April 2, 2011


This photo by the Toronto Star's Lucas Oleniuk shows how my office looks (click to enlarge). You see my ThinkPad tablet. That's the microphone I use for podcasting and Skype. That's all natural light. Toronto Star - top articles

I've been interviewed by the media since the 1990s but rarely photographed and never this creatively.

From the angle, you can't see how messy my flat surfaces are. Neither did Lucas because I cleaned up before he arrived. We both "augmented" reality.

Everything happened fast (see the backstory). Within hours of getting interviewed by Cynthia Vukets, an article appeared on thestar.com. That’s probably because Chris O'Neill, the head of Google Canada, spoke at the Toronto Board of Trade that morning. In the past, I've seen lead times of days (newspapers) or months (magazines). At Western, I once got into a hardcover Economics textbook but that took two years.


Toronto Star - page 24 (B4)The resulting story appears in three places in different lengths on different dates
  1. Small businesses follow customers online (thestar.com, Mon Mar 28)
  2. Social media mean business (metronews.ca, Fri Apr 1)
  3. Making a pitch for online marketing (Toronto Star, Fri Apr 1, page B4, print only)
The photo is cropped most in print, especially in Metro. The longest and most interesting version is in the printed Toronto Star but not available online except through this paid link at pressdisplay.com. Cynthia notes that while I don't have the 200,000+ Twitter followers of a faux escaped snake (@BronxZoosCobra),  I'm on LinkedIn, and Facebook and have readers like you.

There's a gap between what's said, what's heard and what's intended.

When others paraphrase, there's more potential for misunderstanding. For instance, Metro says I "began using Twitter and other social media about four years ago". While I started this blog in 2007, I didn't tweet until 2009. The distortion won't matter to readers but does show what can happen in a simple situation.

The Surprise

There's no mention of me being an actuary. I'm simply an entrepreneur. That's a flashback. In the corporate world, I downplayed my credentials because I already earned positions of power. In the world of small business, the "president" might also be the receptionist and cleaning staff. Now I call myself an actuary to distinguish myself. This extra information was deemed irrelevant for the articles.

The Risk To You

Advisors rarely see the source material they interpret for you. This can lead to major distortions — especially when the outcome affects their income. If your advisor doesn't fully understand, the marketing sizzle from the products they sell can easily mislead them … and you.

An online check will help you gauge an advisor's expertise and intent, the two elements of trust.


Someday, social media will get as much press attention as the fax machine does today. For now, there's still demand for examples of success. Next interview, please!


Podcast Episode 111 (5:09)

direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes (new)

PS If you've been interviewed by the media, what was your experience?


Leonard said...

Hey did the interview and the subsequent articles give your business a boost?



Promod said...

It's too early to tell, Leonard. As with social media, it's difficult to show causality.

I don't think I've lost any business :)