Tag Archives: Google

My latest on the Catalyst blog: What the Google Acquisition of Nest means

By now you have probably heard that Google has spent billions purchasing Nest. Many people might not have heard about Nest. Nest builds beautiful and smart technologies for the home. Their first product is a thermostat. And their founders are former Apple designers.

I recently wrote an article on the Catalyst blog about what we can expect from this purchase and the growing trend of companies building smart technology products for the consumer market.

google buys nest
Google Buys Nest – image via Mashable

Let me know your thoughts by commenting below. Thanks!

Arcade Fire keep pushing boundaries of digital content with Reflektor

Holy shit. Arcade Fire has done it again. And I’m not referring to their new single, Reflektor. I’m talking about their new video (I call it their new digital experience because that’s what it is).

I have previously spoken about Arcade Fire and their innovations in digital both here and here.

Today their new single and video(s) were released at 9pm local time. The traditional video is dark and gets some getting used to. However, when I found out that Arcade Fire also released an interactive experience I was hooked.

Another Chrome experiment, the experience is actually called Just A Reflektor and is a short film that follows the world of a woman in Haiti as she experiences both her world and ours.

Here are a couple of screen shots:

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.18.54 PM

This one is of me within the video.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 10.12.47 PM

The one above is of the heroine.

Vincent Morisset is again the genius behind this production as he was with sprawl2. If you haven’t experienced the video make sure to watch experience it and read about the technology here.

Make sure to use the Chrome browser via desktop/laptop or an iOS/Android device. Enjoy!

9 Tools of the Trade

There are many reasons why a business owner and entrepreneur succeed: education, family, money, street smarts, friends, etc. There are also many tools of the trade that make success a little easier to come by. And they all can be accessed regardless of any of the above. Below are nine tools that I use on a constant basis that enable me to focus more on business and less on the struggle of building a successful company:

OrangeYYZ/Network Orange

Location. Location. Location. Having a place to call home is important when building a business. It promotes stability and allows you to focus on meeting prospects and getting things done rather than having to worry about where you will work that day. When we started our social media agency we used to work out of coffee shops and libraries. Although we are still small we have had our own office for more than a year now. Thanks to ING Direct’s community/coworking space at the corner of Yonge and Shuter in the heart of downtown Toronto. I have tweeted and written about OrangeYYZ/Network Orange numerous times.

As a location that allows me access to business tools (desk, scanner/fax, wifi, coffee and kitchen services, amazing staff!), meeting rooms and a prime location to hold meetings, OrangeYYZ and Network Orange have been a blessing to me and our business.

MacBook Air

I can’t believe I went a lifetime without a MacBook. Previously I was using generic laptops and notebooks. The speed and efficiency of my Mac Air has literally given me untold hours of life back.


I never realized how impressed people are when I conduct a meeting with a tablet computer rather than a laptop or paper and pen. In my line of business, first impressions count. And if I leave an impression that shows I am up to date with the latest technology and trends, then my clients and potential clients feel secure in working with me.

The plethora of great business apps also help too!


You’re not in business without a smartphone. IMHO.

Google Apps: Gmail, Calendar, YouTube, Drive

Where would many of us be without the “cloud”? Our ability to have our email, documents, and calendars accessible from any device, anywhere in the world is astounding. So much so that today, it’s a given and we don’t think of it as mind bending. I conduct a lot of business with Google apps.


The best social media dashboard hands down. This web-based product allows me to manage both my social media personal and business lives on one screen. From monitoring and moderating to creating content, HootSuite is my must-have social media tool.


As we grew our business there became a glaring need to use a project management tool to keep everyone updated and accountable. To the rescue came Trello. Trello is a simple, lightweight, yet powerful PM tool for teams as small as one and as large as you want. While Trello does have mobile versions, their web-based platform is the best.


Evernote helps me remember. Everything. It is my go to notebook on the go. I can input notes into my tablet, smartphone or computer and then access it from any of these devices. And because Evernote helps me remember, it makes me look smart!


Need to manage contacts and leads and don’t want to spend lots on a customer management tool? Want something simple, east and effective. Try using HighRise to keep you on the right track to closing those sales leads. I’ve been using it for the better part of 3 years and I must say that it is the most important business tool I use.  Without a pipeline (and a tool to manage this pipeline) any business will eventually dry up.

These are my 9 favourite business “tools”. what are some of yours?

thirdoceanTV – in conversation with Andrew Jenkins

The following interview with Andrew Jenkins first appeared on the thirdocean website. As many of you now know, thirdocean is a boutique social media and digital communications agency that I am partner with. I also have the privilege of being the host of program called thirdoceanTV.

Andrew Jenkins is an emerging technology strategist with Volterra Consulting. Over the last five years, social media strategy has become an increasingly larger part of the work that he does. His focus goes beyond social media campaigns to the “operationalization” of social media and the ongoing efforts required to turn an organization into a social enterprise.

