Health Uncategorized

Little Data a year later

Been over a year since I wrote “How Little Data changed my life”. Added a few more achievements since then to my journey down the Little Data path. I completed my first 10k race in September of last year in well under an hour much to my surprise. I then of course immediately set my eyes on doing a half marathon. Seemed quite daunting but with the confidence in using data to measure my progress I set that as my new objective for Spring of 2015. Unfortunately I hit a wall with the dreaded IT band pains after a few months into my training program.

The Longboat 10k on Toronto Island
The Longboat 10k on Toronto Island

Back to some regular treatment at physio and slowly back on the training plan for a Sub 2:15 half marathon. For good measure I did two 5k races and two 10k races right around the Half Marathon in April. Amazing what a difference a year makes. I did a new PR in the 5k and in the Yonge St 10k this year the weekend before my half marathon.

Yonge St. 10k where I set a new PR.
Yonge St. 10k where I set a new PR.

The half marathon was hard. During the initial downhill I had about 10 minutes to stare at the huge hill that I had to climb. Mentally it was tough because there was still a lot of miles yet to do. I thought of my family again as I got to the bottom of the downhill and willed myself to suck it up and sprint up the hill. The faster it was done the sooner the hill would be over and I knew the rest was a long downhill cruise more or less. My training set me up well and I did my first half in about 2:01 and change. Completely slaughtered my goal of under 2:15.

My first Half Marathon done in just over 2:01.
My first Half Marathon done in just over 2:01.

The many races did take a bit of a toll and found myself sidelined for a bit after with some bad pack pain. Quickly got through that and now back on the Little Data program again. I’m now doing a sub 4:00 marathon plan for the Scotia Waterfront Marathon in the fall. I’m going to see how the plan goes and decide later if I in fact sign up for the full or the half. For this once upon a time fat boy, I’d really like to tick the I did a marathon box.

My Little Data has guided me well and still keeps me motivated. More than anything though I love the cheer from my little girl, “Run Fast Daddy!” as she sprints down the hall in front of me and the encouragement when her and my wife cheered me on close to the finish line of my PR 10K this year. My daughters eyes lit up when she saw me running towards her, my arms waving frantically overhead. “Daddy! Daddy!” she screamed all smiles as I ran past them both.

That look of joy is something that is immeasurable and priceless.


General Tech Health Mobile Tech

How Little Data changed my life

In my work life I am driven by data around the businesses I have responsibility for. Whether it’s revenue, traffic, clicks, dollars saved, data is a big part of how I understand things. It gives me the ability in a digital world to follow trends, track objectives, experiment with new ideas to improve metrics and know whether myself and my team are making things better or worse.

Late last year after a visit to the doctor’s office for a checkup that was long over due, I discovered my cholesterol was through the roof. High enough that even determining risk factors for heart conditions was not possible. My thoughts immediately turned to my beautiful family and especially my daughter who just turned two in April. After getting to my forties and fairly certain I was not going to have a family, I met the one. I knew it from the moment I met her. We have been married for three years now. We had a perfect, beautiful, fun and smart little girl that neither of us thought we would have. I can’t imagine not being there for as long as I possibly can. Doing everything it takes to be there for them and also to enjoy every moment with the people I love.

So I immediately started taking stock of my lifestyle. Diet needed to change. Activity levels were at an all time low brought on by my long commutes in a car to work, long hours and running out of hours in the day. Getting my diet back on track was fairly easy and my weight dropped quickly. Then as 2014 started I decided I also needed to get my fitness levels back on track or I would be eating salad and grilled chicken for ever. I started slowly by working out on a stationary bike every other day. I committed myself to getting up at 6AM every day to get a few extra hours. I also wanted to support my wife in getting some time in the mornings too for her own goals. So on days I wasn’t working out, I still got up at 6AM and hung out with my daughter. The gym was monotonous. It was something that had to be done, but not something that I was excited about.

