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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Tech Generation Gap

As seen in the New York Times Sunday June 21, 2015

I dunno but we boomers have it over the millennials. I had an Atari, I had a Commodore PET, I had an Apple and yeah I had the 2 line Blackberry

1948 The first LP Record
1954 The First transistor radio and Colour TV
1963 The first cassette tape player
1972 The first scientific pocket calculator  (its an HP)
1975 The first consumer VCR
1979 The Sony walkman
1982 The first consumer CD player
1984 The first cellular telephone and Apple macintosh
1994 The first web browser ( its Netscape)
1998 The BlackBerry with email
2001 The Apple iPod
2004 Facebook
2007 Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPhone
2010 The iPad from Apple

I took a quick look and I have all of these devices in my home today including the Palm Pilot


Thanks to this wonderful research from THE Forrester group

Does this explain the loss of market share of GAp to Zara....maybe?

JUNE 1, 2015

Retailers should stop obsessing over Millennials and instead turn their attention to older generations with greater financial power, writes Forrester's Sucharita Mulpuru in new research. She argues that many of the opportunities and challenges Millennials present to retailers are overhyped, debunking three common myths that drive retailers' obsession:
1. Millennials are fundamentally different from other generations because of their exposure to technology.
Every generation over the last several decades has experienced some extraordinary change during its youth.
2. Millennials have very different tastes and habits, which is why marketers and brands struggle to attract them.
Millennials are not fickle; rather they're financially strapped and consequently frugal.
3. Millennials are headed toward economic catastrophe because they are in unprecedented debt.
The future isn't entirely bleak — today's youth are making major life decisions that traditionally affect income at an older age.
The reality, Mulpuru writes, is that there is no such thing as "a customer for life." Most retailers do not need to fret over this younger generation.

Millennials, those consumers born in the 1980s and mid-1990s who are ages 18 to 34 — a group that has grown up with online shopping, smartphones, and social media. Forrester identifies two groups of Millennials: younger Millennials (ages 18 to 24) and older Millennials (ages 25 to 34). Technology has shaped much of their lives, and they have become the early-adopter generation. In 2014, more than eight in 10 online Millennials used a smartphone and almost half used atablet. They are also the first group to adopt emerging technology like wearables. This demographic overview highlights how this group uses technology and how Millennials like to engage with companies.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Google - Sidewalk Labs Project

Google created a Sidewalk Labs Project that would look at developing a grounds up approach to improving city life This is a good thing

The areas of improvement are as follows:


Use big data to design personalized treatments to improve medical outcomes


How to avoid gridlock


Use sensors to manage electrical consumption

Law Enforcement

Use Data Analytics to understand the patterns of crimes and be proactive


How do we make and build better housing?


How can we modernise the current water system that can improve efficiency and water quality

Google is committed to improving to our urban and it will take time

"Turn city dwellers into sensors and data points to gather data about city life and use that data to improve and create new possibilities"

Google will take advantage of new pervasive new technologies that will use smartphones and the cloud to improve our urban lifestyle

Monday, June 8, 2015

Little stuff generates big stuff

I have two big box retailers near me and they are both competing for the local business

So I go to Big Box A looking for a hardware item and some screws and maybe a new cordless tool set

The item is not in stock (well they actually stock what looks like to be 5 items of that SKU) and has been so for several weeks

The screws I needed in the length were also not in stock but I could buy a super contractor package for $$$ (Do I need 1200 of these screws?)

Cordless tools on sale? yep

So now I go the next day to Big Box B which a brand news store freshly stocked

After hide and seek with staff and not able to find a hardware specialist on duty in their assigned aisle I strike out again...they do not have it or they do have it but no one knows where it is

I am lucky that they have the screws I need but they do not have the ones designed for decks. I need the screws to not rust and must be strong enough to be drilled without the Robertson head becoming round when driving in with a cordless drill. (trust me the quality have hardware has been on  a long decline)

I also thought that maybe the hardware item I needed was in the trailer section. "Sorry we do not have any trailers or parts" Are you sure because your competitor does....."let me go check"...after about ten minutes I figure i will just leave and I bump into the CSR and ask him again "Oh Ok let me go check!" wait did i not just ask you that 10 minutes ago....."blank stare"

I am starting to understand why people may just buy online and let the Big Box guys figure out where all the customers have gone

Now here is the secret from a few expert online shoppers I know that constantly tell me how they haven't been in a store for a long time

If you buy online you can save a bunch of money and get free shipping too once you know what you want. Crowdsourced product reviews become your friend and you save time as well

Big Box retailers will survive but only if they train staff, help staff become more knowledgeable, have staff excited to help customers, have staff go a bit extra to help you, train staff, have staff become more interested in your buying journey, have staff in the store to help customers.

