July 2013

Dog Shaming of the Day

by Joey deVilla on July 31, 2013

more dog shaming

Photo courtesy of DogShaming.com. Click the photo to visit their site!

Poor fella. I know a couple of humans with the same problem.

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Best. Construction Company Name. Ever.

by Joey deVilla on July 30, 2013

mammoth erection

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Saw this on Bloor Street earlier today, and yup, the company’s real. They even have hats and T-shirts! I may have to order one.

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Putin Airlines’ “In-Flot” Safety Video

by Joey deVilla on July 29, 2013

putin airlines air safety video

If Vladimir Putin had an airline, the safety video it would show at the start of the flight would probably look something like this:

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This company:

top ecommerce solution matrix

They’re looking for a couple of good people to fill a couple of job positions:

in this city:

Here’s one of the positions…

shopify pr manager
There are more details about the PR Manager position on Shopify’s “jobs” site, but here’s the general gist:

  • The ideal candidate is probably doing one of the following in his/her current job:
    • Managing PR, communications, or media at a tech company.
    • Working at a PR firm, primarliy with tech clients.
    • Journalism, with a fair bit of media outreach.
  • To do well in this job, you have to have a solid understanding of, and at least a few contacts in, tech and business media. This job is about putting Shopify’s best foot forward on TV (think tech business news segments on cable news), national newspapers with a tech business bent (think New York Times and the Wall Street Journal), national magazines with a focus on tech, business, and entrepreneurship (think Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc.), and tech-meets-business sites (think Mashable, TechCrunch, The Next Web).
  • Whoever gets this job will effectively be a one-person PR firm, doing all sorts of things from planning global PR campaigns to doing media relations to creating supporting promotional materials to working with the product team to measuring the impact of various PR initiatives.

…and here’s the other one:

shopify social media manager
There are more details about the Social Media Manager position on Shopify’s “jobs” site, but I can sum it up for you:

  • The ideal candidate should have:
    • A solid grasp of how social media works, and how it can be used to get more people open Shopify shops, make Shopify shopowners happy, and boost Shopify’s online reputation.
    • A presence on the “usual suspects” of social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter at the very least, with Google+ and Pinterest as nice-to-haves. It’ll help if you have a decent Klout score, say like mine.
    • Enough graphic arts skill to create images to be used in social media campaigns.
  • The major goals of this position is to make more Shopify users, and to keep the existing Shopify users happy — all through social media. Doing this will also require measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Whoever gets this job will effectively be a one-person social media machine, doing all sorts of things from planning global social media campaigns to maintaining Shopify’s presence on various social media platforms to actively monitoring social media channels for mentions of Shopify and responding when necessary, and building trust.

At Shopify, they equip everyone with a nice set of really cool gear to get their work done:


The picture above shows the gear that was waiting for me at my desk on my first day at the job. I’m sure they’ve updated what comes as “Shopify standard issue”, and I’m sure it’s fantastic.

…and you get to work in a fun, stimulating environment instead of a joyless, soul-killing, joyless cubicle farm…

These are all photos of the mothership in Ottawa, but they’ve gone to great lengths to make the Toronto office a great place to work as well. Much of the credit goes to Chief Culture Officer Daniel Weinand, whose job is to keep Shopify feeling like a fun place, even as it grows from scrappy startup into established middle-sized company.

shopify environment 1
shopify environment 2
shopify environment 3

Better still, you’ll be working in an industry that’s only getting started, and growing like gangbusters!

ecommerce growth
Ecommerce used to be a nichey “early adopter” sort of thing, but not anymore! It’s harder and harder to find someone who hasn’t ordered something online, and with ecommerce growing at twice the rate of regular bricks-and-mortar retail and still less than 10% of all retail (that’s still something on the order of $50 billion every quarter).

Does this sound like the kind of place where you’d like to work?

kirk and bones agree

So how can you get yourself one of these jobs?

