Your views and values show up everywhere

With increasing pace, I’ve seen more people use their voices online to stand up for what they believe is right and participate in fierce conversation and debate. I’ve also seen a shift in organizations' behaviour in response to the expectations of consumers that companies will interact online, speak up on issues, and make business decisions that are rooted in values that align with those of their customers. These trends have me thinking about the challenges individuals and organizations face in how they participate in the social and political climate of today. One particular challenge is around corporate social media policies that strive to find the right balance of influence over how employees engage online, and individuals who are asserting themselves when they feel those policies go too far. Seeing it…
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How cool are your jeans?

How cool your jeans were is one of the ridiculous things - amongst many - that I remember from my teenage years. I think everyone growing up in the '90s remembers the pursuit of brand-name jeans: Guess, Levi's, B.U.M. Equipment, and Bugle Boy are a handful of brands I can remember. You could easily tell who had Guess jeans by the red-outlined, white triangle on the back-right pocket. Wearing Guess jeans was probably the biggest deal among the girls, especially red ones (why red mattered, I'll never know). Among the boys, I vividly remember the great debate about the colour of the tab on a person's Levi's jeans. Yes, a folded piece of coloured ribbon was the make or break for a person's social standing. If a kid at school…
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A Tale of Two Facilities

In early July, the gym at our downtown office flooded and continues to leak. We thought it would only be a one- or two-week closure but the facility will be closed until August 22 so I went in search of a 30-day option. I narrowed down my list to World Health Jasper Avenue and Don Wheaton YMCA since they're about the same distance from my building (I considered the Hotel Mac until I got quoted $120 for the month). I started with World Health Jasper Ave. I called ahead, told them my gym was out of commission for a month, and was looking to pay around $30 or $50 for 30 days. Bump number one was when the girl on the other end said she couldn't quote me a price over…
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A Vibrant, Thriving Community

My family bought in Windermere fully aware of the mix of residential and commercial spaces and I for one am very much looking forward to seeing how our community transforms in the coming years. Some of the residents in this subdivision are quite active (and vocal on social media) in their objections to businesses in the community or, at least, the types of businesses. For instance: no bars, few or no big box/chain stores, and an emphasis on local businesses and boutique-style shoppes. We've received several notices in our mailbox about proposed re-zoning and amendments to the proposals, most recently the explicit exclusion of a bar/pub-style establishment. How idyllic and narrow-minded. I posted my thoughts in the Facebook community group and also wanted to publish here since it can be hard to eliminate the noise from the messages in those groups. These are my (expanded upon)…
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Email is my answering machine

I retweeted this from Chris LaBossiere because it's exactly how I feel and behave: I've become that guy who responds to emails 3-5 days late. Text me if it's important I guess. Better yet, call me. — Chris LaBossiere (@ChrisLaBossiere) February 26, 2014 My friend and colleague Jason recently mentioned me and this retweet and we had a Twitter conversation about it. Near the end, I asserted that most issues or requests for information can be resolved by face-to-face, instant message, or a phone call. To that end I asked, "Should email be treated like an answering machine?" His witty response that internal mail will get his attention right away is on the money; given the volume of email that's sent and received, a physical piece of mail will stand…
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Shaw Increases Prices Again In 2013

Recently I contacted Shaw's online chat support to inquire about why my bill for cable, internet, and phone is going up in September 2013 from $146 to $157 (plus tax) without a clear understanding of what, if any, additional service I could expect for the higher cost. Unsurprisingly, I will receive no benefit from this price increase. This is the same as in April 2013 when my bill went from $137 to $146. For those keeping score, that's a 14.6% increase in 6 months. My suggestion to Shaw is that they empower their front-line support employees to actually resolve customer complaints instead of requiring the employee to "talk to their supervisor" who - incidentally - isn't around. Shaw's frontline employees should be accountable for the decisions they make when resolving…
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RIBBONS!

My friend Simon recently wrote an article about Microsoft quickly responding to user complaints about the new interface of Windows 8. He also brought up when Microsoft introduced Ribbons in Office 2007's user interface. Little did he know it would reawaken the latent hatred I have for the Ribbons interface. I don't know if there's any topic that I get more irrationally fired up about. I swear I railed so hard against Ribbons when they first came out that I was hoarse for days. Most of my argument is predicated on the fact that Microsoft completely changed the interface and didn't give users a way to go back to the menu and toolbar interface that EVERY OTHER DESKTOP APPLICATION ON THE WHOLE DAMN PLANET employs. The company turned its back on…
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