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Rob Brown
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Rob Brown

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Running is for chumps. Skipping is where it's at.
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Darn Skippy
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Rob Brown

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My wife made a cake and I took some photos :)
Einat Schlagmann's profile photoJohn Bowman's profile photo
I think the two of you should start making plasticine animations
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Rob Brown

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If there is a delivery charge for pizza... do I still tip the delivery person?

I think no....

Yes or no?
Sean Clarke's profile photoGordon Sroufe's profile photoTyler Strause's profile photoSamuel Swinton's profile photo
You are a tipped employee if you receive regularly and customarily more than $30 a month in tips. If so, your employer is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7,25 per hour. Tips are part of their minimum wage pay. In some cases, they need to feed their families on your tip money. They aren't getting a shiny bonus when you tip them, they are working toward getting a bit above minimum wage.
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Rob Brown

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My Amsterdam cab story

I was in Amsterdam on business enjoying a night out. We had a few drinks and were hopping in our 3rd or 4th cab of the night, this time at the Central Station. It was very busy with cabs regularly circling around the turnabout to pick-up, drop people off and wait for customers.

We spotted a free cab. 2 people from my group hopped in while waving to me to come quickly so that I didn't miss the ride. I ran across the busy road and opened the drivers side passenger door.

I was narrowly missed by a cab speeding out of the queue. However as my door opened, it caught the side of the exiting cab, broke both windows and caused significant damage. Beyond the windows being broken and paint being scratched, the door was obviously bent and would need to be completely replaced.
Immediately, a swarm of cab drivers appeared. They were all yelling at me in a language I didn't understand. Part drunk and mostly scared out of my wits, I tried to simply run away. One member of the growing mob grabbed my arm while another grabbed my belt.

Things were getting serious very quickly. With the mob beginning to get rilled up, the cab drivers kept insisting that they would take me to a bank machine so that I could pay them for the damage. The drivers of the two damaged cabs were fighting while their friends were trying to shove me in to a car.
One person in our group was local. While the mob was still forming, he ran. I assumed he was getting out of there as fast as he could, just as I had tried. However, he returned with 2 police officers from a couple of blocks away. It took the cops a while, but they separated me from the cab drivers and started to ask typical car accident questions.

The police reviewed my passport and wrote down my phone number. They asked for insurance, of which I of course only had an "in case of emergency" toll free number for medical issues. They spoke quickly in Dutch to my friend who then immediately turned to me and said "come with me".
We were told to split-up and leave quietly and very quickly. The mob was still rilled and after watching the laid-back approach the cops were taking with me, the cab drivers weren't as happy as they were when they were trying to shove me in to a car.

Afterwards, over more beers of course, I found out that Amsterdam has a real problem with cab drivers and the Moroccan Mafia. Had of my friend not had both the clarity of mind and the foresight to find the closest cops, I would have been shoved in to a cab, robbed and maybe worse.

I published this today (for the first time online!) on Reddit:
Rob Brown's profile photoSean Clarke's profile photoSteve Gladue's profile photoSandeep Deshpande's profile photo
Wow. I work in Amsterdam and use cabs a lot and have heard about issues but never had one or seen one. Your story is scary.
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Rob Brown

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I want to...

Download a high quality version of a movie.
Not be charged for bandwidth consumption to download this movie.
Not be subjected to any pre-roll crap.
Watch the first 10 minutes of the movie for free including an embedded preview.
Pay $5 if I want to watch more than 10 minutes one time.
Pay $20 for unlimited views and no access restrictions across any device.

I don't want some embedded DRM scheme created to thwart piracy. I want to pay but I don't want crap.

The movie industry is a greedy, political, technically inept group of short sighted dumbasses. This is so easy to understand that it hurts. Change your bloody business model already.
Tim Johnston's profile photoJon Miller's profile photoRamesh Prabhu's profile photoChuck Shotton's profile photo
For all the ingenuity that Apple and Steve Jobs have brought to consumer devices, their biggest legacy yet might be their shake up of how the music industry used to work. This shake-up might very well have saved the industry as well. People do not mind spending 99 cents on average for a song, and the industry benefits from the volume of purchases.

