Platinum Service – When a brand loves you back

Anyone who knows me knows, I love being a member of Zipcar

For the past few years
I haven’t paid for gas
Driven a bunch of new cars
Bought one of the car types for my family
And enjoyed what I call “gold-level service”

Today, Zipcar loved me back!

Busy day, leading into busy evening
Rushing out to my Zipcar, I see someone has left a bag in the car, annoyed I go to move it to the back seat and realize….

It’s got my name on it.

You can’t spell swagger without swag!
Yes I tweet and post about the amazing service I get, the dollars I save and fun I have but it’s because they always over deliver – one never expects the brand to care…

My wife loves water bottles
My little boy loves this car
I got a handwritten note that reminded me there is a level above gold – But is platinum service available to the rest of us?

You bet it is – join Zipcar!
I’ve officially referred about a dozen people
but I’ve helped dozens more join and enrich their lives, and keep their carbon footprint low…

Zipcar Toronto team…. you rock!

Thanks for going over and above!

Love Paul

Want to join Zipcar?

Join Zipcar and get $50 in free driving

What’s all the fuss about? Watch!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Six Word Review: Required reading for the thinking class.

I have read hundreds of books that I “recommend” and one or two that I share often but can’t recall a business book so profound in its’ importance. In my many speaking sessions on the mechanics of networking I have found in the 50+ books I’ve read on the topic that “introverts do it better” but I have never been able to prove it. Until now.

Who is an introvert? Definitions vary but without them we wouldn’t have:

The theory of gravity
The theory of relativity
Peter Pan
Orwell’s ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’
The Cat in the Hat
Charlie Brown’
Schindler’s List,’ ‘E.T.,’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’
Harry Potter

The author’s use of neuroscience and FMRI’s to understand the brain and how humans are built is nothing new to my library of “the mechanics of networking” – but this author traveled the globe got her hands dirtier than any business author I’ve ever read and what makes the truth of this book so valuable.

How does anyone attack a horde army – you kill the King.
Yes. Tony Robbins.

The author doesn’t read his books and snipe from the comfort of her home office no this introvert went to his $1000 session and scientifically dissected decades of business rantings from Tony and the armada he and his ilk have built.

But she doesn’t stop there. No, it’s on to Mordor. Yes, Harvard U.

On campus at Harvard she takes an objective eye to the way society has embraced the extrovert ideal and how one of the world’s leading institutions has become it’s cheerleader and chief marketing machine.

Examples of powerful influencers like the surprising story of Dale Carnegie, Gandhi, Theodore Geisel ( aka Dr. Suess who once admitted “In mass, children terrify me” ) and an in-depth example of Eleanor Rosevelt that I hope will inspire thousands more women to embrace their professional power as thinkers who can do, instead of doers who stop to think on occasion.

There is plenty of science, the value of which will help both introverts and extroverts who read the book. How to optimize your work, home and relationships – powerful stuff. It will help introverts who work in the professions of designation ( lawyers, accountants ) and are forced to network understand themselves better, and how to still be effective. To know that coming back from an enforced “holiday season” event having had just two meaningful business conversations is actually equal to the extrovert who powers through the room like a bee in a field of flowers, coming home with a stack of cards they will do nothing with and only follow up with two people anyway – Introverts don’t know their power. This book is a call to arms.
Although any extrovert who reads this book will find themselves outright despising the author ( I’m a 70 – 30 extrovert split so there was a little gnashing of teeth ) her attendance at a class for professionals from Asia on how to understand North American extroverts is beyond eye opening, you will consider that if you don’t change you will walk through life with the largest populations on earth thinking you are a fool.

Again, it feels like the author is taking the easy path in showing how extroverts were the cause of the great crash of 2008. But we have to learn from these events and there is no doubt her points are well researched and very valid, you’ll find yourself shaking your head, knowing she’s right.

One item I found has a huge business application is the myth of “collaborative office space”. I think cubicles are a business necessity, and I respect that – but I have this thing about claiming open concept offices allow more creativity. The author goes into detail about this, any manager or CEO who gives a damn about productivity will read this to increase revenue ( because I know how you really feel about “treating your people well” ). That being said, I couldn’t explain when I walked into the “Centre For Social Innovation” in Toronto that it felt so right, and the book explains how to do it right and now I know why it feels so right. Want to know? Buy the book.

