Doug Hall and the Hippies

There were two stories on Compass tonight that should be merged into one.

The first was a story on the opposition to the possibility of the U.S. military renting the former CFB Summerside to use as a training ground.

The second was a story on part-time Islander and business consultant Doug Hall doing pro bono coaching to the folks at Spell Read P.A.T., an Island business.

The approach of the social justice set on the Island to a new and pressing issue appears to be “get Leo Broderick on Compass, quick.” This goes hand in hand with its sister technique “get Leo Broderick a megaphone and get him front of Province House, quick.”

Now I’m the first to commend Leo Broderick for his ceaseless devotion to the causes of social justice (one might say here “God love Leo,” if one were a bona fide Islander). There is not a doubt in mind that he is a brilliant thinker and passionate activist; indeed, coming from solid leftist stock myself, I agree with the fundamentals of much of what he says.

But (Lord!), does he ever need Doug Hall.

The focus of the Doug Hall story (actually a clip from a future Venture story) was on taking SpellRead’s muddled, unfocused, failing marketing system and molding it into something clear, focused and effective. The climax of the episode was a near fit by Hall over the insistence by the SpellRead folks that they not change their name (Spell Read P.A.T.), which, you gotta say, is about the dorkiest, foggiest name going.

Now, I’m pretty certain that bringing the U.S. military to Summerside is a Bad Idea. And I’m fairly certain that a good number of my friends and neighbours would agree with me. But with Leo Broderick as the spokesperson for this notion, what we end up with is a jumbled, unintelligible morase of, well, nothing. It’s a clear case of a good product with bad packaging. And this is where Doug Hall comes in.

I’ve every confidence that if Doug Hall and Leo Broderick were locked in a room for 48 hours, only good things would result.

Can somebody with more influence than I please make this happen?


Justino's picture
Justino on January 14, 2003 - 04:51 Permalink

Bringing US military to Summerside? Canada’s had it bad enough with the US military in Kandahar.

The Venure episode was last night, and they agree wi’ ye… CHANGE THE NAME!!! Spell Read P.A.T. makes Hall cringe.

Perhaps Doug Hall can convince Leo Broderick to change his name instead? j/k :)

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on January 14, 2003 - 05:29 Permalink

I wouldn’t lock anyone in a room with Doug Hall.

Charlie's picture
Charlie on January 14, 2003 - 13:01 Permalink

Oooo…Sounds like Steven’s upset at something? We demand details!

Ritchie Simpson's picture
Ritchie Simpson on January 14, 2003 - 13:17 Permalink

If Leo Broderick is brilliant then why do we get “…jumbled , unintelligible morass…of…nothing…”? Leo B has no lock on social justice just because he’s on the left, this is a typically Canadian fallacy. Generally his strategy is to raise fears and questions and pose neither solution nor answer. Like many on the activist left now, he’s against almost everything; its a sad legacy of the zeitgeist of the 60’s: as for Doug Hall, he’s is in keeping with that same legacy.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 14, 2003 - 14:51 Permalink

Having been in a small room in the presence of Doug Hall, I can confirm unease with Peter’s theory of improvement through the isolation room. The show itself was amazing both for the banality and wackiness of Doug Hall’s advice. One company was inspired to buy a 1960’s school bus to drive around the US leaving their firm in the hands of others to meet new clients in the field of the health professions. Nothing impresses an HMO like an old school bus. Another was given the inspiring advice that kids hockey parents will spend an hour on a cell phone at the game to create an internet archive of midget hockey games “on-line” and to base his personal financial future on that certainty. I thought I heard coockoo clocks going off in the background. Anyway, Mr. Hall’s relationship to both PEI and CBC is more thought provoking. Hailing himself as a guru based on activity in the decade that gave us business leaders Worldcom and Enron makes me want to have more questions asked about who he is and what he is done rather than sentiments and statements about how great he is. So far he looks to me like a Grade B Tony Robbins who likes Tim Hortons too much. Not a bad thing unless you are in a romm with him — but an economic messiah?

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on January 14, 2003 - 15:00 Permalink

I too was in said room. It was hard for him to believe that someone might NOT want to be on television.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 14, 2003 - 15:18 Permalink

…on television with him…

Rob's picture
Rob on January 14, 2003 - 15:49 Permalink

I am the Anti-Leo. I can’t seem to align myself with him on any issue, even if I theoretically agree. He has the persuasive skills of a freshman high school debate team, and the ideological naivete to match.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 14, 2003 - 15:49 Permalink

PEI is Doug Halls’ testbed, we’ve given him local fame and in return he’s awakened a few of us to marketing.
My first instinct is to retch at the thought of US military coming to train here, but what is wrong with that? Some of those soldiers will fall in love with PEI and with Summerside’s frisky night club scene they may end up marrying a local. That is diplomacy in action.
Also, those $1.50 dollars they spend are nice.
I want to know what problems will they cause? Yankee Imperialism? Doug Halls’ got that covered! Ha Ha!

Alan's picture
Alan on January 14, 2003 - 15:58 Permalink

My problem with Leo is that he wastes opportunity of a good cause through his tedious imperialism over opposing something…anything…everything within the province. CBC shares blame for their lack of imagination in seeking other voices. I think many good points of view have been squandered due to his pushy shouldering to the microphone. I sometimes wonder if Leo and Mella were in a room together shouting at each other whether the unique frequencies they produce would defeat each other leaving observers hearing only silence.

