By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. May 4, 2016
We’ve all been in a group project where we felt that we’ve drawn the short straw. In every classroom there are the students who are the workhorses, there are those who are naturally gifted, and there are those who are simply slackers. At one point or another, you’ll get the last pick and end up in an indecisive group where progress is agonizingly slow. Most likely, you’ll be waiting for someone else to finish his or her part before you can complete yours. This pushes the workload further and further towards the deadline, causing a lot of stress for those who genuinely care.
I’ve been in those types of groups, and I’ve been both a diligent worker and an idle procrastinator at different times. I’m sure there are people in the world that will vow to never work with me again, or even talk to me. However, there are people who I have a great working relationship with. Why does one environment cause me to retreat into my shell and another allows me to meet or exceed expectations?
Group projects, without a measure of respect within the group, are volatile environments where people’s emotions and the idea of fairness harm the process of the assignment. When a group of students is left to govern and motivate themselves to finish a project—one where the only guidelines are written on a piece of paper—there are bound to be disagreements. These disagreements can sustain themselves throughout the length of the project and go unresolved until the very moment you hand it in. Why?
The problem with bad group projects is that nobody rises up and takes a leadership role. With no guidance, what ends up happening is that the collective begins to resent each other, as work is not being completed, or is being completed in an unsatisfactory way. I know we all think of ourselves as adults who are capable of taking on responsibility and following through with it—but I don’t believe that maturity or seniority has anything to do with a successful project.
At school, we think of the teacher or the instructor as the boss, but that is not the accurate way of thinking about it. The teacher or the instructor is actually the market—the ones receiving the goods you are making. They are the consumers and you are trying to please them. But if that’s the case, then who is the boss?
A leader should always be a member of the team, one who is closely entwined in the happenings of the project. It should never be someone external. It’s the reason companies of all sizes have a president, CEO, and managers at every level. Some groups will function fine as a democracy. But if you are dealt a shitty hand and end up with a group of people who aren’t motivated, a fair voting system isn’t going to work. Someone needs to lay the hammer down, make decisions, delegate work, and make sure there are repercussions if the tasks aren’t completed at a predetermined time. In your next group project, make sure that happens.
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. March 31, 2016
We see it in politics all the time: commercials that call out the negative aspects, false advertisements, and empty promises of competitors. As someone watching these commercials, I often feel like I’m watching a couple bicker—it’s awkward. This petty form of persuasion doesn’t really leave a winner in my mind; rather, it makes me want to oppose both parties. But what if this same method is used for our everyday products?
Recently, Verizon hired comedian Ricky Gervais to do a commercial spot where, instead of highlighting all of Verizon’s features, it calls out its competitor (Sprint). In the ad, Gervais states that their competitor “stretches the truth” when claiming to have the fastest and most reliable network. He also goes on to say that having the fastest, most reliable network in Kansas (the location of Sprint’s headquarter), is like having a parachute that only opens in Kansas. That’s no good. Consumers want a product such as cellular reception to be reliable everywhere, just like a parachute.
While the commercial was fun and light and Gervais’ snarky persona made the rivalry of the telecommunication companies humourous, it was bad practice. These types of companies are rarely promoting innovations, but rather striving for mediocrity. And it shows with an ad like this. Think about it, if Verizon had the “fastest” and “most reliable” network, they would be claiming it straight up. They would have proof. But instead of demonstrating their product, they turn the spotlight on their competitors and say, “well, they aren’t that great either.”
Often in politics, we don’t vote for the candidate that we like, but rather the candidate we hate the least. A world where we are choosing the lesser of two evil sounds like a pretty horrible place to live, huh? A world where we are calling each other liars and saying that a billion-dollar company is incompetent and irresponsible is worrisome place to live. A world where we spend more resources racing to the bottom, reaching the lowest common denominator, and striving to merely meet expectation is a scary place to live.
Calling out a problem does not solve it. One-upping competition by small margins doesn’t solve it either.
