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Patching a (Real) Bug

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My office is home to some bugs. Plastic bugs, that is. I keep a small stash of toys near my desk. You never know when they might come in handy. :)

This past Monday, a staff member informed me of an actual bug — a large cockroach — in a small garbage can in our Support room. It looks like the little guy had found his way into our office over the weekend and was looking for his next meal.

I covered the canister, and talked about a few ideas on how to help free the bug with my 9-year-old son, who was at the office with me for the day. He wanted to know as much as he could learn about it. I explained many people don’t like cockroaches because they think they are dirty, to which he replied, “Dad, it’s a bug. They live in poop.” He wasn’t put off by the bug in any way. He wanted to help it out. We settled on a goal of first moving the cockroach into a small, plastic container, and then releasing him outside by a tree or bush.

Later that afternoon, I coaxed the bug into a plastic cup. We exited the building and released the cockroach across the street in O’Bryant Square Park. I noted some hungry sparrows nearby, and shoed the bug under some leaves. My son understood that the cockroach might not survive. Yet he also knew there was a better chance in the park, than in an office.

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Despite me handling a number of work tasks on a very busy Monday, saving that bug was on the top of my mind. The process reminded me that sometimes, the smallest detail can mean a lot, especially if you’re a bug. No matter how important the issue, its size is a matter of perspective, and so are every one of the issues we deal with each day.

– David Anderson


Announcing our new training room

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There it is. All done.

Our new training room has taken several months to plan, construct, and prepare for what promises to be a business schedule: Training classes on a range of web topics, such as e-commerce, using WordPress, optimizing your website for search engines, and how to effectively use online marketing, as well as a full gamut of sessions on related industries: Business tune-ups, setting up POS terminals for in-house merchant transactions, and much more.

The training room has a great location for Portlands as it is located within our office, just two blocks from the Galleria MAX stop and feet from the 10th and Stark Streetcar stop. The room offers comfortable seating for up to 12 guests and 2 presenters; has 12 feet of premium whiteboard space; super fast wi-fi connectivity.

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The chairs were obtained from a local, used-furniture dealer and refurbished with PDX airport-patterned fabric. The walls are decorated with paintings symbolic of Portland icons.

We’re working on organizing classes for customers and visitors alike, and are opening up the room for guest presenters. To inquire about availability, pricing, and partnership opportunities, please contact us at sales [at] canvashost [dot] com.

Thank you,

David Anderson, Owner


Canvas Host is now 200% wind energy offset!

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Canvas Host is a huge supporter of renewable energy. For years, we have offset the carbon footprint of our business operations with locally-generated wind energy.

Through a continued partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation, we’re thrilled to announce an increase of our renewable wind energy offset to 200% of our energy footprint.

By increasing our purchase to 27,000kWh per month, this means that not only is our business 100% offset, but an extra 13,500kWh is being generated to benefit our local energy grid. This offset is equal to the footprint of 15 average-sized Portland-area homes.

This is just one way Canvas Host helps our community and make our home a little bit greener.

Thank you,

David Anderson


Supporting Equality

This blog entry isn’t about business. It’s more of an opportunity for me to share my views about a topic that has been hotly debated for as long as I can recall, affected friends and colleagues through the years, and at last appears to have been resolved by this nation’s highest court: Marriage equality.

In support of the Supreme Court decision this past week recognizing the right of all people to marry regardless of gender, I’ve changed our company logo to reflect the rainbow colors recognizing equality. It will remain that way for the next week.

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Though a business, Canvas Host is comprised of humans with hearts who care. As a B Corporation and Oregon benefit company, within our State-filed operating agreement is verbiage that requires my business to serve the higher interest of our community and environment, and not profit alone.

Too often, I see businesses make decisions based on motives of profit, greed, or power. Too rarely do I see a business risk taking a stand in support of something that, while true to its values, may alienate customers or potential business opportunities. I suppose there are some who, upon seeing our rainbow logo and reading this post, may turn away from using our services. That’s okay by me. You have every right to choose another host, just as I have the right to openly show that my company’s support for marriage equality.

On a personal note, I applaud the work that has been done at our Nation’s leaders and Supreme Court to bring resolution to this issue, to the hard work done by our State Governor Kate Brown for her part in passing local legislation ensuring rights of all regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and I look forward to continuing changes that we will see in the years to come following this historic decision.

If you have any questions about this or any aspect of our business, I wish to invite you to open a dialogue with us. Simply email us at “feedback [at] canvashost [dot] com”. Our management team and I read every comment that is sent in to our business.