In this full episode, Andrew chats with me about:

– How he shifted from ICT consulting to social media consulting
– What is a social enterprise and what does it mean to operationalize social media
– Why banks and other financial institutions are interested in social media
– How banks measure Return On Investment (ROI)
– Why Twitter as a utility has become important
– What innovations we can expect in 2013

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJx_1UrAX-0?rel=0]

Connect with Andrew Jenkins on his website at www.VolterraConsulting.com and on Twitter at @ajenkins.

Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay up to date with our conversations with North America’s leaders in Social Media and Digital Communications. Follow us on Twitter @wearethirdocean, and Like us on Facebook.

How Google’s “Search Plus Your World” Update Changes Social Media (guest post)

This past week I had the pleasure of hanging with my friend Nicholas Montgomery at a conference here in Toronto. While there we had the opportunity to chat about Google’s new “search plus your world” product. Since then, Nicholas has blogged about this upcoming release. It’s such a great read that I asked Nicholas if I could reproduce his article. He agreed.

Enjoy the read and please leave your comments below.

Nicholas Montgomery is the Technology Expert for The Marilyn Denis Show (CTV) and an intern at Sprouter. You can follow him on Twitter, like his Facebook page or read his blog.

Search Plus Your World

At the Socalize Toronto Conference yesterday several hundred people gathered to talk about social media. Pretty much everything social media was discussed: Facebook ad targeting, Twitter chats, 3D virtual worlds, Google+ and more. I learnt a lot about Facebook marketing and how to measure traction. But there was one very, very important game changing social media aspect which almost everyone I talked to was completely unaware of. This is important game changer for social media is Google’s “Search Plus Your World” search update.
It will have a major impact on the dimensions of all searching on the web.

If you have not heard about “Search Plus Your World” and you’re involved in anything on web from blogging to startups to marketing, you need to read this and know it inside and out now. The early adopters are going to reap the greatest rewards.

Continue reading How Google’s “Search Plus Your World” Update Changes Social Media (guest post)

i enjoy using Path and you will too

There’s a new social network amongst us. Path.  To find out more about Path take some time to read this Forbes article.  

Path was started by former Facebook-er Dave Morin.  He was recently on Jason Calacanis’ show This Week in Startups.  I suggest you give it a watch/listen for some amazing insights into Path as well entrepreneurship in general.

I could go into detail about what Path is and what makes it unique but I won’t.  What I will say is that at the moment, it’s a mobile social network (Path calls itself the Smart Journal) which limits its users to a maximum of 150 friends.

This blog post is why I enjoy Path.

I remember joining Path sometime last summer. And I was not impressed. At the time it seemed as a limited social network.  And I was also very hot on Google Plus. But this past Christmas I was re-introduced to Path when it seemed everyone at a party I was at was using the newly released Path 2.0 on their iPhones and Androids.  So I did what anyone else in my shoes would have done:  I crapped all over Path and then proceeded to download the new version.

And I have been impressed ever since.

Beautiful User Experience

From the simplicity of the product to the unique “posting” system, there is no social network quite as easy on the eyes as Path.  Path is very intuitive with very few steps in order to use it.

Replacement for BBM?

I own a BlackBerry Torch and also use an HTC Android smartphone.  The Torch is the phone I primarily use as it has the number I’ve been using for 15+ years.  And BBM is an app that I really like to use.  But using Path on my HTC makes me question whether I really need to use BBM anymore?  I just need to convince/wait for my brother and sister to get an iPhone, Android or other device that Path supports.  (We use BBM to “chat”. No other messenger service has appealed to us yet.) Then I won’t really have an excuse for using BBM/BlackBerry.

Everything that I use BBM for I can use Path instead.  And Path offers so much more!

Music sharing and discovery

One of my favourite things about Path is the music sharing and discovery feature. On Path you can share thoughts, location, photos (and video on iOS), when you wake up and go to sleep, and music.  (Now, remember, I’m a longtime BlackBerry user so excuse me if this sort of feature has been around on other devices and products.)

As many of my friends will tell you, I love my music.  And my music consists of U2, Neil Young (including his stuff with Buffalo Springfield, CSNY and Crazy Horse), Aerosmith (their old stuff mostly), Colin James, Black Dub, Led Zeppelin, Broken Social Scene, Rush, etc…

So I love sharing what I listen to.  And I can also see what my other friends (up to 150 only. It’s another great feature of Path that you should learn more about) are listening to. Or at least that’s what I thought I could do.  Until I clicked on a song icon a few days ago.

Baaam! I proceeded to have about 15 seconds of a song I’ve never heard play on my phone. Path actually allows us to “share” what we’re listening to like nothing I’ve ever seen/heard before.

Anyways, that’s my take on Path.  Do you use Path?  I would love to read your comments below.

(If you liked this blog post feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons below.  You can also get my blog posts delivered to your email’s inbox by clicking the follow button under “sign me up” to the right of this blog post.  Thanks!)

The problem with Research In Motion

RIM BlackBerry 7230
Image via Wikipedia

This post will not be the answer to all of RIM‘s current problems (yes, problems). It will, however, help the two-headed beast-led company get back on the path to respectability.