Enough talk about what others don’t do. Regardless of whether you are a politician, a billion-dollar company, or my co-worker, I don’t judge you by your competition, I judge you by your actions and achievements. You give me results as promised and there is no reason why I wouldn’t pick you over someone else. I would trust you.
The way you develop a reputation is by focusing on service and innovation, not by dragging your opposition down so that you look better. If you want to be the best, you’ll need to try your hardest and not just talk smack.
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formally published in The Other Press. February 17, 2016
While it isn’t necessarily the government that is tracking all your activity, the combination of all the data accumulated in day-to-day life is enough for them to know you better than your parents do. We can almost be certain that, although there is nobody watching us on a screen, our every action is recorded, filed away, and capable of being pulled out and evaluated by those with the credentials to do so. Most often those people aren’t people at all, they are just marketing algorithms designed to match your queries and daily behaviours with advertisements.
Now, Google isn’t out to embarrass you by exposing your search queries. TransLink will not send a message to your girlfriend if you decide to make a mysterious trip out to Surrey. Bell is not going to let your boss know that you’ve been trash talking him with your friends. These things don’t benefit the company, so don’t be paranoid.
It’s hard to trust the motives of big corporations, but I always bring it back to one question: Does such and such action cause them to lose or gain money? If your behaviour continues to benefit the business you get the service from, you can keep going merrily by—as long as you are not committing any heinous crimes.
There is no way around it; we need to trust companies to use our information ethically. However, we need to also be conscious of what information we are haphazardly giving away. See, privacy matters. Without privacy, you’ll lose control of your own life. The companies will own it.
Any sort of meaningful self-development does not happen in a group, or with Sauron’s eye watching you. It happens independently, not on Facebook and not while Googling. I’m not talking about education or improving your business skills or finding online romance, I’m talking about the growth that occurs when you are allowed room to breathe. This is the type of growth that has no deadlines and no guidance. This in essence is the life you’ll live.
We have become so obsessed with sharing our experiences on social media, telling everything we do to Big Brother, that we are forgetting the real point of our pursuits: to create memories that aren’t saved on any hard drive, except the one between our ears. We are scared of people listening in on us, but we have stopped listening to ourselves.
The season is changing. It’ll be a warm summer, I predict. This is an opportunity to get away from the information highway and do something nobody on the Internet will know. Big companies are constantly collecting data, and so should you. The good thing is, you get to decide what information you want to store: what’s spat out to you by those online or what you discover yourself. It’s up to you.
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. February 17, 2016
I moved many times when I was growing up. It has always been a bittersweet memory. Those experiences of packing all my belongings, changing schools, and saying goodbye to old friends still make me reflect, wondering what life I could have had if I stayed in that neighbourhood. I never blamed my parents for moving, because I can be certain that moving wasn’t their first option either. They were doing it for financial reasons, not to punk me.
My family, like many, took their financial wellbeing seriously, and there are few investments more impactful than real estate. But above all else, a house should be a home. However, there are many—especially in Vancouver—who are trading real estate like Pokémon cards, another bittersweet childhood memory. But I digress. House flipping, the act of buying a house and re-selling it over a short period for profit, is a worrisome obstacle for young people entering the housing market.
For me, I see the place I live as a space where I spend my days relaxing, entertaining friends, and living my life. I don’t think of it as a denomination of a fluctuating market. Perhaps I should, but I don’t, because I never want to derail my life just to make money. Many people think differently. Many people would consider me a schmuck for living in an affordable neighbourhood.
In a recent announcement from BC Assessment, since 2014, 368 single-family (detached) homes have swapped owners twice or more. These houses, not surprisingly, are set in high-profile neighbourhoods: Dunbar, Heights, Point Grey, etc. But let’s be honest: every neighbourhood in Vancouver now is high profile, since nearly all single-family homes are valued in the millions.
Not only are these homes worth a lot, they are also in high demand. People are willing to pay more to live in Vancouver. So savvy—and rather despicable—people are willing to take advantage of that for a profit. That is the prime reason for house flipping, rich people trying to get richer.
