I am shocked, appalled, and mortified.

I just found out that a very well known major sports organization in this country pays their interns seventy-five dollars a week. Yes, the equivalent of $3,900 a year if they were employed for fifty-two weeks. I also discovered that a major sports league in this country provides their interns with an honorarium of $500 per month. That’s $6,000 a year or 35% more than the first organization I referenced. A third organization I heard about recently, a sponsorship consultancy, is paying their interns with tickets to major league events. But while in attendance (by themselves because they only get one), they need to audit the sponsor signage and promotions at the venue.

Last time I checked minimum wage was $11.60 per hour in Ontario. If you asked an intern to work a forty-hour week, you should pay them $464.00 a week. I don’t need to teach you how to do math, but clearly somebody needs a math lesson since these organizations are paying people a fraction of what is legal. In fact, a $75/week stipend is 16% of what minimum wage calls for.

Are they only expecting 16% effort, 16% productivity, 16% accountability, and 16% responsibility? I doubt it. In fact, I bet it’s the opposite. I suspect they are expecting 116% of the intern’s life.

You don’t need a math lesson and you don’t need a lesson in fairness. But someone does. How is a young person who has tuition to pay, rent to find, food to scrounge, and probably debts accumulating supposed to survive on these meager wages? It is not enough to suggest they are being rewarded through training. That is crap. Total crap. I am fifty-two years old and I am learning about my job every day. Does that mean I should make slave wages? Hell no – Abe Lincoln solved that for me a long time ago!

We used to underpay our interns, years ago we only paid a $2,000 per term honorarium. But we soon realized that was rampantly unfair to both the interns and to us. They were not getting a fair financial return and we were not attracting the best talent. So when we increased it and then late began to follow minimum wage, I falsely believed everybody else was doing the same. Guess I am wrong.

This came to light for me recently when a friend’s daughter asked for advice as to what internship they should choose. Her first criteria was to find something flexible so she could keep her non-internship, part-time job, which pays quite well. It was only then that I discovered the facts!

Our industry needs interns, not the other way around. They provide a pool of talented short-term labor which is crucial for busy times. They form a pipeline of entry-level talent that you know well through extended exposure. They bring ideas, energy, and enthusiasm. They become ambassadors of your brand for their professional lives.

If you can sleep at night supporting a system where you take advantage of interns than more power to you. But I can’t – and I believe many people are on my side of the bed on this one. I think that the colleges and universities who pitch their students to companies should begin to freeze out those that won’t provide fair compensation, regardless of their profile.

Mountain Climbers

MH3 —  November 21, 2017 — Leave a comment

I am really excited about our T1 Speaker Series event next week. I would have used the word “stoked”, but after posting it three times yesterday people have told me that my quota is up.

But I am stoked for a bunch of reasons.

Our panel wasn’t assembled by accident. That’s pretty obvious. It’s a bit of a sneak peak of our lineup for sponsorshipX 2018.

Darren Kinnaird is the General Manager of Crankworx and our partner event for the first edition of sponsorshipX, happening this August 2018. (Yes in case you have been ignoring me for months, CSFX is now called sponsorshipX and we are going global with content, speakers, delegates and an international event soon). David Zimberoff is the VP Marketing of SRAM and one of biggest partners of Crankworx. Micayla Gatto is a professional mountain biker, artist, online host, and brand ambassador.

Micayala Gatto is the panelist I know the least because we haven’t actually met yet. I have been spending some time this week learning about her in the way we learn about most people in 2017 – online. But as vast as the interweb is, I have a feeling that it is only telling me a fraction of the story. I am excited to have her share her story of juggling her multiple roles, endorsement deals, appearances, and content creation. Here is a link if you want a sneak peek, though I think meeting her in real life will be the real deal.

I know David Zimberoff the second best. But that may be a slight exaggeration since our relationship to date has consisted of one evening together at the Crankworx partner dinner, and one phone call to discuss his speaking at sponsorshipX 2018. But it only took a few minutes at that dinner to realize I had met someone who not only has an unlimited insider’s knowledge of the biker world & community, but also a unique and savvy approach to business building. Plus his stewardship of the World Bicycle Relief Program is reflective of the type of difference we should all want to make in this world.

