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Carrots: Free Mobile App Icon Generation Tool

April 26, 2016 | By | No Comments

Carrots icon

If you have found this blog post, you are likely well acquainted with the painful step of generating all the required different sized graphics files for your mobile app icon before you submit your app to the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores. Maybe you were a patient, saintly soul who had been leveraging Preview or Photoshop to resize your 1024×1024 icon file but forgot one to many times to name it with the right @2 or @3 extension, and have finally lost your mind. You are also likely well versed in the mercurial decisions by Apple to change certain icon sizes by 3 pixels or, add new one like they did when they released the Apple Watch. Well fear no more, we have felt your pain and suffering and have your solution, it is the 14 Oranges Free Carrots Icon Generator

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With Carrots (we were feeling botanically enlightened when we came up with the name), you can simply drop one square 1024×1024 image into the Carrots tool and it will generate all the images for you with the correct dimensions and names. We even tossed in the Android graphics for all the cross-platform developers out there.

Here are the steps:

1) Visit carrots.14oranges.com

2) Select the platforms you want the images for (Apple, Android, Apple Watch)

3) Drop your 1024×1024 image in the drop area (or click the upload button if you prefer old school)

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4) Wait for the image to upload

5) Click one of the Download Zip buttons to download a zip file of the resulting files or click the download button for only the files you want to have

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6) Import them into Xcode or Android Studio

7) Huzzah! (to borrow someone’s else expression)

PS. If you see any new file sizes that we forgot about, feel free to drop us a line at support@14oranges.com and we will add the extra size.

Hedge Connection Launches Audience Voting Mobile App for Fund Manager Pitch Event

April 20, 2016 | By | No Comments

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Hedge Connection, the patented marketing platform for hedge funds, has announced the release of their audience voting mobile app for their annual Deal Ring event, which was most recently held on March 16, 2016 in Chicago. The apps and event website were developed by 14 Oranges for Hedge Connection, and allowed the audience to vote in real-time on fund manager pitch sessions during the event.

Today, Hedge Connection is announcing the release of their Deal Ring event app for iOS and Android. Deal Ring is a Shark Tank style event where fund managers pitch to a panel of hedge fund investors, called Ringmasters, before a live audience. The app allows the audience, also made up of investment professionals, to participate in judging the fund manager pitches.

The website and audience voting apps feature an easy to navigate design that worked in real-time to provide both a voting interface and a voting results display for all the attendees at the event. Based on the audience and Ringmaster feedback, the managers would land a meeting with a Ringmaster to discuss a potential allocation in their fund.

The mobile apps and website were developed by 14 Oranges, one of the leading custom web and mobile application development firms in the the Pacific Northwest. Based in Vancouver, BC, 14 Oranges is known for its custom app development work across a broad spectrum of event, retail, government and telecom customers, including the Blo Dry Bar, the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group and the BC Safety Authority.

“We were looking for a mobile app solution that we could tie into this unique event format,” said Rob Arthurs, Co-Founder at Hedge Connection. “14 Oranges was able to provide their audience voting app in a timely fashion, and it helped to make our event very engaging for our attendees.”

“Our experience in developing data-capture and reporting solutions for our customers allowed us to roll out the required solution quickly and efficiently,” explained Shane Todhunter, Vice President of Business Development with 14 Oranges. “We applaud Hedge Connection’s vision to engage their event audience through their mobile app.”

4 tips for effectively marketing your new mobile app

April 18, 2016 | By | No Comments

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When it comes to bacon and eggs they say the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.  When it comes to releasing mobile apps, the development of the app is involvement, but the marketing of the app is where you truly commit to your audience.

Put plainly, if you think your target audience will find your mobile app with no prompting on your part, you will be disappointed with the download results. Our experience has shown that not marketing your app will create a very low, straight line download rate.  Basically you are relying on your audience to discover the app on their own. While both Apple and Google are good at presenting your app for download, unless you have some timely, culturally significant content you will not get their attention to feature your mobile app in their app stores.  However, there are a number of both free and paid ways to effectively market your mobile app to your target audience, and better yet, measure the success of your campaign.