You’re going to have to do more than just fill out the application form and submit a resume. Having a resume puts you in the not-so-elite group known as “everybody”:

resumes

Shopify sets itself apart, and you’re going to have to do the same:

One successful applicant created a Shopify shop as his application, “selling” himself and also proving that he understood the product:

mike freeman
Hint, hint: If you’re applying for the PR Manager position, perhaps you should put together a press kit about yourself. If you’re applying for the Social Media Manager position, perhaps you might want to start a social media campaign to explain why you’re the best candidate. You might want to make use of this hashtag:
i want to work at shopify

Do you know who Shopify’s competition are? You might want to look that up.

thinking
Hint, hint: There’s a graphic near the beginning of the article that might help!

“Draw the fucking owl” is a mantra at Shopify. If you’re applying to work there, make sure you’ve internalized the comic below, and be ready to explain how you’d draw the owl if you landed the job:

how to draw an owl

Make sure you touch base with Mark Hayes, marketing and PR guy at Shopify, and tell him Joey sent you.


He’s mark.hayes@shopify.com and @allsop8184 on Twitter. Try and strike a balance between being creative in how reach out to him and not wasting his time!

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

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McLobster Photo Gallery

by Joey deVilla on July 27, 2013

Here’s the idealized version of the McLobster, McDonald’s answer to the lobster roll, which made its way to McDonald’s in Ontario:

mclobster 1

And here’s a photo of an actual McLobster, purchased here in Accordion City. It’s not as pretty:

mclobster 2

As for the taste, here’s what National Post writer Rebecca Tucker had to say:

  • “…this McLobster does not smell like lobster. It doesn’t smell like anything but lettuce. Which, actually, is pretty much what it tastes like, too. Lettuce and celery.”
  • “…sweet, but not like lobster: more like imitation crab…”
  • “And I can’t believe I’m saying this about something from McDonald’s, but it neededsalt. It doesn’t taste bad so much as it doesn’t taste like anything at all. It is lobster that has had its flavour replaced by a  ‘Mc.’ It is lettuce and mayonnaise.”

Let’s get a look at another promotional photo:

mclobster 3

Okay, now let’s look at another one served at a counter:

mclobster 4

Okay, that one’s not too bad. Neither is the one below, which was tweeted by Sam McGillis:

mclobster 5

Martin Chow tweeted that he was disappointed by his:

mclobster 6

 

Michael K N’s McLobster looks pretty decent:

mclobster 9

My favourite Twitter photo tagged “McLobster” is this one, courtesy of Jacob McCowell:

mclobster 7

I believe that internet law reminds me to end such a post with this image:

mclobster 8

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music hack day

Music Hack Day is coming to Toronto on Saturday, August 10th and Sunday, August 11th! An event that’s taken place in many cities all over the world, Music Hack Day is when people with different skills and talents — programmers, musicians, designers and artists, to name a few — get together to brainstorm and quickly build prototypes of interesting musical creations. It’s happening here, and it’s free!

Here’s what their registration site says:

Music Hack Day is a hacking session in which participants will conceptualize, create and present their projects. Music + software + mobile + hardware + art + the web. Anything goes as long as it’s music related.

This is the first time that Music Hack Day has come to Toronto! We’re calling on all programmers, designers and artists to come and help us build the future of music.

Music Hack Day has been a great way to demonstrate the creativity around music that comes from the tech community, fostering cross-platform and cross-device innovation.

What’s It Like?

Music Hack Day is whatever the participants (everyone who attends is a participant — there are no spectators) make it out to be. The best way to get a feel for what it’s like is to look at some past Music Hack Days in other cities.

music hack day london

Creative Commons photo by Thomas Bonte. Click to see the source.

Music Hack Day London took place in their Facebook office in November 2012. Some of the goodies that were created in the 24 allotted hours were:
barbertron

music hack day stockholm

Creative Commons photo by Duncan Geere. Click to see the source.