When a customer comes in your store they are there to buy and if they cannot buy they go elsewhere and may never come back

Many customers that shop at the Big Box stores actually need help in making a buying decision so have staff to help them and the cash register will ring on the way out.

I am a visual touchy feely shopper so if i am going to spend hundreds of dollars on a new cordless tool kit then I should not only get to try the product out, handle the product and be able to ask questions from knowledgeable staff.

I understand manufacturers are already thinking that they can improve their margins buy selling products on-line direct to the consumer and cutting out the retailer directly. The retailer offers no value except for a website landing page. The Big Box retailer doesn't have to worry about have trained staff anymore.

If I want to buy a Johnny 20V BRP Tool combo then i can just get it from and save 25%, get free shipping, be able to talk to experts and maybe buy an extended warranty at the same time. Do I really need to go to the Big Box anymore? If I want to engage with live people then this is a great way to buy stuff.

Now if I was that manufacturer I could also bundle a special Big Box discounter bundle and the in-person shopper could go there and make their purchase in the morning, charge up the batteries over lunch and start working on their home improvement project all within the same day.  I can them put the $200 savings in the Family Trip jar

You cant do that with an online sale and you cant do that with a Big Box retail store if no one can help you while you stand in the aisle looking around perplexed

so electronics Big Box A buys electronics Big Box B and (shuts down the other store in the same plaza) and focuses on Ecommerce as well

soon hardware Big Box A buys hardware Big B and focuses on eCommerce as well

soon hardware manufacture A and hardware manufacture B decide that the stock price can improve if we just eliminate the middleman and focus on improved Ecommerce

soon the new merged Big Box has less stuff to sell and finds that a Mid Box or Small Box store is the new shopping experience....this becomes the rage across North America

So now we are back to where retailing started where consumers drove down to the local small format hardware store to talk to Bud and get what they needed, some advice and some valuable help and left $1000 in that cash register as a token of their appreciation.

As my dad once said "if you want to buy bread then you go to the bakery where its still warm from the oven and the baker is happy to see you or go to the grocery store where it was made the day before, pay the same price and no one is happy to see you"

Goodbye Voice Mail Goodbye Sales Revenue

Large corporate organisations are making the news these days touting how they are shutting off their voice mail systems. Apparently, no one uses them anymore...really?

Many use speech to text to unify the mailbox to a email or text that translates the voicemail into a text based for me and many others.

I left tree voice mails recently to a sales person for a purchase I was hoping to response!

I also followed up with a couple of emails....again no response!

I zeroed out and called switchboard and "yes let me transfer you as he is sitting at his desk and it goes straight to voice mail (since he is on the telephone).......

So I give up and after talking to the customer service rep for the product manufacturer I am now going to try my luck with another retailer.

Its been almost 3 weeks now and I still have not been able to buy any product.

Lets see if they have voice mail

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Working Remotely Productivity Tips

As we move from the office cubicle to the remote home office, a number of distractions can come into play preventing you from getting work done. Remote workers can be at home, a customer office, a hotel room or even a coffee shop.

Here are some tips to stay productive and ON track:

  1. Get dressed for work and stick to your routine as if you were going to the office. PJs are not correct remote worker attire

  2. Have a specific tables do not count...

  3. Keep in contact with office staff

  4. Time to stop work at the end of the day and recharge. Don't work 12 hour days all the time as you will get burnt out

Why Conference?

It seems at one point in the next ten years the conference industry as we know it will no longer exist. New digital developments are hoping to disrupt the conference format but it seems conferences in the live format continue to prosper.


Conference attendees like to meet real people in real time with common interests

Conference attendees like to engage with their fellow tribe members

Conference attendees are thirsty to learn and uncover new ideas and methodologies from experts

Conference attendees enjoy the social interaction

Conference attendees are present and engaged in the moment at the venue

Conference attendees enjoy the "bumped in the corridor" meet ups

All these things are hard to replicate when a conference is attended over the internet

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Canadian Small Business must embrace the Cloud in order to Survive

Canadian Small Business must embrace the Cloud in order to Survive

Recent research continues to demonstrate that canadian small business (and mid market) continue to lag behind their peers in innovation and technology.

