Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tricks and treats

Fall in Ontario must be one of the most bittersweet seasons.  We get these glorious, sun-filled, colour-splashed days that make you wonder why on earth you'd want to live elsewhere.
Then we get the inestimable pleasure of watching our kids gather up all the loot on Hallowe'en.  This was Gabe's first such evening when he was aware of what was going on -- kind of.
A little nervous at first ("Hug Dada") he rapidly accommodated himself to the unique experience of near strangers and close friends oohing and cooing AND giving him stuff.
Mostly, he could care less about the stuff but the attention was great.  Although, he did really like that bag of chips he got from one of our neighbours.
Next year will be another great experience as Gabriel will be three, his little brother (God willin' and the river don't rise) will be nine months old so Gabriel can begin to show him the ropes as any older brother would do.
Tricks and treats.
Cool.

"Oh, BOY!"


We had our first snow flurry here about an hour ago.  Gabe and I were just leaving Whole Foods (spend way too much time and money there but that's for another day). 
The white stuff only fell for a few moments.
My initial reaction?
Oh dear god, here we go again.
Gabe's initial reaction?
"Oh BOY!"
"Snow, Dada!"
Turned my mood around in about a nano second.
Remember, Gabe just turned two at the end of September.  I wouldn't have expected him to remember snow at all.  Lord knows I try to put it out of my mind.  But there he was - proclaiming to all who would listen - "Snow, Dada!"
I might just need to change my perspective on those many things we adults react to with annoyance. 
It has always been my belief that a successful life revolves around retaining a child-like sense of wonder.
Thanks Gabe.
"Oh, BOY!  SNOW!"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Proudly Canadian - wines & spirits







Am participating in the 30-day drink local wines (Ontario) challenge and on the journey have discovered a few real gems.  But not just wines.   There are two Canadian hard liquor products that really stand out as well.  OK.  One is really from the Ukraine but it is imported by a group here in Oakville and it represents the greatest value in the ultra-premium vodka category you can imagine.  Slava is the product and I encourage you to check it out for a few reasons:  they're running a very clever promotion right now; the product is excellent; the packaging is smart and plays a major role in keeping the pricing reasonable ($28.00 at LCBO). http://www.slavavodka.com/
Staying on the hard liquour front, we all of us tend to think either of England or the Netherlands as the source of the best gins and granted there are many exceptional products from those countries and others.  What may surprise you is learning that one of the best I've ever enjoyed is the recently launched Victoria gin from British Columbia.  If you're someone who enjoys a flavourful gin - either in martini or mixed - this is a product well worth adding to your bar.  Probably best with minimum dilution from my perspective but either way it is a wonderfully surprise.  Winner of the Silver Medal in 2009 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is - a well-deserved honour. $49.95 at LCBO.  http://www.victoriaspirits.com/ 
So, turning to the wines, let me share my thoughts on three products with you.  Wine snob alert - I will not be employing all the flowery language used normally to describe wines - I wouldn't know a pencil shaving from a grapefruit.  I just really like these.
In the premium-priced, premium-experience white wine category my clear winner is the Daniel Lenko 2005 Signature Chardonnay.  While I'd love to have this as my everyday white a $39.95 price at LCBO forbids that but for special friends...buy it.  http://www.daniellenko.com/
In the red category, the 2007 Mottiar Pinot Noir from Malivoire is a delight.  Again, at $34.00 at LCBO this won't be your daily sipper, but a real treat.  A bit of advice, very good advice frankly, from Mr. Pinkus, is to let this beauty breathe for an hour or before pouring.  http://www.malivoirewineco.com/
Finally, for a very reasonably-priced high-enjoyment white you cannot and will not go wrong with the Chateau des Charmes estate bottled, barrel fermented 2007 Chardonnay.  Am I a bit biased?  They are a client so maybe but I cannot encourage you enough to experience this great product from an exceptional year.  $13.95 at LCBO.  http://www.chateaudescharmes.com/
AND...check out the new packaging.  Several months ago I wrote a piece on this blog about another wine company which recreated its packaging.  In the article titled "A sound only a dog can hear"  I wondered why they'd gone to such trouble to make so little and so irrelevant change.  The Bosc family at Chateau des Charmes are relaunching the entire line of products and have made enormous strides forward on several fronts.  New corporate identity.  Recategorized products.  Improved product differentiation at shelf. Vastly improved shelf presence.  And, if you check out the back label you'll notice a QR code.  To my knowledge Chateau des Charmes is the first winery in Canada and one of the first globally to introduce this new technology. 
Check it out and kudos to the Boscs for an excellent product and the courage to move forward.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What the hell just happened?

The phone rang about 6:00 a.m..  The call from Toronto awoke me in San Francisco.  The caller advised me to turn on CNN.  Frightening events were taking place in New York City.

Later that same day, I took this photo from my hotel room in the heart of San Francisco.  What an odd sensation it was to be in one of the great cities of the world and walking streets that were virtually deserted.

So what's happened since 9/11?  What progress have we made in this world?

Estimates on civilian deaths in Afghanistan since the launch of "Operation Enduring Freedom"  range from 12,000 to 30,000.

