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Want to be more innovative? Don’t watch the news.

Want to be more innovative? Don’t watch the news.

Some of the most creative people I know decided long ago not to watch TV news. I used to find their decision curious. This past week, I decided it was brilliant.

After a few minutes of tears on Friday, I decided that watching sensationalized news for more than a few seconds violates my commitment to remain boyishly optimistic. My decision was reinforced over the weekend. Every time I surfed past a news channel, I immediately felt the optimism being sucked out of me. Bickering politicians arguing about metaphoric cliffs, sordid details of kids being gunned down, and smarty-pants journalists deeply committed to forcing each and every issue under the left and right lens threatened to squash the ideals of the most committed optimists.Enough.

Einstein said, “The most important decision a man will ever make is whether he lives in a friendly universe.”

Since I spend my days with people committed to changing the world, I can tell you that Einstein’s words are fundamental to entrepreneurship and innovation. Great leaders believe they live in a friendly universe. They believe the world is conspiring to make it successful. What about you? If not, perhaps you’re watching too much news.

Years ago, I heard a wonderful story about two shoe salesmen. As the story goes, they were both sent to a third world country—at the time, probably China—to sell shoes. After a couple of weeks, the sales manager calls the first salesperson and asks for a progress report. “It’s terrible over here. Nobody wears shoes!” reports salesperson number one.

But the second salesperson’s report is completely different. He says, “It is unbelievable over here. Everybody NEEDS shoes!”

People who believe they live in a friendly universe are looking for opportunity at every turn. People who believe they live in an unfriendly universe look to be persecuted. They live in fear, and fear is the enemy of creativity.

There is goodness all around if you are looking for it. You may notice that people are living almost twice as long as they did 200 years ago. You may notice that there are tens of millions of children being equipped with education and information never before available to them. You may notice the power and availability of technology to change the world—for good or evil, depending on the lens we choose to create.

This is not a media-bashing piece. News directors have made a choice that is totally understandable in our capitalistic system. They want to attract as many people as they can so they can get the most money possible for the commercials that run within their broadcasts. And so, as every young reporter is told from day one, “if it bleeds, it leads,” meaning the bigger the tragedy the bigger play the story will receive.

I understand their choice. I simply think it is wrong. More important, I am aware of the negative effect it has on my friends and me. And so, with this awareness comes choice; and I choose to ride the remote when misery makes money.

Here’s a question I’d like to end with. Is our media helping to create a country of optimistic believers or fearful nonbelievers?

I think you can answer that question with another. Would you let your 7-year-old watch the news? If the answer is “no,” then perhaps you should opt out for the same reason.

We need people who believe that they can change the world. At age seven, I bet you thought you could change the world. I’ve got news for you. You still can.

Source: Forbes (Mike Maddock, Contributor)


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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Media, News


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Credit unions identify new B20 perils

The  national trade association of credit unions is offering  fresh criticism of OSFI lending guidelines, suggesting the rules unfairly limit mortgage access for  immigrants, low-income, rural and Aboriginal Canadians.

“By codifying a set of underwriting expectations, the guideline could also be construed as a step towards standardizing mortgage contracts,” the Credit Union Central of Canada said in its assessment of OSFI’s B-20 guidelines. It’s “something that could harm the system’s ability to provide mortgages to the ‘non-conforming’ borrowers … i.e., low-income individuals, immigrants, rural Canadians (where incomes tend to be more volatile), Aboriginal people, or simply members the credit union knows well but for whom income documentation is hard to come by, including ‘asset-rich, income poor’ individuals.”

Earlier this year, OSFI said it would compel federally regulated lenders to implement a series of lending changes by their fiscal year-end (October 31 for most banks). Among those changes were the reduction of HELOC loan-to-value from 80 per cent to 65 per cent and the elimination of 100 per cent financing.

In recent months, brokers and borrowers have flocked to credit unions viewing them as a sort of a safe haven from the storm of B-20.

OSFI cannot impose the guidelines on provincially regulated credit unions, the CUCC said, but the guidelines can apply to lenders owned by federally regulated companies.

