Would you support a corner store in Garibaldi Highlands?

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The Wilder Snail at 799 Keefer St in Strathcona

Gordon Price, from SFU  is hosting a conversation on Sept 5th about corner stores in Vancouver. I really like the idea of the corner store. I think this is another one of those concepts that will return as society re-evaluates itself like it is with the local food movements and the return of organic food that used to just be called “food” before the advent of the “modern day” agriculture industry.

“Before the 1950′s, Mom & Pop grocery stores were common features of Vancouver’s single-family residential neighbourhoods. Then car culture, supermarkets and rigid zoning rules that relegated commerce to main streets changed how communities functioned. A handful of “grandfathered” locations survived, and now their successors are transforming their neighbourhoods’ social life. Is it time to legalize new corner stores, or would they create noise and activity problems?”

I think it is time to bring this concept back.  The definition of the corner store I think needs updating but these corner stores could become micro hubs in some communities.

There’s a lot of discussion going on about this subject. Frances Bula recently published an article in the Globe and Mail about corner stores and there’s a good discussion happening on her blog as well.

I like the idea and would love to see a corner store in my neighborhood that had a general store and coffee shop/cafe. Not quite sure if the density allows or what the exact business model would have to be but it’s an interesting idea.

What do you think?

Interesting documentary on The Barrier between Whistler & Squamish

The Barrier which holds up Garibaldi Lake.
Source: Wikipedia

This 20 minute documentary from QuestU students explores the geology of the west coast of British Columbia, specifically the area known as the Sea to Sky corridor.

The doc focuses on The Barrier, a 300 meter tall, crumbling lava dam retaining the Garibaldi Lake system and some of the hazards it brings.

Beyond the Barrier takes a look at how living below this hazard can change the way we see ourselves as humans with respect to the power of nature.

Check it out.

More cool Photos of the Barrier

source: mountainnerd.wordpress.com
source: mountainnerd.wordpress.com
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Learn more about the Squamish Emergency Program

Quote: The next industrial revolution

“There is a secular trend going on, in which launching a start-up is a more common thing to do. It used to be there were two things you could do after college: go to grad school or get a job. Soon, I think there will be three things: go to grad school, get a job, or start your own company. I suspect this will be one of these economic transformations on the scale of the industrial revolution. ” Paul Graham

Gary Vaynerchuk on Storytelling in 2013

Moved to: http://craigcherlet.com/gary-vaynerchuk-on-storytelling-in-2013/

If you’ve never heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, you should check him out. He’s one of today’s great marketers that get’s it. Gary’s latest post is about storytelling. It’s about the ways that a company or brand connects with customers in 2013 is not the same as it was in 1998, 2004 or even 2010.  Storytelling in 2013  is a must read for entrepreneurs & marketers in any industry.

If you really want to known how to use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Youtube and every other tool invented and not yet invented then you should watch Gary’s talk at Elevate NYC 2013.

More?

I first learned about Gary through his Keynote Speech at Inc 500 Seminar in 2011. It’s an hour long but it’s worth your time. Check it out.

Proposal for a Squamish Obstacle Course Trail

I moved my blog to craigcherlet.com – You can read the most recent updates on this post here.

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Update: The Squamish Chief did a write up on our proposal. Check it out.

With the popularity of activities like Crossfit, Parkour, fitness bootcamps and races like the Tough MudderThe Warrior Dash and the Spartan Race, more and more people are interested in taking part in obstacle course type races. Both of these races have taken place in the Sea to Sky in the past. Tough Mudder was at the Whistler Olympic Park and last year the Spartan Race took place at Brennan Park in Squamish. Both these events have great turnouts which tells me that people love to run obstacle courses.

A few nights ago on a walk around the Squamish Oceanfront with my family, the idea struck me that a permanent obstacle course in Squamish would be a great asset to the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. So, I’m taking on the task of proposing the idea to see what others think.

Updates: I’m adding detail as I go so this post will be updated as new ideas come forward and as the concept evolves so check back again later.

If you like what you see, have some ideas to add to it or have a question, please leave a comment below this post or reach me on Twitter. This is just an idea at this point to gauge interest.

Overview

The proposed Squamish Obstacle Course Trail would consists of a trail equipped with obstacles or stations distributed along its length for exercising and physical fitness training. The course could have various circuits between 5km and 20Km with 15 to 20 obstacles or fitness stations. Runners could start at the official start, possibly the adventure center or anywhere on the course. They could run a short 5km circuit or the full 20km course. A similar timer like the what is used for the Grouse Grind could be used to help runners keep track of their personal times and a leader board could be posted in the Adventure Centre.

