) in University, it was at the DeGroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ontario. 100+ students were at a pub in Hamilton and they shut down the bar because the guest speaker was about to take the stage.

 

I was a second year University student, you don’t close the bar on a second year University student! I was raising my voice and being a jerk to the bartender when an angel appeared (well that’s an exaggeration but Cam gave me a beer). Cam Heaps was our guest speaker that night and I got to talk to him before he talked to the group. He was one of the original partners in Steam Whistle, he was down to earth and just a fun guy who you’d think came from Saskatchewan.

 

In his talk he made me standup and introduce myself to the audience and then we exchanged belt buckles for some odd reason. After the talk the group from Regina was talking to him and he offered to give a personal tour on Sunday if we were interested. We were very interested!

Steam Whistle Opener Series2014

The tour was amazing, when you tour a brewery with an owner it has it’s perks. ūüėČ We received Steam Whistle clothing and some collectibles and beer to bring home of course. After the tour was over we still had time to kill before our cross Canada flight. He opened up his house to go hot-tubbing before our flight, we went, it was awesome, and I learned a very important lesson.

Be overly kind to other people, especially if they are strangers.

 

Cam did not know us and by all accounts we were nobody’s from a little ol’ place called Regina. I think Steam Whistle grew to be an international beer sensation because of their attitude towards people. They acted like a little guy while growing into being one of the big guys.

steam whistle beer

Something Ventured Documentary

“Something Ventured” the Story of Venture Capital

Ever since I was a little kid I was fascinated with Venture Capitalists. Maybe little kid is a stretch, but in University we heard about these folks who lived in the big cites in the U.S. were pitched all sorts of business ideas and they got to pick their favourites and most of those businesses made them tons of money. Money they used to fund more and more businesses and the cycle went on.

 

I may have got their success rate a little wrong but all in all VC’s were the heros of business school. They were the smartest, they lived a lavish life, and they made thousands of dollars a day, just by being, well, remarkable at business (the good ones anyway). They were entrepreneurs that had already made it, and they empowered other entrepreneurs to achieve their goals too. Venture Capitalists¬†were one of the major funding sources behind¬†many of our darling companies that have been created over¬†the past 15 years. Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Youtube, Genetech, Cisco, Oracle, Electronic Arts, LinkedIn, Amazon, Paypal, Intel, etc.)

 

The Venture Capitalists they talk to in the movie include;

 

  • Arthur Rock (Early investor in Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Apple, and Teledyne)
  • Tom Perkins (Founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, early investor in Genentech and Tandem)
  • Don Valentine (Founder of Sequoia Capital; early investor in Apple, Cisco, Oracle, Electronic Arts and LSI Logic)
  • Dick Kramlich (Founder of New Enterprise Associates, investor in PowerPoint, Juniper Networks, Macromedia and Dallas Semiconductor)
  • Reid Dennis (Founder of Institutional Venture Partners)
  • Bill Draper (Founder of Sutter Hill Ventures; Founder of Draper Richards)
  • Pitch Johnson (Co-founder of Draper and Johnson Investment; Founder of Asset Management Company)
  • Bill Bowes (Founder of US Venture Partners)
  • Bill Edwards (Founder of Bryan and Edwards)
  • Jim Gaither (One of the early developers of the venture financing structure still in use today)

 

These companies and people are behind some of the most revolutionary companies of our generation. We must learn what they did and ensure that the same progress and technological advancement occurs throughout our tenure.

 

So who’s going to be the next Arthur Rock? Who’s going to look at a business like Don Valentine in the future?

Why not you?

 

If you want to read more about the movie you can check out their website here or find the movie on Netflix.

Bad online reviews

How To Combat Bad Online Reviews – a Video from John Taffer

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

What do you do when someone leaves you a negative online review? 

On sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Google Reviews, a few bad reviews can ruin your company entirely. At the same time you can use these tools to give your company an unfair advantage.

I love John’s comment about the social media¬†world not being fair. No one police’s it, no one is held accountable, it’s a dog-eat-dog online world. The smart companies are creating an unfair advantage, they’re outsmarting the competition by building a positive online brand. As Mr. Taffer says, if you have lots and lots of positive reviews and fans of your place, a couple negative people here and there will be drowned out by the positive comments.

So how do you ready yourself for the troll attack?

