Petite Bourgogne

Petite Bourgogne

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Human Nature

Last week I attended my university's Business Club event where the author of Gimme! The Human Nature of Successful Marketing presented a summary of the book and his research. It was absolutely fascinating! The discussion was less about marketing and more about how we received and retain information and how our senses and emotion tie in. He referred a few times to a few of the mistakes Starbucks has made over the years. The experience of going to a Starbucks has changed, which even Starbucks' former, now current, CEO identified in a memo last year. I hadn't thought of it, but the sights, sounds and smells have changed over the years, changing the experience. Frankly, though, all the major coffee house chains are guilty of it. Good reason to go out and support the independents!

The event was introduced by the Dean of the School of Business. He talked about all the great things that were happening with both the undergrad and MBA programs. It was really good information that, personally, I think should be shared with all Alumni, especially those in a professional field. One comment struck a nerve, though. He was describing the revamped Science and Technology MBA program and said that the focus is on changing who people are. Hmmm. Am I the only one who finds this a little disquieting? The former Science and Tech MBA attracted people with Science and Engineering backgrounds... who are likely leaders in Science and Tech companies... managing scientists and engineers. I completely agree that the MBA program should develop an in-depth understanding of business principles and create a bridge between traditional rivals - engineers and marketing/management (take your pick). But changing who people are sounds like we're just adding to the divide. You're either in the business club or you're not. That's my opinion. I'm sure one day I'll finally decide to do my MBA and officially become part of the club. Change can be good.

I'm glad I am in the game industry where diversity (cultural, artistic, technical, business... ) is the norm and is required for the industry to work. For my friends in the game/movie industry (and fans of computer graphics), you might find the Character Design blog interesting. I added the link to my links list.

(Wow! My first semi-rant on a public blog. I hope I didn't offend anyone!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to Swear Like a Quebecer

Quebecers seem to swear a lot... at least the people I've been in contact with. Well, I learned tonight that swearing is just different in Quebec. (Don't worry, I'll keep this clean in both English and French.) For example, when speaking English a lot of people use the f-word very liberally, even at work! However, in French, it just doesn't have the same meaning or impact. On the other hand, one of Quebec's most famous profanities (the one refering to a tabarnacle) is the word that equates to the f-word. For the more curious, I added a link to a Wikipedia page on Quebec French profanity.

Where did I receive such a cultural education? I found a social networking group called Meetin where people, much like myself, are either new to the city and/or just looking to meet new people. The members organize events for people to get together and socialize. Gathering at a coffee house and learning how to swear like a Quebecer was one of those events. Tonight I met people from all around the world and from just down the highway. It was fun! The next event is a pub night at the end of January. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Welcome 2008!

Goodbye 2007! Welcome 2008!

The friends I spent Christmas with arrived in Montreal Saturday night. It was cozy in my "cute" little "junior suite" so it was bit like having a 3-night sleep-over. We spent Sunday shopping, mostly at Atwater Market. If you're the least bit a foodie, you must visit Atwater. We bought fabulous tourtieres, cheese, pate, teas, strawberries that were actually red inside and croissants that are supposedly the best in the world. We even sampled ice cider -- similar to ice wine, but made from frozen apples. One friend got addicted to wild Madgascar black pepper and proceeded to add it to everything (tea, red wine, you name it!) all weekend. Going to the market will now become a weekend ritual for me. At some point, I'll have to try Jean Talon market and compare.

New Year's Eve was spent at Les Trois Minots bar on St. Laurent. We knew one of the bands - Schomberg Fair (pictured above). The bar is a tiny alternative music hang out, reminding me a bit of Clark Hall Pub but the floors were not as sticky. All the bands were young and ranged from punk to alternative to rock-a-billy. It was a cool way to welcome 2008.

My friends had to drive back to Toronto on New Year's Day in yet another snowstorm, unfortunately. I had tickets to the Salute to Vienna concert at Place des Arts. The best way to describe it is that it's a Viennese classical variety show -- a bit of symphony, a bit light opera, a bit of dancing. Of course, one of the encores was the Blue Danube waltz with the dancers waltzing. It was also a trilingual event, confirming that my German is definitely better than my French.

All in all, a delicious and musical way to start the new year.