To everyone, I hope you will join us in celebrating the sweeping wave of change that is happening in our country, at a time when unity and peace is needed more than ever.

Thank you,

David Anderson, Owner
Canvas Host, LLC


June PDX Green Drinks: An Evening with B Corporations

This past Tuesday’s PDX Green Drinks was held at the offices of TriLibrium, a Portland-area CPA firm and one of dozens of area B Corporations. The “B” stands for “benefit”, and is an independently certified recognition of a company’s commitment to triple bottom line principles of people, planet, and profit, as well as a higher echelon of ethics that prevent a business from acting on profit motive alone. In several dozen States, including Oregon, additional recognition is available for companies that legally register with the State as a Benefit Company.

The format for the evening was based on our traditional Green Drinks meetups: A two-hour block of time with 30 minutes of networking, 30-45 minutes for the main speaker(s) and audience questions, and the remaining balance on more networking. For this event, we were honored to have several B Corporations in attendance and on a panel: Franklin Jones, of B-Line; Michelle Carver, of gDiapers; and Richard Rosen, of Rosen Convergence Marketing.

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Left to right: Franklin Jones of B-Line; Michelle Carver of gDiapers; Richard Rosen of Rosen Covergence Marketing.

Previous Green Drinks events on B Corps have talked about the how, the cost, and the benefits. At this event, the panel addressed why a company should become a B Corporation? Panelists shared their story and perspectives on the changing economic landscape, their philosophies on ethics and business that are championed at the hearts of their businesses, and how audience members can become involved in the movement.

Michelle chatted briefly about the history of gDiapers and its connection with Australian values of ‘fair dinkum’, a phrase that more or less means truth and fairness in all that you do and with whom you connect. With the average baby rearing resulting in 5,000 used diapers, gDiapers’ flushable, and in some cases compostable diapers could have a considerable, positive impact in landfill reduction. B Corporation certification was the logical step to show their company’s values and commitment to a better way of business.

Franklin shared anecdotes from his company’s founding, and that there’s no coincidence their business starts with the letter ‘B’. Since their start, B-Line’s bicycle delivery service has upheld B Corporations’ values of ethical business and interdependence. The relationships B-Line has forged with area B Corporations has been instrumental in the company’s sustained growth. More to the point, in a city in which delivery vehicles can overwhelm the transportation grid, B-Line’s environmentally friendly and affordable alternative service is a perfect example of how something can be made better, when done as a B Corporation.

Finally, Richard shared his experiences covering dozens of years in marketing and communications. Rosen Convergence Marketing does much more than assist companies with branding and positioning. Richard has seen first-hand how economic factors are changing. Whereas from previous generations’ attitudes about price and quality, today’s Millenials are placing greater emphasis on how their dollars are spent, the businesses they will support, and whether those businesses support the values of an increasingly progressive, socially responsible, and environmentally-concerned audience. Richard’s company helps businesses understand and adapt to these changing attitudes, and one of the simplest ways his clients can achieve that is by joining the B Corporation movement.

The audience asked excellent questions, including the differences in certification (by B Lab, or an independent agency), whether non-profits can be certified (they cannot but they can still work by B Corp principles), if a company has to certify or whether they can first take the B Impact quick assessment (they can, and at no cost), and if a company can certify as a B as part of its official business launch (not really, as it takes an active business to certify, but you can certify soon after and should).

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The B Corps present included: Green Mountain Energy, Canvas Host, TriLibrium CPAs, Rosen Convergence Marketing, and B-Line

Beyond my role as PDX Green Drinks’ main organizer, my own company is a B Corporation, and I serve on a B Corporation recruiting committee that formed several months ago. There are currently 50 B Corporations in Oregon. The committee’s goal is to double that figure by the end of 2015, so there are 100 certified B Corps in Oregon. Whether we get to that level or not, the amount of enthusiasm at last Tuesday’s event was inspiring. It tells me that, as I and other B Corporations have seen, the times are changing and our customers expect a higher level of ethics if they are to work with us. What better way to show the good we’re doing by not only being a B Corporation, but by acting on those values and helping our community embrace them.

If you’d like to learn more about B Corporations, email sales [at] canvashost [dot] com and we can put you in touch with some of the area B Corps. We love to talk about why we’re B’s and hope to inspire you to join our growing community. Or, you can visit B Lab’s main website, www.bcorporation.net, for complete information on certifications, a browse-able directory of B Corporations, and information on upcoming events in your community.

Finally: If you missed out on this event, we’re thinking of holding a July Westside Green Drinks focused on B Corporations, so stay tuned for details!

Thank you,

David Anderson