Trail Map

The course could follow existing trails in the Squamish area focusing on the area from the Oceanfront to Brennan park community center.  The following is a proposed trail map with potential obstacles/ training stations in red. This is just a proposal at this stage for illustration purposes. More research and community involvement would be needed to determine the exact trail, number of obstacles and obstacle locations. proposed trail map

Proposed Obstacles and Fitness Stations

The proposal would include 15 to 20 obstacles or fitness stations placed on the designated trail circuit.

Here are examples of the types of obstacles and fitness stations that could be setup on this course throughout Squamish.

Slackline

The slack-lines on the Oceanfront are a great example the types of obstcles t to this course.

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Hand held Zipline

This is the simple zipline, low to the ground that requires that the person hold on with their arms to bridge the distance. Could be created as the image below or between two trees.

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Wall Climb

wall

Cargonet Crossover

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Teetering Traverse

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Balance Beam

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Monkey bars

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Ladder climb

ladder climb

Rope climb

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Rope Scramble

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Tunnel Crawl

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Over under

over under

Balance Beam

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Tire chase

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Tire flip

tire flip

This is just a sampling of possible obstacles. There are many different obstacles and fitness stations that could be used on this course. Here are obstacles from the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, The RAID race and the Warrior Dash.  They could be made out of the natural timber and the terrain of the surroundings. What would you like to see?

Benefits

  • The obvious benefits are the health benefits of the people that would use the trail and the obstacles fitness course.
  • A fitness tourism attraction for trail runners from Vancouver and the lower mainland
  • Local Boot Camp programs could use the course
  • Crossfit athletes could use the course for training
  • A yearly race could be created for this course
  • People could train here for races like Tough Mudder, and the Spartan Race.
  • Potential revenue source for Adventure Centre through Timer

Would you support this?

Sources & References

33 markets ready for a disruption

In this digital age we live in today, entire industries are being disrupted by new business models & new technology more than they have since the beginning of the industrial age. To understand what I mean, look at what these companies have done in these industries.

Skype – Skype brought free global calling to the masses, cutting significantly into the long distance business of the telecom industry. Skype also made video conferencing mainstream, something  you would think would have come from one of the global telecom giants but didn’t.

Apple – The iphone and smartphones in general have disrupted many industries including land lines, watched, alarm clocks, compasses, printed mapping, dicta-phones, portable music, photography and the retail music industry just to name a few. This will continue as the invention of the App economy works to reinvent many activities.

Wikipedia – Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia has disrupted this industry so much that the former market leader Encyclopædia Britannica ended print production after 244 years in 2012.

Amazon – Amazon has disrupted the book publishing & retailing industry significantly and even the cloud services industry which isn’t that old. Amazon continues to disrupt with many of it’s new products and services.

Change is the only constant and if the past 30 years says anything, the disruption is just beginning which is exciting for those that like to disrupt the status quo.

If you’re wondering where the next big opportunities are going to be, here is a list of markets ready for significant disruption. These were submitted by people responding on Quora to “What are some $10B+ markets ripe for disruption?“& “What are the set of problems that young entrepreneurs should focus on that will yield the next $100 billion companies?” and other resoruces sited below.

