Remembrance Day – Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman (year round care, vigilance and actions)

Tuesday, 10 November, 2015
Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan's 2015 Remembrance Day message

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan’s 2015 Remembrance Day message


On Remembrance Day, it is customary to honour and show our appreciation of our veterans past and present for their service and sacrifice for Canada. Quoting our new Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan‘s Facebook posting,

On this Remembrance Day, we honour the courage shown, time and again, by our men and women in uniform, past and present. We show our deep appreciation for all they have sacrificed for Canada.

Once a year, we buy our poppy pins and wear them on our clothing to show we remember and we care.

Year round care, vigilance and actions

In 2010, Canada’s first Veteran’s Ombudsman Colonel Pat Stogran, via his passionate/frank words and actions (Ottawa Citizen “Embattled ombudsman Pat Stogran makes his last stand for Canada’s veterans“), got my blood boiled and taught me that as Canadians we could and should do more by speaking up to help our veterans at home by holding our governments in Ottawa accountable to keep our promises to take care of our veterans and their families.

Power of social media

As a start, please LIKE & SHARE the Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman & Ombudsman des vétérans du Canada official Facebook pages.

The Veterans Ombudsman works toward ensuring that the sacrifices of Canada’s Veterans and their families are recognized through the provision of services, benefits, and support in a fair, accessible, and timely manner. The Ombudsman plays an important role in raising awareness of the needs and concerns of Veterans and their families.

LIKE & SHARE these pages so we Canadians can help the Ombudsman to keep issues important to our veterans in Canadians’ hearts & minds and hold our government accountable to do the right thing for our veterans all year round. When we make noises in social media, call or email our MPs, they listen.

Blood boiled since 2010

In 2010, Rick Mercer talked about Canada’s first Veteran’s Ombudsman Colonel Pat Stogran’s battle with our government to fight for our veterans. My blood boiled and I was changed forever Read the rest of this entry »

Google+ Hangout Technical Insights and Ideas to Reshape Newsrooms

Friday, 29 July, 2011


KOMU G-Plus Hangouts - pix 00a - Sarah Hill and Nina Moini

It has been my pleasure to attend a number of KOMU anchor Sarah Hill‘s interesting Google+ newsroom Hangouts since July 19, 2011. In this article, I will try to share some of my technical observations and insights. (note: For my general and business insights, you can read my previous article.)

Using G+ Hangout as a control room of 9 Electronic News Gathering (ENG) team


1) News anchor running G+ Hangout connecting to maximum of nine Electronic News Gathering (ENG) teams in the field.

2) Each of the nine reporters will have a notebook computer connecting to the internet via a 3G/4G data stick. And each reporter has a handheld SD/HD camera hooking up to the notebook as its camera. (note: SD or HD probably doesn’t matter here because the data will be compressed and you are transporting over 3G/4G network anyway.) (Aug 11 update: Currently, G+ Hangout doesn’t support external video cameras. I have reflect this request to G+ engineers.)

3) Any “newsroom” can probably set this up easily.

In fact, any team of volunteer citizen journalists may even be able create such a reporting setup with less trouble. All it takes is each individual citizen journalist to have a notebook computer, a fast 3G/4G data stick, and a camera. And these citizen journalists can work together depending on needs and events, etc.

4) Feed the G+ Hangout video stream out to the wider world using tools like Livestream for mass distribution.

5) Use cases: Will be quite cool to report on elections, street festivals, concerts, and live events.

Non-ideal use cases: Any major crisis, earthquakes, etc where the mobile 3G/4G networks are expected be extremely congested and overloaded. In these rare cases, old school dedicated microwave or satellite transmission will likely provide more stable transmission than overloaded mobile data networks.