What I highly respect is that the book ends up with a lot of practical discussions and tools on how to adjust our business life, help our schools, children even our spouses to consider the issues of sensitivity, introvert-needs and issues.

Sure there are so many places in the book I feel the author digging a little big, against no doubt the decades of tyranny of extroverts. Any extrovert who can get past this will find so much value in business, life and yes love.
I think we’re all on the spectrum between introvert and extrovert (the author has a free quiz you can take online!) . When I first met my wife, a science student she was clearly an introvert but she was in a highly social role in student government at University. I asked her about her philosophy of networking and she said “I’d rather be thought of a fool than to open my mouth and remove all doubt”, quoting Abraham Lincoln. Many in my network consider me a huge extrovert but I’m writing this on Saturday night, she’s out on a stage singing karaoke while I’m happily at home with all the lights off but one, with my favourite music and non-digital magazine – this book blog is a testament to how much time I spent quietly reading, recharging from my time spent as “Mr. Networking”.

Within the first week, this book instantly hit the New York times best seller list, was featured on TV, radio and in print around the business world. Susan recently joined the ranks of best selling disruptive thinkers interviewed by Dank Pink – worth a listen!

I think it will become the “How to Win Friends and Influence People” for what I call the thinking class, no seriously.

Sorry for the long post, but I think this book is that important. So!

Step 1: Watch or listen to the items below

Step 2: Buy the book. Read the book.

Step 3: Give it to a thinker in your life.Link
Join the Quiet revolution.

Step 4: NEW – If you want to learn more from Susan I’ve created this  digital scrapbook of her articles and videos


Susan’s 2012 record breaking TED talk!!

Why search for a job before you need it

When I was a University student,
we never talked about job search

Things have changed! Wonderful chance to give a keynote talk at my beloved University of Toronto today to a huge group of students at “Connections 2012“. A personal dream for me to speak in “the great hall” at Hart House

Those attending responded to something I’ve been including in all my networking talks, but never posted.

WHY you need to think about your next job, office, boss before you decide to change jobs. My example? Dating!

If you put an ad in a paper and said I’m going to read all the responses, interview five and let one of them into my life for at least a couple years…people would say you’re nuts. But THAT’S how we search and hire! In fact I would say we need even MORE scrutiny on a job search than dating….Why?

When dating, evenings and weekends together amount to a couple dozen hours at best – when you get hired you’re together 35 hours minimum right away!!

No one you date decides your salary, which pays for your food and shelter. When you break up with someone it may hurt but you can still pay the rent..when we get fired and may lose the ability to eat someone ironically says “it’s nothing personal”

Maybe down the line you and this stranger might move in together but when you shake that hand and sign employment papers you get your gear and move in right away! This is marriage on the first date!!

And my personal favourite the quirky little thinks that are cute when you first start dating are insanely annoying to a new stranger in the next cubicle and will give you both an ulcer!!


If you know what sector you work in, think about your top three possible employers. Get out to their offices, walk in the front door and yes look around! If you’re a work-life balance person, try to meet some of their staff in professional but non-office settings to discuss what life is like there!

I once literally was sitting with a peer who was staring across a huge 2000 person conference luncheon at one Executive.

“Who is that?” I asked.
“I want it to be my next boss” they said.
“Oh, do they know who you are?” “Uh no.”

“Does anyone at the company know of your passion to work there?” “Uh no”

“Have you done any homework to find out if it’s a good place to work?”

Are you just staring at this person trying to hypnotize them into hiring you?! “I guess”.

Interviews suck – rely on them and compete with the crowd….(Globe & Mail article)

So over the next year ( take your time, make it casual, this is a stakeout )
So get out there and meet your top three possible bosses
Find an excuse to peep the office space and get the scoop on life inside
Do your @#$Q#$#@$@ homework on the work they do!
If you are the person they want to work with, with the skills they need –
then blog, tweet, use LinkedIn updates, groups, answers – get noticed!

It was a true pleasure to meet a passionate bunch of students today
But passion without action is a waste of energy and time, a dream
Are you a dreamer? Or are you a do-er.