Technology giants like Apple & Microsoft, and some lesser ones like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Boxee, have tried to shake up the TV industry by way of convergence, and I do believe that we are at the cusp of a breakthrough. I am totally impressed with the new Samsung "Smart TV" that I got a few weeks ago that needed nothing more than its power cord plugged in for me to go get content. I sure don't mind paying $5 for the convenience of downloading a blu-ray quality movie on demand. I'd much rather prefer that than subscribing to the world's 2000 channels, 1995 of them I don't give a shit about.

I do agree with you +Rob Brown that the movie industry is really short sighted, but perhaps that might help consumers in the end, when one or more of these tech giants shake it up like they did the music industry. Like it or not change is coming; whether they want to participate in it is entirely up to them. These are certainly exciting times, and I'm happy to be in technology to see them!
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Rob Brown

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I hate writing personal bio's.

It's like taking your own headshot photo but way worse.
Stanley Morris's profile photo
True, true, true.
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Rob Brown

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I'm really starting to dislike the Canadian government.

It sure seems like they're aligning Canadian and U.S. laws as a political maneuver to avoid friction.

Apparently, the music and movie industries won't be fixed in my lifetime. The path we're headed down will invoke years of lawsuits and continue to allow the entertainment industry to rest on a broken business model.

People pay for cheap, easy, hassle-free, fast access to content. For the life of me, I don't understand why this is so bloody hard for the entertainment industry, lawmakers and now our government to understand.
William Miles La Mont's profile photoLonny Kapelushnik's profile photoChuck Shotton's profile photo
And to think I was considering emigrating to Canada! (OK I still am, one day…)

American 'interests' have been lobbying here for these type of changes for quite some time, which is where the misinformed and ridiculous Copyright Infringement Act sprung from ( article: ). We already have the worst internet speed and pricing of any 1st world country, and now this. I'm sorry that their success here has emboldened them to focus on Canada.

You have every right to be annoyed and frightened by the implications. In fact, I recommend it!
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Rob Brown

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Check out my brother-in-law's first attempt at stand-up comedy.

I think he did pretty well. I'll pass along any comments that you have for him.
machinegun kelly's profile photoBob Jewels's profile photoArnold Shortsle's profile photoAlvin Stearns's profile photo
Pretty good :D had a few good laughs for sure... Certainly comparable to most I see on TV.
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Rob Brown

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Why don't eCommerce reward programs work?

These days, I do a lot of my shopping online. I'm not alone. According to Retail Gazette report published in July, online shopping has increased almost 20% compared to the same period last year.

Avoiding checkout lines, navigating isles and saving time are the reasons I prefer online shopping. Also, smart stores like Amazon allow me to pre-buy items to have them shipped at a later date. For someone who feels horrible every time I forget a birthday, this feature alone is worth breaking the traditional brick-and-mortar mold.

There is something missing. Online stores have tried to emulate reward programs, but they have yet to find the right fit. Sure, a good credit card has a reward program attached to it, but what about the store itself? Sometimes, I feel penalized shopping online and knowing that if I stop in to a store on the way home, that I'll be rewarded with any one of a number of reward program points.

My Solution: Reward value, not purchases online.

Reward programs are a valuable component of many brick-and-mortar stores. Brand recognition, repeat sale encouragement and increased perceived value are only some of the ways that reward programs such as Shoppers Drug Mart's "Optimum" reward program add value to the chain.

Online shops have tried to replicate reward programs and generally, have failed. Other than Amazon's Prime program or an expensive affiliation with Areoplan (as Home Hardware has done), reward programs have far less value to an eCommerce store than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

The reward programs that are successful in brick-and-mortar stores fail online as a result of the goals a reward program encourages. In a brick-and-mortar store, customers are positively rewarded when they carry the card in their wallet (brand recognition), shop at the same store regularly (repeat sale encouragement) and perceive the value of the products at the brick-and-mortar store higher because they are receiving valuable "points". The only element of reward programs that transfers to an online store is the repeat sale. Even that however is only valuable if the customer made a purchase decision based solely on the reward program.