  • About half of canadian businesses have a website
  • Less than 25% use a form of cloud services
This prevents canadian small business to grow and prosper while lowering their costs because they are not embracing the new technologies.

Lack of growth in the small business sector means lack of growth in jobs for Canada. lack of growth in jobs means our youth continue to suffer high unemployment rates which is as high as 15%. Compare that to the national overall unemployment rate of 6.8%.

Small business that has become a digital or technology leader will continue to outperform their analog peers and competitors year over year. For many businesses its allowed them to survive the disruptive ways of the internet.

There are 3 simple things any small business can do

  1. Add or improve your web presence with a website or better content
  2. Improve or add social media elements to your marketing strategy
  3. Adopt the use of cloud services and mobile devices
Its not difficult and its not expensive to transform your analog business to a digital one


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Canadians’ digital behaviours - Microsoft Study

According to a new report from Microsoft Canada, which included an online survey of more than 2,000 Canadians, as well as an observation of more than 100 study participants doing tasks while their brainwaves were measured using electroencephalography (EEG) our digital behaviours is changing rapidly.

Canadians’ digital behaviours
When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone
65+: 10% agree
18 to 24 y.o.: 77% agree
I check my phone at least every 30 minutes
65+: 6%
18-24: 52%
The last thing I do before I go to bed is check my phone
65+: 18%
18-24: 73%
I often use other devices while watching TV
65+: 42%
18-24: 79%
I watch more TV programs through catch-up/streamed TV than live
65+: 13%
18-24: 74%
I often watch a number of episodes of a show back-to-back
65+: 43%
18-24: 87%
How changing attention spans affect people at work/school
Really have to concentrate hard to stay focused on tasks at work/school
All: 44%
Highest among:
Early tech adopters: 68%
Heavy social-media users: 67%
18- to 24-year-olds: 67%
Heavy multiscreeners: 57%
High-volume media consumers: 55%
Get sidetracked from what they’re doing at work/school by unrelated thoughts or daydreams
All: 45%
Highest among:
Early tech adopters: 66%
Heavy social-media users: 65%
18- to 24-year-olds: 61%
Heavy multiscreeners: 60%
High-volume media consumers: 55%
Don’t make the best use of their time so sometimes they have to work late/weekends
All: 37%
Highest among:
18- to 24-year-olds: 71%
Early tech adopters: 62%
Heavy social-media users: 62%
Heavy multiscreeners: 51%
High-volume media consumers: 48%
Source: Microsoft attention spans online survey, Spring 2015, 2,000 Canadian respondents

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CES 2015 - Internet of Things, M2M, Internet of Wearables and stuff

This year the IofT, IofW and m2m has taken off for personal and business use. Look at Nest with their smoke alarm, camera and the thermostat and others with light controls. Also how many fitness trackers are now being sold and business is embracing the new M2M technologies to improve services.

A lot of new stuff for sure but where are the standards? It will be the VHS vs Beta battle all over again.

IofT Standards

The Allseen Alliance is backed by Microsoft and LG as the heavy players.

The Open Internet Consortium is really Samsung and Intel.

Interesting how two potential appliance makers have differing and competing views. My LG coffee maker will not tell my Samsung Dishwasher that the coffee is ready and to expect a coffee cup soon.



Making pizza dough is very easy, it just takes some time and a little bit of effort.

500 g Caputo Type ’00’ flour
320 ml warm water
 10 g sea salt
   6 g of dry yeast (use 5 g if cold proofing)
   2 tbsp of olive oil

This recipe will make enough dough for 5 pizzas

      1.    Mix water, yeast and oil. I use warm water at 35-36°C. Any hotter and it will kill the yeast

2.    Sift the flour with salt into the mixer bowl

3.    I knead the dough using a Cuisinart Mixer with a Dough Hook. Start at low speed and slowly add water. Mix for 4 minutes. If you are going to do this by hand then figure on 10 minutes. You want the dough to be stretchy.

4.    Once they’re mixed, I’ll time 4 minutes on the same setting. If you’re hand kneading, knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is stretchy and velvety.

