How cancer has affected me

This post is going to be hard to write. I can already tell. I’m chock full of emotion already just thinking about it. I apologize now if it doesn’t quite flow correctly, but it’s what you get. There’s almost 25 years of thought in this 500 word post…so pay attention and do what’s right.

Twenty-five years ago I was 6 years old. I had a younger brother Robert who was two and a half…and that was as old as he would ever get. I remember that cold Winnipeg winter day on February 14, 1985 (yes Valentine’s Day) when I was taken home from elementary school, like it happened yesterday. Walking home with my grandparents who were in from out of town visiting. As I came around the corner I could see my house and the cars that lined the road way. I knew something was drastically wrong. I ran like I’ve never run before and flew through the door of my parents house. It was then I realized just what had happened. Robert had been sick almost since he was born and spent a lot of time at the hospital. I even spent a lot of time at the hospital but nothing like my parents did. Having an amazing daughter of my own now, I have no clue how they did it. They were so strong and for that alone I am blessed. Luckily we had good close family friends I could stay with. As a six year-old it was fun going to sleepovers at first. After weeks of sleepovers though, they became less and less fun.

Since losing Robert to Medulloblastoma, I’ve lost two grandparents, a great uncle, two great aunts and several family friends. I have friends who have battled and survived. Even friends who have beaten it multiple-times and still lost the battle one final time. There’s no doubt in my mind how much of an impact cancer has had on my life…and I’ve been fortunate enough to never have had it.

Honestly, I remember the good times and great impact these people have had on my life. It’s because of these people and even those whom I’ve never met, nor may have the opportunity to meet, that Tight ‘n Bright is around. It’s a reason to party. A reason to raise funds and awareness. Most importantly though, it is a reason to celebrate life! A life we are each fortunate to currently have and the lives of those who we’ve lost. As with our first Tight ‘n Bright party in 2009, our goal for this annual event is to raise funds in excess of $20,000 to go directly to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. We, myself and the team involved, would like you to join us for a fun filled, theme evening on Saturday, March 20, 2010 for the Second Annual Tight ‘n Bright – it’s where a party can help find a cure.

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#smbyyc – now what?

This morning I took the opportunity to head out to the Calgary Social Media Breakfast. I figured it was time that I get out of the house and meet some people. I’ve never had an issue with networking in the past, but today I still didn’t feel like me. Either way it was great seeing presentations from Roger Kondrat of west17media and by Troy Wason of WMS Communications Inc. This was the first event like this that I’ve been to, and I’ll be heading back for sure. I didn’t get a chance to make too many connections, but I made enough for this time around.

That brings me to the “now what” part of the title. I’ve got these business cards in my possession as most other people do as well. What do you do with them? Well it’s been my practice that after any seminar or conference I hit, I head over to LinkedIn and add them right away. It’s really the place that professionals connect. If we missed each other then feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter – these are my two most popular methods to connect.

As a side note, it was great that Ken Guenther of McQ Design Strategies shared the following video with us on the evolution of social media. It’s one that I’ve seen before, but decided that I should post it here. It’s a quick watch, but a great one.

It’s truly interesting to see just how quickly Social Media has evolved in comparison to other mediums. It really does provide a large chance for another post or two around it. I guess I should just ask you a question around the actual post subject. What do you do with your business card collection after a conference?

1 Comment | Filed under Code Development, Twitter

My 2010 goals

As I have mentioned many times, including just the other day, I need to write some goals. Some personal goals for me to focus on and for you to police me on. I’ve determined that goal setting works for me when I’m passionate about it and when I have something to prove…usually to those who don’t think I can. It didn’t take me long to write out my goals. In fact I wrote them down on January 15 in about 10 minutes but I’ve been sick, so haven’t had a chance to post them. But today I’m feeling better. At least good enough to sit down in front of a computer and type out some words, so here goes.

