Category Archives: Happyfrog

i was strategic advisor along with for happyfrog dot ca – a Vancouver-based green business directory. find: eco-business profiles, podcasts, and various business announcements up to the acquisition with 3rd Whale

happyfrog moves on – Wrap-up of thanks and such

Cross-posted at: happyfrog Evolves from Small Amphibian to Mighty Mammal – Say hello to 3rd Whale

A busy year in the pond

Since launching happyfrog.ca just over a year ago, the small band of eco-minded renegades worked hard to help sustainability-focused businesses and organizations gain valuable exposure on the web, and in close conjunction with this effort, help green-minded consumers find these great biz’es and orgs.

Over this year, my colleagues and I attended all sorts of trade shows, conferences, meet-ups, presentations and camps to spread the message of sharing eco-smarts with your community. Indeed, we found great joy in seeing the positive impact we’ve made on green entrepreneurs and shoppers alike.

Evolution to a swimming mammal

Now, change is upon us. happyfrog has made friends with a pod of whales and announces happyfrog.ca has merged with 3rd Whale. This business merger means happyfrog.ca as we all know it will change significantly. Think of it as an evolution from a small amphibian to a giant mammal (and Darwin celebrates!).

The company will go forward as 3rd Whale with the aim of combining the happyfrog directory and social networking platform with 3rd Whale’s
mobile application (to be released for iPhone on in November, followed by Android and Blackberry versions) to markets down the West coast of North America, and to the world (and beyond! ;-).

Big Thanks

For happyfrog to grow as fast as it did was not easy but … we’ve had a constellation of collaborators helping build the vision.

Technical helpers:

Frog squadders

Thanks also go to all the business owners who came to our focus groups, purchased ads, claimed their listings, spoke on a podcast, and said “thanks for helping us succeed”!

Same for the groups who invited us to speak at events and share this small revolution including Globe’s EPIC SustainableLiving Expo who which whom we put on an epic (heh) social media experimentat Canada Place (creating tons of creative commons’ content to support growing businesses), Shared Vision magazine for having our back in print, and Deirdre Rowland for getting us in the news and on the tube.

And most especially … thanks to *you* for showing up, reading our thoughts, sharing your knowledge, posting reviews, giving us a link, using the widget, and making our collective environment a little greener, and a little more fun. It would be lonely around here if you weren’t here. Truly, Thank You.

More about 3rd Whale and happyfrog

happyfrog founder (and independent media veteran), Ron Williams points out, “We couldn’t hope for a better partner than 3rd Whale – besides being values aligned, the “whales” bring technical and business skills to the table which help reach a larger audience and make change on a truly global scale.”

So, what does this mean for you?

dave says thanks

You’ll see the site as you know it undergo a renovation and re-branding, you’ll see tens-of-thousands of new listings in new cities added (great for travelers too!), and you’ll see more tools coming out to help you share your eco-smarts with “pod mob” campaigns, mentoring programs, and reviews on-the-go with your smart phone.

Stay tuned for news about how your directory listings will change, blog posts will migrate and any changes to your account info – 3rd Whale will continue to respect both your privacy, and the time investment, you’ve put into happyfrog.ca.

I am truly grateful for your involvement in happyfrog.ca.

Your Greenly,

Dave Olson, Community Manager (emeritus)

For the record: happyfrog and 3rd Whale merger press release

Green Web and Mobile Companies Merge to Help Conscious Consumers “Be Green on the Go”
Cross-posted from PRWeb

What happens when a happy frog and a pod of whales get together to change the world? Vancouver, Canada-based, green web companies 3rdWhale.com and happyfrog.ca announced an equity merger with plans to grow globally with the goal of helping eco-minded consumers make informed choices in all aspects of their lifestyle – from organic food to eco-travel.

Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) November 12, 2008 — Vancouver Canada-based, green web companies 3rd Whale and happyfrog.ca announced an equity merger and plans to grow globally under the 3rd Whale name.

