Game 7…and a shameful Vancouver

So tonight was the night! Tonight was Game 7, Vancouver Canucks against the Boston Bruins. Everyone in Vancouver was in high spirits and we played a HARD game…there was a little bit of dirty playing…but why wouldn’t there be in a game where neither team had won the Stanley Cup in a handful of decades. We, the Vancouver Canucks lost 4-0. I left while there was still 10 mins left in the 3rd period to try and beat the rush for transit. And once I got home and opened my Mac…I was greeted by reports of mobs of angry rioters in the streets of Vancouver. I was a bit upset myself…but not enough to go around destroying someone else’s property!

SHAME ON YOU VANCOUVER!

We played a hard game. We made it ALL the way to game 7! We have so much to be proud of tonight…and you ruined it with anger and violence. Yes, it was an important game…but it was JUST A GAME! Act like proper sportsmen and women and take it with pride that we made it as far as we did!

Right now I am disappointed in this city…and some of it’s people. Shame on those in Vancouver that rioted, shame on those that destroyed buildings, cars and broke windows. Shame on you for endangering the lives of others.

Here are some of the horrible photos of heinous acts in our fair city.

Car overturned

That same Car on fire

And again

People smashing the BMO

Another car on fire

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Another Amazing TED Talk

So I came upon this talk a while ago and totally forgot to post it. This an especially amazing talk I was introduced to by William Bakker one of the Chief Strategists at my internship at Think! Social Media. He posted it on his blog and I watched it from there.

The talk is by Simon Sinek and titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. It talks about…how businesses are going about their business all wrong basically, but the video explains it better than I ever could!

It’s 18 minutes long…but it’s a seriously motivating 18 minutes. I highly recommend just giving it a quick look and you might just end up watching the whole thing like I did.

Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Vancouver’s Biggest Bake Sale

Once of the signs at the entrace to the Roundhouse Community Centre

Last week, on April 20th I went to a bake sale fundraiser at the Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre called “Bake for the Quake”. It was planned by two local food bloggers, Melody Fury of GourmetFury.com and Joy of Gourmeted.com, as a collaborative fundraiser for the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. All proceeds from the bake sale went to Doctors Without Borders. Initially they had hoped to raise $5,000 but after being flooded with over 650 people in a 2.5-hour time frame, they had raised $7,136! So what was expected to be a rather small time bake sale was instead one of, if not the, biggest bake sale in Vancouver’s history.

A few of the bakers and their wares nearest the door

It was a very fun little event! There was live music and a huge array of different goodies to choose from. To find more info on the event, and to see some pictures check out the bake sale’s official website: http://bakeforthequake.com/

One of the cool things I really liked about the event was how they handled the money. As you were waiting in line to get into the actual room of the event, there were volunteers roaming the line up selling tickets. These weren’t raffle tickets…they were your form of money once you got inside! Each ticket you bought was worth a dollar, so instead of fumbling for money and change you simply dealt with tickets, and bought more if you ran out. Most items were worth 2-3 tickets (most cookies and cupcakes) other things like the various loaves and other higher priced goodies could range all the way up to 15 tickets (or $15)!

Almost everything was wrapped...and some vendors put a lot of effort into making theirs look nice

Initially I spent $25, however I ran into a previous coworker, Robyn Hanson, who had been given a bunch of tickets, and she then kindly gave me 5 of her tickets! So I got an extra couple items with that. Other then Robyn I only ran into one other person I knew, Saschie, a classmate of mine. She was there as a baker though and she made some fabulous 2 ticket cookies.

All in all it was a good event aside from the total lack of space…however the organizers were not expecting anywhere near the volume of people that ended up coming…so that I understand.

The following two pictures are of the things that I bought…with the exception of the Chai Cupcake I ate on the Skytrain ride home. The rest of the images are others I took at the event.

These are some of the cuter things that I bought

These are the rest of the goodies I bought...with a more chocolately theme.

I took a picture of these for my sister...she loves cute things like this

This was 45 mins after the start of the event...and this guy was totally sold out!

Annnd this was the shortbread table. All of them were so nicely decorated I didn't know what to pick!

Facebook – Gaining the ‘like’

This is a blog post I wrote during my practicum at Think! Social Media. It talks about the best practices for Facebook landing pages (I explain more in the post…read it!) and how by doing these few simple things you can gain more fans or ‘likes’ on your fan page. This also ties into Think!’s newest Facebook app – the CMS landing page (basically a landing page you can customize without having to know how to code, to learn more check out their blog post about it)

Enjoy!

How to get people to ‘like’ you – Best Practices

For Facebook fan pages the real trick is to get people not only to see your page…but also to ‘like’ it. However, making people curious and interested enough to actually ‘like’ your page is the hard part. One of the best things you can do for your Facebook fan page is to create a default ‘welcome’ landing page. This way, when people visit your Facebook page for the first time they aren’t dumped straight on to your wall.