Greed fuels the market in Vancouver and the people nourishing this corrupted form of business are the realtors, who are knowingly selling the properties for more than they were previously sold for. This way, the realtor and the brief owner make a profit. Here’s the kicker—it’s all completely legal in BC. While the asking price is visible, the sale price remains private, hidden from the public. This is one reason why it is a corrupted market. If there is no transparency, there cannot be any trust.
The province of BC is now intending to tax the house flippers not just through property tax but also a capital gains tax, but that does not solve the problem, it just makes house flipping a legitimate business. Yes, you can blame it on those who don’t flip houses, saying that they have zero business acumen, but just because you can do it doesn’t mean it is ethical or good practice.
A house is a home, and many people of my generation will go through most of their lives without having owned one. This is a tragedy. This is especially true when we see millionaires making easy money while overvaluing the market, and creating an unstable place for all of us to live.
How to Take Control of Your Nomadic Lifestyle
Originally published on Medium.
There has always been this negative connotation to the phrase: “Taking work home with us.” It’s as if the act of working is a burden to our lives. It’s as if our unfinished assignments are keeping us up at night. It’s as if our profession is harming those we love and ourselves.
I like to believe that while some of us work to live, many of us live to work. Our professional accomplishments are not just our livelihood; they’re a part of our identity. Sure, our jobs bleed into everything else we do, but that doesn’t mean we are shackled to the desk, or that we have to omit time with friends and families to meet deadlines — and it sure as hell doesn’t mean we have to miss an episode of our favorite television show just to send a last-minute email.
Yes, work is home with us, it’s in the car with us, it’s on the airplane with us, and it’s turning down our hotel room beds when we are at an out-of-town conference. No longer do we need an alter ego for the work we have. Ourwork follows us around because it is something we are proud of, something we want to share, and something portable that we can manage in a coffee shop in Los Angeles or a bar in London.
“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or what’s the fastest way to do it… think ‘what’s the most amazing way to do it?’” — Richard Branson.
Get A Life
A high school bully once told me to get a life after I finished talking about all the novels I’d read and how I wished I had more time to read more. Life? What the bully didn’t understand was that his values — video games, aggressively loud music, and misogynistic jokes — did not align with mine. Because he hated reading, he assumed I was flawed for enjoying it. How we spend our lives is up to us, not some argumentative bully.
At times, it can feel as though a job can become this bully, telling us that our camping trip is less important than the next deadline. It is and it’s not. When I use the word freedom, it does not mean doing anything whenever we want. Freedom comes when we are able to control and prioritize our work, interests, and, of course, life accordingly. Why shouldn’t we be able to have a three-day weekend if we hunker down and got the job done on Thursday? Why can’t we bring our work on the road trip when we know we can accomplish it in the hotel after the drive? Why must we drag ourselves so early into the office just to lounge around sluggishly?
For every quality worker in our area there are probably hundreds of equally talented people who are scattered around the country. Most aren’t willing to just pack up and leave their lives. Work has become mobile, but many other things aren’t. If you want to attend a prestigious school, go for it. If you want to take up a new hobby, do it. As long as you find the time to work, the sky is your limit. And don’t let bullies tell you otherwise.
“Self-employed people work where they live. Entrepreneurs live where they work.” — Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Make Time For Office Hours
I’m not your boss so I’m not going to tell you that all your work should be done remotely. I’m also not telling you to quit your job to become a travel writer — although that would be pretty cool. I’m saying that we don’t need to be centralized anymore to accomplish significant tasks.
Still nothing that matters happen in a vacuum. Good things can be done independently, but world changing, disruptive innovations are often collaborations between talented people. So take that into consideration. Although email, instant messaging, Google Drive, Skype, and other digital/telecommunication tools have connected us together, there is still nothing more important than face-to-face real time conversations.
Communication with four people in the room is hard enough, but communication with 10 people in message thread is just pure chaos. In a global survey, 67% of senior execs and managers believed that their organization was more productive when superiors communicated with employees personally. Emails, instant messaging and all the other technology slows down the decision making process. Passing the conch around might work, but when a problem needs to be solved, meet in person.