The merger combines 3rd Whale’s location-based mobile phone application with happyfrog.ca’s rich “web 2.0” platform providing green consumers with cross-platform tools to find values-aligned businesses. By using the company’s next generation mobile and web tools, participants can easily share their eco-smarts by adding business reviews, blog posts, and mentoring programs to help others reduce their eco-footprint.

3rd Whale is best known for the “Greenest Person in the World” contest which generated media exposure from Venezuela to Germany. 3rd Whale is the brainchild of Boyd Cohen, who holds a Ph. D in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and is an Assistant Professor at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University. The company recently opened an office in Sunnyvale, California and is actively adding members to the executive team and meeting with venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.

Dr. Cohen, CEO, points out, “By combining happyfrog’s expertise in web delivery of green business listings, and related community engagement, with the growing global brand of 3rdwhale.com and our mobile application, we are poised to initiate truly global change.”

In just over a year, happyfrog.ca grew into the definitive directory for finding environmental and wellness focused businesses and organizations in B.C. Happyfrog’s platform also gave a voice to bloggers and the public to share their opinions about favorite businesses from yoga to sushi with the Myhappyfrog social networking platform.

Happyfrog’s “Frog squad” of bloggers and podcasters were visible at eco-trade shows and conferences, including EPIC Sustainable Living Expo at Canada Place, resulting in tremendous exposure for the businesses and organizations showing real environmental leadership.

Founded by independent media veteran Ron Williams, happyfrog was built and launched by Webby-nominated consulting firm, Social Signal (known for Change Everything, BCHydro Green Gifts).

Williams, now President of 3rd Whale, expressed his excitement with the merger saying, “When I first dreamed of creating happyfrog.ca, I knew partnering with values and technology-aligned companies would be the key to scaling to a larger base. Upon meeting the 3rd Whale team, I knew we’d found a great fit to bring our local prototype to a worldwide audience.”

3rd Whale’s mobile application (called Luna) is in public beta for iPhone and on track for general release on Nov. 14th followed by versions for the Google Android and RIM Blackberry platforms. The happyfrog.ca site will be re-imagined and re-branded as 3rdwhale.com and tens of thousands of new entries will be added in conjunction with subsequent rolling launches in new markets worldwide.

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Fresh batch of happyfrog “Pond casts” from the Health Show

You know i dig making my wee little audio documentary interviews and … at the recent Vancouver Health Show at Canada Place, i interviewed four entrepreneurial women for podcasts posted at happyfrog.ca’s Frog blog. Thought i’d share ’em here for posterity:

Know your Local Water
Vancouver has exceptional drinking water but there is many reasons for concern – chlorination, excessive water laws, groundwater protection and finding a filter made for local water. Mary of yourwatermatters.com also invites you to speak your mind by contacting the Ground Water Advisory Board.

Grab a Stylish and Durable Bag
Bringing your own bag is easier, more stylish with Moukisac.com. Marie tells about her durable 6 in 1 bag system which starts as a fanny pack and turns into a shopping bag with a variety of small sacks for bulks, produce and even sprouting.

Dried Fruit for Washing Clothes

Soap Nuts are a fruit for washing clothes – the waste water is non-polluting, the soap packets are compostable and the smell is like lemongrass. The fruits are grown, dried and prepared in India and fairly traded to green consumers in Vancouver. Learn more about Sapindus (aka soap nuts) at Wikipedia

Healthy Food and Packaging to Change the World
At the Vancouver Health Show, Dave talks to Alex a mother and entrepreneur who, with her partner Colin, produce dried whole foods packaged in cellulose, glass and with no glues. They discuss carbon footprint, local sourcing and creative distribution. Visit madewithlove.ca.

B.C. Green Web Community Adds New Ways to Share

Attention BC-based eco-savvy folks, Vancouver-based web community start-up – happyfrog.ca – releases social networking features for green minded enthusiast to share tips and reviews of local businesses and organizations.

