SPECIAL 10 TO WATCH ISSUE
A P R / M AY 2 0 1 8
Cool, creative and risking it all, this year’s 10 to Watch winners are Vancouver Island’s Best New Businesses
Two champion windsurfers create a company that is known around the world
AND HOW TO MANAGE THEM
A BIGGER BUSINESS ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER, BUT SMALL CAN BE STAGNATING
IS IT TIME TO END OPEN-PEN FISH FARMING? PM41295544
Kimia Hamidi (left), Rahul Bhatia (centre) and Peter Mirmotahari of Ghostit
CRAFTSMANSHIP MEETS PERFORMANCE
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10 TO WATCH WINNERS
Douglas shines the spotlight on Island innovation with our 9th annual 10 to Watch Awards.
30 Analog Revolution
6 FROM THE EDITOR
As our world becomes increasingly digital, the business of “real things” is booming. BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
60 Troubled Waters
IN THE KNOW
An innovation challenge, the business of sport and rebuilding trust after a crisis.
20 TAKE THREE
Cooling the cycling conflict. BY PAUL CORNS
Douglas deep dives into the controversy of open-net pen salmon farming in B.C. — an issue that has divided neighbours and communities. BY ANDREW FINDLAY
Do sales and marketing need relationship therapy?
Why size matters.
70 The Power of Personality in the Workplace
22 THE BIG IDEA
Ocean Rodeo goes against the flow. BY KARIN OLAFSON
Bitcoins, blockchain and confusion.
82 LAST PAGE
BY STEVE BOKOR AND IAN DAVID CLARK
The character and temperament of the people you work with are critical to your team’s success. BY PAMELA ROTH
A cut above at Jimmy’s Barber Shop. BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
BY CLEMENS RETTICH
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The Risk You Have to Take
MY FAVOURITE QUESTION that our reporters ask our 10 to Watch winners each year is: What scared you most about starting your business? In the nine years since Douglas launched the annual 10 to Watch Awards, the winners have named everything from fear of giving up salaried jobs to fear of losing their investors’ money. These are legitimate fears, but they didn’t stop our winners from moving forward. Instead, they found the moxy to walk, jump or catapult past those fears to start new enterprises in everything from creating a circus school to using artificial intelligence to screen rental tenants. Business culture talks a lot about how entrepreneurs need to possess courage, boldness and even audacity, but the fear factor is often ignored. Yet one of the most important lessons new businesses can learn is how to distinguish between fear that is useful and warns of danger, and fear that derails us or causes us to make bad decisions. Psychologists tell us that, typically, when humans feel fear, we get aggressive to scare away the threat and regain control; or we run away, physically or emotionally, to avoid a situation; or we become immobilized, hoping the enemy won’t notice us (or will think we’re dead and therefore not a threat!). In business, reaction to fear might play out like this: a salesperson who loses a client becomes overly aggressive in an attempt to keep or win clients, and ends up losing more. A CEO having cash-flow issues avoids calling suppliers to negotiate a payment schedule and ends up being sued. Or a retailer faced with new competition refuses to do A smart entrepreneur customer-service improvements because “we were here first” and ends up losing customers who are drawn to the shiny new I know says learning business. how to deal with fear You can see how fear hijacks our sensibilities. So what can we do about it? should be right up A smart entrepreneur I know says learning how to deal there with learning with fear should be right up there with learning how to read how to read a a balance sheet or how to manage employees. I’d add that learning how to deal with fear will improve both your balance balance sheet. sheet and your relationship with your employees. The first thing to do is to acknowledge the fear, to yourself and perhaps to a colleague or mentor, as in: “I’m terrified I’m going to freeze during my pitch to angel investors.” By acknowledging fear, you unburden yourself to work on a course of action instead of going into denial (or asking your COO to do the presentation instead). Maybe you hire a presentation coach to help you prepare and gain confidence. Next, forget about trying to be perfect, which can be ultra-paralyzing. Remember what artist Salvador Dali said: “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.” Finally, move forward. If you’ve acknowledged your fear and determined it’s overblown or irrational (and not a real danger), then put one foot in front of the other and go in the direction of your goals. You might be uncomfortable (or terrified) but you haven’t let your fear control you. It’s a risk, sure, but you have to take it if you hope to make your business successful. On that note, I salute our 10 to Watch winners for 2018. I think I can safely say they’ve all had to overcome fear. The result is some very amazing businesses — and Vancouver Island is more vibrant, bold and entrepreneurial because of them. Publication: Douglas Magazine Material Deadline: February 15, 2018 Insertion Dates: February 2018
C.P. (Chuck) McNaughton, PFP Senior Wealth Advisor ScotiaMcLeod, a division of Scotia Capital Inc.
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VOLUME 12 NUMBER 3 PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jeffrey Bosdet
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steve Bokor, Ian David Clark, Paul Corns, Andrew Findlay, David Lennam, Clemens Rettich, Pamela Roth, Alex Van Tol CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Dean Azim, Jeffrey Bosdet, Joshua Lawrence, Kevin Light Jo-Ann Loro, Darrell LeCorre, Simon Ager
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M A G A Z I N E’S
THANK YOU Now in its 9th year, Douglas magazine’s 10 to Watch Awards foster business growth by increasing awareness of new local businesses who exemplify innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. This could not be done without the support of our sponsors.
COURIER, FREIGHT & LOGISTICS
INNOVATION | DESIGN | BUSINESS | STYLE | PEOPLE
[IN THE KNOW ]
“Think outside the bike with me. E-bikes are really expensive, traffic is bad and no one likes structuring their day around the bus schedule.”
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
— SIMON PARK, INVENTOR OF CABOOST
WINNING AT INNOVATION THE JUDGES RULED, THE AUDIENCE SPOKE AND THE EXPERTS WEIGHED IN TO CHOOSE THE THREE WINNERS OF THE RECENT SOUTH ISLAND PROSPERITY PROJECT OPEN INNOVATION CHALLENGE, A DRAGONS’ DEN-STYLE PITCHFEST. BY DAVID LENNAM Lifecycles’ winning idea is an online portal to connect homeowners with volunteers to harvest fruit that might go to waste.
really did promise to make commuting accessible and I’m going to deliver on that promise,” a beaming Simon Park said, as he accepted a $15,000 cheque as one of three winners of South Island Prosperity Project’s (SIPP) Open Innovation Challenge, held at the University of Victoria on March 11. Park’s enthusiasm made him a bit of a favourite for the 250 people cheering on the 10 finalists making pitches at the culmination of a four-month-long competition to find the best ideas for using data and connected tech to solve realworld problems. The UVic mechanical engineering and business student came up with the idea to boost the pedal power of cyclists by inventing a towable mini bike trailer containing a rechargeable battery. His invention, CABOOST, works with any bicycle and
operates by a smart system that automatically senses when you need a power boost for taking on that hill — and it costs 80 per cent less than an e-bike. The two other winners, also recipients of $15,000 each, are: d Nal-Pal, whose Notification for Naloxone Volunteers app instantly connects naloxone kits with opioid overdose incidents. d LifeCycles, who plan to raise the ante on its already-successful urban fruit-tree project with Harvesting Abundance in the Urban Orchard, an online portal connecting homeowners and volunteers to help harvest fruit that would otherwise end up unpicked. Most finalists came up with tech-based ideas, which fit snugly into SIPP’s determination to have Victoria recognized as a hub of new ways of rising to the challenges of growing a city, economically and sustainably.
WHAT SMART CITIES DO
REALIZE OUTCOMES FOR RESIDENTS
EMPOWER COMMUNITIES TO INNOVATE
FORGE NEW PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS
CITY GETS SMARTER GETTING READY TO COMPETE IN THE SMART CITY CHALLENGE The Open Innovation Challenge is part of the framework the South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) is creating as it prepares its regional bid for Infrastructure Canada’s Canadian Smart Cities Challenge. More than $50 million in federal funding is up for grabs for any city with the smarts to improve the lives of residents and solve real-world issues using innovation, data and connected technology. In preparation, SIPP has been engaging municipalities, academia, Indigenous communities, businesses and other stakeholders in conversations about challenges in the region. Part of the buildup included November’s Smart South Island Symposium, a chance to debate opportunities and challenges that come with local smart and sustainable development. Winners of the Smart Cities Challenge will be announced in the spring of 2019.
Technology doesn’t make cities smart. Smart cities use tech to improve lives. — EMILIE DE ROSENROLL, CEO OF SIPP, WHICH IS LEADING THE REGION’S SMART-CITY BID
Pattison’s bridge is modelled on Norway’s Skarnsund Bridge, a concrete cable-stayed bridge with a 530-metre span.
A BRIDGE TO INNOVATION? STEPHEN PATTISON wants to build a bridge and that’s why he entered South Island Prosperity’s Innovation Challenge as one of 69 contestants. He didn’t win, but his idea for the South Island Connector bridge is worth noting. The bridge envisioned by the cultural geographer and cartographer isn’t just another route to Esquimalt, nor does it lift up. Instead, Pattison’s bridge is designed to alleviate the logjam of the Malahat, provide a quick, alternate route to #YYJ and ferries, and simplify commuting for up-Island residents. Pattison envisions a one-kilometre span across the narrowest point of Finlayson Arm, west of Durrance Lake to a section of land near Bamberton. Though he estimates his bridge might cost up to $650 million, it would produce cost-saving energy, using solar collectors, wind and tidal flow generators — and even look to convert energy from the movement of traffic on the road deck. Pattison’s idea didn’t make it into the list of finalists because contestants had to have a sense of how their ideas would be implemented and brought to the next level within a one-year period. But Pattison is not deterred by this bold — and some might say audacious — idea. “Oh yeah,” he says, “but I come from a world that’s bold.” DOUGLAS 11
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Feeling the Heat HOW A HOT-YOGA STUDIO IS REBUILDING TRUST AFTER A CRISIS ROCKS ITS COMMUNITY
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MANAGING A CRISIS WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
or Ken Mayes, the sudden closure of Hudson Yoga in late 2017 felt personal, even though he had sold the hot-yoga studio in The Hudson building back in 2015 in order to have time to support his mother after the death of three of his brothers. As the original owner, he still felt proud of the purpose-built space and the community he had created — so he set out to rebuild.
BEING PRESENT The Hudson Yoga community received a shock on November 23, 2017, when students and instructors coming to a class found a letter posted on the locked front door. It was from Townline, the property manager, giving notice that the studio’s lease agreement with the new owner had been terminated due to unpaid rent. Hudson Yoga’s official Facebook page and website disappeared soon after. When a number of the Hudson Yoga customers formed their own Facebook group, they scheduled a community meeting and invited Mayes, as the original owner, to attend. “It became clear the community was reaching out, and that it would be a shame to lose that space,” Mayes says. CUSTOMERS AND CRISIS Mayes contacted Townline and worked out a lease to open a new studio in the space, which he called Quantum Yoga Club. But he knew there were going to be challenges rebuilding trust in the community, and because he had not been
involved in Hudson Yoga for years, he didn’t have access to member contact information. Starting in mid-December, Mayes started offering free yoga, with complimentary water and matand-towel service. The public outreach lasted almost five weeks. Classes grew from two to four a day, as additional staff were brought on. “The whole exercise was to simply say, ‘we are moving forward,’” says Mayes. “I was there every day to answer everyone’s questions. My whole thing was to be there and to be authentic. It was really important to be super honest.” REGAINING TRUST Quantum Yoga Club only started charging fees in mid January, and while initial sales have been strong, Mayes believes it will take a full year to really know if the space can push past the damage done by the interim owner. “It will take a whole cycle to get people to know that we’re here,” Mayes says, “and to build our brand. Like all fitness businesses that operate on memberships, it’s all about growing trust and goodwill.”
“When companies find themselves in the circumstance of having to rebuild their reputation, the best way to move forward is with honesty, and a bit of humility. It’s a time to attend to customers on as personal level as possible; they will be the greatest marketing tools moving into the recovery period.” — TRISHA LEES OWNER, REP LAB COMMUNICATIONS
“Your reputation is your integrity, and integrity to me means consistency in what you think, what you say and what you do — thought, word and action. The only way to rebuild trust — which is what recovering from a crisis is all about — is by consistently acting in a trustworthy way, and by taking responsibility.” — KATHI SPRINGER VP, COMMUNICATIONS AND CORPORATE RELATIONS, PACE GROUP
PUTTING THE SOCIAL IN SOCIAL MEDIA
PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD ACTIVELY USE SOCIAL MEDIA, REPRESENTING
OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION
FACEBOOK USERS IN CANADA. OF THOSE MORE THAN
ARE ACCESSING SOCIAL MEDIA SEVERAL TIMES A DAY SOURCE: STATISTICA
With the ninth annual Social Media Camp starting May 2 at the Victoria Conference Centre, Douglas spoke to the event’s cofounder Chris Burdge to learn how these channels are still relevant to your business — and about the theme of restoring social’s promise. “If your customers are human, social media is more relevant now than ever,” says Chris Burdge, cofounder of Social Media Camp. At this year’s event, organizers are looking to examine the promise of social media and how to make the technology work better for everyone. Along with exploring the marketing opportunities of platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, Social Media Camp presenters and panels will also examine the larger societal implications of social media, tackling areas such as ethics,
behaviour, politics, religion, relationships and more. Notable presenters include Chris Heuer, the founder of the global organization Social Media Club, who will talk about “restoring social’s promise”; and Kim Barrett, a referral marketing specialist, who will do a deep dive into Facebook Messenger. Another major theme of this year’s conference is automation and artificial intelligence (AI), with a number of internationally renowned speakers, including best selling author Paul Skah.
SMALL BUSINESS PAYS MORE
of respondents believe government has big business — not small business — in mind when creating regulations. That’s the finding of the 2018 report, The Cost of Government Regulation on Canadian Businesses, based on a CFIB survey of 7,823 independent business owners in the fall of 2017. The study also shows small businesses pay proportionately more to comply with regulations. The overall cost of regulation for Canadian businesses is
$36.2 BILLION $10 billion of that can be considered redundant or overly burdensome “red tape”
Cost to Comply
per employee businesses with 100+ employees
per employee businesses with fewer than 5 employees
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To Help You Manage Unexpected Change, We’ll Consult with an Expert —
ISLAND GOOD INITIATIVE AIMS TO PROMOTE LOCAL PRODUCTS
Reg Van Lierop roasts coffee beans at Level Ground Trading, one of the local food producers participating in the Island Good initiative.