1)         You are your best advocate: App download pop-ups on your website.

By now you have surely noticed that more and more of your target audience has been connecting with your website from their mobile devices.  This may even have been your statistical justification for having a mobile app built.  With the addition of a very simple, pop-up on your website you can re-direct incoming visitors to download your newly minted mobile app.   

Links and advertisement on the front page of your website are also effective, but nothing grabs the attention of mobile users like an option to opt out of the mobile website and download an app.

2)         Social media marketing: The Freemium approach

That intern in the corner churning out click-bait?  Get them in the routine of posting that you have a mobile app to download!  Your social media following, if it is engaged in what you are posting, will take to this message quickly.  But remember, you can’t get away with posting once in the social media world.  Your posts are now getting buried in your target audience’s social media feeds, so it’s critical to re-post the app’s availability on a routine basis, and even think about paying to boost your posts.  Now, if you followed tip #1, all your social media posts that connect back to your website will also lead to the app being advertised immediately to your mobile users.   Think of this as the tag team of free digital marketing app techniques.

3)         Performance advertising: Targeted and measurable

Facebook and Google, as was pointed out by Gabe Laydon, the CEO of Machine Zone (Must watch interview) are performance marketing firms. They get paid to position ads to your target audience. Make use of these ads and position yourself against the right keywords and demographics.  TV and radio have proven to be effective ways of marketing, but as Gabe shares, try exhausting digital advertising before spending on these traditional media. Even if the numbers seem low at first, digital at least gives you an accurate measure of what your audience is clicking on versus the Hail Mary marketing approach still embraced by traditional broadcast media.

4)         Display advertising: Be seen where it counts

When your content is targeted to an audience sitting in a doctor’s office or standing in a bus shelter, why not just use a poster to ask them download your app?  While digital advertising is tightly targeted, it is constrained to the online world, and display advertising offers additional value based on the location context of the display which helps to trigger the desire to download an app. By using a vanity URL or even a QR code, you can easily extract a further digital measurement on the success of the display ad campaign.

In all the cases above, you will be able to benefit from a digital measure of your campaign’s success to get your mobile app downloaded.  So go on, be a pig, and commit to putting the best mobile app download marketing practices into your release plan!

Oink!

14 Oranges Brings Its Mobile App Software Development Expertise to Ottawa and Halifax

April 14, 2016 | By |

14 Oranges today announced it is expanding its North American market coverage for custom mobile app software development beyond the west coast to Ottawa and Halifax. This move is timed with the hiring of John Craig as its new VP of Sales and Marketing, tasked with growing the organization’s sales across North America.


 

14 Oranges is today announcing the North American market expansion of its mobile application development businesses with the launch of sales offices in both Ottawa and Halifax. Having already established a market leading position and solid reputation for delivery in Vancouver and the north western United States, this move provides customers with two eastern touch points for the company, as well as future access to the world-class software engineering talent that both towns are known for.

“Ottawa and Halifax, both important government towns, are also hub towns for Canadian technology with strong historical ties to trade with United States,” said Sylvain Marcotte, CEO of 14 Oranges. “This expansion will help us to continue to grow our firm and position us to deliver on our next-generation of services to the largest population centers in the US and Canada.”

14 Oranges is also formally announcing the hiring of its new VP of Sales and Marketing, John Craig. Craig, an industry veteran with entrepreneurial experience in the development, deployment and delivery of mobile applications, has joined 14 Oranges to drive the expansion of 14 Oranges North American sales and establish a deeper position with both its traditional telecommunications clients and the next generation of mobile workforce solutions for both the private and public sector.

“14 Oranges has the critical mobile application development DNA needed to build the next generation of mobile telecom and mobile worker applications,” said Craig. “I am glad to be a part of expanding this team’s footprint to Halifax and Ottawa, as well as the prospects of continuing to contribute to the ongoing growth of entrepreneurism and technology across Canada.”

