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REVIEW: The Thank You Economy By @GaryVee & An Open Letter To Gary

March 28, 2011 6 comments

I just finished reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book called The Thank You Economy. Gary, or @garyvee as he is known on Twitter, describes himself in his Twitter bio as a guy who is all about:

Family 1st! but after that, Businessman, @winelibrary, @Vaynermedia, Author of @TYEbook and a dude that Loves the hustle (hard work), people and the @nyjets

His bio on his own personal website is uber long so I will just say he has accomplished a lot and if you’d like to read it, check it out here

On to the book. I really enjoyed reading it and if you are already interested in social media (I know Gary hates that word as he says in the book but that’s what the world at large calls it so we are sort of stuck with it now) and how it relates to business in the 21st Century I recommend reading this book. Anyone can learn from it, from students to CEOs (if they’re open to hearing about something new where the ROI [return on investment] is long-term). I finished the book’s back pages as I sat on the TTC subway today waiting for my 30 minute trip which got stretched into an hour somehow and while I waited I wrote an email to Gary as he encourages people to do in the book. I received a very nice response directing me to a number of contacts but none were – as far as I could tell – suited to my own little review of the book. Actually, I don’t know if I would call the email I wrote a review of the book so much as comments and suggestions for the book so I will also review it a bit.

The book is well written. I am given to understand that he had a ghost writer write it – although I do not know the level of involvement Stephanie Land had in the actual writing of the book I am going to assume that Gary is more the type of guy who paces around a room with energy and just reels of his thoughts in sequence and Ms Land wrote them down. He probably then read what she wrote when she translated his verbal gestalt into words on a page and approved it but nonetheless he didn’t, it seems, actually do the writing of the book. I read that he had a ghostwriter in the acknowledgements – ya I read those.

The book definitely brings out Gary’s passionate feelings on the matter of social media and is sort of a guidebook for all of us of the generation that is slowly but surely taking the reigns of business and the corporate world from the Baby Boomers – Gary was born in 1975 making him part of the tail end of Generation X. The book gives us a lot of great case studies and examples of successful businesses in the 21st Century where companies chose to use heart and pull customers in to their orbit and then keep them there. He also mentions companies that sort of did the job but then failed to follow through – such as one company that made quite the boom with some of their advertising and then just failed to keep up the conversation online afterward. He gives opinions based on his own life experiences and their results and really makes you feel as if you are listening to him talk as he goes through the different aspects of the Thank You Economy.

It’s all in all a great read, very easy to get through, understand, and a lot to relate to. It is broken up into very easy to digest bite size chunks because, as I am sure @GaryVee of all people know, these days we are bombarded (and bombard ourselves) with so much constant stimuli a book with uber-long chapters and sections becomes difficult to pick up and actually get through. The book is designed for reading when you have 10 minutes to site down with it or and hour to sit down with it and that’s great in my opinion. Read more…

Nomtastic Times At Boston Pizza Yonge & Sheppard

March 27, 2011 1 comment

On Wednesday last week a bunch of us from the North York area and as far north as Thornhill got together to grab a drink at Boston Pizza Yonge & Sheppard (@BostonPizzaYS). Little did we know the nomtastic experience we were about to embark upon as Calvin @cdot_in_tdot decided to use us as guinea pigs for some new Boston Pizza menu items which will start appearing as being featured as of April 4th.

It all began so randomly it took us a while to remember how it began – Persian New Year (Norooz) celebrations at Mel Lastman Square March 15. I was sitting at home, actually writing a blog post, and Warren (@WaterProofWeb) tweeted at me to ask me, as a fellow North Yorker if I had heard the loud banging & popping noises outside. I hadn’t but I went outside to listen and still didn’t hear anything. That prompted Meg (@MegButton) and Jesse (@JesseHernick) to chime in that they had heard the pops too and didn’t know what they were either. We all wondered if they had been gun shots or fireworks until Warren found an announcement online about the celebrations and all became clear. But one more question remained for me – since when did Meg live in North York? For some reason I am unsure why I had decided with no prompting from her that she lived out west in Mississauga or Etobicoke but she is a North Yorker like me, so we all decided it would be a great idea to grab drinks and have our own little North York Twitter meetup. Then at some point in the next week the whole thing grew a bit.

Warren waits impatiently for me to pass the Effen Vodka.

Over the course of the week we somehow added Corey H (@cellguru), Cory S (@corysilver), Miranda (@running_cloud), Jorge R (@rosalesj), Vanessa V (@sesssa), and Vanessa’s friend Kate (who has Twitter but says she is barely on it so I never got her handle).

On to the night, unfortunately Jesse was unable to make it due to last minute stuff that just came up but the night grew quite a bit from just being me, Jesse, Warren, Meg, and Calvin.When I got to Boston Pizza, Warren was already there and I was the second one to arrive (I don’t count Calvin’s arrival because he works there). There was already a bottle of Effen Vodka – insert swear word jokes here – on the table chilling on ice so I knew we were in for a treat!

