Vancouver

Hey Vancouver: It’s okay to be boring

Hey Vancouver: It’s okay to be boring

“Work-life balance”, “relaxed lifestyle”, “not Toronto” — these are the phrases Vancouverites use to describe what makes our city different from other cities. And not coincidentally, they are all ways of saying we’re a city with a slower pace than the vast majority of major North American cities.

Rain swag for the farmers market

Rain swag for the farmers market

It would be awesome if the Vancouver Farmers Market Society sold umbrellas at their market booth. If you were at Trout Lake this afternoon you know the source of this inspiration.
Crowdsourced repression: Could it happen here?

Crowdsourced repression: Could it happen here?

The debate that is unfolding online about crowdsourced surveillance — what Christopher Parson referred to as Vancouver’s Human Flesh Search Engine — rests on two implicit assumptions. It’s time to get clear about what they are, so that people...
On the dangers of crowdsourced surveillance

On the dangers of crowdsourced surveillance

My blog post for Harvard Business today looks at the troubling online reaction to last night’s riots in Vancouver. Reflecting on the widespread enthusiasm for using social media to track down criminals, I wrote: I don’t think we want to live in a society...
Vancouver’s 12 best wifi cafés and restaurants

Vancouver’s 12 best wifi cafés and restaurants

In my search for the perfect Internet café I’ve tried more than my share of Vancouver’s wifi-enabled cafés and restaurants. Just like Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, its wifi cafés and restaurants range from the scruffily hip to the chicly modern.

In this post I round up (and map!) the best of the good-to-great. Every place on this list has reliable Internet service, at least a few accessible power outlets, and decent coffee; on

Today in the Globe & Mail: Alex on the business of social media

Today’s Globe & Mail included a special supplement about MBA programs, with a feature story on why and how schools are incorporating social media into the curriculum. “Within minutes or even seconds, online chatter can span continents, conveying positive spin or the kiss of death for a product or company,” reporter Diana McLaren writes. “Business schools are adapting to the rapidly shifting relationship between companies and consumers.”

Diana spoke to me about Social Signal’s experience integrating social media into today’s businesses. (And the Globe ran my favourite, uncredited headshot — by the remarkable Kris Krug.)

Here’s what Diana included in today’s story:

Social media consultant Alexandra Samuel, co-founder of Social Signal in Vancouver, says that social media is “not just a marketing technique. It also allows a business or organization a way of monitoring for customer care.

“Social media can’t just be out there isolated in some little marketing department. You need someone to monitor and respond to what people are saying.”

The challenge for MBA schools, she says, is to “get people to think about a dramatic shift in organizations needed for social media marketing. They need less hierarchy and more communication across teams. Generally speaking, one of the first concerns for business is risk management. The reality of social media is far greater than risk. It’s about throwing a party and no one comes, there’s no response.”

As someone who consults with organizations on social network marketing, but also a business owner herself who hires staff, Ms. Samuel agrees about the need for more MBA graduates to offer a combination of traditional skills, such as financial management and business strategy, with an understanding of social media that makes them “billable” to clients.

“My dream hire is for an MBA with social media expertise,” she says. “Someone who comes with the whole package.”