Mar 21 2011

Can Social Media Buy Me, Us, You a House? Part 3

So a few things have happened since my last post about Social Media having the power to buy one a house (one being any”one” not just me)

The first thing that happened is I put an ad on Craigslist. I said that I am the mom of 2 cool kids and that I want to move to the area. I didn’t really expect anyone to come back with an offer to buy me a house but I did hope that someone who was looking to rent their place would find my ad and ring me up.

A really cool thing happened! A woman, in the right part of town, answered my ad! Now, her home is big, really big and it’s beautiful, really beautiful and, well, it’s just too expensive. That said, we had a great chat and found out we have similar business interests. Who knows, it might end up that we become great friends and business associates.

So while the CL ad did not find me a house…yet, it may very well have found my a great new business contact and friend.


The thing about the house offer got me thinking though. At the moment I pay about $1300/month in rent. I expect that, in the new part of town which is more expensive, I’ll have to pay somewhere in the area of $2,000/month for something a wee bit nicer than where we’re at.

My business is going very well and I don’t expect that the added expense will be a lot to contend with. What burns me up though is that I would be more than happy to up that if it meant some sort of equity share.

There must be people out there who are in a situation where they cannot sell their home for what they want or who are downsizing and want to enable someone else to own their own home. I am pretty confident that these people exist, we just have to find them.

This week is going to be about networking. I’m going to a major networking conference in Vancouver on Thursday called Twestival and am hoping to make the kind of contacts that will propel my business to the next level.

I’ll add them to the myriad of very cool people I know already and I will work all of them for a solution to solve my housing expectations.

I can do this because I am always, without fail, ready to help anyone who asks. To me that’s what social networking is all about. Provide value, provide value, provide value….and don’t expect anything in return.

If you show people that you want to help them just for the sake of helping you’ll get it back in droves in ways you never considered. That’s what I love about what I do. I see random acts of kindness every day and it empowers me to pay it forward.

Mar 1 2011

Can Social Media Buy You a House? Part 2

I’ve changed the title of the series from “Can Social Media Buy ME a House?” to “Can Social Media Buy YOU a House?” for the simple reason that, as a social experiment I don’t really care if what comes from this is personal gain. In fact, it would be far more interesting if it were someone else who was the beneficiary of the experiment.

When I first put this notion out into cyber-space a few days ago I received several Facebook notes from friends telling me how I could go about finding a place to live. Some suggested social housing even. While I am not against social housing I must say that the attitude required, in ones mind, to accept socially assisted living is part of the problem that I want to solve with this experiment.

Social assistance is, by now means, a new notion. The Romans did it. In the Jewish tradition it was considered a right of the poor to receive charity from the wealthy. Most organize religions promote charity as a way to shave off some of ones sins.

But there is a price to charity. Often (and I’m not saying always) people who live on the charity of others become dependant on that charity. It becomes a mind-set that is passed through generations. There are numerous stories of individuals who pull themselves out of such lives but that requires a herculean effort that not many can aspire to.

So, the notion of just buying someone a house is not going to work. If someone does not have to work for their success they won’t. It’s human nature.

When I was at Trent University I had a job on the line, at General Motors. I worked 89 days (90 would’ve put me in the union) and I was able to use the money to pay for my education. I graduated in 3 years with a BA. I had several friends who’s parents paid for their post-secondary education while they lounged around at the cottage in the summers. Guess what? 80% of them had to go on to a 4th year to finish their degrees. It was a great lesson for me. As much as I resented their free-ride, I realized quickly that the value of doing it yourself far out-weighs sipping margaritas by the lake.

Having said that I do believe that providing charity to others is a social obligation that should be part of everyone’s life. We are among the top 10% of the world’s richest people. We shouldn’t be receiving charity, we should be giving it.

The question becomes “where can my efforts produce the greatest good?”. If you look at the opportunities to help others you an break it down into several categories.

The world.
The country.
The community.
The home.
The family.

Yep, you have to include self because helping yourself may just lead to helping others.

Helping others. Where would you get the most bang for your buck and the most satisfaction? I would suggest that helping others in your community could potentially have the largest impact and here’s why.

If you set up someone to succeed you help to change the way they think about money, giving etc. If they have come from a place of receiving charity and you take them to a place where they can make their own successes then you enable (in a good way) them to pay that behaviour forward and help others. Thus creating a community of people who think in a philanthropic way first.

To that end, I think that looking around your community and seeing how you can help to make it better, not by donating money but by improving someone’s situation so that they can help someone else may just be the best sort of “giver” you could be.