GLISH Changing markets and our changing lifestyles can send a once-balanced portfolio into disarray. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of regular portfolio reviews.
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
quick reference guide to Edward Jones’ specific brand logos. Fonts
70 PER CENT SERVICES 30 PER CENT GOODS
VANCOUVER ISLAND ECONOMY
Gotham 80 PER CENT SERVICES Gotham is used for all Edward Jones advertising, collateral and communication20 PER CENT GOODS pieces. It is primarily used for body copy. For readability, it is recommended not to go below 9 pt. on 13 pt. Preffered disclaimer style is 7 pt. on 8 pt. book weight.
ITC Franklin Gothic
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SOURCE: STATISTICS CANADA
balance in our Island economy.” verything from kiwis to craft beer is VIEA is an organization working to help the being produced on Vancouver Island, Island make its mark on the global economic and a group of Island-based business tables,people charts, copy heavy documents. is also stage. A reportIt released by VIEA in October thinkand it’s time we promoted 2017 shows that while the Canadian economy these products at home, and beyond our is 70 per cent services and 30 per cent goods, shores. the Island economy is 80 per cent services and On March 21, the Vancouver Island only 20 per cent goods. Economic Alliance (VIEA) launched Island That statistic supports VIEA’s decision. Good, a new initiative aimed at increasing “We want to have every product from the strength of the local food economy. This potatoes to airplane parts marked ‘Grown’ or initiative will run until mid-September in ‘Made on Vancouver Island,” says Hanson. Country Grocer, Thrifty Foods, 49th Parallel As people around the world continually see and Quality Foods. Island-produced goods, this, we believe, will In all stores of the participating grocers, spur interest in Vancouver Island as a great shoppers will be alerted to Vancouver Islandplace to invest as well as to live, and shift that produced food products through a specially 20 per cent to a much higher value.” designed wordmark and in-store signage, VIEA plans to compare same product, as well as external advertising campaigns in same store, same month sales activity during print, and on radio and television. the March-September project with sales “It is our belief that more people will records from 2017 to demonstrate the effect purchase these quality food products made of improved product awareness. They will use or grown close to home if they are more this information to encourage food producers aware of these products and can find them to mark their products Made on Vancouver more easily in stores,” says VIEA President Island or Grown on Vancouver Island, thereby George Hanson. “We believe this will lead further promoting these local products and to increased demand, which can lead to building demand. increased potential for export trade and better
BRITISH COLUMBIA GAMING NUMBERS
DOUBLES MOBILE GAME PORTFOLIO Victoria-based game company DoubleJump acquires TinyMob Games
INCREASE SINCE 2015
INCREASE SINCE 2015
COMPANIES FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES
NUMBER OF GAMING PROJECTS COMPLETED BY COMPANIES IN CANADA
18,868,917 CANADIANS ARE GAMERS
SOURCE: ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION OF CANADA, 2017
In a move designed to strengthen its mobile game portfolio and team, independent game company DoubleJump Games has acquired TinyMob Games. TinyMob’s successful mobile games include the award-winning Tiny Realms, a strategy game set in an immersive fantasy world. The TinyMob team includes veterans from gaming studios such as Electronic Arts and
Disney. TinyMob co-founders Alex Mendelev and Jamie Toghill will take on executive positions at DoubleJump. “Bringing TinyMob Games under the DoubleJump umbrella adds a strong building block to our mission of building generationdefining games ...” says Masoud Nassaji, CEO of DoubleJump, who founded the company in 2014 with Ian Stapleton (SSundee), a top 20
gaming YouTuber with over eight million subscribers. DoubleJump is the creator of Slash Mobs, a mobile role-playing game and mobile platformer Temple Toad. Moving ahead, the company is looking to help other games studios with strategic distribution, introducing high-calibre games to new players around the world.
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BUSINESS IN ACTION
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The VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL MARINA welcomes its first guests to the 28-slip facility this May, with space for yachts between 65 and 175 feet. Plans for the marina, now in the final stage of construction, include an amenity building that features a crew lounge, reception lounge and business centre along with Boom & Batten, an onsite restaurant.
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* Compound annual returns are from inception December 15, 1994 to January 15, 2018. The Odlum Brown Model Portfolio was established by the Research Department in December 1994, with a hypothetical investment of $250,000. These are gross figures before fees. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Trades are made using the closing price on the day a change is announced.
Feel free to contact me to learn more. R. H. Mark Mawhinney, CPA, CMA Investment Advisor Tel 250-952-7755 email@example.com Victoria-based DEEBEE’S ORGANICS has announced a milestone retail agreement. Their gluten-, dairy- and GMO-free TeaPops will now be carried by Costco, expanding the brand’s retail reach, which now includes almost every grocery chain across Canada, including Sobeys, Safeway, Loblaws and Whole Foods. DeeBee’s products are also carried in the U.S. by Albertsons, Jewel Osco, HEB and Walmart.
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VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS A BANNER YEAR
Record-setting number of passengers in 2017, up 4.2% over 2016
Daily flights throughout North America
Economic contribution to the region associated with #YYJ’s ongoing activities, up $439M since 2005*
#YYJ’s rank amongst Canada’s busiest airports
Amount #YYJ is investing to double the size its lower passenger departure lounge, including more food, beverage and retail services
Full-time equivalent jobs*
Wages paid in British Columbia*
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*SOURCE: ECONOMIC STUDY, INTERVISTAS CONSULTING, 2017
THE BUSINESS OF SPORT
Blair Dwyer welcomes
Rav Sidhu, J.D. to Vancouver Island’s Tax and Estate Planning Boutique Law Firm
Canada's Admir Cejvanovic is tackled by USA’s Martin Iosefo during the Men’s Rugby sevens semi-final game at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto in 2015. Local sport-tourism proponents want to create the infrastructure to bring high-calibre games like this to Victoria.
Sport Tourism Takes the Spotlight AS THE SPORT TOURISM MARKET BECOMES INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE, GREATER VICTORIA SEEKS TO UP ITS GAME
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A new sport-tourism organization has been formed with the goal of strengthening the region’s competitive edge and growing this economic sector. The Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission, designed to build on the achievements of SportHost Victoria, will operate as an independent entity within the legal structure of Tourism Victoria, the region’s largest destination marketing enterprise. “This model makes good sense and is a natural evolution building on the achievements of SportHost,” says Paul Nursey, CEO of Tourism Victoria. Nursey says the commission will have its own membership,
authorities and brand distinction. Tourism Victoria will provide key support in areas like strategy, destination marketing, member recruitment, research and administration. “These synergies allow for a smart, nimble, efficient and collaborative entity that will have greater reach and impact in the market,” Nursey adds. “Under Tourism Victoria’s leadership over the past several years, recognition and awareness of our region as a ‘must see’ destination experience has exploded ...” says Robert Bettauer, CEO of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE).
“We want to leverage that powerful awareness and promote our region as a global destination for hosting quality sporting events. Those of us involved in sport development and sport tourism are very excited by the potential within this new model.” The new commission will operate out of Saanich Commonwealth Place, the current home of SportHost Victoria, which grew out of the success of the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Longtime SportHost executive director Hugh MacDonald retired from the organization in March. A search is underway for an executive director for the new organization.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE TRAINING CENTRE FOR RUGBY CANADA LAUNCHED IN LANGFORD “A facility of this calibre is a game changer for those of us in the program right now, and for the generations of young players coming after us ...” — HARRY JONES, TEAM CAPTAIN, CANADA’S MEN’S SEVENS TEAM
The Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre in Langford was officially opened by Stewart Young, Mayor of the City of Langford and Allen Vansen, Rugby Canada CEO, at a ceremony on February 28. The centre is named for Canadian rugby trailblazer Al Charron, who was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2017. The 1,900-square-metre, twostorey centre represents the single largest investment ever made by Rugby Canada in its effort to grow the sport in Canada and is now in use by Rugby Canada’s national teams as they prepare for upcoming international competition. The high-performance centre features a-stateof-the-art gym with elite strength and conditioning
equipment, onsite treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pools, meeting rooms for video analysis, a dining lounge and three double-occupancy studio units. Located next to the Westhills Stadium, the centre also features the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame and Museum. “Langford will enter into and promote partnerships with organizations such as Rugby Canada, Cycling Canada and Golf Canada as a means of increasingly diversifying our economy through sport tourism,” says Langford Mayor Stewart Young. These partnerships, he adds, will help attact world class sporting events such as the HSBC Sevens World Series and America’s Cup Rugby Challenge.
WILL WESTHILLS STADIUM BECOME LANGFORD’S FIELD OF DREAMS? Westhills Stadium is getting ready for a $5 million expansion from 1,718 seats to 8,000. The expansion would position Greater Victoria to host everything from international soccer and rugby games to exhibition games for the B.C. Lions. Currently, the region’s largest outdoor stadium is Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria, which seats 5,000. Langford Mayor Stewart Young says expanding the stadium is critical for attracting and retaining worldclass sporting events. “Langford is working hard,” he says, “to have the initial phase of the stadium expansion complete for spring 2019.”
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More than 35 PER CENT of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process. IDENTIFYING THE LEAD
DOES YOUR SALES AND MARKETING NEED RELATIONSHIP THERAPY?
While companies often pair marketing and sales in the corporate structure, these entities often don’t align in their approach and messaging. But today’s buyer is socially connected, digitally driven and empowered, with limitless access to information, which means marketing and sales need to present a unified message across all touch points or risk worrying — and losing — customers.
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SHIFTING FOCUS In W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s 2005 bestselling business book Blue Ocean Strategy, they proposed a breakthrough premise: companies should stop trying to beat the competition and instead focus on finding “blue oceans” — new markets or innovations devoid of competition that will create new demand. In their follow-up Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing — Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth, the authors (who are both professors of strategy at the global business school INSEAD) detail a systematic process for identifying those uncharted waters and how to turn them into new markets.
Business Lingo SMARKETING This mash-up of sales and marketing refers to the practice of aligning the two departments’ efforts. (Apparently it’s not only celebrity power couples like Brangelina and Bennifer who get snappy portmanteaus.)
TECH TOOLS EQUIP YOUR SALES AND MARKETING TEAMS FOR SUCCESS
WORK TOGETHER TO MAXIMIZE GROWTH TIP BRIDGE THE GAP Communication is crucial, so schedule regular meetings with the entire sales and marketing departments, not just the managers. Encourage both departments to attend events together — such as the lunch and learns by Sales & Marketing Executives Victoria — so they can interact outside of the usual office setting.
According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, organizations with sales and marketing alignment achieved 20% annual revenue growth, while counterparts without aligned teams saw revenues decline by 4%.
TIP RECOGNIZE DIFFERENCES Harvard Business Review’s article “Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing” identified the friction points between the two departments as economics and culture. Educating each on what the other is doing — and why — and elaborating on the mutual benefits, can break down the disconnect. TIP SET YOUR SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT To help your teams reach their shared goals, consider implementing a service level agreement (SLA). This should detail marketing goals — with concrete numerical targets — and the sales activities that will support them. Both teams use this SLA as a commitment to support each other, based on those set targets.
MARKETO This marketing platform provides automated lead nurturing and campaign management, freeing up time to focus on important strategic and creative activities. A Sales Insight component also shows who is visiting the company’s website, identifying potential customers.
LEADBERRY Powered by Google Analytics and a proprietary algorithm, Leadberry allows users to see which companies have visited their website. Beyond company names, prospect data includes the company’s URL and social media pages.
Joe Girard, the founder of Change Grow Achieve, is a Victoria-based sales coach who helps organizations around the world learn how to increase sales and make the most of their business opportunities.
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Misalignment between sales and marketing isn’t a new problem but it is one whose effects are being felt more than ever before. Aligned to Achieve: How to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams into a Single Force for Growth, written by sales and marketing executives Tracy Eiler and Andrea Austin, helps readers understand the cost of the disconnect and shares strategies and processes to kickstart collaboration.
ASK THE EXPERT How important is marketing and sales alignment? It’s more important today because there is so much noise. We’re bombarded by email and marketing messages. If they’re not in line there is a continuity issue. As a customer, you want to know that if your contact gets hit by a bus, the company can deliver for you. The buying decision is always based on trust. If marketing and sales aren’t in alignment, [the buyer’s] spidey sense goes off. What do you say to people who believe there is nothing new to learn about selling? The biggest “ah-ha” for me over the last few years is that, while there are unlimited technical things you can learn about prospecting, building systems, CRM and all
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these new tools like chat bots, the area that really makes more sense to focus on is psychology. By learning about neuroscience, influence, habit and subconscious communication, you can start to understand what is really going on in customers’ minds. What do you think of social selling? You have to go where your customers are. The challenge I see is that we’re being told we have to be on LinkedIn and Twitter and Pinterest, and the next thing — there are a million places you have to be. So everyone sells a program to teach you how to do that, not knowing if it’s exactly right for your business. You have to be social selling where your customers are. If they’re not on LinkedIn, a LinkedIn strategy is stupid.
SALESFORCE The go-to CRM, Salesforce is packed with features and built-in tools. It’s adaptable to any business and is built to scale, whether your company needs to increase leads, report sales or collect data. It helps companies nurture clients — and creates a more cohesive sales team.
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THE BIG IDEA BY KARIN OLAFSON PHOTO BY JEFFREY BOSDET
Ocean Two champion windsurfers not only pioneered the sport of kiteboarding, they went on to create a company that is known around the world for its performance-oriented drysuits and kiteboarding equipment. And itâ€™s all centred here in Victoria.
Richard Myerscough (left) and Ross Harrington, founders of Ocean Rodeo
GOING AGAINST THE FLOW
ack in 1977, anyone watching Richard Myerscough and Ross Harrington at Elk Lake on a blustery winter day would have had no idea what the two young boys were doing. Balancing on boards and using homemade sails, the pair raced on the lake’s choppy waters. As it turns out, they were windsurfing — something practically no one else was doing on Vancouver Island. The pair met as kids and became friends because of their mutual love for watersports. Harrington taught Myerscough how windsurfing was done. They loved the sport, but it was such early days for it that innovation was a necessity. “Ross and I both grew up with a lack of equipment as youth, so we’d make and design things ourselves,” says Myerscough, who was making his own wetsuits even before he became a teenager. Harrington, meanwhile, was making his own sails, and he built his first hang-glider when he was just 10 years old. To say Myerscough and Harrington popularized windsurfing on the Island is an understatement. In fact, they made the then-obscure sport visible to locals and put the Island on the map as a place that produced windsurfing athletes. Both went on to compete at a high level. Harrington
“We’re not afraid of being safety-interested. For so many of the brands out there, it’s about the cool factor. But when we started kiteboarding, there was roughly a fatality a week.”
