If you've ever seen the movie Tommy Boy with Chris Farley, there's a scene where Tommy Boy takes over the family business after his father passes. He suddenly becomes the company sales rep and goes on a road trip. And while his intentions are good, he gets turned down every time he makes a sales pitch. In fact, he is so terrified, that he's trying to escape from the office before the potential customer even answers.
I thought that scene was hilarious until I started my own business. Now, I can relate.
Being in sales is humbling. But being in sales can also be uplifting.
As a newspaper editor for the past 35 years, I worked with sales people. In fact, righteous editorial people always referred to the sales side of the business as the "dark side", doing anything and promising anything for a sale. They were the people who brought in the money, (more…)
I've skied since I was a teenager and I still suck.
The problem is that you can't get any better when you only ski once a year.
Case in point was last weekend at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, New York.
I try to get out with my buddies once a year to go skiing. So this year, I tried to prepare myself by going to Brimacombe, a local ski hill with smaller hills. My plan was to ease myself into the longer runs at Holiday Valley Resort.
I chose a weekday, so there would be fewer skiers to a) laugh at me b) run into.
Unfortunately, mother nature wasn't playing nice that day and the -20C temperature was simply too cold for my aging body. Oh, and another reason was that helmets are mandatory. Well, kind of mandatory. The safety rules suggest a mandatory policy, and yet (more…)
It's been one year since leaving my job in Cambridge, moving to Cobourg to be closer to my wife Angela's family and figuring out what to do with the next phase of my life.
So what am I doing and what have I learned?
What I haven't learned is to take advice from people who know better.
They all warned me.
Don't join, volunteer or take part in too many activities when you move to a new place. Give yourself some time to adjust, settle and live.
Did I listen? No.
Let's see, so far I have joined the Rotary Club of Cobourg, Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce, Royal Canadian Legion Cobourg, and the Cobourg Yacht Club. Oh, I also volunteer at Cobourg Police Services, was accepted to sit on the Cobourg Environmental Advisory Committee, and I grow vegetables on a plot of land at St. Joseph's Community Garden (where I also volunteer).
They're everywhere and can usually be found early in the morning. They're subtle in their approach and often make contact with a "Good morning" or "Lovely day we're having". But don't be tricked by their friendly way and kind-hearted look.
They are The Walking Retired.
They wander the streets, usually in pairs, sometime in groups. They might be disguised as an exercise group briskly motoring up the street and showing no sign of wanting to communicate, but it's only a matter of time.
Oh sure, they may walk by your house for a week without noticing you or making eye contact, but that's part of their master plan. You might be out one day raking leaves, cutting the lawn or digging out weeds (Warning: you're most vulnerable when you're on your knees focused on a gardening chore). That's when they strike.
"Those weeds are a nuisance, aren't they?" you'll hear from nowhere.
Maybe it's because I lived in Cambridge for 20 years and its proximity to Waterloo, Ontario (aka. Blackberryland) brainwashed me. Maybe it's because I have bought and sold Blackberry stock twice over the past 10 years and came out ahead. Or maybe it's simply a case of believing that you can't keep a good product or idea down.
Currently into round three of my love affair with Blackberry stock, I'm bleeding money. I bought the stock at a higher rate than it's current $10-$11 per share (OK, a whole lot higher) and my investment portfolio has been tanking for the past six months.
But give up on Blackberry? Never. In fact, I might just purchase more of the volatile stock.
Why? Because I believe.
I believed in Blackberry when it was created by engineering students Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin in 1984 and was called Research In Motion. In 1992, Lazaridis hired Jim Balsillie. The (more…)