This weekend I am in Canada with my family. We are here visiting with my son, Ryan, who is in boarding school at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and we really do have much to be thankful for.
The past six weeks have been particularly hard on my wife. She has been good about keeping her emotion on Ryan leaving for school under the wraps, but it is the little things that leave her teary eyed, and I can tell its hard. Little things like no bass coming from his stereo turned up too high in the morning. Little things like the daily, “Whats for dinner, mommy?”
But an instant takes that all away, or at least puts it in perspective. And in that instant we were so thankful for the ability to support our son in his education and growth from a boy to a man. That instant happened with the wonderful reunion of mom and son at the school on Thursday, followed by all of us chatting with several of his new friends. I think you have to be a parent to fully appreciate the feeling you get watching your son hug his mom and all the love that conveys. I believe you must have the memories of a baby held in arms to fully sense the maturity that has accelerated so much in the past six weeks as we chatted with such a diverse and wonderfully confident group of young people who are now friends at Trinity. This really is something to give thanks for.
Today I felt that I was an imposter. I attended my first writers group meeting. There. I said it. It feels good letting the world know I faked my way into this group of people who did not know me and assumed I was, like them, a writer. Did I make it through the hour without being found out? Read on.
CayWriters, according to their Facebook page, is a community of writers who live in the Cayman Islands and offer support and encouragement to each other, share resources, and provide feedback. I have tried to get to a meeting for months but travel or other events kept getting in the way. Today was my first opportunity to sneak into this group who really are actually writing. My plan was to sit in the back. Observe. Listen.
My happiest moment was meeting you, because that is where all my happiest moments have come from.
I have been visiting Toronto, Canada, this week placing my son in a pre-boarding academy at his new school. I had 10 days between dropping him off and picking him up so decided to stay here, set up business meetings to try to generate future work and strategy ideas that eventually may help pay for the world-class education he will be receiving. I took a quick look at the cultural events that were available during my stay. When I saw that Ai Weiwei’s traveling exhibit, “According to What?” was on at the Art Gallery of Ontario I knew I had to set aside time to visit. What a moving experience! Read on.
If you don’t know, Ai Weiwei is one of China’s leading contemporary artists. However, that short – almost pithy – definition really does the man, and his body of work, a severe injustice. He is, on a macro level, the consummate social voice of his country. On a micro level, he is an artist, an architect, a blogger, a photographer, a documentary videographer, to name but a few areas of interest he turns his prodigious talent towards. He is, as he summed up in his book of blog posts, a voice of honour against abusive authority and ‘shameless people with one foot in the system and the other out the door‘. “May 14, 2006, As Soon as You’re Not Careful … an Encounter with Idiocy on a Sunny Day.”
Well you’re either reading this because you just love hats or the silly title pulled you in and I have just one paragraph to get you to stay. Well here goes! Have you ever seen a hat with an instruction manual? Well, in a bit of an homage to Canada where I am for about 10 days, let’s talk about the Tilley Hat. More specifically, the brilliant marketing and customer loyalty enjoyed by the brand. Read on.
Tilley Endurables, as the manufacturer of the eponymous hat is nothing is not customer focused. They compete in a space that is seriously crowded. There are dozens of similar products on the market and yet there is something of a mystique about the company that other firms just cannot match for all the money in the world. What is it? I call it authenticity.
The brand is authentic. If there is one takeaway to be gained from the four page instruction manual every Tilley hat includes in the ‘hidden pocket’ it is that a brand can gain global recognition by being authentic in its approach to the product and its clients.