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EXPLORING NEW WATERS When their racing days were over, Myerscough and Harrington entered the business world. But, as with their sporting interests, their business pursuits were anything but traditional. Harrington made windsurfing sails for Windsure, a Vancouver-based company, before founding his own sail brand, Venturi Designs, in the late 1980s. In 1992 Myerscough cofounded Whites Manufacturing Ltd., a local drysuit manufacturer (now owned by Aqua Lung, one of the largest watersport companies in the world). By the late 90s, they were eyeing a brandnew sport: kiteboarding. At the time, hardly anyone else was doing it, so the pair effectively became worldwide kiteboarding pioneers. But finding the right gear to do the new sport they loved so much was an issue, and once again, necessity drove them to make their own equipment. In 2001, the duo merged their sporting and entrepreneurial interests together and Ocean Rodeo, an offshoot of Whites, was born.
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INNOVATION AND INVENTION The Ocean Rodeo HQ is decidedly nondescript, operating out of a small house in Saanich, just off the Galloping Goose Trail. Most passersby would have no idea of the innovation happening inside. Drysuits crowd a coat rack at the office’s front door, and downstairs is the design hub where the company’s cutting-edge products come to life. Both men, in their 50s, fit and with an energetic enthusiasm — and who are still athletes at heart — test these products themselves in the cold, extreme water conditions around Vancouver Island. The company isn’t afraid to do things a little differently, and this is something that has propelled its international-level success. Myerscough says Ocean Rodeo was just the fourth company in the world to make and sell kiteboarding equipment. While it isn’t the biggest kiteboarding company in the market, it is a world leader in innovation and intellectual property (IP). According to Harrington, Ocean Rodeo has more IP than anyone else in the industry, largely because, unlike other kiteboarding companies, Ocean Rodeo is not interested in being a trendy fashion brand. “We’re not afraid of being safetyinterested,” says Harrington. “For so many of the brands out there, it’s about the cool factor. But when we started kiteboarding, there was roughly a fatality a week. As the industry has matured, people [working in the industry] are becoming a lot more aware of safety and they have to play the catch-up game to get to where we have already been.”
SAFETY FIRST The company has patented numerous kiteboarding innovations that have made the sport safer for its participants. In 2001, Harrington spearheaded the Push-Away Release, a safety device that disconnects the athlete from the kite, and it is still the number one safety innovation in the sport. The Go-Joe is another example. Myerscough describes it as an inflatable, leashless board recovery tool. Before the Go-Joe, athletes used surfboard leashes to tether their kiteboard to their ankles; with this set-up, a board could submarine, shoot back and hit the athlete, which killed numerous people. “We sell thousands of these things,” says Harrington. “You can go to a [kiteboarding] school anywhere in the world and they will have our Go-Joes.” Other inventions aren’t just for safety, like the Mako board, a cutting-edge, bidirectional board they invented in 2003 and which is still unmatched in quality by any competitor, and the Soul drysuit with Captive Zip Self Entry, Ocean Rodeo’s best-selling suit designed to 26 DOUGLAS
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Prodigy is Ocean Rodeo’s bestselling kite and features state-ofthe-art fabrics and components in its ultralight yet rugged design.
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
look like a jacket and pants. There are more patented innovations than can be listed. Andrea Blaylock, a sales and marketing consultant who worked for Ocean Rodeo in 2017 and who now sits as an advisor on Ocean Rodeo’s board, is a believer in the high-quality products the brand is putting on the market. “Ocean Rodeo is run by true inventors,” says Blaylock. “They are coming up with stateof-the-art design products. Richard is a genius. Ross is such a gifted designer. Between the two of them, their inventions are so innovative and forward-thinking.” Local athlete Simon Whitfield knows high-quality sporting products. He won the gold medal in triathlon at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, but these days Whitfield does standup paddleboarding and runs a physical literacy club called BlackFish RedDragon BlueWhale. And when he’s out on the ocean in cold weather, he’s wearing his orange Ocean Rodeo Ignite drysuit. “I’ve tried other drysuits, and they’re doing things right at Ocean Rodeo,” says Whitfield. “I like the flexibility. With other suits you’re either in it or out of it, but there’s a middle option with the Ignite. And then there’s the tailoring: I’ve found other suits are either bunchy or too tight. Ocean Rodeo drysuits just fit properly.”
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This brand loyalty extends beyond Vancouver Island. Windance Boardshop, located in Hood River, Oregon, and one of the largest kiteboarding retailers in North America, also believes in Ocean Rodeo’s quality. According to Dave Nunn, the shop’s owner, when Windance first expanded into kiteboarding the team researched all the brands out there to find the very best. Today Windance represents just three of the over 30 kiteboarding brands. Ocean Rodeo is one of them, having won Windance’s business over much larger brands on the market. “The one unique characteristic of the company is its willingness to pursue uncommon designs,” says Nunn. “For example, Ocean Rodeo designed the Mako board with a very round outline and bottom shape, and it has been our top-selling board for 10 years in a row — very unusual in this fastmoving industry.”
NEW MARKETS, NEW ADVENTURES Ocean Rodeo’s innovation isn’t slowing down. The company recently expanded into new markets when, in 2017, a European specialforces group asked Ocean Rodeo to design a new drysuit. Myerscough designed Phase 3, a drysuit with no pressure points and with an unconventional zipper: entry is through the seat of the suit, using the patented zipper technology called Luna Zip Self Entry that Ocean Rodeo also designed. Ocean Rodeo has started selling these to elite law-enforcement units around the world. “I think the biggest side of the business is going to come from our technical marine apparel,” adds Myerscough. “We’ve invented some new zipper technologies and are on the verge of creating a whole new thing. We have some exciting stuff coming.”
GLOBAL APPEAL The challenges Ocean Rodeo has faced over its nearly two decades have resulted in big rewards. The company has grown from a team of five in 2012 to a team of 20 today. It sells products to almost 50 countries and has manufacturing partners in five. Recently Larry Page, co-founder of Google, bought Ocean Rodeo’s Mako boards. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, ordered its kites. To top it all off, kiteboarding, which the duo pioneered — is now a recognized sport and will debut at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires this October. As for Myerscough and Harrington, they went against the flow when they were kids. They go against convention in business. And they have no plans to start following the status quo now. ■ DOUGLAS 29
As our world becomes increasingly digital, people crave “real things” more than ever — and that’s a tremendous opportunity for small businesses, locally and globally. BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
REVENGE OF ANALOG It was vinyl that inspired Toronto-based business writer David Sax to write his latest book, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. His own rediscovery of the joys of putting an album on the turntable led him to explore the limited appeal of a purely digital life. In his book he outlines the recent resurgence of analog, including vinyl, paper,
Along with restoring and preserving vintage amplifiers, Gord Butterfield and his daughter Michelle Butterfield of Butterfield Amplifiers build fully customized models.
film, board games and retail. From United Record Pressing, a vinyl plant in Nashville producing 40,000 records a day (and whose staff has tripled since 2010) to indie bookstore Book Culture in Manhattan to Snakes & Lattes, a board-game cafe in Toronto (where customers can play games from a 3,000-plus collection) Sax highlights the entrepreneurs and small-business owners who have thrived making and selling real-world things. And Sax doesn’t think the market is going away. “It is something that will only grow as digital technology becomes more pervasive,” Sax says, on the phone from Toronto. “It is a natural reaction to the ubiquitousness of digital in our lives. Digital is all sorts of wonderful things but it’s incredibly standardized. We all have the same phones and we all use the same apps. There is nothing unique about it. We’re searching for something else beyond that. The more of our work, the more of our home life, the more of our pleasure is accessed through digital, the more we’re going to respond and the more value there is going to be in the analog equivalent.”
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
here’s a fairly new tradition in my household. We call it “Analog Sunday” and it involves putting some vinyl on our turntable, tucking into a new book — or tackling the stack of New Yorker magazines — and drinking copious amounts of coffee. There’s only one rule: no screens. Often the books or records enjoyed on an Analog Sunday come from our Saturday wander through Victoria: a new crime thriller discovered at Munro’s Books or a long-coveted album purchased at Vinyl Envy. Despite the unlimited digital resources available to the world, we are not alone in our embrace of “real things.” A veritable revolution has taken place, with consumers returning to analog goods, experiences and businesses — which many people once thought were endangered — creating a thriving smallbusiness economy powered by the human need to interact with objects and other people. “Without getting philosophical, I think it has to do with the fact that certain people feel things are going too fast, and they need to slow down and not push a button and get everything,” says Michael Cline, owner of the record store Vinyl Envy. “There is something about sitting and listening to the full side of a record as opposed to playing ping pong with a tablet.” Cline opened Vinyl Envy on Quadra Street three years ago. He’s seen steady growth, month over month, in that time. This analog trend is not just anecdotal or limited to Victoria. Nielsen Music Canada’s year-end report for 2017 recorded the highest vinyl LP sales in the 20 years the measurement firm has been collecting this statistic. In 2017 a 21.8 per cent increase occurred in vinyl sales — the seventh straight year of growth for the format. And while e-books were the supposed death of paper books, they only made up 16.8 per cent of total book sales in Canada in 2016.
ANALOG BY THE NUMBERS Deloitte Global predicted vinyl records and related accessories would have generated approximately $1 billion globally in revenue by the end of 2017. In the 20 years Nielsen Canada has been collecting information on vinyl LP sales, 2017 set a record for the most. Last year sales increased 21.8% to 804,000 units, marking the seventh straight year of growth for the format. While print book sales in the Canadian market fell in 2017, dropping 3% in value sold compared to 2016, Canadian book buyers still purchased 51.5 million print books, equalling just over $1 billion in value. The Global Board Games Market — Strategic Assessment and Forecast predicts the board games market will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 9% from 2016 to 2022.
JO-ANN LORO/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
At Victoria’s Interactivity Board Game Cafe on Yates Street, players can also enjoy drinks and snacks, from bowls of chips and candy to grilled sandwiches. The owners have also applied for a liquor licence for a section of the space.
This search for something beyond the digital experience is just one of the elements behind the popularity of Butterfield Amplifiers. The Victoria-based company has been building, restoring, modifying and repairing guitar and stereo amps since 2009. Run by Gord Butterfield
and his daughter Michelle, the company works with professional musicians, “weekend warriors” and music lovers looking for a highfunctioning and beautiful piece of equipment. “You can buy tube amplifiers that are mass produced, but we are getting a lot of business
from people who want something that is handmade and of high quality,” Gord says. “They want a role in the creative process and I find a lot of them come here and want a personal connection with us. They have the pride of ownership but they can also say they know the craftsperson that created it.” Michelle likens it to the farm-to-table movement: people aren’t only going for the restaurant experience but want to know where the food is coming from and the story behind it. She points to the Butterfield family legacy. Gord learned about tube amps from his father, a professional engineer who designed tube-based industrial control circuits in the 1950s. Gord, in turn, introduced Michelle to the world of guitars as soon as she was big enough to pick one up. “It’s the meet-the-maker element, which we love as much as the people who come through the door,” Michelle says.
OFFLINE CONNECTION One of the trends that Sax explores in The Revenge of Analog is the revenge of the board game. He reports that while the first few decades of massive multiplayer online games did initially cause board game sales to remain “anemic” compared to its heights in the early 1980s, something dramatic has been happening in the past few years. Hobby games sales have more
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than doubled in North America since 2008, posting double-digit growth every year, and making up nearly half of the tabletop game industry’s $2 billion revenue. And there are countless businesses opening up to serve this growing market, from publishers to designers to stores and game cafés. “Tabletop games are booming, in both sales and cultural relevance,” Sax writes. “And it’s happening precisely because of the inherently analog nature of board games and the unique social need they fulfill in our lives.” When Bill Heaton and Jeff Pinder opened Victoria’s Interactivity Board Game Cafe in 2013, they weren’t expecting it to become a downtown hot spot. Heaton admits they were just looking for a fun job and didn’t think they would make much money. They had originally signed for a much smaller location on Fort Street, but as serendipity would have it, that space fell through and they ended up in a 2,700-square-foot space on Yates. In the years since, they have taken over the space next door, expanding their business to 4,800 square feet, with an offering of 800 to 900 board games (from old-school classics such as Scrabble to popular modern games such as Settlers of Catan and Hive Mind). Despite the bigger space, evenings and weekends still see a wait-list for a table. While Heaton jokes that the cost is part of the appeal for the customers (“it’s less than the popcorn at a movie”), he believes the social interaction is the big draw. “People laugh a lot here,” Heaton says. “You rarely see people on phones and that in itself is a rare thing these days. It’s an excuse to interact with people. The games are just a conduit for people to come together and hang out.”
JO-ANN LORO/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
It’s not just the nostalgic baby boomers longing for the past who are embracing analog. Millennials and digital natives — who grew
Vinyl Envy on Quadra Street stocks both new and used vinyl, carrying more than 10,000 LPs. The space also doubles as a live-music venue for local musicians. DOUGLAS 33
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up with computer games, e-books and free access to all of the world’s music — are driving much of the sales of vinyl. According to ICM Research, nearly 50 per cent of vinyl customers are 35 years old or younger, and 25- to 35year-olds are responsible for 33 per cent of the total sales. “I don’t think people are going to it for the sake of nostalgia,” Sax says. “It’s being judged on it’s own merits and as a complement to digital. It’s not the idea of people pushing digital aside. Analog provides that uniqueness and each person accesses it in different ways. It makes some people more productive at work. For others it is strictly for pleasure.” At Butterfield Amplifiers, Michelle and Gord see a mix of both. While some customers love the experience of turning on their record player tube amp and seeing the tubes light up, others are musicians looking for a superior output. “They do go try other technologies but come back to the tried and true,” Gord says. “Most musicians who get to a certain level are always looking for that edge and will try anything that’s new that might give them a new sound. Almost exclusively, I find that they are coming back for the warm lush rounded tone of a really well-made tube amplifier.”