Music Hack Day Stockholm happened in January. Here are a couple of interesting projects from that event:

  • Super Mutroid: A Metroid-themed platform-jumper videogame that generates levels based on the music you give it; you jump over and duck under obstacles to the beat.
  • The Sampler Formerly Known as Magnum Infinity takes a folder of MP3s, looks for samples with a reasonably pure pitch and assembles those samples into a musical instrument.
  • Joggify is a mobile exercise music app that plays music at regular speed while you keep jogging, but slows it down as you slow down and slack off. Stop jogging, and the music stops completely.

music hack day reykjavik

Creative Commons photo by “grossvogel”. Click to see the source.

Music Hack Day Reykjavik gave the world:

Here are some goodies from Music Hack Day Boston:

specklesounds
Specklesounds is a sound generator based on Specklesense hardware.

bohemian rhapsichord
Bohemian Rhapsichord takes snippets from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and turns them into a full-screen sample playing instrument. Get your hands on a big-ass toucscreen start jamming!

drinkify
And then there’s Drinkify. Tell it what you’re listening to, and it’ll suggest a cocktail.

There’s been at least one Music Hack Day project that became a full-on commercially-available product: Arpeggionome!

Okay, I’m Sold. What’s Up with Music Hack Day Toronto?

toronto

Music Hack Day Toronto is being put together by Toronto Ruby development shop (and excellent putter-together of amazing conferences) Unspace, along with Soundcloud, Rdio and The Echo Nest. It’ll take place at the Glass Factory, located at 99 Sudbury Street (nearest major intersection is Queen and Dufferin).

Here’s the official description of the event, taken from their “About” page:

Mission

  • To fast prototype and create brand new music apps (web, mobile or physical) in just24hrs.
  • To bring together the music industry and the developer community.
  • To highlight and showcase the platforms and API’s of companies working in and around music tech.
  • To foster cross-platform and cross-device innovation.

Overview

  • Taken place in 17 cities in different countries: London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Boston, San Francisco, Stockholm, Barcelona, Cannes, New York City, Denver, Philadelphia, Paris, Vienna, Reykjavík, Edinburgh, Sydney & Montreal.
  • Over 1.200 people taken part including developers and invited members of press/music industry.
  • Over 60 companies officially involved and associated with Music Hack Day.
  • Over 200 apps built during Music Hack Days, some of them launched commercially.

music hack day apis

The sponsors and API providers for the event are:

  • Soundcloud: Online audio hosting and distribution.
  • Rdio: Music streaming service with a big-ass linrary.
  • The Echo Nest: A powerful music search engine that lets you search for songs by artist, similar artist, who’s hot, tempo, key and lots of other criteria.
  • Semantria: Text analytics and sentiment analysis. If you didn’t know that the Kinks’ song Lola was a bout a dude (I’ve met such people), Senatria will tell you.
  • GigaTools: An API for search for who’s having a live gig, where, and when.
  • LyricFind: A song lyrics search engine, powered by a lot of agreements with music publishers.

I Can’t Make This Event, But You Should Go!

An event like this — one that mixes music, technology, and the chance to hang out with old and new friends — has my name written all over it, but alas, I’m going to be out of town. I may be missing out, but that means you shouldn’t. If you’ve been dying to work on a music+tech project, go sign up for Music Hack Day Toronto! And once again, it’s free-as-in-beer!

click here to register

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

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Patio Friday at The Pilot

by Joey deVilla on July 26, 2013

patio friday at the pilot

pilotposter2Once again, it’s summer (although the weather may not agree), and it’s Friday, which means it’s Patio Friday in Toronto! Come join Accordion City’s working and non-working professionals at the rooftop of The Pilot (serving Yours Truly drinks since he was 17!), located at 22 Cumberland, just north of Bloor, between Bay and Yonge, for good people, conversation, and — of course — drinks. RJ Moorhouse will be holding down the fort starting at 4 p.m. (doesn’t he have a real job?), while I, being an actual productive member of society, should be there shortly after 6.

 

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