Archive for January, 2011

Big Thanks for Small Business
January 30, 2011

Last night I attended the It’s All About Women Gala in Salmon Arm. I was nominated for an award for Outstanding Woman in Business. And the irony is this, everyone’s who’s had the good fortune for being recognized for standing out, as I was last night, knows that we only stand out because of those with whom we stand.

I did my best to share my thanks and much of it is due to people who weren’t in the room last night – so, at the risk of appearing shameless and self promotional, I want to share a few lines from my speech to say thank you to my clients, my colleagues, my family and my friends for all you’ve shared with me.

I want to say thank you to Joan Sturdy for the nomination and to those of you who wrote letters of support

I want to thank all the people who stopped me on the street, send me e-mails and phone messages congratulating me on the nomination and especially want to thank the woman I’d never met  before who gave me a hug and told me she was proud of me. Thank you.

A big thank you to the organizers. This event is a labour of love. Volunteers, dedicated to women in our community put this whole thing together. They deserve our thanks. Thank you Coralie and your fearless band of volunteers for doing this year after year. All the proceeds go to the SAFE Society. And thank heaven’s for them and all the work they do.

Thank you to my family and friends.  Those of you who have friends who are self employed can understand the neurosis and obsessions of the small business owner. In some ways, we never really stop working. And there are days where we must be pretty annoying. So thanks for your love, understanding, healthy perspective and occasional moment of good natured ridicule.  We need that.

Thanks especially to the lovely people I get to work with every day. Otto and Warren, Riley and my wild and crazy bunch of design, printing and techie friends. The best things come to those who know the value and reward of team work. And we have an amazing team of talented, dedicated people in this town. So for you, I thank my lucky stars.

Of course, you can’t win an award like this without having the world’s greatest clients. your support, trust and encouragement have pushed my small business to the forefront of its profession. It’s an honour and a privelege to work with you every day – Louise and Margaret at the Credit Union, Joanne at the DIA, Neil and Melissa at Clixel, among others, as well as other groups I’ve worked with like SAGA and the Folk Music Society.

I’ll even reserve a smidgeon of thanks for those who, along the way, may not have been as supportive as I might have hoped for. Like success, adversity is a powerful motivator in business. I’ve learned to see that opportunity is as present in abject failure as it is in wild success. So I embrace both.

Just like the girlfriend who’s not afraid to tell you there’s lipstick on your teeth or your that those jeans aren’t really that flattering , look for loyal business colleagues who will tell you when things aren’t quite right and will help you look your best.

And finally, I’d like to thank all the women who own small businesses by saying that that there is nothing small about small business. Every step you take, every decision you make, every cheque you sign, every employee you hire, every risk you assume, every supplier you choose, every tax you pay, every innovation you make, everything you donate, every committee you volunteer for, every sacrifice you make, every little thing you do is BIG. It’s big enough to grow this economy. Big enough to improve our communities, staff our hospitals, educate our children and fund our government agencies. Small business is big enough to do all that. So I accept this award with a healthy dose humility, a heart full of gratitude and I dedicate it to all the REALLY REALLY BIG small businesses. Thanks again so very much.

time for some un-convention
January 26, 2011

It’s that time of year when purveyors of all shapes, sizes, persuasions and professions gather in select hotels and conference centres in snazzy cities around the globe to gather and get up to speed on the latest and greatest power pointed presentations.

For the small business owner, these opportunities are few and far between unless you have amazing clients willing to take you along for the ride (thank you amazing clients). So for us office bound self employed types who, even if they could get away, don’t have anyone to cover for them while they’re gone, thankfully, there’s the internet. Specifically, there’s TED, but more on him later.

Of course there are some local offerings which we shouldn’t overlook – but it usually involves a lunch in the ballroom of a local hotel. And if I do get to go out for lunch, that’s not my preferred venue – my money’s on The Blue Canoe. And the topics aren’t always terribly exciting. Unless you’re a facebook fan of the provincial ministry of finance’s new tax law. And I’m not. It’s pretty high task stuff.