Understanding when it is appropriate to take the conversation offline is probably the most important aspect of working remotely. Sure, the work will get done through the cyber networks, but there is nothing that nurtures camaraderie and team bonding like face-to-face problem solving and celebrations.
“You think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s only some bugger with a torch bringing you more work.” — David Brent
Home Is Where Your Work Is
There are countless distractions when you are working out of the office. After all, the world is a beautiful place; it’s hard to stay focused when your desk is beside the window or when you are one click away from YouTube. So needless to say, the most important aspect of working independently is self-discipline.
Without supervision, it becomes ever more important to be entrenched in a project you are actually passionate about. If you aren’t motivated to get up in the morning, brew a cup of coffee, and sit down and actually work, perhaps home is not the right environment for it. Working at home might be convenience but sometimes good work happens in a less ideal environment. Many people who live in apartments with fitness facilities don’t actually use them. It doesn’t matter if its convenient, what matters is if you find it meaningful.
After all, what’s worst than waking up to an undesirable workload, already waiting for you at the foot of your bed?
“To get GoPro started, I moved back in with my parents and went to work seven days a week, 20 hours a day. I wrote off my personal life to make headway on it.” — Nick Woodman
Work’s A Beach
We’ve all had this romantic fantasy of bringing our work on vacation with us. We’ll be by the pool, soaking up the sun, and catching up with our assignments. Approximately 60% of US employees have worked while on vacation. While it might be worth an attempt, working and relaxing are separate entities and even though you love your job and the scenery, you can’t enjoy both at the same time.
In 2013, I had an opportunity to escape the early spring rain of Vancouver and visit Brazil. While I choose to limit my workload, I still had a few assignments stored in my carry on for me after I landed. With three weeks aboard, the job needed to get done. No excuses! So I had to treat the work time as sacredly as I would treat my flight’s boarding time.
I split up my work schedule. In the mornings while everybody was milling about getting ready for the day, I’d check my email and tackle the less stressful tasks. Then I’d disconnect completely. There is no place for work on the beach or on a scenic hike to a waterfall. In the afternoon after the excursion, I’d find a quiet spot, plug in and work a bit more while some took naps and others started pre-drinking or preparing for dinner. Truth was, I didn’t miss much while working. In fact, I made money while on vacation. It didn’t pay for everything, but it was rewarding.
“If you live for weekends or vacations, your shit is broken” — Gary Vaynerchuk
How important is your work?
Is it more important than a text message from a friend? Is it more important than your favorite sports team making playoffs? Is it more important than your high score in Candy Crush? Probably. So treat it as such. If you can respond to your flaky friend cancelling a dinner date with you last minute, you should be able to respond to a fraudulent payment. You should be able to notify your team about a large successful transaction. You should be able to see your company’s analytics on the go and make actionable decisions on the fly.
Control, a mobile app dedicated to supporting the nomadic lifestyle of modern day entrepreneurs, artists, and business managers. The app utilizes the API of mobile payment platforms (i.e. Stripe) and enables users to track transactions, manage payments, and ultimately take full control of their company anywhere in the world.
Many of us want the freedom to live and work simultaneously; Control is a tool that flourishes on this idea. Start your 14-day trial with Control today and see where it’ll take you.
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Aug 4, 2015
On July 14, Woffice, a Chinese property service company located in Handan, took part in an exercise that appeared to be quite similar to Halloween. Employees were given the choice to wear a black-and-white mask at the office, in an effort to reduce stress. With faces hidden behind thin plastic, workers could focus on their duties without worrying about the pressures of smiling, the stigma of yawning, and the boorishness of rolling their eyes. So, what mask did all the workers chose? For the day known as Faceless Day, employees at Woffice chose the character No-Face from the beloved anime, Spirited Away, and Guy Fawkes from V for Vendetta.
