Coworking in Toronto – Camaraderie

Yeah, independents, freelancers, emerging startups, web developers and others rejoice. You have a coworking option in Toronto again. After Indoor Playground “moved” in January 2008, Toronto has been lacking a general coworking space. (Yes I know about the Centre for Social Innovation, but it has mission-based selection criteria that helps create it’s ecosystem and not everyone qualifies). But today, Rachael and Wayne have announced the opening of Camaraderie. I provided some coverage over on StartupNorth, I’m hoping that we can again try to rally around a different office space model that is enabled by this emerging participatory culture.

Camarderie - Coworking in Toronto

Camaraderie is a located at 102 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON. The doors are scheduled to open on Feb 15, 2010 and the space will be free until Feb 28, 2010. I’m hoping that many of the independents that are looking for a part-time, downtown coworking space will check out Camaraderie. The pictures of the space are still very raw.

The Building 102 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ONOpen WorkspaceKitchen AreaBoard Room

The Details

  • memberships will be $300/mo for unlimited use during business hours
  • we’ll work out keys later, but for now the space will be open 9:00am-6:00pm (or later)
  • free wifi, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate every day

Social Media Week + PowerPoint Karaoke

Eli Singer, the team at Entrinsic, and a supporting cast of  people & advisors have organized the first Social Media Week Toronto.

There is a great schedule of events that span the gamut of social media for companies large and small, not for profit, and local case studies. The schedule is a week with independently organized events. Some of the events I’m watching include:

PowerPoint Karaoke is one of my favorite social formats. It is just brilliant. I first saw it executed in 2006 at ETech. And I wrote about as an alternative format to DemoCamp. I’m stoked to see that my friends Tom & Jay are making the effort to make it happen in Toronto. Remember it’s a social event, it’s meant to be a way to have fun!

North by Northeast Interactive

If it feels like there is a push of activities in Toronto, there are.

You don’t need to attend every event, there is lots going on.

HoHoTO and DemoCamp


It’s time for HoHoTO again.

Join us for #HoHoTO at The Mod Club. Last year, we raised $25,006.67. In the summer (for hoHOTo), we raised $13,317.87. That’s a total of $38,324.54 to date.

You can be proud of what you’ve done so far, Toronto – but why stop there? Each time you inspire us to do good, we want to do great. And we know we can, because you’ve taught us that we are part of an amazingly generous community. Since we first tweeted the idea for HoHoTo in December 2008, you’ve joined us and embraced our pet project as your project. 
Inspired by your support, we’re pushing ourselves further. This December, our goal – your goal – is to match the total amount raised so far in one night.

Target: $40,000. That’s a lot of money.

And a big thanks to the DemoCamp attendees. I made a donation to HoHoTO today with the registration money from DemoCamp Toronto. This means that the donation was made possible by the DemoCamp Toronto 24 attendees. I’ll be giving away the 12 tickets randomly to the attendees at DemoCamp. Thank you to every DemoCamp participant. To show my appreciation, here’s some link love.

DemoCamp Toronto # 24 featuring Gary Vaynerchuk

crushit We’re really lucky to have Saul Colt working his ass off in Toronto. He’s done a great thing. He’s invited his friend Gary Vaynerchuk to come to Toronto and talk to startups about his book, Crush It, and entrepreneurship. That’s right, Gary Vaynerchuk in Toronto on December 3, 2009 for the next DemoCamp Toronto (which will be number 24 for anyone keeping track).

Gary is keynoting SxSW. Here’s your chance to see Gary without the trip to Austin. However, I strongly recommend the trip to Austin if for nothing other than the BBQ and the Shiner Bock.

The event is sponsored by Zoocasa, Saul Colt, Rogers Ventures, OCE, Microsoft BizSpark and StartupNorth are working together on this one.

I haven’t had the chance to read the book yet. Adding it to my queue along with Trust Agents, Six Pixels of Separation and a few other books.

DemoCamp Details

Building a city that thinks like the web


Today marks an interesting day in Toronto. Today Toronto joins Washington, D.C., Vancouver, San Francisco, New York City, Australia, and the US in opening city data to citizens, companies, and the world to improve the quality of life. It begins a great journey to creating a strong new economy in Toronto around an infrastructure of city data.

It’s the data, stupid

(I feel like I’ve said this before).