ANALOG AND INNOVATION In The Revenge of Analog, Sax also points to the digital “disruptors” who are embracing analog, not because it’s cool but because it sometimes provides the most efficient, productive way to conduct business. For example, Sax finds a very intentionally analog workplace at the San Francisco headquarters of Yelp, the online platform for crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses. In the engineering department, whiteboards are everywhere — on the walls, on wheels, on the back of laptop screens. This was not always the case, however. When the office was first designed, large digital displays were installed but, according to John Lieu, Yelp’s director of facilities, the engineers revolted, threatening to quit if their whiteboards weren’t reinstalled. According to Lieu, the whiteboards brought the engineers out from behind their screens: “If it’s all computer based, are you really collaborating?” Lieu asks Sax, in The Revenge of Analog. “I mean collaborating emotionally and physically?” However pervasive digital may become, it seems analog can still move the business world. “Innovation can be a piece of paper and a pen as much as it can be a tablet,” Sax says. “You have to access what works and what doesn’t. If you can do that as a business, you are set to use the best of each.” ■
64% Of Websites To Be Labelled Unsecure
t Marwick Marketing we’ve always known that having an SSL Certificate (https over a http connection) can help organic search engine optimization, as well as giving a trust signal to the user. But in recent big news, Google recently announced it will mark all sites that have not migrated to HTTPS as “not secure.” A huge disadvantage for company websites that haven’t adopted this best practice. What’s even more interesting is that in a recent survey of Vancouver Island based companies over 64% of websites were running without a SSL certificate. In short, come July, 64% of business websites could be labelled “unsecured” and see a instant drop in visitors and customers. At present, Google Chrome owns the largest market share of any search engine browser, with a 66% share of all web browser usage on desktops and a greater-than 50% share of mobile search usage. This adds up to a 56% share of all usage across all devices. Chrome has proven so popular that the Chrome brand name has been applied to other devices and services such as Chromecast, Chromebook, Chromebase, Chromebit, and Chromebox.
Clearly, then, while other browsers are destination. Any information being sent not to be overlooked, decisions made by (such as credit card numbers, user names, Google tend to have the greatest impact on and passwords) is visible to the computers the online world and those who do business it passes along the way if it is not encrypted there. with an SSL certificate. The encryption One of Google’s primary goals is to offer provided by the certificate renders your the best possible online experience for its information unreadable to anyone other users. As an example, Google rankings will than the one you are intending to send it to. favour a site that attempts This will give it protection to offer legitimate value from identity thieves and Google gives to users, as opposed to hackers. preference to sites merely serving up affiliate In addition to the that possess an SSL links or offering low quality, encryption that it offers, an (Secure Sockets irrelevant content to SSL certificate serves as readers. authentication, so that you Layer) certificate. Consequently, a can rest assured that the You will be familiar website that offers a secure server you are sending your with these sites, environment for users to information to is the correct possessing HTTPS conduct their affairs in will one, and not an imposter as opposed to HTTP. be viewed as offering a that might be attempting to better experience than one steal your data. which is less secure. But how does Google Https sites are becoming standard, and measure that security? when, starting in July 2018, Google starts Google gives preference to sites that actively calling attention to a site’s lack of possess an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) SSL certificate, this could have the effect of certificate. You will be familiar with these turning away visitors who feel that the site is sites, possessing HTTPS as opposed to not secure. HTTP. You will also see the small padlock It would be in the best interest of any beside the URL in the address bar. business or individual to see to it that their These sites were originally associated site possesses SSL certification. If they do with things like online purchases and not, they may be perceived as unsafe by banking, where they denoted a secure visitors, and less-desirable for a high ranking environment for transactions. Today, they in Google’s metrics. are becoming more common on other types of sites as well, including Facebook, Twitter, Crista-lea Kirk is the Director of Strategy and others. at Marwick Internet Marketing, BC’s SSL is used to keep data encrypted FINAL highest rated Premier Google Partner as it is sent across the internet. When you Agency focusing on search marketing are sending information, it is passed from (SEO & PPC). computer to computer until it reaches its
To contact Crista-lea visit www.marwickmarketing.com or call 604-390-0065
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RISKING IT ALL FOR A They’re creative, they’re cool and they’re risking everything for their dreams. Douglas magazine’s 10 to Watch winners represent Vancouver Island’s best new businesses. Get ready for ideas that are inspiring — and even surprising.
BUSINESS ADVICE FROM THE Fail fast — experiment lots, try stuff and learn from every experience, but be nimble and make changes when things aren’t working. Know when to stay the course and when to course-correct.
I tell new entrepreneurs to surround themselves with people who inspire and challenge them. Build your own personal advisory group to bounce ideas off of, pick their brains and ask for feedback. Key to keeping these advisers engaged is to heed their advice — and if you don’t, explain why.
My dad (a former ad man) always told his clients,“It’s not about your grass seed — it’s about their lawn.” In tech, especially, we talk too much about our tools. But people buy outcomes.
Cathy Whitehead McIntyre
Managing Director, Canada, Beattie Tartan
CEO, Pretio Interactive
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
Principal, Strategic Initiatives Inc.
A better way to satisfy cookie cravings. A service to screen new tenants by using artificial intelligence. A coworking space that is part social club. An accounting firm that operates in the cloud and whose goal is to help its clients work less and play more. This year’s 10 to Watch winners are notable for their willingness to break with tradition, take some very big risks and redefine their niches. And the growing success of these businesses, who have all been in existence for only three years or less, proves the adage: At first they will ask why you are doing it; later they will ask how you did it.
Our 2018 group of winners brings the total number of 10 to Watch recipients to 90 since the awards first launched. People occasionally ask us, “Aren’t you going to run out of great new businesses on Vancouver Island?” It hasn’t happened yet. In fact, we don’t believe we’ll ever run out of new businesses who have the guts, passion, ideas and strategy to succeed. As Vancouver Island’s entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to evolve, the encouragement, resources, funding and camaraderie new businesses can find here is exploding. It’s time for the fireworks!
BY ATHENA MCKENZIE, KARIN OLAFSON, KERRY SLAVENS AND ALEX VAN TOL
VISION 10 TO WATCH JUDGING PANEL To perfect your decision making, you have to know yourself. If you are under the influence of the needs and desires of others, you can’t make an authentic decision. Get comfortable with your line in the sand.
Cultural prejudice and stereotypes are nothing but erroneous mental shortcuts. Exercise respect, tolerance and understanding; contribute to building a better society while avoiding social embarrassment and costly business mistakes.
Stay informed about tech. You don’t have to be a tech wizard yourself. You do need to know what’s happening, what questions to ask and whose answers to trust. If someone can’t explain a tech idea to you — a smart business person — you’re talking to the wrong person.
Dr. Pedro Márquez
Dr. Rebecca Grant
CEO, SATTVA Spa
VP, Global Advancement, Marketing and Business Development, Royal Roads University
Associate Professor, Information Systems, University of Victoria
10 TO WATCH 2018 TITLE SPONSOR
PENINSULA CO-OP CELEBRATING 41 YEARS ...AND STILL 100% LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED In the mid-1970’s, a small group of Saanich Peninsula residents had a powerful vision: Why not start a local Co-op where members are actually owners? This group of local people went door to door, talking about their idea and the principles of coops. They discovered that others were indeed interested, so they continued knocking on doors until they had enough members to open the first Peninsula Co-op Food Centre in May of 1977. Forty-one years later, Peninsula Co-op is still going strong and has grown to more than 95,000 member-owners. After their first store opened on Keating X Road in Saanichton, Peninsula Co-op ventured into the petroleum business in the early 1980’s
H O M E H E AT I N G
and began a partnership with Save-On Gas Ltd. in 1985. Today, Peninsula Co-op has 18 gas centres located between Victoria, Mill Bay, Duncan and in Comox and Campbell River. In April 2017, Peninsula Co-op amalgamated with the North Island Co-op in Campbell River. The amalgamation brought in over 4,000 new member-owners, another gas centre and convenience store. Also in 2017, Peninsula Co-op opened its newest location at 4397 West Shore Parkway in Langford. It’s been four decades of success, proof that when a community puts its mind to a compelling vision, great things are indeed possible.
P R O PA N E
PENNY SOPEL, Marketing and Community Relations Manager
“Douglas’ 10 to Watch program supports new businesses and economic development on the Island, and those principles align perfectly with Peninsula Co-op’s commitment to give back to the community. In 2017, our member-owners received $5.3 million in rebates plus we donated $480,000 to local charities.”
OUR FIRST LOCATION: Keating X Road
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Wale Road: 321 Wale Rd Goldstream: 894 Goldstream Ave Millstream: 2320 Millstream Ave Langford: 4397 West Shore Pkwy Malahat to Duncan Mill Bay: 805 Deloume Rd South Duncan: 4804 Bench Rd Cowichan: 281 Trans-Canada Hwy North Duncan: 1007 Canada Ave Comox 699 Aspen Rd
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LIFE JUST GOT BETTER WITH YOUR CO-OP MEMBERSHIP For a one-time $27 investment you receive a lifetime Peninsula Co-op membership. This is one of the best investments you can make! As a member-owner of Peninsula Co-op, you immediately begin sharing in the profits of the company. Every time you use your Co-op member number, your purchases are recorded. Based on Peninsula Co-op’s profits, a percentage of your purchases is added to your share account and is paid out to you by cheque each year at rebate time. Becoming a member is easy! Apply at www.peninsulaco-op.com or at any of our locations.
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(For a complete list see our website) Greater Victoria Keating: 6764 Oldfield Rd Sidney: 2046 Mills Rd Malahat to Duncan Duncan: 4804 Bench Rd Courtenay 4889 Island Hwy
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As a member-owner of Peninsula Co-op, you receive an annual rebate from all your purchases throughout the year. How many of your other memberships actually give you money back?
A one-time investment of $27 gets you a lifetime business membership. Many business owners find a Peninsula Co-op membership an excellent way of reducing the cost of doing business by taking advantage of our Commercial Services Card offerings. You get all the benefits of membership, plus additional opportunities to save.
10 TO WATCH WINNER
THE COOKIE GUY
“ONE OF MY FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES IS WHEN MY MOM OR GRANDMA BAKED COOKIES. I THINK SELLING AND DELIVERING WARM COOKIES TAPS INTO THE NOSTALGIA OF CHILDHOOD.”
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
HE BEST PART of Matthew Davis’s day is delivering warm, fresh-from-the-oven cookies to unsuspecting local dessert-lovers. He remembers his all-time favourite delivery: the woman was confused at first, but after realizing the cookie delivery wasn’t a mistake, she was overcome with emotion. “She had tears coming down her face, and she jumped up and gave me a hug,” says Davis. “With the deliveries you get laughter, you get tears — I can’t tell you how many hugs I’ve gotten. It puts a smile on my face all the time.” That’s what makes Davis’s business, aptly named The Cookie Guy, so different. Davis says that, to his knowledge, there are no other café-style businesses in town doing baked-to-order, warm cookie deliveries. And, he adds, only a handful of businesses are doing this in North America. Davis, who spent four years working in finance in Dallas, Texas, before moving back to Victoria to open The Cookie Guy, is dedicated to cookie quality. They’re always baked to order and always made in batches of 18 or fewer for quality assurance — even if orders are as big as 2,000 cookies. Since his business opened in October 2016, deliveries have skyrocketed. Averaging two deliveries per week in the early days, The Cookie Guy now does an average of 10 deliveries a day. And Davis is now expanding The Cookie Guy beyond Vancouver Island. He’s working to open a location in Vancouver later this year, and his goal is for stores in Alberta and across the Pacific Northwest to follow. His big goal? “I’d like The Cookie Guy to be a Canadian household name one day.”
Q&A WITH MATTHEW DAVIS OF THE COOKIE GUY What was the best business advice you’ve ever received? Just do it. For me the hardest part was jumping into it. After that, it’s reacting, evaluating and making the best decisions for your business. What advice would you give to someone just starting a business? Have a solid budget in place. I knew exactly what
money I had to spend and how I wanted to spend it. If you’ve got clear-cut budget goals and you can track those goals, you’ll always know whether it’s time to keep moving on or whether it’s time to call it quits. What was the scariest part? Before the soft opening, I did not know how this was going to go. And on the first day of our soft opening it was not going well. That was scary! DOUGLAS 41
TD TDBusiness BusinessBanking Bankingisisproud proudto to support supportDouglas DouglasMagazine’s Magazine’s2018 2018 10 10TO TOWATCH WATCHAwards AwardsCelebration Celebration Congratulations Congratulationstotoallallthe the10 10ToToWatch WatchWinners. Winners. TD TDBusiness BusinessBanking Bankingsalutes salutesyour yourinnovation, innovation, achievement, achievement,and andentrepreneurship entrepreneurshipininour ourcommunity. community.
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JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
“ALL CHEFS WANT A GARDEN AT THEIR FINGERTIPS, BUT THEY HAVE NO TIME TO DO IT. BUILDING GARDENS CLOSE TO WHERE THE CHEFS ARE IS THE SOLUTION.”
10 TO WATCH WINNER
WITH CHRIS HILDRETH OF TOPSOIL What was the best business advice you ever received? I don’t have a background in farming or gardening. I went to a farmer and asked, how do you grow tomatoes? And she said, you could ask 10 different farmers and you’ll get 10 different answers. That solidified it in my mind: there is no wrong way to do this business, you just have to go figure it out for yourself. I rewrote my business plan about 40 times. You have to adapt on the fly and not be scared to just start doing it. What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out? Keep track of all data that you need, not just financially, but looking at the business as a whole. Be able to look back on that month or year so you can move forward better. Be sure you have a bookkeeper right off the bat. The biggest reason why businesses fail is the lack of financial understanding.
y definition of social entrepreneurship is to solve big social or environmental problems through business and that is exactly what I intend to do,” says Chris Hildreth. So far, so good. Hildreth’s farm-to-kitchen company Topsoil supplies Victoria restaurants with in-season produce that’s grown on nearby undeveloped land. Easier said than done. In fact, it took months of slogging to get developers, engineers and architects on board — and to get the City of Victoria to approve commercial urban farming. But his prototype rooftop garden threw the switch. “I invited them up on the roof, showed them the space, and later they
emailed me to say, ‘Topsoil can move forward as the first commercial agricultural business in Victoria.’” Hildreth’s passion is solving the biggest problems of today’s industrialized food economy. “I want to eliminate CO2 from food transportation,” he says. “We can bike [the produce] or walk it in under 10 minutes, and chefs can literally have it in their fridge within an hour — no chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, and no one-time-use plastic packaging.” Through his workshops at UVic, Hildreth shares the keys for realizing his mission: to increase local food production by showing how to develop a sustainable business growing and distributing food in cities, thereby decreasing our reliance on monoculture and mass food transport. DOUGLAS 43
Welcome to Victoria YOU HAVE ARRIVED
Make the Business Hub your first stop!
