CEO Blog

Don’t Be Entitled … Take Control of Your Life

Entitlement quote Marian EdelmanEntitlement is a great way to limit your potential.

Taking responsibility for your self is the only way to, borrowing a quote from the US Army, “Be All That You Can Be.”reach that potential.

Don’t live your life looking for the handouts.

Don’t live your life doing the least possible, and expecting to be rewarded.

Don’t live your life expecting the world to be “fixed” by governments, or your boss, or your parents … or anyone else!

Invest in yourself.

Work harder than everyone else.

Work smart … learn from those who are succeeding around you.

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.” Jim Rohn

Find your niche.

Give more than you get.

Read and travel to expand your horizons.

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”  Tony Robbins

Create your own opinions based on research and experiences, not on the narrow thinking of others.

Don’t let negative influences define you.

Find positive people to hang out with.

Focus your energies on creating and living the life you want.

Life holds so much potential … get outside your comfort zone and explore it!

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”  Stephen Covey

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

January 2016 Tech News

it-industry-news-january-2016This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for January 2016. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Januarys …

Five years ago in January 2011 economic news was generally positive, Steve Jobs
The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itannounced his leave of absence from Apple and Larry Page assumed the CEO role at Google.  There were also some big M&A deals, the largest being the $3.1 Billion acquisition of Atheros Communications by Qualcomm.  Verizon paid $1.4 Billion for Teremark Worldwide and IGate paid $1.2 Billion for Patni Computer Systems.  Also out spending money were Dell, Google, Cisco and Things were very quiet in M&A four years ago in January 2012.  Former tech giant JDSU was back on the acquisition trail, even if just to pick up a small Vancouver based company, Dyaptive Systems.  Symantec paid $115 million for LiveOffice to help with its storage capabilities, Google bought a bunch more IBM patents, and Xerox picked up Laser Networks in the managed printing space.  Rim (now Blackberry) also announced a change in leadership.  Three years ago in January 2013 Cisco logoCisco bought mobile network software company Intucell for $475 million and sold its Linksys division to Belkin.  The biggest dollar value deal was AT&T’s purchase of some of Verison Wireless’s airwaves for $1.9 Billion.  Other deals saw NCR buy video software ASTM company uGenius Technology; Canon Canada acquired long-time partner and document management company Oce Canada; NetSuite bought retail management systems company Retail Anywhere; and AVI-SPL bought Duocom-Duologik.  January 2014 was an Google signinteresting month with a few big M&A deals.  Google was an especially busy player, selling its Motorola Mobility handset unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion but paying $3.2 billion for Nest Labs and the company also bought Bitspin.  The other big deal saw VMware pay $1.17 billion for mobile device management company AirWatch.  Other big names on the acquisition trail included Oracle who bought cloud based service delivery company Corente;  Microsoft paid a reputed $100 million for cloud based service company (seems to be a theme) Parature;  Ricoh purchased IT service company Mindshift from BestBuy; and Hootsuite bought analytics company uberVu. Last year in January 2015 the biggest deal O2 logosaw Hutchison offering more than $14 billion for O2. Other big dollar news saw Yahoo looking like it might be remaking itself, spinning off its $40 Billion stake in Alibaba to become smaller, leaner and either buy or be bought!  The final M&A activity involving a “B” was Telco equipment company Commscope offering $3 billion for TE Connectivities network business.  There were also a number of very well-known companies out buying, and in no particular order … Amazon paid something like $300 million (approximate) for chip designer Annapurna Labs; Expedia bought its online travel competitor Travelocity for $200 million; Samsung paid $100 million for Brazil’s largest print company Simpress; Google paid about $100 million for mobile payments company Softcard; Facebook bought a company that has a Siri like solution that can be embedded in other products; Dropbox Twitter logobought CloudOn a document editing and productivity tools company; Twitter paid somewhere between $30 million and $40 million for Zipdial, an Indian company that does some funky marketing thing with phone hang ups; and finally Microsoft made two acquisitions, startup text analytics company Equivo and in a departure from its history it bought open software company Revolution Analytics.

Which brings us back to the present…

January 2016 sees the continued challenges in the Canadian economy stemming from low oil prices, a weak dollar and relatively high unemployment, particularly in the oil patch.  Canada did add 23,000 jobs in December but the unemployment rate remained at 7.1%.  The US continues to add jobs, a record 257,000 private sector jobs in December, although there are also some signs that the growth is slowing down.