In the beginning, happyfrog.ca was created to help green-minded citizens find businesses and organizations which fit their values and displayed the results sorted by proximity to conserve transportation resources.

Then, happyfrog invited the public to add reviews to the thousands of listings, as well as engage in a community Q&A project to share tips and solve problems.

Now, all the frogs can “auto-magically” share their green favourites with the public with Myhappyfrog. Here’s the low-down …

Sharing your eco-smarts

Meet daveo

All registered happyfrog members now automatically have a Myhappyfrog page with a unique address to share with friends.

Once you login to your happyfrog page, you’ll see all the reviews, questions & answers, and blog posts you’ve submitted so far.

To see the new page, just click “Myhappyfrog” on the happyfrog navigation bar – Your personal address looks something like mine: http://happyfrog.ca/user/daveo

Meet the new tools!

Show off your favourites

see my happyfrogYou can add any listing as a “favourite” and share your preferred coffee shop, yoga studio, or market with the public – handy for you and useful for others. Add a badge to your blog or site to let people know about your happyfrog page with all your faves.

Meet new friends

See daveo's friends

Outreach to talented, interesting people seeking to exchange tips, share best practices, or get involved in new activities. Add your pals and see their blog posts and other content right on your happyfrog page.

Write a blog article

Have something to say? Step up and let it out on your happyfrog blog. You’ll have an instant audience, a unique address and RSS feed, and your best stuff will be promoted to the “Frogblog” for even more readers (and accolades).

Share your knowledge

daveo's blogs, reviews and answers

Your brilliantly written reviews, probing questions and wise answers are now grouped together on your personal page to show off your wisdom and show people your contributions for fame and fortune.

Haven’t written anything yet? Getting started is easy – you just need something to say!

Getting Started

Check out the Myhappyfrog help desk with annotated screenshots and step by step instructions to use each of the new tools.

What’s next?

Many “frogs” and listed businesses and groups already have a blog, and some bloggers only write about happyfrog relevant content on occasion, so we are crafting a way to import your feed and display on your Myhappyfrog page or directory listing page.

Also on the list is personal tagging to help finds frogs with similar interests. Stay tuned and of course, we love hearing your opinion.

Thanks for your help

We appreciate your help reporting bugs and oddities so we can make your experience even better. Drop happyfrog a note with your observations and thoughts.

Talking happyfrog and Greening Planet Earth – Evolution Radio, 2008

Nick Kempinski from Evolution Radio 107.9 (run by students at BCIT) interviews happyfrog.ca’s Community Manager Dave Olson for the Planet Earth show.

Topics include the ways happyfrog helps green businesses and organizations, ways to get involved in greening the planet, as well as Dave’s background as a traveler, writer and activist.

Hop into Dave Olson talking happyfrog on Planet Green show on Evolution Radio (3:02, 5MB, .mp3)

Going green together online – Happyfrog in North Shore News

oly coffee roasters in the sky grotto{Re-posted from North Shore News on Canada.com for educational and archival use.}

Going green together online – Happy Frog directory helps green businesses connect
by Rosalind Duane Special To North Shore News – Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dave Olson is declaring war on paper coffee cups.

“And this is coming from a guy who loves his coffee and hates remembering to take one of those travel mugs, hates remembering to rinse it out and hates remembering to clean it,” he says.

Olson notes that the switch is on to cloth shopping bags, and organic foods, but paper coffee cups and plastic water bottles still need to be done away with.

Five years ago, Olson, a North Vancouver resident, says he got funny looks when he used his own canvas bag for grocery shopping, but these days, options other than the ubiquitous and environmentally unfriendly plastic bags are popping up all over the place. Similarly, 10 years ago, it was difficult to find fair-trade, organic coffee, but that has also changed.

Along with consumers, businesses both big and small are also paying more attention to sustainable practices. It is getting easier (read cheaper) for companies to change their internal practices to include measures such as office recycling, and to offer incentives to employees to walk to work or carpool.

