Wednesday, April 28, 2010

K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” song has everyone aflutter

What an uplifting song with a unique voice. It’s no wonder that it’s the official 2010 World Cup Anthem and that it received “We Are The World” treatment for Haiti relief. Coca Cola even did a Spanish Celebration Mix of it! Kudos to this Somalian-Canadian. It's a wonderful song and he's receiving the recognition (and hopefully the money) that he deserves.

The Toronto Star article
Wikipedia article

The lyrics are deceptively simple. He humbly describes where and how he grew up in a hostile environment. His aspirations were simple: survive; get stronger. "When I get older, I will be stronger just like a wavin' flag." If you capitalize "Wavin' Flag" at the end of that sentence, it becomes the song's title. Then it reads like he IS the song. His aspirations have become true. He not only survived, he's become a world-wide force through the popularity of his song. The lyrics are poetry.

When i get older, they'll call me freedom
Just like a Waving Flag.

When I get older, I will be stronger,
They'll call me freedom, just like a Wavin' Flag,
And then it goes back, and then it goes back,
And then it goes back

Born to a throne, stronger than Rome
But violent prone, poor people zone,
But it's my home, all I have known,
Where I got grown, streets we would roam.
But out of the darkness, I came the farthest,
Among the hardest survival.
Learn from these streets, it can be bleak,
Except no defeat, surrender retreat,

So we struggling, fighting to eat and
We wondering when we'll be free,
So we patiently wait, for that fateful day,
It's not far away, so for now we say


So many wars, settling scores,
Bringing us promises, leaving us poor,
I heard them say, love is the way,
Love is the answer, that's what they say,
But look how they treat us, make us believers,
We fight their battles, then they deceive us,
Try to control us, they couldn't hold us,
Cause we just move forward like Buffalo Soldiers.

But we struggling, fighting to eat,
And we wondering, when we'll be free
So we patiently wait, for that faithful day,
It's not far away, but for now we say,

[Chorus] x2

(Ohhhh Ohhhh Ohhhhh Ohhhh)
And everybody will be singing it
(Ohhhh Ohhhh Ohhhhh Ohhhh)
And you and I will be singing it
(Ohhhh Ohhhh Ohhhhh Ohhhh)
And we all will be singing it
(Ohhh Ohh Ohh Ohh)

[Chorus] x2

When I get older, when I get older
I will be stronger, just like a Wavin' Flag,
Just like a Wavin' Flag, just like a Wavin' flag
Flag, flag, just like a Wavin' Flag

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

Essence of a business – selling something for a profit!"
— Neville Gilfoy, Publisher of Progress Magazine

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tips for Entrepreneurs

A friend of mine who is considering starting her own freelance business asked me for my thoughts on being an entrepreneur. It made me realize that I have 16+ years of experience being an entrepreneur and if my advice was important to her, it might be of interest to you. Here are my thoughts on the topic.

The self-employed business owner is responsible for every aspect of the business from sweeping the floor to serving the customer to managing the finances. All the while, they must ensure that staff are performing well and that new business is coming in to keep everyone (including you) in a job. That's a lot to be responsible for so it's no surprise that business owners are often heavily stressed individuals. Here is some advice on how to circumvent some of the most common problems:

Business Development
Cheap solution? Network. Join clubs and groups. Follow clients/potential clients on Twitter. Attend seminars and events. Make yourself do one thing that challenges you at that event. For example, introduce yourself to someone you don't know. Being a wallflower won't help your cause. Be courageous and make your presence known. Then find ways for others to promote you inexpensively. Go after industry awards and write press releases for newspapers to pick up. Put that news on your web site (get a free blog if you can't afford a web site). Make a business card which briefly lists your services and how the customer can benefit. Let your network know that you're expanding and looking for new accounts. Describe the type of clients you're looking for (e.g. manufacturing, film industry). Consider offering a small finder's fee. Read the newspaper to see who is expanding/looking for partners like you. Check procurement sites that your industry/province might manage such as NBON, MERX or OPBA. Believe it or not, job sites such as Workopolis,,,, and Monster often list contract work so check out those sites as well. Many of them will also allow you to freely post a profile of yourself and your services.

Another inexpensive way to develop new business is to do it from within your existing client list. Treat your current customers very well. Be in touch with them often, listen to their challenges and do whatever it takes to meet/exceed their goals. Then research new technologies or start foreseeing what things they are going to need next. Brainstorm with them. Prove to them that you're dedicated and they're likely to show the same dedication in return.

Time Management
Too many tasks and not enough time to do it all? Manage your time by reducing distractions, prioritizing and using an electronic organizer. Plan your day better by knowing right from the outset what you need to accomplish that day. Make a list (keep it reasonable), allot time slots and then plow through the tasks. Give yourself treats to work toward if you have to. Identify the things that are distractions to you (for example, the phone, IM, email and electronic news). Then schedule those distractions just like you'd schedule any other task -- and only every few hours at the most.

