August 25, 2006

  • BarCamp Earth Is This Weekend

    The ultimate geek “unconference” BarCamp is self-organizing itself into a global gathering this weekend called “BarCampEarth”.

    The date marks (roughly) the one year anniversary of the “first BarCamp”. The “TorCamp” contingent have (of course) organized a great version of the event for “Toronto”. But not to be outdone, “Vancouver”, “Sudbury”, and “Waterloo” (albeit a month late) are joining in.

    Follow the links for details on how the event is shaping up in each location.

    Originally published at on August 25, 2006.

  • What Is

    Adrian Capobianco, VP of Interactive for FUSE Marketing Group, offered to give us some insights into a recent campaign, so we asked him 1.5 questions about…

    One Degree: Adrian, what was the challenge CIRA presented to FUSE and how does “” address that challenge?

    Adrian Capobianco: The opportunity was one that many One Degree readers will I’m sure be interested in. CIRA wanted to acknowledge September 22nd each year as a day to celebrate the positive impacts that the Internet has made on individuals and business.

    The 2 key challenges were:

    1. We needed a way to make it relevant to the average Canadian.
    2. The program needed to be launched nation-wide in both official languages which meant a huge awareness building effort.

    To address the first challenge we decided to send an Ambassador from coast to coast to coast to meet, interview and video a wide range of Canadians and present these interviews on the “” site in an engaging national forum.

    To address the second issue and help raise awareness we tapped into “partners” who have helped us facilitate the tour as well as raise awareness of the program.

    You can be the judge to see if we’ve made it compelling. Visit the site, see the tour, check out the education section, enter the contest for a chance to win free music downloads for a year and share your views by taking the polls while watching the tour videos. I’d be interested in your feedback.

    Originally published at on August 25, 2006.

August 24, 2006

  • How Do You “Try” Blogging?

    I was talking to a colleague at “Tucows” and we hit on something I’d experienced before but hadn’t quite formalized into a structured idea.

    The issue at hand was “what is the proper way to ‘test’ a new blogging platform — or blogging in general for that matter?” To me, the biggest benefit of having a blog is not “publishing a personal diary” but “sharing thoughts with the world”. The impact of blogging on your ability to share with others only happens if others can in fact share — otherwise you are just talking to yourself. And therein lies the problem. If you are “just testing” blogging, or a new platform like “vox”, you don’t really want to tell people it’s only a test and that you might not keep it going. In a nutshell, without committing to blogging it is very hard to get the benefits of blogging.

    My guess is the blogosphere is strewn with “hello world” blog posts that are the first and last post because it is impossible to see the benefit of post number two.

    This is a bigger problem than it might seem. Many new businesses depend on social networking models and those almost by definition mean they only work once you are in fact social. If we can’t push visitors past the “just looking around” stage how will we get them to see the value? Think about all the people you’ve told about “LinkedIn” who only added one contact and stopped not realizing that the darn thing only makes sense after you have a few people with good networks in your network. How many “Flickr accounts” are abandoned after people realize they have no one to share their snapshots with?

    How’s your Web 2.0 social dream site going to get over the “just looking/I don’t get it” hurdle?

    Originally published at on August 24, 2006.

August 17, 2006

  • Building A New Marketing Dream Team

    One of the big reasons I joined Tucows earlier this year was the company’s strong desire to build a “new marketing” team within Tucows. The company gave very few resources to the small overworked marketing team they had in place for the last few years and, frankly, it’s amazing they got as much done as they did. Kudos to Jacqui, Adam, Scott and those that were gone before I got here. But now the cracks are showing and the company knows it’s time to rethink the “if you make it, they will come” approach to marketing (unfortunately common to many tech-heavy companies). And so I was brought in to rethink what marketing means for “Tucows”. That was music to my ears and I’ve taken the tune to heart. I’m rethinking not only marketing at Tucows, but how marketing in the 21st century would be done if we were given the chance to hit “reset” and start all over again.