Darren Kinnaird, I know the most from his attendance and involvement in several past CSFX events. For years he prodded me about hosting our conference in tandem with Crankworx. To be candid, I had dozens of misconceptions as to what Crankworx was really all about. Turns out, it’s the world’s largest mountain biking festival – attracting thousands of affluent, influential and engaged consumers – and Whistler’s most lucrative event of the year.

That is a great segway to our the discussion we will hold next Tuesday during the Speaker Series. As consumers shift away from mass to mass customization, properties become increasingly globalized, and affluent customers seek experiences over collectibles, we as marketers are faced with many questions. How do I reach unique and targeted consumers? How do I connect with authenticity? How do I uncover the many layers of my customers and understand what makes them tick?

See you next Tuesday!

It’s a People Business

MH3 —  November 14, 2017 — Leave a comment

Sorry I skipped a week in my HR entries of how to work with your boss, grumpy or otherwise. But I’m back.

Thought I would take a slightly different tack today, though it’s consistent with my messages of the last couple of weeks. This one is inspired by both my recent posts and a presentation I just gave to the board of a sports-related national organization. But the topic at hand is not about working for a boss – it’s about working with clients, customers, sponsors, etc.

I love to ask my audience this simple question: what business are you in? Invariably we all fall into the trap of sharing our business’ mission or vision statements. If you take Peter Drucker to heart, you know that the purpose of any business is to make a sale. For example, the board I was presenting to last week was very tightly aligned on their organization’s mission, but I would argue they were wrong to think that way. In reality, they are in the Fundraising Business. Because without resources they cannot provide the opportunities and access that is so strongly articulated in their values.

Truth be told we are both right. They are in the Opportunity Business and they are also in the Fundraising Business. But if you scratch the surface you will also realize that we are both wrong.

This organization, your organization, my organization are all in the same business. It’s easy to forget sometimes and when we do, or at least when I do, we all pay a heavy penalty for it. The business we are all in is the People Business. Whether you are a tech company, a service organization, a rights agency, or an entertainment provider. Our customers are people.

Understanding we are in the People Business is key to selling programs, ideas, campaigns, sponsorships, media, innovations, investments – you name it. In my book (which yes I am still writing); it’s a point I keep trying to make. So much so that it may become the subtitle.

The business you are in is the People Business. If your business or organization isn’t hitting its sales targets, if you are not winning enough RFP’s, or if your channels of distribution are drying up – perhaps it is time to stop looking at the numbers and look at the names.

Who is it you are selling to? What motivates them? How are they evaluated in their job? What is their true role? You can ask yourself a hundred and one questions about this person and I think you should. Creating a clear picture of who your customer is and what their needs are is the easiest path to success.

So why don’t we do it more often? I’m not sure, but let me ask you this: in the last forty-eight hours, how many times have you thought about the person on the other side of the desk (your customer) as a person? Not in a butt-kissing or sappy way, but in a pragmatic and thoughtful way. It can start with a deeper evaluation of what they are asking of you and your company. This more in-depth understanding is much more valuable than the specifics of the ask, and should be dimensionalized around parameters such as problem-solving, providing confidence in your solution, or, inspiration from your ideas. In short, you need to understand what fears that person has and how can allay them.

Have you heard the expression that nobody ever got fired for hiring XYZ big-name supplier? (I removed the actual company name because it actually delegitimizes the expression.) But it’s true. Your customer doesn’t care whether you can provide the specs. They care whether hiring you will get them fired.

If you think that they are the same thing you are wrong. Because every one of your competitors, including you, can provide the specs. But who can assure the client they won’t get fired? The one who takes the time to understand how the internal machinations of the company work. The one who learns the risk tolerances of your customer’s bosses. The one who learns the true issues impacting their company.