“More and more governments state that opening government data is their priority, from the U.S: to the UK, from Australia to Belgium. Application contests (or mashup or idea contests) to engage citizen developers in creating new and valuable applications that leverage government data” – Andrea DiMaio

David Eaves identifies that data is the infrastructure for the next economy. It is the baseline upon which applications, value, and wealth can be built. I’ve talked about the benefit of data collection and the value-added analysis services in relation to personal health care. Data is the backbone, it is the building blocks from which developers can begin to build new applications and new services.

Mark Surman provides a great vision for the role that data plays in the development of a city. Re-reading his post has me thinking about a couple of challenges that need to be overcome to continue to enable the opening of city data.

  1. Costs of open data
  2. Economics of contests

Costs of open data

I think there needs to be an active discussion with citizens, politicians and staff members that open data is not free. There are costs associated with the production, release, maintenance, and up keep of the data sets. Additionally there may be a “build it, and they will come” model of development. Open data is not a replacement for city procurement. The city will still need to purchase software and look for ways to innovate to improve citizens lives. Open data is a building block to enable citizens, companies and communities to create applications the enable under-served (or self-served) parts of the city.

Economics of contests

Many of these cities have elected to host contests to encourage and incent local application developers to build upon the data sets.

I’m curious at the effectiveness of contests to engage the developer community and create a sustainable ecosystem. There is no question about the initial effectiveness as a tactic to create value. Apps for Democracy has shown a very strong contribution to the citizens, companies and communities of the District of Columbia.

“A $50,000 dollar investment in changing processes and offering prize money has so far yielded $2.3M in value. That’s a 46 times return on investment in one year.” – David Eaves

I’m curious about decay rate for contests. My feeling is that it is similar to the Chatter of the New Cycle. Where the contest and the data sets spike and then flow through the developer sphere just like news flows through blogosphere. 


I could be totally wrong, Sunlight Labs API shows a steady growth of the number of API calls. Apps for America 2 drew 46 submissions versus 44 for Apps for America, only a 5% growth in the number of submissions. (You might value measure of the applications as increasing with the increased API calls). More interestingly there are only 3 repeat submitters: ForumOne Communications; Jeremy Ashkenas; and Todd Fine in an initial pass of submitters. It’s actually highly probable that the number of repeat submitters is higher given submissions are often submitted with the name of the product or project.

Sustainable economies

Next I need to spend some time looking at sustainable digital ecosystems and economies. Looking at Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon for examples of engaging developers and creating an ecosystem for developers.

Any suggestions for reading would be appreciated.

Bright lights, big names

Win7 Employee Event

I’ve been thinking about Toronto. It’s almost 4 years since TorCamp and the first DemoCamp. The tech scene has changed significantly since I first posted BarCamp Toronto in September 2005. People are paying attention to Toronto. Just look at the past few weeks, we’ve had Dave McClure, Steve Ballmer, Hugh MacLeod, First Round Capital, Dharmesh Shah, Joel Spolsky, Yossi Vardi and others all in Toronto. There something going on here.

There are startups. They are raising money. They are hiring. They are doing great work. Have you checked out:

There are a ton of startups in Toronto. We have new corporate venture funds, there are incubator programs, there is something in the water. The best part is that there are great companies in Montreal, Vancouver, Waterloo, Ottawa (all across the country really, I’m looking at you Radian6 in Fredericton). It’s be a great four years since the start of this community thing in Toronto. Canada has always been a great place to live. Now it’s starting to be a great place to be a tech entrepreneur.

Impact National Conference & Impact Ventures

Cross posted on StartupNorth.

Impact Entrepreneurship GroupImpact_blog_redlogo started life as a student group designed to help promote entrepreneurship as a career path. It was started by Kunal Gupta, now the founder & CEO of Polar Mobile. It started as a conference for students, “a one-day event in Kitchener, Ontario attracting 150 delegates”. It is still primarily a conference/event machine for student entrepreneurs. However, with the creation of Impact Consulting and now Impact Ventures (see below) this is changing very quickly.

The next INC_logoImpact National Conference is happening November 20-21, 2009 at the Westin Harbour Castle on Queens Quay in Toronto. The conference features some interesting speakers including some familiar faces: Andy Nulman, Sunjay Nath, Ali Asaria, Jordan Banks, Saul Colt, Austin Hill, Mike McDerment and others. It looks to be a great conference with a great list of speakers in Toronto.