A notable exception is the annual “It’s all about women” conference and gala being held this Saturday at the Prestige Inn. I am in awe of the women who work year after year (this is year six) to bring inspiration and recognition to the hundreds of women in Salmon Arm who work hard to keep this economy and this community ticking. So a special thank you to Coralie Tolley whose passion for this event is detailed in today’s Salmon Arm Observer.

Tickets are still available for the conference and the gala. Please, if you can, attend and support this worthy cause whose proceeds will benefit the SAFE society.

Back to TED now. When I go to a conference, I don’t want high task. I want high touch. I want to be inspired. I want to experience mind blowing concepts that make me reinvent my view of the world. It’s no easy task to convince a group of know-it-alls that there are things they knew nothing at all about that needed knowing. And that’s where TED comes in.

Their description of themselves from their website is here:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

And typical of great organizations, they are awfully humble about the information they share on the internet for free. Here’s a sample of a few videos I viewed online this week. Mind blowing stuff. So turn off the TV and the all hits all the time radio stations and try this for a change:

or this:

and probably my favourite so far:

Spend some time with TED. It’s the beginning of a beautiful un-conventional friendship.

double space – i think not!
January 20, 2011

Must be a slow news week. Both CBC and The Globe are obsessed with wether or not to put two spaces after a period when typing.

Must be a slow news week.  Both CBC and The Globe are obsessed with wether or not to put two spaces after a period when typing.

Can you see the difference? I CAN see the difference. Why? Because. It’s so deceptively simple. The typewriter is dead. That’s why. It’s why we should NEVER underline (underline is a typerwriter’s excuse for not having italics). Typewriters didn’t kern – that typographical tool that adjusts the space between letters. But computers DO kern. They kern in a delightfully appropriate way. Thereby negating the need to double space. Just because your grade ten typing teacher insisted you double space between sentences does not mean that in the age of kerning capable computers you should do the same thing. You shouldn’t. It’s inefficient and ineffective. In the information age, there is no need to put two spaces where only one is necessary. And if you don’t believe me, remember Knowlton Nashh. Remember him? The beloved host of the  National pre Peter Mansbridge. He always said “never use three words if you can use two”. And he wouldn’t want us using two spaces when we can use one. It’s wasteful. If you’re going to use your keyboard, don’t waste space! If I had double spaces between every sentence here, I would have lost 22 valuable spaces. Room enough for words like nonrepresentationalism. And Knowlton Nash would never, ever, have missed a chance to use that word, of that you can be sure. Type on, my friends. Type on.

blahgg block
January 4, 2011

A new year is a time of renewal. Isn’t it? Why the block? I’ve been thinking about what to post to mark the advent of 2011. And I haven’t come up with much. I thought about lists (best commercials of the year, top trends in marketing). I thought about predictions (will Mayor Marty run again, will Colin Mayes win again if there’s a federal election, will we get a Walmart or a Value Village). I thought about resolutions (exercise every day, save money, eat my vegetables). But it all felt a bit blah for the blahgg blog.

Then I began to think why even write lists, make predictions or resolve to do something. Why not just do it. And then the block crumbled. So for 2011, I’m going to use the Blaghh Blog to do the things that up until now have only found themselves comfortably seated on my to do list. I’ve always wanted to write stories for magazines. And while the magazines may have other ideas about that, why wait. I’ll just do it here. An essay a la New Yorker, a layout on home accessories, maybe a travel story or a food story or even an economic graph or two just like in The Economist. I might even get brave enough to try a Facts & Arguments like in The Globe & Mail.

Funny how once you decide to just get on with it, it starts to get done. Take tonight for example. Just as I was drafting this, I checked the Observer site for the latest news – and there it was, a story, about yours truly. Weird.

I’ll take that as a sign and sign off. I’ve got some stories to tell, apparently.

Bonne Annee!