If you have a staff, create a Production Schedule for them. Then choose the most responsible one to keep it updated!

Having difficulty hiring/training people or don't want to spend money on an advertisement? Ask around for referrals for qualified people. The network that you developed above should be able to help. Post a news item on your site that says you're expanding and invite people with the right skill set to send in their resume. Put an ad on free websites such as Kijiji. Check out employee training programs that the government might be offering.

Cash Flow
Prepare (or have your Accountant prepare) a one-year cash flow forecast to manage money coming in and going out. Update the spreadsheet weekly. This will allow you to see potential cash flow shortages in time to correct them. Reduce expenditures. Send out reminders to clients to pay overdue accounts (show interest/fees) or have an agency/accountant recover Accounts Receivables for you. Have friends, family or a financial institution in place for a loan before you need the money.

Balancing Work and Life
This is a biggie. Most people start a business to have better control over their workday but they end up falling into the same trap that their old employer fell into. You don't know how to stop thinking about the business when you're at home and your life goals become work-related. Your business should be your servant, not your master. Identify 5 things that regularly consume your day or that you don't like/aren't good at doing. Then delegate (to suppliers or staff) what they're better at doing anyway! Revisit your life goals and start scheduling them into every day. Add them to your electronic organizer if you have to!

Let me know if you have any questions or advice to add to this.

Now, get out there and start enjoying work AND life again!

Nova Scotia filmmaker wants to get the ball rolling with documentary -

Nova Scotia filmmaker wants to get the ball rolling with documentary -

Ocean census reveals tiny clues to climate mystery -

Gorrie: Ocean census reveals tiny clues to climate mystery -

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thousands join cleavage protest of Iranian cleric -

Woman starts Facebook group (45,000 signed up already!) to schedule "boobquake" — a tops-off event to see if they can instigate an earthquake. Thousands join cleavage protest of Iranian cleric -

Earth Day -- be green with 3 simple steps today

Make today all about being Green and make a huge difference to the planet:

1. Safely dispose of your old electronics/batteries (check your city's web site to see where to drop them off). Go one step further and offer to take a neighbour's stuff at the same time!
2. Plant something (either a house plant or a yard plant). Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out clean oxygen!
3. Go see Disney's "Oceans". It will be a beautiful visual experience for you and your family PLUS if you go the first week it opens, Disney will make a donation in your honour to save coral reefs.

Now get to it! It's easy.

Earth Day celebrates 40 years of education and advocacy -

In 1990, on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, founder Gaylord Nelson said: “I don’t want to have to come limping back here twenty years from now on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day .... and have the embarrassing responsibility of telling your sons and daughters that you didn’t do your duty — that you didn’t become the conservation generation that we hoped for.” (www.nelsonearthday.n Earth Day celebrates 40 years of education and advocacy -

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Seeking Film Producers

I've developed a treatment and written 50 pages of a film script. Anyone interested? Let me know. If I were to pigeon-hole it, it could be called a romantic comedy in the style of "Home for the Holidays".

Mr. Gerson, if you're out there, feel free to get in touch. I found your contribution on the film-writing panel at the 2006 Frye Festival (Moncton, NB, Canada) to be so helpful. You encouraged us to get in touch with you to assess our ideas when we were ready. My contact information for you at Focus Features is out of date. I hope you'll consider getting in touch with me.

Thanks so much,


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

Failure has to be an option in art because it's a leap of faith. You have to be willing to take risk. Failure is an option but fear is not."
— James Cameron, Writer and FIlm-maker

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cute Little Cartoon About the Nature of Confidence

I love how this little bug asserts himself to the point of pushing the rooster into the corner of the comic box. The bug and rooster have undergone a role-reversal. Even their font (and therefore, voice) has been swapped. The bug, usually prey to a rooster, admits his mortality with the squished "ouch" but never lets the rooster get the better of him. The rooster, commonly a symbol for blustery pride allows the bug to demote him.

In India, modern life threatens old ways of healing -

Anil Gupta, head of India's National Innovation Foundation, has been collecting stories from centenarians about traditional medicines. The goal is to commercialize the remedies that work. In India, modern life threatens old ways of healing -

Marketing Monday

Hellmann's Gets "Real" about Hen Health

Hellmann's recently announced that their 1/2 the Fat mayonnaise uses 100% free-run eggs. The nutrient content in free-run eggs is the same as non-free-run but the health of the hen is greatly improved. I used to raise chickens and I know how grim their living conditions can be. While Hellmann's hasn't taken the grand leap of using free-range eggs, this step is a move in the right direction and I want to be part of making a hen's life a little more comfortable.