    Job One was putting together a “New Marketing” dream team. Here’s what I came up with in purple prose:

    Fearless Leader — Someone to bring the big ideas, push the grand vision, clear the way, deal with the crap and generally make it possible for the others to get the hard work done. Mentor, agitator, shit disturber, action taker. What-have-you. That’s “me”. Formal title: Vice President of Marketing.

    Go-to-market Guru — Takes the bright ideas generated in Product Management and created by Development and translates them into a compelling, coherent, customer-centric message. Acts as midwife to see those ideas into the world. Ensures that everything is right and ready so that the launch of new services or service enhancements goes off without a hitch. I’ve got one of these, he’s called “Adam”. Officially he’s the Product Marketing Manager.

    The Campaigner — Getting products to market is a challenge (Adam’s challenge), but the company doesn’t make money until customers adopt the products and start using them fully. The Campaigner’s toolkit consists of email marketing, search strategies, persuasive web design, actionable tools for the sales team and any other trick in the book to test, track and tweak measurable marketing goals to success. The business card says “Marketing Manager, Campaigns”. “I need one of these. Is it you?”

    The Conversationalist — This might be the best Internet job in Canada. Seriously. Chief blogger, deconstructor of mainstream media relations, champion of the human voice, content wrangler, cocktail party host, and the person who the voices of Tucows turn to for comfort and support when the going gets tough. I’m getting metaphysical here. “Read Joey’s description to see why I’m so excited about having someone like this on the team”. Officially you’d be the “Marketing Manager, Communications” if you “got the gig”

    The Collector — The wizard of words and numbers — brings together the marketing database, makes sure the tools are there to measure everything we do, does the field research and generally allows us to know who we are talking to and what they care about. Also known as the Director of Research, a new role ably filled by Jacqui.

    The Evangelist — This is all about passion. The Evangelist lives for your company’s products. They wear cow-hide vests, give out squishies, and write white papers — all while helping put geeks from around the world together to solve mutual problems. Joey “Accordion Guy” DeVilla holds the exalted title of Technical Evangelist here at Tucows. Someone get this guy in “Wikipedia” for Pete’s sake.

    The Mechanics — Without the mechanics, nothing happens — Lead Designer, Lead Developer — the Glimmer Twins of web design. To the mix, we’ll eventually add a search expert and an analytics lead. Right now we have our master of all things HTML, CSS and Photoshop in Scott, but the other roles need to be filled shortly.

    The Writers — Content is king. Without outstanding words and a deep understanding of the inner workings of Tucows APIs, control panels, and other technical underpinnings our customers would never be able to fully use our services. Clara and Debbie handle the role with style and grace and will undoubtedly see more front-line action now that they’re in Marketing instead of operations.

    I’m sure these roles will map well to some companies and be less relevant to others. Still, this to me is truly my dream team. Over time these roles will turn into teams and maybe someday some of them will be entire departments. But for the time being, we’ll be a great team with a clear mission — and a dream. Feedback on my dream time or insights into your New Marketing Dream Team are welcome. See you below in the comment area!

    Originally published at on August 17, 2006.

August 14, 2006

  • What If Your Fans Create Faux Blogs?

    One of the biggest no-nos of corporate blogging is creating a “fake blog”, or “faux blog” or “character blog” (all the same thing really). Blogs are supposed to present the authentic voices of real people. And since made up characters or “amalgams” can’t, by definition be “real”, they are generally (and justly) considered the ultimate sign that “you just don’t get it” when it comes to the blogosphere. So what happens when someone else creates a character blog that people might think is your doing? This is not a theoretical question as we’re dealing with this right now at “Tucows”.

    We’ve just started a “little viral campaign” around the “much-loved” Tucows’ “Squishy Cow” But an interesting thing happened. “Joey” our Technical Evangelist gave a squishy to someone last week and “he” went crazy for it. He named it Shoshanna. He said he was going to make a blog for Shoshanna. “And he did”.

