Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Edge of Creativity

I’m an artist. You give me a tuba and I’ll get something out of it.” John Lennon

The Creative Process:

My grandfather was Canadian artist, Jack Hambleton. Until I was six, I lived upstairs from his art gallery in Kelowna, British Columbia. I spent hours watching him paint his signature landscapes and harbour scenes.

Christmas Harbour Scene, by Jack Hambleton
Occasionally, he would explain what he was doing - but usually he worked silent, thoughtful and with the purpose and confidence of a pro. I was also to remain silent, if I wanted to stay. Anticipation grew in the silence, as mysterious shapes came into focus. To me it was magic.

It wasn’t until recently, as I’ve been refocusing my own creative process, that I realized the impact he had on me. He taught me a creative process that is now an important part of my life. 

The basic elements are: 

a) create an outline, 
b) build a solid foundation, and 
c) add detail.

But it is much more than that. I was a fly on the wall - a small part of the rhythm and connection that flowed from artist to art. It was a feeling. Like the pleasure release triggered from listening to a favourite song.

This experience was fuel for my artistic fire. As a community planner; maps, graphs, and text were the tools I created and folded into environmental reports and strategic plans. Before that, I worked as a prospector, and there was the same satisfaction when a program was completed with proper care and attention.

This principle of creativity, this magic, is everywhere – if we are aware, and willing to work at it. To the right person, in the right setting, there is elegance and beauty in mathematics, psychology, carpentry, law and the trades. Even a well-constructed outhouse can slide into place, producing that magical effect.

The 5-Year Plan:

I have a 5-year attention span - everything from relationships to hairstyles turns stale after five years.  This has the potential to cause me no end of trouble, if I am not prepared. Falling in love every five years is downright dangerous. I’ve been with my wife for 11 years now. We work at our relationship, and it keeps getting better. Having children is also a great way to break the 5-year cycle – they’re keepers.

The trick is to keep the magic alive when possible, and recognize when it’s time for a change. If we apply some simple strategic tools in our lives, we can align our actions with our ambitions, and gain self-awareness.

If we know where we are going, and where we have been, we have basic self-awareness. The 5-year plan is a great tool for tracking our patterns. I’ve followed a 5-year plan since I was twenty-five. It’s not rocket science. I write down one goal from each main area of my life: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Over the years, the focus moves around as I try to find balance. It's a work in progress.

Flexibility is key. I do a gut-check every year to make sure I don’t lose sight of the big picture. I usually surpass my expectations; however, 40 snuck up on me, and I got off track for a while. But that ended up being a good thing. My mid–life crisis made me realize I had twenty-five productive, professional, years left. It became an opportunity of a lifetime to pursue my passion for writing.

Make a Decision and Commit:

“A loser is someone so afraid of failing that they don’t even try.” Little Miss Sunshine.

Once you’ve made a decision - commit. The good things in life take years to develop – hence the 5-year plan. I take my time deciding, but once I’m in, I dive into the deep end and start swimming.

Grandpa also taught me to, “paint [write, build, etc.] through your amateur-ness”. You’re going to make mistakes – that’s part of any new adventure. You might as well face them head on and get them over with.

Once I decided to write full time, I fired up a blog, and started writing … and writing. Then, I fired up a second blog, and started writing poetry. I purged the decades of technical writing from my system. Since 2012, I’ve written over 100 posts, over 100 poems and self-published 3 eBooks on Amazon Kindle.

Through this process of trial and error I learned a lot. More important, I rekindled the fire smouldering in the pile of rezoning applications, and environmental assessments, that had long since gone stale.

For me it all starts with the fire, lit in my grandpa’s studio all those years ago.

What is that fire for you?

What's stopping you from pursuing it?

Best, Sam Edge

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Changes to Domain to

Emma Whipping it good on the Tube at Felker Lake
Just a quick housekeeping note from"Notes from the Edge". I have incorporated the Blog into my Brand website The Edge on Strategy. 

(If you are receiving this by e-mail you may not be able to see pictures or video unless you open this post in your browser - go to blog.)

The blog will not change in content and format, and your subscription will not be affected in any way. The only difference is the old url - is dead for the time being, and wont get you there now.

If you want to go to the blog directly, you can do so in two ways:

  1. As a sub-blog to The Edge on Strategy: or
  2. As a sub-blog of Blogger:

My Girls Canoeing at our Cabin on Sheridan Lake BC

I apologize for any inconvenience.  I am working on having the old domain "" redirected so all roads lead to Rome - or to the Edge as it were. I'm behind from all the Summer Fun I've been having with my Wife and three Daughters.

Sorry For any inconvenience - here are some pics from this summer that may explain why things are a little untidy right now. Hope you enjoyed the summer also.

Tolko is one the of the Largest Lumber Mills in Central BC
(Their lumber wrapping makes a great water slide)

A Go-Kart Track I helped with the business plan 
and financing proposal for @ Bell-E-Acres Golf Course

As you can see it's been a busy summer, my 7 day holiday turned into 21 days. Ooops. It was a blast - Now back to the salt mines. Please let me know if there are any other glitches on the Edge on Strategy site or this Blog. 

Best, Sam Edge

Monday, July 28, 2014

FUBAR - Our Language Languishes

In 2012, the American Oxford Dictionary, Word of The Year (WOTY), was GIF; verb, "to GIF a picture". That's right - "GIF".


You see, GIF, is always written in all capital letters. Why? Because it's not really a word - it's an acronym, for Graphic Interchange Format - like JPEG, or FUBAR. That's right. The WOTY for 2012, according to the keepers of our language, is not a word.

Let that sink in - as we observe a moment of silence.

