DemoCamp Ramen Edition

Photo by frippy

It’s time again for DemoCamp. There are a few tickets remaining. But this is DemoCamp Ramen Edition. Why ramen? Well it’s pretty easy. The first is an homage to being ramen profitable. The last event with Gurbaksh Chahal was great, my only complaint was that by 9pm I was hungry. The great folks at Liberty Noodle have offered to help us out. They are providing take out boxes of noodles or rice as part of the DemoCamp registration. Hopefully this should make it more tenable to spend time watching a stellar line up of local startups and a keynote. This is all made possible by our friends at SIFE Ryerson, who have recently launched StartMeUpRyerson to be the SVASE of Canada, go have a peek.

April Dunford is keynoting.  April is one of my favourite marketers in the world. She has lived in big organizations (IBM, Nortel) and at small organizations (DataMirror, Infobright, VersePoint). She has a wicked grasp of customer development  and this #leanstartup thing. April has agreed to talk about the myths of product market fit. Well at least the challenges about figure out if you’ve got product-market fit and how to know when to begin to transition to go-to-market. This will be a must attend discussion for startups about products, marketing and corporate development. (Don’t worry if you miss April at DemoCamp, you can see Sean Ellis at MeshU).

There is an outstanding line up of startups:

I’ve seen a few of these demos, and they are fun. It’s exciting to get to see world-class technologies and startups here in Toronto (Ottawa and Montreal). I’m looking forward to hanging out with everyone, learning from April and watching the best demos.

We’ll be heading out for beers afterwards. We’re heading over to the Imperial Pub. And if you haven’t figured this out, let me help you, The Imperial Pub is a great place for a couple of beers, it’s not the place to go for dinner.

Toronto Tech Week 2.0

Wow, May 17-20, 2010 is shaping up to be Toronto Tech Week 2.0. It’s going to be a busy week, but like Social Media Week TO and Mobile Innovation Week. This has something for most of the industry. Coverage of engineering, clean tech, software, health, bio, policy, culture, news, participatory culture, entrepreneurship!

You can’t ask for a better set of conferences in Toronto. If we had Rudy’s BBQ, I’d be almost as excited as I am about SxSW.

Planning for SxSW

My copy of SxSWorld arrived. And I would like to claim that I prefer accessing this information digitally because of the environmental and other factors, I really like glossy print. I like books and magazines. I like the tactile, emotional experience. It’s probably rooted in my childhood and trips to the Byron Library. But suffice to say, I was flipping through SxSWorld with Smokey Robinson on the cover and I’m excited about this years festival.

Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator @ SxSWi
Are you innovative enough?

Chris Sacca ( is hosting the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator event. A couple of things. This is a SxSW event that is sponsored by Microsoft. It’s not a Microsoft event. There are 32 startups competing for attention, recognition and prizes. It was a fun event, it’s basically product pitches and commentary from judges. Think DemoCamp with feedback. I’m looking forward to spending 2 days in the Hilton, unfortunately there is not a single Canadian company in the list of thirty two.

There was a huge ad for a Montreal company that I want to adore, Tungle. Tungle solves calendaring at the edge of an organization, i.e., meeting scheduling when not everyone is on Exchange or Notes. It’s the free-busy time when everyone is using a different calendaring system. You can see my schedule at Good on the Tungle marketing team making the investment to go after a market segment that attends SxSW. While I don’t necessarily think this is the segment that they will currently get to profitability on (we’re a bunch of cheap, early adopters), it’s a sign that they are finally pushing forward with a go-to-market plan. And the full page ad in SxSWorld.

Hugh Forrest doesn’t get enough recognition. And unlike in the past when I’ve been sucking up to Hugh, this is just an honest tip of the hat for his great work. The addition of Core Conversations in 2007, and the addition of Future 15 sessions shows the risks that the SxSW organizing committee is willing to take to improve the attendee experience.

“New media technology constantly evolves and re-adapts itself. Similarly, we try to continually evolve and re-adapt the SxSW Interactive Festival programming format. One of the new additions for the 2010 schedule is a series of short talks called Future15. As the title implies, these are 15-minute solo presentations curated from proposals submitted to the PanelPicker. We grouped these Future15 presentations into two-hour blocks of programming related to a single theme. For 2010, Future15 themes range from “connected business” to “government and technology” to “wireless innovation””.

I presented a Core Conversation in 2008 which was one of the most engaging formats at SxSW. I’m looking forward to the addition of the Future15, I’m hoping to see a lot of smaller easier to digest content chunks from people. This coupled with the always engaging keynotes which include: dana boyd, Ev Williams, and talks including Douglas Rushkoff, Jaron Lanier, Marissa Mayer, Josh Koenig.