IBM logoOn the M&A front there were no huge deals, but there was plenty of activity with some of the household names out shopping.  IBM bought video service provider Ustream; Microsoft bought gane ased leaning tool MinecraftEdu; Apple bought “emotion recognition” company Emotient; and Oracle bought media web tracking firm AddThis.  Toshiba bought an ERP solutions company Ignify, and a number of smaller deals included Juniper Networks buying BTISystems Inc.; Fireeye bought iSight partners; Acceo Solutions bought Groupe Techna and Smartprint bought LaserCorp’s Toronto based managed print services business.

There were a number of interesting funding announcements with IoT company Foresight Technologies raising $76 million; Cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes raised $50 million; SaaS security company EiQ Networks raised $30 million and several other up and comers raised between $7 million and $25 million.

Microsoft logoIn other news Xerox announced it would be following a trend, and splitting into two separate public companies; Microsoft a one billion dollar philanthropic endeavor donating cloud services to non-profits and worldwide IT spending took a bit of a dive in 2015 and it is expected that it will be 2019 before we see 2014 levels of spending again.

That has been my look at the tech news for January … until next month, Walk Fast and Smile!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

It’s Your Life … Own It!

Attitude quote by Winston ChurchillSome people make things happen …Some people watch things happen, and others wonder “what just happened?”

Some people complain about their lot in life … others get on with building the best life they can.

Some people look for the flaws in others … other people find the qualities to admire in others.

Some people purport to be experts on everything … others strive to learn and grow to succeed in their area of specialty.

Some people let life happen to them … others take charge of their life.

Some people always see the problems … others see the opportunities.

Some people look for ways to do the least … others maximise every minute.

Life is not black and white … but who do YOU want to be?

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.” Stephen Vincent Benét

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?



Work Ethic

Work quote Maya AngelouHard work is the critical component to any success you might have.

How hard you work is something entirely within your own control.

Lots of people think they work hard!

Take an honest look at your day and see how many hours you REALLY work.  Try logging every 15 minute time slice, and really understand where your days go.

“It seems the harder I work, the more luck I have.”  Thomas Jefferson

How much time do you spend on personal activities?

How much time is spent on “make work” activities?

How often do you get up and go for a coffee, chat to a colleague, wander to the kitchen or water cooler, have a “cigarette break” or use your time for non-work activities?

“Nothing worth having comes easy.”  Theodore Roosevelt

Do you plan your day and work your day?

Do you plan your weeks and months?

Do you set goals?

Do you have a “To Do” list?

Do you create positive habits?

Do you look for ways to be more efficient?

General wisdom often suggests that it is more important to work smarter, than harder … but that assumes a baseline effort that is adequate!  I will take hard working with average intelligence over the lazy genius … any day!  (Guess what?  There really aren’t that many genius’s!)

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”   Ann Landers

If you have ambitions of any kind of success then you MUST develop a strong work ethic!  It is totally in your control and can have a huge positive impact … what are you waiting for?

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

CANADIAN JOB MARKET Review Third Quarter 2015

Canadian Job MarketGeneral Observations:

2015 was a tough year in Canada, with GDP contracting for each of the first two quarters, Canada suffered a “technical recession”, and many businesses felt it!  The primary reason for the malaise was the impact on the oil sector caused by a low price per barrel.  Other impacts through the year have been the economic meltdown in China, which is a large consumer of Canadian raw materials, and of late the low Canadian dollar although that does help our beleaguered oil sector.

The unemployment rate at year end was 7.1%, which was 0.4% worse than 12months ago.  Over the course of 2015 Canada added about 158,000 jobs with about 18,010,000 employed.

TSXThe stock market was extremely volatile in 2015 experiencing a steady decline since about April.  One indicator that I follow for this report is the TSX which was at a high of about 15,500 in April and ended the year at around 13,000 but has actually declined another 1,000 since then.

As already mentioned the price of a barrel of oil has been a big factor in our tough economy and it does not look like it is getting better in the short term.  From its highs of well over $100 a barrel we are currently seeing sub $30 prices.  The impact in the oil patch has been layoffs, and more are expected with rates at this level.

