Get Control Of Your Business With the Hootsuite of Mobile Payments

In a global economy where everyone and everything is here and there, Vancouver-based Control places the control back into the hands of the business managers with mobile payment access and upgraded analytic tools.

“We’re seeing all these new types of payment methods in the market,” said Kathryn Loewen, CEO and co-founder of Control, “but one of the commonality amongst all of them is that they are all moving toward open standards.”

Bitcoin, Dwolla, Apply Pay and credit card processors such as Stripe and Paymill have changed the way businesses operate. And as many as 70% of those finance managing companies have chosen an open protocol, which when integrated with Control will offer their users a more diverse payment managing experience.

Loewen added: “People have called us the HootSuite of payments.”

HootSuite capitalized on their success because they were able to build business applications on top of the Twitter API. At one point, Facebook tried to purchase the social media management dashboard and make them the primary dashboard for Facebook, but Hootsuite declined the offer, knowing that the bigger opportunity comes by connecting to every platform.

Control is doing what Hootsuite did for content developers, social media coordinators, etc. and is applying that model to payment stacks for businesses. And like Hootsuite, Control is “platform agnostic,” which is one of the reasons why they have integrated so well with numerous online payment companies such as Stripe.

Stripe’s easy merchant onboarding makes it simple for users to sign up and for businesses to freely access their API. It was Stripe’s push toward this open API model that shifted the momentum of the industry. Even PayPal—a traditionally closed platform—who’ve spent many years enjoying their monopoly are now participating in this open-data economy.

Moreover, the high demand for quality analytic tools adds another valued element to Control. The same way Hootsuite built better analytics than Twitter, Control refined that aspect for payment platforms.

“We’re solving two problems: Online business managers—who start using Stripe or PayPal to manage their business—they are still dealing with the fact that they are using different platforms or different dashboards to manage all those different payment methods,” said Loewen, “and also, no good mobile app exist for those payment platforms.”

Although any merchant or business manager can benefit from Control, the most prevalent users are those that run a SAAS, online or global business, which requires the business managers to be somewhat like “modern nomads.” The ability to manage transaction activities directly from the mobile app, while they are on the go, will ease workflow, improve customer service and be more vigilant against fraud through mobile payment.

“Our target market may have a checkout that’s optimized for mobile, they might not, it doesn’t really matter,” said Loewen. “What we really care about is helping them manage their business better.”

Control’s iOS and Android apps are now integrated with Stripe, in addition to being the first Paymill app in Europe. Currently Control is building the control board for the web-based analytics and preparing to launch beta within the next month. By the end of the 2014 Control will go live anywhere Stripe is available as well as targeting the 9 million PayPal merchants across the globe.

Post-apocalyptic fantasy picks

Graphic by Joel McCarthy

Who would you choose to survive with you when it’s all over?

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
A satirical article, formerly published in The Other Press. Sept 23, 2014

It’s moments before the end of the world and you have a shelter large enough to fit five people. That means now is the time to draft your top picks. These elite individuals will help you survive on a planet that is no longer safe for humans or celebrities. Zombies, earthquakes, and rival survivors are coming for you, so you better make the right choice. Here are mine:

Brad Pitt: If you don’t take Brad Pitt right away, lord knows your competitors will. Don’t wait! Draft Pitt as early as possible. Not only is he the perfect specimen of a Caucasian male, he also proves to be a game changer in post-apocalyptic scenarios (source: World War Z). There are two rules when the world ends. Number one: you don’t talk about Fight Club. Number two: you draft Brad Pitt first!

Jennifer Lawrence: Why is Jennifer Lawrence my second pick? She’s not only a radiant superstar, but she’s also a super survivor. We saw her survive the Hunger Games. We saw her survive a leaked-photo controversy. We saw her survive her climb up the Dolby Theatre stage to retrieve her Academy award. Moreover, Lawrence is totally a perfect candidate for any post-apocalyptic reproduction initiatives.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: In modern times, Arnold is arguably the most successful human being in the world. He’s a bodybuilder; he’s a politician. He has several memorable catchphrases; he has an illegitimate family. There isn’t anything the Terminator hasn’t done and there isn’t anything he can’t do—except for enunciating words properly. I’ll grab Arnold as early as possible, because if you don’t, you can say: “hasta la vista, baby” to your chances of surviving.

Les Stroud (Survivorman): I know you might go camping occasionally and think of yourself as a Wildman, but let’s be honest, sooner or later you’ll need some help. Picking Les Stroud will not only guarantee a good honest living off of natural resources, you’ll also have terrific home video of your post-apocalyptic experience, which you can then share with your grandchildren and in-laws during family dinners and holidays.

Seth Rogen: Think of the most ideal person to be with during the end of the world, and Seth Rogen will naturally come to mind. Not only will he give you are reason to live with his mirth-filled, bellowing laughter, he’ll also transcend composure with his stoner demeanour. Just ask Jay Baruchel who he wants to listen to Backstreet Boys in heaven with, and you’ll know that everybody—including Baruchel—wants it to be Seth Rogen. So don’t hesitate, he might not seem to be a priority pick, but believe me, he is.

And for the Wild Card, I choose Will Smith. Although he was disappointing in the ominously titled M. Night Shyamalan movie After Earth, he is still a formidable choice because of two things: his resiliency in I Am Legend and his drive in The Pursuit of Happyness. Plus it’s totally a race, equality thing. You don’t want to live in a weird secular world, right?