In February we took a much needed break together to sunny Florida. While there I committed myself to still staying active. The gym was about 2-3 km from where we were staying. I walked the first day to go see what they had in the gym. I used an app for that! My first Little Data. It told me how far I walked, calories, speed, route. I had a first taste of Little Life Data KPI’s. The next day as my personality is want to do, I wanted to improve my life KPI’s. I went for a run. Sort of. Ran two minutes, gasped, ran when I stopped gasping and repeated for 5km or so. But my numbers were better! My brother-in-law then said he would come with me the next day. Well now I had to do it again. I was sore from the day before, but went out again, smartphone in hand running my KPI collector apps and some tunes to keep me distracted. Data said I did slightly better again.

Since then I have run almost 500km, burned 48,000 calories, lost 20lbs (40lbs since the journey began last year). I can now run over 10km at a not bad pace and log about 25km per week on the road. Each day I see in numbers that I am running faster, farther and becoming stronger. I feel antsy if I don’t run because I wonder if my KPI’s will go backwards. I need to see the graph and the numbers get better! I enjoy the feeling after especially the long runs. There is also a certain meditative state to keeping moving for an hour or more and willing yourself not to stop. I look at my watch and it tells me my heart rate at the time which I now know what that means for my ability to keep the pace up or if I can push a bit more. It also instantly tells me how fast I’m going and how much farther I have to run to get to my goal for the day. The Personal Records keep improving every few weeks.

I get home and plug-in my watch and look at my dashboards updated for the day. I see the data of friends who inspire me to keep improving as well. It’s my new daily habit that I believe is now going be a life habit. Little Data tells me every day that I’m doing better. Instant feedback.

Business Strategy

Digital Funeral Eulogy

The funeral eulogy leaps into the digital age

The team at K2 Digital recently launched a new site,, for our customer Aurora Caskets. Increasingly people are choosing celebrations of life rather than traditional funeral services. This site allows you to capture key moments in your life in words and images, along with how you would like to Be Remembered after passing on. A funeral eulogy in the digital age. You can also write personalized emails to your friends and loved ones that will be released by your executor. is a very easy site to capture memories, bucket lists items still to be completed and completed.

Digital Funeral Eulogy

It’s always a hard thing to face our own mortality. Writing wills forces us to think about that and make sure our affairs are in order for those who we will leave behind some day. Contemplating the memories that matter to us and we would want to leave behind is similar, but it’s also an opportunity too to realize the great things that have happened in our lives and to be grateful for every moment we have with those that matter to us.


The Decoded Company

I’ve just started working with the great team at K2 Digital which is part of Klick Inc. The executive team at Klick! have done some incredibly innovative things to foster a high performing culture integrating data day-to-day into learning and decision making. The reviews have been fantastic and it has even made the NY Times Best Sellers List for it’s category. It’s available in hardback and of course for your favourite kobo device. Definitely worth a read!

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Business Innovation Economy

Bitcoins end game or change agent?

I’ve recently started tracking more closely the emergence of Bitcoins and even tried a bit of mining on my laptop. After spinning the fans up to full because of the work it was doing I decided that I was probably spending more on electricity and shortening the useful life of my laptop that it was not worth doing. Marc Andreesen recently gave a great overview on why this is a technology that is going to change everything for payments in the future in the New York Times.

A contrarian view to the bright picture from Andreessen is posited in this in depth analysis on CNET. Interestingly the Canadian Mint has recently launched a new payment system called MintChip. While the transactions are limited to $10 to presumably minimize risk while the nascent technology is rolled out, I’m sure we will quickly see the emergency of various digital currency systems supported also by governments. The CNET article points to some serious flaws in the BitCoin model today like anti-money laundering, the perhaps over hyped infallibility of the platform and many others.

All of this come at a time where Visa/MC are partnering with wireless carriers to support using the phone as the universal wallet, PayPal continues to evolve, Square and many other options keep coming. Far too early to see how this will pan out, but what an amazing disruption going on.

General Tech Innovation Economy

Canadian Tech Picks for 2014

Check out the picks from Ron Shuttleworth for 2014 in the latest CanTech Letter. 2013 was a banner year for his Canadian Tech small cap picks with mean returns of 171%! Despite the challenges of players like RIM, it appears the small cap tech sector is thriving including the recent investment from OMERS in Shopify giving an evaluation of over $1 Billion.

