Currently #4: The power of introverts, Matt Mullenweg, and a baby real estate agent

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I’ve taken a dive into the world of personality types over the last half year or so and MAN, what a game changer.

If it’s something you’ve ever wanted to explore I’d say start by taking the 16 Personalities quiz to find your Myers-Briggs type, then go read what your personality type does in a rut.

I mean WHAT. So interesting.

Now of course, you can’t go using these labels as an excuse, “I can’t do that because I’m an IN-whatever.” But as a framework it’s helped me make sense of why I act and react the way I do. It’s helped me reframe traits I’ve long seen as weaknesses into strengths. Which is a biggie.

I digress… the book!! The most interesting part to me was the research on introverts vs extroverts in the workplace (these differences are SO important and largely ignored) and in childhood. What it’s like to be a highly reactive, aka introverted, kid and how various experiences including trauma influence you differently. Lot’s of my-life-finally-makes-sense moments were had. It was great.


Do You Have Your Own Internal “Code” — Matt Mullenweg on the James Altucher Show

You know when you walk around pretending to know what a term means but secretly you’re praying someone doesn’t ask you to define it…. Ya.

Open source.

Like I essentially knew what it meant, but not really. Sure as heck couldn’t explain it. For those of you that can relate listen from 10:45 to 17:20, Matt does a great job of explaining what open source code means and why it’s so important.

“Open source essentially creates a bill of rights for software. As a developer you cannot take away any of the freedoms you yourself were given.”

Also, how relaxing is Matt’s voice? Can we get him narrating on Audible? K thanks.


Well played.

roncesvalles toronto real estate ad may 2017

I know the baby-photo-real-estate-agent thing isn’t new… but did this ever make me smile. And in Roncesvalles? Well played, Sir. Know your demographic.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Articles, interviews, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me!

Making the Most of “Thanks for Signing Up!” Landing Pages

Some thoughts on conversion optimization, landing pages, and how to make people that give you their email addresses feel like valued humans…

I was listening to Talia Wolf on the Unemployable podcast the other day talk about thank you landing pages—you know when you buy something online or sign up for a service/newsletter and you’re redirected to a ‘Thanks for trusting me with your email address and/or money promise you won’t regret it K BYE!’ page? (OK not entirely sure if I’m using the right terminology here, but that’s what I’m running with…)

Talia was saying we seriously underuse this page. Rather than do the generic little ‘Thanks and check your inbox to confirm’, why don’t we use that real estate? Personalize it! Keep people on your website rather than bouncing them between you and their inbox.

She said it’s a great place to ask questions and get to know your customers. Ask them what their priorities are for their business, or what they want to learn about. And if they don’t answer? No big loss, they’re already customers. It’s not like you’re not creating a barrier in the buying process.

Now obviously you don’t want to be annoying or overwhelming at this stage either. I wouldn’t want to go through the bother of signing up for something only to be presented with a 4-page survey. This isn’t a time to ask for favours. Any content you share here has to clearly be in your customers best interest.

I totally see how a thank you landing page is a great place to A) get to know your customer better and B) make them feel good about the choice they just made.

So how could you do this? Of course depends on your business and brand, but here are some (entirely unoriginal) ideas that come to mind…

– Ask them what they want to learn about. Either leave this open for them to fill out or list 3 options they can select from. Then listen! Track what people say so you get to know what actually matters to your audience. Tailor your content accordingly. You could even put people on segmented email lists based on their selection if you’re super fancy…

– Embed a video. A welcome video so people get to know you, something that makes them feel connected to you and your mission. People want to feel like they’re a part of something. Or if you sell a product maybe you share a “how-to” video. A walk through of your product, how to get started sort of thing.

– Share a popular/useful blog post. Something that’s legitimately helpful and makes them think, “Yep. This was a great decision. No regrets giving this person my email and/or money.”

– Link to an external article of someone talking about your product/service. This might be especially useful if you’re new—or a new type of business—and people don’t completely understand or trust you yet. People want to feel like they’re making the right decision, and they’ll trust an external authority over you. “If it worked for them it’ll work for me.” The whole social proof thing, which Talia also talks about.

It’s the little things like this that can make all the difference, right? Especially if you’re a new company. Maybe you’re lacking features that your competitors have, maybe you can’t compete on certain levels… so how else can you add value?

I’m sure this is all super obvious to anyone with experience in conversion optimization, or whatever category of marketing this falls into. But I thought it was worth sharing because if you’re anything like me, you thought this stuff was all analytics so you’ve been straight up avoiding learning about it.

Turns out don’t have to be some data genius to do this. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself….) Because really, your business comes down to connecting with people. Empathizing with your audience. Asking yourself, “How would this make me feel?” And going from there.