What is most interesting to me is the announcement of the Impact 2010 Programs, including Impact Ventures.

Many talented youth with innovative ideas steer away from an entrepreneurial path due to the numerous challenges, including funding and guidance, which they inevitably face; Impact Ventures was created to remove these obstacles. Impact Ventures strives to provide youth entrepreneurs with the seed funding, advisory services, workspace tools, and strategic resources they need at the crucial idea stage to create a successful business. Based on the successful Y Combinator model used in Silicon Valley to bring the next generation of ideas to life, Impact Ventures will help propel new startups to achieve their business objectives.

The selection process consists of an application form and an interview; there is no business plan required. During the pilot, three to four ventures showing the most opportunity for growth and long term sustainability will be chosen for the first batch. This three-month program will bring these budding entrepreneurs to Waterloo, the technology hub of Canada, to present them with all the components each entrepreneur needs to help build their venture.

Components for each selected Venture:

  • $15,000 in seed funding for an average of 6% stake in the company
  • Mentors available for hands-on help as well as advise
  • Advisory services including Legal, Accounting, Banking and more
  • Office Space in Waterloo to create an environment of collaboration
  • Themed weeks where experts related to starting a business will provide their insights and advice
  • Consultants to help a new company fill gaps in its initial organization

Impact Ventures is dedicated to the implementation of the entrepreneurial spirit amongst Canadian youth and values the independence of each entrepreneur. We are not interested in controlling the direction of the company as we trust in the entrepreneurs to make the best decision for their company. We believe in a non-regimented and friendly atmosphere where you are allowed to develop your startup with little interference, numerous resources and advice when you need it. Impact Ventures is set to revolutionize the startup industry by giving entrepreneurs an excellent spring board that will launch them to their success.

I’ve been talking with members of team creating Impact Ventures including Taimur Mohammad and Ray Cao since my post "Incubators, accelerators and ignition” back in April 2009. It looks like the Impact team has taken up the challenge and will be using their network of advisors, past members to help guide and mentor new companies. It also looks like they’ll be providing funding and consulting services to help kick start these early ventures.  There is a Waterloo residency requirement, which potential a detractor for many students actually enables students in the VeloCity program a formalized incubation phase beyond their residence. For many non-University of Waterloo students this provides students access to the ridiculous support network available in Waterloo (I’m looking at you TechCapital and Communitech and BarCampWaterloo). This is something that is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

meshmarketing– Oct 22, 2009


My good friends Mark Evans, Michael McDerment, Stuart MacDonald, Mathew Ingram and Rob Hyndman, also known as The Mesh Boys, are hosting a new event in Toronto called meshmarketing. Mesh Conference has evolved into the leading conference for impact that the Web and participatory technologies have on marketing, media, culture and politics in Canada. It leads me to believe that meshmarketing will be a great event.

What is meshmarketing?

“meshmarketing is a one-day event focused on insights, tools and tactics to help you win customers’ hearts and minds, online. An insightful keynote will lead us into a series of engaging conversations and "show and tell" presentations, as well as in-depth workshops.”

Who is speaking?

There are great entrepreneurs and marketers including:

And some of the best Canadian talent that we haven’t seen at community events in a while including:

It’s a very inexpensive conference (tickets are Cdn$489 + GST) to see world-class talent in Toronto. For Toronto residents, you don’t have to travel, you don’t have to pay for a hotel, you get access to leading international and Canadian speakers (ok, it’s focused on eastern Canada, I’m not diminishing either the speaker list or my friends from the western parts of the country). If you’re looking for what looks like it will be a fantastic event focused on marketing, analytics, mobile, community, participation, reputation, search, video, word-of-mouth and a whack of other buzzwords, meshmarketing is going to be hawt.

XTreme Labs Inc. – Mobile Game/Application Developer

Toronto, ON

xtremelabs XTreme Labs is a Toronto/San Francisco-based agile development shop focused on working with early stage Internet and mobile companies. We are backed by a leading group of technology and finance executives, including Extreme Venture Partners.

You are a mobile developer with big aspirations to work on the next generation of games/applications for mobile devices (some devices that are out, and some not yet released). You will launch games/applications on various mobile devices that will be live in the various application stores.