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 07 - Norway https link

Fixing the insecurity of G+ Hangout

At the moment, Google+ Hangouts is known to be insecure, in the sense that each hangout participant has the clear text “…” link (see the top of the above photo) and can copy and then share with Read the rest of this entry »

Worth Reading: Securing privacy, Showrunner DIY TV promos, Legal strategies in Charlie Sheen case, High noon in i4i-Microsoft fight

Monday, 18 April, 2011

* Guardian, Cory Doctorow: ‘The most powerful mechanism we have for securing the privacy of individuals is for them to care about that privacy’ – video – “Blogger, writer and activist Cory Doctorow on social networking, revolution and how to avoid haemorrhaging personal information online”

* The Hollywood Reporter, Q&A: ‘Cougar Town’ Boss Bill Lawrence Airs His Frustrations With Disney

THR: So what does work?

Lawrence: There are some shows like Modern Family or American Idol where lightening strikes. Otherwise, you have two options. First, you build word-of-mouth.

THR: And the second?

Lawrence: Keep your loyal fans interested by giving them as much access, content and interaction as possible. That’s what I like as a TV viewer. For me, every show that I’ve felt like, “Wow, they actually care what the fans think” or “they’re actually writing for somebody,” I’m more loyal to. On Scrubs, we gave our fans extra content and access to the cast and writers. And in return, we could count on them to find the show on a network that moved the show about 20 times. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lady Gaga zero-awareness-to-ubiquity time-warp

Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

For the record (emphasis added) from Adage, “Gaga, Oooh La La: Why the Lady Is the Ultimate Social Climber – Leveraging Digital Media and Creative Partnerships Makes Artist a Uniquely 2010 Pop Star”
By Andrew Hampp
Published: February 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES ( — As far as breakout musicians go, few artists have had quite the zero-awareness-to-ubiquity time-warp of Lady Gaga. And as far as brands go, few marketers of any kind have leveraged social media the way she has to drive sales of their core product — in her case, albums and digital singles.

Lady Gaga, with her army of nearly 2.8 million Twitter followers and more than 5.2 million Facebook fans, can move product. Since fall 2008, her digital-single sales have exceeded 20 million and her album sales hit 8 million, all at a time when no one under the age of 60 buys CDs anymore (see Susan Boyle breaking the record for highest first-week album sales last year). Now, she’s being courted by marketers to do the same for their products.

Gaga’s rapid ascent to the pop-culture stratosphere is often compared to Madonna’s, right down to their shared beginnings in the downtown New York club scene before their big record deals. But what makes Gaga’s star status, particularly in the marketing community, so uniquely 2010 is that she has achieved as many milestones (if not more) in 18 months than her idol did in nearly a decade. Madonna’s notorious endorsement for Pepsi in 1989 — cut short after her controversial “Like a Prayer” video aired on MTV — came seven years after the debut of her first single in 1982. Within a year of her out-of-the-box rise to fame in September 2008, Gaga had already lined up Virgin Mobile as a sponsor of her Monster Ball tour; created her own brand of headphones, Hearbeats by Lady Gaga, with record label Interscope; and landed her own (cherry pink) lipstick as a spokeswoman for Mac Cosmetics’ Viva Glam, benefiting Mac’s AIDS fund. And by January, she was tapped by Polaroid to become the brand’s creative director, hired specifically to create new products and inject life into a brand that hasn’t been hip for years — save for maybe a popular reference in Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”

Old school meets new media
How did a 23-year-old singer/songwriter achieve so much in so little time? Two words: social media. Sure, Gaga had a fair share of old-school artist development — radio play — to become the first artist to score four consecutive No. 1 singles from a debut album. But she’s also put a new-media spin on her distribution strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

No LUV for Southwest Airlines: How to crash a brand in less than 100 hours in a perfect social media storm – A business case study (draft / beta)

Wednesday, 17 February, 2010

Please note that this article serves as a placeholder for an ongoing business case study of the Southwest Airlines social media storm. Information contained here will be under constant update and revision.


Business case background:

Southwest Airlines was a respected brand only a few short days ago. So what had happened to the brand in less than 100 hours that caused people to say out loud that they will NEVER fly with Southwest again? Thus no LUV for Southwest Airlines.