What if the eCommerce version of a reward program worked differently? Here is a sample of a points based eCommerce reward program from the perspective of a customer:

Share a product on a social network: 5 points
Publish an accepted blog post linking to the store: 20 points
Answer a product question: 10 points
Purchase a product: 20 points
Review a product after purchase: 10 points
Successfully edit the description of a product: 50 points
Receive a hit on your affiliate link: 1 point
Refer a friend who purchases a product: 100 points
(etc, etc, etc)

Points could then be exchanged for online store credit at a predetermined rate.

Tailoring a program to reward people for the unique elements that add value to an online store can positively increase brand recognition, encourage true repeat sales, and can increase the perceived value of the online store through the reward program itself. These results are identical to the results obtained using a brick-and-mortar reward program, but this system values the unique goals that make online stores successful.

The final element of the reward program would be to share the same, proven system with a network of sites.

How I Would Get This Done

Ideas are worthless without implementation. So, here are the exact steps I would take to bring this idea to light:

First, if this reward program was built by an existing online store, we would be one step ahead. Otherwise, an initial partnership would need to be formed with a busy eCommerce site so that testing could be done and an initial example of success could be illustrated.

I would carefully identify as many valuable user actions as possible. Above, I gave a handful of examples, but these examples should be tailored specifically to the functionality of the store itself.

Next, I would test the program with a limited audience. I would select ~100 customers and give them free points a product incentive or other compensation. In exchange, these users would provide feedback, functionality ideas, and conversation about the new reward program.

After testing, I would immediately implement the reward program and carefully monitor it. I would build an FAQ while providing fast, direct support.

Importantly, while the first iteration of implementation was occurring, I would begin to form an API that was independent of the initial online store. I would create this API so that it was an external service that could be easily integrated as "hooks" when frontend forms were submitted or when backend actions were taken. A frontend coder could implement a simple Javascript condition while a backend coder could create a simple inclusion to add reward points to the accounts of their users.

After the API was successfully implemented, I would break this product completely apart from the initial online store in to an independent product. Similar to the business model that Areoplan has created (central reward program accessible by any partner store), I would make this service, functionality and API available to any online store while monitoring redemption statistics and usage.
Michael McGimpsey's profile photoRob Brown's profile photoSteve Gladue's profile photo
+Steve Gladue: Exactly. I drew the point scheme from the simplest form of gamification and positioned the example achievement requirements to be some of the elements that are valuable to eCommerce.

As a side note, have you read Dan Pink's book? It gives a solid review of the psychology behind motivation. It's worthwhile.
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Rob Brown

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I had an idea in the shower this morning... posting it first here on G+

Let me know what you think of it... and if you see any grammar or spelling mistakes, I'd be thankful for the heads up.
Raphael Baltuth's profile photoRob Brown's profile photoAcadia Einstein's profile photo
LOL, I would totally click that. :(
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In his circles
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Product, Code, and Hustler when needed.
Contact Information
I'm the bridge jumping friend that your parents warned you about.
My name is Rob Brown. I'm an I.T. professional with a diverse amount of creative and practical experience. I'm good at communicating complex processes and breaking things down into their functional components.  These two things make me very good at solving problems quickly and efficiently.  I work hard and I'm proud of that.

I'm careful about the information that I post online.  The way I figure it, once it's out there, it can't be taken back.  If you'd like to learn more about me, I'm an open book, just ask!

4 things about me:

My work has taken me half way around the world and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it. I call Toronto home.

If someone asks me what I would like to drink, I usually answer “double rye and ginger please.”

The thread that connects my career is Information Technology. I refer to myself as “a creative I.T. pro with years of experience.” I have been a technical consultant and strategist, a teacher who helped pioneer the first accredited online high school in North America, the Chief Technology Officer for an online advertising company, and an entrepreneur trying to make my mark on the world.

I have a really great family. Not only does my wife put up with all of the crazy stuff I do, but she supports and sometimes even encourages it. My kids give me a lot more than I give them. I try to even the score every day.

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