Now, it might just be me, but I am not sending my resumé to Woffice anytime soon. If a business needs to use masks to ease tension within the workforce, I can’t imagine the monotony of working there any other time of the year. True, unorthodox exercises such as Faceless Day are gaining popularity in offices all around the world, but how about something less juvenile?
I hate the idea of dress codes. I hate it at fancy restaurants, I hate it at nightclubs, and I sure as hell hate it in the workplace. Yes, there is an emphasis on professionalism, but having to wear a suit and tie does not make you a productive worker. It’s funny that wearing jeans to work for a day is considered a perk in some offices.
For a year and a half, I was a Starbucks barista. Starbucks has a relatively strict dress code where male employees have to wear black or beige pants—excluding jeans and sweat pants—while on the floor. I always wondered why the fabric mattered. Who is peeking behind the bar, looking under my green apron, and at my pants? I don’t know, but apparently what I wore made your mocha taste better and myself a leaner thinker.
Needless to say, I wore black jeans for most of my employment and nobody (except the manager) made a big deal about it. Well, a few co-workers pointed it out, but they were merely inspired, and a bit frightened, by my rebellious ways. Don’t even get me started on Fridays at Starbucks. During my stint, only the day partners were allowed to wear T-shirts instead of collared shirts. Ignore my sarcasm, but that was a real privilege.
I believe many companies waste too much time, money, and effort trying to find creative (and not so creative) ways to motivate and calm their employees; Faceless Day is creative, while laid-back dress code days aren’t. Ultimately though, these efforts are not going to see much, if any, return of investment. Don’t enforce rules and then take them away, expecting the workers to be more relaxed. Don’t be gimmicky. A workplace is for grown-ups, so treat employees as such; let them make their own decisions. And if you really want them to relax after a hard product sprint or dinner rush, buy them a beer, give them a day off, or take them on a retreat. Don’t give them something else to wear.
Before you sell your products or market your services you must first identify the cost. Understanding the price will give you a better perspective of your potential revenue, competitors and target customers. Pricing your product is a defining mark for your company and should not be taken lightly. Follow this five-part series to understand the complexity, trickery, and science behind pricing.
Part One: Cost-plus Pricing or Value-based Pricing
There are two general principles to pricing your products and services. You can rather implement the cost-plus or the value-based pricing method. Whichever one you choose, it will not only define your product but your company as a whole.
Shoppers are inherently programmed to compare prices. If you place a $20 T-shirt next to one that costs $50, it is instantly clear which one is more affordable. However, if the $20 one is made to be far less desirable and—for what you are getting—is still quite pricy. That’s because the intention is not to sell the $20 product, but to get people to opt for the more expensive deal for the reason that it’s actually worth it.
Part Three: Tiered Pricing Can Take Your Product To The Next Level
Tiered pricing gives people choices—and we all know that people love choices. When it comes to payment, choices may bring more value to your customers. Why not let them choose how much they want and how much to pay for it? After all, when you go to the coffee shop you want the freedom to pick Small, Medium, or Large. This ideology can work for your product or services too.
Part Four: 6 Ways To Conduct An Effective Discount Promotional Campaign
After the free samples and 14-days trial period, you may be pressed to earn more leads and gain more revenue. Without adjusting your standard price, you’ve decided that implementing a discount or promotional campaign is the best avenue to take. However, there are no fixed rules when applying discounts or generating coupons. You can hand out flyers on the street, but all that effort may be wasted time. Here are six tips to conducting a successful discount promotional campaign.
Odds are at one point or another you’ll want to increase the price of your product. Investors, competitors, your internal team, and even the public may be urging you to do so. You yourself know that the current price is under valuing your product and this path is no longer sustainable. There are many reasons why raising the price makes sense, but the question is not why you should hike prices, but how to do it effectively without losing customers and decreasing your conversion rate.
You want to start a scalable business because you have huge aspirations. Unlike running the mom ‘n’ pop shops in your neighbourhood, you want more than a few loyal customers. You want to grow your company, reach new investors, and expand across the city, the country, and even the world.