The Business Hub at City Hall is your first point of contact if you are an entrepreneur, investor or anyone looking to do business in Victoria. We will help you access information and connect you to the right resources to get your business open quicker. Connect with our Business Ambassador today!
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10 TO WATCH WINNER
“PEOPLE WANT MORE SERVICES, AND THAT’S WHERE WE’RE LEADING THE THIRD WAVE OF COWORKING. WE’RE GIVING THEM A LIFESTYLE CLUB.”
HE SHARING ECONOMY and co-working are buzzworthy business concepts for 2018 — and Tessa McLoughlin, Club Kwench founder, is taking both to the next level. As part of the sharing economy, the club provides facilities for members so they don’t have to go out and purchase or rent their own spaces. Amenities include turnkey workspaces, event space, maker and artist studios, and boardrooms, along with classes and workshops, cultural events and wellness seminars. The core focus, however, is fostering a fun, vibrant and inspiring community — evolving co-working into a culture-based collective. “Club Kwench came about out of my own desire to have a central physical space that removed the busyness from my life and supported happiness,” McLoughlin explains. “That is with the belief that happiness came from a multitude of things including Knowledge, Wellness, Experiences, Novelty, Curiosity and Connection (KWENCH). The C is the most important part. “I wanted a place I could work, have meetings, stay fit, meet new people, try new experiences and be exposed to a range of professionals that I might not normally encounter in my day-to-day life. A one-stopshop club solution.” McLoughlin says the club will grow over the next year, moving into a 25,000-square-foot space with room for over 300 members, plus a café, fitness facilities, maker space and offices, and an open communal area with a kitchen. “I’m hoping our new space will have a lot more social members who may not use it for [office] space,” she says, “but who will come to the pancake breakfasts and stay and do some sewing … I want it to be really vibrant.”
Q&A WITH TESSA MCLOUGHLIN OF CLUB KWENCH What was the scariest part starting up? It was taking the jump and signing a lease. You’re opening a space for everybody else to have no risk, and you’re assuming all of it. As soon as I signed the lease it was giddy-up time.
What was the biggest challenge? If I think back to the startup, it was the financials. That’s not my background, and I really had to learn all these new terms and learn what investors want and need.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out? Have good supports. Things can fall apart right at the 11th hour. My friends, family and all the strong women in my business network — that’s what got me through it. DOUGLAS 45
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10 TO WATCH WINNER
Q&A WITH LISA ECKERT AND CORAL CRAWFORD OF ISLAND CIRCUS SPACE What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? CORAL Think critically of the advice that is given to you. Also, learn how to be flexible and to keep your goal in focus.
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
What advice would you give to someone just starting out? LISA If you don’t have that passion for [your business] to be part of your life every day, it’s going to eat you up ... Remember that this is not just your business but your love. I’d say take it one day at a time, but also, things have got to get done! Expect to be up late at night and up early — you’ll eat, sleep and breathe your business.
“THE RULES DON’T APPLY HERE. CIRCUS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE ANY DREAM YOU HAD AS A CHILD AND BRING THAT DREAM INTO THIS SPACE — YOU CAN FLY OR SOMERSAULT OR BE THE FUNNY GUY. ISLAND CIRCUS SPACE IS A PLACE WHERE IMAGINATION IS HUGE.” LISA ECKERT (LEFT) AND CORAL CRAWFORD
ISLAND CIRCUS SPACE
N A SENSE, being a circus artist and starting a business are similar pursuits. To be successful in either, what’s needed is a little juggling, a lot of balancing and plenty of imagination to attract an audience. That’s what circus performers Coral Crawford and Lisa Eckert found when they launched Victoria’s first circus school. The idea for Island Circus Space (ICS) emerged when Eckert moved back to Victoria after touring the world as a professional circus
artist with companies like Cirque Éloize. “I’d reached a point in my career where I was being pulled in two directions: either continue my professional career but sacrifice my home life, or come home and sacrifice my circus career,” she says. “It made sense for me to join the two and bring circus here.” Crawford connected with Eckert as soon as she moved here from Vancouver and together they worked to build a circus community from scratch.
Eckert and Crawford started out teaching a few ground-based classes, such as handstands and circus fit. Interest exploded, and by September 2017, ICS opened in its own Rock Bay location, offering aerials, acrobatics, Cyr wheel classes and more to over 100 students each week. The duo’s long-term goal is to one day open a professional training space like Montreal’s National Circus School and transform Victoria into a Canadian hub for the circus arts. DOUGLAS 47
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PAUL SHARPE (CENTRE) AND JOE COLLINS (RIGHT)
Q&A WITH JOE COLLINS AND PAUL SHARPE OF AVALON ACCOUNTING What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? PAUL Taking action is important. At the end of the day, you have to make sales. What advice would you give to someone starting up? JOE Know what you want and focus on doing the things that help you get there. And not just in your business either — know what you want in your life. Dream big, but balance it. Lots of things can go into that life vision. What was your biggest startup challenge? PAUL Trying to be the technician, do the work and intrinsically do a good job, while also finding time to work on and grow the business. Balancing those things was challenging.
10 TO WATCH WINNER
NE COULD SAY Avalon Accounting all began when Joe Collins turned 30 and had an existential crisis, of sorts. “I remember thinking, ‘What am I doing with my life?’ I just didn’t feel fulfilled,” says Collins. “When I thought about my ideal life, I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t want to take on a bunch of risk either.” After some brainstorming, Collins discovered the path to his ideal life was through accounting, which allowed him to work in the exciting world of business without taking on too much risk. The idea further gelled when he met Paul Sharpe at Camosun College where both were earning their professional accounting designations. Fast forward to 2018 and Collins and Sharpe are business partners in Avalon Accounting, an online, cloud-based accounting firm with clients throughout Canada. Avalon’s secure accounting software runs in real time, which means clients
can always access the most up-to-date data from wherever they are — office, home or on the go. The software makes online collaboration easy and integrates with add-on apps such as point of sale, time tracking, inventory management and invoicing, so for business owners, accounting is no longer forced into a separate silo. This cloud-based system, combined with the accountants’ level of communication with their clients, allows business owners to build more balanced lives. “It’s common to think that being an entrepreneur means doing everything and working 60 hours a week is just part of it,” Collins says. “We’re trying to change that thought pattern. Yes, you have to work hard for a while, but we believe you should have a plan to step away from parts of your business and really engage in life in a way that benefits you holistically.” DOUGLAS 49
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10 TO WATCH WINNER
“FAIL OFTEN, FAIL FAST — YOU CUT YOUR LOSSES AND START AGAIN. I’VE INCORPORATED 11 TIMES AND SUCCEEDED FOUR.”
ROWING OUT OF Andrew McLeod’s prior business (revolutionizing payments for property management companies), Certn offered a simple concept: enabling financial inclusion for people who lack excellent credit. Where landlords and lenders typically use credit reports to assess an applicant’s credibility, McLeod recognized that many people were denied access on the basis of this one-dimensional measure. Certn enables financial institutions and landlords to see beyond the credit report. “We built a platform that encompasses not just your credit but your social and behavioural profiles,” says McLeod. Using machine learning, Certn scans criminal and court records from 240 countries in 77 languages, and allows applicants to enhance their applications by connecting to their social media profiles. “We help show the best parts of your character when you’re applying for necessities like a mortgage or a line of credit or, most commonly, a place to live.” The system works for employment verification too (excluding credit data). Certn takes a one-dimensional resumé and gives it depth by matching the applicant’s public profiles with behavioural characteristics gleaned from IBM data and from university research studies. “We have a pilot coming out with one of Canada’s largest corporations,” says McLeod, “and a number of HR companies are starting to use Certn.”
Q&A WITH ANDREW MCLEOD OF CERTN What was your biggest challenge? Prior to coming to Victoria, it was finding good talent — people that had education and experience in data science and machine learning. Thanks to Alacrity and Owen [Matthews] and Rich [Egli], we were connected to three guys, who are now our business partners, who had
exactly the experience we were looking for. They liked the idea. To do that in Vancouver, where we were before, would be, like, $240,000 a year times three. What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out? Just go for it. Build an MVP (minimum
viable product) or a pitch deck and try to sell what you have ... If you can find a customer before you build a product, that’s the best way — then you have access to funding and it also helps to bring talent. [And] practice your pitch. Your first employees aren’t making market wages so they have to believe in
the idea and they have to believe in you. If you can’t pitch that, it can be really challenging. It doesn’t matter if you’re opening a bakery or starting the most high-tech company in the world — if you can’t sell why you’re better or sell your value proposition over everybody else’s, it’s hard to find people to support you. DOUGLAS 51
Innovation. Innovation. encourageit.it. We encourage
Congratulations to to all all the the innovators Congratulations innovators who whodug dugaalittle littledeeper, deeper,stayed stayedupupa alittle little later and wouldn’t let good enough be quite enough. You’re this year’s 1010 To To Watch later and wouldn’t let good enough be quite enough. You’re this year’s Watch winners. It’s your big ideas and passion that make the Island an exciting place winners. It’s your big ideas and passion that make the Island an exciting placetoto live and and work. work. And And we Maybe live we can canall alllearn learnaalittle littlesomething somethingfrom fromyour yourexample. example. Maybe at a guest lecture? Seriously. Give us a call. at a guest lecture? Seriously. Give us a call. 1.877.778.6227 || royalroads.ca royalroads.ca 1.877.778.6227
“CREATIVE WORKERS ARE RESISTANT TO BUSINESS-LIKE LANGUAGE AND MODELS, BUT WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO OPEN PEOPLE UP TO THE IDEA OF PROFESSIONALIZING IN A WAY THAT FEELS AUTHENTIC.”
Q&A WITH JILL MARGO AND ANDREW TEMPLETON OF GOOD What was the best business advice you received? JILL It’s not advice, but we watched a TED Talk before opening GOOD and it talked about the idea of desire paths. We took it to heart. When we opened, we used the idea that we would let people show us what they wanted — we didn’t have to have all the answers. ANDREW The desire path is sort of the opposite of the formal business plan. You set it within the structure, but you don’t define beyond that. It was our low-risk model that allowed us to have this attitude. What advice would you give someone starting out? ANDREW Start something that you want. If you want it, there’s high probability that there are other people like you who want it too. JILL I agree but would add that you need to do the pre-work. Not just thinking about your business but how your business fits into your life.
10 TO WATCH WINNER
S WORKING WRITERS, Jill Margo and Andrew Templeton understand the challenges creative workers face in Canada. “We believe one of the central problems is the lack of ongoing opportunities for professional training and business-like support for creative workers,” Margo says. “There are plenty of training opportunities available on how to create art but very little on how to create a sustainable living as an artist.” For years the pair imagined running a space where they could tackle these issues and build community. The model they had in their heads was that of the traditional shopkeeper living above the shop. Within days of arriving in Victoria in 2016 — having moved back to B.C. after five years in Toronto — they found a live/work space on the edge of Chinatown that they transformed into GOOD, their memberbased studio that offers workshops, weekend intensives, classes and retreats — some of which are facilitated by the region’s finest authors and creatives. They also offer co-working sessions, one-on-one creative consults and community events. “Community building is at the core of what we do at GOOD,” Margo says. “There is a lot of romantic stereotyping around the image of the lone artist, but in truth, isolation can be harmful. We may need a lot of solitude to create, but we also need spaces [in which] to gather, to learn and to connect.” DOUGLAS 53
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10 TO WATCH WINNER
“THERE IS AN ENORMOUS NEED FOR HOUSING ON SOUTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND. THE ECONOMIC GROWTH THAT COMES WITH NEW DEVELOPMENTS IS SOMETHING THAT CAN HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES.”
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
FTER ALMOST completing the necessary training to become a Red Seal plumber, Matt Peulen decided a career in the trades wasn’t for him. He left behind his tools and switched from working on one-off houses to a much bigger vision — creating entire housing developments. After 15 years in the industry, Peulen founded Stride Properties in 2016. He wanted to align his professional interests with his personal values: affordable housing in an underserved area of Vancouver Island. “I grew up in Saanich and I’m raising my young family here, so it felt like a natural fit for me to focus on that area,” says Peulen, adding that the Saanich Peninsula in particular is desperate for new housing units. Already Stride Properties has four developments in the works — two in Saanich, one in Sidney and another in Colwood. Together, these projects will add 162 housing units to the South Island. While the company does develop market condos, its main focus is on building affordable rental units. What sets Stride Properties apart is its partnership with the Greater Victoria Housing Society, which will own and rent roughly half of the units in two of the new Stride buildings. The company will own and rent the rest. “Housing affordability is one of the biggest issues facing everyone on the South Island,” says Peulen. “Whether you’re looking for a place to rent or buy, or even if you’re an employer, the cost of housing is having a major impact on your ability to thrive.”
Q&A WITH MATT PEULEN OF STRIDE PROPERTIES What was the best business advice you ever received? Have integrity in all that you do — and get involved in your community. What advice would you give to someone just starting out? Find great mentors and really listen to them. Be curious and use that curiosity to learn everything
you can about business and your industry. From there, you’ll find a passion in yourself that you maybe didn’t even realize you had. What was the scariest part of starting up? Giving up the security of employment was a scary prospect, but my desire to start Stride was stronger. I’m glad I did and I’m looking forward to the future. DOUGLAS 55
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“THERE ARE PLENTY OF SOLUTIONS THAT ALLOW YOU TO POST YOUR CONTENT ACROSS THE WEB, BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO WRITE THE CONTENT?”
