Category: Communications (page 1 of 2)

The Asshole Survival Guide & The No Asshole Rule – Robert Sutton

Just finished listening to The No Asshole Rule and reading The Asshole Survival Guide and they were both very enjoyable, mainly for the stories that have been sent in by people. I also went to a lecture at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Business where Professor Sutton presented his talk on “The Asshole Survival Guide” and had a book signing.

Overall it was a good read, lots of research into the area and points to look out for.

Active Listening

One of the agile games I play with my teams is meant to help encourage active listening. As the quote above states, most people are not listening to understand but to reply.

The game that I utilize to help people change to active listening is called “Fortunately/Unfortunately”. In this game, which I believe started in Improv, the team builds a story. The first person starts with a “fortunately”, such as “Fortunately my wife is pregnant”. The next person needs to be actively listening and then responds off of that statement with an “unfortunately”, like “unfortunately, it’s not with your baby.”. The story keeps building with alternating “fortunately/unfortunately” until it gets back to the originator, or goes around a few times.

This technique helps the team to have some fun and gets them into the habit of active listening.

I had a team that exhibited all the wrong ways of doing this exercise. After I started with “Fortunately my wife is pregnant” the next person stated “Unfortunately the Raptors are out of the playoffs”, and the following person said “Fortunately you like kids”. Both people were not listening to what the previous person said and had their own agenda or thought out reply already in mind.

A couple other positive outcomes come from this game. The first is embracing the silence. If you are truly engaged in active listening there will be a definite pause after the previous person finishes speaking. Silence is fine.

Another outcome is the unspoken agreement to let each team member complete the task on their own. Very rarely does a turn come to a member and have another member speak up and interrupt with their own idea. Each team member is able to come up with their own solution in their own time.

Try this game at your next team gathering. It will really help highlight why we need to be actively listening in our meetings, and in life in general.

And I’m done!

It feels good. I no longer have Rogers cable, Rogers Home Phone and Rogers Internet. I turfed them out. Years of rising costs, terrible customer service and pathetic actual service and I have voted with my money but saying goodbye to them.

The first week has been great. I was able to watch the season finale of Amazing Race Canada using over the air broadcast, and everything else my family watched was over Netflix. Only once have we had a ‘buffering’ status on Netflix, whereas it was virtually unwatchable on Rogers.

We moved our home phone over to TekSavvy, as well as our internet, and are delighted to be paying a third of what we were before. Yes it is a pain to change your phone number, but not worth $40 more per month to do so.

Our internet service on TekSavvy still goes over the Rogers lines, a fact that was expressed numerous times when I was cancelling my Rogers service.  The representative was trying to use the fact that I was disgusted with the obvious throttling of Netflix that Rogers does as a reason to stay, stating “Well TekSavvy uses Rogers’ backbone so you will get the same performance”.  Possibly, but at least I won’t be paying as much and be paying Rogers.  I can only hope that TekSavvy does not allow Rogers to use DPI to check the content of what their subscribers are doing and then throttle the individual consumers that are watching Netflix.

I will keep you updated with my SpeedTest findings and how my family is coping.

Great job Rogers

This is the reason I have cancelled my service with Rogers.  I can’t ever get a speed that is above 10mbs and I am (a) paying for more, (b) incredibly frustrated that I can’t watch one Netflix show without it stopping for ‘buffering’.

Rogers speedtest Sept 7Rogers speedtest Sept 7

Is anyone surprised by this?

My Rogers “High Speed” is awful. I could understand slow speeds if we had a bunch of teenagers in the house, but my service speed is slow when I’m the only one home.

Netflix speeds April 2014Netflix speeds April 2014


Netflix speeds April 2014

Not Fair for Canadians

So the “Big Three” Telecommunications companies in Canada have banded together to protect their oligopoly and are gearing up their huge propaganda machine to help them. If you go to their site, you will see how they are totally skewing the conversation to their favour.



Internet Costs



This is awful. I can’t believe how we as Canadians are treated when it comes to our communications. Our cellular rates are among the highest in the world and our internet is also awful for the speed we get.  It  is amazing that we are able to be as technologically advanced as we are.

Internet costs

Internet throttling … I’d like to throttle

The Montreal Gazette has an article that states that the CRTC received only 75 complaints about ISP’s throttling service to customers.  I think this number is an order of magnitude less than the actual numbers.

I know my ISP throttles service to me, especially when I start up torrent software.  My bandwidth drops through the floor when I activate the software, and yes I know how to manage how much of my available bandwidth goes to that software.  I actually can not do anything else on the internet when I have only one torrent downloading.

But, have I complained to the CRTC about it? No.  I think a lot of people are doing more voting with their wallet, as I plan on doing, by simply moving their service to another company.  But I believe that even more people just put up with it/are not technical enough to understand what is happening.

I strongly recommend using to determine what you are actually getting versus what the ISP is claiming you should bet getting.  Try it at several different times throughout the day to determine if there is an issue with just overall internet congestion or if the problem is localized to you.


RIM making a surge

RIM is opening up some of their Enterprise Software to allow employees of companies to bring in their iPhone or Android device and allow it to work on the corporate network, according to Canadian Press and the CBC. While this is big news for RIM, it’s not the first company to provide this type of service to corporations.  RIM is tackling something that Microsoft has been actively pitching and developing for years.  Microsoft wants to be the provider of Enterprise Services and is utilizing its OS position and server dominance to get more and more corporations to utilize it’s technology.

While this release is good news for RIM, it by no means guarantees its survival.  That will be dependant on how they market their next phone.  Fingers crossed that another Canadian Tech Giant doesn’t fail (anyone remember Nortel? Corel?)





The One Conversational Tool That Will Make You Better At Absolutely Everything

The website Fast Company has a great article on how to ask better questions and there are a lot of great takeaways (make sure you read the article to fully get the impact).

I have seen the first problem with questions all too often.  People tend to ask multiple questions at once and you can only answer one at a time.  In the skeptical community it is similar to “the Gish Gallop”, where there are too many things to answer.  In my own experience I had a manager, John Slater,  who was great at training you how to ask only one question at a time by simply stating “I will answer you last question first, and if we have time we will go back through the others”.

The other item I was trained in early on was getting comfortable with the silence. A great salesperson I worked with, Gail Mercer-McKay, would prep me before sales calls that she was going to ask a question and that it would become very uncomfortable as you wait for the answer.  I was directed, rightly, not to say anything, but to let the person think through the question fully so they could answer.  It was a difficult lesson to learn, however it paid dividends.  One sales meeting we went to Gail had pre-warned me to let the silence linger when she asked the question.  It felt like minutes ticking by. Dead silence. Finally the VP we were meeting with spoke up and we won the deal.

Finally, don’t fish. The quote from the article by Clive Thompson is spot on “The really ‘bad’ questions are leading ones — the questions where you’re fishing for a particular answer.”


Great questions at a glance

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