The purpose of this business case is to look deeper into the causes leading to Southwest crashing its brand in a perfect social media storm. And how other businesses can learn from Southwest‘s mistakes.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 - N922WN, Sports Illustrated One (Swimsuit 2009 Bar Refaeli) at HOU by E-Mans

photo credit: av8pix @ Flickr


Dis-Revenue per Employee, Revenue per Employee, Southwest Airlines, Twitter, Social Media, Social Network

Raw research materials:

1) NOT SO SILENT BOB by Christi Day – Southwest Airlines, Emerging Media Specialist

2) MY CONVERSATION WITH KEVIN SMITH by Linda Rutherford – Southwest Airlines, VP Communications & Strategic Outreach

3) Smodcast #106: “Go Fuck Yourself, Southwest Airlines – In which, surely, our hero is Too Fat To Fly. And don’t call me Shirley.

4) Smodcast #107: “Thinicism – In Natali [the lady Kevin Smith talked about in #106] tells her story.

5) I’ve linked to some materials here in the blog entry “Southwest Airlines – From a loved brand to a damaged brand – Kevin Smith & Linda Rutherford”.

6) More to be added.

Principal researcher:

Kempton Lam  B.Sc., MBA

Background of Principal Researcher:

Kempton received his undergrad degree in Computer Science (with high distinction) from University of Toronto and is well versed in social media technologies from his years of blogging experiences. His MBA degree from University of Calgary has also prepared him to deliver comprehensive insightful study/report on time and within budget. During Kempton’s undergraduate and graduate studies, he has received multiple scholarships and awards for his academic excellence.

A Business Case Study (draft / beta)

It will take some time to complete the full report so please be patient.

What Kempton plans to do is to update this report in different draft versions. And keeping it as a “draft/beta” version until it is completed.

Concluding note for now

This report will study some serious issues and topics even though the trigger of Southwest‘s troubles may seem “trivial” to some people. But let me assure you, the business implication is deep and significant.

Just so you know I can laugh at myself and the absurdity in whole mess for Southwest. Here is one of my favourite ad, it serves to remind me to be humble and always be ready to do what is needed and right (and to learn).

Southwest Airlines – From a loved brand to a damaged brand – Kevin Smith & Linda Rutherford

Tuesday, 16 February, 2010

For some mysterious reason, I LOVED Southwest Airlines even I had never been on a Southwest flight. You see, I live in Calgary and Calgary-based WestJet Airlines models itself after Southwest. Anyway, Southwest used to mean nice people and services at an affordable fare to me until this morning.

After reading how Southwest had treated indie director Kevin Smith based on Kevin’s account of the facts and Southwest’s account of the facts (by Linda Rutherford – VP Communications & Strategic Outreach), I believe Southwest made some serious mistakes, continue to make mistakes and refuse to right itself.

I am blogging about this because I think there are some important lessons to be learned here. Feel free to share what you think in the comment section.

Here is an excerpt from CNet (emphasis added),

This may be the best example we’ve seen yet of how Twitter and other forms of new-media mass communication are shaping that old industry known as public relations. Nobody walks around with a Twitter follower count or blog URL painted on his or her forehead, and many extremely popular bloggers still live in relative physical anonymity, which means that the customer relations business is like a game of Minesweeper–you can never be sure what might blow up in your face. [kempton note: This is and should be good for customers because the companies better start treating EVERYONE with respect and good services.]

PR and customer service are two different divisions of a company. But this incident shows how, in the Digital Age, the two are increasingly overlapping. With Twitter, many companies are conducting customer relations in the public eye, and a company’s response to a high-profile disgruntled customer may require dispatching the PR team. Good communication between the two is obviously key.

From Kevin’s Twitter account, here are the first few tweets about this mess here, here, here, here (note: language), here (language re $100 voucher), here, here (on another flight), here, here (with twitpic), here, here (armrest up or down), here (the Southwest public shaming), here (the sad story of the big girl 1/2), here (big girl 2/2), here, here, SmodCast (***audio***, Southwest go f* yourself, a great listen), here (Kevin retweet Southwest apologize because Smith has a platform, part 1/2), here (part 2/2), here (the Southwest non-voicemail), here (the joke), here (Kevin reactions to Southwest’s non-apology 1/2), here (sorry, but you are fat 2/2), here (funny pix), here (Kevin’s reaction), other airlines, the offered $100 voucher (but not accepted).