Why is this important? Well when people are dropped straight onto your Facebook wall, they don’t necessarily know anything about you! All the wall gives them is the conversation instead of the “who, what, when, where, and why” of your company, product, etc. By having a welcome page you can give the potential fans all that information in one fell swoop and get them interested at the same time. Once you capture your audience’s attention you can tell them why they should be a fan (what’s in it for them?); you can introduce yourself and/or your team; and then introduce your product or why you’re here. Once you’ve got them to ‘like’ your page you can keep them coming back for more by posting deals, daily/weekly tips or other free informational content.

Now that you know why you should have a welcome page the next step is to actually figure out what makes a good page. You can’t just throw all your information on it and expect everyone to care as passionately as you do. You need to create interest to lure fans in. Here’s a list of some popular best practices for landing pages that you can choose from:

  1. Simply getting the ‘likes’
  2. Using the Facebook ‘reveal’ tab to get ‘likes’
  3. Consistent branding – website, landing page, profile picture

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Simply getting the ‘likes’

One tactic you can use to gain more Facebook ‘likes’ is to have your landing page be clutter free and all about the single goal of getting more fans. The RedBull fan page does a perfect job of this. Everything else has been blurred out in the background so that it’s obvious that all they want you to do is ‘like’ their page.

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Using the Facebook ‘reveal’ tab to get ‘likes’

A great way to do this is by using a “reveal tab” where fans have to ‘like’ your page to reveal more information – like a deal, free webinar, top tips, etc.

Teesey Tees does a great job of the reveal tab idea. They pique your curiosity by blacking out so much of the text and in order to view that info you need to like the page.

After you ‘like’ Teesey Tees, the below picture is what the page looks like. Not only is it kind of funny tongue-in-cheek humor but they also give you a discount code to use. Another thing you can do along this line is to make this a limited time offer.

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Consistent branding – website, landing page, profile picture

The BC Mental Health Foundation has done an amazing job of keeping their branding the same across their website and Facebook pages. As you can see from the first picture, their Facebook landing page and profile picture use the same logo and colours. If you look to the second picture you can see that these are the same pictures used on their website as well.

Keeping your branding consistent helps to lend an air of credibility to the online presence of any business and The BC Mental Health Foundation has nailed this.

A Taste of Naples

Wednesday last week (March 23rd) was probably the nicest day I have experienced all winter. The sun came blazing in the windows all along the backside of the Think! office and filled the entire space with warmth and natural light! It finally started to feel like spring (although that’s changed now that the weather has reverted back to being grey and dreary).

Some of our colleagues were in snowy, cold Vulcan, a small Alberta town, so we gave them the Vulcan salute in the sunshine on our way to the restaurant

Earlier in the week Ben had invited everyone at the office out to lunch at a newly opened restaurant on East Cordova in Gastown called Nicli Antica Pizzeria. We had planned to go on Wednesday, and since it was such a beautiful day, instead of driving we decided to walk (Thank God I wore comfortable shoes, the walk took us 25 mins!)

For those of you (like myself) that have never heard of Nicli Antica Pizzeria, it is probably due to the fact that they opened about 6 weeks ago. They make authentic and traditional wood-fired pizza in the Naples-style (Neapolitan pizza…I’ll explain later on, and no it has nothing to do with the ice cream). They make their pizzas using only the finest and freshest traditional ingredients and their wood-fired oven, is authentic too – made from the stone of Mt. Vesuvius. Nicli’s pizza is formed by hand and cooked in a 900ºF wood-fired oven for roughly 90 seconds. This creates a pizza with the following:

  • A light and fluffy crust which has a tiny bit of crunch
  • Flame blackened blisters may appear along the crust
  • A soft thin centre
  • 27-30 centimetres in diameter

This is the wood-fire oven in the back of the restaurant. I liked being able to see them make the pizzas

We got three different pizzas to split between Ben, Paul, Helen, Robyn and myself. Originally we only thought to get two pizzas…but they all looked so good that we figured we’d get the extra one and just have some excellent leftovers…but as it turned out there were no leftovers! The first pizza we ordered was the Capricciosa made with pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte (soft type of mozzarella made from cow’s milk), prosciutto cotto, artichokes, funghi, black olives, and basil. The second pizza we ordered was the Diavola with pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte, sopressatta (hot salami), parmigiano, basil, and finished with chili oil. And my personal favourite was the last pizza we ordered, the Bianca with extra virgin olive oil, parmigiano, roasted garlic, roasted onion, oregano, and gorgonzola.

From left to right: Robyn, Myself, Helen, Paul (nearest) and Ben (furthest away)

An interesting thing to note is that with the Nicli pizzas (or any authentic Neapolitan pizza) the addition of sauce, cheese and other toppings creates a pizza center that is generally soft and moist.  Because of this, Napolitanas traditionally eat their pizzas uncut with a knife and fork, or tear them apart manually and eat them folded “libretto” style. Now if you’re eating a pizza by yourself I’m sure this is a great way to do it…but when you’re sharing pizzas in a group this is a little awkward…I think we all would have appreciated a pizza cutter!

 

Ok, so now to explain a little more about Nicli’s and traditional Italian pizzas…what is Neapolitan pizza or pizza Napoletana? This is Naples-style, traditional pizza…nothing to do with the Neapolitan that is associated with Neapolitan ice cream. In Italy, there is a bill before Parliament to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza, specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas that followed these guidelines can be called “traditional Italian pizzas” in Italy.

