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Unapologetically Canadian
Unapologetically Canadian

Episode 43 · 1 year ago

Technology's benefits and risks with Glen Sharp

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, I talk about continuing to grow despite a worldwide pandemic. I also interview Glen Sharp from Sharp Innovation Solutions about the risks and benefits of technology, the importance of developing your personal assets and the importance of local communities.

My name is Tracy Ariel and I am unapologetically Canadian. I'm in Montreal and yesterday the Government of Quebec extended our state of emergency until November twenty eight. The government wants the to get the provinces active cases from an average of a thousand a day to about five hundred a day or less before me as or measures will be loosened. No one's you can talk about the possibility of zero cases in Canada's met of fact, only known of it has no cases at all. The Northwest Territories, the Yukon and, princidered, Rook Island have fewer than a hundred cases each and every other province. But every other province has to worry. Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, ambush combanyat have out of control situations. Quebec, where I live, has more than a hundred thousand nine hundred twenty two cases since the pandemic began. In Ontario at seventy one thousand two hundred forty four cases, Alberta Twenty five thousand seven hundred thirty three cases and BC Thirteen Thou three hundred seventy one cases. Worldwide, more than a million people have died of COVID. Nineteen so far, and two hundred fifteen countries have epidemics under way. It really is a global pandemic. CANNADAS, it's thirty on the list of the number of COVID cases that they've had since the beginning of the pandemic. The US, India, Brazil and Russial Russia take the top four spots. France, Spain, Argentina and Columbia all have more than a million active cases. Indonesia and hungry hungry are facing multiple cases this week. Around the world, ten million, four hundred and fifty three thousand and ten people have the virus. Right now, discretionary travel as banned in many countries, restricted entry to emergency situations. Only Europe opened its borders in July to some countries, including Canada, but they just close the border to US last Wednesday. Now it's only Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand and you were gray who can enter the opinion at this moment. So why am I telling you all this? Is this a doomsday episode, my cotton, a circle of hell and I just have to share? No, none of that. I'm just telling you and me for this just to keep moving forward, keep figuring out how to serve your clients best. Get up, dust yourself off and figure out how to do what you do even better. Get yourself up, that's yourself off. Keep figuring out how to serve your clients best, because it's changing. I noticed that this Thursday the city of Montreal will be planning to announce their decision to convert a downtown hotel to a homeless shelter until March, which will add three hundred eighty mectal these thoughts to the current supply shelters in Edmonton, kitchen are Toronto. I've already had similar initiatives since the pandemic be it began, and I'm there are other initiatives spreading across the country. So far, all the options are temporary, but you can imagine if this pandemic goes on, some of these options will become permanent solutions, especially because so far the results with the vulnerable populations are very, very good, although I have seen reports of neighbors being a little bit frustrated with their communities having so many vulnerable people pulled in all at once. Anyway. But what I want to say today is that if businessors serving the most vulnerable Canadians can change how they operate to make their clients happier and to fill their mission better, than surely as creators, we can do that the same thing. So my question is, how do we do that? And I have a few answers so far, but I'd love to hear how you're doing it too. So first we...

...have to remember why we do what we do and why people need us. This is assuming that you love what you do. Obviously, if you don't love what you do, you need to find a new strategy so that you do love what you do, so that you can so that you can be obsessive about all this stuff like I am. For my part, I'm convinced that Canadians have the essential attitude, skill and upbringing collectively to make the world a more cooperative, diverse, peaceful and vibrant place, and I'm passionate about discovering and telling stories about how we've thrived and grown over the centuries, including through many of the world's most difficult points of time. How we learn to use the best natural and imaginative resources that this, our earth, offers, how can we work together to make everybody better off. Remembering that core belief gives me a strength to keep finding a way to tell our stories well. I also think we have to put s structures in place so that we have the tools that keep us moving forward, so that even when days get tough, we can keep growing. In my case, my structures include a creative entrepreneurial business model with multiple facets, business partners who share my passions, coaching and training from other successful entrepreneurs, the ownership of almost all of my own copyright, Home Office so I can determine my own schedule for website home basis and lots of technological tools that allow me to create distributed in cell products any time. Most of these things didn't even exist five years ago and if they did, I wasn't using them to their full potential. Can you imagine how creative work will change in the next five years? I can't, I think it's changing so fast, but I'm trying to imagine it anyway. For a five year strategy that plans that I'm doing for the businesses that I'm involved. I find a lot easier to be flexible in situations if I have a written version of what I expect to happen already, and if you get the profile, you will have heard a bit about this before. Now, to make these plans even stronger, I've added two parts to every business plan short term strengths and potential long term needs. So right now I just like to talk about the short term strengths that we all need to consider. How will we support clients stuck at home? That's the big question. I think that education and entertainment together have never been so necessary. For my part, I've committed to creating and publishing our stories and to teaching others to do the same. Let me know what you're doing. I think it would be really fun to try and share what people are doing, a strategies to teach, to make people's home life a little bit more exciting. I haven't even some ideas of taking people on trips with me, virtually, of course. Anyway, a lot of the companies which I'm involved with or updating our business plans, updating our websites, updating our virtual projects and trying to figure out how we can actually serve people better in the Times that we're in. And in that fact, I just invested in a zoom professional account for the next year to make things happen online more readily. Becau's pretty clear that I need to my game when it comes to online activities. So let me know what it is that you're doing in the comments below. And that's why I'm excited to present an interview with Glenn Sharp from sharp innovations. Glenn is a project manager and technological export and he's got a new course coming out about zoom. So, Glenn, maybe you can start by interview introducing yourself. Okay, thank you, Tracy. So I've been working for quite a few years in the information technology area and my business is really focused on leveraging the abilities of the information technology to allow us to become more innovative and creative in what we do, and one of the big things that I'm looking at is the training of people so...