Canadian dollar the LoonieTo be expected with our economy struggling, the Canadian dollar has also been suffered.  The 2015 high saw the Canadian dollar fetch about 83c US, and by the end of the year we were around 70c US.  Since then we have dipped below 70c!  The good news is that this helps the oil patch because they sell in US dollars and most costs are in Canadian dollars.  It is also helpful to our manufacturing sector, however that sector has been severely depleted over the years when the dollar was stronger so I don’t expect that much impact for Canada.  Given that our exporters have also been hit by the slowdown in China another expected area of benefit is reduced.

The banking sector continues to be a big user of talent and one of the largest employers in Canada.  The primary demand for talent is in Toronto, but there is also demand in Montreal.  While the competitive nature of the industry requires investment in innovation, technology and responsiveness to regulatory change there is also a need to control costs.  We have seen some fluctuation in demand as certain parts of the financial sector have been reducing staff while others have been hiring.  The banks have taken advantage of the economy to restructure and become more efficient, which is prudent business practice but again tough for the economy right now.
cell towerThe telecommunications companies are big employers in Canada and are also very cost conscious.  While they demand the best talent in order to compete, they are also careful about keeping employment costs under control.  Some of the drivers of demand here include the highly competitive nature of the business, investment in infrastructure, technological innovation and a need to plan for a retiring “Boomer” workforce.  The recent purchase of Wind by Shaw might increase competition and potentially open up opportunities should all of the regulatory approvals go through.

The US economy has been adding more than 200,000 jobs a month and in 2015 added 2.65 million jobs.  This, in spite of the impact of a low oil price in their oil sector, has resulted in some skill shortages in certain areas.  This may result in more Canadian skilled workers being lost from the Canadian economy but is an opportunity for individuals needing to find jobs.

ConstructionThe construction industry in Canada appears to remain healthy and despite the slowdown in the big jobs like the oil sands, there appears to be a constant demand caused by infrastructure upgrades in many of our cities.  From cranes dotting the landscapes of our cities, through infrastructure work on our highways and home improvement projects everywhere the signs of an in-demand industry are plain to see.

The Federal election saw a change in government which will have an impact on Canada’s economy.  In the short term, tax increases and rhetoric from a left leaning government has caused some loss in confidence and willingness to invest.  In the longer term I expect that as the government begins to implement its agenda it will create opportunities in various sectors such as Health, environment and education.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy (the staffing industry) and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The latest score suggests a continued slowdown in demand for labor in 2015, ending the year down slightly over 2014.  This indicator is an aggregate of hours for all classes of labor and so it is my expectation that the impact has been greater on unskilled labor and that skilled talent has a much lower unemployment rate.

Eagle logoHere at Eagle the big impact on our business has been the impact on the oil patch.    Year over year the number of people applying for jobs has been relatively consistent, but there was a decline of 22.5% in demand from our clients in 2015, almost exclusively attributed to the Calgary market

More Specifically:

cn towerThe GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is the hottest job market in Canada and generates about 60% of Eagle’s business.  While it remains a busy market we have seen some impact from downsizing in large companies that has increased the availability of senior people in the market.  Having said all that, if I were looking for work this is where I would like to be.  The sectors that are always looking for people include the financial, insurance, government and telecommunications sectors in addition to the retail sector and the construction industry.  There is also a fair amount of demand in the engineering and manufacturing space.

oil rigsAs already mentioned several times, in Western Canada it is Alberta, and more specifically Calgary as the “oil capital” of Canada, that has taken the brunt of the hit from the drop in oil prices.  All of the major oil companies are headquartered in Calgary and cost cutting has resulted in many layoffs, with many more projected in the first half of 2016.  These layoffs affect not just the oil companies but also the industries that serve them such as technology, services, engineering and transportation companies.  The uncertainty facing the oil patch from the relatively new NDP government has reduced confidence and future investment is also at risk.  The “oil sector bust” will pass but it remains to be seen whether investment will remain in Alberta bringing back the jobs that have been lost to date.  Elsewhere the impact has not been as bad, with Vancouver, Regina and Edmonton still in need of talent but nervous about the longer term impact of the loss of oil revenues.  This could affect everyone as provincial tax coffers suffer and the ancillary businesses are hit.

Parliament building in OttawaEagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal & the “Maritimes”. With a new federal government in place some projects that had been stalled have begun to move again, and there is optimism that a new agenda will lead to more business in the National Capital Region specifically.  Montreal is relatively unchanged, not booming but a steady demand for resources particularly in the financial and telecommunications sectors.  The Maritime Provinces have traditionally had higher rates of unemployment and this is not changing much so work is tough to find.