1. Kill em with kindness – if you’re a great company people will want to share your story.

Your employees should be brand ambassadors. They should be the ones promoting you and your story to everyone.¬†“But Jeph, they aren’t, what do I do?”.¬†If people aren’t sharing your story enough you have one of two problems, a) you have the wrong people on the bus* or b) your story isn’t good enough to share. Go back to the drawing board. If you story isn’t interesting enough let your staff come up with it. I love the quote from David Kelly, founder of the innovation firm IDEO “In a world filled with so much creative potential, it is dangerous to assume that all good ideas are found at the top.‚ÄĚ -David Kelly, IDEO.

2. Make it everyones job to say nice things about your organization.

If your own staff don’t want to tell people about how amazing you are you have a problem. Why isn’t coming up with an internal word-of-mouth strategy not done by more companies? If your staff are excited about what you’re doing, if everyone that comes into your store feels that excitement, sooner than later the word-of-mouth will spread.

Why don’t more people come up with word-of-mouth strategies Jeph?!?¬†Well I’m glad you asked. Few companies focus on word-of-mouth because its hard. It’s hard to come up with a viable plan, it’s even harder to execute it. Once you’ve executed it it’s still hard to hold your staff accountable for something that’s very difficult to measure. If you’re still have trouble with a word-of-mouth strategy move on to point 3…

3. Encourage word-of-mouth by offering an incentive.

If you’ve read any of Stephen Dubner’s or Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics series of books, shows or podcast you would completely understand why offering an incentive may be your best bet. If you offer an incentive people will keep it top-of-mind, they’ll be much more likely to share your message. Don’t assume people want to talk about you, assume you need to make it worth their while to spread your message.

*Wrong People On the Bus was an analogy coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Getting the right people on the bus is critical to any organizations success. 

G3T 2014

2014 Guys Golf Getaway (#G3T) – Orlando, Florida

Every year for the past 6 years a bunch of Canadians head down to the United States for a greatest golf trip of the year.

I joined four years ago, that was Scottsdale Arizona, the following year we went to Palm Springs, California, and last year we were in Austin Texas. This year was in Orlando, Florida and was probably the hottest yet.

64 breakfast sandwiches

792 beer

16 guys

1 Hummer Limo

24 hours in the Hummer Limo

1 extremely expensive cab ride home

0 Gators

8 massages

10,984 fire ants eating food on the deck

296 lost balls

4 days of pure bliss.

Huge shoutout to Derek Wu and Lee Forsberg for organizing Golf-Mas again.

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

G3T 2014

Blackfish

3 Must Do’s To Tell a Compelling Story

1. Start off with a big bang

Introductions mean a lot in documentaries. They set the stage for what’s about to come. The intro can either turn the viewer on, having them beg for more, or can work against the film by boring the $!%$ out of the audience.

Searching for Sugarman¬†begins with the controversial story of how Rodriguez killed himself. Some say it was a gun to the head, some say it was the most gruesome suicide in history, where he doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire in front of an audience. The beginning of this documentary in incredibly captivating, you can’t turn it off or switch the channel. You desperately want to know what happens. A¬†sign of a great story is you can’t turn away because it’s so spellbinding.

2. Introduce Controversy

K2 is one of the deadliest mountains the world, far more dangerous to climb than Everest, for every four people who summit K2, one dies trying. This is the story of the fateful day 11 climbers never returned home from K2. One of the deadliest expeditions in mountain climbing history.

There are conflicting stories on how some people made it off K2 that fateful day, not every agrees to what happened. Were some people hero’s? Or were they just trying to be selfish. In desperate times, people do some strange things.

You can’t help but be at the edge of your seat the entire time the movie plays. The camera shots, the epic story that changes back and forth, and the mysticism around this life altering mountain that is so very hard to summit.

3.¬†Tell an emotional story that pulls on¬†people’s heart strings

Whenever a movie or documentary comes out that features animals, it’s hard not to get emotional. Yeah, I cried in Babe, Homeward Bound, and maybe¬†The Lion King,¬†didn’t everyone?

We have a natural (biological) tendency to care for babies and animals (and animal babies). When a documentary like Blackfish¬†comes out you know it’s going to be an emotional ride but what you don’t know about is how these beautiful creatures are treated in captivity. It’s horrible. It’s hard to watch. You’re going to get emotional.

The good news is is that this documentary actually is influencing change in how the public views SeaWorld. Several articles have touched on the protests and how angry people are over SeaWorld, and even a bill introduced in California that could introduce the end of Killer Whale shows in the state as well as importing and exporting Killer Whales.

All of these documentaries can be found on Netflix. I strongly encourage you to watch.

To recap, telling a compelling story in the media, to a friend, on your website, in a video, in an article, remember these three things:

1. Start off with a bang 

2. Introduce controversy

3. Pull on peoples heart stings.

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