For the past 10 years, Olson has been working in online marketing and has noticed a definite shift in the way business is being done; even big-box stores are highlighting their “green” features.

“It shows that big companies are following the little companies, which is a real big paradigm shift really because 20 years ago, 10 years ago, that certainly wasn’t the case,” he says.

While working in the business world, Olson has also been taking pictures and writing blogs in support of his passion for the environment. About six months ago, he joined in the creation of an online green business directory called Happy Frog.

He says the opportunity to help develop what he calls a “green community” allowed him to put some structure around the grassroots journalism that he was doing.

“We’re really hosting the community conversation about these green and sustainability minded topics,” he says of the directory, which lists various environmental and sustainable-minded businesses from across the province. While the idea for Happy Frog started out as a directory, it has evolved to include reviews and tips from users, and piece by piece, more interactive elements have been added. Olson and his team have also gathered a group of non-professional writers and photographers to attend the upcoming Epic Sustainable Living Expo and report back to the site with photos, stories and podcasts. He says the website is the “social media partner” for the fair, and he wants to profile vendors that may not otherwise be featured in the mainstream media.

Olson notes that over the years as he has been attending and reporting on wellness fairs as a hobbyist, he has learned that by telling stories and letting people know each other’s points of view a lot of progress can be made.

Letting businesses in on the conversation is another aspect of the directory that Olson is excited about. Once listed in the directory, business owners can access their listing and add their own blog. Olson says beyond regular print ads, the online blogs allow business owners to be “authentic” and tell their story.

Each business chosen to be included on the website has to be B.C.-based and has to fit into one of the Happy Frog categories, which include Arts and Culture, Eco Travel, Food and Beverage, Fashion and Beauty and more. Olson and his team then look at what the company is selling and make sure that the company is at least making an effort toward sustainability practices.

“The other big requirement is that they are willing to say publicly, ‘We’re trying to get better. We’re trying to learn how to be sustainable,'” explains Olson.

He adds that the vendors listed may still have improvements to make, but just because the owners aren’t walking to work and wearing recycled burlap for clothes, the business can still be considered.

“We want to be inclusive and help people make those first couple of critical steps.”

Olson says although it’s easy to get cynical about the amount of change that still needs to occur, every little bit helps.

“The little changes beget bigger changes and really snowballs into all of a sudden you find yourself eating organic, shopping with bags, not taking that paper coffee cup, and if we reach a critical mass of people doing that all of a sudden real positive change happens. So it’s really a shift in thinking and habits that starts small and gets bigger,” he explains, adding that his hope for the website is to get people communicating in an authentic, honest manner about environmental issues.

For more information, visit the Happy Frog website at www.happyfrog.ca.

© North Shore News 2008

{NOTE: Re-posted from North Shore News on Canada.com for educational and archival use.}

{Note: Photo by DaveO added to article – did NOT appear in the NS news article}

Green-minded Bloggers Celebrate Earth Day with EPIC Coverage

Stylin eco at EpicKicking off Earth Day 2008, a group of eco-minded social media makers produced over 50 pieces of social media at the EPIC Sustainable Living Expo in Vancouver, BC April 18-20. The multi-media coverage including audio podcasts, video clips, blog articles, and a vast collection of photos. In all, the crowd-sourced campaign featured over 70 eco-conscious businesses and sustainability-minded organizations, plus numerous noteworthy presenters and even a “green” episode of CBC’s the Dragon’s Den.

The media dispatches were published using many “web 2.0” technologies including posting on the happyfrog.ca “Frog blog” and at the new EPIC Expo blog, as well as the writer’s personal blogs and various eco-community sites. The rich-media content was distributed via multiple channels including photos at the happyfrog Flickr pool, “Pondcasts” in iTunes, Frogwalking videos on Blip.tv and You Tube, and even micro-blogging on Twitter.

A comprehensive guide to the happyfrog.ca coverage of EPIC is included in “Get Social with EPIC 08 Coverage” or subscribe to the EPIC Expo 2008 RSS Feed.