The Hot Client Demand.
At Eagle our focus in on professional staffing and the people in demand from our clients have been fairly consistent for some time. That would include Program Managers, Project Managers and Business Analysts who always seem to be in demand. It might just be our focus, but Change Management and Organizational Excellence resources are in relatively high demand too. Big data, analytics, CRM, web (portal and self-serve) and mobile expertise (especially developers) are specializations that we are seeing more and more. On the Finance and Accounting, side we see a consistent need for financial analysts, accountants with designations and public accounting experience plus controllers as a fairly consistent talent request. Expertise in the Capital markets, both technical and functional, tends to be a constant ask in the GTA.  Technology experts with functional expertise in Health Care is another skill set that also sees plenty of demand  This demand fluctuates based on geography and industry sectors, so we advise candidates to watch our website and apply for the roles for which they are best suited.


Canada has been weathering somewhat of a storm, and if the oil industry picks up through 2016 then we should be in reasonable shape.  We are adding jobs, and the bigger impact of the downturn have been very regionalised, which has been bad news for Alberta but certainly some people are finding jobs in other geographies and sectors.  Relatively new governments in Alberta and at the Federal level could mean new policies that will create opportunities.  One question will be how much business confidence is affected by the new agendas of these governments.

While Alberta has suffered most, with recession-like symptoms, the rest of Canada endured a technical recession for the first half of the year but the second half saw some growth, and 2016 is expected to be better.  Canada’s unemployment rate is at 7.1% which is not great, but the unemployment rate for skilled workers will be far lower.  Even in these uncertain times we see shortages in niche skill areas.

There are definitely still opportunities created because of the demographic pressures (retiring Boomers) and the need for companies to remain competitive.  We see opportunity in the construction industry, the financial sector, the telecommunications sector and the Insurance sector.  We see the markets with the greatest demand as being Toronto, Vancouver and perhaps Montreal.  Ottawa is showing promise and could pick up if new projects are initiated by the new government.  Edmonton is anxious because a large part of its business is tied to the provincial government and tax revenues are down significantly due to the oil crisis.  The Conference Board however is suggesting that even Alberta will see GDP growth in 2016, with all provinces experiencing some modest growth.

The unemployment rate at 7.1% could be easily reduced with some positive news on the oil front and some positive moves by the governments (Federal and Provincial) in power.  If that happens we could quickly move back to a full employment situation and start to run up against the different issue of finding enough people!  Of course my crystal ball is about as good as anyone else’s, so we will wait and see how the economy unfolds over the balance of the year.

That was my look at the Canadian job market for 2015 and some of its influences, with a view to how it might affect employment in 2016.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Leadership is NOT a Popularity Contest

Leadeadership quote by Jim RohnIn an ideal world managers would set reasonable expectations of their staff, and their staff would be accountable for meeting those expectations.   Once targets were met, management would set new goals and the cycle would continue.  The manager would not need to oversee the work, micro-manage their people or insert themselves into the process until the work was complete.

“Leadership is not a popularity contest; it’s about leaving your ego at the door. The name of the game is to lead without a title.”  Robin S Sharma

In the real world, communication is not as clear as we would like, priorities change constantly, one manager is not as efficient as the next and the same with staff.  Some people accept accountability and others don’t, teams have issues and people are people.

Hence a need for a steady communication, and a means to track progress to ensure that everyone is where they need to be.

The right balance of management involvement is always tough to determine, but a  manager’s natural tendency will err on the “more often” than “less often”; the employee ‘s preference will be “less often” rather than “more often”!  This is just a  reality of the work place!

What is a new manager to do?  Particularly if they have been promoted such that they were in the “less often please” camp previously!

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”  Tony Blair

1.  Leadership is not a popularity contest.  Leaders (managers) need to do the right thing, not the easy thing.

2.  Human nature says that very often, but not always, people will take advantage of their relationship with you … see #1!

3.  As a manager you have a duty to your employer, which usually involves meeting targets and completing projects etc.  That should be your driving force … see #1.

4.  The old phrase, “You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” is worth remembering, as long as your team are responding.  If employees “earn” the right for more autonomy then give it, just don’t forget #1.