Thanks, Talia, for making conversion optimization not suck.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took in my Dad’s garden last June of some really pretty blooms I don’t know the name of.  Because spring is coming (sort of). 


Currently #3: Steve Martin, blogging is back, and a beauty store with a sense of humour

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin.
“I did have that one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.”

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Ya, he’s great. If you’re on the hunt for a memoir or just a good read, highly recommend.


Blogging is Back, with Darren Rowse on Unemployable.
At a time where content is cheap and easily automated, they talk about the importance of making it human again. Because that’s what blogging is all about—human to human connection.

Darren touches on the idea of blogging in seasons—creating chunks of related content punctuated by breaks (e.g. blog weekly for 3 months around one topic then take a month off) because maybe that’s an easier way to consume and find content in a Netflix world? Whatever your thoughts on this it’s a good reminder to think outside the traditional format. Experiment!

Adam Robinson on the Tim Ferriss Show.
Adam Robinson is one of those crazy smart insightful people working in finance—he advises hedge fund advisors kind of smart.

Hearing him talk about his approach to investing is fascinating. Seriously, take 3 minutes and listen from 29:00-32:00.

He encourages us to pay attention every time you hear someone say, “That doesn’t make any sense”. If someone says they don’t understand why gold keeps going lower, because there’s a dozen logical reasons it shouldn’t, he knows it’s got a lot lower to go. There’s some x-factor no one’s considered yet. It’s not the world that doesn’t make sense, it’s your model of it.

“That’s where the gold mine is, things that don’t make sense.”

Oh, that’s good…

Bay. Not Bay.
A new section for things I come across that make me say, “Oh, now that’s good.”

This storefront beside the Bay subway station in Yorkville being one of them.


What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Comment or Tweet me!

Yes, you can

A quick and largely unoriginal New Years thought for you…

I’m not big on New Years resolutions—January 1st doesn’t feel extraordinarily more promising than the start of any other day—but I do like to reflect on the year that’s passed. (Unoriginal already, told ya.)

This little shift in thinking has had the biggest impact on my life recently.

I pay attention to all the things that make me think, “Well I can’t do that.”

“I can’t make videos. I’ll look like a fumbling idiot.”

“I can’t do Crossfit. Have you seen these noodle arms?! Remember when you mentioned it to an Ex and they responded with a crushingly animated eyeroll?”

Instead of letting these thoughts float past and cement in the back of my brain, I catch myself…

What do you mean you can’t? Says who?

Either you want this or you don’t. You’re going to make time for it or you’re not. All perfectly fine options, but using “can’t” as an excuse isn’t.

We all do it.

I can’t join that rec soccer league because I’m not good enough.
I can’t start investing because I don’t have the money.
I can’t do ‘x’ because I’m too young, too old, don’t have the resources…

We collect these cants over time—maybe they came from something a parent or partner said, a bad experience, or other people’s fears. You’d be surprised how young some of these beliefs start.

(Don’t worry, we’re not going to dive into your childhood. That’s between you and a qualified therapist.)

My point is…

Awareness is powerful. So is choice. 

Exercise both.

Those two cants of mine I mentioned earlier? Well, *casually brushes dirt from shoulder*, I recorded my first video tutorial a few months ago—an experience I loved that’s opened up a world I’d previously written off—and I started Crossfit last week.

I might not be the best at either but I show up. That’s all it takes.

It’s cliche advice for a reason.

I (you!) most certainly can.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took at the top of Whistlers Mountain in Jasper, Alberta. I think the whole clouds-mountain-top thing qualifies as inspirational. 

Currently #2: The Psychology of Persuasion, teaching finance in schools, and The Future of Cities

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.
All about what makes us say “Yes!”. This is one of those books I saw referenced so frequently in recent marketing/PR books that I thought I better give it a read myself.

I’ve gone through it pondering how all these principles might apply to the world of money. And art! Because I’m exciting like that…


“Someone Should Teach This in School” Kyle Provost on the Because Money Podcast.
What would it look like if personal finance was taught in high school? Well, Kyle Provost can tell ya because he’s doing just that—leading some pretty awesome change out of Manitoba.

If you don’t have time for the whole thing listen from 23:17-32:00 where he shares why our system makes it so hard to get this change off the ground. It was a total mind=blown moment for me when he talked how politicians, like teachers, have pensions and insurance so they can arguably get by with less financial education than the average Canadian. So where’s the incentive! As Kyle says, “You almost couldn’t create a situation where you had more public demand for a product and less expertise and will power to put it into place.”

…. I know.

But don’t worry… things end on a hopeful note.