My 2010 personal goals are:

  • Raise $20,000 for the Tom Baker Cancer Centre & Alberta Cancer Foundation through the 2nd Annual Tight ‘n Bright event to be held March 20, 2010.
  • Generate $80,000 through legal online activities like affiliate sales, products & services by September 15, 2010. Roughly 236 days remain, so that would equate to $338.98 per day…if I start making cash NOW!
  • Run a full marathon under 4 hours by December 15, 2010.
  • Launch BlueBinder by March 1, 2010 with full e-comm capabilities.
  • Launch Phase 1 of OoberScoop by February 1, 2010.
  • Launch Workshops Everywhere by February 1, 2010 to the Calgary market as detailed in Phase 1 of the plan.
  • Travel to three new destinations by December 31, 2010.
  • Speak at a minimum of one conference by November 30, 2010.
  • Support and love Monica, Ava and the other members of my family on a daily basis.
  • Help Monica launch her site to the best of my abilities around her timeline.
  • Blog a minimum of five times per week through to June 30, 2010.
  • Live everyday and enjoy and appreciate what I have.

So as you can see I’ve no doubt got to get some things going. Couple the above goals with daily life and there’s not a lot of time left to actually do things…but the goal in the end is to free myself from the day-to-day to allow me to have the time to do those things. All of this will be completed in full by December 31, 2010. I look forward to sharing my success, and no doubt failures, with you along the way.

Is there anything I’ve missed? Do you think I’m completely crazy? Wanna know more about something I’ve put in the list? It’s easy, just leave me a comment below.

Thanks to Lyndon for the inspiration and the graphic.

2 Comments | Filed under Blue Binder, Code Development, Fitness, Life, Travel

Let’s get infected

I keep forgetting about what a great inspirational website ted.com is. At first I tried to figure out who this Ted guy was. Then I decided I’d just do a little digging. Wouldn’t you know it’s an acronym. Directly from their website:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year’s TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize.

Well today while I was killing some time on Twitter I came across and interesting tweet from TEDxCalgary. Take a few minutes to watch the inspirational video below.

What I found interesting about the segment is that it’s all true. 100% accurate that it simply takes an “I can” attitude. I don’t find it a coincidence that today I was also reading about Someday Never Comes by John Chow while reading his free ebook. His opening paragraph sums it up:

Do you know how to tell a successful person from a unsuccessful one? The easiest way is by the language they use. When you talk to a successful person about his goals, he’ll tell you what he plans to do and when it will be done. When an unsuccessful person talks about his goals (assuming he even has one), you’ll hear something along the lines of, “I hope to do this someday.” Here’s a clue for all you losers out there; someday never comes.

That’s right. It’s there in black and white. And it’s something I’ve known for some time. Nobody will do it for me. I must do it myself. Not only that but I can do it. It was clear to me when I set out to run my first full marathon. I completed it because I had the “I can” bug, not the “I will”. It was a goal. A clearly defined gem with an end time limit defined along with some other contributing parameters. So I know goals work for me when I set them. I’ve even commented on other peoples posts about setting my goals, but where are they?

Well, it’s time to stop doing everything right now and write out some goals. I’m logging of Twitter, stopping iTunes and ignoring email (which I’m pretty good at thanks to Tim Ferriss).

I’m going to write some goals, and then copy Lyndon and share them with you for you to help hold me accountable. I hope that you can help me with that?

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Action is the BIGGEST key to success

cdn-million-dollar-billFor those of you who know me, you’ll know that I rarely have a shortage of what I consider my “million dollar ideas” to build on. In fact, I fairly regularly add to the list. A while back I wrote a post about thought vs. action. It seemed to me it was a turning point in my thought process…one of turning it into action. Fast forward a little over 6 months and where am I now? For starters, I’m off on leave (that’s really hard to say and hard to talk about). A long story short, I’m a big ass ball of stress. In addition to that my “million dollar ideas” list is larger and not a single one has been checked off anywhere near complete. There are some tiny modules that are working here and there, but nothing impressive at all.