The owner of Nicli’s – Bill McCraig wants to have Nicli certified as a Vera Pizza Napoletana establishment (there is only one other certified VPN in Canada and that’s Libretto in Toronto so Nicli’s would be the only one of its kind in Vancouver). The first step of this journey is to go down to California and take the Vera Pizza Napoletana Americas Association course – which McCraig has done. According to the Vera Pizza Napoletana Americas Association, a genuine Neapolitan pizza must consist of the following:

  • Dough consisting of wheat flour (usually type 0 or 00 – all this means is how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed), natural Neapolitan yeast, salt and water.
  • The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer.
  • After the rising process, the dough must be formed strictly by hand, and may be no more than 3 mm (⅛ in) thick.
  • The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire.
  • When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant.

Quite a few of these guidelines are things that Nicli’s already does, so in my books they shouldn’t have any trouble getting the VPN certification (if they don’t have it already).

The following are a couple other pictures I took of around the restaurant. They’ve furnished it quite nicely even if it’s a little small (and always busy!)

Right across from us was the Bar, complete with wine selection

Off to my left was the storefront and the row of tables against the wall where we were sitting

 

Cool things at Think!

So now that I’ve been at Think! for a week I’ve come to like quite a few things about the office and the people of course.

Today, I finally got to meet William Bakker, one of the chief strategists at Think! although not for too long since he had something else to go do with Rodney. I also got to meet Ben Vadasz last Friday, although that wasn’t for too long either, since I had to leave to catch the ferry for the Island.


The urgent "To Do" list

At the office they have some really cool knick knacks floating around! Such as this really cool “To Do” list:


Most awesome stamps ever

And there is also their really cool Facebook “like” and “dislike” stamps! Needless to say I’ve stamped a couple things…

I also finished off quite a few tasks, on my first week so far I’ve done:

  1. 11 pages of tourism and business media in North America, Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
  2. A media list of supporters and opposition for the Calgary Stampede.
  3. Tweets and Facebook posts for Camping and RVing BC Coalition and the Travelling in BC pages.
  4. A list of blogs in the Calgary area (similar influence as Miss 604 in Vancouver).
  5. Researched the locations, contact info and dates of State Tourism Conference’s and/or Governor’s Tourism Conferences for every State in the USA.

So it’s been a great start. I’ve enjoyed working at Think! so far because I haven’t been given menial tasks to do! No paper shredding, coffee runs, or other secretarial tasks…I’ve simply been handed a real task and that’s that…as you can see in the list above. We all work in one big off so I have no problem asking questions if I have them. Everyone has been super friendly to me and they’re quite a fun, and easy going group considering all the work they do!

I have some pictures of the work space at Think! so here they are:

View from the entry way of Think! The office space and extends more to the right around the corner of the Boardroom. The Kitchen is on the left around the corner of the counter. Through the little doorway you can see 2 of the team members at Think! Phil, and Rodney.

This is the view to the right of the above image, the main workspace at Think! and I sit at the back right corner of this table

And this the view to the left of the first image, showing a bit of the kitchen space. This is also the view from my seat.

First Day At Think!

Part of my PR program’s second year requirement is for the students to spend a month of their last semester doing an unpaid internship (sometimes it can be paid…but rarely). So the second year  get increasingly stressful until BAM you’re on your practicum…plus you’re responsible for finding your own practicum. So far this semester we’ve planned a huge event (where we raised over $10,000) and had the regular 4 months worth of classes and projects crammed into 3 months. This is then followed by our month-long practicum/internship and then a couple more projects due in April before we’re done! So the practicum basically signals the end of our schooling…which is a combination of “Hooray!” and “Oh shit…” So there’s an interesting mix of excitement and nervousness!

Carrying on…with all that said, yesterday was my first day of my practicum! This year the ‘month’ goes from March 7th to April 1st. So here I am!

I’m working with Think! Social Media for my practicum, a small, fun group based out of a building in Yaletown just up the street from the Yaletown-Roundhouse Skytrain stop. They’re a social media agency with a focus in the tourism industry. On their website it very accurately describes that they provide “Social Media solutions for the Tourism industry”. About 90% of their work is in BC and rest is spread through Alberta and a couple other locations.

Yesterday I was tasked on compiling a media list for them, including some of the major media sources and tourism/marketing media from North America, Canada, BC, Vancouver area, and Vancouver Island…so far I’m on 7.5 pages and I haven’t even started on Alberta yet! Overall yesterday was a great start! I felt productive and got a fair bit done.

On a more casual note Rodney Payne, the founder and executive director, took Robyn, Phil and I out to lunch at the Hurricane Grill in Yaletown. I’d never been there before and it was quite good!

I also wrote Happy Birthday on a whiteboard for Will one of the other Think!ers.

Myself, Robyn, Rodney and Phil

As for today, my second day at Think! I believe it will be more of the same = working on the media list and a couple other tasks. It is Rodney’s birthday today and Phil brought some balloons and little Happy Birthday hats that we were wearing…but everyone has gradually taken them off (Mine was the last one standing, hahaha).

Anyway, back to work!