PETER MIRMOTAHARI (LEFT), RAHUL BHATIA (CENTRE) AND KIMIA HAMIDI
Q&A WITH KIMIA HAMIDI AND RAHUL BHATIA OF GHOSTIT What was the scariest part of starting your business? RAHUL The big scare came after a couple of months of working together. We’d picked up a few clients and there was that affirmation, but at the same time we’re wondering if we had actually created something valuable. If it’s that amazing, how are we not billionaires already? But no matter how good the idea, it takes time, it takes grinding. Best business advice you received? RAHUL As you build your business, there is no task that is beneath you. KIMIA Listen more than you assume. What advice would you give someone starting out? KIMIA Don’t think, just do it. I see so many people starting businesses and everything has to be perfect … There is no replacement for experience.
10 TO WATCH WINNER
T’S SAFE TO SAY we’ve all experienced the frustration of looking for a company online only to find no signs of life when you reach its website or Facebook page. “That lack of activity makes it look like the business has gone out of business,” says Kimia Hamidi, co-founder of Ghostit. “Or that the brand doesn’t care. The result? Customers go to a competitor.” Hamidi initially had the idea for an automated content-marketing company when he noticed all the business Facebook pages that were irrelevant, off-brand and not up to date. With Rahul Bhatia he founded Ghostit, which evolved to automate a wide variety of custom-content creation, from social media to blog posts to email newsletters. They describe it as a blend of software as a service and people (content creators) as a service. “Our software platform allows us to create a custom strategy, produce online content and publish it all with a central login,” Hamidi says. “The content we produce focuses on growing page views through organic search, ranking for specific keywords in Google, increasing revenue through conversions on the site and growing email subscriber lists. We also track social engagement to understand how a client’s audience is engaging with the content. “At the end of the day,” he says, “everything is aimed at increasing clicks on their call to action.”
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Q&A WITH SASHA ANGUS OF HYAS INFOSEC What was your biggest challenge? We had this expectation that if it was second nature to us, it was second nature to everyone. In the early days, we would pivot off different data sets like we were walking on water, and people were like, ‘Wait a second, stop, how did you do that? What does that mean?’ There’s some education that needs to happen around the product. For a number of the data sets we have, it’s the first time the world’s ever seen them. You need to be able to help people understand what you’re doing.
What was the scariest part of starting up? You want to cover as much ground as possible and you don’t have the resources that you do later in the process. A lot of it is pants-on-fire: I’ve got to get 18 things done, I can possibly do four of them, and I have to make payroll on Friday for the folks who bought in to the vision, and that’s a week from now … and I don’t have payroll.
SASHA ANGUS (LEFT), CHRIS DAVIS (CENTRE) AND MICHAEL CHAMP
ESPITE SECURITY BREACHES like the Equifax fiasco, the information security industry has made only marginal improvements in protecting users and networks. “If someone is shooting at you, you don’t turn around, dig the bullet out of the wall and try to figure out if it was a 9mm or a .38,” says CEO Chris Davis. “You try to make them stop shooting at you. Or you try to get out of the way.”
While most of the security industry is digging for bullets, HYAS watches for shooters — and takes the guns out of their hands. With a focus on how adversaries use the Internet and its infrastructure to perpetrate attacks, HYAS stops malware from communicating, killing infections at the source. It correlates attacks against other data sets so organizations can see the exact location of their attacker. The day Douglas interviewed Davis and his CMO Sasha Angus,
“ONCE THE HOOK SETS, IT BECOMES YOUR PASSION. AT 2 A.M. I’M ON MY COMPUTER IN BED, RUNNING SOME DUDE DOWN IN COLOMBIA.”
HYAS had just pinpointed an attack issuing from Morocco and were working with the FBI to warn the intended targets — governments and corporations in France. It’s been a wild ride. Davis launched HYAS from his basement two years ago with a student from Vancouver Island University. With its first three customers being Deloitte, Apple and the FBI, HYAS now has venture capitalists climbing all over each other in a mad scramble to invest. DOUGLAS 59
TROUBLED WATERS With the Washington State senateâ€™s recent vote to phase out salmon farms to protect wild salmon in Puget Sound, Douglas dives into the controversy of open-net pen salmon farming in B.C., an issue that has divided entire communities. BY ANDREW FINDLAY
PHOTOS BY SIMON AGER
The research vessel Martin Sheen collects water and bottom samples near an Atlantic salmon fish farm in the Broughton Archipelago, just north of East Thurlow and Sonora islands.
FOUR DECADES after the first opennet pen fish farm was anchored off the coast of British Columbia, the salmon aquaculture industry is as mired in controversy as it has ever been. Last November, videographer Tavish Campbell captured graphic images of bloody fish waste being discharged directly into the ocean from two farmed fish processing plants, one at Brown’s Bay north of Campbell River and the other in Tofino. The video quickly went viral at a time when large questions loom about the threat of farmed fish transmitting pathogens like piscine reovirus, or PRV, to wild Pacific salmon. In the spring of 2016, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) geneticist Kristi Miller published a study in which she and her fellow researchers found that more than 80 per cent of fish samples collected between 2013 and 2014 from a B.C. fish farm had heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI), a disease already well documented in Norway and known to cause rates of mortality of up to 30 per cent at fish farms. But that wasn’t all. PRV was also found in a high percentage of fish that also tested positive for HSMI, suggesting, as she wrote in her peer reviewed paper on the study, “a statistically significant correlation between PRV prevalence
and load with the occurrence and severity of HSMI.” And while debate swirls around fish farms and fish disease, last summer members of the 'Namgis and Dzawada'enuxw First Nations occupied two salmon aquaculture operations owned by Marine Harvest in the Broughton Archipelago, a knot of islands, channels and inlets between northern Vancouver Island and
the B.C. mainland. (The archipelago has the highest concentration of fish farms on the coast, some two dozen.) Though several 'Namgis members are employed by Marine Harvest, the Broughton has been ground zero of the wild versus farmed salmon conflict, and also the backyard of crusading anti-fish farming activist and biologist Alexandra Morton, who has spent
Left: These wild pacific salmon molts were caught in a seine net by independent scientist Alexandra Morton. Over 80 per cent had sea lice. Above: Morton inspects decaying farmed Atlantic salmon looking for signs of disease.
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two decades documenting the environmental impacts of aquaculture, and in particular sea lice, a naturally occurring parasite that is an ongoing issue for fish farmers and is known to infect migrating juvenile salmon swimming past fish farms.
COMPLEX AND CONFLICTED Given the bloody waste from farmed fish processing plants, disease, sea lice and other questions surrounding salmon aquaculture, public trust of this industry is hitting all-time lows and has placed both the province, which is responsible for permitting fish farms, and DFO, the federal agency that monitors them, in an uncomfortable spotlight. John Werring is a senior science and policy advisor for the David Suzuki Foundation, and he also sits on the Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture. His message to the minister is clear — no expansion of fish farming until we know the risk of transmitting pathogens from farmed to wild fish, and government mandates the removal of fish farms from sensitive waters that Pacific salmon frequent. “We’re saying no to expansion until we have conclusive results from the work of the Strategic Salmon Health Initiative,” Werring says, referring to a research partnership between DFO, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Genome BC that is attempting to shed light on the risk of pathogens being transmitted from farmed to wild fish. “Why don’t we get ahead of this issue and remove fish farms from migratory routes and, in the long term, transition to closed containment?”
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Independent scientist Alexandra Morton casts a seine net to capture wild Pacific salmon smolts near a fish farm. She will check them for sea lice and signs of disease.
salmon farming sector is growing in economic value. A recent report by the accounting firm MNP showed that between 2013 and 2016 salmon farming grew 40 per cent in terms of revenue to government, while the average annual farm gate value of farmed salmon between 2011 and 2015 was nearly $740 million. And according to a recent World Bank study, 62 per cent of all fish consumed globally will be farm raised by 2030.
THE FUTURE OF FISH FARMING
These are not new ideas. DFO is in many people’s eyes a conflicted organization with a dual mandate to protect wild salmon and promote salmon aquaculture. During the 2012 Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River, Justice Bruce Cohen pulled no punches. Among his 75 recommendations, Cohen commented that if the DFO “has a mandate to promote salmon farming, there is a risk that it will act in a manner that favours the interests of the salmon
farming industry over the health of wild fish stocks.” If such a bias exists, as many fish farm critics believe, then it plays favourably into the hands of a largely foreign-owned enterprise. In B.C., more than 90 per cent of the salmon farming industry is owned by three Norwegian companies: Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood. Norway produces 225,000 tonnes of farmed salmon annually, or more than three times the amount produced in B.C. But B.C.’s
The big question is, what form will the growth of salmon aquaculture take? While the proand anti-fish farm camps battle on the stormy waters of B.C., change is on the horizon in Norway, the country that wrote the book on salmon aquaculture. In June 2016, citing the rising costs of sea lice and fish escapes, Marine Harvest, the world’s largest fish farming company, announced that it would invest US$100 million in a partnership with the Norwegian firm Hauge Aqua, to develop an ocean-based closed containment system appropriately called “the egg” — a white, fully enclosed sphere that’s 90 per cent below water. Land-based closed containment has long been heralded as a solution to fish farming’s environmental downsides. Farming salmon
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in land-based tanks, however, is expensive, requiring considerable energy inputs to run pumps and filtration systems, and is also technically challenging. The pioneering closed containment fish farm Kuterra was launched in 2013 as a joint venture between the 'Namgis First Nation and a handful of NGOs, such as Tides Canada, as well as several government agencies. The goal was to demonstrate that land-based fish farming can be done sustainably and profitably, but Kuterra met with technical challenges, among them early maturing fish and slower than expected growth rates, both of which were linked to water-quality issues. Though spokesperson Josephine Mrozewksi says these technical challenges have been addressed, Kuterra needs to expand to achieve the necessary economy of scale. “We’re at 300 tonnes per year but we need to reach 3,000 tonnes,” she says, adding that Kuterra is now seeking new owners and investment to help it scale up.
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Land-based closed containment has long been heralded as a solution to fish farming’s environmental downsides. Scaling up proven land-based fish farming technology is the key for Atlantic Sapphire USA. Though still in its infancy, this upstart landbased salmon aquaculture firm, a subsidiary of Norway-based Atlantic Sapphire A/S, is building a US$350 million land-based facility that when completed in seven years will produce an estimated 100,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon. Company CEO Johan Andreassen says the company plans to eventually supplant chicken, beef and pork as the American consumer’s choice for protein. Andreassen told Douglas magazine that after seven years and more than 20 generations of fish at the company’s pilot facility in Denmark, he is confident the company has developed the right technology and procedures to profitably “raise great tasting, market size fish at between three and six kilograms at scale.” He says the key to raising healthy salmon is “access to biosecure artesian fresh [water] and salt water,” which is the reason Atlantic Sapphire settled on Florida, where it has permits to draw water from several aquifers. The company broke ground in March 2017 on phase one of the operation, and by the summer of 2020 plans to be harvesting 10,000 tonnes annually. “As the United States is importing about 90 per cent of its seafood and as the world population grows, we need to secure local
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production of healthy proteins,” Andreassen says. “We are able to raise salmon, which are normally farmed in net pens in remote locations with cold waters and protected fjords, closer to the market in the continental United States.” Super-charged rhetoric seems to track fish farming like a wolf does its prey and can be particularly divisive in a small coastal town like Tofino. Josie Osborne is nearing the end of her second term as mayor of Tofino, a community in which tourism generates between $250 million and $300 million in annual revenues and employs more than 2,400 people. She admits fish farming is not usually the source of polite dinner conversation. Norwegian-owned Cermaq and Creative Salmon are the two aquaculture players in town; the former operates 16 opennet pen farms in Clayoquot Sound, while the latter has a single facility raising farmed Pacific Chinook salmon (the only company farming Pacific salmon in B.C.). As elsewhere, there is nothing black and white about the fish farming debate in the Clayoquot area. First Nations are divided on the issue; the Ahousaht First Nation has a protocol agreement first signed in 2002 and then renewed in 2010 that guarantees employment for band members and includes funding for wild salmon enhancement, but some band members have also vigorously fought Cermaq’s attempts to expand in Clayoquot Sound. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has a protocol agreement with Creative Salmon, but the agreement was put to the test last fall by the widely publicized images of bloody effluent being discharged from Lions Gate Fisheries, the plant that processes Creative’s harvest.
FAITH SHAKEN Longtime local environmental activist Dan Lewis, who with his wife, Bonny Glambeck, formed the small non-profit Clayoquot Action two years ago, has made it his mission to evict fish farms from Clayoquot Sound. While Mayor Osborne and Lewis agree on many things, fish farming isn’t one of them. Long before becoming mayor, Osborne moved to Tofino in 1998 to work as a biologist for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and then later as an environmental consultant. She has been supportive of the salmon aquaculture sector and believes it has a place on the coast if conducted in a way that doesn’t harm the wild salmon ecosystem. But she says her faith was severely shaken last year. “It was shocking to see that video and frankly I was disappointed in myself for not knowing that this was going on,” Osborne tells me over the phone from Tofino town hall. “I really think that the industry needs to sit down and say, ‘Yes, we can do better.’ We need to hold these companies to a higher standard.” Despite the tsunami of bad press in 2017, 66 DOUGLAS
Hereditary Chief Willie Moon (left) and Mikael Willie (right) of the Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw First Nation confront a fish farm worker to notify him that the farm is in unceded territory and to hand him an eviction notice.