Coalition forces losses are clearly tracked more accurately.  The cynical would suggest that's because they somehow matter more.  However, one hesitates to suggest that. 
Regardless, in the 8 years since that gruesome day in Manhattan, Pennsylvania and Washington, more than 16,000 to 35,000 people are dead.  No matter how you spin it, slice it, dice it and analyze it this is a tragedy on all fronts.
As I wrote...what happens now?  I'm reading a wonderful and inspiring book right now.  Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and  David Oliver Relin.  As the dust jacket reads, it is the "astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his remarkable humanitarian campaign in the Taliban's back yard. In 1993, a mountaineer named Greg Mortenson drifted into an impoverished Pakistan village in the Karakoram mountains after a failed attempt to climb K2.  Moved by the inhabitants' kindness, he promised to return and build a school.  Three Cups of Tea is the story of that promise and its extraordinary outcome.  Over the next decade Mortenson built not just one but fifty-five schools - especially for girls - in the forbidding terrain that gave birth to the Taliban."  So, hyperbole aside, it really is a very worthwhile story and I thought I might share just a few passages on this day.
"From his window seat in the mostly empty first-class cabin of the flight from Peshawar to Ryhiadh, where stewards had smilingly instructed Mortenson to sit, he saw the sky over Afghanistan pulsing with deadly light.
Steady turbulence announced they had left the land and were now over the awaters of the Arabian Sea.  Across the aisle, Mortenson saw a bearded man in a black turban staring out the window through a high-powered pair of binoculars.  When the lights of ships at sea appeared below them, he spoke animatedly to the turbaned man next to him.  And pulling a satellite phone out of the pocket of his shalwar kazim, this man rushed to the bathroom, presumably to place a call.
"Down there in the dark," Mortenson says, "was the most technologically sophisticated navy strike force in the world, launching fighters and cruise missiles into Afghanistan.  I didn't have much sympathy for the Taliban, and I didn't have any for Al Qaeda, but I had to admit that what they were doing was brilliant.  Without satellites, without an air force, with even their primitive radar knocked out, they were ingenious enough to use plain old commercial flights to keep track of the Fifth Fleet's positions.  I realized that if we were counting on military technology alone to win the war on terror, we had a lot of lessons to learn."
Further on he writes:
"I'm no military expert," Mortenson said. "And these figures might not be exactly right.  But as best I can tell, we've launched 114 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Afghanistan so far.  Now take the cost of one of those missiles tipped with a Raytheon guidance system, which I think is about $840,000.  For that much money, you could build dozens of schools that could provide tens of thousands of students with a balanced nonextremist education over the course of a generation.  Which do you think will make us more secure?"
As my son Gabriel heads off to his first day of school next week, I think of how much we take for granted here and how little we understand that while agression is sometimes required that providing opportunities for people to share their beliefs in mutual respectful conditions could do so very much to heal the wounds of 9/11.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Storytelling - interesting insight from Fast Company

In my copywriting, branding and communications consulting my aim is to tell stories.  Frankly, that's how I describe my work to others.  I am a storyteller.
Hence I found this little piece from Fast Company of interest.

FC Expert Blog



Barack Obama Is Tapping Into Your Brain


BY FC Expert Blogger Kaihan Krippendorff Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 2:15 PM


This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert's views alone.










The best communicators are the ones who can create and share a strong narrative story. The best novels are the ones with the most interesting plot and the best speeches are the ones that arouse an emotional response from a crowd.


Last week I introduced Dr. Marco Iacoboni, neurologist and neuroscientist at the Brain Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Iacoboni is a leading authority on “mirror neurons,” and after our interview, I realized that people relate to stories because it is part of their evolutionary makeup. Stories cause our mirror neurons to fire at similar experiences, helping us remember and relate.


When humans first started to communicate with each other, they did so by sharing stories. They kept their history and traditions alive by spinning a tale to connect a sequence of events. Because this has been going on for so long, there is something instinctive in our brains that makes us attuned to narratives and stories.


Stories are how we learn. As Iacoboni explains, “Early on in life we learn a lot of things through stories. As a child, you listen to your parents and teachers and you learn lessons from their stories about right and wrong. When you go to bed, you are told stories. There is something almost primal about our evolution and development that leads us back to listening to stories.”


So to be a great communicator, a person needs to understand the importance of using narratives. To get people excited about a new idea or thought, he or she needs to be a great storyteller.


This is why Barack Obama had so much success during his 2008 campaign for president. He was able to create a narrative that touched the hearts of many Americans, and he was able to connect people on a deeper level than conservative and liberal. Obama was able to use people’s mirror neurons to naturally and automatically empathize with him. That ability points us to an interesting behavior that relates narratives and mirror neurons.


Mirror neurons reveal why narratives are so powerful


Iacoboni conducted an experiment in which he showed people pictures that morphed together an image of themselves and one of their friends. Some pictures were more like the observer and some more like their friends. Then Iacoboni measured mirror neuron activity when observers looked at the pictures. He found that when the picture looked more like the observer, the observer’s mirror neurons fired more strongly.


In other words, the more someone sees himself or herself in the picture, the more his or her mirror neurons fire. The more people see themselves in you, the more they relate to you. They think, “This person is like me,” and since most of us like ourselves, they think, “I like this person. “


Highly influential people tell stories that spark mirror neurons in others by opening their stories with images, people, sounds, smells and feelings that others recognize and can relate to. As Iacoboni says, “Innovators create stories that others want to be part of.”


Obama created a story of solidarity, or hope, that many Americans got behind. His narrative sparked millions of mirror neurons when he said, “There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.” Obama tapped into the empathy of his constituents because he was able to build an idea that people could see, touch and feel.


Ask yourself the questions below to see how you can use a narrative within your company to get your employees and customers excited and focused.


1. Does my company have a story? Where did we come from and how did we get here?


2. Can I craft my company narrative in a way that other people can relate to?


3. Can reliving my company narrative on a daily basis make my business stronger and more focused?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another reason to wish for great neighbours? PIE!!!!

Just a silly little quicky posting today but one that may keep me furnished in excellent treats.
My neighbour Karen is a great porch painter and pie maker.
She dropped this off the other night.
It was excellent.
I would like more please.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Whole Foods Boycott on Facebook Swells to 22,000 Users

I'm not entirely sure what the whole issue is (no pun intended). Apart from the CEO of Whole Foods raising the old conservative shibboleth that government-supported health care is some kind of nefarious Commie plot, he's right about how we inflict abuse on our health all by ourselves. It's a little disingenuous as well since Whole Foods is unlikely the grocer of choice for those who most need health care support. Regardless, an interesting little read and a good story for any organization trying to learn how little they really do control their brand stories.

Whole Foods Boycott on Facebook Swells to 22,000 Users

Posted using ShareThis

5 Essential Tips for Promoting Your Charity Using Social Media

This is a must read for anyone involved in a charitable organization. Some good, actionable information here.