What are Free-Run Eggs? According to Hellmann's... "Free-run eggs are produced by hens that move about the floor of the barn, have access to nesting boxes and, quite often, perches. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as classic eggs."

Comparatively, free-range hens are usually able to wander around an open space, often outdoors. Hens with no "free" status at all are just that — boxed in a wire cage that barely fits them. They don't move. They just produce eggs. It's a horrible life so please consider buying free-run and free-range eggs to create the demand to encourage producers to change the living conditions of their cash-chicken.

If your interests are hen-healthy, perhaps you're interested in a healthier environment, too. Hellmann's has also created the Hellmann's Real Food Movement web site where they offer tips on finding foods that are grown locally to reduce transportation and make your food Greener, recipes and grants for programs that educate families, schools and communities about 'real' food.

I concluck that Hellmann's is doing a very positive thing for consumers, hens and the environment.

Links of interest:
Hellmann's Real Food Movement
Hellmann's gardening tips

Marketing Monday is a column devoted to innovation in the world of commerce. It celebrates companies, products, packaging and campaigns that swim against the current or find creative ways to stand out. Got a suggestion for the column? Send me a comment.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Music that's in the Public Domain

Online database of music that's in the Public Domain: Public Domain Information Project

AWESOME Happy Happy Accident

I will be a regular visitor, I'm sure!

I'm so excited that this web site was brought to my attention via the Toronto Star yesterday.

National Gallery "Canadian" Fundraiser

The National Gallery of Canada's Volunteers' Circle needed to raise funds to launch their outreach program to introduce immigrants who have recently become Canadian citizens to Canadian art. They asked me to write and design a poster that invited their donors to the fundraiser.

At the top of the poster, FUNDRAISER clearly indicates the purpose of the poster.

The headline "It doesn’t get more Canadian than the Group of Seven (or Maple Syrup)" let's people know which food and art are exclusively Canadian; it promises a feast for the taste buds and a feast for the eyes.

Body Copy: Join us at our Maple Sugar Shack Party to raise funds to give New Canadians the introduction they deserve to Canadian Art. Let us treat you to an exclusive talk on how the sap from 1000 trees gets transformed into just 400 litres of maple syrup and the first taste-testing of the season with a golden piece of maple syrup pie. Funds raised will launch our program to help New Canadians become acquainted with some of our sweetest national treasures.

The audience for this poster is the Gallery's group of regular donors. They are art enthusiasts and know that the Group of Seven is a staple of the Canadian art world. This is their chance to proudly introduce immigrants to beautiful Canadian art. Now that's something to be patriotic about!

As red is our national colour, red elements on the poster visually tie together those things that are Canadian. We managed to get usage rights to a famous Group of Seven artwork that features Maple Trees. I superimposed a photograph of a sap bucket to the painted tree. We are literally and figuratively tapping the Group of Seven maple tree and the Donors for the funds needed to bring the outreach program to life.

We produced the poster in both French and English, the official languages of Canada.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writing Apps for the iPhone

Youtube resources:

2D game development tutorial video using OpenGL by "71squared", who is just learning.

PixelCUBE Studios's Channel (maker of The Impossible Test app)

Branding the Environment

"If environmentalists don't change mainstream hearts and minds, they won't make a lick of difference."

EI Benefits for the Self-Employed

Finally a self-employed person can get Employment Insurance!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

Generally speaking, the difference between genius and insanity is success. Think about the "crazy" inventor who works around the clock on some "crazy" idea. Perception of both the inventor and idea change completely if the idea succeeds. When you commit yourself to something, especially a life purpose, you must realize that there are sacrifices you must make. We all have 24 hours in a day and each minute we spend on our goals, is one less minute we have to spend on other areas of our lives."
— Bo Bennett, Author of Year to Success

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own. Don't put limitations on yourself. Others will do that for you."
— James Cameron, Writer and FIlm-maker

Monday, April 12, 2010

Marketing Monday

Disloyalty has its privileges -
Seven Toronto indie coffee shops hope their disloyalty card will send customers on a counterculture, city-wide tour of their wares. Disloyalty has its privileges -

Marketing Monday is a column devoted to innovation in the world of commerce. It celebrates companies, products, packaging and campaigns that swim against the current or find creative ways to stand out. Got a suggestion for the column? Send me a comment.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Beautiful Little Houses and Cottages

Ross Chapin Architects designs beautiful little houses and cottages. Perfect for small families or those thinking of downsizing their living space. In an environmentally-conscious world, these homes are a cozy way to celebrate being Green! They even design garages and studio.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals. The intense effort, the giving of everything you've got, is a very pleasant bonus."
— Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Toads an earthquake early-warning system?

Researches notice mass exodus of toads from a breeding site in Italy just 5 days before a local quake. 5 days is plenty of time to evacuate. Full article at