Well those were my top five picks and one wild card to survive with me in the post-apocalyptic world. Sorry if you’re not included. Remember, it’s every man for himself, and every man needs a Seth Rogen, so good luck! Meet you at Terminus.

New-look: Canucks can do no worse

Sports_Jim Benning (GM for Canucks)

Expectations are low to open 2014-15 season

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Sept. 23, 2014

With no time for reminiscing, the Vancouver Canucks are looking optimistically to the future and hoping to regain some prowess within the Western Conference. It was easy to cheer for Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, and John Tortorella when things were going well, but ultimately they—as key leaders within the team—were to blame for the 2013-14 farce of a hockey season.

For once in a long while, fans and ownership agreed that change was the only route going forward. Bringing back Trevor Linden was undoubtedly a morale boost that will change the characteristics of the whole organization. The hiring of Jim Benning as general manager officially marked the next era for the Canucks, and after the abusive relationship with former GM Mike Gillis the players can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their requests wouldn’t turn into a melodramatic affair. And finally, Willie Desjardins will take over behind the bench. The man has won at every level except for the NHL, and although that doesn’t mean much in the short-term, it’s better than acquiring another has-been head coach.

As disappointing as the Canucks’ season was last year, the same can be said about Ryan Miller’s whole career. The 34-year-old American goaltender’s highlights include backstopping the underachieving Buffalo Sabres for more than a decade and losing the gold medal in the blockbuster 2010 Olympics. However, the St. Louis Blues expected him to be the saviour in the playoffs last year. He was not. It seems fitting that Miller has found his way to the goalie graveyard at the latter part of his career. But it might not be the end yet! He is a terrific, outspoken goalie. Perhaps now, it’s Miller time in Vancouver.

While the core—the Sedin twins, Kevin Bieksa, and Dan Hamhuis—will maintain some stability within the team, the microscope will be on wily sniper, Radim Vrbata, resident tough guy, Derek Dorsett, and skillful, yet unproven centre, Nick Bonino. All three of them were brought in for a specific reason, and if they can’t perform the task, it’ll be a bust for sure.

For the past decade or so, the Canucks’ image within the league is that the team is full of whiners, incapable of standing up for themselves. They are highly skilled but are always pleading to the referees for favours. Benning has made the necessary moves to change the attitude, and only time will tell whether Desjardins’ game plan will measure up to the competition.

The juggernauts from California continue to be Vancouver’s most challenging oppositions, while Chicago games will no doubt gather a crowd. But the most important thing for Canucks to do this season is to win the games within the Canadian border. Beating down the Oilers, Flames, and Jets will go a long way to winning the Stanley Cup, but at the moment those are the only freebies. They need to take it.

The Canucks, at best, are a bubble team, destined to finish between 10th and seventh within the conference. They could either have another valiant run in the playoffs or be incredibly disappointed. Fans are excited to see the new look, but they aren’t getting their hopes up. After such a humbling season, the organization will benefit from anything positive. We must remember that the Canucks are in a rebuild. The slogan “Change is coming” speaks volumes, but it doesn’t inspire much optimism.

Raw food and nudity

Opinions_NAKED_SUSHI

Naked sushi and other gimmicky dining might not only be for acquired taste

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Sept. 23, 2014

Toronto-based restaurant, Naked Sushi has brought—the somewhat traditional and somewhat taboo dining experience—nyotaimori to Vancouver. Critics in the feminist camp were quick to address it as “sexist,” “discriminatory,” and “gross.”

Although sushi is an acquired taste for Westerners, eating it off of a naked human (usually female) body seems to go against every human custom in the world. But after hearing about the platters’ discipline—how they splash cold water on themselves to lower their body temperatures and how they stay completely still during the two-hour long experience—I’m able to see the artistic value of Naked Sushi.

I don’t imagine many little girls dream of being serving dishes when they grow up, the same way girls don’t aspire to be strippers. However, those who do choose to pole dance would tell you that in order to perform skillfully, the dancer not only needs to be attractive, but also well-practiced, athletic, and artistic.

But the question remains: would I eat sushi off of a naked human body? Yes, I would and I wouldn’t even consider the five-second rule. It’s true that I might be nurturing a culture that objectifies women—after all, I would be much less inclined to eat off of a man’s torso, double-standard acknowledged—but there is nothing wrong with using natural resources. If the opportunity arises where I am invited to partake in such a unique experience, I won’t decline.

Keep in mind that the models are not being mistreated, and they are willingly offering their bodies to be decorated with food. The caterers have strictly prohibited lewd acts, both physical and verbal, and sanitation is always the overriding factor. When it comes to restaurants, sultry servers have always been a key attraction for patrons. Do I know that the waitresses at Earls or Hooters get more harassing comments during their eight-hour shifts? Of course not. But would I be surprised if they do? No.

Food brings people together and pulls others apart. That’s the beauty of dining: everyone has a different taste. I enjoy gimmicky restaurants, at least the idea of them. I personally get tired of the same old meal every day, so I’ll take anything that allows me to refresh my senses—whether it’s just turning off the lights in Kitsilano’s Dark Table or allowing me to create art while I eat at Yaletown’s Raw Canvas. New experiences are what life is all about, and with three meals a day, there isn’t much to lose.

I don’t believe Naked Sushi is sexist or discriminatory or even gross, but I do believe that it’s not for everyone. After all, not everyone likes sushi. Not everyone likes nude models. Not everyone likes to break out of their comfort zone. But hey, everyone has different tastes, and that shouldn’t be condemned.