5.  If employees are not performing, have unacceptable behaviors or are disruptive in any way you MUST address it, and quickly.  It does nobody any favors if things reach a point of frustration that causes drastic action … quitting or being fired!  So remember #1, and have the tough conversations.

“Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.”   Mary D. Poole

The management role is tough but if you adopt a leadership mentality, have the best interests of your team at hear and do the right things, not the easy things you will do well!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

The Destructive Power of Bad News!

Henry Ford quote .. our belief determines the outcome“Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.” Howard Zinn

The recession of 2008 was a clear example of how bad news feeds on itself.  Not a day went by without the “chicken littles” of the world calling for Armageddon!  Amazingly enough the more they talked about it the lower confidence fell and sure enough we had one of the worst recessions on record.

The naysayers did not create the recession … but they sure as heck hurt the speed of recovery.  The economy is built on confidence and killed by fear … we need to listen to the glass half full people!

Fast forward just a few years and here we go again with the doom and gloom merchants crying in their beer!

Well as I see it the oil patch is just one sector … and it too will recover in time.  It will also be more efficient and more able to withstand the tough times.  A weak Canadian currency is bad for some, but good for others.  The unemployment rate in Canada is not awful.  There are still lots of jobs being advertised.  The boomers are starting to retire in droves and we have a different set of issues caused by “skill shortages” and knowledge loss to contend with … it’s not all bad news from a jobs perspective.

“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules.”  Douglas Adams

The people making all these “doom and gloom” predictions will all do just fine … they always do.  Some of them do better when the economy suffers because they profit from the disruption.

Message to Business Owners … ADD JOBS!

It doesn’t matter whether I like our Wynn Liberal Government, our Trudeau Federal Government or Notley’s NDP government … my job as an employer is to find ways to keep my business healthy and to create jobs.  I operate a National business and need to work within the parameters that exist … I’m very focused on what I need to do!  I will make a conscious effort to stop knocking those governments because it is not helping and they need to be aligned with me in fixing things!  If every business owner were to add just a couple of jobs we would be in decent shape … what do we need in order for that to happen?  A few dollars less profit?  Governments that are going to stop adding costs?  Lets do this!

“In the business world bad news is usually good news for somebody else.”  James Surowiecki


Those governments I mentioned, together with all the other governments here in Canada (at all levels), need to be focused on helping add private sector jobs … because they need a healthy tax base in order to meet their various agendas.  Find ways to help business, not throw up road blocks.  Find ways to create a partnership.  Avoid a single minded focus on your election platform … because right now, we can’t afford your dreams!  Governments need to be very focused on improving TRUST and CONFIDENCE.  We need leadership NOT politics.

Message to Individuals … OWN YOUR SITUATION

If I am an individual caught in this downturn and without a job, I have two options … I can cry “woe is me” and wait for “someone” to fix things; or (b) I can do whatever it takes to get work.  That might mean moving to where the jobs are; it might mean taking different work or a lesser pay; it might mean creating my own job; or it might mean finding the opportunities that ARE there and making sure that I am the one who gets the job.

If you have a job, then do it well … every day when you go to work be very focused on doing the best job that you can.  Protect your job, while helping your company through a tough time.

Message to Doom and Gloom Merchants … SHUT UP!

You really don’t need to fan the flames.  Try to be more balanced in your reporting.  People really do want to hear ideas for positive change … not just the constant whining about what that government did or did not do; or the “opinions” about what MIGHT happen!


If your sources of news are “Doom and Gloom” merchants find other sources.  Ignore the “Chicken Littles” of the world.

Focus on the positives and let’s not talk ourselves into another recession!

MY GLASS is half full!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Be More Productive: 15 Tips

Time quote from H Jackson BrownBenjamin Franklin said, “Lost time is never found again.”

Time is a finite resource and in today’s exceptionally busy world it is a resource that we should all hold precious … and yet most people don’t.

If you are in a busy job then getting your work done in a productive “work day”, without the necessity to put in extra hours on a regular basis, should be doable.  Yet, I would hazard to guess that most people don’t come close to having a truly productive day.

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”  Jean de La Bruyere

So for those people who:

  • Want to be successful; or
  • Want to be the best that they can be; or
  • Want to get their work done in the work day so they can enjoy their personal time.

Here are some tangible things you can do.

