Category Archives: finds

Sky Planter

Sky Planter

My recent purchase of a Sky Planter from Waterloo´s new Bon Mot, has certainly turned out to be a good choice. After a few trial an error insertions of the basil plant (resulting in much of on the floor), it has happily taken to its new home.

The pot itself is well designed, with only two major parts plus the included hook and hanging kit. The instructions say that the plant may start to grow toward the sun and that watering only each one to one and a half weeks is necessary. If both prove true, it will be a seriously worthwhile investment. And, if you come over for a meal chances are it will have fresh basil!


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A very UnDinner.

Dinner with Scott Stratten and the UWaterloo Stratford's marketing mavens.

It isn’t every day that you get an invite to dinner with the king of social media. So you can imagine the excitement and nervousness that accompanied me as I  sat across the table from Scott Stratten at Foster’s Inn in Stratford last Wednesday night. Luckily for me and my dinner co-guests, Tobi and Jodi (UW’s Stratford campus) and Von (Huckleberry Films),  Scott was  friendly, funny and insightful. [If you’re wondering how I snagged dinner, check it out here.]

If you’re new to Scott Stratten and unMarketing, Scott is something of a big deal in the social media world. He is a contributor to publications like the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Fast Company, advises the business big guns on engagement and has over 70,000 followers on twitter (resulting in his ownership of a “I’m a big deal on twitter t-shirt). The book he was in town to promote, “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging” is already a national bestseller. Scott is also a local, living in Oakville when he isn’t on the road.

Stratford got Scott on his 27th stop of a 30 stop tour, which he is completing in a total of 10 weeks. The dinner conversation was sprinkled with tidbits about previous stops, like the Social Media Camp in Victoria, BC (crazy), the famous Duck Room in St. Louis (Chuck Berry performs there once a month) and London’s UnEvent (which was created by interested people without a host organization or sponsors.)

We also dished the dirt about kids (I have a cat), hairy airport experiences – think extortion and toilet paper –  and, what I think Scott’s  second favorite topic is, food. Scott is a “carnevator”, a fact that I knew from his posts about a serious lack of fruit and veg in his diet when on the road. He not only ordered Foster’s man sized steak, he ordered whatever the polar opposite of a lean cut is.

I also got to know the tight knit team of UWaterloo’s Jodi and Tobi, who are doing an amazing job of building the Stratford campus community and furthering the city’s smart city status (the Intelligent Community Forum just named Stratford a Smart21 Communities of 2011) and Von, who is busy turning her corporate film studio into what I’m sure will be a juggernaut in no time.

As dinner progressed it became apparent that Scott really walks the walk. He has figured out how to talk about social media (or just talking as he refers to it) to both the layperson and the established marketer. Engaging people is a way of life for Scott, something he has modeled in the very undertaking of his tour, not simply a catchy book title. And even though tired and somewhat fried from being on the road Scott takes the time to ask you about you and answer whatever question is throw his way with respect, humor and a well chosen story.

Two days later, I’m still jazzed about spreading awesome and am a confirmed and proud member of the Scott Stratten UnMarketing UnArmy.

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A special thanks to the University of Waterloo Stratford’s Jodi and Tobi for this memorable experience.


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Better than parfait.

I guess it is a little bit ironic that a food themed contest entry resulted in a truly memorable meal and a date with fantastic company. My previous posts were a response to the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus’ challenge to convince them to use social media – using social media. Mixing cake, whip cream and the occasional cherry with social media whys and hows got their attention and I was invited to dinner with the king of social media – Scott Stratten and the University’s marketing mavens. The dinner, and company were indeed better than parfait (and no treadmill time was required).

To check out my entry in its entirety, see:

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Get bite sized.

Micro blogging like Twitter and Facebook can help get the word out about your blog and provide opportunities for those bite sized bits. How are you “Discovering tomorrow’s opportunities?” How are your students? Have you asked them? Have they asked you? Reach out and start the conversation, you may be amazed where it leads you. Of course, not all of your chatter has to be about you, or you “message” – enjoy opportunities to share the things, people, places and events that shape your industry and local communities. 140 characters (twitter’s limit) may not seem like a lot, but in the end, one bite can yield mass impact.

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Tidbits, layering and how to not let your cake get soggy.

Need more tidbits?

– Layering your social media efforts with traditional media ensures that you don’t alienate those who aren’t yet tech savvy and reinforces your message across channels. Your social media can be a fantastic way to drive traffic to your other outlets and vice a versa.

– The big social media advantage? Response time. A story can be whipped up and served before the cake gets soggy.

– Community engagement. Social media lets you have a voice in your own community and spurs IRL connections. Host a tweet-up, support other local events by tweeting, blogging or facebooking. Invite others to comment too.Build your community.

– Return on investment. OK, I’ll get marketing speaky for this one only. Sure it costs you people time to create content, monitor all those channels and cook up ideas. It can be a hassle to figure out how it all goes together and keep up with the changing dynamics of the social media world. But in the end, if you are not part of telling your story, others will tell it for you. And it may have more pits, or only the cake part, or just the whipped topping than you would like.


Is social media going away?
Not today or tomorrow. Building a community, no matter the outlet is never a waste of time. The twitter of tomorrow can be populated by the base you build now, and those real life connections (if nurtured) will never expire.

Is it too late to get into social media?
Nope. Social media is still new for a lot of people and can be quite forgiving to newbies. Find yourself an experienced guide, read all that you can and get engaged on a personal level to be the best social marketer that you can. We’re all still learning and it is all truly art+science+enthusiasm.

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