Victoria Lennox, the CEO of Startup Canada, also welcomed the expansion of 14 Oranges across Canada, “This is a great example of a firm with regional success expanding to provide pan-Canadian opportunity, and we too are hugely supportive of 14 Oranges as they expand to offer services across Canada.”

Melody Pardoe, the COO Volta Labs who provide co-working space to 14 Oranges in Halifax added, “Volta is happy to support small business expansion into the Atlantic region. It’s great to see 14 Oranges expand across the country and join the tech community in Nova Scotia.”

12 Apr

John Craig

4 ways to spring clean your mobile app

April 12, 2016 | By |

 

Spring has sprung, and the maple syrup is flowing, but your app’s downloads have slowed to a trickle. Negative comments are piling up in the app store. Bug reports have started to come in on crashes against the latest devices and mobile operating systems releases. Are you on the hotseat? Here’s what you need to do.

1) Re-energize your application advertising

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Nothing contributes more to poor download results for an application than a lack of advertising. It’s important that you not only use digital media channels to highlight your app, such as websites, digital ads and social media channels, but also traditional channels, such as posters, bus advertisements, radio and tv advertisements.  With mobile enabled content, think about where your target audience is, and make it available there. Bus and subway ads are great for capturing people’s attention when they are on their phones with nothing to do.

2) Submit a re-freshed application to the app stores

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New devices and operating system features have launched into the app ecosystems over the past 2 years. Wearables now allow users to receive push notifications and control the app on their wrists. There is also the option of porting your application to the Apple TV, Google TV or Amazon Fire, opening the potential of displaying your content to the largest screen in the home. User interface specs on all supported devices have also evolved and keeping in sync with the latest graphics resolution requirements has an impact on how your app is perceived and used. Submitting a refreshed application will bring your app back up to grade and keep you in style!

3) Re-evaluate why your content is being delivered in a mobile app format

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The key question to ask is if your app audience needs access to the information presented in the mobile app when they are on-the-go everyday. This is highly likely if your app was developed to present location-enabled content and if your audience appreciates push notifications alerting them to the latest changes in that content. If this isn’t the case, a mobile optimized website might be the more appropriate way of presenting your content to mobile users. If your content doesn’t leverage the GPS and push notification capabilities of the native app platforms, a mobile app may be overkill for your mobile engagement needs.

4) Make sure all your content is up to date

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The number one negative issue for app users is that content is not refreshed in their apps frequently enough.  This can quickly cause app downloads to fall off and drive negative app store comments. There are a number of ways to keep your application’s content up to date.  Hybrid app technologies can link mobile optimized pages or RSS feeds from your website into your own mobile application to keep your app current. The only issue technology can’t help you with, is making sure the content is correct and that you continue to upload new content frequently!

Content, marketing and keeping the app fresh against the latest devices and graphic specs will always keep your app at the forefront with your audience.  Take these spring cleaning tips to heart and spruce up your app before the summer.  

 

30 Mar

John Craig

The Zone @ 91-3 Launches the First Apple TV App for a Canadian FM Radio Station

March 30, 2016 | By |

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14 Oranges today released the first Apple TV application for an FM radio station in Canada on behalf of The Zone @ 91-3, the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group’s alternative and modern rock radio station based in Victoria, B.C. The app downloads onto 4th generation Apple TV devices and shows album cover graphics for the artist playing on the channel, as well as their latest social media posts.

14 Oranges today announced the launch of the first Apple TV application for a Canadian radio station. The Zone @ 91-3 application, which is already available for both Apple andAndroid smartphones, now adds support for 4th generation Apple TV devices. Listeners can download the application through the App Store from the Apple TV menu.

The application goes beyond the listening capabilities already provided by current cable TV services supporting local radio by adding both album cover art and social media posts from the band currently playing on the station.

“This app lets us bypass subscription services to bring our music and personality to devices at the centre of every home,” said John Shields, Senior Programming Manager of The Zone @ 91-3. “It will allow us to continue bringing our unique brand of radio to our listeners on all sorts of next-generation devices, in Victoria or around the world.”