Getting to know your customer is no different than getting to know your boss. Out the time in. Shut your flytrap. Open your ears wide. Take lots of notes. Do your homework. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Mood Reader

MH3 —  October 30, 2017 — Leave a comment

I have had some interesting conversations since my last blog post published last week.

One of them went something like this:
Them: “You didn’t talk about how to deal with a moody boss.”
Me: “Yes I did.”
Them: “No you didn’t.”
Me: “Untrue. My advice was all about how to deal with any boss.”
Them: “But moody bosses are different, you don’t know what to expect from them.”

I thought about this for a while and shared it with another friend who also runs an agency. They almost fell out of their chair as they exclaimed: “I am so tired of being accused of moodiness!”

“I am NOT moody!”, he yelled as his eyes sprung out of his head, froth erupted from his mouth, and the blood turned his skull red. Eerily I felt like I was starting in a VR mirror. Once he got out of the get-this-man-a-defibrillator zone, we sat and chatted about it.

Do you know it’s scientifically proven that the easiest way to put someone in a bad mood, is to ask them if they are in a bad mood? Try it! Or ask someone to try it on you. Now, do you believe me?

Perhaps your boss is a moody person. Perhaps they have a good reason to be, or perhaps they don’t see themselves as moody at all.

So let’s try to figure out your moody boss by looking at the following three scenarios.

Scenario #1: They arrive at the meeting in a particular mood. I can only speak to myself, as I have no ability to be a mood reader for anybody else. It would be foolish for me to pretend not to be perceived as moody in the conventional sense. Or in any sense. But I would also posit to you that much of what affects my moods is often not seen by people I deal with. As a business owner, you often have to deal with issues in isolation. You don’t necessarily have peers who you can share your issues with. Perhaps if you are experiencing moodiness from your boss right from the meeting outset, it is the result of some bigger issue to which you have no visibility. You may not like it, but you don’t have the right to demand otherwise.

Scenario #2: During the meeting your boss goes from a decent mood to an unexpected bad mood. The second driver of mood changes isn’t really mood-related, it’s situational. In this case, you should take stock of what is happening. Perhaps the work or information being shared is not meeting your boss’ expectations. Perhaps they are now creating scenarios in their mind, where this sub-par work is going to affect a larger initiative, or a sales campaign, a client pitch, or the management of another project. While you may be thinking about the specifics at hand, perhaps a pause and consideration of the overall scenario will help you understand the shift in tone. You may not like it, but you aren’t the first person who has been told by their boss to improve their output.

Scenario #3: Your boss is upset with themselves, not you. I can attest to being one of those people who gets more upset with himself than anyone else in my universe. It’s not a mature quality, but at least I am aware of it. Perhaps this is the same for your boss. It may be hard for you to believe this, but it’s not always about you!

So if you spend more time observing the person or people you work for, you might learn how they are going to react in certain situations. Put the knowledge to work and I bet you will both end up in a better mood.

I am often asked by job-seekers what I think about the culture at Company X or Company Y.

My consistent answer is that you don’t go to work for a company, you go to work for a person. Your boss. How she/he and you engage will ultimately determine your happiness at that organization. So what do you do if you are working for a bad boss but you actually want to stay with the company?

Thinking about how YOU work with your boss should be a mandatory requirement for everybody at every level in your organization. Even a CEO has a board, a banker, a list of key customers who are their de facto bosses. People like to blame their boss, or hate on their boss, but have they taken a step back and thought about how to work with their boss?

You may feel that, as a business owner, I don’t have the credibility to comment in this area. Well, I have had many bosses in my life – ranging from my first newspaper route, to my summer jobs, to my role in a failed dot-com startup. More importantly, I have had many people work for me, many of whom get me, and many more whom don’t. So my advice is informed by a combination of working with direct reports and my own experiences reporting to a jerk board member, an uneven business partner, and a dominating entrepreneur. As well as working with an incompetent resort manager, a life coach sailing school director, a true mentor university athletic director, and a hands-off account director.

