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Graphic Design

Working in a digital world, it seems like being familiar with Adobe products is becoming more of a requirement than an option. For those not aware, Adobe is a company that has developed a series of programs that allow users to create digital work. Depending on the software suite, users can produce movies, graphic art, websites and general programs. Back in grade 8 I was first introduced to Photoshop, which focuses on photo manipulation. Over the last few years it has become more of an everyday tool and has allowed me to plan, create, and execute projects in a single day.

I think anyone who is looking to accelerate their marketing career should invest time into getting familiar with Adobe Creative Suite. For all you self-learners, google “Photoshop/Premiere/Illustrator/etc 101″ and you will be exposed to thousands of tutorials. I have yet to come across a marketing position that hasn’t referenced experience in the Adobe Suite.

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Thoughts: Being Average

Interesting perspective on the the notion of being average.

“Average is what the failures claim to be when their family and friends ask them why they are not more successful?

“Average” is the top of the bottom, the best of the worst, the bottom of the top, the worst of the best. Which of these are you?

“Average” means being run-of-the-mill, mediocre, insignificant, an also-ran, a nonentity.

Being “average” is the lazy person’s cop-out; it’s lacking the guts to take a stand in life; it’s living by default.

Being “average” is to take up space for no purpose; to take the trip through life, but never to pay the fare; to return no interest for God’s investment in you.

Being “average” is to pass one’s life away with time, rather than to pass one’s time away with life; it’s to kill time, rather than to work it to death.

To be “average” is to be forgotten once you pass from this life. The successful are remembered for their contributions; the failures are remembered because they tried; but the “average,” the silent majority, is just forgotten.

To be “average” is to commit the greatest crime one can against one’s self, humanity, and one’s God. The saddest epitaph is this’ “Here lies Mr. and Ms. Average — here lies the remains of what might have been, except for their belief that they were only “average.”

-EDMUND GAUDET

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Storytelling through People

Over the last couple months I have been studying the connection between storytelling and brand communications. For those who don’t know, I started a company in 2012 called MadeInEDMTN (Made In Edmonton), which hosts a series of signature events throughout the year. Our goal was to develop a new medium where people could connect with one another, but in an upbeat, fun atmosphere. For 2014 we have set out to take that idea to the next level.

From the beginning, video has been MadeInEDMTN’s most valuable communication tool. Recently, I have been fortunate to work with a video team made up of individuals who are experienced, like-minded, and perfectionists when it comes to video production. Like any part of a business, it is important to have a diversity of contributors that excel in different areas of the project. Each person on the team excels in key areas (directing, editor, motion graphics, sound, staging), making the team as a whole very efficient compared to the past.

On top of that, a story is nothing without interesting characters. The MadeInEDMTN team still surprises me today with the amount of unique talents each person has developed. The team consists of a variety of personalities accompanied with great stories.

I wish I could share more on what we are creating, but everything will be coming into fruition soon enough. Throughout 2014, I am excited to produce some great content with MadeInEDMTN’s video team.

Lastly, we are looking for a photographer to add to the roster, so if you’re interested just send me a message.

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MBA at the University of BC?

Here I was thinking that after completing university I would never want to go back…

But based on the idea of a never ending pursuit of knowledge, going back to school has been on my mind lately. After graduating from the University of Alberta, I was completely sick of the school lifestyle. From as long as I can remember, I hated the routine of school.  It was only until my last semester of university that I learned to appreciate the value of school, but I was still very eager to move on in life. I was looking forward to the opportunity of running my small business full-time and launching new passion projects.

A few months ago a good friend of mine started putting the idea of getting an MBA into my head.  Back in November we attended a recruitment seminar and I had the opportunity to meet firsthand recruiters and other potential MBA students. After the seminar, I came to the conclusion that getting an MBA could be a reality if  I wanted it to be. One of the areas that has attracted me the most to getting an MBA has been the network aspect. With that in mind, schools outside of Edmonton have the most value for me.

A couple weeks ago, I had the chance to check out the University of BC campus in person. Suddenly, getting an MBA doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea anymore.

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Never Ending Pursuit of Knowledge

Over the last few months I have noticed that many people around, like myself, value reading books consistently. Over the last year I have read a number of books that have changed the way I see the world; this has inspired me to start a new blog series based on the concept of the never-ending pursuit of knowledge. It seems to be a growing perception among students that when they finish school their pursuit of knowledge is complete. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. On a weekly basis, I will share new books that I have read, and I welcome everyone to share their thoughts on them. Recently I have been falling in love with reading on my iPad, but I still have a few hardcopy books.

If you know of any good reads, don’t hesitate to send me a message.

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Digital Maverick

 

This write-up was inspired by Marcus Troy x Nike Sportswear micro blog, Maverick Project. For those who are not familiar with the definition of a Maverick, it is basically someone who goes against the common way (in a positive light). Instead of conforming to the norm, Mavericks choose a different path that leads them to unique opportunities, experiences and lifestyles.

I have traveled to more than 6 countries, visited more than 16 major cities, competed for over $50,0000 cash, and performed in front of over 100,000 spectators. This all started as a passion, belief and dream. From an early age, one of my passions has been playing video games. I can still recall sitting patiently, filled with anticipation for my turn, while my older brother and cousins would hog the Nintendo. When it came to video games, I loved every aspect of it, from playing to watching. From a young age, I understood the value of anticipating my opponent’s moves and being strategic. I would pay close attention to the way people would play—patterns, combinations, and habits—especially in competitive games, to ensure that I would beat them. Who knew this was the initial spark of my competitive spirit?