Thrive in a start-up environment and join a leading team in the creation of world-class applications. You’ll be responsible for:

  • Developing new BlackBerry/iPhone/Android games/applications
  • Releasing new versions of games/applications as new devices and OS’s are released to the marketplace
  • Enhancing application performance, usability, memory use and application size

Required Skills and Experience

  • Must have 1-3 years experience in development on at least one of mobile, internet or desktop platforms
  • Proficiency in at least one of Java, C++, Ruby
  • Experience with UI design/graphics development is highly advantageous
  • Must have real world experience with object oriented design and a clear understanding of object oriented design patterns
  • Flash, ActionScript and Rails knowledge advantageous
  • Ability to work independently, take initiative and contribute new ideas required in a diverse, fast-paced, team environment.
  • Experience or interest in Agile software development practices and principles (e.g. TDD, Pair Programming, Refactoring, Continuous Integration…) a plus
  • Organization and analytic skills, with exceptional problem solving ability
  • A degree in a computer-related field


  • Free breakfast every morning and lunch on Friday’s
  • Downtown Toronto’s best rooftop patio
  • Access to a Playstation 3 and Microsoft Surface in our games room
  • Free access to onsite gym
  • Full benefits


Resume to

StickerYou – Web Design Director

Toronto, ON

Company Background

StickerYou is an exciting upcoming web platform for consumers to create and order custom-made high quality stickers. It is a new innovative internet company that will inspire and impact millions of consumers with a launch in Fall 2009. It will be one of the most stimulating places on the Internet for users who want to express their unique lifestyle through the art of a sticker. We are a strategic, creative, and passionate group dedicated to creating the best platform in the world for online sticker creation and engagement.

Job Purpose

The Web Design Director will lead the design and execution for the website’s user interface, online marketing, community, and videos. The design will be intended to inspire users on the website to create and order stickers, as well as contribute to StickerYou’s community of art and sticker life. This person will be an integral member of the website’s brand and development team. They will strategically and creatively execute design that enhances the user experience, creates fans of, and strengthens the brand of StickerYou. This individual will work with the Development, Brand, and Art team to ensure the style fits with the marketing, experiential, art bank, and technical objectives of the website. They will be an integral part of the team that expands the website wireframes, inspires creation, and optimizes artistic solutions for the site’s user experience.


  • Reporting to the President you will develop and/or compliment wireframes, design concepts, and implement the execution of both static graphic (CSS, HTML) and interactive elements (Flash/Flex) for the StickerYou website.
  • Following guidelines, provide a vision and high concept direction for web designs including developing drawings, concept images, mood boards and interactive elements
  • Design, outsource to third parties, and manage the implementation of website creative elements such as illustrations, 2D and 3D elements, audio, video, and photos.
  • Conceptualize, execute, and implement the design of on-line community, e-mail marketing, flash videos for the website
  • Research, analyze and identify website trends in the social, e-commerce, and customization markets

Professional Qualifications

  • 5+ years of experience in the industry of Web and Graphic Design – consumer based web experiences a plus
  • Superb ability and talent both as a graphic and flash designer
  • Experience working with top-tier brands – interactive advertising agency experience a plus
  • Understanding of website business requirements as it relates to branding design, interactivity, and user experience
  • Great taste, inspiring creative, and excellent knowledge of contemporary visual and interactive visual culture
  • Art direct and manage photo files, produce promotional and instructional videos
  • Conceptual development and understanding of what motivates consumer centric social expression
  • Excellent ability to work in teams, budget resource time, and maintain high quality of work under pressure and deadlines
  • Passionate about stickers
  • Easy-going attitude, ability to take directions well, as well as strong vision

Technical Qualifications

  • Superb knowledge of Adobe CS4 Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash 10
  • Superb knowledge of CSS, HTML, XHTML, W3C and best practices
  • Experience in web design optimization
  • Time management and multi-tasking
  • Knowledge of InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash After Effects, and Final Cut a great plus


  • Cover letter (including what motivates you and why you’re the best candidate)
  • Resume
  • 15 images of web design work including 3 interactive elements designed using flash that best represent your abilities as an interactive graphic designer.


Applications will be reviewed on a first-come first-serve basis.

Contact Information, put “Web Design Director” in the subject headline