    Now you must understand, I’m completely lovin’ this. I’m hoping Amazing Shoshanna’s blog has a long and happy life. But if anyone thinks that Tucows was behind this I’m screwed. Asking Shoshanna’s owner to take it down just seems wrong in so many ways. He likes our cows, he should be able to do “what he wants with it.” It’s all good right? Well, not if the blogosphere starts thinking Tucows put him up to it. So let me now say, officially and publicly that — other than giving him the squishy — Tucows has nothing to do with Shoshanna and her blog. But we do wish her well in her travels.

    Originally published at on August 14, 2006.

August 11, 2006

  • How Gets A Massage

    I’ve got a bit of a fondness for the custom “we’ll be right back” messages some sites post when they are temporarily down for maintenance.

    Last year I pointed out “Bloglines’ Plumber” and this spring I pointed out super-apologetic “Backpack Error Messages”. Flickr’s downtime message is so popular it’s become a “meme” onto itself (do a Google search on “is having a massage” if you’re not hip to the jive).

    So I was thrilled earlier this week when I hit “” and found their downtime message:

    <image lost to link decay>

    I really like how they turned their offline status into a content opportunity. People go to Digg to find something interesting to read, so this message is just about perfect from my perspective.

    Originally published at on August 11, 2006.

  • New One Degree Feature Next Week

    At “my day job” at “Tucows” I’m working on building out the marketing department. I’m in the incredibly enviable position of being able to think through the ultimate marketing team for the 21st century. Next week I’ll share with you my thoughts on how an Internet marketing team (client-side) should be configured and I’ll share the job descriptions of my key roles. I’m also hiring so you’ll see the job postings we’re doing and I’m hoping some of you will even consider joining the team. I look forward to some good discussion around this topic when we kick it off next week.

    Originally published at on August 11, 2006.

August 3, 2006

  • Is Interesting

    This is part of our new “Interesting” feature “we announced in April” but then lost track of. If you have an “interesting” site you think we should feature let us know.

    Chris Nguyen, Corporate Account Manager for “” explains why his company — featured at “DemoCamp Toronto 8” — is interesting…

    One Degree: Who needs you? Why do they need you? Why are you interesting? is a job board that helps job seekers connect with employers. Here’s how it works for Job Seekers:

    1. Job seekers go to and enter their home postal code
    2. A Google Map appears with jobs pinpointed near their house
    3. Clicking on any of the available job opportunities will bring you to a job posting page with a full job description, including a map of the job location Here’s how it works for Employers:
    4. Employers login to their Employer account
    5. Select an existing job template (contains pre-filled job title and description)
    6. Link the new job posting to a location, and click Publish Live The Retail Council of Canada reports that finding and retaining staff at all levels is the biggest challenge for retailers today.

    While we can’t eliminate turnover, but we can help reduce turnover. The technology we use (Google Maps, AJAX, RSS, etc) helps us to promote awareness of the issue of “distance sensitivity”.

    According to our market research, our target market is unwilling to travel more than 30 minutes for their job. By plotting jobs near a person’s home or school and thereby giving them an idea of their commute to work, we help our employers to better retain their employees overall. Also, our site was designed with ease-of-use and simplicity in mind. This helps visitors to easily navigate our site and find jobs quickly.

    *One Degree: How do you make money?*

    We bill employers on a monthly subscription basis for our services, including job postings, company profile, branding, backend management system features such as custom interview questions, screening tools, etc. Services for job seekers are free.

    *One Degree: What is your mission?*

    To disrupt the HR(Human Resources) industry through new ideas and innovation. To bring awareness to the issue of “distance sensitivity” with regards to employment.

    *One Degree: Who are you?*

    We are four recent Ryerson University graduates holding Bachelor of Commerce degrees in Information Technology Management. We all have different work experience ranging from Google to TTC to NVIDIA to Microsoft and BMW.

    *One Degree: Where are you?*

    Our corporate offices are based in Mississauga, Ontario. We’re right across from Square One. Individually, we live all across Toronto.

    Originally published at on August 3, 2006.