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Don’t let your phone skills atrophy

By Leo Valiquettephoneatrophy

I got a call last week from my incumbent Canadian telecom services provider eager to justify its existence to me.

We all get these calls from time to time. One of those “how can we serve you better” calls. This shouldn’t have been surprising, considering how my service provider’s top rival had been crawling all over my neighbourhood the past couple of weeks installing new fibre services.

I don’t mind taking a call in the middle of a workday if the intent truly is to find a better way to serve me, and for less money, to boot.

But my patience had worn thin after 20 minutes on the phone while this less-than-nimble customer service rep fumbled around; it was all for the sake of a mere $7 a month, after all. Then I got lost in some on-hold void waiting to seal the deal with the verifier.

I finally hung up at the 30-minute mark. There was no profusely apologetic followup call through the remainder of that day. In fact, the service rep didn’t call back until the very same time the next day, when I had less time to spare. I didn’t take the call. She never left a message. Maybe I’ll call them back later this week. Or maybe I’ll call those other guys about their fibre service.

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How long, really, do you have to file a patent application?

By David French patentapplication

“Don’t disclose your invention or you’ll lose your patent rights!” This is the type of advice that you will typically get in a coffee shop, or over a beer around 5:30 in the evening before you head home. Is this true?

Well the answer really is, “Yes and no.” How can this be?

The answer is that you will lose your patent rights in Europe and countries generally that adopt a standard of “absolute world novelty” as a requirement for granting a patent. I like to describe this as requiring that an invention be “pristine” in order to qualify for a patent grant under this standard. But you will not lose your patent rights in Canada, and not in certain other important countries, simply by disclosing the invention yourself. At least, you will not lose your patent rights immediately.

At least four countries in the world — Canada, USA, Australia and the Republic of South Korea — provide an unqualified one-year grace period to excuse public disclosures made by an inventor (or applicants claiming rights under an inventor meaning assignees). A number of other countries, such as Japan, do have grace periods but they are often limited to six months and in some cases only protect certain types of disclosures. All countries around the world are required by an international convention to give a period of protection against an applicant’s own disclosures where the disclosures occur at a recognized international exhibition, according to Paris Convention Article 11.

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Great articles roundup: Startups, funding, storytelling, PR and feature-market fit

By Daylin Mantykalink

Every Friday we summarize the top articles we read over the week. This week, we loved articles that were published on Entrepreneur, Gigaom, Fast Company, Spin Sucks and memeburn.

First up, an article about the perks of working for a small business rather than corporate giants, followed by a post on raising $2 million online. Third, a piece on how stories can be infectious. Finally, we’ve got an advice post on how PR professionals can become better makers and last, a piece that introduces the concept of feature-market fit.

Startup perks Wal-Mart and Amazon can never offer

In this article, Gene Marks asks how small businesses can compete with corporate giants for talented employees. To him, the answer is easy. Although small businesses may not be able to offer the money, benefits or  sex appeal of the big guys, they can offer less bureaucracy, greater flexibility and a family away from family.

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TiE holds first-ever Canadian conference, in Ottawa

TiECon Canada conferenceBy Francis Moran

TiE, one of the largest networks of entrepreneurs and business people in the world, is bringing its legendary networking conference, TiECon, to Canada for the first time ever next week. I’ve been to a couple of TiECon events in Boston and am looking forward to the combination of inspirational speakers and full-contact networking when TiECon Canada rolls into Ottawa on Thursday and Friday.

More than 45 speakers will make presentations over the two-day event, with Thursday’s activities taking place at City Hall in downtown Ottawa and Friday’s at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata, nicely catering to the two main centres of entrepreneurial activity in this city. Headlining the list of speakers are keynotes Vivek Wadhwa from Singularity University; Paul Singh, a venture partner at 500 Startups (and doubtless less profane than his colleague Dave McClure); TiE Global chairman Ashok Rao; Bluecat Networks founder Michael Hyatt; Brad Loiselle, Author of Keep Moving 4ward; and Montreal’s Julien Smith, founder of Breather.com, who will speak at the closing gala Friday evening.

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When a good presentation isn’t good enough

By Anil Dilawri presentation

I deal with lots of executives who are good presenters — in some cases, really good presenters. But, they choose to work with a presentation coach because they want to become remarkable presenters. Remarkable presentations are memorable and inspiring, and they cause the audience to take action.

Inevitably, during an executive’s career, he or she is required to deliver a monumental presentation — to land that big contract, to attract that strategic investor, to solidify oneself as the right leader for the job. This is when delivering a good presentation isn’t good enough. Something special is needed.

Being a remarkable presenter is hard work. It takes lots of time, effort, and resources. The payback is huge and in some cases game-changing. Here are just a couple of ideas for getting from great to remarkable:

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Recent Comments

  • Bob Bailly : Your new mode of working means no face to face interaction yet you call yourself empathetic. How can removing yourself from daily human social interactions and possibly understand what makes other people tick. Research from UCLA suggests messages conveyed face to face are understood primarily by reading body language (57%) and tone of voice (35%), and that words convey only 7%. By interacting only through computer based non-video technology is like weightlifting only using your right forearm.

  • Anna : As a freelancer who spends much of her time on the computer writing, I find that I have a brain which connects empathically to people despite how much time I spend on technology. In fact, I am not happy being immersed daily in what I called 'imposed' social interaction (social interaction brought on by having to interact with co-workers). Such social interaction used to make be egregious, used to make me dislike co-workers, and have a generally negative view on work life. Furthermore, people like me who are generally empathic can 'hide' in our homes and be safe from others while we work; safe from their criticisms and aversions, safe from bullying and harassment. Furthermore, our talents as writers, photographers, or whatever, flourish absolutely under one important condition - freedom. I support moving work to an online domain because I see also how harmful the 9 - 5 is for people; how it drains them, how its endless cacophony of alarm clocks and ringing bells--lunch hours and lunch rooms, forced staff retreats and uncomfortable interactions with bosses--is killing them. I support allowing technology make us more efficient, happier. I support voluntary--not forced--interaction. I support eliminating the workplace altogether and creating NEW modes of working, either from home or through community-based platforms such as outdoor spaces.

  • 5 Ways to Engage With Your Brand Voice - icuc.social : [...] “A strong company voice on social media should emphasize the company’s values, objectives and key differentiators that set it apart from its competitors. These can be expressed in the tone of the communication and the content that is shared with community members and the target audience.The best social media voices are communal, grammatical, dialectical, authentic, original, contextual, relevant, timely, persistent, responsive, helpful, generous and more informal. A company’s social media voice should only be changed if absolutely necessary and should maintain all of these qualities. Any change should be preceded by lots of information explaining the change to community members to ensure they know it is deliberate and that the company isn’t suffering from some form of instability, which jeopardizes relationships.” [@TechAlly, Francis Moran & Associates – via Francis Moran & Associates] [...]

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