The Newfoundland Fisherman

A boat was docked in a tiny Newfoundland fishing village. A tourist from Toronto complimented the Newfie fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. ‘Not very long,’ answered the Newfie.

‘But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?’ asked the Torontonian.

The Newfie explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
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Career Talk at Loretto College School

Outline for my presentation to Lina Difelice’s Career Study classes at Loretto College School, March 19, 2007

    The Entrepreneurial Personality
    Great Entrepreneurs
    Woman Inventors
    Martha Stewart Living
    Richard Branson
    Christine Magee
    Entrepreneur Tests
    The Entrepreneur Test
    Most Common Characteristics of Entrepreneurs
    Free Agent Nation
    101 Best Home-Business Success Secrets for Women (Paperback)
    The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs: People, Processes, and Global TrendsResources
    The Internet
    Women in Business
    The New Age of Female Entrepreneurship
    Capitalists Chicks
    Toronto Public Library

Web Development

    History of the Internet
    The inventor of the computer mouse
    The World Wide Web
    Tim Berners-Lee
    Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
    View Page Source
    Web 2.0
    Blogging Tulip Girl Go Fug Yourself Bat Girl

‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.
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Throughout the 80’s and early 90’s my family business suffered from what is called disintermediation, the elimination of middle men precipitated mainly by increased global trade and advanced information technology systems. As a distributor who bought from manufacturers and sold to retailers we were a much sought after link in the distribution chain in the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s. Manufacturers from Canada and around the world knocked on our doors hoping to convince us to stock and sell their product to the more than one thousand retailers our salesmen visited regularly.

The benefits to the manufacturers were considerable: only one client to deal with instead of hundreds, more leverage over the client, fewer and larger orders, and a client committed to their product’s success. However the retailers didn’t see it that way. They united to form buying groups, combining their purchases to increase their buying power. These buying groups viewed the distributor as a middle man who prevented them from having access directly to the manufacturer.

Then a dramatic shift occurred. Sometime in the early 1980’s the power shifted from the manufacturer to the consumer and thus to the retailer. Prior to this shift the manufacturer had determined and even dictated what the distribution channel would be, and they preferred selling through independent distributors where they enjoyed their greatest leverage and thus their greatest profits. After this shift it was the retailer who dictated what the distribution channel would be, and they wanted direct access to the manufacturer.

There were several causes for this power shift, among them the increased demand for consumer products, expanding global trade, and affordable information technology specifically in the area of inventory control. The result was the rapid expansion of the ‘big box’ retailers such as Home Depot, Costco, Toy R Us, Wal-Mart, Bureau en Gros, etc.

The result was exactly what our free market economy is designed to deliver, cheaper products and greater choice for customers. Today it is possible to purchase many products at lower prices than 20 years ago in constant dollars. The result however was the elimination of the wholesale distributor and the rise of the ‘warehouse’ retailer.

Read how it felt, emotionally, to close a family business after 75 years here.

My First Real Job

When I was 15, I was anxious to find a real summer job. Until then I had been cutting grass and laying sod. My father gave me the names of several lumber mills located in all parts of Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland. I composed letters, typed them and mailed them. The few responses I received were rejections. However with my father’s help I eventually landed a job in Northern Ontario.

It was in the bonded pine plant of McFadden Hardwoods in Blind River, half way between Sudbury and Sault St. Marie. My father and I made the trip together and when we arrived he helped me find room and board with a nice widow, Mrs. Shanahan. He suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t drink too much beer. He advanced me a few dollars to tide me over until my first pay cheque, said goodbye, and drove off.

I reported for work the next day, punched the time clock just before 8am, and looked for the plant foreman. He was a nice chap whose name I don’t recall. He greeted me and introduced me to a middle-aged man, whom I would work with all summer. It was a horribly monotonous job which I did 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for the next 10 weeks. I pity the poor fellows who did it for a lifetime.

I was part of an assembly line that involved lots of pine boards and lots of glue. One of those jobs where you couldn’t slack off for even one minute without the boards and glue piling up, and the whole assembly line shutting down. The hours I worked were precise and therefore easy to remember: 8am-noon, a one-hour lunch break, then 1-5pm. We had two 15 minute breaks, at 10am and 3pm. The whistle sounded to tell us when we could stop working for our break, lunch, or at day’s end. We had to give the company full value for every minute, although I remember occasionally creeping with my fellow workers to the door at 4:57, waiting for the whistle to blow before sprinting across the open yard to punch the time clock. In the morning if we were even 30 seconds late punching the clock the ink colour changed from blue to red on our time card and 1/2 hour’s wages were deducted from our next pay cheque.

Included in my room and board was my box lunch which Mrs. Shanahan made for me every day. I enjoyed mixing my meats with jams in sandwiches, which surprised Mrs. Shanahan. Spam and jam you might call it. And she made me a nice dinner every night which we usually ate with her son and daughter-in-law who also lived in the house. One evening her son took me to a baseball game and I took my turn at bat. Allan Stanley, the Toronto Maple Leafs star, was playing in the same game because this was his home town and he was home for the summer. It was a thrill for me to see him but the pitches were so fast I didn’t even see them and struck out every time.

I met several friends, including the DJ from the local radio station. As is often the case with radio announcers he had a deep velvet voice which didn’t match his appearance at all when you met him in person. He was probably in his early twenties so we didn’t become close friends because of the age difference. One of the fellows I got to know took me on a tour of the nearby town of Elliot Lake where I saw row after row of bungalows boarded up with plywood because of the town’s cyclical economic way of life.

On the way home from work I would stop at the tourist information center to chat up the cute lass who worked in the kiosk. And I went to dances in Iron Bridge, a small nearby town. I even went to an occasional drive-in movie, an experience we were not allowed in Quebec at the time. Some of the 15-year old girls I met were much more mature than I. They knew what they wanted, and weren’t shy about asking. I was inexperienced; I arrived innocent and naive and left little changed.

Trois petits tours et puis s’en vont

Journal Lapresse, Montreal, November 25, 2002

LA VIE AU TRAVAIL – “Trois petits tours et puis s’en vont ”
par Jacinthe Tremblay (collaboration spéciale)

Assurer l’intérim lors du départ d’un dirigeant est souvent perçu comme une tâche ingrate. Pourtant, certains vétérans d’industrie en font maintenant, et avec plaisir, leur spécialité.

En septembre dernier, Ron Foreman, 57 ans, a été embauché pour une période de trois mois comme PDG -rien de moins- de M&H Graphique. Cette PME de la Cité du Multimédia offre des services de pré impression et d’infographie aux grandes agences de publicité de la région de Montréal. Elle emploie 35 personnes.
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A Change in the Program

The Gazette, Montreal, Monday, April 13, 1998

“Ronald Foreman teaches technology even though high tech led to the closing of his first business.”
By Sheila McGovern, The Gazette

It would be easy to forgive Ronald Foreman had he developed a distaste for technology. Technology, after all, played a significant role in the demise of his family’s business in 1993.

But Foreman obviously doesn’t hold a grudge. In January 1996 he relaunched himself as President of Productivity Point International – a company that specializes in training staff faced with new computer programs. The company is also the authorized centre for training Microsoft systems engineers. It’s a rapidly growing industry, bounding ahead by 35 per cent a year, Foreman said.
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