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Lessons Learned

Quebec Filene Desjardins Take Away Points

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Quebec Filene Desjardins Take Away Points

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A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to head over to Montreal and Quebec City with an amazing organization called Filene Research Institute. Filene is a non-profit, independent, think and do tank for the consumer finance industry. Basically, Filene works with credit unions and credit union employees to come up with innovative, useful ideas. In Quebec, we met in Montreal with a massive credit union called Desjardins. Desjardins was the first credit union established in North America over 100 years ago by Alphonse Desjardins

I filmed different meetings, locations, exercises and general fun for the week there. I enjoyed being a fly on the wall and watching the various types of work and challenges the people in the meetings were faced with. There were guest speakers, cool locations, amazing food and a lot of French language and Canadian-French culture. 

Aside from getting some great footage and shooting great interviews with our interviewees sitting in Kammok Roos, I had a few take aways that have left impressions and thoughts on my own work:

- Ideas are easy to come by and worthless, execution is difficult and can be worth a million dollars.

- Don't fall in love with your idea(s), they can drown you and you can fail to see the real value, or lack thereof, in them.

- Canada is a lot bigger and more mosaic than I ever thought it was. 

- It can snow in the middle of April.

- You'll never come up with new ideas if you don't change your routine, experiences and environment. 

There were more take away points for me, but those are the ones that take the forefront for me. It was a great experience and I'm enjoying the editing experience on this video. I'll post the video once Filene gets it posted on their site.

Cheers,
Matthew A. Hawkins

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The Stories We Tell

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The Stories We Tell

A while ago I learned an invaluable lesson when it comes to filming, everybody has a story to tell. The difficulty with filming is trying to convey that story to your audience. I recently came across these first two clips that are great references to how to tell your story. 

I love Andrew Stanton's talk about sharing/writing about what you know. If we have a story to tell. Tell it. Tell it your way. That's what I love with filming, there is no right or wrong way to do it, do it the way that tells your story best. 

A few years ago I watched this following TED talk and still remember it. It's a talk that's left an impression and some inspiration in me. JJ Abrams one of the best modern day storyteller's and he shares where his passion for storytelling comes from. 

And if you want just a little proof of JJ's story abilities (other than Super 8, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Alias, etc.) just check out this teaser trailer for his book 'S':

For me, there are various stories I want to tell. The stories of others in my community, stories of friends and family, the crazy stories inside my head. Those first two clips I found last night have helped inspire me to push to be a better storyteller and to write from my experience, not try to be anyone else but me. So let the story telling continue. 

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Random Business Lessons Learned

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Random Business Lessons Learned

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I've been in business for myself now for the better part of 7 years. In that time I have gone from running business full time, to part time and back again. Along the way I've learned a few things and I know I'll always have more to learn along the way, but here are a few random business lessons I've learned and stick to on a day to day basis (in no sort of order either): 

- no contract means anything unless it's signed and even then, it still has potential to be closed at a moments notice. I believe in a hand shake, not everyone does, but when you and I shake, I'm giving you my word and promise. 

- network with people that aren't in the same field as you. If all you do is network with people in the same field as you, people won't know or want to work with you.

- when you start out, do and try anything in your field. Don't worry about for how much, when or why, but try it. From there fine tune your business to what you're best at.

- don't have all your eggs in one basket. An old adage but so true. If you're letting one client carry 50% or more of your business, you're going to be screwed. Diversify yourself and don't make a client your boss. You're the boss, boss!

- become an expert in something. Be the best person at some particular task so that people know how amazing you are at it. 

- read everything. Don't focus just on the field or area you're interested in. There are lessons to be learned from multiple sources. Don't miss out on something because it's not your flavour or style. Get educated from pop culture, A grade and D grade movies, books, articles, blogs, tweets, etc. 

More to come.

Cheers,

Matthew A. Hawkins

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Blogging & Collateral with Fishing Reviews TV

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Blogging & Collateral with Fishing Reviews TV

Over a month since I posted my new work with Fishing Reviews TV and the fun and experiments continue.

Part of what I've been able to do is make regular updates through Instagram (both photo and video updates) - in just over a month we've seen our Instagram followers grow from 6,000 to almost 7,000 not to mention that we're now over 3,000 likes on Facebook.