5 Essential Tips for Promoting Your Charity Using Social Media

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

From Naked to Clad in Leather

From Naked to Clad in Leather: "


The Scandinavian travel-retail company Nuance Group Sweden was selected as the launch partner for The Absolut Company’s new release in tr...
"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bats in the belfry






So, just yesterday afternoon as I was sitting in the 62" round wading pool we bought for Gabriel (listen, it was about 40 Celsius and my pride only lasts 'til it reaches 35!) my mind was cast back to my childhood summers. No skimpy little waders for me.


Since I was an infant my family would retreat to Muldrew Lake in Muskoka on the last day of school and not return to the city 'til Labour day. That's the lake in the Google map photo and the dock (see that T-shaped thing) upon which we would recreate. The island to the right was in fact, guess still is, called Kerr Island.


My family had been visiting Muldrew since about the turn of the century (that'd be your last century not this new one) and it was a deeply spiritual place for most of us. My sister still pretty much lives there year round although we have convinced her that an abode in Gravenhurst in superior to an uninsulated wind blown cottage for the six months of Canadian winter.


Frankly, I have mixed feelings about Muldrew. It was the source of many great memories but also lots of pretty dismal recollections too. There's one guy on the lake, who not surprisingly became a quite remarkably sleazy lawyer, who to this day causes me to ache for a day when you could emphatically whack someone upside the head just for being a complete and utter a-hole. There's another one, who became quite possibly the sleaziest property developer in the GTA, who frankly seemed a pretty good guy when he was building condo developments and razing historic properties on his beach.


And then there was this one other thing and that's where the coincidence of life comes into it.
I was raising the outdoor umbrella yesterday and who should I discover seeking shelter from the sun...that's right...Barney the Bat.
He took off right promptly and I rightly figured that was the last of that. Surprisingly it too made me think of Muldrew for the many late night invasions of these flying rats.
That's not the end of it though.
With Gabriel snuggled into bed, Katie and I sat down to relax and watch a few moments of television in the 20 minutes we sustain consciousness between 8:50 and 9:10. Shadows flickered across the screen. Whooshing sounds were heard. More shadows appeared as though we were both losing our sight at the same time.
So, Barney was back only this time he was in the house. Not realizing my wife has a bit of the Buddhist in her I was all set to practice my tennis forehand to send Barney on his way. She pleaded that I simply open the door and usher him out.
Don't think she's had much bat experience by the way.
Barney though turned out to be a right neighbourly bat and excused himself after making a few rotations from kitchen to dining room to living room to front hall to the freedom of the great outdoors.
Pretty fun all in all.







Saturday, August 8, 2009

Travelling with a toddler

So the following photos are in reverse order of what you need to know about travelling abroad with a toddler.
It will all end well but know that unless you prepare as though you were launching a military-type campaign to capture a well-defended beach head, you are doomed.
Know also that anyone who defines such a journey as a "vacation" is clearly childless and most likely clueless as well. Such a description is akin to classifying Saving Private Ryan as an entertaining and informing travelogue about the beaches and near-coastline features of France.
It will help you, should you ever venture off on such a travail, to spend whatever funds are required to secure seating for all the individuals in your party. The entire notion of 'babe in arms' is something that should be confined to Broadway productions revolving around the love interests of 1950's teenagers. For starters, a toddler is decidedly not a babe. Even should you be blessed with an angel such as our Gabriel understand that a little person such as this cannot comfortably confine themselves to the approximately 1 cubic metre apportioned to each individual on Air Canada flights in aging Airbuses. For you Dads - treat your wives extraordinarily well in advance of the trip for it will be they who bear the brunt of your toddler's squirming and impatience.
Remember also to bring your own food. What Air Canada served up was swill inappropriate for any living, sentient being. They offered beef or chicken. I was hard pressed to identify either but did suss out a tiny green bean within the offal.


If you're renting a car...spend the money to purchase a cover for the child car seat. Unless you're comfortable with plunking your child into a scene from the early portions of Slumdog Millionaire you'll be happy for the investment.
Accommodations are always a challenge. We were lucky to have great friends host us for all save three days of the 17 we were travelling. Just remember what Mark Twain wrote many years ago, "House guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days." Be very sensitive that you're an invading force well capable of upsetting the equilibrium and routine of a family who are, after all, complete innocents in this affair. And, if you have height and/or weight beyond 5'4" and 135 pounds, you will not have a bed of sufficient size for yourself...never mind you and your loved one. Oh...it is unlikely your beautiful little child will adjust well to the time change and when you toss in unfamiliar surroundings, noises, diet, and general peculiarities...you're pretty much guaranteed that the first real sleep you'll achieve is approximately five days after your return.



Your outings should be carefully planned. A day at the beach in most countries is a delight. A day at the beach on the Isle of Wight in mid-July is akin to dipping your toes into the waters off Baffin Island.
Yes, you'll find lots of IOW natives frolicking about. Recognize though that when the temperature climbs above eight degrees C these people start the air conditioning.
If however you can find a real steam train to ride that will be your ticket to heaven. Can't speak for little girls, but I think it is a universal truth that little boys LOVE trains and especially ones that spew smoke and steam and have a genuine 'whoo-whoo' whistle and click and clack and chug just like Thomas the Tank.
Highly recommended especially if you can convince Nana and GD (Grandma and Grandpa) to join in the fun.




Before leaving, have someone take a picture while you still have hope and imagine that you are in fact about to embark on a voyage of relaxation, reinvigoration, and recreation. It will be the only memory you have of the naive hopes of stupid fathers without a clue of the reality of travelling with a toddler.




Yup, prep for invasion.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!



