Friday, October 24, 2008

My Favorite New Product

3M MPro110 Projector - Available from Costless ExpressLike I was mentioning in my October 18th entry, the best new product I saw at the show was the 3M MPro110 Projector.
Have a look, it will revolutionize the projector market. At the size of a cell phone and a cost of under $400, it replaces most uses for a briefcase sized projector.

We sell them here at Costless Express for $379.99 - and I ordered one for myself. Seems I am turning into a total Techno Geek. See it and gotta have it!


Saturday, October 18, 2008


The past three days I have been in Toronto at the Annual General Meeting for our buying group, CIS.

This is a group of 65 office supply companies who collectively negotiate with suppliers to receive the best prices. The same group I wrote about on September 25th.

The AGM is a busy time and well worth attending. This year I brought Darrin our Controller, Bill from Purchasing and Cindy from Sales. We spent one day at a supplier hosted trade show, picking up bags and bags of free samples and testing out cool new products for 2009. One of the best new products was the 3M MPRO110 Projector (I'll discuss it in my next update). Another day was spent on workshops. Each of our staff spent time learning about their special interests, from Sales and Marketing to Purchasing and Accounting.

The highlight for me was speaking as a guest presenter on the topic of Environmental Corporate Practices. I had prepared a 30 minute PowerPoint, and shared how Costless Express made changes to be Canada's first Carbon Neutral Office Supplier. It was quite rewarding to see some of our group embrace my presentation and become enrolled in making similar changes in their business. "Thanks, I just needed to see how someone else did it for me to start," was what one owner said to me. That's what I was hoping for, an opportunity to share our experience and educate others on how to become more environmentally friendly.

Outside of all the classes and speeches, we were also treated like royalty with cocktail receptions, dinners and impromptu meetings in the lobby bar. I have been to many of these meetings and so has Darrin, but for Bill and Cindy it was a first and they really learned a lot and enjoyed themselves. The next meeting is in New Orleans; I'm sure I can drag myself there!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Did You Know?

Today I had an email from my friend Wade. He owns Chewters Chocolates, a fantastic company. The subject line on the email just said WOW!
In the body of the email was a link to this incredible 5 minute video. It covers some of the most thought provoking statistics about our future. Things like: The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010... did not exist in 2004.
Have a look, it will really get you thinking. Also, use it as a opener for a sales or marketing meeting. You'll have the whole room talking.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Commanding Officer Blomme

Atennn Hut!

Wendy receives her medalAt Costless we have a real life Commanding Officer working in our midst. Her title in the office is Wendy the accounts receivable queen, but outside our doors she is known by the troops as Commanding Officer Blomme.

Wendy recently was awarded a medal for an astonishing 22 years of military service. Here in the picture is a handsome devil presenting Wendy her award - that is her husband! He too has lots of shiny things on his chest but this is all about Wendy.

Wendy joined the forces back when she resided in Whitehorse, Yukon. (That's why she volunteered to shovel snow last year - see Calvin's Corner January 30th, 2008)

She was then posted in Manitoba for 3 years, moved to BC in 1987 and met her husband in the military. She raised 2 darling girls over the years, worked full time and managed to offer her time and experience to training young cadets. She is currently the Commanding Officer in New Westminster.

Wendy and I get along great. I have her assigned to my most important research - order accuracy.

One of her duties at Costless is to track every single order/customer experience error. We call it a WAGU - aka "when an order goes wrong" (I'm still not sure how we got WAGU out of that but it seems to have stuck with us). She tracks each WAGU with military diligence, identifying the problem, documenting the solution, recording the data and God forbid - calling out the offender if it was human error.

Great job Wendy on your medal and job performance!



Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Subprime Crisis, Xplaned

How did the economy get to be a mess so quickly? What is all this about the credit crisis and why did all these big banks and companies get so deep into trouble?

This country is facing a serious economic crisis. But do we all understand why and what it means? I'm very excited to share a new video that clearly defines the flawed subprime lending mortgage practices that led to the current situation on Wall Street.

The four minute animated movie, which can be viewed at, takes viewers through the process starting in 2000 and ending in the current day. It details the role that home buyers, mortgage lenders, banks, financial institutions and ultimately asset backed securities played in this financial mess.

I hope you enjoy it.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Introducing Flavia!

Flavia machine"Patience is a virtue" is an old saying. Well, today was a great day at Costless, because after waiting, we just became a Flavia Authorized Distributor!
What is Flavia? Well first, some background and why we were waiting.
Over the past few years, there have been some new coffee machines to hit the office and home market. You know, the ones that make a single cup at a time. Some take cups, others take pods, envelopes and on and on. Also, some of you may now own a machine... and you can't get the coffee any more!
Yes, there were so many choices a few years ago that we decided to wait until the cream rose to the top. Hence today, why we signed on with Flavia. This system has shown it is the most versatile in the office environment, and clearly leads the way in coffee and tea choices. More than any other system.
What Flavia does is brew one cup at a time, so there is no waste and all the convenience. One person can have Mocha Latte and immediately after, the next person can have a Orange White Tea, without fear of any taste contamination. Once the drink is done, the packet ejects into a bin so there is no messy clean up. It really is a revolution in office coffee, and we are happy to work with Mars Drinks (of the Mars chocolate company) to roll out this amazing technology to our customers. Click here to watch an online demo!
I have a special offer for any customer who wants to have a Flavia coffee machine installed in their office! I will give you a CREDIT of 10% back on all your coffee purchases till the end of 2008. So if you buy $2000 in coffee, I'll give you a $200 credit at the end of the year. Please let your sales rep know you saw the offer on Calvin's Corner.
If you want we can come drop off a machine for 3 days of free trial drinks, just say the word, and we will come.
You'll be hearing much more about Flavia from Costless Express. Click here for a sheet about the system and our drink flavors.