COM0011 – Post #3 – Women of Microsoft, Time to Ask for a Raise

Oh man! Literally. Just when we thought things were starting to progress, both for Microsoft and for women of the world, the CEO of Microsoft shocks us with a comment about women’s pay. His comment was in response to women who were uncomfortable asking for a raise in the workplace. His exact words: “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”

Maybe his first mistake was saying this at an event for women in computing, as before he knew it, his comment was making headlines. Twitter was on fire with comments about the CEO, not to mention the comments that were appearing on blogs and other social media channels.

Microsoft CEO Twitter Feedback

So, why is this upsetting? I mean he was giving advice, so he meant to help these women. Unfortunately, his advice just did not add up with the facts. The fact is that, in general, in the computer industry, tech companies have a higher rate of men hired than women. In addition to this, it is said that these women, and women in many other industries, are often paid less.

In fact, the interviewer at the event, Maria Klawe, who is president of Harvey Mudd College, and is employed as a director at Microsoft, was quick to correct the CEO. Her suggestion was that women research salary information and practice asking with people they trust.

If women were to trust the system, as perhaps they have done so far, who is to say that anything would actually change? In fact, up until now it has not changed that drastically (though there have definitely been improvements), otherwise this would be a blog post about just how successful we have been at bridging the gap between men and women in the workplace.

In the end, Nadella did issue an apology, acknowledging that the question was answered “completely wrong” and that “men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

Do you think his apology is sufficient for reducing the negative reaction that people had?

COM0011 – Post #2 – Tim Hortons Did What?!

I recently read an article on CTV News titled: Calgary Home Quietly Turned Into Tim Hortons Overnight (

Though it may seem like old news now, this had to be one of the most interesting things I had read in a while. How would you feel if, overnight, one of your neighbours’ houses was “magically” transformed into a Tim Hortons? Granted, I am not a Tim Hortons’ superfan, but it is a Canadian thing (even if the company is not entirely Canadian).

Calgary Home Turned Tim Hortons

Calgary Home Turned Tim Hortons

Tim Horton’s goal when doing this was to draw attention to the fact that it has over 2,000 positions that it wants to fill. I say, that goal must have been reached, because this is all over the media, both traditional and social media. From an HR perspective, I think this is a fantastic way to attract new employees, and so much more appealing than your usual job fair. Not to mention, the free coffee and doughnuts.

When I first learned about this, I thought it would be a permanent structure. In fact, I remember telling my husband that it is a wonderful idea for people who want to work from home. Growing up, my uncle owned many restaurants with upper level apartments, and I always thought it was so convenient that he worked so close to home. Now that I know it is a temporary thing. I do think that is a shame, although it would be understandable if some of the neighbours felt disturbed by the amount of traffic it will bring into what should be a quiet suburban street.

They even decked the house out with Tim Hortons accessories: from blankets, to doughnut shaped soap, artwork, pillows, and even door mats. Honestly, some of these items look very nice. Just like some people like to deck their houses out with Coca Cola paraphernalia, I could see some of this stuff looking nice in my house.

I have to say, that amidst all the reactions to the Tim Hortons-Burger King merger, this was a pleasant, much more positive story about Tim Hortons. It was so clever of them to tweet out photos of the house using the hashtag #TimsNextDoor. In fact, #TimsNextDoor trended with an abundant amount of positive feedback from those involved, those lucky enough to experience it, and those, like me, who wished that it had happened to them. This truly was Social Media Marketing working very well; marketers found out where their audience was, literally lived among them, learned from them and listened to what they had to say. Now, it only makes sense that the marketing team at Tim Hortons will take what they learned from communicating first hand with their audience and apply it to future campaigns.

Tweet from a Tim Hortons' fan

Tweet from a Tim Hortons’ fan


Now, if only I can convince one of my neighbours to open up a “café” on my street…but maybe not too close…after all, I am supposed to be in a quiet suburban neighbourhood – without Neon signs shining through my bedroom window.




COM0011 – Post #1 – Colour for the Taste Buds

Black Burger

I recently came across a business article discussing Black Burgers being a new trend. At first glance, my immediate reaction was: Do they burn the bun? That does not seem very healthy!

The full article can be found at:

But of course, after reading a few words, I was quickly reminded all about the crazy marketing world we live in.

I have always found marketing to be a very fascinating thing, particularly when you consider different market segments, including local and international markets. In this particular case, the Black Burger or “Ninja Burger” is a big seller in Japan. I would be curious to see if it would ever be popular here, although my strong belief is that it would be a flop. A part of me can imagine my teenage brothers wanting to try it…and potentially my not-so-teenager husband, as well. For me, “The buns and cheese slices are dyed black with bamboo charcoal, and squid ink is used to turn the ketchup black”… kind of sounds unsettling.

On the other hand, the more I reflect on if it would be successful, the more I think that it may actually be worth testing, but perhaps under another name. In Japan, this is called the Ninja Burger, but I don’t know that Ninjas are really the “in” thing in North America these days, unless, of course we are talking about Ninja Turtles. Instead, I find that we are really obsessed with Vampires, Zombies and the likes. So, I guess if they tried this out as a limited time offer Walking Dead burger, or the Apocalypse burger, then maybe.

The article talks about odd food colours, and specifically discusses the Heinz purple ketchup. I am not going to lie; this crossed my mind just a few months ago (so it is really gross to see the pictures again). I recall being a kid, watching Rosie O’Donnell after school and wanting so badly to try the purple ketchup. Although I find the idea quite disgusting now, I know my 3 1/2 year old daughter would be very interested. Now, when I look at it, it just looks like melted silly putty (and as a pregnant woman, it actually makes me a bit queasy to imagine tasting it). It is, truly, a fascinating thing that this product was advertised so much on television and daytime talk shows when I was younger. So much so, that I was really interested in trying it out. I didn’t even realize, however, that they had the “Taste the Rainbow” campaign with other colours as well. It is surprising to me that it sold for 6 years though. For now, I’ll keep my red ketchup please.


Pepsi Crystal, on the other hand, is not something I have any memory of. After reading about it, it makes a lot of sense (at that time) to market it as a “pure” drink, as it looked like water. I guess it didn’t make sense to consumers to spend extra on a clear version of a regular Pepsi flavour? Unlike Pepsi Crystal, I do remember Black Water. I specifically remember how there was the appeal to have this water, because of its added mineral benefits. I think it would be worth remarketing these products today, as pure, mineral type drinks are a popular trend.

I would say that I am usually pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, but my health conscious self now looks at all of this and right away questions the safety of these items. Like one person said, it’s all fun and games until we realize the effects of the food colouring.