Seriously, can hardly wait for the next trip...now that my innocence is gone.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Evian

videoJust had this forwarded to me by someone whose opinion I greatly admire. Although a bit cliche I think it is pretty fun and a nice match for the Evian brand personality. Also darn cute.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Limo service with a difference

My friend Lloyd Lamoureux has launched a new car service.
Lloyd is a great guy and a real professional in a business where there a lots of fly-by-nights and frankly some scary, unreliable drivers.
I highly recommend SilkRoad Car Service and encourage you to consider Lloyd for your GTA area driving needs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Niagara Wine Country Weekend II

So, where were we?
Think I'd just left off with a promise to share a restaurant find with you albeit reluctantly.
On the recommendation of a friend who is completely tuned in to the Niagara wine and food scene, we were directed to REST - Stone Road Grille. Located on Stone Road just a stone's throw from downtown NOTL there's a grubby little mall. In that grubby little mall there is a little restaurant that is a giant in terms of hospitality, service, ambience and food. They also have a very impressive and intriguing wine list completely dedicated to VQA. In fact the Wine Council of Ontario awarded REST the 2008 Gold Award of Excellence for Best VQA wine list. The proprietors, Heidi and Perry Johnson have created the closest duplicate of a Sonoma experience I've ever enjoyed in anyplace other than...well...Sonoma! I encourage you to visit the site www.stoneroadgrille.com for the full story (quite amusing history) and moreso, when you're next in Wine Country make sure you plan a lunch or dinner at REST. Just do it when I'm not in town. Hate to lose a seat.
It was at REST that we made a discovery. On the wine list I noticed under the Sauvignon Blanc/Fume Blanc heading a listing "Foreign Affair 2007 Amarone Style $52." Intrigued at the idea of an Amarone style white I asked Mr. Johnson about this and he offered a generous taste. Loved it. Ordered it. Drank it and next day placed a visit to the winery on our itinerary.
The Foreign Affair Winery (www.foreignaffairwine.com) is located at Vineland Station. Kind of a challenge to find it but nothing a good navigator can't overcome. Anyway, first stop Sunday morning and met the proprietor who shared an interesting and inspiring story of how he and his wife came to produce wines in this style in the challenging and unlikely Niagara location. I encourage you to visit and chat. I think the wines are terrific not just 'cause I'm a big Amarone fan but because Foreign Affair took on a tough challenge and have succeeded. Apparently, four of their wines will appear in Vintages this fall and that's quite an achievement.
So that's the end of the Wine Country weekend post. Can't recommend this destination more highly and promise that you'll not be disappointed by the welcome you receive.

Ah, the consistency of mediocrity


Not entirely sure why I keep giving these guys more exposure when I find their advertising so heinous. It's kind of like the way one can't resist slowing down to view a horrid crash on the highway. Anyway, here's another in the dramatically horrid beef-as-topographical-feature series from the Beef Checkoff (Chekov?) and http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/. And it's not like I get thousands or hundreds or tens of hits on this blog so guess it's just fun for me to take a pot-roast shot with no risk of enabling the spread of this beefy virus.

Genuinely awful series though.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A weekend in Niagara Wine Country


So, what do to do for Katie's recent birthday?
I've had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time in Niagara Wine Country since last December but still felt there was much more to explore. So off we headed to the Oban Inn for a weekend of winery touring, spa treatments and relaxation.
Our visit coincided with the the Wine and Herb Festival which features touring 21 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake where each visit featured a different herb-themed food pairing matched to one of the wineries VQA wines.
Nope. Didn't make it to all 21 but I think we did a respectable job by visiting 13 - one of which wasn't on the tour at all (more on that shortly.)
It was a really interesting experience to see how each of the wineries, from giants to mom & pop operations presented themselves and their products. Without exception the passion for the product came through loud and clear at the small wineries and indeed at one of the bigger operations as well. Chateau des Charmes, of all the 'big' shops clearly embraces the locavore spirit of Niagara and their pairing of the sprightly and refreshing Aligote (only winery in Canada to produce this excellent summer white) with a lemon basil infused cracker from Anna Olson topped with Anna's Aligote jelly. Bias alert - yes, Chateau des Charmes (www.chateaudescharmes.com) is a client but even still our experience was great.
From the Chateau it was off to Coyote's Run where the Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc was matched with a chive temptation. (www.coyotesrunwinery.com) Lot's of charm to this small operation and some lovely wines as well. Cattail Creek Estate Winery (www.cattailcreek.ca) treated us to their 2007 Off-Dry Riesling and somehow managed to make it work with their herb treat focused on cilantro (I don't much care for cilantro but they used just a fine wee touch to accent the shrimp). At Maleta Estate Winery (www.maletawinery.com) I enjoyed the 2007 VIEW Pinot Noir and while I know they were matched up with savoury I can't remember the appetizer. Their approach to branding their wines was kind of cool though with their porch sippers and thirst quenchers gathered up under the Grape Brain brand and the higher end products, including their Cuvee winner Brut, flying the View brand. Nice approach and a bit of a surprise from such a little place. Well worth a visit.
On the downside was one of the corporate giants of Niagara (yes, giant being a relative term...we're not talking WalMart here). Hillebrand (www.hillebrand.com) was heaving. While it sure seems to attract a lot of tourist traffic it was highly disappointing in that no one seemed to know where the wine and herb station was nor that the Festival was on. We finally discovered a lonely college student stuck off in a corner serving up the 2007 Artist Series "Limited Edition" Gewurztraminer with some parsley concoction. Well, guess Hillebrand can take the award for longest wine name on the tour and least interest shown in those of us on the Festival tour.
To be fair, they did do a slightly better job that Joseph's Estate Wines (www.josephsestatewines.com) where the purported offering of 2006 Chenin Blanc and a French sorrel treat was no where to be found. Guess being landed with sorrel proved to great a chore.
Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate Winery (www.jacksontriggswinery.com) takes first place in the herb pairing contest from my perspective. Again, with Anna Olson as the chef, they served a delightful basil biscotti along with their very flavourful 2006 Proprietors' Grad Reserve White Meritage. This is really lovely spot to visit and the people there create the impression of smallness even though they too are one of the biggies.
Right next door at Stratus (www.stratuswines.com) we got a surprisingly warm welcome in what is a very modern and somewhat sterile atmosphere. They absolutely though nailed the tough bergamot pairing by creating a bergamot infused creme brullee paired with their lucious 2007 Riesling Icewine. This turned out to be quite a nice stop on the tour and frankly exceeded our expectations just based on architecture alone.
More to follow in next edition where I'll reluctantly reveal the name and location of one of the very best restaurant experiences I've ever enjoyed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Entrepreneurial challenges


So there's one thing about operating a home-based business that poses a bit of a challenge. Distraction.
However, my son Gabriel, while certainly capable of distracting me, he brings great perspective to my working day.
Now, so long as I can keep him motivated to help with the landscaping and weed control we're in good shape.
This winter I fully expect to be relieved of the burden of shovelling snow.
That's a challenge I'm happy to forgo.