...that they can take advantage of all of these opportunities that the new technologies are bringing to the forefront. So it's something what I call intelligence augmentation, where it can actually make us enhance our capabilities through leveraging the use of technology and and I've introduced that with the the intent of getting people to realize that maybe artificial intelligence, where we're looking at information technology, as as being kind of a threat for people because it could replace people, is that we really are in a unique point in history where we're finally being able to interact with computers in ways that are much more natural and so we can augment intelligence generally rather than try to use these technologies to replace people. Well, and this podcast is a perfect example of that. This is the kind of thing that couldn't have been done even ten years ago. You know, I'm in my house, you're in your house and we're having a conversation and it's being recorded on your computer and my computer at the same time, and at the end the system will downloaded onto my computer and then I'll be able to publish it as a podcast. It you know, this is the kind of thing that in the s when radio started, that, you know, it took entire rooms to do what we're doing just sitting here from our from our desks, you know. Yeah, and it's created all sorts of opportunities for entrepreneurs because the whole models of way people do business. It's it's a really should not be underestimated what a radical change it is. We don't have the gatekeepers to the same extent as there was in the past where you kind of had to get permission to publish a book or permission to do a video or permission to be for people to be able to see your work, and now there's technologies that are allowing us to be more expressive in multi multiple medias and we don't need anybody's permission to do that. It's up to us to just do it. Yeah, and I know one of you the things that you really care about is education and I was lucky enough to see presentation that you did about zoom and improving your your presentation skills on on on zoom. Can you talk a little bit about how your business has changed because of that focus? Well, this has been a longtime interest for me. Actually it's been about over thirty years that I originally did a paper. I got very excited about the potential of what computers could do and so I wrote a paper about computer conferencing, which, which is the term that I used. The people were very skeptical at that time that video, high speed video over the Internet would be impossible to do. We'd never have enough bandwidth to be able to do that kind of thing. The technology just wouldn't be able to support it and of course now we're living that every day and zoom popularity, and other companies have video services as well, is just skyrocketing because it's needed so much and you know, it's would be something that we should really ask ourselves is, what would we be doing in this current situation with the pandemic and social distancing, if we didn't have this kind of technology at our hands to be able to interact with other people? Yeah, well, it's true, because culturally it's been a real shock for people to have to wear masks and to be distant, and I mean here in Quebec, we usually kiss each other on each chake. I don't think that's going to be coming around for quite a while. We're taping this now, in August. Two Thousand and twenty. The lockdown in Canada has been we've been opening up from that, but still there's been in social distancing and quite a lot of measures taken to try and make sure that people can protect themselves and, as you say, most of us, if we were, if we've been able to work. There's lots of people who haven't been able to work at all. But if we have, we've been relying on digital technologies of all sorts, whether it's zoom in order to...