  1. Use “To Do” lists. Review them every day BEFORE you even check email!
  2. Treat time as the precious commodity that it is.
  3. When at work, work!
  4. Notice how long things take … and try to get more efficient.
  5. Plan your time.
  6. Use your calendar … religiously!
  7. Focus your energy on “high return” activities.
  8. Continually upgrade your skills … generally but with technology specifically.
  9. Avoid unproductive meetings.
  10. Find ways to reduce how long every meeting you attend takes.
  11. Be productive when you are in meetings … prepare, participate and leave as soon as you can!
  12. Identify what wastes your time … and eliminate or reduce it. Look at:
    1. Internet;
    2. Smartphone;
    3. News
    4. Sports;
    5. Texting friends;
    6. Games;
    7. Idle chatter
    8. Unscheduled breaks
    9. Phone interruptions;
    10. Email interruptions; time waster interruptions.
  13. Be respectful of other people’s time.
  14. Assign priorities to your work.
  15. Delegate where possible … and don’t micromanage!

I’m not going into great detail because it has all been said before.  This is the reminder list … pin it up in front of you at your place of work and look at it every morning until it becomes second nature.

Do all of these things and you WILL see the difference.

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”  Carl Sandburg

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Tech News for December 2015

industry-news-december-2015This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for December 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers …

dell logoSometimes we think IT news in December can be slow, but the last 5 years might belie that theory!  Five years ago in December 2010 there was plenty of action.  Dell made two storage acquisitions, Compellent Technologies ($820 million) and Insite one.  Siemens and Atos Origin formed a new European IT outsourcing company in a deal worth more than $1 billion.  J2 global Communications bought (Ottawa based) Protus IP Solutions ($213 million); Juniper Networks bought Altor networks for $95 million; bought a software development platform Ruby from Heroku for $212 million; Earthlink paid $370 million for One Communications; BMC Software bought GridApp Systems; and L&T infotech established a significant Canadian presence through the acquisition of Citigroup’s IT outsourcing arm.  In December 2011 Ottawa’s March Networks was snapped SAPup by Infinova Canada for $90 million, and Toronto based Rypple was acquired by!  the BIG deal was SAP’s $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors, who had also announced they were buying Jobs2Web for $110 milion.  It was IBM that was the most active acquirer of the month, paying $440 million for DemandTec, also picking up Emptoris in the procurement world and Irish company Curam Software in the government sector.  Three years ago in December 2012 there was a fair amount of M&A activity with Oracle making two acquisitions, marketing automation company Eloqua ($871 million) and Dataraker which provides analytics for utilities companies.  The big deal of the month saw Sprint pay $2.2 Billion to take full control of cellular competitor Clearwire.   Montreal based Cogeco paid $635 million for Peer 1 Networks and NCR paid $635 million for retail software and services company Retalix.  In the BYOD space Citrix bought mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million.  Finally, Redknee added 1200 employees and 130 new clients through the purchase of Nokia Siemens Business Support Network.  Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseDecember 2013 was a slow month, however Oracle pulled off a $1.5 Billion buy of marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments;  IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary based Ideaca.  In other company news Target, although not an IT company, had a major security breach involving details of 40 million debit and credit
cards.  Last year, December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and Microsoft logotechnical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey).  SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger.

Which brings us back to the present …

Shaw logoDecember 2015
was not a particularly busy M&A month but there was some interesting activity.  The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition of Wind for $1.6 billion.  Meanwhile Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc.  Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players.  Oracle bought Stackhouse a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and in the storage world Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate.

ToshibaOther companies in the news include the venerable Toshiba, which has been decimated following the financial scandals it suffered.  It looks like layoffs might reach 10,000 as it undergoes a massive restructuring.  Oracle announced an investment in Austin, Texas to build a campus attracting new grads and Samsung and Apple might have settled a five year patent dispute.  An IDC report was bad news for Blackberry, as it forecasts that IOS, Android and Windows will be the top smartphone platforms for the foreseeable future.

US GovernmentOn the economic front the US economy shows no sign of slowing down, adding another 250,000 jobs in November.  All of the indicators were positive, with four separate surveys indicating that companies were going to be growing their tech employee base in 2016.  Canada however is another story, losing 35,700 jobs in November, albeit many of them temporary jobs associated with the election.  The unemployment rate did edge up to 7.1% and while the third quarter saw GDP rise slightly after two quarters of contraction, the economy continues to sputter.  Having said that, demand for professionals is increasing faster than supply and Canada is anticipating an increase in skills shortages.

