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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.
1. If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing!
Looking for free downloadable songs for your video blog? Has BenSound sent you cease and desist order? Well you’ve found the best thing possible. Yup, free downloadable stock songs made by DJ Clumsy Vegetarian.
It happens on every video project now, it’s almost ready to ship and we come to a slamming halt and then ask that age old question; what music should we use? Music can make a video, it can also ruin it. Music gives you a feeling, it attaches what you’re watching to a sound. It makes video more memorable and is something to listen to when you’re at your very worst AND your very best. There are few things in this world that can compare to music.
So here you have it. DJ Clumsy Vegetarian’s (cause I be droppin’ so many beats) compilation. 45 electronic beats developed in Garage Band, so yes yes you can make your own too.
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.
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”.
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!
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.
One day in the StratLab office Eddy says,
“eh, chew guys ever see Aaron Draplin’s Ted talk?!”
Me: “What did you just say?!?”
Eddy: “Just watch this….”
Meet Aaron Draplin. A crazy hat wearing, beard grooming, design denim god. He’s what we strive to be one day. Just happy to be able to wake up and create art every day. That’s something to get excited about.
He cares. He cares so much about his audience he wants to show them how to be original. When someone swears in front of your it’s a sign of respect, they’re comfortable enough to be themselves. When Aaron takes to the stage you instantly realize this isn’t going to be your regular speech. His outfit makes him look comfortable as well, jean jacket, trucker hat? He’s making it okay to be yourself.
In the marketing/advertising world it’s hard to get very far without finding out about “an award you could win!” or better yet “you should apply for this award!”. Apply for an award?!? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?!? Yet it happens all the time. Agencies attach “awards” they’ve won to proposals not knowing that clients want to hire them to create value for their organization, not simply win awards.
Winning awards can send you down a dangerous path. Always striving for the next award. What there is no more? You can’t control that outcome hence why this author thinks it’s very silly to focus on winning awards.
Finally Aaron doesn’t need an award to make him feel good, he just needs to look at the team he works with and the amazing volume of work they’ve created, and smile.
Awards are a false idol you’re seeking. Their poisonous, they change people, once you are an “award winner” you’re never the same. Stay hungry, stay thirsty.
When I met Hugh MacLeod for the first time I asked which of his cards he created was his favourite. He said he had a lot he really liked but one always came to mind.
“If you have your health and you can make a decent living doing what you love, then you have little reason to envy other people.” -Hugh MacLeod
The way Aaron looks when he talks about being “able” to do his art every day. That’s incredible. That’s what I want to become.
Hold strong opinions but hold them loosely. Things change, your opinions should too. I remember when Al Gore Came to Regina, I was his disciple. Global Warming was happening and I was going to stop it!! Or so I thought. Then I read Superfreakonomics and the chapter about Global Warming and started to think there was more to this Global Warming fiasco! Finally, after published study after study, I’ve changed my mind back to thinking Global Warming is an issue.
Never be afraid to change your mind on a major topic because of new information. It’s when we rely on Dogma only we turn a blind eye to the facts blatantly in front of us.
On a Tim Ferriss podcast with Marc Andreessen there was this neat moment that Marc went off on opinions. He said he loves talking to investment bankers because when they get new information they’re very quick to change their minds. In the investment banking industry that can be worth millions of dollars. He said it’s wise to hold strong opinions as long as you can change them easily.
You know what’s really annoying your friends? That you don’t change your mind on anything! The world isn’t flat, lead gasoline is bad, global warming exists, and you’re not as smart as you think you are. In life there are no absolutes, just things that constantly change. It’s okay to change your mind, it’s a good thing.
It’s a simple thought that has profound consequences.
If you want to be amazing at golf, study the great golfers.
If you want to be an amazing comedian, watch the great comedians.
If you want to be a world renown hypnotist, you’d be wise to study the greatest hypnotists in the world.
Never before has it been easier to study the masters of our craft. Whatever you do, whatever you’re into, you can find someone in the world who’s amazing at it and better yet you can subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Start following people you’d consider a mentor in your line of work.
For the past 5 years I’ve been listening to some of the greatest storytellers of our time. They study their craft, they try different things and they keep their audience coming back for more every week.
I regularly listen to Ira Glass from the This American Life podcast. Ira is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever listened to. If Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule is true, I’d be willing to bet that Ira Glass has told stories for well over 10,000 hours. He’s simply brilliant to listen to.
Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner from the Freakonomics series of books (Freakonomics, Super Freakonomics, Think Like a Freak), movie and now a podcast. I think Freakonomics should be one of the books you have to read in highschool, much like Shakespeare, but a new and improved fascinatingly remarkable Shakespeare.
Another long time favourite of mine, RadioLab. You have to listen to it to believe it. But Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich entertain week in week out. The production on RadioLab is probably the best out of any podcast I’ve every listened to. The saying “you never get more out of something than what you put in to it” couldn’t be more true for RadioLab. They tell some of the most fascinating stories.
In the marketing world, I like listening to the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. The host Mitch Joel is Canadian, he run an agency out of Toronto and Montreal. He always ends up asking the most interesting questions, he’s one of the smartest marketing minds in our world, you’ll see a lot more of Mitch Joel in the future. (oh yeah, and he’s CANADIAN! That’s awesome)
The BeanCast is another of my all time favs. Bob Knorpp invites 3-4 guests who’re are notable marketing minds from all over the world, you get a diverse opinion on many topics from Social Media to traditional advertising. Some of my favourite episodes are the ones with Peter Shankman, Edward Bouches, Scott Monty, and of course Saul Colt.
One last honourable mention goes to WNYC’s Planet Money Podcast. Always a new and interesting topic that the hosts seem to spin into the coolest story you’ve heard all week. You have to listen to Planet Money at least once, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot!
I want to be an amazing storyteller one day, I know that will take a lot of practice, but that’s the hard part you can’t fake past. But it’s never been easier to find our mentors, to follow our hero’s, and to watch the very people we look up to.