Jeremy Dunn, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA), calls last year a positive one for the industry. In September the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, considered the gold standard in seafood sustainability assessment, upgraded its rating of B.C.-farmed salmon from “avoid” to “good alternative.” The upgrade
was, not surprisingly, panned by activists like Lewis, who said it made a mockery of Seafood Watch. Dunn, however, says the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s reappraisal of B.C. fish farmers indicates the industry is moving in the right direction. “I feel that all the regulations that we have to adhere to are based on the precautionary
approach,” Dunn says, acknowledging that the industry’s critics believe this version of the precautionary approach doesn’t go far enough. Despite repeated calls from wild salmon conservationists to move fish farming toward closed containment, he doesn’t see it is a nearterm reality for the B.C. salmon aquaculture sector. Their Norwegian counterparts are investing in closed containment technology for business reasons, mainly because government regulators have tied increased production licences to the salmon producers’ ability to manage sea lice. (Few licences have been issued in the past several years, meaning that Norway’s fish farm production has stagnated.) Consequently, the way forward to grow production in Norway is increasingly viewed as closed containment. Not so in B.C., where the status quo remains. In many ways the BCSFA’s rosy assessment of fish farming is a disingenuous narrative. The
industry is in a fight for its life, at least on the public relations and social licence side of the equation. The protest against Marine Harvest and salmon aquaculture that began last summer when members of the 'Namgis First Nation and Dzawada'enuxw First Nation occupied the Broughton Archipelago farms has grown into a full-scale revolt. In late January, a group of six First Nations met with provincial government officials and demanded that fish farms be removed from the Broughton area. Ernest Alfred, a traditional leader from the 'Namgis, Tlowitsis and Mamalilikulla First Nations told media at the time that “there will not be reconciliation in our territory as long as the fish farms are in our waters.” South of the border, fish farm politics are throwing fuel on the fire already raging in B.C. Late last year Cooke Seafood, the New Brunswick-based company that farms fish in Puget Sound, received an eviction notice from Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources for two of its eight Puget Sound fish farms, the result of an investigation following the escape last summer of roughly 160,000 Atlantic salmon from the company’s Port Angeles operation. Then, on March 2, the Washington State senate passed a bill that would phase out Atlantic salmon farming on
the state’s coast by 2025. Add to this shifting political landscape, the video of bloody effluent pouring out of two B.C. farmed fish processing plants, which prompted a provincial review of effluent discharge regulations, and the lingering questions about disease and sea lice, and the picture of Pacific Northwest salmon farming is far from pretty.
MISTAKES AND MISALIGNMENT With perhaps the exception of the Site C dam conundrum, salmon aquaculture is the toughest political challenge facing the nascent NDP government, which is propped up precariously in its first year in office by a partnership with the B.C. Greens. Last October, Lana Popham, the B.C. Minister of Agriculture, waded into the fish farming controversy following a conversation with DFO’s Kristi Miller, who had raised the question of conflict of interest by provincial fish pathologist Gary Marty. (The provincial scientists had upset First Nations by denying that fish farms were harmful.) Popham then went on record saying that the quality of science being conducted by members of her ministry was under review, despite DFO denying that it had lodged a formal complaint against its provincial counterparts. For Miller’s part, she says she didn’t speak to Popham on
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behalf of DFO and was merely sharing her personal opinion. Either way, it was further evidence of misalignment on the fish farm file. “The B.C. government’s priority for the salmon aquaculture sector is clear. We want to find a path forward on the complex issue of open-net pens in the Broughton Archipelago, one that respects the Aboriginal rights and title of First Nations in the region, protects wild salmon and that will lead to an environmentally sustainable industry that benefits all British Columbians,” Popham told Douglas magazine in an emailed statement, adding that she was looking forward to the recommendations from the Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture in the upcoming report. The David Suzuki Foundation’s John Werring is a veteran of the conservation movement and remembers well the protracted battle during the 1980s to force the pulp and paper industry to reduce and eliminate nitrogen and sulphur dioxide emissions. “It took a long time and there was push back from industry, but eventually government prevailed. Now we need a government with the cojones to stand up and say enough is enough with salmon aquaculture,” Werring says. “If I woke up in five years and salmon farms were gone from the Broughton, I’d be a happy guy.” ■
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Avoids conflict; wants everyone to get along.
Big-picture thinker. Fast-paced; gets restless easily.
Focuses on feelings.
Keep adventurers busy with new challenges or projects that require charisma or excitement. Reward them with public recognition for their work.
Business is personal for cheerleaders so don’t avoid the pleasantries. Make use of their ability to encourage others and praise them for helping to create a positive workplace.
Likes to take charge and make decisions quickly.
Optimistic and outgoing. Becomes frustrated with those who do not match their pace.
Can seem blunt and condescending.
Drivers work better independently. Avoid upsetting team dynamics by giving them individual projects. Do give praise when they resolve challenging situations.
The energizers’ need for change means they tend to leave projects for others to finish. Use them to start projects and scout new ideas.
6 THE DRIVER
AND HOW TO MANAGE THEM TRAITS
Introverted, prefers to work alone. Likes analysis and logic; sees negatives first.
If there are flaws in a project, perfectionists will find them and provide solutions. Respect their need for solitude and praise their ability to ensure project details are looked after.
THE CONTROL FREAK
Eager to meet standards. Insecure in situations they cannot control.
Control freaks can be boss favourites, but coworkers suffer under their intrusiveness. Give them control of their own area and be clear what isn’t in it.
BY PAMELA ROTH WITH KERRY SLAVENS
As any leader knows, a team that gets along in the workplace is a beautiful thing. But putting a team together is a bit like blending chemical elements — add the wrong ones and the results can be explosive. So what’s the solution?
n paper, it looked like Peter* had the dream team to tackle a challenging tourism industry project with a tight deadline. His team members had good experience, strong skills and the right credentials. But there was a problem: they couldn’t get along. “I had a lot of mixed feelings when I wasn’t able to get the team to move forward. I hadn’t experienced this kind of resistance before,” says Peter, who was recently promoted to manager for his excellent work on a big project. “I questioned my abilities as a leader. I wondered if I had just been lucky with my previous team.” Peter is hardly alone when it comes to this type of situation in the workplace. Surrounded by a melting pot of different personalities, managers often say one of the hardest parts of their job is managing people and their conflicts, which can lead to a steady string of problems. Many experts have weighed in over the years on the most troublesome workplace personalities. Alan Willet, a leadership development specialist whose clients include NASA, names a few troublesome types in his book Leading the Unleadable (American Management Association, 2017). They include cynics with their oversized doses of negative comments; slackers, who just don’t seem to care; and narcissists, who think everything is about them. Then there are those who persistently annoy coworkers with never-ending excuses or criticisms. But Willet cautions that it’s important to avoid labelling and blame.
* Last name withheld
“The exceptional leader,” he writes, “believes that when someone is causing problems, it is not that person’s intention to cause problems. Almost certainly the troublesome person is trying to do his or her best to further the overall good of the initiative. The calm leader has the mindset that when trouble arises, it is not of evil intent, it is because something is missing.” Carolyn Yeager, COO at GT Hiring Solutions, doesn’t believe it’s helpful to divide personalities into types. “I don’t look at personalities that way because there are too many variables. It depends on the industry. For examples, what’s OK in the trades may not be acceptable in helping professions.” That’s not to say Yeager doesn’t see value in using assessment tools to help individuals understand how they like to work and help people grow together. Psychometric tools can help in a team-building environment, she says, because a diverse team will always come to the best solutions. Indeed, diversity matters a great deal because teams who all share the same basic personality traits and skills are not teams that tend to evolve. Too much likeness can lead to mediocrity because no one questions anyone else or disagrees.
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IT’S ABOUT TRAITS, NOT TYPE Anna Harvey is the owner of Boost Potential, which conducts custom workshops and programs for leaders and teams trying to get along. According to Harvey, workplace conflicts often arise, and they impact everyone on the DOUGLAS 71
team and prevent work from getting done. Sometimes the conflicts can drift to upper management, sucking up more of everyone’s precious time. One of the tools she uses to help teams and managers achieve better self-awareness is Lumina Spark — an assessment tool that brings detailed information about personality to light. At the heart of the approach is a lengthy questionnaire, which creates a portrait of an individual’s strengths and behaviours in various situations, such as a casual afternoon at home or a stressful morning in the workplace. “It’s a huge benefit to teams to have this kind
of data on themselves,” Harvey says. “It’s about traits, not about type. It’s a huge insight for leaders and their teams to understand that people who make up their teams hold paradoxical traits that can be of value to the business, the team, the project and the company.” She notes that one of the core challenges of teams involves helping extroverts and introverts to understand how each other operates. The key to this challenge, says Harvey, is to increase selfawareness, which leads to an understanding that people aren’t purely extrovert or introvert, but instead have a number of individual qualities and traits — and some of those
traits can be used to build a bridge toward establishing a good rapport. Shelly Berlin is co-owner of the boutique consulting firm Berlineaton. Much of the work she does involves executive coaching practices and development work with leaders at all levels in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. One of the complexities of today’s workplaces, Berlin says, is that they include multiple generations and each comes to work with a different set of expectations, largely built on their experiences as children. Instead of taking a negative view, Berlin sees this diversity, combined with different cultures and genders, as a strength. The key, she says, is to create selfawareness.
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So how can leaders help their teams increase self-awareness and work together to succeed? Part of it starts with learning and understanding that just because someone finds themselves in a leadership position doesn’t mean they automatically know how to lead. They may have become a leader because of a promotion, for instance, or maybe they’ve become a business owner. A positive start is to acknowledge that they are at the right place to have a positive influence on others and accomplish bigger things than on their own. Like Harvey, when Berlin steps in to assist a leader, who is often trying to impact some change, she uses personality assessment tools. These may include Lumina Spark, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), and well-known team-development models to establish the purpose, clearly define goals, responsibilities and resources, and define a real sense of what success looks like. A good leader, according to Berlin, is someone who is courageous, selfless, reflective, collaborative, empathetic and has integrity. Good leaders are also deliberate about the way they behave and are always learning. “Good leaders realize that leadership is a skill and a discipline all of its own … ,” she adds. “The great leaders we have worked with all have one thing in common — they pursue a greater good that goes well beyond their own needs or interests.” For Yeager, good leaders model good behaviours. “In meetings, you encourage different opinions, and in a subtle (informal) way support that discussion. Show that we can all share a discussion and then go out for coffee,” she says. “It’s how our teams look to us to deal with conflict, and if we hide disagreement, how do they learn? Diversity isn’t just about religion, gender, orientation, but also about diversity of thought. The other things are quite rightly top of mind, but we mustn’t forget diversity of thought.” Remember Peter and his team challenges?
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He decided to address his problem by getting to know each team member one on one, asking what their strengths were, where they were challenged, how they wanted to grow and how the project could help them achieve their goals. Next, he did some assessments to identify the diversity of his team members’ strengths and how they could complement one another. He then brought the team together to revisit project goals, clearly define who was responsible for what and how to leverage each other’s strengths to get the job done. After a month filled with discussions and meetings, the team emerged much stronger and exceeded everyone’s expectations.
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Sometimes, despite counselling, coaching and assessment tools, some teams will always be ridden with conflict — and when the troublesome can’t be transformed, that’s when someone might have to go elsewhere. In Peter’s case, one of his team members was unable to shift his attitude, forcing Peter to take him off the project and bring in someone else. It’s really tough when a team member has to go, Berlin says. “There are a variety of ways to deal with it, but some people don’t even realize that teams are on their own evolutionary development path themselves. So without that awareness they just think nobody gets along on this team. “As managers and leaders ... our obligation is to the group as a whole,” she adds, “which means sometimes we must provide tough guidance to those who are hindering the progress of the whole.” And, says Yeager, a good place to start in order to prevent an unfavourable ending is to start with good hiring. “Hire people with the same values and principles,” she says. “If we all want the same thing, there are different ways to connect the dots.”
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Ultimately, if a leader can inspire, educate and lead team members to share in creating a positive but diverse culture, conflict can lead to cooperation. For Peter, patience and trust in the process were key. “I felt a lot of personal satisfaction when I started to see the team turn around. And I also felt very proud of them. They were as much of the reason things were changing as I was.” And, as Alan Willet writes in Leading the Unleadable, “… remember that we have most likely been that difficult person before. It is helpful to remember that the guidance we have been provided in the past is the guidance we must be able to mindfully provide to others.” ■
Cooling the cycling conflict
Why size matters
[BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE ]
Bitcoins, blockchain and the confusion
URBANITE BY PAUL CORNS
Cooling the Cycling Conflict Those dedicated bike lanes now threading through Victoria have been a source of satisfaction and ongoing conflict. Our columnist says that looking at the issue through the lens of urbanism may help move our city forward.
JO-ANN LORO/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
Cyclists increasingly use the protected bike lane on Pandora Street. The Fort Street bike lanes are nearing completion, and between now and the end of 2018, the City is also looking at creating protected bike lanes on Humboldt and Wharf streets. There is still significant debate about Cook Street.
ull disclosure right up front, I’m in love with the bicycle. I don’t just mean I enjoy riding and all the health and social benefits that go along with it. I actually love everything about the bicycle and its form and design, from images of the earliest bicycles known to propel a human forward on wheels to the very latest in cycling technology. To the horror of my purist friends, I even love e-bikes, which are bicycles that can run on electric power. The bike really is the prototype for virtually all forms of propelled travel, from the Model T to the Tesla. It’s the pinnacle of human achievement, right up there with fire, penicillin and the magic ball in a can of Guinness that makes the brew more creamy. DOUGLAS 75
JO-ANN LORO/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
Riding a bicycle allows you to connect to your environment the way no other vehicle does. Imagine: the human body and fitted technology coursing along in harmony, legs pedalling, wheels turning, cranks spinning and gears clicking, until at some point it becomes impossible to separate person from machine. You are the engine, the suspension and everything else you would normally find under the hood of a car. And because you’re fully exposed to the outdoors, from forested trails to city streets, you connect to your environment, almost to the point of being a part of it. You don’t just steer, you feel. With that in mind, I’m pretty sad that the bicycle has become the pariah of my city. The division, debate and media maelstrom around from 344,580 to 367,770, a change of 6.7 per bikes and bike lanes seem to be driving a cent. That growth rate outstrips the national wedge between us. average and is expected to intensify in the Let’s look at some of the sore points. It’s coming years. We have choices to make about true the first-phase cost of the separated bike things like housing and density, public spaces lanes ran to $14.5 million — almost $2.7 million and transportation — and urbanism can be a kilometre and about double the $7.75 million a way of broadening and deepening that the city initially set aside. And it’s true some conversation. businesses love the bike lanes and some really It can’t just be about talk. There’s already don’t. And it’s also true some parking spots lots of talk and even a fair bit of action. It’s the have been lost, though not as many as most piece in between that seems to be missing. For people believe. But the upside urbanism to be truly meaningful, has been to create a safer ride we need to have the opportunity for the burgeoning numbers of to directly influence decision By the end of cyclists who choose to travel making more often than the 2018, the City of sans carbon on separated routes election cycle allows. Urbanism Victoria envisions should be active and ongoing. that really only represent less than two per cent of the city of You and I should be able it will have Victoria’s 278 kilometre road to make our case, debate and 5.5 kilometres network. even disagree but at least have the conversation. Most major of protected UNDERSTANDING cities have a publicly appointed bike lanes in URBANISM body to connect politicians and This whole bike lane debate is a planners to the wider community the downtown great example of the increasing — kind of a democracy thing. core. The City’s focus on the relationship In Victoria, political between the built urban goal is to have decisions are taken through environment and the way we recommendations of the 24 kilometres interact with it, a practice and Committee of the Whole, of bicycling study known as urbanism. which is made up of the same By looking at the issues in politicians who receive the infrastructure our city through the lens of recommendations. completed by urbanism, we can find common The Committee of the Whole ground. Urbanism invites us to livestream (which is about as the end of 2022. consider our deep connection to exciting as it sounds), offers a “place,” lived out through daily glimpse into how decisions are interaction with our city spaces. It challenges arrived at. Of course you have to anticipate us to think about our city beyond the process when in the six hour webcast your item is likely of governance and policy and boundaries and to come up and then pray to the IT gods that by-laws. your laptop doesn’t seize up even though your Urbanism cultivates a deep and enduring mind is begging for a reboot. sense of citizenship. It is simultaneously A NEW KIND OF JOURNEY critical and celebratory. It taps into that human We can do better at connecting our love of need for belonging, even when we disagree. our city to the decisions of our leaders and By strengthening our connection to our city subsequent actions, and, in doing so, create a and to one another, urbanism can help to frame deeper urban citizenship. the big conversations that seem to be driving Victorians (and I mean all of us, no matter Victoria right now. And that’s vital because what our municipal boundaries) are standing we’re at a pivotal moment in our growth. From at just the right place at just the right time. We 2011 to 2016, Metro Victoria’s population grew 76 DOUGLAS
LEARN MORE ABOUT URBANISM w Spacing.ca A Canadian print and online journal that pushes readers to think critically about how they can shape the public spaces that surround their everyday lives. w Invisiblecitypodcast.com Hosted by Jennifer Keesmaat, former chief planner of the City of Toronto, this podcast “seeks to reveal the city that lurks beneath the surface of our everyday lives.”