What recession?

Maybe we're just isolated from world-wide trends here in Old Oakville but I don't think so. In our region there is a tremendously high concentration of entrepreneurs. In fact Halton region may have more independently run businesses than anywhere else in Canada.
Heard on the news this morning that there was an increase in job creation last month of 39,000. Yes, the majority were self-employed positions but regardless kind of encouraging on the one hand to realize that people are taking matters into their own hands and foresaking the victim mentality that can arise from depending upon large behemoths to provide for you.
On that point, my friend and colleague Grace Attard is about to launch a great new service here in Oakville. I won't spill all the beans but suffice to say she has a terrific idea about how to enable and empower entrepreneurial breakthroughs. She will create a spot where entrepreneurs can gather to benefit from senior-level, multi-discipline advice; make use of meeting space other than the traditional coffee shop or beige hotel meeting room; and, most importantly get the personal and business coaching required for many of us to truly bring our ideas to beneficial fruition.
Anyway, stay tuned for more about this and be watching for the CBC program, Enter the Coliseum (I'll let you know when it is expected to air) to learn more about Grace and other entrepreneurs who are taking the 'recession' into their own hands and saying, "I'm in control of my own destiny!"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just ducky


OK. I know this isn't the best photograph but all I had immediately on hand was my iPhone.
Anyway, this is part of the reason we love living where we do.
Was out yesterday on our front porch and across the street were a male and female Mallard duck just strolling around our neighbour's yard. The female even took a little expedition up the stairs but decided there were slim pickings on the porch.
We're only a few hundred metres from the lake so I guess this isn't too unusual. It is though refreshing as hell to live in a community where our winged friends feel free to explore.
Now, if I could just find a way to rid the waterfront of our Canada Geese this would be close to Walden Pond!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Commissioner Bootie


Where are you?

What's happened to you?

Talk to me.
My son needs golf lessons.
He'll share his pacifier with you.
Come back from China.
Summer is coming.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's raining and it smells like Spring!

Not smell like dog poop either.
That special aroma of hope springing eternal.
The scent of freshness, renewal, rebirth and growth.
Just had to take a moment from writing another web site architecture to notice and share.
Little pleasures.
Life is worthwhile.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why are we lagging in the introduction of this technology?



In the past day or so I've sent an email to over 100 of my contacts on LinkedIn asking if they new of Canadian/North American packaged goods marketers who were using QR coding on their packaging.

It surprised me that several of the responses I got from these people who are leaders in the industry were, "What the hell is a QR code?"

Granted, until I started looking into it as a response to a recommendation from one of our clients I wouldn't have know a QR code from a Graham Cracker!

However, now that I've done some research and will in all likelihood help our client introduce this to their packaging, I'm confused why this hasn't been adopted at the retail level.

So, what the hell is a QR code? The following is an excerpt from a website I found greatly useful - www.lunaqr.com


QR codes are 2-dimension bars, which means that they encode data in two directions, allowing information to be decoded at a much higher speed. First created by the Japanese corporation, Denso-Wave, in 1994, QR codes were designed to allow its contents to be decoded at a high speed and even if partially damaged, the data can still be extracted. In comparison to some of the barcodes you may be used to, individual QR Codes can hold as much as 50 times more information and up to 16 QR codes can be linked together, creating series of codes for even greater capacity or simply using a series smaller codes in place a larger one.
Great, so what does that mean?
The main purpose for QR Codes is to automatically input information into a phone (such as the data from a business card) having to type it in. That means no more typing! Perhaps the most popular service, has been providing QR codes that can link users to a website. This service is simple, forward and to the point and since QR codes can be printed on almost any media, any person or company can add a QR code to their products and direct a user to a website, where they can provide information or initiate other processes that provide simultaneous feedback to whoever deployed the code. For advertisers, this might generate real data on the visibility of their ads, while manufacturers might consider initiating warranty registration or identify further products or services. Each industry will determine its own use but the initial priority will be the transfer of information from paper to electronic form. However, the potential is far greater.
So what else do they do?
Just think of all the credit and debit cards a person has to carry around with them. Why not just use your phone? Just walk up to a vending machine and pay with your phone. Or purchase goods in a convenience store the same way. Not possible you say. Try telling that to the Japanese. QR codes, utilized in paperless transactions, have allowed major retail chains in Japan to enhance distribution efficiency through cooperative technology with their shippers in key areas such as apparel and cosmetics. As well, automated reporting has provided additional efficiencies for suppliers and wholesalers, who can better manage their logistics through monitoring feedback. At exhibitions, seminars, and trade shows registration and entry can be streamlined by using a QR coded ID badge or displaying a QR code on your phone. Better still, what about planes, trains or any other queue? In large companies asset management is commonplace and QR codes facilitate inventory control and loss prevention. Now, with the phone as the reader, anyone can benefit by placing QR codes (either visible or hidden) on their own property.


Real estate on packaging has become a very valuable commodity. So much space is required for beneficial nutritional information, legal stuff and simple brand communication there is little opportunity to engage the consumer in an emotionally relevant story. Now, while this code itself seems only to work efficiently at approximately 2cm square it does provide an on-site immediate link to a website/microsite where the complete tale of the product can be told aurally, visually and with links to additional information about the company.


