Free agent

Well, as of this morning, I’m officially a free agent again.

I’ve been working for the last year and a half at Canpages with the goal of reinventing Canpages.ca: turning it into a modern local discovery experience for people who want to find services, products, entertainment, and help close to home. We had an amazing plan for the site, working with DDB Canada, and were just about to kick off the build phase with Appnovation for web and mobile, and probably ConquerMobile for iOS.

We had already inked an agreement with Helium for local bloggers – our community ambassadors – in 5 key markets, and were about to increase that to 50 or more. And I had an amazing proposal from Gigya that was going to allow us to not only build our site for social, but enable an awesome gamification platform – not the fake, glued-on kind, but one built solidly around actual, normal, useful user actions, and resulting in real, tangible benefits for users.

It was a beautiful vision. Alas, that’s all it will ever be.

I won’t talk much about the SEO miracles we pulled off, extracting 3.5M uniques a month from an ancient, tired, creaking old website with very few updates over the past few years. Or the integrated mobile vision I planned: use whatever app, device, or web browser you want … it’s the same local search experience, optimized for your screen and your device, still knowing who you are, what your preferences and favorites are, and what you’re most interested in.

The fact remains that with the tough situation our corporate parent Yellow Pages Group is in right now as they transition from print to digital, it didn’t make sense to have competing entities in the marketplace … both scrounging for resources in development and marketing. So Canpages is essentially shut down. We got the requests for early morning meetings yesterday afternoon, and today we came to the office for the execution.

I have had such a wonderful time with so many amazing people: Colin, my boss, in web and marketing … Cathy, a marketing whiz with endless patience and sense of duty … Nicole, Daniel, Jennifer, Kim, Ivica in shipping (no more chats about the Canucks’ last game, Ive, sorry), Jason, Rick & Sue, sales managers for the east and west, respectively, Brandon, Melissa, Gabriel, Luc, and many, many more.

Well, it happens. Thanks, Nic (VP for web and mobile for YPG) for an exciting ride. Thanks YPG for the opportunity.

What’s next?

I’m writing a book, I’ve got a few ideas for my own business, and I’m going to beat the bushes for another great opportunity.

If you hear of one, let me know!

 


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