As everyone started arriving – this took time because March 23 was the day of that snowstorm which turned Toronto driving into hell – and getting settled in drinking some vodka we asked Calvin if we could see some menus and he told us not to worry the food was already ordered. Food was already ordered? Whaaa? I already knew Calvin was awesome and the bottle of vodka was quite enough already but he ordered food? OK…this night just turned from awesome to awesomazing.

The first to arrive at the table once we were somewhat lubricated with Effen Vodka was a sweet large vegetarian pizza which looked absolutely delectable. It was so delectable, in fact, that I didn’t even have a chance to take a picture of it before there were a couple pieces already missing – ok, you caught me, I’m the one who did the serving of the slices, must be my experiences from my Jewish mother had an effect on me…they all looked so hungry! Like skin & bones I tell you!

The pizza was really good – and one would hope so from a place with Pizza in its name even though that isn’t the only thing they serve – it was good enough that I began to fear the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were going to come up from Manhattan and steal it off the table but I figured Calvin and Boston Pizza had probably put security in their sewers so there was really nothing to worry about. I did keep looking outside looking for the orange flash of Michaelangelo’s bandanna  in the drainage grates on Yonge St though. But this pizza, as far as I know, wasn’t anything new for Boston Pizza and you’re probably thinking, “Get to the guinea pigging out already, Dan!” so here we go.

Boston Pizza had been finding that their baked wings, while the obviously healthier choice, just wasn’t as delectable as their fried wings so Calvin and the test kitchen folks set out to improve on that problem. As well, they found a supplier who supplied much bigger wings so they look better and have more meat on them and the picture below is the result. We tried 3 new types of wings although I only got a picture of two of them: Caribbean Jerk Wings, Asian 5 Spice and Sweet Thai Chili Oven Roasted Wings and they will all be featured as of April 4th.

In the picture above, the wings on the right are the Caribbean Jerk Wings and they were my favorite of the bunch. I am not going to lie to you, I really, really cannot for the life of me remember if I took the other picture of the Asian 5 Spice or the Sweet Thai Chili but I think those are the Sweet Thai Chili. The other two I would say are a tie for deliciousness and more than a match for any other of your standard fried wings. They are both definitely great choices but I implore you to scarf down some of the Caribbean Jerk Wings. The thought of them is making my mouth water as I write this and I may have to head over to Boston Pizza tonight and try to convince Calvin to have the kitchen whip me up another special batch – ya, they’re that good.

The other complete treat which we ate and which now cause me to anxiously await April 4th are the Los Grande Nachos. As you can see they are nachos which are baked with some amazing goodness right onto them including bell peppers, meat, cheese and jalapeños. There’s a very good reason they are served with a spatula…they are so top heavy that the chip might otherwise break if you try to pick one of them up without proper support. These things I loved and I think I would have been happy to munch down the entire two plates Calvin had brought of them to myself. Therefore, I warn you that once they are on the menu if you order them tell your friends you are going to the bathroom and have them brought to you at the bar so you can quickly shove them into your mouth and then sprint back to the table. Boston Pizza is going to have to beef up security once they introduce this appetizer April 4th as I envision them causing numerous fights breaking out. Instead of guys proposing to their girlfriends they may end up breaking up with them when their girl tries to reach across the table to sample some.

So all of the things we ‘sampled’ at Boston Pizza that night were damn good as I think I have made clear. However, my two top choices of the night remain the Los Grande Nachos and the Caribbean Jerk Wings. I encourage you to go to Boston Pizza Yonge & Sheppard (I assume they are going to be offered at other locations but don’t know if that’s how it works, I will update this when I find out UPDATE: I asked Calvin about this and he said most of the locations in Toronto should have them but not every location will) and try all 4 of these new treats once April 4th rolls around. The wings are a definite huge win in my books especially with the Final Four happening soon, the start of the MLB season, and the soon to start NBA Playoffs we will all be eating a lot of wings and why not try to be as healthy as you can about it if you can still have all the taste and more. (Damnit, now I sound like one of those diet soda commercials but I swear I’m not lying!)

Get out there and try them and let me know if you agree with my choices! There may also be more stuff coming to Boston Pizza’s menu on April 4th but only time will tell!

  • Boston Pizza Yonge & Sheppard’s address:

4841 Yonge Street, North York, Ontario, M2N 5X2 (Google Map) Right on top of Sheppard-Yonge Subway Station

Define ‘Purvey’: It Means Something Very Different From ‘Survey’

March 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Some of you who were at The Art of Marketing in Toronto on March 7, 2010 probably got copies of the magazine they handed out for free. If you did and you read through it you may also have read the ads. I noticed this ad – pictured above – read it and then re-read it in disbelief. (I took out all mentions of the name of the brand on purpose so please if you recognize it don’t comment with the name of the brand.)

