Yelp – Community Manager

From via Geoffrey Wiseman at Toronto Technology Jobs (be sure to read the commentary).

As the Yelp Community Manager, you’ll be a full-time Yelp employee doing whatever it takes to grow the community of active yelpers as the Yelp "Mayor" in your city. Working out of your home and anywhere with WiFi, you’ll lead Yelp’s success in your city, and will be an integral member of a team of all-stars in the field receiving direction and support from Yelp Headquarters in San Francisco.

About you

  • Lives to write; writes to live. You know who you are. Pencils down.
  • Has a fire in the belly. Walks through walls. Takes no prisoners. In a word: driven. Even when no one is watching. Especially then.
  • Social connector. You are the hub of your social world. You know everyone. Everyone knows you. You are the Mayor. The fun one. Diplomatic, too.
  • Have more than a few years of post-graduate professional experience (existing Yelp community managers have 5 to 15 years).

About the job

  • Writing. Write locally compelling newsletters weekly and inspiring reviews daily. Persuasive pitches to venue owners and marketing partners.
  • Event planning. Conceptualize, negotiate, wrangle, plan and execute cool, fun and buzz-worthy (big wow factor!) events/parties.
  • Marketing outreach. Connect with the right local organizations, barter weekly newsletter sponsorships for promotion of Yelp.
  • Socializing and adventuring. Meet up with yelpers. Attend civic events. See and be seen. In the scene. Be the Mayor. Always on.
  • Communication. Be accountable with stellar communication to your peers and those who support you at Yelp HQ.

If you’re interested, please submit the following:

  1. Cover letter/note showcasing your writing skills and general personality and style
  2. Resume showcasing your relevant experience
  3. A link to your (full and interesting) Yelp profile



A web without windows

moz_design_challenge_logoCan’t help but love the shot at Microsoft in the latest Mozilla Labs Design Challenge post. Nice.

No windows, no unnecessary trappings.

I’m sure that this was not intentionally aimed at Microsoft’s IE8 RC1 announcement. But it made me laugh. It’s hard to imagine the world without the trappings of the personal computer. This is one of the unique challenges presented by August de los Reyes about Predicting the Past. I’ve been thinking more about personal health data, and thinking about how to build solutions aimed at informing and altering behaviour. Not on the scale of transformation that the Office Labs and MSR teams did with Future of personal health concept.  The video storyboards used in the Aurora Concept and the MSR Future of Healthcare videos are a great medium for students to express the complexity of the environment and the changes they see in predicting the future.

The question posed by the Mozilla Labs team is about extending the interpretation of the web. What does a user experience look like if the web is ubiquitous?

The Design Challenge is a series of events to encourage innovation, and experimentation in user interface design for the Web. Our aim is to provoke thought, facilitate discussion, and inspire future design directions for Firefox, the Mozilla project, and the Web as a whole.

It’s an interesting outreach to inspire and engage members of the Web community. It builds on the work that Mozilla did with Adaptive Path on the Aurora Concept exploring the future directions and ideas for Mozilla as a browser. The Design Challenge Spring 2009 asks 20 students to answer the following questions:

“What would a browser look like if the Web was all there was? No windows, no unnecessary trappings. Just the Web.”

It’s an interesting question and it provokes a series of other questions:

  • What does the Web really mean?
  • What does the Web mean in the context of a device? Does the device have local storage? local computation?
  • What assumptions as designers are we making about bandwidth? latency? interaction? behaviour?

The question of what is the Web and how individuals and groups interact, communicate and collaborate is really interesting. I hope that design students will document their assumptions about the hardware, software, networking infrastructure, carriers and to make their visions real.

As the Web becomes even more ubiquitous, we’ll never have to leave it. Whether it’s on touch tables, giant wall-sized screens, mobile devices, or just our computers, exploring the interactions for browsing a windowless Web will become ever-more important in the next couple of years.

Great opportunity for 20 design students to design a vision for the future. Plus they’ll get to work with Beltzner, Madhava, Aza, Alex and the rest of the team at Mozilla. 

HomeZilla launches

homezilla HomeZilla launced today. HomeZilla is a research assistant for researching and buying a home. It is not a real estate site like or ZooCasa which are focused on listing houses for sale (read more about and ZooCasa on BlogTO). HomeZilla is similar but very different, it tries to help home buyers connect with the 95% non-commercial information about their potential neighbourhood including information about:

  • 99% of all public Canadian schools
  • Over 1000 fire stations across Canada
  • Demographics like average age, median income, etc
  • Rail transit in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal
  • Over 800 liquor stores from across Canada

The services is aimed at helping potential home buyers answer questions such as:

  • Where is the closest school, subway, bakery, dog park, etc.?
  • What is the average price for homes in this area?
  • How much money do people in this neighbourhood make?

It will be interesting to see if Sandy and the team can develop a business model that does not primarily rely on impressions to drive revenue (read Don Dodge’s post on advertising business models). CPM models require a huge number of visitors to drive revenue. There’s a business in market segmentation and targeted advertising. Figuring out a series of business development partnerships with other complimentary local players (ZooCasa, BlogTO, OurFaves, PlanetEye, among others) is a good starting point to help drive some traffic and driving up targeted advertising revenue. Where I could see a very strong partnership is an integration with the ranking and local reputation system being built by GigPark.