The application is the first generation iteration of the application, and will be enhanced as use of the application increases. “14 Oranges has been proactive in delivering the next generation of digital engagement tools for our listeners; and have consistently kept us on top of the latest technology innovations,” added Shields.

“Enriched media playback capabilities are bringing the radio experience to a whole new generation of digital users and continuing the engage the generation who grew up listening to the radio in their home,” said Sylvain Marcotte, CEO of 14 Oranges. “We are proud to help radio evolve onto the next generation of digital devices.”

Mobile Apps for the DIY crowd

March 28, 2016 | By |

I’m no professional contractor but I am a pretty handy guy. I learned the art of bubblegum and duct tape from my old man and Red Green, but have learned the ways of ‘Making it Right’ from a healthy dose of HGTV. I think I’m smart enough to call in the pros when I’m in over my head, but I’m definitely comfortable with general framing and finishing work. Last year my wife and I decided that our kids have shared a room long enough so I subdivided their room into two smaller bedrooms. It looks great and the bedtime routine is a ton easier. The problem now is the only bathroom on their floor is a two-piece. It had been a year since I finished the last reno and I was getting itchy feet again.

To start, I had to open up the walls and assess the situation. I take pictures with my phone at every stage because when you have to put things back the way they were, a photo makes that process much simpler. In my case, I got pretty lucky with the outer wall with the pocket door I was removing. There was only one electrical run and I was able to shut the circuit off, disconnect it all, pull it through the studs and reconnect everything back up without it costing me. The wall came down pretty easily. I left the toilet and sink intact so the kids could use them for a few weeks while I did my planning.

I used Sketchup for my planning. If you’re lightly technical and haven’t tried Sketchup, you’ve got to check it out. It is a really fantastic tool that lets you quickly create a 3D rendering of your project and with relative ease. The bonus is you can actually walk through your project virtually once you have completed your model. I started by drawing out the floor, adding walls and adding in the things that aren’t moving, which in my case was just the toilet. I was able to import a 3D toilet that was almost identical to my existing throne and easily put it in place.

Now it was time to pick my major fixtures out, and I went hardware store route for the shower and the IKEA route for the sinks. I downloaded the IKEA mobile app, and to be honest, I was really disappointed. It was barely functional and didn’t give me the info that was easily accessible on their website. I decided to browse on my laptop in this case to see nice big shiny photos. I settled on a small double sink cabinet called the GODMORGON / ODENSVIK. I figured the double sink will save me on average 30 seconds a day, plus one headache at teeth brushing time with two small boys. By the way, it looks like most IKEA furniture has 3D models available in Sketchup.

Afterwards, I added in the flooring and my neo angle shower. I had to actually draw the shower as I couldn’t find the exact 3D model that I needed.

Here’s the result of about two hours of work with Sketchup

Here’s the result of about two hours of work with Sketchup

After having drawn it out, I made my shopping list (sent myself an email from the app!) and starting pricing things out. Amazon was a great help in this step. I picked my shower handle and shower head and ordered them. Lesson learned here – be careful with plumbing orders of two items with nearly identically names that differ by only the words ‘trim kit.’ Basically I ordered the shiny bits but not the actual valve body. When it arrived, I learned my lesson and had to go back and order what I really needed. I ordered a cork floor (yes readers, I know, cork isn’t great for a bathroom), but it’s a cold room and I wanted a warm inexpensive floor. It’s a small room and if I get 10 years out of the floor, my kids will be off to college by then! I ordered some flooring samples from a local supplier and they arrived the next day. I selected my favourite (ok my wife’s favourite) and ordered what I needed. I asked the supplier for some details on installation and was provided with lots of info on properly sealing the floor that I would not have otherwise received. Ask the experts, right?

Finally, I picked up what I needed from IKEA, added the lumber and I was ready to start building.

Raised floor and framing complete.