...hold meetings or whether it's Square in order to take money, or you know, unless that you know whatever you're doing full have been relying on technology to make it possible. Yeah, and I think one thing I'd like to mention is just that a lot of times, when their discussion comes to the subject of innovation, technology innovation is only one aspect, though, and most people think of innovation terms of technology, but there's a lot of innovation that has to happen about human behavior and how we use the technology. And one of the things that is can be very surprising is that the technology can be used in ways that people never thought it would be used, and that's one of the areas where most of the innovation can happen, of people getting creative and and using the tools and in ways that can create new businesses and new types of business models and allow us to do things that weren't even possible before. Yeah, well, we've seen that with some of the creative ways that people have produced movies in this particular pandemic. You know, people are taking their phones and they're do it, going in there and they're pulling it into into various forms that they're creating an entire new it's almost like, when do you remember the Blair rich which project would have that changed cinematography. This has also changed all sorts of art forms. There's musicians all across Canada playing on zoom. They're doing concerts where each one of them is in their own house but they're presenting it together. I mean it's there's the creativity in this. PATIMIK is definitely been one of the bright spots in a very scary, frustrating, difficult situation. Well, I'm very excited about the future. I'm a grandfather and I have grandchildren that they don't know it being any other way than what we're living today, and so they've seen, you know, we have a channel, for example, facetime channel, and we're constantly sharing videos and photographs, and so that's normal for children in this age to have an channel and to have a youtube channel, even, let's say, at a young young age, and so it's totally natural, natural for them to perform, yeah, and express themselves using all of this media, where in the past, I mean you had to be a television personality or you had to be a radio broadcaster, or you needed to be a news work at a newspaper to write news, and all of that's been what, you know, you could call it democratized, that anyone who is so inclined can learn how to do those things and express themselves in much more rich ways. Yeah, yeah, well, it's true, and creativity is really taken as really blossom dound to that. I mean, I know my son, he's in his s and he's down here. You know he's been he's built to see and c machine and he's got d printer and all sorts of things do stairs. I mean I basically have a little manufacturing plant in the basement that you know, years and years ago that would have been huge building would have been required to produce the same kinds of items. It human creativity, I think, is really being augmented by technology, it's true. Yeah, and you specialize in doing that. Can you talk a little bit about some of the successes you've had with Your Business? I know that you specialize helping people create brands online, and can you talk a little bit about one of the success stories? Maybe? Yeah, I think you know, there it varies. There's quite a few different examples that I could give you know, one recently just helping people with their their websites and their email capabilities so that they can have their own brand and they can own one of the things that I believe in is that...

...people should have their own own home site that's their own brand that they control, rather than only communicating using media. Social Media, they have their own capabilities to control their identity and their brand. So that's something that I believe in. You know, social media has its advantages, but I actually somewhat. This might be controversial with some people, but I don't recommend that myself. I think that's a bit of a trap to use social media because it's there and it's free and it's easy to use, to rely on it completely. Yeah, no, I agree with you. I have TRECERIALCOM and I've had that since I didn't built my first web page in one thousand nine hundred and ninety five using just html script. And for just that reason, because as a as a creator, I've always understood the value of copyright and owning your own land before you actually branch out and partner with other people, which is what you're doing with on social media. It's really you're creating a cup partnership with a corporation and the power that they have and the power that you have is so your power is so much lower than their's. It doesn't take much for them to be able to remove you entirely from their entire platform. Yeah, they could change the rules at any time to suit themselves. Yeah, it may not see what you've actually created there. So I think it's really I think I don't think that's controversy at all. I think it makes good business sense. You create your own platform that you own and then you branch out in partnership with other with whomever you would like to collaborate with, and that includes, to me, the social media players or media players. I mean as a journalist. You know, I publish a lot of my work has been published in the I know other people's platforms. So that's part of the reason why I've always made sure that I had my own as well, because I don't have control over what edits they do on my story, for example, it gets published with whatever. I mean. Lots of them don't do that, but some of them do, and you know I don't have any control over that. So it's nice to have my own platform too. So I think people need to think about that. Yeah, well, it's I think it's a very important principle that you have direct contact with the people you're serving and wanting, your audience, so that somebody else is not in between or some other company is not in between, and they have control over that, because I really believe in small businesses are the fuel of the economy and it's important for small businesses to have some control over their identity and and brand and their content that they generate. Yeah, can you talk to me a little bit about what is challenging that? Like? What, what solutions do you have to solve for people when you're trying to get them to do this for the first time? Maybe? Well, I think one of the things that some of it is fairly simple, but a lot of people don't think of it that way. So, you know, I have conversations with people quite often where they say, I'm on facebook and I've got the capability of putting information on facebook. Why would I need my own website? And so you know they're I think that's part of the education aspect of it to be able to explain to people why that's important. You know, another one to for me because part of my background is in security as well, is getting people to understand the importance of privacy, because as much as all of the this new technology is wonderful, it can also be used for manipulation and it can also be used to gather surveillance information, and so there's not...