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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Bil B20, New Canadian Mortgage Rule, New Canadian Mortgage Rules, New Construction, New Development, RBC, Residential, TD


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Projects/units available for occupancy

Projects/units available for occupancy.

So this chart places each GTA condo project in the month/year of its actual (July 31, 2012 and earlier) or scheduled (August 1, 2012 or later) occupancy date.

Each square represents one building and the size of that square represents the number of units in the building. The colour of each square corresponds to the year that building starting selling (ie Opening Date) and it’s all plotted against the average initial asking price/sf ($/sf) for the building.

Here’s the chart….

This type of chart can be used to learn many things, especially as you drill down into specific geographic areas. However it is quite useful as an overview of projects working through the long delivery pipeline of many years from launch to construction start to occupancy and subsequent closing.

For instance the projects that have occupied, or are scheduled to be occupied (many will be delayed), in 2012 had opening dates ranging from 2007 through 2010 and had an average initial price of $442/sf at opening. The current RealNet Price Index of $542/sf, but the majority projects opening this year – and contributing to today’s price index – are not scheduled to be occupying until 2015 or 2016.

An understanding of today’s new home market requires a look at both ends of the delivery pipeline as typical metrics like sales price and number of starts must now be viewed with the perspective of completions and occupancies.

Source: Realnet.


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Land Transfer Tax Poll Results Released

 Land Transfer Tax Poll Results Released Ahead of Important Announcement by Toronto Real Estate Board

TORONTO, June 1, 2012

– Ahead of an important announcement to be made on Monday June 4th, by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), regarding efforts on the City’s Land Transfer Tax, Toronto’s REALTORS® are releasing results of public opinion polling that shows, among other results, a strong majority of Torontonians, 66 percent, support plans to repeal the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.

The detailed polling results were formally presented by Mike Colledge, President, Canadian Public Affairs for Ipsos Reid at a TREB luncheon attended by various elected officials from all levels of government, shelter charity representatives, real estate industry representatives, and TREB Members.

“REALTORS® know that the Toronto Land Transfer Tax is having an impact on our City, and these poll results show that the public understands this too,” said Richard Silver, President of TREB. “The Toronto Land Transfer Tax is impacting real people and real jobs and it’s holding our City back. It’s time for action. TREB is looking forward to making an important announcement on this, next Monday.”

Among other key highlights of the poll were:

77 percent of Torontonians who recently purchased a home in Toronto feel that they received little or no added value in City services for the amount of Land Transfer Tax paid to the City;

A third of first-time buyers indicated that they had to pay some Land Transfer Tax to the City, notwithstanding City rebates;


In a list of issues facing municipalities, housing affordability was most often ranked as the most important by Torontonians, ahead of traffic congestion;


78 percent of Torontonians believe that property taxes are more transparent than the Land Transfer Tax and make it easier for the public to hold City Council accountable for their spending decisions;


Public opposition to the land transfer tax remains strong even if the tax were to be dedicated for spending on transit and infrastructure, with more than two-thirds, 68 per cent, opposed to this idea;


61 percent of Torontonians believe that City spending on programs and services is efficient and cost-effective. This is up from 45 percent a year ago, indicating a significant improvement.

This poll is the third conducted for TREB by Ipsos Reid in the last year.


“Public opinion on the Toronto Land Transfer Tax has remained consistent through all the ups and downs of the economy and City Hall debates. Clearly, the public’s opposition to this tax is strong,” said Von Palmer, TREB’s Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer. “We understand the importance of quality services to building a great city, but we believe that those services should be funded fairly and reliably.”


TREB will be following-up on the release of this polling data with the release of additional results and an important announcement on efforts regarding the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, on Monday June 4th.The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid, from April 30 to May 7, 2012, with a sample of 1,257 adults, of which 653 live in the City of Toronto, and 604 live in the surrounding 905 region, with a margin of error of

+/-2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Questions were posed to only Toronto residents, or only 905 region residents, or both, as appropriate, depending on the question.  Source: TREB


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