Raised floor and framing complete.

Step one – I framed up the new walls and the rough opening for the door. Now I know there are lots of leveling mobile apps out there and they can be handy when hanging a picture etc. Instead, I pulled out my 6 foot level for framing. You really need the long surface to get accurate measurements for framing and an ⅛ inch out of plumb at this phase can cause huge headaches later on. Once I had the framing done, I realized two pot lights were not going to be enough in this room anymore so I called my electrician back and he wired it up four LED pot lights. Four is probably overkill, but I will be putting a dimmer on it and better too much light than too little, right?

Step two – I moved onto framing up the elevated floor for the shower. I also called my plumber back at this point to rough in the drain and water supply lines for the new shower. Surprise, surprise, it cost me another case of beer. I installed the shower base at this point and moved onto the drywall.

Step three – I contemplated ordering the drywall for delivery just to save me some time (Home Depot is half an hour away) but in the end I decided it wasn’t worth it so I picked up the drywall myself. I decided to use mold resistant drywall on the back wall of the bathroom as well as behind the shower, then regular drywall everywhere else. The boarding doesn’t take long if you have a sharp knife and a drywall t-square. Putting the pieces on the roof single-handedly is always a pain. I used all the tricks in the book but (not gonna lie) I had to wait for my wife to get home to hold the brace in place.

Kelton my 7 year old drywaller

Kelton my 7 year old drywaller

My oldest son is seven years old and he was very useful in the drywalling phase of the project. He’s a very interesting kid and loves talk radio as much as I do. I use the  tune in radio app that lets me stream my local talk radio station because it doesn’t have its own mobile app. My son and I would scribe and cut the drywall to size in the garage then haul it into place. I used some shims to hold the board 1/8th inch off the ground and quickly throw a few screws in to hold it in place. An impact driver uses a hammering mechanism to increase the torque while minimizing the twisting of the driver. This means it’s perfect for kids to drive screws. My son was capable of driving hundreds of screws five inches apart in all the boards up to about six feet off the ground with the help of a small step ladder. I can’t tell you how much time it saved me but the best part is that all the while, he was smiling like I had just let him have candy for breakfast.

Mudding and taping is something you either love or loathe. I fall on the love side so when it came time to call in the pros to save me hours and hours of work I just couldn’t do it.

Check back soon for the next installment once I get the mudding done!

23 Mar

John Craig

Rock your radio station app with these 3 social media features

March 23, 2016 | By |

 

Radio stations and their hosts were the forerunner to modern mass electronic social media.  With breaking news before the time of Twitter, they shared the latest music and entertainment.  They also quickly integrated with other technologies, such as the telephone, to give us talk-radio, call-in contests and crowdsourced late night requests.  Radio didn’t turn off at night like most TV stations did.  Always on, always sharing, always listening.

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And then WKRP in Cincinnati came along and had us howling at how radio stations operated behind the scenes.  Who can forget the classic Thanksgiving episode as station manager Arthur Carlson rains turkeys down from a helicopter in a radio advertising stunt gone wrong.  Afterwards Carlson confesses, “As God is my witness … I thought turkeys could fly.”

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Well we are glad to say we haven’t worked with any Arthur Carlsons.  14 Oranges has however, developed a number of mobile apps for the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, and we’ve learned three novel ways of integrating social media into the radio experience, and you will notice these features are more Dr. Johnny Fever than Arthur Carlson.

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1. Show the latest Twitter and Facebook tweets and likes for the band while the song is playing

Hold on a tick.  Do you have a list of all this info in its current and ever changing form like Dr. Johnny Fever from WKRP!? 14 Oranges built out their own Dr. Fever in the form of a custom web crawler that finds the social media feeds and websites for the bands in the station’s playlist database.  The crawler then assigns a confidence rating to the information collected based on an intelligent algorithm, and only displays the information we feel is at least 60% correct.  At least the crawler never shows up late or hung-over!  