I am going to keep this simple, because as a boss that’s what I like in my team. So here are a few critical tidbits to guide your working relationship.

1. Find out how they want to work with you. Do they like meetings or conversations? Do they want to have regular 1:1’s or meetings on an as-needed basis? Are they a morning, midday, or late day person?

2. How do they like to receive information? Are they a visual learner? Are they a muller? Do they want everything in a deck the day prior? Do they like email? Do they prefer conversation? Do they want presentations or charts or word documents? Do they work at a desk or remotely from a tablet? (Just sixty seconds ago I had to ask for a PDF to view on my tablet after someone sent me an internal server link.)

3. What sort of relationship do they want to have? Does small talk pain them? Do they want to know about your weekend or your sick cat? Perhaps they don’t care (and that doesn’t make them a bad boss). Or do they want to retell their life story to you before every business discussion…

4. What can you do to make their life better? Do you understand their mandate and who they answer to? Do you understand their ambitions within the organization? Popular business writing focuses on servant leadership, but you should focus on serving your leader. Make it a two-way street. In turn you should be able to communicate to your team the critical issues on the mind of your boss.

5. Communicate. Commit. Complete. I hate chasing people. I hate having to follow up on their work. I hate having to ask when something will be done, and I hate a job half done. Research may show that a significant percentage of people dislike their bosses, but since when is delivering on a commitment you made a reason for this anger?

You may not believe this approach will work. Which is fine, because that will lead me to believe that you have never tried it.

Spokesperson Audible

MH3 —  October 11, 2017

It didn’t take Dannon Yogurt long to sign Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott as their spokesperson, following their sacking of Carolina Panthers pivot Cam Newton.

Newton, in case you don’t follow football, was slammed for making sexist comments when a female Charlotte Observer reporter asked him a question about receiver routes in a press conference. Newton somehow thought it was funny that a female reporter would ask such a question. He later tried to brush off the comments by saying he should have said that any reporter asking that question was funny – the intimation being reporters don’t know football.

Newton, unfortunately, has a history of immaturity and stupidity. His latest actions are even more unthinkable given he has two daughters of his own. Imagine how he would feel if someone spoke to one of his daughters in the same manner?

Newton’s current actions are only a small part of the story. Football fans know he bounced from university to university due to academic and legal issues. They also know his father went to the Rick Pitino school of athlete recruitment, and allegedly demanded cash payment for his son’s college commitment. Yet, as a fan, I loved Newton’s play at Auburn, where he willed his team to a national title and at Carolina where he guided the Panthers to a Super Bowl. As a black man, I have to admit he gets my biased support. I want black QB’s to succeed, so they can prove to the league and fans that they are smart leaders, despite not having always been given a fair shake. But as a black man, I also cringe at Newton’s actions.

Clearly, Dannon Yogurt didn’t do their homework on Newton before they signed him. The first time I saw their ads, I thought … what an odd fit, but kudos to Dannon. They are taking a chance on a young man with a questionable past, but unfortunately that decision burned them.

I am also a Dak Prescott fan, admittedly for the same reasons. When he was at Mississippi State he took a program from mediocre to #1 in the polls. When Dallas drafted him I told my Cowboys “friends”, they got the steal of the draft. They didn’t believe me. Thank goodness Tony Romo’s did! So now Dannon has hitched their wagon on another young, and black, emerging star QB.

If you don’t think the American football landscape is biased against black quarterbacks read these media quotes after Dak’s final college game, a 51-28 bowl win over North Carolina State:

 

“The senior quarterback was superb, completing 25 of 42 passes for four touchdowns, 380 passing yards and an interception. He also rushed for 47 yards on 12 carries.”

“Prescott set a Mississippi State bowl record with his four passing touchdowns, breaking the Belk Bowl record for passing yards in the process. He also helped the Bulldogs break the Belk Bowl record for total offence (569) and most points scored by a team”

“Although Prescott isn’t a traditional pro quarterback, the way he played in the wet conditions was impressive and earned him game MVP honors.”

