In honour of Dr. Martin Luther King



Sorry, no more Canadian cars

I recently spoke to a woman here on business from Oklahoma. She was driving a Hertz rental car and immersing herself in as much Canadian culture as she could jam into her time off. So you can imagine how disappointed she was that Hertz didn't offer any “Canadian” car rentals.

I went off looking for why and found the following on CBC News Online | August 21, 2006 and Wikipedia:

  • More than 500 different car companies have called Canada home – most of them in the early 1900s and most were Canadian-owned.
  • Between 1918 and 1923, Canada was the world's second-largest carmaker and a major exporter.
  • By 1925, GM, Ford and Chrysler – controlled 75% of the American car market. A 35% import tariff ensured some manufacturing stayed in Canada.
  • The 1926 Canadian content law was a boon to Canadian part manufacturers.
  • By the mid-1930s Canadian owned car companies were all gone.

The Bricklin SV-1 was a gull-wing door sports car assembled in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. The body panels were manufactured in a separate plant in Minto, New Brunswick. Manufactured from 1974 until early 1976 for the U.S. market, the car was the creation of Malcolm Bricklin, an American millionaire who had previously founded Subaru of America. The Bricklin factory was not able to produce vehicles fast enough to make a profit. As a result, only 2,854 cars were built before the company went into receivership, owing the New Brunswick government $23 million.

I’m thinking that the next opportunity for a Canadian car could come from India or China if these two super-powers can crack our domestic (auto) manufacturing challenge:

  • Most Canadian’s will only buy leading edge domestic products that create high paying jobs in Canada IF the products are sold below cost.
  • Think RIM.

I must be VERY slow, cynical or stupid


I must be slow


When I started reading this recruitment ad I was intrigued.

As I read on I felt intimidated – do I really have what it takes?

Then I got to the desired skills section and laughed: where on earth does someone with “3+ years in an ad agency or other related service industry" assemble that kind of world-class portfolio of account management skills?

  • What are they really screening for - Hyperbolae?
  • Would you trust your world-class brand to an Account Manager with 3+ years of agency or related service industry experience?


If you need these lists you’re in trouble


 Almost every day I get lists like these. If I collected them all and tried to act on them I don’t think I’d get very far with my day. They remind me of my mother when I was a kid – telling me to wear clean underwear, an undershirt, appropriate cloths, sit up straight, chew my food twenty times, go straight to school, or bed, etc.

Her “lists” were part of her child training routine, not a replacement for it.

The lists I use today are SHORT and rank what projects we need to do.

Not how to do them. That’s the purview of training which I see less and less of today because everyone wants everything fast + cheap. So there's no time or financial margin left for training. I wish business leaders would wake up, return to basics and deep-six all these dumb lists.

They are not a substitute for, and a VERY poor supplement to, genuine training.

I’m very good at what I do because people took the time to train me, years of practice and my commitment to making the good better and the better best.

Not because of (how to do) lists.


Did duct cleaning sales skyrocket?


Every other day, or night, I get a call from my local Duct Cleaning Service providers.

When the calls began a few years ago they came from India. I could tell because of the phone numbers, accents and names. Names like Krishna and Kamala.

Then everyone was sent back to school and had their accents adjusted and fed a few colloquial phrases. Soon after they were assigned a pseudonym and their calls were routed through a 416-exchange.

Somewhere out there, there are a bunch of disturbed call center owners + operators that are assuring their clients that these new “call localization” strategies are responsible double digit sales increases. Their key presentation slide might look something like this:

Tactics + Response rate

India Calling              1/ 1000

416 Calling                2 / 1000

416+Pseudonym       4 / 1000

Clearly things can only get better.

I don’t think so. I think that the duct cleaning campaigns demonstrate that some ideas are just bad ideas that need to stay in the box.

That when you try to refine a bad idea you do more harm than good.

The increase in Duct Cleaning sales may serve a few lucky little businesses but they have tarred the medium with the brush of illegitimacy.

Hold on.

I need to take this call.

Hey I’ve just won three free nights in Wawa!