As always, I am very interested in your thoughts about this notion. I’m sure there are skeptics so bring it on, I’ll try to answer all of your questions and comments.

Next article: How can we make this funner (I know it’s not a word, that’s what makes it funner ;)

Jun 25 2010

Pecha Kucha – Prounounced “Bloody Awesome!”

Ok, I’m sure some of you have not heard of Pecha Kucha (pronounced pe-cha-ch-ka, depending on who you ask) I’m going to give you the super quick, 411 on the gig.

20 presenters get 20 slides, 20 seconds each for a total of 6 minutes to speak about whatever topic that relates to the particular PK event.

Last night, in Vancouver, was the best EVER Pecha Kucha I have ever been to! No kidding. It was so great and inspiring and, well, even my crazy vocabulary cannot describe how awesome it was.

The event was all about sustainability and Metro Vancouver’s goal to become the world’s greenest city by 2020. Each presenter had something to offer toward that goal.

There were 2 women who saw the garbage being created at public events and did something about it, saving countless recyclables from becoming land-fill fodder.

Another sold ethical SWAG (stuff we all get). Sounds dubious but she really does get stuff for corporate swag that environmentally and human rights -ally ;) ethical. They got Pategonia to put their giant catalogue on ethically-created USB drives thus saving tons of paper and waste.

My favourites were the people speaking about growth and how we now have both the technology and the drive to create environmentally sustainable housing.

Actually, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, my very favourite was Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Aside from the fact that he is not hard to lovingly gaze upon :) he is also 100% behind the initiatives to put Vancouver on the map as the world’s greenest city.

His domain is Metro Vancouver which means the surrounding regions need to be onboard too.

This is where I got really excited. The project I work on, outside of Vancouver, will be part of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy. That means that when the project gets past our council it will have to go to Metro and Metro have already made it clear that a project like the one here in T-town is exactly the kind of smart growth initiatives they are talkin’ bout!

Ok, that’s super boring government stuff. Only people who really like government stuff like to read stuff like that. (I like it but I’m weird)

Here’s the cool stuff, the stuff that makes me proud.

Vancouver is arguably one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. A drive from West Van toward Whistler can bring tears of awe to even the most cynical individual. Mountains, Ocean, Islands, temped weather, it’s all here. People flock here like fruit flies on a banana.

We know that more are coming. Many, many more. We know that we want to be the greenest city on earth. (without getting into it I will say that those of us who know that our reliance on oil is coming to an end, know this) We know that sustainability will be the key to preserving the beauty of the Westcoast. And we also know that our reliance on imported food needs to start moving to a reliance on locally grown, organic options.

Knowing all that, every single person in BC should be looking for ways to prepare. Anyone that sticks their head in the sand or allows others to make up their mind needs to start to wake up.

Throwing stones at sustainable growth propositions or casting doubts on projects to further a personal agenda is short-sighted, selfish and does nothing to improve community.

Some people in the town I live in have chosen to rail against the project. They site obstacles such as traffic as reasons to toss the entire thing out the window. Their focus on the smaller picture has muddied the waters and taken some of the attention off of the massive gains for our community.

I have to be honest, my faith wavered a little.

But last night has not only renewed that faith, it’s made me see that the ideas in our plan are so much more ahead of their time than even Metro can believe.

Thank you Pecha Kucha! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hey, maybe we’ll host our own PK on the site one day!

May 31 2010

Toronto Can Suck my &%(* Right Now!

It is a widely accepted truth, among all Canadians, that the westcoast of Canada is the most beautiful place to live. As compensation for this designation we allow Toronto to hold sway over multi-culturalism and Calgary to keep it’s rep as a (more) northern Montana.

Anyone who watched the Olympics can attest to the fact that Vancouver is gorgeous. So what if we didn’t have a ton of snow in February, we hosted a helluva party.

But now things have changed. Over the last week the weather has been mis-behaving. Mother Nature has forsaken us. Seriously, WTF is she thinking?

I’ve posted a photo from theweathernetwork.com that illustrates my point. Things is all bass-ackwards across this beautiful country but it is no where more noticeable than in the most beautiful city in Canada, Vancouver.

So it’s not enough that they now get to have all the best restaurants (everything you can imagine too. Seriously great eats in TO) but now, this month, they get to claim the weather trophy as well.

I cry FOUL!

Dear Toronto, we want our fucking weather back! Stop being so greedy!

If you don’t give it back all of us transplanted Ontarians will come back and crowd your beaches and cottages!

That’s really all I have to say on the subject.