It's popular in Japan and while penetration is pretty low even there this is an emerging technology that I can't see doing anything but become as ubiquitous as UPC bar codes are today. Particularly for companies wishing to actively engage the Millennial market this seems a no-brainer to me. They're incredibly easy to generate (if you shoot the one above with your phone it will bring you to this blog). The readers (yes, you need to download one to your phone but that's easy too...I used a free app on my iPhone called BeeTagg - www.beetagg.com) and it adds some entertainment value to packaging - or could if anyone was using it.
I think Pringles, Dove and a few other major CPG outfits are using it but there's tons of opportunity out there still. Governments and airlines and the like use it and it's widely used in the shipping industry.
I'll keep you advised on what happens with our client but for now this seems like a very exciting opportunity. In the meantime, if you know of reasons why this technology is slow to be introduced to N.A. I'd love to know and would also like to hear about any companies using it in packaging.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Now here's a good rant!

As a supplier to the Big 3, Greg Knox recently received the letter below from the President of GM North America, requesting support for the bailout program. His response (following) is well written, and has to make you proud of a local businessman who tells it like it is.

Dear Employees & Suppliers, Congress and the current Administration will soon determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation's history. Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis. As an employee or supplier, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices. I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard. Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support.
Troy Clarke, President,General Motors North America

Response from: Gregory Knox, Pres., Knox Machinery CompanyFranklin , Ohio

Gentlemen:

In response to your request to contact legislators and ask for a bailout for the Big Three automakers please consider the following, and please pass my thoughts on to Troy Clarke, President of General Motors North America.

Politicians and Management of the Big 3 are both infected with the same entitlement mentality that has spread like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping this nation, awaiting our new "messiah," Pres-elect Obama, to wave his magic wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our once great nation to keep "living the dream." Believe me folks, the dream is over!

This dream where we can ignore the consumer for years while management myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our factories have been filled with the world's most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement minded "laborers" without paying the price for these atrocities. This dream where you still think the masses will line up to buy our products forever and ever. Don't even think about telling me I'm wrong. Don't accuse me of not knowing of what I speak.

I have called on Ford, GM , Chrysler, TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle, and countless other automotive OEM's throughout the Midwest , during the past 30 years and what I've seen over those years in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.

Troy Clarke, President of General Motors North America, states: "There is widespread sentiment throughout this country, and our government, and especially via the news media, that the current crisis is completely the result of bad management which it certainly is not."

You're right Mr. Clarke, it's not JUST management.

How about the electricians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times, making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag ass so they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time for a job they easily could have done within their normal 40 hour work week?

How about the line workers who threaten newbie's with all kinds of scare tactics for putting out too many parts on a shift and for being too productive? (We certainly must not expose those lazy bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we?!?)

Do you folks really not know about this stuff?!?

How about this great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke's sad plea:"over the last few years we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors."

What the hell has Detroit been doing for the last 40 years?!? Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in quality and efficiency between us and them? The K car vs. the Accord? The Pinto vs. the Civic?!? Do I need to go on? What a joke!

We are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the United States auto industry for decades. It's time to pay for your sins, Detroit .

I attended an economic summit last week where brilliant economist, Alan Beaulieu, from the Institute of Trend Research , surprised the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of "bailout money." "Yes, he said, this would cause short term problems," but despite what people like politicians and corporate magnates would have us believe, the sun would in fact rise the next day and the following very important thing would happen.Where there had been greedy and sloppy banks, new efficient ones would pop up. That is how a free market system works.It does work if we would only let it work."

But for some nondescript reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn't work- that we need the government to step in and "save us". Save us my ass, Hell - we're nationalizing and unfortunately too many of our once fine nation's citizens don't even have a clue that this is what is really happening. But, they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams. Yeah - THAT'S really important, isn't it?

Does it ever occur to ANYONE that the "competition" has been producing vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades in this country? How can that be??? Let's see. Fuel efficient. Listening to customers.Investing in the proper tooling and automation for the long haul. Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr. W. Edwards Deming four decades ago when he taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations could increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs. Ever increased productivity through quality and intelligent planning. Treating vendors like strategic partners, rather than like "the enemy." Efficient front and back offices. Non-union environment. Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn't be telling anyone anything they really don't already know down deep in their hearts.

I have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into - my children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did when I was their age. I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way) - I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work through it.

Radical concept, huh. Am I there for them in the wings?

Of course - but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults. I don't want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the properrole of parenting and government.

Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins. Bad news people - it's coming whether we like it or not. The newly elected Messiah really doesn't have a magic wand big enough to "make it all go away." I laughed as I heard Obama "reeling it back in" almost immediately after the final vote count was tallied. "We really might not do it in a year or in four." Where the Hell was that kind of talk when he was RUNNING for office.

Stop trying to put off the inevitable folks. That house in Florida really isn't worth $750,000. People who jump across a border really don't deserve free health care benefits. That job driving that forklift for the Big 3 really isn't worth $85,000 a year. We really shouldn't allow Wal-Mart to stock their shelves with products acquired from a country that unfairly manipulates their currency and has the most atrocious human rights infractions on the face of the globe. That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000 really shouldn't be living in that $485,000 home. Let the market correct itself folks - it will. Yes it will be painful, but it's gonna' be painful either way, and the bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it all, is a nation that appreciates what it has and doesn't live beyond its means and gets back to basics and redevelops the patriotic work ethic that made it the greatest nation in the history of the world and probably turns back to God.

Sorry - don't cut my head off, I'm just the messenger sharing with you the "bad news". I hope you take it to heart.

Gregory J. Knox, President, Knox Machinery, Inc., Franklin, Ohio 45005

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ORANGE ALERT: Spring, Spring, Spring!