The systematic butchering of our language it nothing new - it has become so apparent that Weird Al Yankovic, God help us, has become the de facto spokesman for the proper use of language and grammar. As shown by this 3-minute video, in defence of language, that has over 11 million views as I write this post.

I've written on a lot of topics since starting this blog, in 2012 - the year of the 'GIF', but more than anything, this blog is a reflection of my love for writing. It is a forum for expression of ideas - for sharing experience, strength, and hope as a writer, father and husband.

Written content is the heartbeat of the World Wide Web. From the mid 90's, to the beginning of the new Millennium, we saw virtual arteries clogged with SEO trickery, conversational writing, jargon, lazy short-hand and plagiarism.

In the last decade, we've seen a remarkable reversal, from keyword-stuffing-algorithm-gaming content, flung onto webpages by overnight successes, and mid morning failures, to a revolution of ideas, driven by well written, thoughtful, authentic, content.

Content is King - welcome to the Content Revolution!

It would be nice to claim that this Content Revolution is the product of the Humans and their inherent integrity and protection of all things sacred. Sadly, the Royal Resurgence of language, rising on the back of content is a product of circumstance, rather than virtue. 

It is the monetization of content that is driving this Revolution.

In 2014, content marketing is the hottest trend for corporate sales - and this trend is growing. And it's not only the eBusinesses that are leading the charge. Businesses of all types - from accountants to landscapers - have found we markets and increased sales on the internet.

My favourite content marketing evangelist is Marcus Sheridan, the Sales Lion - and his core business is selling swimming pools. Over five years, he brought his business from the edge of ruin to prosperity, on a platform of content marketing. Marcus promotes a refreshing return to traditional values - like being helpful and communicating. 

We've gone full circle, in this Age of Information - the same forces responsible for launching guerilla warfare on our language with GIF, L8er and OMG - now form the foundation of a Digital Renaissance led by Content Marketing.

What does the future look like for our language? 

Well, the WOTY for 2013 is "selfie". At least it's a word - which is progress. But maybe it's not the lexicographers, and academics, who hold the keys to  our language - but rather, the executives, and shareholders of the corporate world.

Content marketing is driven by economic - not artistic, or cultural - metrics. The end result is the free exchange of new ideas, and furtherance of the quality of contemporary writing. If the consumer is attracted to content, and this attraction results in visits to a brand website, and these visits translate into sales - then there is real, economic, motivation to maintain high quality written content.

So, if Content is King, then the Consumer, who drives the demand, must be Queen - long live the Queen

And if a dopey song by Weird Al helps carry this message to the masses - so 'b' it.

Best, Sam Edge

For more about Content, eCommerce and Business Strategy, visit my information site: The Edge on Strategy

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Dealing with difficult people (Including yourself)

"It's better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you a fool than speak and remove all doubt." Mark Twain et. al.

I attributed the quote above to "Mark Twain et. al." because there is some debate as to who said it - but it sounds like Mark Twain to me. Regardless of origin, this little pearl of wisdom has served me well. When I am unsure of where I stand or, more frequently, when I am not fit for Human consumption, I try to listen more and speak less.

I learned this lesson only after many years of conflict, trial and error.

For most of my thirties I worked in an office with twenty-five employees. I was one of only two men. I worked there for seven years. I was in a senior management position. Obviously, any authority I had over my employees was an illusion that I was allowed to entertain from time to time. Up until this time in my life I was allowed to believe that men were the stronger sex - not so.

Any true managing that I was able to achieve was through the art of strategic submission. I leaned more about how to get along with the Humans during those years than all the combined years before and since. I also learned a lot about true strength.

I managed to play well with the other kids - for the most part.

There were a few conflicts which I chose to engaged in with way too much enthusiasm.The delicate art of assertively setting and maintaining boundaries was foreign to me. Rather, I spent many nights plotting revenge on those who I was convinced were picking on me. Ultimately, I resorted to guerilla tactics.

I would spend an entire week crafting an e-mail to be concise, hard-hitting and full of double meaning and deniability. I fuelled fires with phrases such as: "I understand how difficult ... I am happy to assist with ... complex issues for a person of your .... given your limited ..."

My objective was to exact revenge while maintaining deniability.

At exactly 4:25 - five minutes before quitting time on Friday afternoon - I would send the e-mail, turn off my computer and go home for the weekend. I would be the last this the recipient would see before their weekend. They were left unable to respond. Monday they would be apoplectic.

Yes, I was a little, little man

Photo Credit:

Ultimately that job crashed into a mountain and I was the first to be eaten in the ensuing weeks. I will always be grateful for that experience. As a result I have never since found a personality conflict I am unable to rise above. From this experience, I developed the single best strategy to promote peaceful relations with the Humans.

I sleep on it - that's it.

I don't react in the moment I go home and let it sit for a night. Most of the time the problem resolves itself as I sleep. When it doesn't, I am able to find a way to resolve it with out bloodshed or viscous e-mail campaigns.

I still write e-mails to resolve resentments but I have my wife proofread them first.

Today I play well with the other kids. Life is too short for petty resentments and feuds. I need all the energy I have to be the best husband and father I can be. I don't have the luxury of nursing resentments.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Best, Sam Edge

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Strategics Ezine, May 2014

Hi everyone. 

As many of you know I have started a website "The Edge on Strategy". Part of this website is the Ezine "Strategics" where I put together a monthly article related to how we can use Strategy to become more effective in reaching our professional and personal goals. Below I am providing a link to the May article of Strategics for those of you who are subscribers to my Blog but not my other site. 

To be sure you don't miss anything I recommend you joining both the Ezine and Blog. Either one will get you my free eBook on Strategic Planning.

Enjoy the article and have a great June!!

Here is the link to join Strategics and get the article directly to your inbox.

Best Sam.
Tegan and Abigail