The president of Air Canada buried the lede in this letter to Aeroplan members on 29 July 2022. If you make it to para 5, near the end, here’s the plan: less service will somehow improve service. Good luck with that.
Raincoast Books of Vancouver has always been an innovative company. I was thrilled when (then) digital marketing manager Monique Trottier asked me to help create a series of author podcasts for the company.
Many of the titles we worked on are now with other publishers, but the podcasts still hold up. Enjoy.
Katy Hutchison – Walking After Midnight
Katy’s powerful story inspired Lifetime Network’s 2010 movie “Bond of Silence”. Her 2013 TEDx talk has been viewed over 100,000 times and she was proud to be included in the Simon Fraser University Alumni Appreciation Project in 2015.
She makes her home in Victoria, BC with her husband Michael Hutchison. In addition to the financial management of Michael’s law firm, Katy is an in-school mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has previously sat on the Boards of Glenlyon Norfolk School, The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Children’s International Summer Villages and Restorative Practices International.
This podcast with Katy was recorded in November 2006 when the book was first published by Raincoast Books.
Heather Johnstone runs the Edible Garden Project on Vancouver’s North Shore.
Just wrapping up its 4th year, the the project encourages residents to share their bounty with people in need, as well as putting together a variety of urban agriculture and community garden projects.
This week, Heather and team opened the Queen Mary Community Garden, located in the City of North Vancouver. Those of you who aren’t from the North Shore may not be aware that there is both City of North Vancouver, and a District of North Vancouver. Heather’s project involves both municipalities.
I spoke to Heather about the project and where things are going with urban agriculture on the North Shore. We met up at the Lower Lonsdale Community Garden…
Podcast ISBN: 978-1-926758-03-9
I’ve just finished some video work for BasicGov, a really interesting Vancouver based company that’s addressing the needs of small and medium sized local government all over North America.
These folks are clever.
Using an SaaS (Software as a Service) model, they’re providing a package of admin and organizational tools to local governments.
Typically, these tools are only available through expensive enterprise software – and the little guys find themselves making do with patched together solutions for tracking things like building permits , code enforcement, or planning. BasicGov’s approach seems even more relevant given the current economy.
What these guys have done is distill the key services required and created a web-based solution. Their clients have no technology overhead to deal with, they pay on monthly subscription basis, so they can start without spending heaps of cash, and all they need in place is an internet connection and a browser.
The goal of this project was to provide a high-level overview of the suite of products – essentially an introduction to the concept of SaaS without ever using the acronym, and how these products help solve specific challenges faced by small governments.
BasicGov, wisely, is using YouTube as a key platform to distribute these videos.
It’s fitting, considering their own model.
Just like their own service, using YouTube allows them to get all the benefits of a large scale distribution platform, with zero overhead. The idea is to use the videos as an introduction to the services, not as a ‘how to’ per se – though we may do some of those later.
Creating the videos gave me an interesting insight into their product as well. The team sat down with me and walked though each of the 3 key modules. I took notes, but mostly I was just trying to get oriented. I’ve never worked in local government, so a lot of the details were new to me.
Often with this type of software, a casual observer (me) will find it difficult to retrace their way through the various functions. I was surprised when I logged on back at my office, and discovered I was able to work my way through all the pieces with ease. Which of course was one of the goals BasicGov laid out when they started.
We worked through an iterative process, using storyboards to identify key screens and copy.
I often use Final Draft A/V for this kind of thing, but in this case, I opted for Story Board Quick. I like being able to generate HTML and FLASH versions of the boards – I work virtually most of the time and it makes sharing the info with the client quick. I also strip out the copy and provide the client with a clean copy deck – often this is the easiest place for them to identify changes.
For screen capture, I knew I wanted something other than Camtasia. It’s not really a Mac or PC thing, I work with both (I do all my audio on PC). Given that I planned on editing on Final Cut at high resolution, I wanted something clean and lean that made it easy for me to get the screens I wanted, with the zoom factor I wanted, etc.
Through the process I created rough cuts for the client to review. These I provided to them in Flash Video – using Adobe’s CS4 media encoder. I was then able to load them up on a server for them to grab and review at their convenience. What this meant was that we were able to move through more iterations faster than would have been the case with ‘in person’ reviews.
Once we finalized the copy of flow, I created a ‘finished’ voice track to replace my working tracks. I record all my audio on a Sound Devices 702T through a 422 field mixer. Then I haul the audio into Adobe Audition for editing, and master with T-Racks 24, then haul the mastered files back into Final Cut.
Because BasicGov wanted to take advantage of YouTube’s HD options, everything was captured at 1280 x 720, and the YouTube versions, both regular and HD, looks great. You can see them here:
The team at BasicGov was a real delight to work with, and I hope we’ll do some more projects together soon.