Coles Notes of who I am
Outlined below is almost everything I love to do. I’m currently located in Toronto’s Innovation Hub, Liberty Village, but still have deep roots in my hometown just an hour west in the Bell City, Brantford, Ontario.
As you’ll read, I’ve spent much of my recent career in Digital Media. From websites and all types of content, to social media and its many communities, if it’s connected to the Internet, I manage it. I’m a prototypical jack-of-all-trades, with extensive expert support to be able to get any online job done.
Right now I have my foot in the door of Canada’s emerging cannabis industry and am growing a Freelance Web Guy business under my personal brand, Barney’s Updates. I’m also a boxing instructor and music promoter. I do many things to make ends meet, but more importantly, I’m focused on maintaining my happiness while I live a very fortunate life with my wife and seven-year-old son.
If you have something we can work on together, please hit me up. I always have a lot going on, but when it comes to interesting stuff, I don’t think I can ever do enough.
What I do
This is my bread and butter. For tight and tidy online content, I’m your guy. I’ve worked with several different content and video management systems, built and serviced internally, as well as by third-party vendors. I have a thing for management systems.
I launched my first html website in ‘02 and by ‘06, I graduated to WordPress installations. After three months in HackerYou’s Web Development program, I once again used straight code (no template or CMS) to build the site you’re on now. Thank you RuvenThemes for the design.
I’ve explored The Five Planes of UX methodology and The Systematic Approach to Design throughout HackerYou’s UX Design Fundamentals and Advanced courses. We also covered UX Accessibility and I independently completed the Beginner and Intermediate Sketch Master courses.
A strong process is the sharpest tool in my shed. Consistency equals efficiency, which leads to clarity and successful executions. Set the standards, communicate and follow the standards and the results will almost always be positive. From video encoding to native advertising, that’s been my story and I’m sticking to it.
My process management philosophy came into play when I was entrusted to manage the native advertising executions for Rogers Publishing. I led the team that set up the tools and laid out the steps. Together, we created a boatload of revenue.
I inherited the gift of gab and have spent a lifetime filtering those words from pen to paper, and then keyboard to monitor for essays, case studies, blog posts, ad media, contest sites, etc., etc. Personally or professionally, I have a knack for getting one’s point across.
I establish communities, host events, market products and inspire social justice commentary from all sides through a vast, organically-built social network (and many Facebook ads and MailChimp blasts). Promotion is literally in my blood. Social media was hand coded for people like me.
Throughout 2018, in between freelance projects and my studies at HackerYou, I’ve worked through the Google Analytics online courses. I’ve completed the beginners and advanced courses and will continue to work through the plethora of teaching resources in the Academy as I integrate GA in my freelance projects.
What I use to do what I do
Where I’ve put my skills to work
I am extremely excited to be a part of the emerging cannabis industry in its first year since legalization. WeedMD is one of Canada’s Licensed Producers and have been distributing medical cannabis to patients across Canada since 2014. The company is currently expanding into the recreational market. I am tremendously fortunate to have been brought on as a consultant to help facilitate this growth and maintain the existing online properties. Pinch me, there’s so much potential here!
I absolutely love building online brands for small businesses. I’m inspired by their courage and dedication to pave their own path and I find the work unbelievably rewarding. So many small business owners don’t have the time, resources or expertise to oversee a quality online brand. I believe I can provide the skill and knowhow to make their dreams a viable reality, at a very reasonable cost.
I’m currently in the process of building a website under my personal brand, Barney’s Updates. The site will house my portfolio of Freelance Web Guy projects and promote all the work I do. I have an abundance of content ideas for the site and am working on some very special partnerships that will make Barneys Updates a very intriguing online space. I plan to launch sometime in 2019, so please stay tuned.
In the meantime, visit and support some of the businesses I am incredibly proud to be working with at the moment. I can’t wait to launch barneysupdates.com so I can properly tell their inspirational stories…
Mercasa – Little Italy Eatery & Catering - Brantford’s “Fast Casual” Restaurant from Executive Chef Tom Mercante
Monastery Vault – A Digital Marketing Company specializing in mobile video focused on stories for children
CancerCounselling.ca – Health Navigation services from Registered Nurse and Registered Psychotherapist Miriam Sweet Goldstein
25 Saunders Ave. – A real estate site that led to the listing becoming The Globe and Mail’s ‘Home of the Week’ and sold 48 hours after publishing
I should probably pin bringthebeats to the top my experience list permanently, as it’s a passion project I will pursue for as long as my heart beats. The BTB community is ever evolving, but somewhat paused at the moment, as parenthood doesn’t offer me the time to invest in the late-night aspect of the underground scene like I used to. Nevertheless, bringthebeats will certainly play an important role within the Barney’s Updates brand and you never know what the future holds for a guy with house music pulsating through his veins.
For all the time and energy I’ve put into our house music movement, I’ve received equal parts knowledge and inspiration in return. bringthebeats will always be an ideal training ground for my writing, content management and social media marketing. Technically, I’ve learned so much, but emotionally I’ve profited even more. Musical bliss is absolutely priceless.
I couldn’t have been in a better situation after I accepted the offer to join the Client Solutions team. We had it all; the all-time greatest Director, strong Project Managers, knowledgeable Engagement Managers, super creative Designers, skillful Developers and a wordsmith for a Copywriter. For a time, we even had an in-house QA Analyst and Information Architect! It was a tight-knit group who delivered high-quality executions worth millions of dollars. Restructuring got the best of the entire team, but not after I was able to gain invaluable experience alongside some of the smartest and most talented people in the Digital Media business.