33 Markets Ready for Disruption

  1. Education: There is a ton of value created by educating the masses in emerging and under-developed markets and those able to capture this value will do very well.
  2. Construction: 3D printing is on the cusp of becoming a mainstream phenomenon. And yet, contractors are still driving their big trucks over to Home Depot.
  3. Insurance: Micro and Peer insurance (everything can be insured,  and people can insure other people)
  4. Water rights and distribution: the clean water we are polluting for natural gas wells will soon be worth more than any form of gas
  5. Loans: who gives them and how people get them (micro and peer financing)
  6. Prime Time TV lineup: this will be all on demand and will change TV advertising forever
  7. The legal profession: Simple contracts could be generated and processed by machine at far, far lower cost than a lawyer’s hourly rate. Some legal documents could be modeled as graphs of conditions and outcomes, which could then be compared with tree-diff algorithms and annotated with other data.
  8. Intellectual Property: Consider the black box of patent applications, as well as the aftermarket (or lack thereof) for IP. “Patent Troll” is the latest buzz word; individuals or firms pick up bulk lots of IP on the secondary market and file suit against major companies for infringement, hoping for a big win. However, what if there were a more transparent and readily accessible market for IP?
  9. Financial Services & Wall Street: Read what Chris Dixon says about disrupting Wall Street.
  10. Data Informatics: Corporations and professional services firms can pay upwards of six-figures for limited (annual or even monthly) access to certain specialized data stores. While some data pools are proprietary, pulling information from truly unique sources that cannot be duplicated, others are currently providing nothing more than the service of aggregation and dissemination of publicly available data.
  11. Insurance: It is a black box, from the way in which “risk” is calculated by individual companies, to the way in which claims are assessed for validity and payout. Having just received new insurance, I am reminded of the obscure legalese used in even the most basic of customer facing communications – I dare you to show me an insurance company that is transparent in its communications, or even one with a customer experience better than that of an armed robber.
  12. Politics: Campaign spending alone stretches into the billions when looking at the top 2-3 levels of government. Consider aggregate spending on campaigns at all levels, in addition to significant sums spent on lobbying and other related activities. Disruption would certainly be difficult in this space, but there are examples of companies already attempting, and succeeding in some cases, to disrupt particular verticals.
  13. Real Estate: The fact that a 5% commission is extracted by the brokers for matching buyers and sellers is today’s information age is outrageous.  The buy side of the market is very opaque with little visibility into who is interested in buying what and where.  Crack that nut and you are the next Zuckerburg.
  14. Moving industry: A 16 billion/year industry formed mostly from small players. 50 companies have 45% of the market. The rest are small players, companies with under 10 employees.
  15. Packaging: In USA alone the CPG industry size is $2Trillion + [1]!  Anywhere between 10% to 40% of that money is spent for the packaging of the product.  That is the cardboard, polythene, plastic, paper etc meant for covering the actual product.
  16. Recycling: There’s still so much we can do to recycle effectively.  There’s a huge opportunity here, but I wonder if we’ll capitalize on it only after we reach a higher level of scarcity.
  17. Landfill Resource Reclamation: As we continue to come to terms with resource scarcity, we’ll dig deeper into our own trash heaps to reclaim re-usable materials.
  18. Battery Technology: If we can make tiny batteries that never have to be recharged and that don’t cause a nuclear melt down we will advance tremendously.
  19. Fast Food: The fast food industry is known to deliver more than a quick ready to go meal. Fast food also delivers some of the highest calorie foods eaten during a typical day.  fast healthly food will change this industry.
  20. Software Operating Systems: The cloud is gaining ground quickly.  OS’s that don’t require booting, installing, or updating by the user are surely preferred over those that do.
  21. Rare Earth Metals: This enormous industry, it has mostly been pushed into China were extraction labor costs are low enough to be economical. However, with >50lbs of rare earth metals under the hood of your typical Prius or EV – substitutes are needed as China cuts supply (recently announced that <50% of China-mined rare earth metals were available for export).
  22. Payments: While PayPal never quite lived up to it’s vision of displacing the major processors (Amex, Visa, MasterCard), this area is beginning to heat up again. 2%+ cost for each transaction is the reason $24T of B2B transactions are still completed using paper check.
  23. Low Cost Distributed Energy and Sanitation solutions: Developing countries have a large need for dirt cheap, compact local energy and sanitation solutions, but the same applies to many of the developed countries too. Who wouldn’t like the prospect of generating their own energy with small solar panel or other green energy solution? This is especially true when the electric grid becomes unreliable or cost of energy hikes up rapidly
  24. Diamond retailing: No major disruptions as of yet. This is a $72 billion a year market. Bluenile.com, the biggest online player, does about $350 million a year in revenues.
  25. The gambling industry: Currently unregulated in half the world (Thailand, India etc) and most bettors go through bookmakers with high fixed odds. With online betting exchanges (Betfair, Smarkets) you get the best prices because of efficient markets and high volume/liquidity.
  26. Sewing garment factories: as clothing companies get into “fast fashion”, there needs to be a better way to find, vet and analyze factory capacity and order.
  27. Medical Devices: Most big companies have commoditized existing equipment (esp.Surgical Devices). Much of the new features being added are bells and whistles to justify a price hike or reduce liability. There are a lot of opportunities in their improvement and total replacement.
  28. Healthcare: Simply put, healthcare is not working and it will get worse as the population ages. Effcientcies need to be created or this will bankrupt governments.
  29. Weddings: A 74+ Billion dollar industry that’s fragmented and highly inefficient, probably the last industry left where consumers still shop from a trade show, magazine or google search.
  30. Business productivity software: Right now, 100s of millions of people are using Microsoft Office on PCs, while their kids are using smartphones, tablets and web applications. The future belongs to collaboration and productivity apps designed for this new reality.
  31. Taxation: The tax system is another system designed for and by accountants. If the congress can get a simple(r) tax system designed and implemented, the entire accounting system as we know it today will be turned on its head. (which means they’re probably pretty safe)
  32. Automobile sales and marketing: Particularly at the dealer levels – if you’ve ever purchased a car you’ll realize this industry is completely broken. Car dealers are packed full of sales people who don’t understand the difference between sales and marketing, particularly online advertising.
  33. Mattresses: They cost too much for what they are. Someone needs to disrupt this market.

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