Here are Kevin’s last two video clips

and this one.

A few of the many videos from Kevin about this mess,

More news from

SF Gate “Is Kevin Smith two people?” (funny)Mercury News, LA Times “Kevin Smith and the unbearable fatness of being”, LA Times “Kevin Smith’s Southwest Airlines incident sets Web all a-Twitter”, Huffington Post “Kevin Smith Challenges Southwest: Bring Airline Seat To Daily Show And I’ll Sit In It”, Businessweek: “Fat Nation: Kevin Smith is Not Alone in Airplane Space Wars”

For the record, because of this incident, I changed from someone who has never flown on Southwest but love it and would love to fly on it some day


someone who never want to fly on Southwest unless I have absolutely no comparable other alternatives.

P.S. This Southwest incident reminded me of Warren Buffett’s message to Salomon Brothers employees (I think it is Salomon),

“I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear on the front page of their local paper the next day, be read by their spouses, children, and friends … If they follow this test, they will not fear my other message to them: Lose money for my firm and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.

Now the concerned Southwest employees have dragged the whole Southwest corporation’s reputations through the mud. And this news has now been reported not only in their “local paper” but repeated around the world. And this news has not only read by “their spouses, children, and friends” but internationally.

The best policy is to treat each and every single customer with full respect and do the right thing. Don’t lie because your lies to customers will be discovered and your apologies may only come after all the damages have been done.

prime minister stephen harper in Calgary & press restrictions (pink elephant in the room & freedom of press)

Wednesday, 10 February, 2010

Business reporters don’t usually write about press restrictions (or freedom of press) but my experiences in reporting on prime minister stephen harper‘s two events in Calgary this past Monday left this reporter no option but a discussion of freedom of press and that “pink elephant in the room“. (This report is cross posted at

prime minister harper with minister prenticeprime minister harper at Alberta Caucus meeting

*** Photo credits: Kempton Lam. ***

Background facts before the main discussions,

  1. The Calgary press were given practically no advance notice for the two Calgary events at 9:30am and 11am on Monday Feb 8th, 2010. Notice of the public events was posted on Sunday for a Monday event.
  2. For the 9:30am budget roundtable, the gathered press were herded into the room at around 9:40am. mr harper spoke almost inaudibly (I had to increase mr harper’s volume in the video by 200%) for less than a minute for the photo op. No questions were allowed for the gathered press as stipulated in the public events media advisory. mr prentice and 10 Alberta businessmen sat there quietly as planned and staged when mr harper was speaking.
  3. It was unfortunate that the room for the budget roundtable was very small, the 50-70 seconds for photo op was too short, and mr harper spoke way too gently (inaudibly). The end result was chaotic, more than one Calgary/national media outlets were unable to get useable material at the first photo op.
  4. Upon requests from the gathered media, the PMO (Prime Minister Office) promised to try to find someone attending the budget roundtable to speak to the media. And on this, the PMO delivered and an roundtable attendee was made available. Actually, another attendee who left by the front entrance also stopped by to answer questions from the media. Both persons’ answers can be seen in the following video.
  5. For the 11:00am Alberta caucus meeting, the gathered press were herded into the room, a much bigger room for the 20+ attendees, where more spaces were available for cameras and TV cameras. Again, mr harper spoke almost inaudibly (the 200% volume boost didn’t help this time because the camera shuttle sound nearby was louder than many of mr harper’s words). But at least photos were taken and the press were herded out of the room in about 60 seconds.
  6. Again, upon request by the gathered press to have someone answering questions after the Alberta caucus meeting, the PMO said they “will try” to find someone to answer questions. This reporter decided to leave before the end of the caucus meeting (see reasons in the discussions).