The Future Of Cities by Oscar Boyson.
I can’t do this any justice with a summary, you just need to watch it. Essentially it’s a look at how we’re solving big problems facing cities across the globe—like access to fresh water and crazy traffic congestion. And how all this (really exciting!) change is happening bottom up, not top down.

It’s good. Really good.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Comment or Tweet me!

Starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere

Can I confess something?

I’m having a heck of a time starting this blog.

Last March (oh man has it been that long?) I got it in my head this needed to be a thing. I’ve had a craft blog for a few years, but there are other topics I wanted to explore. Topics that needed a different home. Like why are we so bad at teaching people about finance? and how can artists use growth hacking! and what does your money look like if you never want to retire?

So I began jotting down post ideas. Anytime a podcast or advertisement or conversation sparked one. I’d write rough drafts in Evernote when I was in line at the grocery store. It was exciting!

But I didn’t publish much. Or I’d post it only to take it down. I even started a few anonymous blogs.

What gives?

Well… I’ve had it in my head that if you’re going to touch topics like money and marketing, you’d better have it together. You’d better be a voice of authority, an expert!

People want to read actionable How-To’s, not random observations of an unknown twenty-something.

They want answers, not questions. Conclusions!

“I don’t know but here’s a thought…” isn’t good enough. Not decisive enough.

And what if my writing is too casual? Or formal! What if I come across as judgemental or wishy-washy (what a great word…) or as a know-it-all when I’m just trying to start a conversation? What if my content is too scattered—isn’t blogging 101 to pick a niche? What if a future boss/client doesn’t want to work with me because of something I’ve posted?

What if! Oh, screw it I’m just going to watch Netflix instead.

… See what’s happening here?

Nothing. A whole lot of nothing.

I’ve got to figure I’m not the only one who finds themselves in this delightful storm of overthinking-meets-perfectionism-meets-inaction. I can’t be the only one with ALLTHEIDEAS! and nothing to show for it.

Being the season for reflection and resolutions, I’ve spent some time doing just that. And I thought I’d share with you the interwebs a little realization that’s helping me in a big way.

Ready for it?

Starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere.

Producing bad work is better than producing no work.

So just… Start. Somewhere. Anywhere. You don’t even have to share it! But you do have to consistently show up and do the work.

Promise the world won’t end if you make something less than perfect.

Noted? Noted.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took in the middle of the SK-5 on my way from Saskatoon to Preeceville last summer. It’s seriously beautiful out there, FYI. 

Currently #1: The War of Art, Bad With Money, and Mr. Selfridge

You didn’t ask, I answered.


The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Ooofph it’s a goodie. If you’re feeling blocked (Hi!) read it.

“Rule of thumb: the more important a call to action is to our souls evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”


Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn.
I don’t know how I only just discovered this podcast, but I did, and it’s great. The whole YouTube thing fascinates me, so hearing Gaby and Hank Green chat content creation was right up my street. Speaking of content creation… CNN acquiring Beme is HUGE! You need to read co-founder Matt Hackett’s take on it.


Mr. Selfridge Season 4.
It’s back! Heck yes. I’m such a British period drama junkie… recently finished Call The Midwife and The Crown. SO GOOD.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Tweet me!

Nobody cares about budgets

Welcome to my Saturday morning stream of consciousness.  Excited? You should be.

Why don’t more people care about their money? Specifically millennials. With so many personal finance blogs and books and other content out there (with gifs! there are so many great articles with gifs) why aren’t more people taking action? Why don’t they see what an impact this would have on their lives, their futures! *passionately shakes fist*


Well, maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that so many ‘intro to personal finance’ books and articles open with Budget! BUDGET! Thou shall not proceed without a Budget!


Newsflash—not a selling point. Like, no I don’t want to sit down and put numbers into boxes why do you think I’m avoiding my bank statements in the first place?

And I know (I know!) budgeting doesn’t have to suck. There’s a template for seemingly everyone’s taste and it can be as simple as you like and oh goodness did you know how life changing it is?!

None of that matters.

It doesn’t matter because people aren’t going to get that far. They’re going to shut off as soon as they skim the word ‘budget’, they’re not going to stick around to hear you defend it.

If we’re trying to get peoples attention—to sell them on the magic of caring about their money—maybe we should stop leading with budgets.

Not because budgets are bad, or useless, or unimportant (they’re none of those things) but because nobody cares.

Not at first, anyways.

I mean think about it. That person you know (friend, colleague, family member) that’s ‘bad with money’, do you honestly think all they’ve been waiting for is someone to tell them to get a budget and open a retirement account? If that were the case, wouldn’t they have done it already?

Now before you petition to have me kicked off the interwebs, let me be clear, I’m not against budgeting. I have a budget! I just don’t think they’re the starting point, and I certainly don’t think they’re the be-all-end-all.