 

Not a “traditional” pro quarterback? Four passing TD’s? Super Play? MVP? That’s non-traditional?

So here is my plea to Dak. Don’t throw an interception as the Dannon spokesperson. Don’t mess up. Don’t give the naysayers a chance to hurt you, or even take more shots at Newton. Be mature beyond your years like you are on the field. Be a leader off the field.

Represent your sport. Your team. Your race. Most of all represent your true self.

Tell It On The Mountain

MH3 —  September 26, 2017

Before you start reading, I want you to find a place of solitude, plug in your best headphones to the largest screen you can muster, turn up the volume and watch this:

Now, watch it again.

Excited? I don’t think I have the literary ability to elicit the same feelings in you as this piece does. But there is a story behind it I would like to share with you, and this backstory is at the core of what our 2018 conference is all about.

Have you ever noticed in life that you are at your best when you face your biggest challenges? Isn’t it amazing how adrenaline can keep you working at a frenetic pace when you should be passed out off your feet? Or how the most dangerous version of yourself comes out when you are backed into a corner? Why do we only see the best in people when tragedy strikes? How come it takes an illness to motivate me to get into better shape? How come it only makes sense to plan for a rainy day on the day you lose your job?

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to be comfortable. Why rock the boat when you are sailing through life? If your job is good, why look for a better one? If your small business is making a profit, why risk with foolish international expansion? If your team always makes the playoffs, what’s the point of dismantling it to try to win a championship?

Successful complacency is not a bad place to be. It’s safe. It’s reliable. It’s comforting. It’ll be there in the morning.

I don’t mean to project but I feel like my life goes through ebbs and flows. I’ve faced countless business, fitness or personal motivational challenges. But just when these problems become big enough to get dangerous – like the time I ballooned to 240 pounds for example – do my strongest instincts kick-in. My brain, my heart, and my parent-instilled tenacity kick in, and I end up kicking butt. So when I am gliding along, enjoying life, feeling healthy, happy, and humming through my day – I realize that those are the worst feelings in the world. Complacency is contagious. As one of my friends likes to say: “Good is the enemy of Great.”

The other day I was moaning about my complacency to a friend who sent me an awesome video. It’s a 2015 commencement speech by former NCAA football coach Lou Holtz. In this video, Holtz talks about how maintaining success was his greatest regret while coaching at Notre Dame. His message: If you aren’t growing, you’re dying. This message resonated with me and stuck with me when I was thinking about the evolution of CSFX to sponsorshipX for 2018. And this inspiration is what gave life to this video. It’s the mountain. The mountain that represents the everlasting climb to become your better self. And now the mountain that will host you and your colleagues at sponsorshipX.

As you think about your career, your role, your future, I want you to think about what you can do in 2018 to make this year different – how can you escape the clutches of complacency and become the best you, ever? Should you run a marathon? Switch jobs? Travel? Lose 10 pounds? Lose 20? Learn how to play the guitar? Ask for a promotion? Fight for a promotion?  Build your network? Reconnect with old friends? Tell your family you love them? Climb an actual mountain?

This is not a list that I loftily suggest I have or will accomplish. But I can say that as I think about shaking the rust off my personal flywheel, one of my commitments is to help you do the same. In 2018, sponsorshipX will carry on some of our great traditions we have been known for with CSFX: we’ve again partnered with a unique event, we’re going to go behind the scenes, and offer our participants great networking. But 2018 is going to be different – we’re scaling the conference to a whole new level.

There are few places in the world more grand than Whistler, our host community. There are few events more electrifying than Crankworx, our host event. There are few business communities more dynamic than sponsorship marketers, our participants. And when you combine all three of these elements – Mighty Mountains, Amazing Athletes & Sponsorship Soulmates – you get sponsorshipX.

I invite you to join me on the mountain. To find new ways to tackle your business problems. To find new tools to reach the summit. To meet new people to help guide you to a place higher than you could ever imagine. A conference isn’t about the speakers, it’s about the truth they speak. A conference isn’t about how many leads you make, it’s about the leadership lessons. A conference isn’t about the slides you steal, it’s about the slides you share.