The answer can be found with one word:  Respect.

What I have realized is that RIM does not seem to understand what respect means.  And I hope to address that today here in this post.

Wikipedia defines respect as such: “Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem.” The writers of that post might as well have added “company” to that definition. Nevertheless, this definition of respect is suitable for this blog post.

This blog post is not intended to summarize all the blunders that have occurred to RIM in recent months. If that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t wind that here.  Search on your favourite search engine or tech blog to read up on those.

Let’s get into some detail below on this thing called respect:

Respect for the brand

The BlackBerry brand has been an innovator in the mobile and email communications space for many years.  The BlackBerry pager was the first device to offer incoming and outgoing email to the masses.  Many of the users were business people yet everyone wanted one. Unfortunately, affordability was not what it is today.

The BlackBerry brand stood for quality, innovation, and status.  Today? Not so much. The public perception of both RIM and it’s BlackBerry products has fallen. And it seems that RIM is the only player not concerned about this.

Respect for the investor.

It’s one thing to defy public opinion and turn the other cheek. Has anyone ever heard of an investor at RIM suggesting that the company is on solid ground? We all know that the stock has taken a beating. But guess who else has taken a beating? The average Canadian investor who has money invested in Canadian stocks and mutual funds.

Almost every Canadian blue chip fund has a healthy portion of its portfolio invested in RIM. Which means many Canadians have lost a healthy portion of their savings due to the struggles at the Waterloo-based tech company.

Respect for their partners.

Partners such as Rogers, Bell, Telus, WIND, retail outlets, PR agencies, suppliers, employees, and many other partners have seen the BlackBerry and PlayBook portion of their sales here in Canada dwindle.

If it wasn’t for the ubiquitous Android devices or Apple’s iPhone, I’m very curious what the state of Canada’s technology community would look like…

Respect for their employees

How hard must it be to face family members, friends, colleagues and even passers-by when they know you work for RIM?

Respect for the consumer

I’ll be honest with you. I’ve had 2 BlackBerry’s. My current one is the Torch. The only reason I use it is because I received it free at a BlackBerry Torch launch party.

The Torch was supposed to give Apple’s iPhone a run for its money. Never happened.

The PlayBook? No comment. Although everyone who uses one loves it.

I’m not even going to mention the 3 days with no data. And don’t get me started on $100 of free apps as an apology.

Respect.  It is this humble blogger’s opinion that if the suits at Research In Motion respected their customers, partners, employees, investors, and brand that they would be in a better position.

Here’s a quick suggestion to get on the path to respectability: Be humble; start listening to your consumers, employees, investors, and partners; start focusing on your core strengths; and become passionate again for technology and innovation.

What are your thoughts?

Google Plus: new kid on the block

Google Plus logo
Image by Bruce Clay, Inc via Flickr

You know I like relevance right? Well, I do. And I’m suggesting you probably like relevance, too.

The Importance of Relevance

We now understand that numbers don’t mean everything.  You might have thousands of followers or likes but how many of these people actually interact with you and your brand? How many people are you interacting with? Who are you interacting with?

Those who continue to re-visit your Facebook page or tweet with you are people who find your content relevant. The goal now is to figure out a way to interact with as many people as possible. Providing relevant content to the right people is the way to get this done.

Google Plus Addresses Relevance: Circles:

More than any other social network, Google Plus addresses relevance like Facebook doesn’t and Twitter can’t.

Now, Google Plus doesn’t yet support brands or businesses but Circles (the Google Plus product) is ingenious.  And if you as an individual consider yourself a brand then you should take advantage of Circles.

Circles allows you to organize the people in your social graph according to how you define each relationship.  Is someone your friend? Family member, co-worker, associate or customer? You get to decide because not everyone is your friend.

Increased Engagement:   

What does this segmentation and relevance lead to for you? Increased engagement.  Why? Because now your messages are going to specific people. For example, a note about Robbie Alomar’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame can be directed to people you know will be interested in this specific piece of news.

As long as you keep the value of the “Circles” sacred, your community will come to know exactly what to expect from you.  Everything individuals receive from you will now be of value to your community.

You can even go one step further and set which circle(s) you want to watch. Unlike Twitter, the issue of relevance is now controlled by both the sender and receiver of information. I can choose who I send information to and who I receive information from.

Why does this lead to increased engagement?  Put yourself in the seat of a consumer.  If you got to choose the type of messaging you would receive from your favourite brands (and you could be specific as you wanted) would you be more likely than not to at least read the message?  Of course you would!

Now put yourself in the brand’s position.  Are you just interested in “likes” or do you want true engagement in these online spaces?  Likes may result in an increased email database but the issue remains the same:  For online and social media communications to truly succeed the magic pill is and always will be relevance.

Google Plus addresses this issue better than any other social tool out there.  And this is why Google Plus will continue to grow and force Facebook and Twitter (and email marketers) to change.

As always your thoughts are appreciated.

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