I have to say that 2015 was not a great year in Canada’s economy, but maybe the US recovery will have a drag along effect for Canada in 2016?  We can hope!  That’s my look at the tech news for December 2015.  Until next month, walk fast and smile!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Will YOU Reach Your 2016 Goals?

2016 GoalsThere are two things that you can do to increase your chances of reaching your 2016 goals.

1.  Consciously work on your willpower, and I wrote about that not too long ago in my blog entry called The Power in Willpower.

2.  The second thing, and arguably the most important, is to have a plan.  When I say a plan I mean something more than a vague notion of how you are going to reach your goal, it needs to be a set of concrete steps that get you where you are going.

Given that I already talked about willpower just a couple of months ago and you can read that entry here, let’s talk about The Plan.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”  Zig Ziglar 

Here are 3 examples ranging from “the hope and a prayer method”, through the “loosey goosey” method to the actual plan method of reaching your goals.
Let’s suggest that you have a goal of losing 15lbs in the next two months (which is remarkably similar to one of my goals.

The “Hope and a Prayer” crowd will say I am going to lose 15ibs in the next couple of months.  The expectation being that because it has been said then magically they will amend their behaviors such that it will happen.

The “Loosey Goosey” crowd will say, I am going to lose 15lbs in the next 2 months.  I’m going to do it by reducing my intake, and exercising more.   There will be a vague notion of cutting out sweets, and maybe renewing the gym membership that lapsed last February.  While the intention is good, and the 60,000 foot plan is not all bad … it is too easy to “slip” with this plan.

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” Jim Rohn 

A real plan will have some detail that means you need to actually think through what will work for you.  I already work out 5 or 6 times a week, so this routine will work for me.  YOU would need to have something appropriate for your current level of fitness.  If it has been a while then check in with your doctor first and consider getting a personal trainer … they will keep you motivated!   My plan might look like this:

1.  I am going to lose 15lb in the next two months, which is a goal of almost 2lb a week … which will take a big effort.  So, I KNOW I need to change a bunch of things.

2.  I am going to reach the goal by reducing my calorific intake, eating better foods and increasing exercise.

3.  Alcohol.  I will not have any alcohol until I reach my goal.  For many people that would be either a strong motivator, or the kiss of death to the weight loss program!  (Better to be honest with yourself).

4.  Food strategy.  If this is TOO radical it becomes a big barrier to success.  It should also be something that is somewhat sustainable.

  • No sweets.
  • I will reduce starches, and increase vegetables.
  • I will only have healthy snacks, fruit etc.
  • I will track my calories in MyFitnessPal.
  • I won’t have seconds, finish off my partner’s meals or fill up the plate just because there is food there.

5.  Exercise strategy.  Again, this needs to be reasonable or it just won’t be sustainable long enough to reach the goal, never mind as a lifestyle change to maintain the weight loss.

  • I already do cardio most mornings, so I will increase the intensity of those workouts (increase incline and resistance on the elliptical).  I will also add another 10 minutes to the morning workouts.
  • I will add an evening workout 3 or 4 times a week.  This will include a weight circuit at least twice a week.  I will do 4 or 5 exercises for 15 reps each, and do 3 sets.  It should take no more than 20 minutes.
  • Once a week I will supplement my morning cardio with a high intensity workout.   Maybe 20 minutes cardio and 20 minutes high intensity workout. This could be a boxing workout involving the heavy bag and speed bag; it could be doing stairs or the skipping rope, or it could be mini circuits.

The level of detail in the plan means that it is hard for me to hide from myself.

“Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.”  Andy Andrews

Tracking progress on a daily basis using an app like MyFitnessPal is another good way to keep you focused.

Having a third party hold you accountable for staying on track can be very effective too.  It could involve having a personal trainer; a work out buddy; a diet buddy; a personal challenge with a friend; or a simple as asking others to keep you honest!

While the focus of this article has been on one specific goal, a weight loss goal, this same thinking applies to any goal … personal or professional.  Set a goal, create a plan … and don’t subscribe to the “Hope and a Prayer” or the “Loosey Goosey” methodologies!

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”  Pablo Picasso

Good luck with your 2016 goals!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?