Archive for the ‘E-Business’ Category

We’ve all heard the phrase over and over again (at least I have): we live in an amazing time where anyone can start a business in a fraction of the time, and for a fraction of the cost, of what it used to take. But I didn’t really understand it until I did it myself with my two boys, aged 12 and 9.

Now you may be asking, “What does this have to do with social ed?”. Well, firstly, it’s about alternative out-of-school learning, and secondly, it’s about all the amazing free tools and information available from people and for-profit companies (ever heard of “Google”?) that make it possible.

Here’s our story…

While looking for ways to help my boys master their times tables, I stumbled on the site The site uses, pictures, stories and rhyme to help kids learn their times tables and we were blown away by how well it worked. After many attempts at mastery, my guys had their tables down in a weekend!

And we weren’t the only ones who thought the idea was great. Alan Walker, the guy who created the site,  made a book that sold over 50,000 copies.

So, with the “it’s easier than ever to start a business” mantra in our head, me and the boys starting thinking how we could create a book, using Walker’s technique, to help people learn something.

After racking our brains to find something that people needed help learning, like times tables, we decided to focus on spelling. We would create a book with stories and pictures that helped people learn to spell some of the most commonly misspelled English words.

Now, here’s the neat part…

Using a combination of free and very cheap tools like Google Sites, Paypal and ProjectLibre open source project management software, we went from idea to a full website, from which people can purchase a slimmed down pilot version of our book – in two weeks. Total cash outlay: $300 to pay a young, local artist to draw our first set of pictures.

Now, there are a number of things about this experience that have blown me away but I want to highlight just three:

1) How simple it is to create  a website with Google Sites;
2) How simple it is to set up a way for people to pay you using PayPal; and
3) How easy it is for you to teach your kids the entire process of creating a business in under a month.

Our website will go live some time in the summer and even if the book is a complete bomb, we’ve already succeeded on so many levels.



The Royal Bank is hip…

Author: Robin Browne

Sometimes leaving things to comments just isn’t enough – and this is one of those times.

I got the response below from Michel Savoie to my post about the Royal Bank giving away Asus laptops and felt it deserved its own post:


Hi! It’s awesome to hear that people like the promo! We do have a few sites up about our Eee PC promo up, and you can find the links on our student blog:

One of our student bloggers has also done a personal review on what our team has deemed to be “The Wee Eee PC” (in comparison to our 17? MacBooks)… You can find it here:


Host, RBC p2p


Mmm…..RBC…Royal Bank…Cool…..?

Well, any marketers out there who still aren’t sold on "the whole online thing" should take note of the big thumbs up that online communication just got from an unlikely source: The Royal Bank of Canada. Two Quebec tech sources are reporting that, from now until Sept. 13, the bank is giving a FREE Asus Eee PC laptop to every new client (with some conditions). I found out about this from the May 9 episode of Radio-Canada‘s great and fun tech podcast, Carnet Techno, and confirmed it on the tech website Branchez-vous.

And here are some key points that confirm for me that the bank is doing this with the Internet in general, and social media, in particular, firmly in mind:

1) one of the conditions to get the laptop is agreeing to pay at least one bill using RBC’s online payment system

2) The Eee PC lets people "log on to Skype or other network and..connect with friends anywhere, anytime."

3) It also let’s people "upload photos and videos and share them instantly on Flickr and YouTube."

Interestingly, I couldn’t find anything about this on the Royal Bank website but, if they’re really going to do it, then, ah, maybe it’s time to switch banks….