If you are going to DO something
remember I’m here and at your service…
ready to strategize at Starbucks – my treat.

After all, you don’t go looking for a date ON Valentines day…right?


Ps. That do your homework stuff? A great start:
Follow @Globe_Careers
Join the Globe and Mail Careers LinkedIn group
Read Globe Careers every week, it’s full of great content!

Pink Ribbons Inc. – A first step to dialogue

I’m sweating a bit. Nervous. Never wrote a post that the potential to outright anger so many people.

So let me start with a key disclaimer. I am a man, and I really despise it when men talk about women’s issues when they are not educated or experienced in any way about them. I have never interacted with the cause of breast cancer as a fundraiser – so in some ways I offer an objective perspective on this film. BUT I won’t be commenting on the ‘issue’ of breast cancer or the politics of the work. You could fill the state of Texas with what I don’t know, so I won’t weigh in on something I’m ignorant about.

My interest in making sure I got to the pre-screening of this film was as a fundraiser ( and although my current job doesn’t look like traditional fundraising I’ve been in the sector for over a decade ). I’ve been waiting for a film like this for a long time.

You see this kind of documentary is both a fundraisers greatest nightmare…and kind of our secret joy.

As a profession, we’re supposed to stand up for peers, cause marketing, event planning and dollars raised. As individuals often we feel disconnected from the actual way dollars are spent, research is done and for those of us not in that part of the sector ( that’s me ) find mega-events and personal-ask programs distasteful ( like big firm lawyers who have to stand side by side with peers who advertise in washroom stalls – both do honourable important work but one has a crisp-easy-clean lifestyle and the other has the guts to mix it up to help honest hard working folks but is seen as unpleasant ).

I was relishing the tough questions for the fundraising profession – so the film like many documentaries quickly sets about establishing the crusaders ( historians against the cure for the cure ) , the honourably outraged ( a stage four survivor focus group that drops emotional bombs throughout the movie that blow out your senses with real human questions that take you off the course, a discussion about the machine ) and the enemy ( corporate-friendly nonprofit leaders complete with anti-hero, conveniently botoxed to fuel more outrage ). My sadness is that the tone and conversation stayed there in this loop of very focused accusation towards a short list of sinners when the naughty list of “pinkwashers” is so much, much bigger.

But it was a damn good and powerful start to the dialogue.

Although it didn’t have the teeth I wanted, I still think it’s 100% required viewing for all career fundraisers. You may even find some peace here seeing questions asked that you’ve wished to raise in your organization. Maybe your donors and the community of the cause you serve will rise up and start asking questions too. The public often thinks fundraisers are bounty hunters but I suspect ( and the few blogs from more official peer sources like and Hilborn, Canada’s two largest fundraising enews teams seem to agree ) that they welcome and encourage this conversation.

Don’t get me wrong, when I say it has dulled edges I mean on the fundraising front – on the cause of cancer side there are some gut-wrenching scenes, discussions and discoveries. A scene with thousands participating in a run past the Egyptian pyramids really messed me up, everyone knows the pink thing has gone far but just how far will scare you. That being said, it is SO EASY to vilify corporations for flogging the cause and members of the public to get slactivated ( thanks Lee Rose ) but as the fundraisers in events/cause marketing always show me, the numbers don’t lie – $ is raised, people come out – EVERYONE wants to help, to honestly express love, loss, grief, anger but no cause is so simple that you can take aim, come together and “end” it.

In the end, like most members of the public, I’m like this dog. We’re covered in pink and we don’t really have a choice nor do we really understand why. Question is, will this movie move you enough to bite something? Someone?

The pink-pirates are betting no.

Because that first someone is going to be your best friend whose mom has cancer – but somewhere we have to have this discussion.

I for one hope for my profession, it’s a big time discussion at the major conferences we have coming up.

In the meantime, I know it won’t be date night at the movies but I highly highly encourage you to get out and watch this movie. Happy Superbowl Sunday.

Want to watch it as a group with a discussion afterward?
Let me know, I’ll set it up.


Ps. In case you’re worried, high production value, good pacing/editing this didn’t win at TIFF for no reason, it’s a high quality doc.

PPs. The NFB is a national treasure. Canada is greater for its’ existence.