Frog squadders at EPIC
Frog Squadders at EPIC

Brought together by BC green web community site, happyfrog.ca, the social media makers comprised a diverse assortment of personalities, interests, and demographics which resulted in a variety of topics and points of view.

Rewarded with a bamboo/organic cotton t-shirt and an “honorarium”, the “Frog Squad” showed their commitment to spreading practical ecological information to effectuate positive change with this multi-day blog marathon. The citizen journalists explored every facet of the show from sampling organic beer, vodka and coffee, to checking out presenters like Mike Holmes, Adria Vasil and Simon Jackson.

Frog blogger with Adria Vasil
Frog bloggers Miss604 and hummingbird post with Adria Vasil at EP

Working from a “blogger’s lounge” (a coffee table, a few chairs, and a borrowed Salt Spring coffee airpot) next to the happyfrog booth in the concourse, the volunteer team of experts provided almost real-time coverage by publishing continually throughout the day. The stream of content allowed interested people from out of town to experience the expo – as well as building excitement during the run of the 3-day event.

Mike Holmes at EPIC
Mike Holmes at EPIC photo by John Bollwitt

The resultant grassroots footage is dubbed “social media” since it is meant to be shared. Site visitors are encouraged to add favorite posts to their social networks and shared bookmark services, send to a friend or post a comment on the blog. Further, with Creative Commons licensing, the interviewees may re-use the content on their blogs to help magnify their message.
Stephan for Simple Shoes
Highlights:

  • Simon Jackson, fervent protector of the Spirit Bear, garnered a report from the floor by Raul (AKA hummingbird 604), background info by Jonathon Narvey (jnarvey), plus a podcast of his stirring presentation.
  • Super-contractor Mike Holmes’ candid presentation was live blogged by Rebecca Bollwitt (AKA Miss 604) and Raul interviewed with Adira Vasil, author of Ecoholic.
  • More audio “Pondcasts” (produced by johnbollwitt of Radio Zoom) included happyfrog Community Manager Dave O’s (daveo) conversations with the Reddot Campaign against junk mail, local news source The Tyee, a tech-activist offering solar power web hosting, Simple hemp shoes, and stylish and efficient Vespas.
  • Videos interviews with LevelGround Trading, Industrial Artifacts, Hank&Cheef, and many more vignettes from the floor with hosts Christy and Cliff.
  • Reports from the journey by two Salt Spring coffee roasters who biked their way to EPIC to tell about the company’s carbon cool initiatives and green tax on disposable cups.
  • Handmade body care crafter Naked was featured in a podcast interview and a post by eco-enthusiast Alexa Booth (xabooth).
  • Vancouver designer coverage with a Devil May Wear podcast, blog post about Dahlia Drive, and an eco t-shirt comparison including RioRain, HTNaturals and Me to We.
  • Sustainable travel tips with a podcast and blog post about Parks Canada and a post on Adventure Travel by Colleen Coplick (colleenc) who also points about the problem with plastics and the benefits of the EPIC Sigg bottles.
  • Greg Andrews (GregEh) also noticed the Sigg bottles along with Frogfile sustainable office products – ditto by Karen Fung (countablyinfinite) who also reported on the fancy solar lounge table and the design panel hosted by Shared Vision.

Natureland Organic

See all EPIC coverage at: happyfrog.ca EPIC Expo 2008 coverage.

More:

If you are interested to learn more about how and why we took on this campaign, please contact Dave Olson, Community Manager, dave (at) happyfrog (dot) ca

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happyfrog.ca on Urban Rush TV Programme

happyfrog.ca’s Christy and Dave appeared on the TV programme Urban Rush which airs on the Shaw local programming channel. They had some laughs with the hosts Fiona and Michael and talked about latex mattresses, gluten free beer, web community building and more green tips.