Rob's picture
Rob on January 14, 2003 - 16:03 Permalink

Ken asks, “I want to know what problems will they cause?”
Well, according to Leo, they will bring NUCLEAR weapons and other WOMD to Summerside. He’s playing on people’s worst fears; using silly scare tactics. What are we talking about really? A refuelling stop and a place for paratroopers to practice. Sure it needs careful consideration but I’m all for it. The US is our best friend, our ally, right? Would Leo put up a fuss if Slemon Park offered exile to Saddam?

Ken's picture
Ken on January 14, 2003 - 16:15 Permalink

Summerside with the bomb! Would we get a seat on the UN security council too!

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 14, 2003 - 16:17 Permalink

Leo Broderick…now THERE is a moralist!

Rob's picture
Rob on January 14, 2003 - 16:31 Permalink

I’m glad you think so Wayne, but I bet lots of his fellow lefties are big pot smokers!! How would you reconcile?
(or were you being sarcastic?)

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 14, 2003 - 16:56 Permalink

Rob, To better understand the other side, I’m gonna rent “Cheech and Chong”. All in the name of research!! ;)

KevinD's picture
KevinD on January 14, 2003 - 17:44 Permalink

Wayne, I recommend the Canadian documentary “Grass” if you want research.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 14, 2003 - 17:53 Permalink

I hope Summerside is well-versed in the term

Ken's picture
Ken on January 14, 2003 - 19:24 Permalink

My attitudes are as follows:
SoftDrugs HardDrugs SoftPorn HardAttitudes SoftSheets
Soft Hard Hard Soft Soft

Ken's picture
Ken on January 14, 2003 - 19:24 Permalink

It was a lot funnier formatted

Doug's picture
Doug on January 15, 2003 - 15:52 Permalink

Someone sent this along to me. Great discussion.

I’ve not yet seen the show — a tape is coming this week.

Being 1/2 Canadian — my Mom was from NB — it’s an interesting cultural shift.

Overall I find it much more rewarding working with entrepreneurs — not in $$ (as I charge none — and in fact donate all $ from books, etc. to charity) rather ..the reward is in the excitment and thrill of working with real people who are putting it on the line. Folks with the courage to take action on their dreams.

Contrast that with the mind numbing nature of corporate America that we make ridiculus bucks on — and little ever happens.

TO HEAR MORE — visit starting next week to listen to my radio show via the web.

AND — if anyone would like to appear on the show (which goes across USA0 feel free to contact me directly.

As I say at the end of each speech — Up sluggard and waste not life, in the grave will be sleeping enough.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers — however — what I do know is that without taking action, energy and enthusiasm NOTHING happens


Doug Hall

p.s. — CBC is hyped — the Sunday episode got one of their biggest responses ever- we have been flooded with entrepeneurs across Canada who want help — then again it’s free

Kevin's picture
Kevin on January 15, 2003 - 20:18 Permalink

Hmmm…. on the matter of ‘the best way to be an advocate for change / no change’ I have the following thought.

Some times it happens that a person finds power in words — it may be that they are particularly good a forming a verbal sentence on the fly, or they are good at research and preparation. Either way, they find that something or someone moves a little. Then they push a little harder with more research, more attention to speaking technique and the like… but they soon discover diminishing returns.

There are only a few people (perhaps a percent or two) who can be won over with a clever argument who cannot be won with an honest (but less articulate) statement from the heart.

Sometimes the person who’s working on better arguments is mislead into thinking that being more clever, intense, passionate, serious, ubiquitous, or whatever; will lead to better success. This is continually confirmed by an ever expanding circle of influence — in this sense I mean that s/he will continually come in contact with people who’ve never before heard them (if they’re sufficiently persistent, that is). But there are as many people dropping off the back end as are coming on the front end… or worse, more drop off.

Social activists find this out (if ever) the hard way. The soon discover that their constant whining about (today’s topic) is just too much for other folk. The fail to realize the most important part of being influential — pick your battles. They don’t realize that just because everyone knows there’s trouble with [insert latest evolving disaster here], that doesn’t mean they want the entire subject dissected and analyzed before their eyes morning noon and night.

And so, is there an answer? Can we have some influence without going too far? Yes we can but we have to be patient. We cannot talk about just any subject, we must share the load, we should be willing to stand in the back and say nothing while listing to someone who knows far less and cares far less than we do.

Without naming names, I’ve been to a few dozen “actions” over the past, say, five years. In all that time there are a few (two or three) social activists (for whom I have the utmost respect) who will never arrive, listen, and leave without speaking. I believe their credibility would soar in direct proportion to the number of times they are “seen” to do this… which probably means they’d have to do it ten times to be noticed once. (If you toss a gum wrapper out the window of your car someone will see… if you consciously decide NOT to toss it out the next hundred times will you be noticed? Probably not.)

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on January 16, 2003 - 15:06 Permalink

Fun thread, chaps & chapesses. We too were offered a shot of Hall and felt able to decline. Seeing that clip confirmed to my mind that this was A Good Decision. But I’ll take an hour of ElAl or Dan James any time.

I am particularly enjoying the speculation about what happens if Summerside becomes a nuclear power.