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What have you done for someone else lately?

By Leo Valiquette

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with several individuals who reminded me how much a natural part of doing business it should be for philanthropy and giving back in some way to the community that sustains you.

At VLN Advanced Technologies, founder Mohan Vijay spent 13 years fighting uphill to commercialize his company’s forced-pulse waterjet technology. When at last his ship came in, the 75-year-old immediately redirected much of his company’s new profitability into the VLN Reach Foundation. Through his foundation, Vijay supports the Make A Wish Foundation, the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the Brain Injury Association of Canada and Propeller Dance, and also makes cash donations to many other charities each year.

But most inspiring of all is his ambitious plan to create a sustainable funding model for worthy charities that struggle year after year to muster sufficient funding. He wants to construct a mixed-use development that operates on a not-for-profit basis, with any net profits donated to charity. The site could be used for almost anything: a convention centre, a retail space, commercial office space, condos or some combination thereof. But the most jaw-dropping aspect of his plan is the physical shape that he wants the building to take.

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What an entrepreneur can learn from a literary conference: Part III

By Leo Valiquette

Focus.

It’s what distinguishes talkers from doers, which I touched upon in last week’s post about lessons learned at a literacy conference that apply to entrepreneurs as much as they to do authors.

While I was at that conference, I ran into Canadian fantasy fiction author Ed Greenwood. Over a span of less than 30 years, this man has published scores of books, hundreds of magazine articles, a pile of short fiction and worked on countless other related projects. He is a working writer well accustomed to navigating the often-absurd complexities of the publishing industry and trying to earn a fair living while doing so. Anything beyond a month to crank out a draft of a novel is a luxury for him. He’s scarce on social media and I’ve probably just given you the reason for that.

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What an entrepreneur can learn from a literary conference: Part II

By Leo Valiquette

I’ve blogged before about my ambitions to become a fabulously successful novelist and my annual April trek to Toronto to attend the Ad Astra literary conference. Having just returned from the 2013 edition, here are my latest observations that apply as much to entrepreneurs as they do to authors.

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Best of: Just the facts … no, these facts

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from July 2008. We welcome your feedback.

By Leo Valiquette

In my years as a journalist I endured my fair share of embarrassing gaffes, both my own and those of my staff (which I was often on the hook to explain, apologize for and redress.)

Despite the emphasis on clean, factual and reliable content, the occasional mistake is made in the newspaper business. Nobody’s perfect and the strain of rushing to meet a deadline can easily lead one to skip out on taking the time to check the facts through a second time.

Of course, it’s difficult to feel all that sympathetic about the plight of harried reporters when it’s your good name that’s attached to the error. Maybe they called your CEO Rob when his name is Rod. Or said your flagship product is still in trials when it has been commercially available for six months. There are the little things that don’t matter so much, such as whether your company was founded in 1989 or 1990, or the big whammies that can land you in a lawsuit — like that defamatory off-the-cuff remark that was never intended to be on the record.

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March roundup: What does it take to get technology to market?

By Leo Valiquette

March break aside, we kept up the pace last month with a great lineup of content that featured some excellent posts from our guest bloggers. Hot topics included opportunities in the global smart TV market, criteria for hiring a worthy writer and the risks and rewards of having a product that is truly unique in the marketplace.

In case you missed any of it, here is a handy recap of our posts, as ranked by the enthusiasm of our readers:

March 20: Calling Canada’s startups: There’s a $200B TV market ripe for the taking, by Jason Flick

March 19: Is that writer worth the cost of the ink?, by Leo Valiquette

March 26: The ballad of the undifferentiated product, by Francis Moran

March 27: The ‘Accelerator Bubble’ will pop, but not for the reason you think it will, by Jesse Rodgers

March 25: Three (not so) simple strategies to avoid ‘losing the plot’ in marketing, by Rob Woyzbun

March 07: Oracles, shamans and storytellers, by Bob Bailly

March 13: It’s still rock and roll to me, by Francis Moran

March 21: Best of: My three buckets of customer segmentation, by Francis Moran

March 06: You can’t rely on the channel to grow sales in new markets, by Jeff Campbell

March 11: Drafting your own patent disclosure document, by David French

March 12: Don’t give your customers reasons to ask for apologies, by Leo Valiquette

March 18: Some dos and don’ts of governance, by Denzil Doyle

March 14: Before you jump on the content-marketing bandwagon …, by Leo Valiquette

March 05: From courting Hollywood’s A-list to navigating the Chinese New Year, by Leo Valiquette and John Hill

Image: March2013CalendarPrintable.com

 

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