General Tech Uncategorized

Chromebook overtakes the MacBook

Out of nowhere, Google’s Chromebook has overtaken the MacBook in unit share as of a new report from NPD Group. Most notably though the biggest impact in unit share seems to have been to Windows laptops and desktops. MacBooks are also down substantially and slight decline with iPad’s. Android based tablets are also taking an increasing share of the market.

The pricepoint and functionality of tablets is clearly a key contributor to their success. Chromebooks are priced even lower generally with Google apps and auto updating included.


FiLIP for kids, wearables first killer app?

As much as I am fascinated by all things gadgets and the many smart watches that are popping up I have not really come across one that will make me give up my 10+ year old Tag Heuer. If it’s on my wrist its design matters a great deal to me and so far the big bulky smart watches that jam a bunch of features that add little, at least in my perceived sense, of convenience just don’t impress me much. They seem like gadgets for gadget sakes.

Then I came across the FiLIP, a “A wearable smart locator and phone for kids”. It basically packs the phone into the watch with a GPS enabling parents to track their kids by defining safe zones. If they are in a safe zone, like a school or a friend’s house that you knew they would be at, no worries. If they leave that zone though, the parents instantly get an alert. The child as well has instant access to parents or caregivers via a red button which calls parent configured call lists starting at the top and if no answer is received moves on to the next in the list. You can also send them text messages to let them know, “Time to come home for dinner!” There is no separate phone required. It’s all built into the watch.

This is a unique take on what wearables could actually do differently that would make the lives of parents a bit easier. Now how you convince a child though that the big green bracelet is cool and hip to wear is a whole other problem. But at least the functions make sense (for the parent). If FiLIP can nail the form factor so kids want to wear it and think it’s cool, I think they might have a winner on their hands.

Innovation Economy

CIX 2013 – Canadian Startups and Investors at MarsDD

This was my first year attending CIX 2013 and I was really impressed with the scale of the event, the number of  participants from both the investment community, incubators and startups. The auditorium at MarsDD was standing room only as the selected Top 20 startups presented their businesses to panels from the investment community. The breadth of companies from LMS (Learning Management Systems, a new acronym for me) to eHealth, video recognition processing, collaboration for hardware designing and the list goes on…. All of the presenters had seriously innovative solutions with real business models that are well on their way. And all made in Canada!

The breadth of investors in venture capital was also great to see. The smaller breakout sessions focusing on creating and building companies that last were backed by panelists from seed funding through to later stage funding. The advice was honest, open and encouraging to entrepreneurs. I was impressed by the willingness of founders that have gone before to offer angel investment and more importantly mentorship for the next wave of entrepreneurs even as they plot the next steps for themselves. The impact of the successful exits of many companies creates a viral community of people that have lived through a startup and know both success and failure. They are going on to found companies themselves. It really is where economic growth will come from and it is so important to foster and support businesses like these.

By the end of the day my mind was whirling with the possibilities of our innovation community in Canada and I can not wait to see who the next rising stars will be.

Crowd Funding

A great crowdfunding story!

Been following crowdfunding for a while now and fascinated by the whole model and how it can be used to test the most minimum of minimum viable products. Some how ever are starting to stretch credibility with whether they will ever produce the products that they have ideated. Coin for example has in interesting idea to consolidate your credit cards into one. They are currently looking to raise about $50,000 to get into production. But they are far from having something that you can use. It’s a neat idea, but perhaps too early in the early funding stage.

A local Toronto developer and friend, Craig Walker, recently decided to give crowd funding a try for his own project. He has been an avid 3D enthusiast for many years and created a 3D printed HTML5 buckle. Based on the feedback he received from his 3D printed version, he started looking into what it would cost to produce the buckles at larger scale. To overcome the startup costs and also just to see if he could generate interest he started a campaign on kickstarter to raise $5,000. It came down to the final hours, but he succeeded and raised the money and is now going into production and is hoping to have his first batch of buckles out before Christmas to early supporters.

After his campaign ended there were a number of people who were still interested in buying and he has now setup a shopify site to take further orders. Go check them out! For only $25 you are supporting a local developer, crowd funding, open source and of course your pants!

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Congratulations to Craig! Love to hear about any other personal crowd funding stories. Contact us and tell us about it!