Discussion of issues raised by the above facts (with matching fact & discussion number),

  1. As a courtesy and a little bit of respect to the Calgary press (and press in other cities), it makes sense to give more advance notice to the press. I suspect the 10 businessmen and the 20+ Alberta caucus members didn’t get a call on Sunday about the roundtable so they had much more advance notices to prepare. This would be useful especially for a Monday morning event at 9:30am. Bottom line: Yes, courteous would be nice but the PMO can do what pleases it on this one. The PMO doesn’t have to be courteous to the press. My understanding is that Calgary, mr harper’s home riding, is simply getting the same discourteous treatment as other cities mr harper had been holding roundtable. So Calgary is nothing special for mr harper.
  2. What the prime minister said in the two events for about 60 seconds each was almost inaudible and the total lack of opportunities for reporters to ask mr harper questions before, during, or after the budget roundtable was unacceptable. Bottom line: If all the prime minister harper and the PMO wanted was to have local media take photo and video of mr harper and be his official mouth piece, then the PMO should consider not informing the media outlets about the Calgary or other cities’ events. And simply issuing standard PMO approved photos and videos. This way, at least the video will have audible sound! (more in #3)
  3. Bottom Line: The very funny thing was the PMO actually had a boom mike setup for both events to capture much better sound than local media ended up getting. Of course, this reporter is being facetious in suggesting the PMO to NOT inform the local media and simply distribute “approved photos and videos”. In fact, if PMO takes on the role to distribute “approved photos and videos”, then it is functioning no different than the China’s government controlled mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency (the sole government approved news source if and when the Chinese government declare a news as “embarrassing/sensitive” including the 2008 Sichuan earthquake).
  4. The gathered press (me included) were lucky to have two budget roundtable attendees answering questions. So some general sense of the discussions could be obtained. But the clear and present pink elephant in the room was mr harper! Yes, mr harper was the pink elephant in the room that every reporter wanted to asked a question or two. In fact, after the chaotic first photo op where some of the gathered reporters were angry of the impossible arrangement and the superficial nature of the photo op. Later that morning, I was reliably informed by a TV reporter colleague that mr harper had not allowed reporters any questions when harper visited Calgary last year. This lead me to think mr harper has become way too controlling and has been unable to communicate effectively. Bottom Line: The press in Calgary and other cities should be viewed as proxies for Canadians. The press’ jobs are to ask questions important to Canadians, and to get answers from their elected politicians regarding issues & initiatives important to Canadians. The role of the press is even MORE IMPORTANT now because the parliament has been prorogued single-handedly by mr harper for an extended period. When opposition parties (elected by Canadians across the country) cannot hold prime minister harper and government ministers accountable by questioning them in the parliament, that important role of “holding the government accountable” falls, unfortunately, onto the shoulders of the press.
  5. Well, the photos and video clips were taken successfully at photo op #2. The formalities were done. Unfortunately, the important issues raised above remains unresolved.
  6. This reporter decided NOT to wait for the caucus meeting to finish because of two reasons. First, the “will try” from the PMO was not good enough for this reporter to wait for another hour to 90 minutes. Second, and this is the key reason why I left, when the clear and present pink elephant in the room (mr harper) would NOT answer questions, the sad fact of life was that the token politician in that room sent to answer questions would only be authorized to speak from a list of likely meaningless scripted talking points. Bottom Line: In China, the value of reporting meaningless & scripted talking points may mean staying alive and be employed for another day. In Canada, this reporter made the conscious decision to walk away and refused to be a mouthpiece of mr harper’s or the government of Canada’s information/disinformation.

Here is the report video.

In this 2006 November Norman Rockwell article where Rockwell’s “Freedom of Speech” painting was displayed, this reporter wrote,

We need more people to stand up against the powerful and idiotic politicians in Canada, U.S., Hong Kong, and many places around the world where we have the rights to freedom of speech.

I never quite thought that I would be the person/reporter that “stand up” and speak up against powerful politicians: writing about mr harper, freedom of speech, and naming mr harper as the pink elephant in the room. But in life, sometime things need to be done. And in this case, this reporter/blogger ended up discussing freedom of press, mr harper, and the pink elephant in the room, because of mr harper and the PMO persistence and dangerous press restrictions.

