Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Thoroughly Enjoyable Guest Appearance on the CBC’s Lang and O’Leary Exchange

A few days ago, I invited readers to play the Lang and O’Leary Exchange Bingo/Drinking Game. The producers subsequently asked if I could come in for a brief guest segment...

photo of yours truly with Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary
Kevin O’Leary points out a troublemaker
on the set of the Lang and O’Leary Exchange

I’m obviously a fan of the show, so I couldn’t exactly say no to the chance to meet Ms. Lang (and Kevin too!) in person.

Thus I found myself seated in the guest chair, beneath the bright studio lights at the CBC building in Toronto. Here’s the clip -- from the May 11, 2012 episode of The Lang and O’Leary Exchange:

[link[If I figure out a way to extract it from the CBC stream, I’ll post a better quality version...]

I was super nervous, and it startled me when Amanda light-heartedly introduced me as ‘the brilliant mind’ behind the game. Say what?!

yours truly sits in the guest chair at the CBC studios in Toronto
Yours truly in the hot seat...
It’s so easy to dismiss someone stammering on TV, but when you’re there and the lights are on and you have to say something... it’s not so easy after all [note the way I laugh!! It’s bizarre].

Nevertheless, my adventure into the heart of our nation’s public broadcaster was genuinely fun. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

What I’d change about the show (skip this part if you want)
Kevin’s query about ‘the one thing I’d change’ caught me off guard -- I should have asked that they bring in more of Jim Rickards; he’s my favorite guest and I find his nuanced, often startling perspective on currencies and the markets tremendously thought-provoking.

What I’d actually change, if I could, doesn’t involve the show itself or the content. Instead, it’s the online organization that could use minor tweaking.

The show’s website organizes episodes using a set of large thumbnails that are typically date sorted. This approach is superficially user friendly -- most of the time, you want to watch the latest episode, so you click on the first one in the grid. However, when you want to access past episodes, the deficiencies are noticeable.

The Lang & O’Leary Exchange site navigation could use improvement

Right now, there’s no easy way to search for and access past episodes on a specific topic, unless you already know the episode air dates.

My suggested tweaks would be:
  • Have someone input a meaningful, keyword-oriented description for each episode, that mentions each topic discussed. Even a simple comma-delimited list of topics would suffice.
  • Enable a show-specific search (not CBC site-wide).
  • A list display would be nice. 

Then, you would be able to search the database to find every episode where a given company or topic is discussed, or guest appears [In a magical utopian world, every episode would be auto-transcripted by Google and full-text searchable, but that’s probably not realistic for... awhile.].

The point is making the archive of past episodes an accessible resource. What did Minister Flaherty say about the budget? What were Kevin’s exact words on the BP oil spill? etc.

Just a thought.

I’d like to extend my thanks to:
  • Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary for graciously accepting the gentle mockery of my game with humor; 
  • the show’s producers (in particular Matt) who gave me the fantastic opportunity to come down to the studio;
  • the makeup professional (whose name escapes me, alas!), the production assistant (Lisa) and the camera operator (Merdad) for putting me at ease during the setup. 

Thanks again!

Play the Lang and O’Leary Exchange Bingo/Drinking Game!

One minor note -- my original card did spell 'yield' correctly...