Thank God!
An American Robin appeared in my back yard today.
While we may not be out of the winter woods yet surely this is a sign of hope.
Welcome back Robin.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Homecoming


Drove to St. David's in Niagara this morning to visit our client, Chateau des Charmes, and on the way home noticed that every single bridge from St. Catharines to Oakville was crowded with people.
I've certainly been aware of the phenomenon of police, firefighters, and common folks gathering on the Highway of Heroes to pay homage to fallen soilders on their final homecoming journey.
I had not though experienced this first hand.
It is a moving experience and one which, as you can see from this photo, draws people of all backgrounds and professions to stop their busy days in mid-stream to honour those who serve.
While you can argue the merits of our involvement in Afghanistan and other zones of conflict, witness this respectful show of support and you'll not question the valour and contribution of our armed forces personnel.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mmmmmm...Cheerios


Don't you think we should all aspire to a condition where a ride in the stroller with a boat load of Cheerios should be sufficient to get us through the day with a big smile?
That's all for today.
Come on Spring...need to get rid of the parkas and boots so my little boy can storm about in the yard getting mucky and muddy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A refreshingly honest perspective - The truth is, Canada, America isn't into you

TheStar.com - Opinion -
The truth is, Canada, America isn't into you


THEO MOUDAKIS/TORONTO STAR FILE
It's not personal but niceness doesn't cut it in the land of the free and home of the brave

February 16, 2009
Eric Weiner

A big ol' howdy and bonjour Canada! How are you?

We know, we know, it's been a while. Sorry about that.

We have been, per usual, rather self-absorbed lately, what with our historic elections and our economy in freefall. But, hey, good news. Did you hear? We're coming to visit.

We'll be in Ottawa on the 19th. Hope you can make it. We hear mid-February is a lovely time of year there.

Look, Canada, before you get your hopes up about this trip, there's something we need to tell you. We're not sure how to put this so we will be brutally direct, as is our way. We're just not that into you.

There, we said it. We feel better already.

You've always been there for us, Canada: after the Sept. 11 attacks and now in Afghanistan. We appreciate that, really we do. But still, we're just not that into you.

It's not personal, really. It's geopolitical. You're just too ... nice. Nice doesn't get our attention. Threatening gets our attention, and you, Canada, are anything but threatening, except on the hockey rink, of course, but we don't take hockey all that seriously.

If you really wanted us to notice, you should have gotten all gussied up in that Taepodong outfit (it worked for North Korea) or maybe flashed some weapons of mass destruction – real or imagined, it's all the same to us.

Let's face it. We've been bickering a lot lately – over Afghanistan and NAFTA and that silly softwood dispute. Plus you think we hog all the water, which we probably do.

We admit we've been avoiding you lately. But can you blame us? Your loonie is loony. Up one day, down the next, then up again. We've got plenty of that yo-yo action right here on Wall Street. We don't need to go north for it.

Also, many of us Americans – especially those in their 20s and 30s – tell surveyors they find Canada a "boring" place to visit.

I know, I know, how can a country with both Cirque du Soleil and Don Cherry possibly be described as boring? What can I say, Canada? Our amusement threshold is very high.

So is our capacity for selfishness. Our pending "Buy American" campaign hurts you. We feel your pain, Canada, really we do, but we've got to look out for Number 1. And we all know who Number 1 is.

Perhaps what we have here is a classic failure to communicate. The fact is, we don't know you Canada. And no wonder: American newspapers no longer maintain bureaus in Canada.

Not that we paid much attention when they did. Most of us couldn't name your prime minister or, for that matter, your capital city. Is this kind of ignorance any basis for a relationship?

If we know you Canada (and we've already determined we don't) you're probably blaming yourself. You always do. Unlike us, you're so modest and self-effacing. It's endearing.

Remember that joke you like to tell us? How do you get 50 Canadians to leave a swimming pool? By making an announcement: Will all the Canadians please leave the pool. See, you find that funny. We don't get it. That's why, Canada, it's best we go our separate ways.

I know what you're thinking: You can change, America. You've elected a new president, one who is all about change and re-engagement with the world.

Don't believe it, Canada. Nations, like people, don't change easily. We're been around for more than 200 years. We're a bit stuck in our ways.

No, Canada, we're just not that into you and probably never will be. Don't fret, though. You're better off without us. We were very much into Iraq (still are) and look how that turned out.

Besides, Canada, you're too good for us anyway.

The truth is we envy you, though of course we never admit that to anyone, not even ourselves. We envy your health-care system. We envy your prudent, sober banks. We envy your restraint on the international stage. We envy your very happiness. We envy everything about you. Except your weather, of course. Nobody envies that.

So, chin up. We can still be friends. After all, you are so close; we're practically neighbours.

Yes, we're still friends – and best trading partners for life too! And you will continue to send us your best comedians, won't you?

Hey, let's do coffee sometime. We'll call you.



Eric Weiner is the Washington-based author of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, now out in paperback.

Sustainable Packaging Initiatives Are a Viable Cost-Reduction Solution in a Downward Economy

From Industry Week:

Sustainable Packaging Initiatives Are a Viable Cost-Reduction Solution in a Downward Economy

A key misconception is the belief that higher costs are intrinsically associated with sustainability efforts.

Monday, February 16, 2009 By Ryan Humphrey, Director of Professional Services, ModusLink