5.    Cover the dough and let sit for 20 minutes and then knead again

6.    Now you can cut the dough into 5 balls, cover them with cling wrap and a kitchen towel. Let them proof for 2 hours in a warm place. A better proofing method is to let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 – 48 hours. This proofing method provides a better flavour as there is more time for the sugars and yeast to do their thing.

7.    Once the dough has proofed you can stretch it out to the desired thickness and shape you want. Top and bake and Enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Help! I've got an RFP

Help! I've got an RFP

Step 1: Read the RFP

Read the RFP and understand what is required, if you have a solution and if you can win it.

Step 2: Engage The Technical Resources

Engage your Systems Engineer , Design Engineering resources and product specialists. Provide them with a brief overview and your thoughts on the bid response.

Step 3: Complete the Mandatory Bid Review Form

If your bid response requires to go through a formal process then start right now and schedule a conversation with the bid review team. Ensure you complete the document fully and provide a better response than “we need to win this and must win this”. If that is the actual case then provide facts to back up your requests.

Step 4: Request Additional Support if Needed

If you have access to a bid response team then engage them right now. It is easier to cancel their need after the bid review decision than ask them to help later based on scheduling.

Step 5: Engage Your Support Organizations For...

Determine what additional resources are required to complete your response, such as:
  • References
  • Professional Services
  • Special Bids
  • Maintenance / Services
  • Account Manager
  • Contracts
  • Unique deliverables

Step 6: Proposal Manager

If a Proposal Manager is assigned, that person will read through the RFP but is concerned about deliverables and time frames as they will not be providing content or pricing. Their task is to ensure the different participants are delivering their inputs on time.

You should be prepared to help the Proposal Manager complete the Bid Assessment by analyzing factors such as:

  • the bid timeframe
  • the scope of the proposed solution
  • the potential revenue
  • the positioning and probability of win
  • your strategy for winning strategic
  • our value of the customer
  • our competition
  • the incumbent vendor

Step 7: Kickoff Call and Task Assignment

If the decision is to proceed with Bid response, then a Kickoff Call will be arranged. The resources that you have engaged to support the opportunity should be present or represented on the kickoff call if possible. You should be prepared to discuss the customer opportunity, the strategy for winning, and your proposed design. The project timeline will be established and agreed upon and the Proposal Manager will analyze the bid and make task assignments during this call.

Step 8: Answer the Bid

The Proposal Team typically does not provide responses to all of the questions. It is the Sales Team's responsibility to secure the resources to answer the RFP. This is not where a sales executive tosses the RFP off to a team of people and walks away. Sales owns the response.

Step 9: Final Production and Delivery

The Sales Account Team  will be responsible for delivery of the final hard copy (and/or electronic if requested) document to the customer including printing, assembly and binding of the required number of copies, burning CDs, emailing, hand delivering, and/or final shipping.

You must allow time for the production process, which can be extensive depending upon the size and complexity of the RFP response, number of copies, etc.

Good Luck and Good Selling!

Toronto TTC Apps to make the Commute Easier

While in San Francisco and Tokyo, I found some transit apps to be highly useful as a tourist in navigating the city. Back home, I am not a daily user of TTC as I live in the suburbs but I having been enjoying discovering Toronto via walkable and transitable options but waiting and waiting for a streetcar to show up had me wondering that there must be apps for  Well Yeah there is Red Rocketeers and Blue Busers out there.

Transit App

Its endorsed by the TTC and works on my iPhone and on my Note 3 (sorry no Playbook edition). There are a lot of features on this app with the easy one showing the closest routes available. You can save your favourites, scroll around the map and it also shows all the transit types available including Uber.


This one has been out for a while and I love the Near Me feature which shows the arrival time of the next buses at my transit stop. This is a clumsier app and refreshes seems to be slow and more cluttered to use and does have ads at the bottom of the screen. Upgrade and they will be removed.


This is a great app for the GTA commuter because it includes maps and info on the other transit systems out there. I found the trip planner to be very easy to use. I think this app handles service alerts a lot better.

What could be interesting is how location based adverts can be useful to the commuter. While waiting 15 minutes at a stop could mean that a local small business may want to push out a coupon to you to entice you to discover or shop their store. If someone wants to give me a half price espresso while waiting for the 504 streetcar then why not save a buck or two?