Here's a couple examples of videos we've put out on Instagram: 

Recently I had a chance to try out a pair of waders, boots and a jacket for Frogg Toggs and write up a review on them. You should check it out at the Fishing Reviews TV site here

All in all, we are in the process of filming more videos, testing out more and more ways to connect fish, fishing gear and people on-line. Connected people to fishing gear has been an interesting journey so far. The real secret of what seems to get people so interested in this stuff, seems to be… FISH. People just seem to like fish. So I'll leave you with this beauty of a coho I caught (only to have it stolen off the bank). 

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Star Wars Thoughts & Lessons: Episode 4

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Star Wars Thoughts & Lessons: Episode 4

My kids have been wrapped up in all things Star Wars lately, might have something to do with the re-discovery of Lego Star Wars and the promise they can play Xbox in the mornings when it's summer time (especially since they have been waking up at 6am - ugh). 

Watching through Star Wars segments from Episode 1-6 on Lego Star Wars and even getting back into watching the REAL Star Wars movies (4-6) again, I've been thinking about some important life lessons we can learn from Star Wars:

1) Don't whine about not being able to leave the farm and then be given a chance to leave the farm, only to find out everyone at your farm has been killed. 
 Life Lesson: don't whine.

 Beware of droids.

Beware of droids.

2) If two mysterious droids show up in your life with a secret message, either run away quickly because everyone you care about will be killed (because the evil Vader is hunting them down to kill them and anyone they come in contact with); OR, quickly hide them out in Mos Eisley where Han Solo can hide them in the hull of his ship.
Life Lesson: meet new droids, run like hell and hide.

3) Anakin Skywalker was whiny, which makes Darth Vader whiny, which made Luke Skywalker whiny. Princess Leia proves to be tough as nails, so whose the real twin sister in this family? 
Life Lesson: boys whine more than girls.

4) When working for Darth Vader, despite being ahead of schedule and having every man work on the evil Death Star, don't admit you're doing everything you can do because it will never be enough. Just admit you're behind schedule and that your men can do more work, because in the end, it's your men that will do more work and not you. 
 Life Lesson: Leave room for error; OR, let your team pick up the slack and make you look like the hero (since you already playing for the wrong team).

5) Did the guys on the Death Star really think it was ok to blow up an entire planet? When they blew up Princess Leia's home planet, did any of them think 'Holy crap, this giant moon actually works? I didn't think we would senselessly blow up tens of thousands of people for a cause I don't necessarily believe in.'
 (Side note: wouldn't the universes gravity situation be an issue with an entire planet being blown up?)
Life Lesson: Gauge the cause and effect before acting accordingly. Your decisions can have direct influence on other people's lives.

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There you have it. Some thoughts and lessons I gathered while watching Star Wars again for the 101st time and seeing it through new eyes with my kids. 

What do you think? Any life lessons to learn from Episode 4 of Star Wars?

Matthew A. Hawkins

 We just blew up an entire planet just to find out where a small group of rebels are. How do you feel about this?

We just blew up an entire planet just to find out where a small group of rebels are. How do you feel about this?

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Imagination: Part One of Many... Perhaps

Recently I did a book swap with Tim McAlpine. This is shocking and surprising as A) Tim usually listens to books, he likes Audible.com A LOT; B) I like to buy and give books away, it's something I've picked up from Seth Godin; and, C) I really like to write in my books and not being able to has forced me to write notes in a separate note book (I won't mark up your book Tim!)

The Book: Imagine by Jonah Lehrer

 

I'm not quite finished the book yet, but I've been trying a few practices on imagination and creativity already. For instance, the last couple of mornings I've been waking up a little earlier and then just laying in bed thinking about various things I'd like to do in my life and problems I'm trying to figure out in business. It's been interesting doing this. Sometimes I fall back asleep a bit, other times I lay there and come up with ideas of things I wasn't even intentionally thinking about - amazing how the subconscious mind works.

It's been interesting learning about how your brain works and the fuel(s) you need to help get it going. I'm looking forward to seeing where this info on imagination will take me. I also have a small list growing of things I need to change to help nurture and grow my creativity. It's just a matter of switching things from the way I've always done them. Never easy.

Doing some things like in this video, are going to help. I have a red rubber ball on my desk. I play a games with in my office, but most days I think it's just a time waster. Truth is, its part of my think tank and I need to pursue it more often. Like I said, it's crazy how your subconscious mind works.

What games do you play? Matt

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