The environment was a very hot topic last year. In fact "going green" and "carbon footprint" were two of the 10 most overused words of 2008, according to Lake Superior State University's annual list. No industry or business sector is immune to the demand by consumers for products and services that are more eco-friendly, environmentally free and biodegradable. With the recent emphasis on climate change and the affects of human activities on the environment, combined with the resulting regulations and requirements, sustainability has become an intrinsic component of operational strategies. However, while sustainability remains a key market driver, it exists amidst a myriad of meaningless catchphrases and jargon that have no measurable definition, driving manufacturers to ask themselves; what does it REALLY mean to be green?
Credible participants in the sustainability movement take a holistic approach to the process, follow the cradle-to-cradle concept and dismiss trendy words like green and eco-friendly. This holistic methodology focuses on reducing all greenhouse gases (GHG), rather than just the dominant element of carbon. Today, most companies focus on carbon, primarily because CO2 makes up approximately 93% of all GHG emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA. However, over time carbon's prominence as an industry focus in the movement is likely to dwindle, making it important to understand the difference.
It is clear that sustainability is top of mind across all industries and that packaging is a key driver. According to a recent study by AMR Research, 76% of sustainability efforts are focused on reducing packaging waste.
In the world of sustainable packaging, there is no more respected expert than the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). In a 2007 survey by the SPC and Packaging Digest magazine, 73% of 1,255 respondents who are involved in packaging reported that their companies had increased the emphasis on sustainable packaging with most of the attention on minimizing the carbon footprint through creative transportation, alternative fuels, and sustainable packaging efforts.
A key misconception is the belief that higher costs are intrinsically associated with sustainability efforts. The holistic approach affords visibility into the entire product lifecycle, from manufacturing and packaging, to delivery, recycling or disposition. When sustainable improvements are considered from this perspective, most organizations will realize a cost savings and positive impact on the bottom line.
In fact, a global leader in computer hardware and accessories was able to realize a savings of more than $500,000 in packaging and eliminated 99,183 pounds of packaging on 4.3 million products shipped.
The first step in an overall sustainable program is to analyze product packaging and supply chain processes to develop a model that reduces packaging size and minimizes operational and logistics activities that contribute to GHG emissions.
Packaging Design Assessment
As a rule, quality packaging design follows a 4D Methodology of Ergonomics, Cost, Sustainability and Logistics. When embarking on a redesign, manufacturers should first assess the sustainability of their current packaging to use as a baseline. Packaging-specific software programs such as Cape, ArtiosCAD, and Solidworks, can be used to design the most efficient package. Tools such as the Wal-Mart Packaging Modeling tool, the still-beta SPC Comparative Packaging Assessment (COMPASS) and other industry standard tools, further measure and analyze the amount of impact the packaging has on the environment.
More compact packaging will result in a reduced material cost. By simplifying the packaging process with fewer pieces, you can extend the savings with less labor. The amount of warehouse space required is reduced, further impacting logistics costs. The domino effect continues through redesigning pallet configuration and shipping more product per pallet.
Ben Sligar, a global packaging engineer for ModusLink Global Solutions -- a provider of supply chain management solutions -- and a member of the Wal-Mart Packaging Sustainable Value Network and SPC, maintains that manufacturers can look to sustainable packaging redesign as a true driver of cost efficiency. "We've seen cost savings in almost every project, by using recycled materials and increasing the product to package ratio. For example, by moving clients to a trapped paperboard blister design and away from traditional clamshells that are not consumer friendly, we are able to reduce the amount of plastic and package size while increasing pallet density. In 2008 ModusLink converted more than 100 million clamshells to trapped blisters and we see the trend continuing."
Sustainable Materials
Understanding material patents, specialized material types, and their various sources is a critical element to a sustainability program. There are countless misnomers regarding what is recyclable or what truly is environmentally friendly. Most consumers believe that if a product is made out of a tree that it can be recycled and that plastics are bad for the environment, but that may not always be true. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is a highly recyclable form of plastic if in a narrow neck form. Some foam and pulp products are not compostable. Not all fiberboards are 100% recyclable. There are a wide array of sustainable packaging materials available, including molded paper fiber, PaperFoam, recycled content plastics and papers and up and coming bio-polymers. The key is knowing the difference between them. And the energy required to create each material significantly influences the overall environmental impact. It's a good idea to check with local recycling centers to see what is recyclable in the region of operations.
Network Optimization
Once the package design analysis is complete, the entire supply chain should be optimized for when and where to perform packaging and fulfillment and for the lowest total GHG emissions. Network optimization can identify alternative supply chain models that leverage leading practices such as packaging postponement and deferred configuration. Reviewing the end-to-end supply chain illustrates how each part of the supply chain affects GHG emissions and helps to determine ways to optimize for GHGs that positively impact all other costs in the supply chain.
Packaging postponement entails an analysis of supply chain costs and the trade-offs among them, including materials, conversion, inventory and logistics. It is critical to measure each trade-off, including carbon emissions for logistics and all GHG emissions for operational activities. Operational emissions are typically based on megawatt hours and are derived by the geography's portfolio of energy consumption.
Manufacturers that are not currently examining their packaging programs are in danger of being left off the retail shelf. Wal-Mart is striving to achieve a 5% packaging reduction by 2013 and as of February 2008, requires all suppliers to enter its packaging information into the Wal-Mart Retail Link Scorecard. Further, Wal-Mart has promised to become "packaging neutral" by 2025, which means that, through recycling, reusing or perhaps even composting, Wal-Mart will try to recover as much material as was used in the packaging that flows through its stores.
As consumers become savvier to the green washing techniques employed by some manufacturers, and the retail industry demands clearly identifiable sustainable products, manufacturers will be required to join the sustainable movement. When these sustainable packaging projects are approached in a comprehensive manner and by professional resources, they frequently yield their own financial as well as environmental benefits. Beware the provider that is advocating its own particular shade of 'green' as it may not be the most suited to your products or your business objectives. Product independent advice usually yields the best results. What better way to compete in a world of green announcements than to be assured that your actions stand up to your 'green conscience' as well as external scrutiny?
Ryan Humphrey is the Director of Professional Services at ModusLink. ModusLink Global Solutions, Inc. is a provider of global supply chain business process management.
www.moduslink.com.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An excellent alternative to the BIG Canadian Banks

Right off the top I will announce my conflict of interest: I am a member of Meridian Credit Union and the company is one of my most valued clients.
With that out of the way I just had to share with you my respect for this organization and in fact other credit unions throughout Canada. Although they have a relatively small market penetration that should change. If more people knew about the services available and the highly-personal approach to both personal and business banking embraced by Meridian I would think the doors of the branches would have line ups.
Did you know:
  • You can get the same full range of financial services from Meridian as you can from any of the BIG Canadian banks?
  • You will be treated like a person, not a number?
  • They will attempt to find a reason to say "Yes" rather than the seemingly automatic and rather emphatic "NO" people tend to experience with the BIG banks?
  • That your deposits are covered under DICO?
  • That they have an extensive ATM network?
  • That the people who manage and work in the branches actually will recall your name?
  • That you can take great advantage of the Financial Coaching available?

Based upon my interviews with branch personnel and clients, here's the lasting impression I have of Meridian Credit Union - they help people find hope and sound guidance.

If you're experiencing any of the challenges of the current financial environment I encourage you to seek out the alternative. Whether Meridian or some other credit union I suspect you will find a refreshingly new approach to financial planning and management.