**** Before continuing I should point out I do not know who actually worded this ad. For all I know the ad was sent from the brand to the people who put the magazine together and from there sent to a printer and somewhere after it left control of the brand someone screwed up the wording royally. If so, then I hope the brand got a bunch of money back for this ad because it made them look BAD. ****

If you’re going to try to use big words please figure out what they mean first. ‘Purvey’ does not mean the same as ‘Survey’. I don’t think this is a typo because the ‘P’ and the ‘S’ are in completely different parts of the keyboard. Let’s be clear, I am not perfect (surprised, right?). I often make mistakes in typing or use bad grammar when I write this blog. One of the things I was most guilty of in my school years was run-on sentences. HOWEVER, if I were writing an ad to go into a magazine to be given out to hundreds or thousands of people I’d like to think I’d be a lot more cautious with my editing.

Purvey according to TheFreeDictionary:

  1. To supply (food, for example); furnish.
  2. To advertise or circulate.

Does that word make sense in the sentence as put together by this advertiser? “We also send out an exclusive eBlast, after we purvey your city to find the best stuff for young professionals.”  The word SURVEY would make sense in that sentence, “We also send out an exclusive eBlast, after we survey your city to find the best stuff for young professionals.” However, the word purvey does not. That sentence as it was published basically says that this website sends out an exclusive eBlast, after they supply your city and then, somehow by supplying the city, manage to find the best stuff for young professionals. Maybe because they supply it they know where it is? That makes no sense because that isn’t what that website does and it still doesn’t make sense because why would they have to find it if they supplied it? Do they supply it to people in a back alley somewhere and then have to go out a couple of hours later and find out what happened to the ‘best stuff’ they supplied and where it ended up? I doubt it.

I wonder how many people read that ad, laughed about it, and will never take that brand seriously again. Maybe they were relying on the bulk of people not knowing what the word meant and just reading it contextually? It looks to me as if they were trying to sound refined and cool and knowledgeable and instead – in my mind – they just came off looking foolish. It also appears to me as if they need better editing. Again, as I mentioned before starting this post – for all I know they didn’t put the word purvey in there, they wrote survey and someone screwed up. Maybe it is an example of a Damn You Auto-Correct situation somehow. Maye we will never know.

I invite the brand to get in touch with me and let me know what happened with this ad.

WordPress Needs A Fail Mascot aka Fail Pet aka #FAILcutie

March 24, 2011 4 comments

Thankfully, WordPress doesn’t have glitches or issues which cause WordPress.com to go down very frequently.

HOWEVER, given the massive issues which happened with WordPress hosted sites on March 22 I got to know the WordPress 504 Error Page pretty well. There were actually two incarnations: the one pictured here and one that I, unfortunately, did not have the presence of mind to screen cap.

I move for WordPress to introduce a Fail Mascot aka #FAILcutie of their own! Twitter has the Fail Whale and Fail Robot, Klout has the Klout Puppy, Tumblr has Tumbeasts, and there list goes on. Fred Wenzel over on the site “fredericiana” wrote multiple posts about them and has updates about what he calls Fail Pets – I hope he doesn’t mind that I borrowed the picture of the Twitter Fail Robot from him when I made the picture to your left.

Mashable‘s Erica Swallow wrote a whole post in September 2010 – “35 Entertaining 404 Error Pages” which shows although we hate getting the errors if there’s something cute about it we can at least appreciate it…after all society does teach us that laughter is the best medicine!

But what should WordPress’ Fail Mascot aka Fail Pet be? Well their logo is a ‘W’ in a circle but as we have seen from Twitter and Klout and Tumblr the type of mascot chosen does not necessarily have to have anything at all to do with the nature of the site. Really it could be anything that’ll put a smile on our faces…cute helps too because, come one, how can you be angry when you see the Klout fail puppy? It’s so darn cute!

Any ideas as to a new WordPress Fail Mascot I would love to hear! Maybe some day they’ll even use it!

Vote Pedro…Wait…No, That’s Not Right. VOTE ZACH!

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

A Twitter friend of mine – who I have also met in the real world – and a truly awesome guy named Zach Bussey (@ZachBussey) is in a competition/contest being put on by Doritos and he needs you to vote today at http://bit.ly/VoteZach! (See below for non bit.ly link)

The contest requires you to either sign up – the first time voting you need to signup for an account which is a couple of minutes process and reports have come back from people already registered that they do not send you any unsolicited emails. Personally, I have been clicking the Login With Facebook Button that is offered when you click the Vote Button but apparently some people don’t like to connect their Facebook accounts with other things online. To each their own.