There is no doubt that a long road exists between the you sitting at your desk right now, and the you you see yourself becoming. So why not start that journey today?

Your friend,

mh3
Mark Harrison
Chairperson, sponsorshipX – The Sponsorship Experience Forum
A Live Action Marketing Conference

PS. I have one final request. Before you go back to your cluttered world, with its urgent emails, endless solicitations, and sketchy deadlines take one more trip down the mountain:

Ten Years And Learning

MH3 —  September 12, 2017

I love the first week of September!

Back to school. Back to work. Back to football.

The air is filled with newness, energy, hustle, and anticipation. It might be the busiest week of the year, but it’s also one of the best. There is a sense of renewal and revitlization that comes with the Fall – not to mention it also brings the best weather of the year!

This week, when I returned from a thoroughly relaxing end-of-summer vacation to an office buzzing with energy, I realized it’s been ten years since we moved the agency into our then new, now current, offices. I remember being nervous at the time of signing a decade-long lease. Today, I am in disbelief that 2007 is now 2017, and I can’t help but ask myself what happened to the last ten years?

Perhaps a better question is what have I learned since I calmed my nerves and signed my name on that dotted line? If the brick walls of The T1 Agency could talk, what wisdom would they impart?

It’s A People Business
The first and most important lesson is so important it could be the only lesson. It’s so essential that it applies to any business in the world. It’s the oldest lesson in business history, but candidly I didn’t really embrace it properly until the last few years. Our business success is one hundred percent dependent on the quality of our people, their skills, motivation, and smarts. If I reflect on my path in building this agency, I wish today that I had started working earlier and more purposefully on building a great team. In the early stages of my firm, I was too focused on selling projects and executing them. I wasn’t building a business, I was fulfilling orders. Once we realized that our focus should be on attracting, developing, and retaining stars, it was like entering a different business universe.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
I didn’t come up with this expression, but I love it. I think it’s something that you learn as an individual or an organization as you mature. In my case, I intially thought we were an agency that was providing certain services to our clients. But only once I started hiring great people with great backgrounds at other companies (See Lesson #1!) did I start to get educated. This applied to many aspects of our business: creative, strategy, and digital for example. Building a business from scratch can give you a false sense of God syndrome. Having your eyes opened to new religions can make you a true believer.

Practice What You Preach
The shoemaker’s kids probably don’t have tattered shoes, but we certainly had a tattered brand. We had a crummy brand and yet we were preaching all sorts of advice to our clients. Although a brand is much more than a logo, in our case it started with the logo, our agency name, our philosophy, our culture, our own marketing. So over time we tackled all of these issues and you know what? This brand building stuff works! That’s good news for us because now we can preach what we actually practice.

Late last year I signed a lease to keep us in our newly renovated workhome for several more years. The legal document spelt out all of our tenant rights and obligations. Perhaps it could be amended to provide some insight on what new valuable learnings await around the corner.

The World Needs More CSFX

MH3 —  August 16, 2017

The world needs more CSFX, so we are going to give it to them.

I am not intending to make light of the expression “The World Needs More Canada,” but after many many many months of planning, thinking, brainstorming, strategizing and sometimes panicking, we have reached an exciting milestone. My team and I have made the decision to take the magic of our sponsorship conference, the CSFX you love, on an international journey.

We started CSFX as the Canadian Sponsorship Forum in 2005 with a clear mission. Our aim was to gather a cult of passionate sponsorship minds in Canada, and share relevant best practices, learnings, and experiences. It was important for us that we be able to access Canadian case studies, research, and data. I dreamed of creating an annual reunion of sorts for the industry. A place where you could make new friends and celebrate the old. Our secondary objective was to have a damn good time. We didn’t just wrap the whole experience up by partnering with marquee events to provide an immersive experience. We wanted to host every delegate like an old friend coming over for dinner.

If you’ve attended, you will agree we’ve achieved that.