I find that there's still a lot of work to be done to explain to people why it's important that they don't they think that their information is not valuable and it is very valuable and if you let it get into the wrong hands, it's leaving you exposed to manipulation, which is not a healthy thing for individuals or society as a whole. Can you talk a little bit about your most challenging failure and how you recovered from that in this is this landscape? The most challenging failure that I I've had is an interesting one and I guess the thing about failure is it I think the important thing is trying to learn from the experience. The one that comes to mind because I think you know, with entrepreneurs there's your if you're not failing in some ways, you're not really trying to experiment enough. Yeah, it's true. Lots of examples of failures, but you were asking about the most challenging one, and the most challenging one for me was when I was working pretty doing quite a lot of work for the local chamber of Commerce where I live, and so I was part of a committee, actually I was director in the Chamber of Commerce, working in marketing and economic development, and we did some I think some of the things I'm most proud of done. We're done for the community to you know, we did break through things like developing a magazine for our local area to promote local business, because strangely enough, people don't even know about how great their own community is sometimes because there's not enough publicity about that. And so there was. So you asked about failure and I'm talking about the great things we were doing, but the failure, where the failure came in, was that there it turned out there was kind of a battle that was going on between amalgamation in Ottawa and there was different chambers of commerce, and so I live in the Orleans area and there was an Orleans Chamber of Commerce. So I was promoting the Orleans Chamber of Commerce, not in opposition to the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, but just like we need them to be independent and work together. That kind of model okay. And there was some other people for various reasons which is probably too long to get into, but their vision was not the same as my vision. They they basically sabotage the local chamber of Commerce and we're in favor of having amalgamation. Of all, there would only be one chamber of Commerce in the Ottawa region and that would be the whole of Ottawa with one chamber of Commerce, and I was opposed to that. I worked very hard to try to have a different vision where you have multiple chambers of commerce working together. But in ultimately amalgamation happened and unfortunately I was kind of proven right that it didn't work out well for a my local area because all of a sudden it got neglected and there was no promotion of businesses locally. That's for Leeds, where I live, is mostly known as a suburb, and so the the at the prevailing attitude was, well, we're going to build businesses in downtown Ottawa and the suburbs is where you go to sleep at night. Oh No. So that was very disappointing to mad and so that, I would say, was my most challenging failure, but I I learned an awful lot from that. I realized that I had,...

...you know, you need to when you're working to I'm more determined than ever to build communities. I believe the importance of communities is is paramount. We need to you know, being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely job and sometimes you feel like you're all alone and nobody understands. Right, right, and you need to work with other people that do understand, which are other businesses, and there's a lot of things you need to do in a cooperative manner, and so I'm still very devoted to that. I'm just challenge channeling that in a different way now, because there's a lot of online communities and I think this is actually an emerging thing from my perspective. Yeah, it's quite exciting what's happening. It is very and it's just recently that some of these communities are really popping up like and when I talk about communities, I'm not talking about like I'm talking about something with more sophistication than just, you know, facebook group, right, right. Although a facebook group can help build a community, it certainly isn't by itself a community, that's for sure. Yeah, and again it's interesting because I had a very similar experience here in for done, which is now a burrow within the city of Montreal, which it became. I was actually quite against it joining the city of Montreal, and that happened in two thousand and two but in the end the community is almost stronger because we have such a we have. We still feel like a small town. We still collaborate quite closely, even though, and yet we still benefit from the larger being part of Montreal. So I do think that neighborhoods can become their own creek maintain their own identity if the people within them and work together. Well, I think it's it's very interesting topic actually, because a lot of the dialog that's happening with the pandemic, because you know the whole world is experiencing this all at the same time, is there's this whole there's this push and pull between nationalism and globalism, and then on a smaller scale or more local scale, you know there's the local governments and the provinces and countries and and what's the good mix of interaction between these? And sometimes it's very it almost seems like a paradox of saying, you know, think global but act local and things like this. But yeah, but there's some truth to that. I believe in it anyways, that you have to appreciate your local community and also participate as a global citizen, and there's ways to do that well. Actually, I think that's a good segue to the last question that I always ask, which is, do you consider yourself Canadian and, if so, what does that mean to you? Well, I very much am a proud Canadian. Yes, I am, because I think I'm, you know, talking about what we started with, the conversation about how, in the pandemic, some people are affected more than others. I think can Nada has done a better job than some other parts of the world, and so I'm very proud of my fellow Canadians that we've helped each other out and and done responsible things to avoid the pandemic spreading even further. And I think that Canadian, and you know it's a bit of a stereotype, but I think we are not only fortunate and in the all the benefits of being Canadian, but there's a lot of qualities that are associated with Canadians that I try to follow to, you know, being polite, being humble,...

...having openness, courage and resilience, interest in other people in other countries. So I think Canada has gotten quite a good reputation in the world from what I've heard. You know, having that Canadian flag on your backpack, you you get a good reception in different parts of the world, which is, you know, the Canadian reputation. So I'm proud to be part of that. Well, thank you. I so appreciate your time and talking to me about Your Business and about your life and I'm looking forward to seeing it at our next networking in but event. Thank you very much well. Thank you, Tracy. Thank you for listening to an apologetically Canadian. Please consider supporting our podcast fore und hundred and ninety nine a month joint select listeners and get additional episodes every month.

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