A scalable business is a company capable of multiplying revenue without compromising the resulting profits. You’ll charge the same price per customer if you have 100 or if you have 100,000, and more clients doesn’t equal larger workload. That is a scalable business.
When your company is ready to scale, it’ll have a desirable product and an established business model. Not only will your friends and family think your ideas are great, but investors will come knocking as well.
So where do you begin? What exactly does this type of business look like? To get you started on your road to glory, here are a few examples of businesses proven to have scalable potential.
Why are some of the biggest companies in the world based around software? Well, it’s because quality software can be replicated over and over again without excessive expenditure. A software startup with limited capital can build a minimum viable product (MVP) with budding potential and present it to the market and investors. Then over night, they can gain a huge following, or disappear with miniscule damages.
Whether your new company is based around a SaaS model or utilizes the cloud, building around a low-cost deliverable will help your scalability.
Take a quick look at the world’s largest software companies, Microsoft and Oracle. These two brands are churning out products that consumers don’t even know they are purchasing. Once the developed product is ready for the market, consumers can access it with a few clicks. No need to stock it on a shelf and no need to drive to a store and buy it.
When products need physical applications, such as the case of CD-ROMS, smart companies will outsource the operation without compromising the team’s time, efforts, and intellect. Scaling does not all happen internally. Sometimes your company will need help.
Online shopping is a worldwide phenomenon and it’s only growing. Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, e-commerce has exceptional scalable capacity. While some shoppers are searching for a desired product, many are just browsing (window-shopping) hoping that something will catch their eyes. Here is where your company appears.
It’s true that products available online are also available in stores. So with that in mind, how can you possibly set your brand apart in this cramped market place?
The answer is trust. What do people hate about department stores? The cavernous warehouse sensation, the time-consuming journey through the wrong aisle, and the often-indignant customer service. A scalable e-commerce business must offer a solid product and a customer oriented business model to match.
Take the fashion startup Indochino for example. The formalwear company focuses solely on giving the modern men—who are often reluctant to get garment measured and tailored—an experience that is worthwhile and enjoyable.
In addition, successful e-commerce startups offer incentives that retail stores often omit. Coupons, discounts, and various other marketing strategies to gain loyalty are ways to turn your savings into new customers.
Social Network and Gamification
Perhaps it is too late to invent Facebook or Twitter, but your scalable startup can still connect people together in different ways.
Two prime examples of scalable businesses that leverage social media for success areFourSquare, a mobile app that learns what you like and suggest places for you to go, and OpenTable, a service that allows you to make dinner reservations quick and easy. Both of these applications fulfill that public demand to explore and evaluate, while providing a gamified element that encourages users to return.
Monotonous and stress-inducing problems seep into our lives constantly. If you can build a company that makes even one of those problems enjoyable (or even bearable), such as finding someone to help you clean your house, like TaskRabbit does, then you are on your way to creating something scalable.
The key to running a sound business is good communication. It doesn’t matter if you are interacting with customers, clients or employees, staying up to date on correspondences are timely tasks added to a daily workflow.
Different companies have different ways of dealing with their CRM, some want simplicity and go for a software like Highrise that functions primarily as a glorified address book, while others prefer a software like Salesforce that creates a CRM-ecosystem with subscriptions, features and add-ons.
But Radium CRM believes there should be a CRM that works with a communication platform that many are already using: Gmail.
The product is simple: you sign up onto Radium CRM and the software syncs up with your Gmail contacts and messages. From there you can manage and track your emails, set up your pipeline and sources and help build a robust address book. To create an effective communication tool for entrepreneurs and business managers, Radium CRM have to—you guessed it—communicate.
“I’m talking to entrepreneurs everyday,” explains Sami Asikainen, founder of Radium CRM. “Those people who have built their business with their bare hands give really good suggestions, they really know what they need. If we have this, they can do that. One feature that we didn’t even think of on our own was that people wanted to add emails to deals specifically. That was a user that suggested that to us, he said ‘I want to tag this email as a part of this dealflow here.’ So we have really great suggestions.”