I applied to a coordinator posting at Alliance Atlantis, but didn’t land the job. Two months later, I received a call to meet with the Digital Director. Within a couple hours of that meeting I accepted a more senior position with one of the country’s top media organizations. The following year with the aa Digital team was extraordinary in so many ways. Personally, I was privileged to have the opportunity to lead the group that developed the video-encoding process that produced Canada’s first-ever online stream of a television episode. Despite the struggles that came with the sale of Alliance assets to Canwest—and partly because of them—I grew to become a true professional at 121 Bloor Street East.
It was like I rubbed a bottle and out came a genie with my first Digital Media job. In reality, it was the Director of Marketing who became the perfect mentor throughout my first career position. I was a sponge learning the technical aspects of Digital from the Craig Media IT group in Calgary and Broadcast Television from Toronto 1’s superstars in front of and behind the camera. After the station’s transition to Quebecor Media, I worked on sun tv’s website with another well-oiled machine at Canoe. The entire experience was the epitome of starting off on the right foot.
Where I learned to do what I do
I loved HackerYou so much the first time, I had to go back. The Web Development course I took was excellent, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never venture into the code grind full time, so I searched for a course that provided skills better suited to my strengths. The strategy side of UX Design is definitely something I can sink my teeth into, although it’ll take time and practice to refine my wireframe and prototype skills. I found the problem solving aspect of our two capstone projects to be incredibly interesting and definitely an area I’d like to explore in my next career opportunity. Who knows, after I receive my critiques and fine tune a little, maybe the transit app add-on and political community ideas I came up with could move into development one day? Stay tuned, at the very least, I’ll post them to this site.
As the websites I managed evolved to become responsive, I realized I needed to learn a little code. So, when I was blessed with the opportunity to reboot my professional growth in the summer of 2017, I immediately enrolled in HackerYou’s Web Development program. To help me compete in an ever-advancing digital world, front-end skills are the perfect complement to my content-focused abilities. Completing the program was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’ll take time, practice and certainly more study if I was ever to consider myself an actual Developer, but the foundation is pretty well set, as you can experience on this site.
I was strong in English throughout high school and fine-tuned my essay-writing skills as I earned my BA in Political Science. Nevertheless, I needed more specific training for media and this course provided just that. It tightened my copy for snack-sized reading on the web and other mediums, i.e., scripts and voiceovers. Plus, I learned some tricks of the trade. For instance, we all use the word 'that' way too much! Writing is an area I continue to invest time in through my social media presence and study on Lynda.com).
Before this course, I knew very little about the specifics of the Internet and the process behind the launch of a website. After a year of correspondence study, I had a much better understanding of web design and development. Unfortunately, despite receiving top marks on all my multiple-choice tests, I wasn’t very good at either. CDI College was a hands-off environment, which was not very helpful in actually acquiring tangible skills. Nevertheless, because of the knowledge I obtained, I was able to secure my first Digital Media gig as a New Media Coordinator. So in the end, the year reading at CDI did the trick.
Not that anyone should dwell on regrets, but I should have moved to London right out of high school. I was always a Mustang at heart and my degree proved that correct. Transferring schools was frightening and at no point easy. Earning my BA was a grind. Only a few of us in my entire family have accomplished this goal, which makes it extremely gratifying. It wasn’t pretty, but mission accomplished nonetheless.
Enrolling at WLU and chasing a misguided basketball dream would have been my gravest error, if I hadn’t learned so much about myself. When you make costly mistakes as I did, you dig deep and figure out what you’re really made of. As quickly as I realized my playing career was over, I also understood I would never be a businessman. I may not have achieved my athletic dreams, but I know I’ll always be a teammate first and foremost. Nevertheless, I can lead when the moment requires me to do so. My first confirmation of individual leadership was when I filed my transfer papers.
Where you’ll find me
Many thanks to the fantastic team at Lee Hecht Harrison / Knightsbridge for helping me sort an effective profile and so much more.
Politics, social justice, pop culture, music, sports, friends and family. This personal diary is where I have my say, my way.
My wife is definitely the picture-taker in the family, but I’ll post a pic when the moment feels right. It’s hard not to when your son is so damn cute.
It’s think it, find it, play it with the over 1000 tracks organized among 50-plus playlists. Music is always my answer.
With over 600 DJ sets available to stream and download, this collection is the beating heart of the bringthebeats community.
A celebrity, I am not. Don’t expect many tweets, but when breaking news hits, head to my Twitter lists.
A dude who loves games
Basketball has been an integral part of my life as a player, referee, organizer and coach. I’ve led a squad at my high school alma mater to a city championship, coached a Brantford CYO select team and volunteered at Etobicoke Basketball’s Jr. Hoops. I am now stepping into the world of soccer as an SC Toronto assistant coach.
I love a good fight. I’ve been a fan of boxing since I was a child and mixed martial arts right from UFC 001. In search of a healthier workout regime, I began training muay thai under Kru Clifton Brown in my early thirties and transitioned to boxing five years later. I’m currently instructing four boxing classes a week at Totum Life Science.
I love everything about hoops. And because of our neighbourhood football club, I’ve also developed a mad passion for the beautiful game. Out of respect for both and a desire to stay in touch with my hometown crew, I help moderate Bell City Raps and Bell City Reds. Two Brantford-based supporter groups dedicated to basketball and soccer in Canada.
I write DJ bios and stuff