Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Here is another incredible and thought provoking video from my friend Parker Lee at XPLANE.

I have blogged about a few these videos, and after seeing them, I just sit in awe and think - WOW, where will the world be in 5-10-50 years. Watch it for yourself.

Did You Know? originally started out as a PowerPoint presentation for a faculty meeting in August 2006 at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, United States. The presentation "went viral" on the Web in February 2007 and, as of June 2007, had been seen by at least 30 million online viewers. Today the old and new versions of the online presentation have been seen by at least 50 million people, not including the countless others who have seen it at conferences, workshops, training institutes, and other venues.


Monday, August 17, 2009

How to motivate and inspire your staff in 2 minutes!

The Dow has dropped 3,000 points and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost. We Canadians are now a ragtag bunch of scruffy underdogs, down by three touchdowns at halftime, with a whole horde of orcs waiting for us right outside those locker room doors. Inspiration has become something we need. Ya, that's right, pick up that chin, we got a lot of fight still in us! C'mon - who's with me!!!

What I'm trying to say is, if you show this montage at your next staff meeting you may just single-handedly save your company (and possibly get that raise):

40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Goats on the Roof

Back again on Vancouver Island. Starting to feel like my home away from home as we ramp up our expansion. One of the favourite places for our family is Parksville, and we rent a beach house every year for at least a week or more. We have been coming to the Island for many years and although this year was going to be a mix of work and family for me, it was a great home base for me to take care of business in Nanaimo and Victoria.
One great spot we visit on a regular basis while here is a tiny town called Coombs. Here's a link to a great story in the Victoria Times. In particular there is The Old Country Market, famous for Goats on their Roof!
Yup, goats. It's a Scandinavian tradition to to let them "mow" the grass on your roof. Yup, grass… anyway, you get the idea that this is a special place.

I really drink up the way they have marketed in such eclectic and unique ways. I always take away a few good ideas and a ton of inspiration on how I can apply the marketing to Costless Express. It's a real lesson in how to successfully brand a business and give customers a shopping "experience."
One trick they have up their sleeve is that there is no zoning regulations on their property, so they have been able to create what I can only describe as a mini main street (a la Disney) where each storefront seems to be a different business, yet they are actually all run as a group, with family running different stores. There is the main market with exotic foods, the very popular ice cream stand (one scoop is HUGE!!), a deli, cafeteria, fruit and veg stand, a garden center with lots of statues and bamboo items, a massive building filled with replica Far East inspired furniture (Sandy's favourite!) and a very cool surf shop Wabi Sabi (my favourite). All this and more on one property, and the crowds just keep coming back time and again. No matter what day of the week, the place is packed. (Tip: park way at the back of the property, not on the road or in the first few crowded lots.)
If you have kids, then you must stop to pick up some of the coolest toys found anywhere. The prices are cheap and granted the products can be kind of cheap too, but the kids don't seem to mind (most toys are destroyed before the trip is over, at least my kids', when they are on holidays with up to 6-7 cousins - all under 7yrs). This year I felt like a bad parent, since we bought our two boys wooden swords and shields at the market. It was not something I thought we would ever buy, but when the other cousins' parents (thanks Grace and Richard) bought swords and shields, I had to arm my kids out of defense. Any parent would have done the same, don't you think? Anyway, all the swords spent most of the time confiscated and hidden on the top shelf of the coat closet, but when all the kids "played nice," it was a treat to watch them role play, and we took some great pictures.
Check out Coombs if you haven't been already.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Price Spider

If you scroll down to my July 1st post, you'll read about my new software toy we called SMART SCRAPER.

Well, it's been over a month since we started using it, and it was time to think up a bit better name. Smart Scraper and the putty knife graphic seemed OK at the time, but as we continued to say the name, it just sounded more and more like something from a late night infomercial. So after much deliberation, voting and heated debate, we officially changed the name to PRICE SPIDER!

We have now done an analysis on over 15,300 office supply items we sell using the software. We entered several factors such as - Strength of the Canadian dollar, lower negotiated office supply pricing from our suppliers, items we purchase in bulk, how much space and cash flow the items take in our warehouse and — most importantly — what Staples, Office Depot, Grand & Toy and others are selling the items for.

Of the 15,300 items we ran through Price Spider, there were almost 5000 matches apples-to-apples against the competition. These items we guarantee are lower than the competition. On the remaining 9500 items, we decided to lower our prices! (800 items we kept the same price.) What this means to you the customer is that most items in our 2009 Big Book catalogue are now lower than the published price you see on the pages!

Our customers couldn't believe it today as our sales people started telling them that thousands of items have just DROPPED IN PRICE! Ask your other suppliers that you buy office supplies from if they are lowering their prices. The strong dollar and aggressive pricing from the wholesalers have reduced costs, and they should pass on the savings I think.

On the flip side though, when oil prices go up, the dollar goes down or the economy starts ramping up (or all three) - inflation will kick in, and prices will start going up and so will the need for us to raise prices.