One 2017 delegate commented that it was like “Christmas and Easter all wrapped up into one.” Not sure what that means, but I liked it. I liked it so much, we just hired her in fact! But, you get the point. CSFX, CSF, The Forum, Harrison’s Conference, whatever you labelled it, hopefully it was a badge you know you earned and could wear with honour for years to come.

However, the world is a much different place than it was in 2005. I hate that expression, of course the world is different. But, it’s time for me to wake up and smell the Starbucks. Our business has changed. It’s not just tech. Everything has changed. Global change is what is driving the need for us to grow and evolve as an event.

The sponsorship landscape of the next twelve years, 2018 through 2030, will be so much different than the 2005-2017 era we have celebrated as a conference. Whether it be sport, media, entertainment, festivals or chase properties, globalization has taken over. Who would have imagined three country World Cup soccer bids? Or charity events that got perfected in Canada, being exported to Australia? NFL regular season games in the United Kingdom and women’s college basketball teams touring Italy? The importation of festival genres and internationalization of television shows? Digital media super stars with no boundaries? The growth of B2B conferences as international investment drivers? Festivalization of everything? Consumers in mass trading belongings for belonging?

It would be utterly naive for us not to jump in with both feet, heart, mind, and soul.

So, we are.

For 2018, we are changing the name, positioning, content, and structure of The Forum. Yes, I said we are changing the name. In fact, the word Canadian is being removed entirely. Does that make me some sort of hypocrite? Hopefully not. I’m a proud ass Canuck still.

We are sharing preliminary information this weekend in Whistler at Crankworx. Over the next four weeks, we are going to invite you to hear more and more, until we reveal the full package at the end of September.

Part of our plan is to move our flagship conference around globally. That doesn’t mean we will abandon Canada. We will be growing by adding an international event, while still maintaining an annual Canadian event. I intend to have my cake and eat it too. But seriously, we recognize that budgets and time will hamper some people from attending our global event. More importantly, there are still so many great events and communities in Canada for us to attend that it would be a waste. Of course, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being excited about some of our potential global stops.

Hopefully you want to be a part of this joyride. Better yet, invite your friends from around the world to join us. We are just about one year away from Whistler. Time for you to strap on your big kid clothes, tighten your chin strap, take a deep breath and get ready to get dirty.

Hello Friends;

This week South by Southwest has opened voting for their 2018 speakers. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

You may not realize that I have submitted a couple of times before and was outright rejected! http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

So, my team suggested that for my third (and final?) try… I should share my learnings from these harsh rejections. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

Below you will find my speaking topic. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

If you want to support me, please click this link: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

If you don’t want to support me, you can also oppose me here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

In case I get rejected for the third time… I have prepared the following list of excuses, proactively. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

Please share your feedback on them. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

1. I can’t spell SXSW. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

2. My topic reeks of self-pity and wallow. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

3. Wallow is a verb, not a noun. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

4. What proof do we have that this is the new Mark? http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

5. Those fake MH3 initials don’t stand for MH 3.0. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

6. We had Obama speak in 2015. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

7. You’re not Obama Mark, nor do you look like him. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

8. People at SXSW actually do read the post-event surveys. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

10. My post-event survey wasn’t actually anonymous. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

11. I didn’t sing one note at the panel on Corporate Karaoke and then stole the idea for my own conference. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

12. Trump knows I’m brown. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

13. Trump knows I bring a brown colleague with me. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

14. People who campaign for votes are self-centered. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

15. I plead no-contest to #14. http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175

Thank-you for your consideration. If you haven’t found the link yet, it is here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76175


What Being Rejected by SXSW Has Taught Me
Learn the process that Mark Harrison took in submitting to SXSW in the past. And, why it failed. Twice. Learn what not to do, what to do better, and how he came back in style with an unforgettable presentation. He’ll demystify great conference speakers by looking at those that stand out most. There are tons of presenters out there, but what makes some exceptional? Learn to be like Mark this year, not like Mark last year. Or the year before.