Digital Mission - UK Trade & InvestmentIt’s is great to see the UK Digital Mission bringing 40 UK digital and mobile companies to SxSW. In the same vein, there is a Canadian Blast for the Music Festival supporting Canadian recording acts. I know that Canadian Consulate has hosted events at SxSW. It will be interesting to see if SxSW is the key event for product launches, business development, marketing for a certain segment of digital/mobile companies. It has become the launch pad for music, will it do the same for interactive (specially with CES, MWC, TC50, Demo, OSCon, Web2Expo, and a huge variety of other shows).

There is a large contingent of Canadian companies travelling to Austin for SxSW. I’m looking to meet with any (Canadian) startups that want to talk about product development, marketing, fund raising, and growing their business. I’m also looking forward to talking to others about lean/customer development, fund raising not in the US, global business development and marketing, and everything else. Time to start building a plan, filling up a calendar and trying to meet more great people at SxSW.

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.

I’m Looking for Design Intern

I’m looking for a young web designer. This is for paid contract work. The position will be to help design and implement the front-ends for a number of web properties including,,,,,, etc. Basically, the majority of the work is visual design and front-end web implementation. The goal is to to help design and build visual presence and update the front-end implementation of these sites. (Yes, I’ve started to look at HayStack and and other sites).

  • The designer needs to have an online portfolio. The portfolio should include examples of both web and mobile-optimized design.
  • Experience creating, maintaining and deploying WordPress/Drupal/Moveable Type/etc. themes.
  • Experience with web standards compliant HTML, xhtml, css, and Javascript implementation (preferably Prototype or JQuery).
  • Experience with skinning/theming hosted online applications, e.g., EventBrite, GuestListApp, MindTouch, etc.
  • Experience implementing front-end code in MVC frameworks, e.g., Django, Rails, ASP.NET MVC, CakePHP, etc.

My preference would be to find a student or recent graduate. I’d like to help find the next Scott Boms, Ryan Feeley, Matt Brett, Dave Shea, Daniel Burka (yep, they’re all Canadian).

So if you’re a young Canadian designer, that is looking for some contract work, fill out the form below.

[gravityform id=2 name=GreatestDesign Intern in the World]

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.

Entrepreneur Week – Founders & Funders Social

Founders and Funders

I’m heading to Waterloo tomorrow afternoon to attend Founders & Funders Waterloo as. Iain Klugman and the Communitech mafia have done a great job on Entrepreneur Week. And I think Entrepreneur Week and the Waterloo scene is a great thing. I’m really excited to be participating in the social aspects. It’s also making me feel really guilty about my efforts in the Toronto community. It has been almost 18 months since the last Founders & Funders in Toronto (stay tuned or watch Founders & Funders or StartupNorth for updates).


I’ll be heading back to Waterloo in early December to view the Velocity Startup Day. Velocity seriously kicks ass. What a great opportunity for students to spend a term or two deeply immersed in entrepreneurship and technology. Velocity Startup is a great opportunity to:

  • Connect with VeloCity students displaying current business projects
  • Interact with other UW entrepreneurial students representing their projects at our exhibition
  • Inform students about your company/services
  • Talk to students who may be interested in working for your organization

Any startup should be heading for the day to find talent. Funders should be heading to see if there are any opportunities.


What: VeloCity Start-up Day
When:Tuesday, December 1, 2009 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Where:Student Life Centre
200 University Ave West
Waterloo, ON   Canada

Waterloo’s Entrepreneur Week

I’m jealous of Waterloo Region. There I said it. And I love what’s going on in Toronto.


Iain Klugman and the team at Communitech are doing a fantastic job building mindshare making Waterloo the regional hub for technical entrepreneurship in Canada. I’m also a little biased. I’m a UWaterloo graduate. I participate in events like Entrepreneur Week, Founders and Funders and Strategic Partnering Day. I think that TechCapital and their staff have a great portfolio and are doing a great job engaging entrepreneurs and the community. Groups like Velocity are leading the charge for innovative entrepreneurship education. Waterloo is a great example of academic, corporate, community and startup engagement. It’s a functioning ecosystem.

Sure it’s not listed on the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Nor is it in Monocle’s Most livable cities. There’s a suburban feel and the need for a car. And depending on who you listen to the hospital quality has fallen over recent years. But the strong community groups, a world-class technical university that encourages industry participation, a wicked entrepreneurship community and advocacy group. But there is are great events like the Quantum2Cosmos and the Public Lectures from the Perimeter Institute. There is Janet Lynn’s Bistro and Langdon Hall (ok it’s Cambridge). It’s a great place to be an entrepreneur.

Make sure you try to attend Entrepreneur Week 2009 they have a great list of events including:

  • November 16, 2009 10:00am
    Chris Hughes
    , Founder of Facebook & Co-ordinator of and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at General Catalyst
  • November 17, 2009 8:30am-10:30am
    Tim Bray, Founder of Open Text and Antartica Systems
    Ali Asaria, Founder of

Should be a great week.

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