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2. Allow the listener to explore the band’s full online presence while the song is playing

You can also click on the song playing and bring up the full set of listings we crawled for the band, including Wikipedia, additional social media links, websites and YouTube channels. When our algorithm returns a confidence rating of 60% or less we opt out and simply share the radio station’s social media feeds.  It’s our way of not dropping a turkey out of a helicopter, thinking it could fly.

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3. Crowdsource band information from the listeners

For the information where we only 60% sure of, we offer to the listeners, and ultimately the real fans, the chance to update the band’s information right inside the app.  With a simple form, listeners can add the corrected social media information and website(s) for the band playing, which we can vet and insert for future reference.  Because, as God is our witness, we want to know if turkeys can fly!

 

10 Mar

John Craig

5 key features to expect in a mobile app to manage your mobile workforce

March 10, 2016 | By |

 

In June last year, IDC forecast that the U.S. mobile workforce would grow from 96.2M in 2015 to 105.4M people by 2020, and account for nearly three quarters of the total U.S. workforce.  And with over 75% of mobile phone subscribers now owning smartphones in the U.S. it’s a sure bet that there will be a surge in the number of mobile workforce applications available to help manage these workers.

With our experience in developing mobile apps for the mobile worker, we put together a list of the 5 key features every mobile workforce manager should expect to find in the mobile application they are purchasing to manage their workers.

1)         The mobile app has to work offline, and sync data when connected to the network

This one is harder than it looks, as early iterations of mobile apps were just mobile web pages linked into mobile app frameworks and required cellular data service to function.  Mobile workers need to collect data in areas of low or no cellular coverage.  Collecting data to only have it lost later, you might as well go back to using a clipboard and a #2 pencil.

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2)         The mobile app has to provide directions to your next job

GPS capabilities have become deeply integrated into our lives.  For the mobile worker, having the address of your next job linked to your preferred smartphone map means getting to your next job quickly, and for managers it means having a management dashboard to optimize the drive times of your workers.  More on-wrench time means greater efficiency and happier customers.  Isn’t this the world we always wanted to live in?!

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3)         The mobile apps must use wizards for data collection

This doesn’t mean Gandalf is riding shotgun with your team, but what it does mean is that your mobile app should help your field workers capture, fill in and verify all the critical data that needs to be collected while on site.  You don’t want your workers leaving, only to drive back and collect forgotten or unverified information.  This is also good for mobile managers on-boarding new workers.  Wizards can help establish a baseline process to bring new team members up to speed.

4)         The mobile apps should allow expert field workers to break out of wizards

You will likely encounter two different types of mobile workers.  One you need to train, and one you should not restrain! For managers, this means the user management engine should allow you to turn on or turn off app features depending on the profile of the user.  In turn, your app will allow you to take the gloves off your experienced workers and allow them to skip straight to key forms to get the job done.  These experts don’t just know their business, they are your business!

5)         The mobile apps must include a photo capture capability

How do you prove the work was done, or the site was visited?!  Photos speak a thousand words, and whether it’s a maintenance selfie, or the verification of a site during a safety inspection or just a photo of a happy client, mobile apps should leverage the native photo capabilities of the smartphone, and in some cases, video and voice capabilities as well.  

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With more millennials entering the mobile workforce, expectations will be high for smartphone apps that integrate with and look like apps they used growing up.  This will also make retro hipsters easier to spot; mostly guys with beards and women in plaid shirts carrying clipboards!

Michael Porter and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

March 4, 2016 | By |

There’s a new look for the Board of Trade here in Vancouver, and with the new look a renewed mandate for regional inclusiveness. 14 Oranges joined the Vancouver Board of Trade this year and I attended a great event yesterday at the Vancouver Convention Center put on by the Board of Trade showcasing a presentation by one of the world’s foremost experts on competitive strategy in business and politics, Michael Porter. I will discuss his presentation in detail further on. The preamble to Michael’s presentation involved the unveiling of the name change, slight shift in mandate and new logo of the Board of Trade.