Social Media Round-up from the Vancouver Green Living Show

A squad of environmentally conscious bloggers, podcasters, and video-makers joined the other sustainability-minded visitors at the inaugural Vancouver Green Living show.

The resulting collection provides deep coverage of a variety of interesting businesses, unique products, and people effectuating positive change by creating and marketing sustainable alternatives to polluting products.

The crew of grassroots media makers expressed a variety of point of views and focused on their particular interests while finding surprising products under the BC Place dome from February 29th ~ March 2nd.

Here’s a brief recap from the frogsquad’s work:

Lisa Tilson discovered some natural toys, questioned the role of big corporations at a green show, and made her podcasting debut discussing city bikes and hemp clothing.

GregEh brought his bachelor perspective while writing about eco snow melter plus bikes of all kinds, hemp milk, and yerba matte, and pitched in heap of great shots for the photo pool.

Raincity Bikes @ Green Living Show 2008

Rebecca “Miss 604” and Keira-Anne covered the show in their savvy manner sampling products from soybean candles to organic beer. The prolific bloggers also visited the Vancouver Aquarium booth and K-A offered this sage advice for visitors:

Chocolate Hemp Milk

“One final piece of very important advice I leave you with:

Though you will be tempted to try samples of all the foods and beverages you see, once your tummy is full of no less than organic chocolate, organic beer, coconut oil, hemp butter, organic wine and hemp milk, that same tummy will be very, very angry with you.”

Bamboo Shirts

Joe Solomon offered discourse on green cleaning services and addressed the social issues of traditionally low-wage jobs. hint: Check out Joe’s Netsquared blog for info on finding web geeks to help your social change project.

Alexa Booth shot a heap of great Green Living Show photos and contributed to the happyfrog Flickr pool. The smart shopper likely found a few businesses to review to add to her happyfrog-leading total, and even tested the In-Bed Organics mattresses (see also: Organic Latex Mattresses Seek Insomniacs.

IMG_1588.JPG

happyfrog’s own ChristyS and her personal cameraman created the first batch of FrogWalking videos with interviews with green entrepreneurs. Christy talks to a recycled clothing designer, a green wedding planner,artsy eco t-shirts.

Finally, I’m (happyfrog Community Manger Dave O) rolling out a new podcast series. The first batch of the “happyfrog Pondcast” podcasts features Rain City Bikes, Dancing Bear Hemp Clothing, Me to We T-shirts, and the Emily Carr communications design art exhibit. The shows are rolling out so subscribe to the happyfrog Pondcast feed to catch the conversations as they post.

Dave at EPiC

Next up for the frogsquad? The EPIC – The Sustainability Expo at Canada Place on April 18-20. This is EPIC’s second year and the last one was a busy hive of eco-edutainment so be sure to join the throng.

Have something to say to the world? Join the band of social media makers for a fun weekend of creating documentary evidence of ecological efforts. Contact happyfrog to express interest and check the green event calendar to find ways to share knowledge.

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Green Biz Review contest

Happyfrog is BC eco directoryI’ve found myself a day job with BC eco-business and org directoryhappyfrog.ca.  To generate some reviews,  my colleagues and I fired up a contest to encourage you to share your ideas by submitting reviews of green businesses and organizations in Vancouver and throughout BC.

Deadline: Dec. 20th the clock stops and we draw a random winner for a $500 gift credit to use at any one happyfrog.ca listed business or organization.

Each qualifying review you leave (make them worthwhile eh, don’t spoil the pond) counts as another entry. This means the more you help others with your tips, the more chances to score the frogbucks for whatever reason you choose (well almost anyhow).

tub with view

I have a few ideas (buy a goat for an African village, massage gift certificates, donation to a non-profit group, or perhaps a weekend at a Sunshine Coast B&B), but we happyfroggers also want to hear where you like to shop and what you are buying with sustainability in mind.

More discourse at the frogblog: Review a happyfrog Listing and Win a Prize! on the pros and cons of festive purchases and how to get creative for whatever holiday you are celebrating (or not).