Alexa, why can’t I get my shit together?

Spoiler alert: Alexa doesn’t know.

I really need to get my car serviced. Have I done it? No. Have I even called to book an appointment? No. Have I even considered calling? No.

I really need to do my taxes. Have I even started? No.

I really need to do a lot of things that I haven’t done, or even started, or even considered starting. I should really just change my first name to ‘Procrastination’. It would suit me at this stage of life.

I have a meeting at 10:00 that I haven’t prepared for. Am I going to prepare? Not really.

Hey, what are grits? Is it like potatoes that people eat for breakfast?

I’m taking bets on what time the Amazon delivery driver gets here today. (Don’t shame me for purchasing from Amazon. Until I get a vaccine, I’m not shopping in stores. It just seems like unnecessary risk. Especially in this city)

Speaking of vaccines… the province has changed the schedule for vaccines and are now suggesting that everyone who wants one could have their first dose by the end of June. Of course to do this, they’re extending the time between the two shots to four months. But, if I could get myself a vaccine, I’d be a happy camper. You know how people used to wait outside for weeks on end for things like Iphone releases back in the early 2000’s? I would totally camp outside for a week if it meant I could get the vaccine before the end of June.

Realistically, I should’ve named this post ‘I didn’t sleep last night’. That would’ve made more sense.

Alas, here we are. Alexa, why can’t I get my shit together?

Corporate Poaching

A new start-up has been systematically poaching the best employees from my company recently. It has been interesting watching this unfold. Management is… crumbling. They’re trying to hide it but they’re definitely stressed to the max.

This is a new experience for me. I’ve never worked in an industry in which poaching happened. In my previous work people were either fired for incompetence, criminal negligence or general stupidity. People leaving, resigning, willingly… because they were poached to a start-up that isn’t even public yet, it’s interesting to watch. The shape of the entire company is changing right in front of my eyes.

Boring life things

I bought stocks today.

I don’t think this is anything that’s going to make me rich any time soon. But, you know, I’m learning something new. That’s exciting to me, both for the new knowledge I am gaining, and also, that I’m in a place where I can financially do this. It’s a nice feeling. I’ve spent so long of my life being worried about money that having a few extra dollars to ‘play with’ so to speak, it feels freeing.

In other news, we’re in that awkward stage in Canada where the weather gods cannot decide if it’s winter or spring. Yesterday it was +9 and sunny and beautiful. Today it’s -6 and snowing. If the weather gods are listening, I would love spring. I would love, love, love spring. I’m ready for sunny days and warmer weather. I am ready for adventures into the mountains where I don’t have to wear four layers of clothing to stay warm.

Come at me, spring. I dare you.

In absolutely unrelated news, I’ve been invited to Colorado in September for a work-related event. They keep asking me to confirm attendance, I think because the vaccine roll out is going much faster in the United States than in Canada. Truthfully, I don’t know that I’ll be vaccinated by then. I wish I could turn around and say ‘Red Rocks here we come!’ I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

My Day Job

I keep posting this and then sending it back to my drafts folder to make edits. I really should just leave it up.

When it comes to work, I’ve talked a lot about how I work in marketing, communications and public relations. This is all true. My position is one of those chameleon positions that tends to change based on the day. I don’t have a set description of duties because those duties change depending on what is happening.

Here’s a little bit of an explanation of what being Director of Marketing entails:

I draft emails, press releases and professional reports for distribution and print in three countries on two continents, hoping to expand to eight countries on three continents in the next 12 months. I also edit emails, press releases and professional reports and act as the last set of eyes to see information before it’s distributed externally.

I maintain the company website. This involves daily maintenance and upgrades, adding and removing content, collecting registration information, optimizing SEO for the company and much more. I also use the company website to run the company blog – something that has become a bit of a behind the scenes look at the magic my coworkers create.

I create and maintain Google Ads for the company as a measure to help direct even more people to our company website. This is done through identifying what terminology is important to our executives, as well as using an SEM/Keyword Search Tool to stay up to date on what the most popular trends on Google are.