So why am I pushing this aside from the fact that Zach is a good guy? It isn’t because I truly believe that the Buffalo Wings n Ranch flavor (the one Zach chose) is freaking awesome because I have yet to try either. So my reasons beyond Zach is a good guy are twofold, in no particular order they are: PARTYING & CHARITY!

The grand prize for the whole shebang is $25,000 – ya, that’s TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! Of that money, Zach has committed to donate TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS ($10,000) to charity.

You might be thinking, “Wait, what? Why isn’t he going to donate at least half of the $25,000 to charity? Dan, you said Zach was a good guy!” BUT I’m not finished, so keep reading! Zach is going to take $5,000 from the winnings and throw a huge victory party as a thank you to everyone who voted for him and supported him in this cause. I like the sound of that! Don’t you? This is why I am urging you to vote today at http://bit.ly/VoteZach! If you live in Toronto it is in your own interest – the party will be epic – and even if you don’t we’re talking TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS TO CHARITIES WHO REALLY NEED IT!

Zach's Entry on the Doritos: Write The End Contest Page

The other ten thousand bucks that’s left over will go towards a startup that Zach wants to get off the ground. Who knows, it could end up being the next Facebook and you’ll know that YOU helped make that possible.

More importantly, the CHARITABLE DONATION BREAKDOWN as taken directly from Zach’s blog:

  • $3,500 reserved to send me somewhere that needs volunteer help and money. Whether that’s helping with the continued oil spill cleanup, assistance to one of the many earthquake ravaged nations, etc. I will seek out a group to travel with and physically go down and help in any way possible. I’ll document this trip with videos and through my blog.
  • $2,000 to Sick Kids Foundation. The reason for this is I am a Sick Kids kid. I had life saving surgery in the first few weeks of my life. I have a blog post in the works that will go into more detail so I’ll save the rest of the story for sometime in the next couple weeks. [Dan’s note: I had no idea that Zach and I were kindred spirits in this regard! As I mentioned in my post about the ING Direct AmberMac THRiVEtastic! Event I was born with a heart condition called Pulmonary Valve Stenosis.]
  • $1,500 to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The HSF I feel more connected to since #LoveAHeart and am more aware than ever of the great work they do. [Dan’s note: I was also a part of #LoveAHeart and was auctioned off as well and as I mentioned above and in a previous post I was born with a heart condition.]
  • TWO donations of $1,500 each donated to charities chosen by you! (Leave suggestions in the comments below [Dan’s note: comments on Zach’s blog but if you write them here I will ensure he gets them and will attempt to persuade him to count them, but no promises], the 2 with the most suggestions will be selected).

Zach also made a video – obviously using Doritos – in the style of Epic Meal Time, you can check it out below. AND as an extra added bonus he promises to provide the dishes he made in the video (fresh ones of course)  at the victory party. (It’s a good thing he is donating money to the Heart & Stroke Foundation because after eating those things we’re all going to need it!)

Remember: VOTE ZACH!!!

He is currently in 4th place but we need to make this final push and get him some more votes!

* If the bit.ly link makes you uncomfortable here’s the full sized link – http://www.writetheend.ca/en/gallery/A/17541/

WordPress FAIL, My #PostADay Challenge Continues Anyway!

March 22, 2011 3 comments
The WordPress error page I received tonight when I tried to write a blog post before heading out. 

The WordPress error page I received tonight when I tried to write a blog post before heading out.

This isn’t the post I wanted to write today. I wanted to write all about…well, you’ll have to wait and see when I post it another day. 😉

So why aren’t I writing the post I wanted to write tonight? Well, honestly it is because WordPress’ site was down as you can see from the error page above and the “updated info” on the issue below.

Tonight, after work, I was all set to sit down at 5pm and blog before heading out to Lou Dawg”s – http://www.loudawgs.com/@LouDawgs on King St West for the #DawgsTO tweetup which was called for 7pm and I got the error message I screencapped for you to see. I waited and kept trying to load the page thinking, “This’ll be fixed quickly and I can get my blog post done”, but I was wrong.

When 6:45 rolled around and I still had no access to “Create New Post” option on WordPress.com, there wasn’t any new info on the Support page, and I was already going to be late to this tweetup (its 7:45 and I’m at St. Patrick Station) I knew I had to start heading down from “The Jewrisdiction” as I call it in real life and on Foursquare get to Wilson Station, and head downtown to King West.

As usual, I am giving every one of my readers the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Could I have written the post I wanted to earlier in the day? Sure, I suppose…but how many bosses do you know who’d take kindly to you working on your personal blog when you’re supposed to be working? And don’t you dare say you think “the Bobs” from Office Space would be cool with it because they were consultants hired by corporate, not technically Peter’s boss. Lumbergh was Peter’s boss! So, ha!

The WordPress Support Page, “They’re working on the issue” but I’d already waited more than an hour and couldn't wait any longer.

 

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