Friday, May 18

Canadian content requirements a bad idea

Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit fired off a tweet yesterday that piqued my interest: is the criticism leveled at his team for their lack of Canadians justified?

The Vancouver Whitecaps have just four Canadians on their 30-man roster. But three (Bryce Alderson, Caleb Clarke and Russel Teibert) have yet to see any playing time in regular season matches this year. The fourth, defensive stalwart Alain Rochat, is only nominally a Canadian, having moved to Switzerland when he was two — he plays his international soccer for Switzerland.

The Whitecaps' lack of Canadians has been the focus of some attention recently. They are currently in the finals of the Canadian championship against Toronto FC, who in contrast to the Whitecaps have nine Canadians on their roster. Five of them played in the first leg of the finals against Vancouver. Plus, the Canadian Soccer Association has a new president, Victor Montagliani, who has called for more stringent quotas on the number of Canadian players teams this side of the 49th parallel must carry.

Thursday, January 12

Does salience make sense for Air Miles?

Air Miles has decided to do a curious thing: tell you how much they're actually worth.

Air Miles, for those who don't know, is a customer loyalty program. If you shop at particular businesses, you earn "miles," which you can then redeem for rewards. Businesses use these programs in an attempt to retain customers. They're particularly useful when businesses offer a fairly generic product that customers could easily buy from a competitor.

Monday, January 9

Moneyball and the "Occupy" movement

I recently finished reading Moneyball (I haven't gotten around to watching the movie yet). I'm not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I really enjoyed this book. It is a David-and-Goliath story about how the nerdy-but-cheap Oakland A's used their knowledge of stats to outsmart the baseball establishment.

Reading Moneyball, I couldn't help but think about the "Occupy" movement. I empathize with the protestors to some extent — it's difficult to comprehend how the "one per cent" can make so much more money tha everyone else, especially when times are tough for many people right now.

Thursday, January 5

Kickstarter a boon to entrepreneurs

Many entrepreneurs take a big risk when they start a business.

There are usually significant fixed costs. A retail store, for example, has to lease its space, buy a sign, cash registers, advertising, etc. — before they sell their first product. It's intimidating. There's the potential for major rejection — customers might not like what you're selling, and the business goes bankrupt.

What if you could remove that potential for rejection? What if you knew with certainty that the moment you opened your doors, your business would have enough customers?

Monday, January 2

Marketing value of 1¢

A few months ago, an ad in the newspaper caught my attention:

The 1¢ figure perplexed me. I understand why phone companies might want to give you a free phone if you sign a three-year contract for phone services. But why charge 1¢? From a revenue standpoint, the 1¢ must be inconsequential to Rogers. Isn't free more attractive?

Thursday, December 29

Should charities threaten potential donors?

Earlier this year, I blogged about my dislike for charities who try to guilt donors by mailing out unsolicited gifts. While I find this to be an offensive practice, my friend Tom recently received a mailing from a charity called Smile Train that may have topped this. (In case you're wondering about the picture below, Smile Train "is dedicated to helping the millions of children in the world who suffer from cleft lip and palate").