Meet Localty, Vancity’s local-shopping mobile site for Victoria

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Alex and I got to work with William Azaroff eight years ago (good lord! eight?!) on Vancity‘s ChangeEverything. We became friends, and I became a fan of William’s impressive online smarts. So when he announces an online project for Vancity, my ears prick up so fast it makes my chin hurt:

Recently, a project I’ve been working on for the past few months with some brilliant and capable colleagues launched as a test and learn pilot in Victoria, BC. The project is called Localty, because what else are you gonna name a loyalty program focused on local purchasing?

Localty is a mobile web platform connecting our members and the public to discover Vancity business members, and encourage them to promote these local businesses via social media and to shop locally. We want to encourage more people to steer some of their purchases away from multi-national chains and big box stores to small, local businesses.

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The truth, a story and pictures: Dan Roam on powerful presentations

If we tell them the truth, tell them that truth with a story, and tell that story with pictures, our presentations will be extraordinary.

‘Show and Tell’ Author Dan Roam Talks to Marketing Smarts

I’m a fan of Dan Roam’s. He delivered a fantastic presentation to the Nonprofit Technology Conference a few years ago (you can see my sketchnotes here). And his books The Back of the Napkin, Unfolding the Napkin and Blah Blah Blah are terrific guides to using simple pictures to do a dramatically better job of thinking and communicating.

Now his latest, Show and Tell, focuses specifically on presentations. For folks who are sick of stock-photo-laden PowerPoint decks and dense, meandering gabfests, this could be a life-saver. I can’t wait to read it.

Filed under: Presentation Design

I’ve been watching The Amazing Race reruns with the kids….



I’ve been watching The Amazing Race reruns with the kids. I’m proud of the way they’re able to spot the often-patronizing (and that’s being charitable) attitude the show takes to the countries and cultures it encounters. It’s the ultimate whirlwind, see-the-sites, reduce-a-nation-to-a-simple-caricature vacation.

But I also enjoy the shit out of it, partly as I imagine myself conquering the challenges that trigger my own phobias (heights heights heights heights heights oh god the heights) and partly because of the chance to see people react to heavy pressure.

It isn’t the casual, tossed-off cruelty of, say, American Idol judges sneering at some poor shmuck with a dream that exceeds her or his talents. It’s character revealed under pressure, Robert McKee-style… and often revealed not just to the viewers, but to the players themselves. Moments of self-revelation are surprisingly rare in American TV, and I’ve been surprised at how many I’ve seen in TAR.

Compassion and communications: why being human matters

My NOW Communications coworker Kristen Keighley-Wight has a terrific post today about why you need to talk less about yourself, and more about your audience: their values, their concerns, the way your issues affect them.

It’s a welcome antidote to a disease that can strike any of us. We can work so hard for so long on issues that we start to mistake inside baseball for real-world outcomes.

But sometimes it gets much worse than that. Some people get so swept up in scoring points that they forget the human side of an issue altogether.

That’s the most generous construction you can put on Conservative MP Robert Goguen’s appalling questions yesterday to Timea Nagy, who was testifying before a parliamentary committee on a federal bill tightening laws on prostitution. She’s a sexual assault survivor and the founder of an organization helping victims of human trafficking like herself.

I’m not going to include Goguen’s questions here. To see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice try to use Ms. Nagy’s experience of rape as fodder for an intellectually dishonest argument, watch the exchange here or read about it here. (Trigger warning.)

While it’s hard to imagine anyone I work with getting so detached from their own humanity that they could do anything quite this bad, it can serve as a crucial reminder. No matter how contentious an issue becomes, compassion must never be far from communication — and personal suffering must never become a political punchline.

One more reason to love Portland: 27 years of speech recordings discovered at PSU

The invaluable Ian Griffin reports on a fantastic discovery by a Portland State University archivist:

a box of reel-to-reel recordings of campus speeches by figures such as LSD advocate Timothy Leary, Robert F. Kennedy speaking a few short weeks before his assassination, Nobel prize-winner Linus Pauling speaking on the effects of radioactive fallout a few months before the Cuban Missile crisis, and poet Allan Ginsberg.

And PSU has obligingly digitized them and posted them online. (I resent this just a little bit, because it costs me an excuse to go to Portland. Breakfast at Tasty n Sons, a day of listening to great speeches and an evening at Powell’s, anyone..?)

As exciting as it can be to read a great speech, they’re intended to be heard — making this find a thrilling one for speechwriters.

Filed under: Speeches Tagged: archives, ian griffin, library, portland state university

A truly thorough takedown (and a little personal honesty)

It’s impossible not to compare John Oliver to Jon Stewart. My take on his guest-hosting The Daily Show stint was that he actually delivers a more cogent, sophisticated and nuanced rant than Jon Stewart, and that’s still the case now that he’s at HBO with Last Week Tonight. Witness this blistering (and funny) attack on FIFA. And I love that his conclusion acknowledges the ambivalence so many of us face, torn between our love of sport or culture, and our revulsion at the ethical sewer that often lies just underneath.

Don’t have a kitten. Save one… with Morgan Brayton.

One of the most staggeringly talented people I know is also one of the most dedicated volunteers I know, working on behalf of the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association.

Now Morgan Brayton wants to take that work — and the organization — to a whole new level:

I want to help raise awareness around VOKRA’s work and convince more people to get involved. I want to help make VOKRA an organization with staying power. I know I can have a huge impact on VOKRA’s future but a couple of hours here and there won’t do it.

Instead, I want to dedicate myself to VOKRA full-time for the next six months and help make it a sustainable organization for many decades to come. To do so, I’m asking for your help.

Morgan’s crowdfunding $10,000 through GoFundMe, and she’s more than halfway there. Hitting her target will mean she can:

  • organize a launch event for VOKRA’s new Operations Centre
  • tell VOKRA’s untold stories online with her unique blend of warmth, compassion and humour
  • craft a long-term fundraising strategy so VOKRA can focus on its core mission, instead of constantly scrambling for the next piece of kibble moolah

There are plenty of great rewards (or “purrks”) for contributors… not to mention a healthy dollop of accountability:

I’ll regularly post about the work I’m doing, here and on the VOKRA blog http://vokrablog.wordpress.com/. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek at a rescue organization through blog updates, videos and photos. And you’ll witness VOKRA saving lives as I report on rescue stories, adoption stories and happy endings made possible through my donation of time, made possible by your donation of funds.

Morgan’s campaign culminates on June 25th with her birthday and a fundraising comedy show at Vancouver’s Wise Hall — one that promises to be easily worth the $25 you’ll pay for a ticket.

I’m delighted to see this going so well, because Morgan’s a dear friend and a mighty soul and I want her to succeed. But even beyond that, I admire her innovation and drive: she knows the difference she wants to make, and she’s taken a real risk to allow her to make it. And I know that, given the opportunity, she’ll blow our socks off. I hope you’ll consider helping her do that.