 

Established in 1887, the Vancouver Board of Trade has a long history of helping business grow and succeed in Vancouver not to mention influencing policy and infrastructure decisions in government. The board of directors recently voted unanimously to rebrand the organization to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, after realizing that businesses are thinking regionally and so should they. The new logo was revealed to much applause. We look forward to our continued involvement with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in the coming year.

Brand new logo for Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

Brand new logo for Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

Michael Porter spoke for about an hour on a variety of topics related to a distinct and present competitive advantage that we have in North America. He was referring to the relatively inexpensive oil and gas we have access to, with modern techniques and of particular interest to me was his reference to BC’s liquid natural gas reserves. Many of the commonly asked questions were addressed by Mr. Porter in a way I hadn’t heard before. For example when addressing the idea that using fossil fuels is environmentally bad and that renewable energy is the way of the future, he agreed but made this point. LNG (liquid natural gas) is far cleaner and more environmentally friendly than coal, no one would dispute this, so let’s sell our LNG to China, Germany and other nations that are currently generating at least some of their electricity in highly polluting coal burning plants. I will paraphrase Michael’s summary, Canada literally has the power to lower the world’s carbon footprint.

And guess what, we would create jobs and pump money into our economy. This leads me to another point Michael made when discussing some of his previous work regarding the Porter Hypothesis which suggests that forcing a company to become greener does not make it less profitable but in fact does the opposite. Porter used the example of water recovery in fracking. Fracking is a method of extracting oil and gas by injecting water into the ground cracking the rock allowing the oil or gas to flow more freely. Fracking is controversial to say the least but it was the example used so bare with me. If a company is forced by environmental rules to recover at least 30% of the water for reuse, it is an initial burden on the company to have to find a solution to recover this water. But once the solution is found there is a 30% decrease in the cost of getting that water to the site forever. This is an easy example of course and there could be lots of discussion on it but that’s for another post.

 

The second topic that I found particularly interesting stemmed from an audience question. As a side note, the conference used a technology I had not seen before called Pigeon Hole Live. We were all shown a link right at the point in the introduction where they ask you to ensure your phones are on silent, and asked to visit it and login. Once there you were able to post a question to the organizers digitally and also see/vote on the questions other had posed. The question that was quickly voted to the top was, “Can Donald Trump negatively impact the progress that has been made on clean energy?”  To be honest the question could have been shortened to Trump? but it was on everyone’s mind, what does the clearly intelligent speaker think of what is happening in his country right now.

Porter’s answer was quite long but he tied it back to some points he had made in his presentation so well. One of the first slides in the presentation showed the median income in the US for the past 20 years. He summarized it with a bit of an I told you so where he showed the nine recommendations he made in 1990 that would have to be undertaken for the US to stay competitive in the world. Not a single one of those nine things have been put in place and the shrinking US median income is a result of the US not being competitive anymore. He pointed out to our primarily Canadian audience that in Canada we actually have many of the things on his list. He applauded our immigration policy and banking regulations to name a few.

He tied this all together by pointing out that Americans are leaning towards Trump simply because they have given the Republicans and the Democrats a shot and they just aren’t getting it done. This frustration is leading the people to lash out in response and side with a loud-mouthed narcissist (my words not his).

Michael Porter simply pointed out that if you have polarization like they do in the US right now, you cannot accomplish anything in politics and the same is true in business. Environmental factors MUST be part of the energy business these days but it cannot be the only side of the argument. Companies MUST stay competitive and profitable but not at the expense of mother earth. As we move towards renewable energy, the best way to do that is encourage the American/Canadian spirit of innovation by creating well paying jobs in a stable environment with a constant push towards being greener.

My thanks to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and Michael Porter for helping me look at a few of the world’s problems through a different set of eyes.  Having studied strategy in university it was an absolute pleasure to hear his strategy for a competitive North America and how that relates to what we do every day. With all the bad press about LNG, and fracking these days, I am encouraged after hearing this presentation that it might be the way of the future … promoting a more sustainable world through strategic thinking.  Sunny ways indeed!