Radium CRM is built for small- to medium-size businesses and it functions unobtrusively, operating with a workflow that probably already exist in the company. Users don’t even really need to sign up; everything is already synced to Gmail.
“If you are a one-man show, you can do it all in Gmail. You don’t really need a CRM,” Asikainen told Techvibes. “As soon as you have two people… how do you do that? Let’s say I do the billing part of the company and the other guy does the sales, well, do I just forward my emails to him and hope he gets it all? Or do I use a task manager like Basecamp, or do I use this and that? Most of our users use Gmail, that’s what they live in. The CRM is what they need, but they don’t want to be inside the CRM 24/7. People want to use both.”
Simplicity and usability is what Radium CRM is trying to understand. The ideal tool is not one that has everything, but one that has the necessary features that doesn’t exhaust the users.
“We wanted to do voice over IP, fancy smancy database management and automatic matching of data and scrubbing and all that other stuff with contact data,” said Asikainen. “But the number one request from users when we asked them they say, ‘Make this note field easier to use’. People want to add tons of notes, they want to be able to edit it later and they want to be able to reassign it, comment on it and do mentions. ”
Radium CRM continues to learn from their users, with the objective of developing the perfect application for business management. In constant conversation, Radium CRM is bringing a new audience into their very own ecosystem.
Transitions are complicated for businesses, but when it is done effectively it can enhance the work life of the employees and the customers. In order to ease the move, Radium is learning all about the little details and the finding out what managers need and want in a world where most companies are understaffed and overworked.
An Opinions article brought to you by the ‘Other Press’
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. March 18, 2014
I’m not an easy sell and I’m not a compulsive buyer. I can’t be—I wouldn’t survive if I was.
I work hard to earn my money and I choose to spend it on the things that I enjoy and with the people who I like. But I’m also reasonable; I budget wisely and do my best to avoid falling into debt. Many may consider it a marketers versus us game of tug-of-war with our paycheques, but I don’t see it that way.
I appreciate advertisements, because they aren’t pick-pocketing me on a busy street. They’re presenting the value of a brand in a way that might or might not attract my attention. Sure, advertisements are biased and appeal on many different levels, but as someone who understands the value of a dollar, you better appeal to me or I’m not buying.
Advertisers are not competing against us, but against other brands. So where some people say there’s too much product placement, I say good. It should be survival of the fittest. After all, advertising is art with a clear purpose.
I know it’s annoying to sit through those five seconds of commercial before your YouTube video, and I know it sucks to listen to the rambling of voices attempting to sell you something on the radio when all you want is some Beyoncé, but the alternative is having to pay for the services. God forbid I cough up my lunch money for a monthly subscription of YouTube, Google, Facebook, or any other free-to-use platforms that sustain themselves on advertisements. If you ask me, I think we are getting a pretty sweet deal.
Companies hate spending money on advertisements, and they hate it as much as we do when those ads are ineffective and annoying. Brands need to know their audience better and thanks to the technology of search engines, they are getting improved results.
I hope one day all marketing strategies will be targeted advertisements. If you show me something I actually want, I’ll appreciate it; if you show me something that is completely useless to me, like a diaper commercial, I’m just going to wait patiently for the baby to finish falling over and acting cute.
It does feel a little bit like Big Brother, knowing everything you do is recorded by a league of marketers. Still, if Big Brother knows that I’m searching “how to fix my plumbing” on YouTube, then Big Brother can rightly assume that I’ll need to find a good hardware store nearby, as well.
Our privacy is compromised regardless. Don’t be fooled, even your dirty Snapchat pictures can be recovered if you tried hard enough. But this is just the world we live in now and we can’t meet every technology and intelligence with paranoia.
Public places used to be train stations, shopping malls, office buildings, and school campuses, but now the Internet is a public setting as well. Advertisements are going to extend from the billboards you see on the streets to the iPhone app you look at before you go to bed. Embrace it. Adapt to it. And celebrate that we live in a time where we have a choice—because we are the ones with the power, not the brands.