I encourage clients to leave reviews about our company and the software that we sell because I understand the importance of reviews to people who are considering investments of six figures in specialized software like that which we sell.

I manage a sales team of seven people. We’ve been developing and executing a sales plan over the past five months to grow awareness of our products around the world, and hopefully increase our clientele.

I am in charge of graphic design for the company. This includes adding any new design templates to our website, creating info-graphic advertisements for both print and digital publications, designing animations for our YouTube channel and I’m sure a half dozen other places that I can’t think about at the particular moment that I’m writing this. I have more than 800 fonts on my computer and I can tell you which are good fonts for which occasion by the back of my hand. Types of fonts, colours, sizes of documents/images/graphics, they all matter deeply when it comes to consumer purchasing trends.

I make videos for our YouTube channel. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

I manage the company’s social media platforms, ensuring a balance between promotion and showcasing the lifestyle of our company and employees. I’ve given our company platforms a very sassy personality and people seem to be enjoying it. I think it’s a nice change from the otherwise very bland topics that run our industry. I seek growth, I seek to share knowledge and I seek to make an impact with our platforms that is enough for people to want to continue coming back.

I develop presentations for sales calls, events, tradeshows and conventions (that last two have been online the past year) and investment meetings.

I watch daily, weekly, monthly and annual trends within the industry to ensure that our company stays relevant, that we continue to grow and that we maintain our knowledge of competitors to keep a competitive edge.

I send monthly email campaigns/newsletters to 20,000 people to share about our corporate structure, goals, services and products. I keep all analytics from these campaigns to ensure that I improve on each message the following month.

I track our company’s analytics across all platforms. What pages people visit, what emails people open, what videos people watch, how much time they spend doing each activity… these are all important statistics to help my team do a better job in the future.

I organize press conferences for the company. These haven’t happened that often lately, largely due to COVID, and when they have they’ve been more of a virtual feed that we send to journalists. But, I’m that person that’s ensuring there are no wrinkles in the curtain being used as a black background because I know small things like that can look unprofessional and distract from messages you’re trying to deliver.

I host professional development courses for scientists around the world, teaching them the basics of our software. I highly recommend the tactic of using your own products to teach someone something knew. Those who seek knowledge become guinea pigs for your own products and they often don’t even realize it.

I work with charitable organizations across North America to ensure that we donate a portion of our funds back to people in need. Prior to COVID my company did a lot of physical, in-person, volunteering. Since COVID began, though, we’ve switched to a model solely focused on donations because we understand that a bunch of extra heads in and around charitable organizations right now could be dangerous to the spread.

I try my best to understand everyone. I don’t always agree with them. Actually, I don’t agree with them a lot of the time. But, I understand them. I understand them because marketing is about understanding people. It’s about being able to put yourself in their shoes, and being able to know where they’re coming from. If you can know where they’re coming from, you can know how to appeal to them and how to help them. Realistically, that’s all anyone wants.

I think one of the most important things I do is provide a balance. My coworkers often come to me and ask my thoughts on something they’re working on – they treat me as somewhat of a trusted resource and I’m really proud of that. They know I’ll be honest with them and I know they’ll be honest with me. I think this is a reason why we improve upon our communication and messaging each month. I think this is why we’re growing steadily. We’re not afraid to be honest with one-another if something sucks. This pushes our entire office to be better. And, when we operate at a higher level of quality, continuously, people recognize that.

There’s a lot that goes into marketing. And, sharing this isn’t necessarily about bragging, although I’m sure that the majority of this post sounds like I am bragging. I just wanted to explain that there are facets to this type of work that a lot of people don’t think about, or understand. And that’s totally fine. Just… know… know that when I rant about marketing, when I share tips and tricks, it comes from a good place. I’m very passionate about marketing and the difference it can make in what you, I, or anyone is able to accomplish.

Marketing is important. Marketing can make, or break, a company/person. At the end of the day, everything tied to marketing is based upon understanding people. This is why you can always tell when good marketing is happening and… when people really understand the audience they’re marketing towards.

International Women’s Day

On this day, and every day, I celebrate the accomplishments of those who came before me that opened doors for my generation and reminded us that we deserve a seat at the table. I also celebrate the accomplishments of those women who are right here and now breaking down barriers and shattering glass ceilings just through their existence. Real change has been happening in my lifetime and I am so damn proud of that. I’m also hopeful for the next generation of women, that they’ll grow up into a world where they don’t have to fight so hard for things like freedom of choice, the right to their own bodies, the right to vote, the right to drive (because that’s still illegal for women in many countries), the right to be treated as an equal. Progress has happened, yes. But we can’t get stagnant now, there is still so much more to be accomplished.

I want my nieces to grow up in a world where they don’t have to question their value because people of authority, men and women, have long since treated males as superior.

Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.

Facepalm.

I really need to edit my posts before I hit publish.

I write and then I hit publish. Then a few hours or days later, I’ll actually read what I wrote and I get extremely embarrassed about the simple, stupid mistakes I forgot to fix.

I know the difference between to, too and two. I know the difference between there, their and they’re. I know that ‘a lot’ is always two words. I know that it’s subtle and subtly, not subtley. I know that ‘I’ is always capitalized. You wouldn’t be able to tell any of this from reading my blog. If I just edited, I could save myself a lot of embarrassment after the fact.

I’m too stubborn.

EDIT. EDIT. EDIT. Maybe if I yell at myself enough, I’ll get it.

Then again, after two years of this, even if I yell at myself, I’ll probably come up with more excuses as to not do it.

Edit, Vee. EDIT!

The one where I rant about Marketing

So, I’m sitting in a conference virtual session this morning, and I’m listening to a woman spew absolute bullshit about marketing that is infuriating.

The ticket to this conference costs $500. My work is paying $500 for me to be at this conference, and they’re also still paying my salary while I’m not ‘in the office’ doing office things for the next two days, which is another bunch of money. So, we’re invested.

The lesson this woman is teaching: to grow online, follow as many people as you possibly can, wait a few days and then unfollow anyone who didn’t follow you back.

This isn’t marketing. This is fucking stupid. Don’t do this, people. Don’t play the ‘how many people can follow me back’ game. Just don’t do it. We’re not in high school. We’re not trying to get people to sit with us at lunch. Marketing is about real-world engagement. I know people typically roll their eyes at me when I tell them that, but it’s true.

The goal with marketing is not to get 100,000 followers. Sure, 100,000 followers sounds great in theory, but if 99,600 of them don’t give a rats ass about what you’re doing, then what’s the point in them following you? The goal is to find people who resonate with your content, your products or what you’re trying to share. If you run a small store that sells candles, you want people who like to buy candles following you. If people don’t buy candles but they follow you, they’re not contributing to you, your business or your marketing efforts. If you run a blog about parenting, you want moms and dads to follow you. If people following you are 16 year old kids who don’t read your content, or even remotely pay attention to your blog, you’re essentially speaking into the void. Marketing is about finding your people, your niche and your space on the internet. Marketing has absolutely nothing to do with quantity of followers, and everything to do with quality of followers.

If you’re good at marketing, it won’t matter if 50 people read your blog or 50,000 people read your blog. They’re all going to pay attention because they care about what you have to say. What’s the point in having 50,000 following you if only 50 of them actually read your blog? There isn’t a point.

Marketing is about appealing to people.

Marketing is about resonating.

Marketing is about creating messaging that matters. Telling a story that’s worthy of being listened to.

Marketing IS NOT adding as many people as you can to try and get them to follow you back to that you can look popular. Looking popular doesn’t translate to real interaction.

If you’re using digital platforms to try and make friends, you don’t need 100,000 friends. You won’t ever have 100,000 friends. So even still, playing ‘how many people can I get to follow me back’ is ridiculous.

Real growth online is slow. It’s calculated. It takes effort. It takes communication. It’s thoughtful. It’s garnering an audience who is exactly who you would wish for your content to reach. If you sell candles, it’s building an audience of candle lovers. If you write about parenting, it’s building an audience of people who care about parenting. It’s not going after the entire population of the planet…

I’m pretty sure this isn’t coherent due to my having been ranting so long. I’m going to end this here.

What a week

I’m really not sure where the past week of my life went. Actually, I do know. I’ve been pulling double duty and work due to the shit show that happened in Texas and my coworkers being off-the-map for several days. Luckily the clients were understanding of the fact that our Texas crew was unavailable and I don’t have a biochemistry degree like each of them have. We made due.

Speaking of what happened in Texas – holy shit balls. I feel so deeply for everyone who’s had their lives turned upside down by the aftermath of that winter storm. It’s going to cost hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars and take years to recover from that storm. A storm which I think pointed out a fatal flaw in Texas infrastructure in that, it’s not prepared for weather fluctuations. Luckily, for each of my coworkers on our Texas crew, they’re relatively well-off (financially speaking). I can’t imagine what people are going through who live pay cheque to pay cheque. This must be their worst nightmare come to fruition.

I know there are a few people who read this blog who are from Texas. I hope that you’re safe, warm and staying as sane as possible amidst the cleanup from this winter-storm.

Some days

Some days I wander around this earth waiting for the rug to be pulled from beneath my feet. Some days all I do is wait for the other shoe to drop. Some days, I say. Some days.

There are days when I am confident, when not a thing in this world can touch me. There are days when the smile on my face is genuine. There are days when I don’t have to worry. There are days.

These days I worry a lot. These days I’m sad a lot. These days I’m very lonely. These days I don’t know what to do. These days I’m afraid to be honest with people because everyone always says ‘Oh but you have so much’. It’s true, I do have a lot in my life. Things don’t always equal fulfillment, though. Things are just things. Fulfillment comes from within. These days…

One day I’ll figure out what exactly it is that I am chasing. One day I’ll feel as though I finally fit in this world, somewhere. One day I’ll have all of the answers. One day.

Until then, I don’t have the answers… just a lot of questions.

Dreaming of Travel

I would love to get on a plane right now.

I would love to go somewhere. Anywhere. A new place. A familiar place. I just need a change of pace for a few days. Wouldn’t that be nice? I think that would be nice.

Sometimes I think I should just get in my car and go. Then I realize there’s not really anywhere to go. There are so many reasons why I can’t go, not the least of which being massive anxiety about being around strangers right now. So I just sit here, looking out my window at the planes landing and I dream. I dream of a day that I can go somewhere. I dream of a day that I can be the girl on that plane, headed somewhere for fun, or for business, or just to go.

As much as I love winter, it’s so long. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that in posts the past two years… probably in February back then as well. COVID has somehow made this winter seem so much longer. While I would normally escape somehow, some way, as I have the past two winters for a weekend or two, that’s not really an option right now. It’s just me and my thoughts here for the foreseeable future.

If COVID weren’t holding me back, here’s where I’d go:

  • Vancouver
  • Montreal
  • Niagara Falls
  • Denmark
  • Las Vegas
  • Bahamas

If COVID and money weren’t holding me back, here’s where I’d go;

  • The Maldives
  • The Seychelles
  • Australia
  • Patagonia
  • Kenya
  • South Africa
  • Egypt
  • Morocco
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Japan
  • France
  • Monaco
  • Indonesia

Well, if I am being totally honest, I just want to see the whole world. If it were safe and I had the money to do so, I would get on a plane tomorrow and go anywhere. I’d go everywhere. I’d love to be the writer behind one of those ‘Around the world’ blogs, sharing people and culture and stories I’ve discovered along the way. What a cool career that would be.