have an impassioned public. We have bright, creative thinkers and doers. We have the benefit of being in that perfect sweet spot that offers up deeper discovery of where we come from and a principled yearning for where we are heading. This moment offers the opportunity for an informed, respectful conversation about the journey of our city, which is always in the making. It’s a journey you can take by car, bus, cycle or even on foot. It would be great if we could all get there together. Paul Corns is keenly interested in the connection between people and place. His work focuses on community engagement and development. He has worked in private, public and university sectors and is currently focused in the area of mental health and addictions response.
GROWTH BY CLEMENS RETTICH
Why Size Matters When it comes to business, bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes small is just stagnating.
y column in Douglas magazine focuses on growth, so you would think I’d have talked about business size by now. But you’d be wrong. I stayed away from discussing size because many business owners too easily assume growth is always about size, and I wanted the conversation to be about other kinds of growth, including social, technological, ethical, emotional, environmental and spiritual. The truth is, we must always be growing, but not always in size.
But now, over a year since I started this column, it’s time to answer the question: Does size matter?” The answer is, absolutely. But what is the right size for your business? While the answer, more often than not, is bigger, it’s important to remember that being bigger isn’t an intrinsic value, but being the right size is. Some businesses rush headlong into growing bigger, and that can be a problem. Other businesses avoid growth because they equate it with losing something, such as contact with employees and familiarity with customers. There’s a vague fear of becoming a faceless, slow-moving, difficult-to-manage corporation. So it’s time to get past our mistaken fears about growing businesses, because getting bigger doesn’t automatically make a business less agile, less responsive or less responsible. That’s a classic false causality: bad because big. The truth is, each of those failings is not the function of size but the function of poor leadership. In fact, business growth (in revenue and number of employees) is on balance a good thing for businesses — and it’s important when it comes to productivity and the national economy. It’s worth referring again to “The Future Belongs to the Bold,” a 2017 study by Deloitte that found the vast majority of Canadian business remain too small (and too risk-averse) to fulfill their potential in terms of adding significant economic value in their communities or even in their owners’ lives.
BECOMING THE RIGHT SIZE So is there a right size for any business? While there isn’t a single answer to that question, there are markers to look for: Retained value. A business is the right size when it creates and retains value beyond a lifestyle income for the owner. A business at that scale generates direct value for a workforce, for a community, and it retains that value for an exit or succession. Effectiveness value. When everything being done in a business is being done by people who are experts in their roles, rather than by the business owners themselves, the business is the right size. It’s vital to move past the “chief cook and bottlewasher” syndrome. Lean value. A lean business creates maximum value with minimum waste. Waste can take many forms: financial, materials, time. A business that is the right size delivers maximum customer value with less waste. Impact value. A business is the right size when it creates the best possible experience for its employees, customers, owners and all other stakeholders.
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So it’s time to get past our mistaken fears about growing businesses, because getting bigger doesn’t automatically make a business less agile, less responsive or less responsible.
BENEFITS OF BIGGER (AND WHAT’S TOO BIG?) Notice that I refer to bigger, which is different than big. Bigger is a marginal gain idea. It’s relative. When we talk about getting to the right size, bigger almost always means increasing human capacity. For instance, when a solopreneur starts working with a virtual assistant, the business is getting bigger. When a billiondollar retail chain adds another location in a new market, it is also getting bigger. Can a business get too big? Absolutely. But too big is not a number. It is a condition.
A business is too big when its sales volume outstrips its ability to control quality or customer experience. It is too big when employees no longer feel connected to key decisions or decision makers. A business is too big when internal turf wars break out. Too big is almost always about management capacity. A business is too big when it has literally become unmanageable. And just going back to smaller is not always the right solution. Sometimes getting it right involves the challenging leadership work of reconnecting with real values and redesigning everything accordingly.
FINDING THE RIGHT SIZE Taking a business from “too small” to “right size” is difficult. Stumbles on that journey are a cause of business failure. There are, however, ways of reducing risk: Use data. Growth eats cash and stresses relationships. Being able to keep your finger on the pulse is the difference between sustainable growth and driving off a cliff. It’s critical to identify and track metrics such as profit margins, productivity, employee engagement and cash flow. You can’t grow bigger with a “set and forget” approach, so create a dashboard of vital signs and check it daily. Open up communication. Wide open. Aggressive growth fails when the quality and quantity of communication don’t grow with it. Every person and function in the organization must be valued as a part of a communication loop. Increase transparency and build trust to minimize the stresses of growth.
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Be cash rich. Unless you have the cash lined up, you’ll go broke if you expand faster than the available cash. Bootstrapping is rarely possible when expansion is the goal. Business expansion is an investment process: you invest today in levers like talent, invention and automation to realize growth tomorrow. The cash for that investment comes from your war chest or is financed with outside help from investors or lenders. Lead with talent. Many leaders stumble in the race to grow because they don’t act on two mission-critical priorities. The first is to understand that the most valuable people are those who attract others to the organization. The most valuable people have high emotional intelligence and inspire high performance in others. The second is that talent precedes expansion. Getting bigger just because the opportunity exists in the market is doomed to be a painful experience if you don’t first have the right person in place to lead the change. The best way to rocket forward is to acquire the talent first then build the new opportunity around them.
A business that is the right size is a machine for creating value for the owner, its stakeholders and the community. For most businesses, the right size is significantly bigger than the status quo. Encouraging that growth is one of the most important things owners and their community of support can do. ■ Clemens Rettich is a business consultant with Grant Thornton LLP. He has an MBA from Royal Roads and has spent 25 years practising the art of management.
MONEY BY STEVE BOKOR AND IAN DAVID CLARK
Bitcoins, blockchain and big confusion Are bitcoins the next best getrich investments or a rollercoaster ride of hype? Our financial experts weigh in.
itcoins, what the heck are they? As financial advisors who provide investment advice that should reflect our clients’ financial planning goals, we tend to see bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies as very risky investments. However, there are some people who would disagree. So in the interest of debate, here’s our two cents’ worth on the topic.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A BITCOIN? A bitcoin is an electronic digital currency. For something to be considered a currency, it must meet three requirements. First, it must be a store of value, which means it can’t be copied (this is where blockchain technology fits in, but more about that in a moment). Second, its quantity must be finite, which is not the case with many fiat currencies (legal tender whose value is backed by the government that issued it) around the world. Third, it must be accepted as a medium of exchange. It might help to think of bitcoins as electronic “Monopoly money” linked to a technology called blockchain that makes it virtually impossible to forge it. But unlike Monopoly dollars, each bitcoin comes with an uber-long electronic ID password. How it works is that bitcoin users set up a wallet that gives them a unique address, similar to an email address, allowing them DOUGLAS 79
to exchange bitcoins with other bitcoin wallets around the world. Every transaction is recorded on an “open and unforgeable ledger” known as the “blockchain” which is the driving technology behind bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
WHERE DOES BLOCKCHAIN FIT IN? Blockchain is basically a secure peer-to-peer electronic ledger and record-keeping system that bypasses middlemen such as banks and credit card companies. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology to keep and record the electronic ID of every “unit of currency” stored and transacted. Every new transaction generates an electronic signature that is sent out to a global network of computers. Those computers then have to verify every new transaction and record it on the blockchain. Blockchain creates a permanent electronic record of all trades for cash or goods and services stored on a bitcoin. So voila, we have a paperless currency that cannot be counterfeited, stolen or frozen by governments or central banks, right? Well, that’s the theory. But, you see, while you cannot hack a bitcoin, you can hack the electronic exchange or the electronic bank that holds the bitcoins — and many an investor has lost plenty. Just do an internet search for “Mt. Gox” or “Bitfinex.”
Investment risk t We believe cryptocurrencies are hyper-volatile assets. Remember, they’ve been created out of thin air and have spawned a modern day gold rush. In fact, if you are not happy with owning bitcoins, you have the option of buying any of 1,100 different cryptocurrencies. The value of bitcoin, however, like that of equities, can go to zero. Remember Nortel? Even if your gamble is successful, keep in mind that bitcoin has fallen by more than 80 per cent on five separate occasions, which is exceptional volatility.
Operational Risk t So how do you store these cryptocurrencies securely to ensure that they are not stolen or corrupted? When users are issued with a bitcoin address, they are also issued with a bitcoin private key. It is usually a 256-bit number, which is the golden ticket that allows an individual to spend his or her bitcoins. You need to store that bitcoin key in a secure and safe location. If you lose that key, you lose everything. Everything! Regulatory Risk t Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies operate outside the purview
HOW A BITCOIN TRANSACTION WORKS Jo-Ann, a camera store owner, decides to accept bitcoins as a payment method. Len has bitcoins and would like to purchase a tripod.
WHAT IS A BITCOIN WORTH? That’s always the big question. Here’s the answer: the mysterious founder of bitcoin decided his currency would only ever issue 21 million coins. There are currently just over 16 million bitcoins in circulation. At $12,000 per bitcoin, the market cap is in excess of $192 billion. But bitcoin prices are volatile. In fact, right now, in our opinion, price does not equal value. In 2009, a guy named Koch bought 5,000 bitcoins for $27 bucks. In August 2011, bitcoin hit $31 per coin so his investment grew to $155,000. Unfortunately, by December 2011, it had crashed to $2 a coin, reducing his investment to $10,000. That’s about a 95 per cent plunge. From there, bitcoin has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride.
A RISKY RIDE To financial advisors like us, bitcoin is trading like an unregulated commodity with speculators buying for no other reason than the belief that the price per coin will go higher. In 2017, bitcoin started the year at $976 per coin. It peaked 12 months later at over $19,000 a coin. By the third week of 2018, it had plunged to below $10,000. Indeed, we believe there is a speculative bubble that is driving prices all over the map. Granted, bitcoin has grown into a currency used by more than 100,000 merchants globally, including Microsoft, Expedia and the Golden Gates Hotel and Casino. Some people even believe the blockchain technology behind bitcoin could help shape the future of the global banking industry. However, there’s no guarantee of the survivability of bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency — and there are risks. 80 DOUGLAS
Both Jo-Ann and Len have bitcoin wallets installed on their computers.
Wallets provide access to bitcoin addresses that have their own balance.
Jo-Ann creates a new address to receive the payment from Len.
Bitcoin miners add the transaction records to bitcoin’s public ledger or blockchain to confirm a transaction has occurred.
Len’s request is signed with the private key of the address from which he’s transferring bitcoins.
Len tells his bitcoin client that he wants to buy a tripod from Jo-Ann’s camera store.
The data is transformed into large strings of verifiably random numbers called hash values. Hash values are continuously created until the one that fits is found.
The bitcoin miner who finds the suitable hash value wins 25 bitcoins — and the Jo-Ann/Len transaction is verified.
As time goes by, the transaction is buried under more recent transactions. Anyone who wants to modify the transaction has to redo it, which is said to be impossible.
School of Business
See things differently. Michael Casey and Paul Vigna, authors of The Truth Machine, demystify blockchain and say it is changing the paradigm of how we deal with money. It’s also altering the economy in ways we’re only starting to imagine. of governments and central banks, so there are no regulations and no oversight. How long will that last? Competitive Risk t The bitcoin as a medium of exchange is just one of myriad cryptocurrencies out there. There is nothing preventing eBay, Amazon, Google or Apple from creating their own cryptocurrencies, which might prove more popular or seem more trustworthy because of the associated brand names. Remember how fast Google pushed Netscape and other browsers out?
MAKING SENSE OF THE MANIA We believe bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are a mania similar to the dot.com craze of the 1990s. However, blockchain, the technology behind bitcoins, could be a transformational peer-to-peer technology (like the internet was in the early days) that will revolutionize the way businesses operate in the 21st century. Theft, counterfeiting and inventory leakage will be greatly reduced as businesses adopt blockchain technology. Having said that, blockchain is a technology that is almost 10 years old — and first entrants are not always the survivors. If you’d like to know more (and there’s plenty more to know), we strongly recomemnd you visit PwC.com and read the PwC report “Making sense of bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain.” This is not something you can avoid doing your homework on. ■ Steve Bokor, CFA, is a licensed portfolio manager and Ian David Clark is a certified financial planner with Ocean Wealth at PI Financial Corp. a member of CIPF.
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Not much has changed in Jimmy’s Barber Shop since Jimmy Pavlidis opened up shop in 1969. There’s the line of traditional barber chairs, the mirrors covered in photographs, newspaper clippings and girly pin-ups, and the retroprinted smocks. Pavlidis started his enduring Fort Street business just after immigrating to Canada in 1968 from Greece, where he also ran his own shop.
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