As I grew up I continued to participate in video games as a hobby, which took a turn when I was exposed to the Internet. In Grade 7 I was introduced to the world of online gaming through a friend, and to one game in particular called Counter-Strike (CS). It was a very popular team based video game that developed into a whole sub-culture as it grew in popularity among gamers. The concept of playing against people from all across the world was exhilarating and pushed my competitive spirit to the limits. After becoming better than the average player in the game, I decided to form a team with a group of local friends who, like myself, were competitive at CS and lived in Edmonton. During this period a huge community was beginning to emerge for computer gaming, and we were at the forefront. In the summer of ’99 I was invited to play at a local tournament and decided to let my friends in on the opportunity. At first I was very reluctant to go because of the stereotypes of a “gamer” being a super nerd, but the idea of wining prizes for playing a video game was a dream many kids my age shared. The first place prize at this local tournament was a bunch of computer hardware, which was worth cash, and at fourteen, I really had nothing to lose. This was the beginning of a new world of experiences.

During our first gaming tournament, my team ended up finishing in second place, but walked away with computer parts worth $250. This was the first time that I realized that gaming, or more specifically, my hobby, had a monetary value instead of simply being entertainment. Over the next two years I began traveling across North America, attending competitions, winning and losing, but getting exposed to the rest of the world. I was traveling places I had never been to across Canada such as Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, competing in small tournaments. During these travels I met countless people living unique lifestyles, all before the age of 19.

As time progressed my team began to establish ourselves as the best Counter-Strike team in Canada. It reached a point that an individual was interested in developing my gaming team’s identity and brand image to attract sponsors. This was a huge point in time for competitive video games, because they were promoting gamers as a marketing tool. Shortly after, we landed a variety of sponsors including Intel Canada, and began traveling around the world attending different international tournaments. Being sponsored had the perks of being paid a monthly salary, and having all accommodations, travel, and food allowances at events taken care of. At this point in time international tournaments were awarding cash prizes from $10k – $70K, depending on the event. From 2003 to 2007 I travelled four to eight times a year attending events in Vancouver, Toronto, LA, San Francisco, Paris, Monza (Italy), Seoul (South Korea), Paris, and Singapore on a consistent basis. Being sponsored allowed me to travel around the world, for something I loved to do. I was exposed to a variety of different foods, cultures and lifestyles, which to this day have shaped me into a rounded, cultured individual.

During my first year of university I had a new opportunity to open a retail store with my brother and cousin that was a challenge I was willing to meet. In 2008 my business partners and I launched a clothing store called Room 322, a menswear boutique. I consider myself a Maverick because of obstacles and sacrifices I made in order to accomplish my goals and pursue my passion. I remember facing an uphill battle with my parents and peers, but slowly turned everyone into believers when they saw the wealth of experiences I had obtained from traveling across the globe at almost no expense. To wrap things up, opportunities don’t always come knocking on our door, but if they do and they involve doing something you truly love, why not open the door?

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Fashion: Scarves

When it comes to fashion I love accessories. It is amazing how one minor piece can totally change an old outfit. Recently, I came across a variety of dope scarves with some pretty cool patterns. They are lightweight, making them useful year round and very soft.

Look out for me rocking these in the coming days around YEG.

Tell me what you think.

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JANA Annual Black History Month Breakfast

To jump off Black History Month in Edmonton, last Saturday the Jamaican Association of Northern Alberta (JANA) hosted its annual breakfast at the Garvey Center. This year we had the opportunity to host our new mayor, Don Iveson and one of his private advisors Bin Lau.

It was a traditional Jamaican breakfast consisting of ackee & salt fish, steamed banana, fried plantain, spinach, liver, fried dumpling, boiled dumping and cornmeal porridge. Everyone went home filled, but wanting more, including the mayor of Edmonton. I would have taken more pictures of the food, but I was on serving duty and I was so hungry that I forgot to take pictures. The only pictures I manage to take were after eating and by then, all the food was pretty much gone.

Throughout the month there will be a variety of events happening around the city, so message me if you’re looking for more information about Black History Month.

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Black History Month in Edmonton

Last Sunday at church, the Pastor spoke to the idea of how we should  appreciate our current soundings and when we do that we will be more content (happy) with our lives. He highlighted that essentially many of us take our Canadian luxuries for granted, such as clean running water,  and sometimes become discontent with our position in life because of the lack of materialistic objects.  With it being Black History Month in Edmonton, this sermon resonated with me because, like most people, I take a lot for granted including my heritage.

Back in 2010 , when I was in the last year in University, I was walking through the hallways and was looking at some of the pictures of the past business graduating classes. In addition to goofy haircuts and glasses, I couldn’t help notice that around the 1950s (and prior), their was no visible minorities graduating from University. That realization planted a seed in my head in regards to how privilege, I was to attend university. Ever since then, every Black History Month, I choose a particular Black History icon to about. I believe that reading about their uphill battle to achieve their goals will help me appreciate the amount of opportunities I am constantly sounded with. This year I have chosen to read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Based on the reviews it should be a good read, but I will update you in a couple weeks.