Note: When mr prentice came to Calgary the week before to talk about the new environment policy, he at least had a press scrum and answered some media questions.


How to get someone you don’t know to help you?

Sunday, 17 January, 2010

An insightful post “How to get someone you don’t know to help you. Hint: send a personal email“. Very much agree. It is not that difficult to be nice and ask for help in the right way. An excerpt from Josh’s post here (emphasis added),

I ask many people I don’t know to help me — to share numbers, interviews, etc. Often they say yes. I am grateful.

Many people who don’t know me ask me for help. Often I say yes. But many of those requests are presented so poorly they make me cringe.

Basically, if you want my help, take a few moments to know who I am. If you send me what is clearly a mass email asking for help, forget it. There is a right and wrong way to do this.

This post is about the right way.

As a habit, I try to leave comments on other people’s blogs and help them when it is within my abilities and the time I have. Same for helping people who leave comments on my blog like this recent question that I tried to help.

How Social Media and the Web Helped Avatar Make $1 Billion

Saturday, 16 January, 2010

Good and insightful read at Mashable “How Social Media and the Web Helped Avatar Make $1 Billion“.


200,571 join anti-prorogation Facebook group to try to stop PM Stephen Harper

Tuesday, 5 January, 2010


Concerned Canadians: Please join the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

Calgary rally: Please also join Calgarians Against Proroguing Parliament where Calgarians are organizing a rally on Jan 23rd, 2010 together with Canadians from across the country.

Links to rallies in other Canadian cities: See this Facebook event


Jan 17, 2009 8:34PM MST: There are 200,571 members in the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

Jan 12, 2009 7:12AM MST: There are 165,946 members in the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

Jan 10, 2009 12:40PM MST: There are 140,038 members in the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

More membership size history at the bottom of this post.


CBC is reporting about this “anti-prorogation Facebook group“,

“More than 20,000 people have joined an anti-prorogation group on Facebook following Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s decision to suspend Parliament for two months until after the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Christopher White told CBC News that he was upset by the prime minister’s decision to prorogue Parliament until March 3, and decided to create the Facebook group, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, urging people to contact their MPs to get back to work.

The group, which began last Wednesday, now has 20,312 members.

Very funny, interesting, and insightful look of prorogation by Rick Mercer.

Please join the anti-prorogation Facebook group to protect Canadian democracy and our Parliament before it is too late.

P.S. On Dec 30, 2009, I felt sad and powerless when the PM decided to shutdown the Parliament single-handedly until March.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper - Napoleon Complex

Membership size growth history

Jan 9, 2009 8:52AM MST: There are 124,437 members in the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

Jan 8, 2009 12:37AM MST: There are 100,438 members in the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

Jan 6, 2009 4:11PM MST: 70,626 members in the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

Jan 5, 2009 4:46PM MST: There are 43,074 members in the anti-prorogation Facebook group.

Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media – A Force for Good (Repost)

Saturday, 21 November, 2009

Check out this insightful forum discussion (video via Fry) with the following three insightful participants plus host.

Stephen Fry, Biz Stone, Founder and Chief Executive of Twitter; and Reid Hoffman, Founder and Chief Executive of LinkedIn will discuss the phenomenon of social media and its future impact. [Location: London, UK]

P.S. For those that only know Stephen Fry as a funny man (of which he is), Stephen was exceedingly insightful and eloquent in this forum sharing his perspectives on things. Go check out the video. For those that care about social media and social networking, it is a must watch. Enjoy.

The Internet in Society: Empowering or censoring citizens?

Tuesday, 6 October, 2009

Very insightful talk, RSA – Evgeny Morozov – The Internet in Society: Empowering or censoring citizens?

While the western world applauds the internet as a force for empowerment, liberation and democracy, authoritarian governments in the east are working behind the scenes to manipulate the messages it conveys, says Evgeny Morozov

Note: Don’t know where Evgeny gets the stats, but having an army of 300,000 people leaving positive comments about the Chinese government for 50 cents per comment seems like a cheap way to manipulate public opinion. Sadly effective.

[via Richard]

%d bloggers like this: