When you talk to managers in the Japanese automotive industry about their worst rival, it is often not another car manufacturer that is on their mind, but the mobile phone. Even before the 2008 world economic crisis, passenger car sales in Japan had been shrinking for years. According to an industry insider, one reason was because the vast majority of young men who used to spend significant sums of money on cars now prefer shelling out $ 100 or more per month for the voice and data services of their mobile companion.

This little anecdote shows that something quite extraordinary is going on in Japan. While physical mobility is taken for granted, the mobile phone is about to supersede the car as a symbol of freedom. The attraction is understandable. The car offered people in the analog age the dream of individual mobility — to go everywhere, whenever you liked. Whereas the mobile phone enables people of the digital age to communicate and to link with almost everything and everybody on this planet from anywhere anytime.

From: The six immutable laws of mobile business by Philip Sugai, Marco Koeder, Ludovico Ciferri.

That last sentence needs to be considered by everyone in business, working for a non-profit, artists – anyone that needs to connect with other people. There is a such a profound shift under way that many people may not even notice it happening. Entire countries that missed the PC revolution are coming online for the first time via mobiles.

And it is not just happening in Japan:

Young people today would rather have the latest smartphone than a flashy car. And the number of them who can drive is plummeting. Is Britain’s love-affair with the car really over?

“Car manufacturers are worried that younger people in particular don’t aspire to own cars like we used to in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s. Designers commonly say that teenagers today aspire to own the latest smartphone more than a car. Even car enthusiasts realise we’ve reached a tipping point.” – Tim Pollard, associate editor at CAR magazine

The two above quotes come from a Guardian article that goes on to explore various alternative car-sharing models including Streetcar, Zipcar and Whipcar.

Improved, more environmentally friendly transportation systems built around access instead of ownership – all managed via your mobile – is just one scenario that will impact car manufacturers.

What industry are you in?

If mobile phones can take the place cars in the eyes of youth – what will mobiles do to your industry?

What can you do to embrace the opportunities pro-actively?

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

What Steve Jobs said to Pepsi executive John Sculley to lure him to Apple. Sculley mentions it in the documentary Bloomberg Game Changers: Steve Jobs.


And he did it.

He changed the way movies are made, the way music is sold, the way stories are told, the very way we interact with the world around us. He helped us work, and gave us new ways to play. He was a myth made man
. – Gizmodo

I have yet to own an Apple product. But I will. Soon.

I am a fan all the same of Steve Jobs. Particularly his willingness in business to kill his darlings. He is a man who learned to control and be the cause of the social disruptions in his industry (and others). He did not rest on what he had done but focused on what he was going to do next.


Jobs constantly strove to be the force of disruptive change that would make the Steve Jobs of six months ago irrelevant.Fast Company


Owner of Apple products or not; for anyone reading this, Steve Jobs has in some manner impacted your life.


It takes courage to make a product so simple that a child can use it.Fast Company


Steve Jobs, 56, died peacefully today surrounded by his family.




Agency helps companies capitalize on social media 

By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter
Thu, Sep 29 - 4:55 AM

You say you want a revolution? Rob MacArthur is your man.

The co-founder of Halifax co-work space, The Hub, recently launched a new technology consulting company, A Quiet Revolution, which he’s dubbed a social disruption agency.

The agency is designed to help businesses capitalize on the sometimes wasted potential of the brave new world of social media, MacArthur said in an interview.

“It’s causing disruption, but there are great new opportunities,” said the Sydney native and Dalhousie University science graduate.

MacArthur said social media like Twitter and Facebook and online sharing have turned the way people connect upside down, causing confusion and uncertainty for many businesses and organizations.

But those new media technologies can be tailored and focused to work effectively to “find the others,” he said, citing one of ’60s guru Timothy Leary’s favourite maxims.

Rather than simply helping clients set up social media accounts, MacArthur said A Quiet Revolution will work with them to maximize the benefits of social media and give them a competitive advantage.

He characterized the agency’s approach to clients by posing a question he would ask in trying to help them.

“What are you trying to do and who are the people who want to do the same thing?” he said, suggesting it is more effective to connect with 300 like-minded people online than it is to have a million Twitter followers.

A Quiet Revolution offers social media site and strategy development, web and mobile application development, new business model development and related advisory services.

It also plans to stage new technology events and draw on MacArthur’s experience as a musician, a rehearsal space operator and co-founder of the crowd funding website, IOUMusic.

The site gives fans the opportunity to make donations to bands they listen to online.

“It goes back to our focus,” said MacArthur, who noted that the music industry in particular has been transformed by the advent of new technology.

IOUMusic will be part of the new agency, as will a quarterly magazine, SPIDER, which will address new technology issues and focus on local entrepreneurs.





“If you want to learn how to build a house, build a house. Don’t ask anybody, just build a house.” - Christopher Walken

No matter how many books I read on business, social media or music – they never deliver the lessons that actually doing something has. Nor can one say they are an expert simply because they have read everything on a given subject – though I imagine for some fields that IS how you become an expert.  One can not be a musician though if they do not make music.

This is why we also run our own projects – to learn by doing. This is why we are eager to take on projects unlike those we have done in the past – that too is a great way to learn. As Plato said: Necessity, who is the mother of invention*.

Without deviation progress is not possible. - Frank Zappa

While there are set standards for business and social media practices – blindly embracing them is not suggested. We`re willing to look at what the norms are, look at the what is needed and decide if the norms offer the best approach or if it is time for some of that invention.

By not focusing on any one industry we are able to cross-pollinate ideas from one industry to the next as well – helping innovations spread.

“Find the others.”Tim Leary

One of the greatest inventions of our time is the ability to find the people – where ever they are – that share a belief in your cause or a need for your product or service. No matter what it is you are attempting to accomplish, the people you need to do so are out there. Thanks to social media networks, mobiles and technology not yet widespread the ability to find and connect with these people will only become easier.

So with a purpose, we can get to work finding the people to make it happen – innovating along the way where required. That is our philosophy on how to operate.

That is a quiet revolution.

* We already like you if you picked up on that segue

“Lessons” will be anything I learn in running AQR, working with bands, running the crowdfunding site/others projects, things I remember from past business expereinces or life in general that I think may be of use to you pursuing your own opportunities.

Mind you I am not sure what lesson I am personally taking away from this experience, but it can serve as a heads up for others, and is most certainly a critique of designing applications.

One Off Mailing List
Earlier this week I created a one-of mailing list of people I wanted to reach out to and inform them about AQR being open for business. The plan is [was?] to use MailChimp for AQR’s ongoing newsletter. So this was to be the first time I used the service. I had used other services – online and software based – in the past, but wanted to try MailChimp and compare. There are many good aspects of MailChimp I have seen in my brief experience. But this is not about their positives.

MailChimp “It can be confusing…” 
So yesterday I sent that introductory email. I added the names to the list I was going to use. I wrote the message, edited it, added some links. The service allows for a test message to double check everything – I sent a test message – everything looked good, all the links worked – it was time. Message sent.

Link Error: “No URL found for this tracker ID”
Emails all go out fine. Then I start hearing back form people. Thanks to Trevor for alerting me to this error message when he tried clicking on a link: “No URL found for this tracker ID”.

WT….! Right. I sent a test, the links all worked. So I open the live version and see what is there now/going on and find the following in place of my links:


(The actual links were all to blog posts – HFX50+, SPIDERa social media training session, and the crowdfunding site- so you’re here now).

Headscratching commences. A search of their help section takes me to the following link:


At that page I find these amazing sentencse:

Once a second test or the final campaign is sent, the first set of test links expire and, again, the links don’t have anything in our system to reference against.

It can be confusing at first to tell whether or not you are looking at an expired test message versus a copy of a final campaign.

I just ran another test and email to my own addresses. No where is this expired link possibility noted or warned of. On their page Email Campaign Testing Tips – neither under general nor specific tips – does it mention that after you test, your links may not work.

I have two serious issues about this:
a) My test messages do not accurately represent – it turns out – what the final message will look like – it kind of defeats the point of a test message.
b) If, on your site, you have to note an aspect of your service is confusing – you should probably fix that part of the service!

I also do not understand why a test message forces links to expire in the first place. This is a 10 year old company – confusing should not be part of their product at this stage.

I 110% guarantee that if you hire AQR for any type of web or application development  you will not find the word confusing in any of our documentation – and you will not end up with a product that fails to do what end users are expecting. And if by chance a bug/issue slips past – it will certainly be corrected immediately for the end users’ benefit.

Note: In their defence, maybe I *did* miss something – I can’t see what in trying more test/mailings but I am going to contact them and see if I own some fault here (though that still doesn’t excuse them for point b above).

Thanks to Josh Hogan at Red Tentacle for the heads up on a typo on the main site. No matter how many times you look at something – always have fresh eyes look it over. And then another set or two.

We mentioned our love of music right…. check out the music festival that is apparently quite on our minds

This is the lesson I have learned after:

  • opening a rehearsal space for bands
  • launching an indie label and working with bands
  • co-founding a co-working space
  • launching a crowdfunding site for musicians
  • and now starting AQR

Almost everything takes longer than the initial estimate. Almost without fail it has come close to taking 2.5x longer than expected. Whether that was a small project that should have wrapped in a week, leaseholds on a space or hitting revenue targets. No matter how well you plan – if your project involves other people – you can not control the timing of your plan.

So what I do now – and my advice to you – is make your initial estimate, then multiple it by 2.5 and tell your clients, yourself – whoever needs to know – that`s how long it is going to take. With luck you hit that target, at best you hit the initial target and look great to everyone who was expecting the later date. At worst? Well you may need to find a multiplier of your own.

That gives you a taste too how long I have been waiting to share AQR with you ;)

One of our goals is to celebrate those able to embrace change and drive change for the better. We will highlight the unique and innovative in our home city of Halifax that can inspire us all and serve as (role) models.

Thus inspired by All Day Buffet’s NYC100, we are launching an annual list called the HFX50+.
There will be 5 categories for the HFX50+:

  1. Food, Health & the Environment – we love good food, we want more, thus we should probably look after the environment – who’s providing any of that?
  2. Technology & Innovation – the implementation of new ideas
  3. Art & Culture – be it individual artists or orgs that support local arts & culture, who is making an impact and showing us the way forward?
  4. Business & Non-Profit – best businesses and NPO that represent what we are seeking [see below]
  5. Social & Design – for those bringing people together, connecting communities, doing it with style or creating the objects we covet or the places we want to live and work

We will be looking at a number of factors covering everything from their mission, work they actually do, how they spend their time/money, who they work with, their contribution to the local community, wider contributions, and their pursuits of new ideas/innovations to name a few.

While we have started compiling names ourselves, we know there are folks and organizations out there we probably aren’t aware of or may be forgetting – don’t let that happen. If you would like to submit an individual, business or organization for consideration please send an email with their name to: HFX50@aquietrevolution.com

Deadline is October 16th @ Midnight
The list will be part of our first issue of SPIDER available in late October.