If we want to get (and keep!) peoples attention, maybe we should try opening with some different material. Let people get through the door, take their coats off, offer them a drink, before we hit them with the hard stuff.

So where should we start, Kate?

If budgets are out—and retirement, but that’s for another post—how should we get people interested in money? Talking like this I must have the all answers, right?

Nope! (You hate me don’t you?) I think our relationship with money is a good kicking off point, but I don’t exactly know what that looks like.

But this is important. Really, really important. And I want to talk about.

I believe the sticking point with financial advice right now isn’t so much the content, but how it’s being presented.

Rethinking the delivery… That’s the key.

What do you think?

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took of pretty red stuff growing on the side of a building in Huntsville, Ontario this fall.

Banks, budgets, and beauty bloggers

I’m scrolling through Instagram, as you do, and I get to thinking about sponsorships and the fact that Social Media Influencer is now a job title (explain that to your grandmother). Which leads to me wonder where are the banks and other financial companies in all of this? If it works for L’Oréal, would it work for Citigroup?

Take a lifestyle blogger for example. Look at their Instagram account. They’ve got millions of followers and one of those perfectly curated, envy-inducing feeds. Now look at their sponsors. Huge beauty, fashion, and fitness companies pay them (and pay them a lot, apparently) to fill their posts with branded products. Sometimes it’s a seamless fit, sometimes it’s not (hello, detox teas), but either way we’re taking it all in. And it sticks with us right to the checkout counter.

When we follow someone like that we’re not just learning what’s trendy this season, we’re absorbing a set of values.

What if one of those values was financial responsibility? What if more social media influencers talked about how they manage their money? So instead of just showing you their collection of Chanel bags, they showed you how to afford your own?

There’s a YouTuber, Chase Amie, who has a great video on exactly that. No one follows her because she knows how to budget, they follow her because they admire her lifestyle. It just so happens she has that lifestyle because she’s driven in her career and knows how to manage her money, both things she’s open about in her videos. Now someone who started following her because they envy her closet finds themselves learning about why they should open a savings account. None of it’s sponsored, just stuff she talks about naturally. Pretty cool, right?

What a great way to reach people that would benefit from financial advice but aren’t likely to Google ‘how to invest’ on their lunch break. If banks, robo-advisors or lenders found a way to genuinely collaborate with these social influencers it could open them up to a whole new audience.

I’m not exactly sure what this would look like, or if it would work, but it sure is interesting to think about.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took of the Flatiron building in New York while I was waiting at a crosswalk. It was a thousand degrees and smelled like garbage. It was beautiful. 

Why finance needs better teachers

What makes someone a good teacher? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I don’t mean teacher in the traditional chalkboard and apple sense. We’re all teachers. We all have to explains things we understand to others who don’t.

So what makes someone particularly good at that?


The best teachers remember what it’s like to not understand. They remember the questions they were too embarrassed to ask. They remember the sticking points.

The best teachers make you feel like they’re in the thick of it with you. They talk to you, not down to you. They make it okay to be exactly where you are.

The finance industry needs better teachers.

There are plenty of advisors, writers, and bloggers who know their stuff but aren’t great teachers. They assume this baseline financial literacy that, let’s face it, most of us don’t have. (Looking at you, education system.) Sometimes it feels like they’re just catering to other finance nerds. But what about everyone else? What about the people they claim they’re trying to serve?

By using fancy words to explain other fancy words, it creates an environment where it’s really hard to stick your hand up and say, “I don’t get it.”

And that, my friends, is dangerous. That’s how we get gaps. That’s how we get ‘us’ versus ‘them’. When this happens, we all lose.

Nowhere is this gap more obvious than at the cocktail hours advisors throw to get new clients (yes, I go to those for kicks). You can literally see it widen with every PowerPoint slide. No one’s going to interrupt Cindy mid-pitch and ask for clarification on, “Wait, where did that number come from?” because that would be embarrassing.

I don’t think it’s intentional (not always at least). I think they honestly forget what it’s like to not understand annuities because to them it’s second nature. But if you want to build trust and lasting relationships, you’ve got to know your audience so that you know where to start.

“RRSP contributions will lower your taxable income!” isn’t a selling point to someone that doesn’t know what taxable income is.

Do you see what I mean here? Just because it makes sense to you explained like that doesn’t mean it makes sense to someone else. You’ve got to be conscious of who you’re talking to (or rather, who you want to be talking to) and use language that makes sense to them.

Remember what it’s like to not understand.

That kind of empathy is really, I mean really, powerful.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took in Chinatown, New York. Note Mr T, he knows a thing or two about teaching…