Coffee Lounge: Nadir Mohamed (former Rogers CEO)

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Every quarter I have the opportunity to help plan and attend a local community coffee lounge organized by the Willowdale Jamatkhana in Toronto. The purpose of these “lounges” are to inspire young professionals to want to strive towards excellence in their careers while also inspiring them to look overseas for service opportunities.

This quarter’s speaker was former Rogers CEO, Nadir Mohamed.

Nadir Mohamed
Nadir Mohamed

Nadir spoke for about 25 minutes but stuck around for well over an hour more answering questions and talking to young Ismaili professionals.

Here are a few points which I remember from this past weekend’s event:

– Nadir does not consider his story to be a rags to riches one. He feels he led a charmed life and has been blessed with luck as his parents struggled to provide him with all the best things in life.

– Strongly advocates that his time volunteering with the Vancouver Ismaili community provided him with a foundation based on values.

– Has never considered himself to be the smartest in the room. but was smart enough to always look for the smartest person.

– In order to make changes that might seem tough (personally or for the company) they must be simple to understand.

– Nadir also shared some “inside baseball” stories on how Rogers entered the wireless industry, purchased Microcell and even snapped the NHL away from the CBC. However, these stories are better told than read as I don’t want to mis-interpret anything he said. 🙂

Nadir speaking to young Ismaili professionals
Nadir speaking to young Ismaili professionals



#FollowFriday: Bonnie and Ray of People & Code

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Look up the word community and you should see a photo of Bonnie Lui and Ray Kao.

This dynamic duo have flown under the radar for much too long in Toronto. Bonnie and Ray are the husband and wife team behind brands such as Learn Toronto, Mobile Startups TO, People & Code and much more. I first met Ray at his co-working space in Scarborough called The Work Republic. Since closed, they can now be found in another common space of sorts just a few steps away from Much Music headquarters in downtown Toronto.

Ever since I have known them they have been generous with their time, expertise, knowledge and resources. They both also happen to be a very talented pair of business people. If you need a nimble team to build your website or app, you should give People & Code a serious look.

I am honoured to call both Bonnie and Ray friends.

Over a year ago I spoke with Ray about his projects and his thoughts:

Who would you like to see featured in my weekly #FollowFriday? Let me know in the comments below. Or tweet me!

Beware of Bullshit from Conferences

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I’m not usually one to post such a negative title. But I want to make sure that you’re all aware of what is happening out there.

I attend many conferences.  I find value in the education and in the networking. More often than not I will meet someone or a group of people that will end up becoming valuable associates, good friends or even clients (although this rarely happens – but one never knows). And I will always attend and promote conferences.

However, something has been happening recently that I need to direct your attention to it.

In the social media and communications world – which I live and work in – there are many so called facts that people use to promote the value of social media or even why (expensive) tools or services should be purchased and used.  What’s the big deal with this? Nothing. If it’s true. But a whole lot is wrong if false examples are used to illustrate the point.

This first came to my attention on a panel I sat on discussing social media. It was hosted by a young professional network. The lie: United Airlines lost market share, market value and revenues as a result of United Breaks Guitar. Many articles have been written assuming that United lost money. The facts are far from clear but I stand to be corrected.

The latest was from a conference I attended last week hosted by a company which was recently purchased by SalesForce. The lie? That in recent history the team that has won the World Series in baseball has had more singles (than any other type of hit) than everyone else. The point was to tell people to be satisfied with hitting singles in life rather than swinging for the fences (dream small versus dreaming big).  Fair enough. But the fact of the matter is that the story used to illustrate the point is 100% incorrect.

According to my numbers (I had someone who works in stats on a daily basis help me out – the “fact” sounded fishy to me), since 2000, only 2 teams with most singles overall have won the World Series: The 2012 Giants and 10 years earlier, the 2002 Angels.

Sigh. I don’t know how many Tweets and ReTweets the original statement received. I do know it filled my timeline.

My suggestion: Before taking any action on what you hear at conferences, do your own research. And don’t be afraid to call the bullshitters out.

End of rant.

CONTEST: The Art Of Leadership – Toronto

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(Disclosure: my agency, thirdocean, is doing some work for The Art Of)

What Is The Art of Leadership?

Building on the success of the SOLD OUT national tour in Canada, this one day conference features six internationally renowned bestselling authors and visionaries, who will share an exciting blend of cutting edge thinking and real world experience on today’s most critical leadership issues. Don’t miss out on your chance to gain a competitive advantage and network with over 1,300 of Canada’s most influential leaders.

Today’s leaders have a dynamic role – integrating people and strategy to achieve sustainability and enhance organizational performance in a challenging business environment. The Art of Leadership responds to the fundamental changes that are impacting leadership functions, and the need for information and planning is critical. From practical tips, to innovative strategies, The Art of Leadership is designed to teach and provide leaders with directly related, easily applied, and important tools and techniques that can be implemented within any corporate culture.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012
8:45AM – 5:00PM


Metro Toronto Convention Centre – South Building
222 Bremner Boulevard
Toronto, ON M5V 2W6

Take a look at for video profiles on ALL the speakers.

Now to the contest!

The kind folks at The Art of Leadership have given me a ticket to give away to one lucky reader. To qualify to win all you have to do is Tweet out:

I want to attend The Art Of Leadership with @karimkanji #TAOL

Winner will be announced on June 1st on my Twitter account: @karimkanji (Follow Me!)

Good luck!

Want to buy a ticket? Go to You can save $50 by entering the code: TOSOCIAL

5 questions with Aidan Nulman

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Aidan Nulman loves the internet. After being denied a marriage license twice, he’s been starting web companies left, right, and centre: Busy Bee (with three amazing partners), Cronyizm, and YouPhonics.

Hopefully, you’ll hear of one of them someday when you’re not reading his bio.

What motivates you to do what you do on a daily basis?

People. A lot of folks like to think about who they’re impacting, how they’re making a difference, whose lives they’re improving… I like to think about who I’m making smile.

If you had 30 seconds to impart your wisdom on a classroom of soon-to-be graduates, what would you say?

If they have their skin in the game, you need to agree. If they don’t, be ready to say yes, but confident to say no.

In your opinion, what has been one of the most important technological developments over the past 12 months?

You probably get this a lot, but location. Since the late ’90s, I’ve considered Google as a perennial cheat sheet. With mobile browsing, that became even more truthful – I didn’t need to be at a computer to access it anymore. And now we’re only just cracking the surface on location; when our apps know where we are, they’ll be able to filter the wheat from the chaff based on the most powerful contextual indicator: our location.

If you had a crystal ball, what would you say will be the most important technological development over the next 12 months?

Karim Kanji. I’m expecting Skynet to finally incorporate, and figure out how to scale your awesomeness so everyone can experience it. Then maybe a few K-1000s will go sour and try to Kariminate the human population. Which is why I’m glad Arnold had to leave office: he’s the only one who can save us. (KK – I swear Aidan wrote this.)

Who is one of Canada’s tech stars and why?

I’m working alongside 39 of them this summer: Krista Caldwell, Mindy Lau, Yilun Zhang (my partners at Busy Bee), and all of the others in The Next 36. I’m inspired and pushed by them every day. And I’m certain that, come August, each and every one will impress the crap out of you.

who is your #followfriday recommendation?

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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Over the past two Friday’s I’ve blogged about some of my favourite Tweeple here.  Today, I’m going to change things up a little bit.

As the title of this post suggests, I would like to know who you recommend I follow on Twitter.

Comment below on who I should follow and why.