I consistently find myself in a position where I’ve got a great idea and don’t act on it. Years back when the whole Napster vs. RIAA thing was coming to light of being illegal I was chatting with friends and telling them about a different, legal way to do MP3s on the internet and ensure the artists continued to make money. Well that idea is essentially what is now known as iTunes (and many other online music stores). At the time however, there were none…not a single online shop doing it. I’ll stamp that with a big FAIL on it as well.

Last week I was watching episode 9 (second segment) of Dragons Den on CBC. I love the show. There’s something fascinating about watching people do stupid things. But at least they’re up there doing it. I had been chatting with my brother about an idea I had which we were calling BlueBinder (@BlueBinder) and how cool it would be to pitch it on Dragons Den and get some capital, but more importantly the expert knowledge of these highly successful dragons. All five of them would be a valuable asset to the business. Well just the other week, GrubCanada pitched (successfully too I might add) and the thought of BlueBinder flickered and almost died. Then a friend forwarded me an article from TechCrunch about GrabyMyTable and it knocked another dent in the side of BlueBinder…though I’m sure OpenTable will give them a good run. Luckily there is still at least one USP (unique selling point) I have with BlueBinder and I’m hoping to capitalize and honestly competition is a good thing…it gives you someone to target. That being said, action is imminent and required IMMEDIATELY. This idea, is honestly on life support right now but can definitely be revived for huge success. I’d love to find out some information on patenting the idea/process that I have for BlueBinder’s USP.

Referencing these recent ‘insights’ I went back to have a look at the list of “million dollar ideas” and started going down the list:

  • SPRY: While not a million dollar company right now, at least it’s in progress and slowly making some income. Most would consider that a good thing and I’m definitely in that boat.
  • uPlay: I guess you could make this similar to Pandora—at least from my understanding of Pandora. Since I’m in Canada I have a hard time accessing it to actually test drive it.
  • BlueBinder: As mentioned above, similar sites exist out in the market place that are doing certain components and other various concepts but none are actually doing it the way I think it should be done or how I want to do it.
  • Community Connection: This one was a huge learning experience. Over $20k of personal cash invested in it (and still trying to pay that off) and a huge education as a result. The publishing industry is definitely an interesting one. The product was ahead of its time and I have no regrets for doing it. There’s a slight twist I’m planning to put on it that will hopefully have it making some revenue when I decide to revisit it in 2010.
  • Back 2 School: I can’t take full credit for this one. A lot of the basis of this idea was from my fiancee. A mother in Ontario has done something similar (it took me forever to find in Google), though not the same concept. I even had contacted various people at Staples, Grand & Toy and Office Depot to get communications going. It’s definitely a little bit of a challenge to get high up enough into some of these organizations.
  • Hotel Reviews: Again, not a complete idea of my own but the guys at Oyster are doing something similar. This one is moving forward slowly and will hopefully launch in Q1 of 2010.

The best part about ALL the ideas above is that they’re similar, not the same (with the exception of the iTunes one from the mid-90s). What does this mean? Well it means I need to take action. The only way to become successful is by taking action. It goes back to the wonderful grade 11 physics class with Dr. Flint and the whole “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” theory. I never realized how that would actually play over into life as well as the scientific realm.

Of course the list of “million dollar ideas” above is not complete. It also doesn’t give more then a 40,000 foot high-level view of a few of the things I’ve been thinking of. Have you got suggestions on things to add or features you’d like to see on them? Simply comment below.

My thought around this for a moral of the story is take action. And more to the point, why not take action today. Tomorrow is not a promise.

I look forward to hearing about your lost “million dollar ideas” from sitting around with inaction. More importantly I look forward to hearing your stories of success. Please, leave a comment.

No Comments | Filed under Blue Binder, Code Development, Life, Travel