StartupEmpire is the new black

Image by Balakov Leave it to two knuckleheads, who tend to just do things rather than planning. The result is often something other than what was expected, sometimes you get bitten on the ass for your actions. Jevon and I both jumped the gun, showing you why entrepreneurs need help with logistics, legals and trademarks. Apparently there was a trademark registered with the previous name of our conference. We loved the name. While we’ve been in informed that our use does not infringe on the existing trademark, we decided it was just easier to change the name of the conference.

We bounced around ideas including:The League of Extraordinary Startups; StartupUnion; Her Majesty’s Canadian Startup; among others. Ultimately we’ve settled on StartupEmpire!

It’s a little audacious. Entrepreneurs need to start thinking big.

We’re working on planning the very hands on workshops. The goal is to provide entrepreneurs an extremely practical content around starting a company, building a product and growing a business. Participants can expect to leave the conference with example term sheets, example shareholders agreements, practical advice to dealing with cease-and-desist letters, marketing plans, example pitches, sample budgets and cashflows. All learnings from entrepreneurs and experts about in workshop format. We’re also open to suggestions and ideas for sessions. We want to make this valuable to attendees. We need a stronger, louder voice to build awe inspiring companies. Drop me a note about what you find valuable in a conference like StartupEmpire.


Mark Relph has some Q&A from John Oxley and Rick Claus about the upcoming TechDays events.

Each year our team strives to deliver the best experience to Canada’s Technical Professionals that we possibly can.  This includes thinking about how to change and innovate our programs to ensure that are meeting your expectations.  You told us that you wanted an event that focuses on helping to build your skills.  You expect a world-class event experience and you expect it in more places than just Toronto.  The team has been working hard for months to respond to your feedback and TechDays in the culmination of that effort.

TechDays 2008 is our largest technical education conference series for IT Professionals and Developers in Canada EVER. With more than thirty 200+ level sessions in each city there truly is something for everyone.  This is not a “marketing event”.  You can choose from tracks and sessions including: Windows Development, Web Development, SQL Server 2008, Infrastructure or our first large scale deep dive into Microsoft’s Virtualization solution.  The broad technical education at TechDays is delivered by Microsoft staff, our Partners, and a variety of industry experts.  The technical sessions and onsite experiences combined with the TechDays learning kit are designed to help you grow your skills, give you the tools to learn, to share best practices and build connections in the industry.

TechDays is an interesting change in focus. Sure it’s a Microsoft event focused on Microsoft technologies. But it is an event focused on bringing content focused on helping provide career development and skills development for IT and software development professionals. The goal is to provide real world education and experience by Microsoft staff, Microsoft Partners, and industry experts.


  • Toronto: Oct 29th and 30th
  • Montreal: Nov 6th and 7th
  • Vancouver: Jan 21st and 22nd
  • Calgary Dec 10th and 11th
  • Ottawa: Nov 27th
  • Winnipeg: Dec 4th
  • Halifax: Dec 17th


  • 2 Day Conference
    Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver
    Early Bird Price: $ 249.99 (By Oct 15th)
    Regular Price: $ 499.99 (After Oct 15th)
  • 1 Day Conference
    Winnipeg, Halifax, Ottawa
    Early Bird Price: $ 124.99 (By Oct 15th)
    Regular Price: $ 249.99 (After Oct 15th)
    Space is limited to: 5,000 IT Pros. & Developers

Attendee Benefits

  • 6-month TechNet Plus Subscription
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional – Full Package Product
  • Expression Web – Full Package Product
  • Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite – Evaluation Software
  • Expression Studio – Evaluation Software
  • Virtualization Resource Kit
  • 30% off certification voucher – Applicable to All MS Certification Exams
  • TechEd 2008 DVD Set
  • $100 Discount Coupon for DevTeach/SQLTeach

TechDays in the wild

Akoha – Community Gardener

Montreal, QC

Originally from

You are the friendliest, happiest, smiliest person on the face of this Earth.

When you walk past, crying babies begin to burble. You call people and they hear a smile over the phone. Your emails cause people to forget their troubles. When friends ask for help, you’re always willing to lighten their load and brighten their day. You make the sun shine and the grass green and the birds sing.

Akoha is a funded startup in Montreal developing a new type of social game. We’re a team of startup veterans from the Internet, venture capital and gaming communities in Montreal. Right now, we’re getting ready to launch a online and offline social game designed to make the world a better place. Although we’re in stealth mode, we’ve still garnered press coverage on TechCrunch, Mashable, VentureBeat, Worlds In Motion and Virtual Worlds News. We’ve also been awarded the 1st Runner Up Selection Prize for Canada’s Most Innovative Startup at the Canadian Innovation Exchange 2008.

We’re looking for a Community Gardener who will help us grow and nurture a community of players, fans, and supporters of our game. You’re someone who lives and breathes the Internet. You’re creative. You’re influential. You use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and Google Talk every day. You’re active in the blogosphere, producing your own blogs, videos, and podcasts. You love writing, listening, and learning.

You think that communities, web applications, and the social web are powerful things. You’re passionate about giving people the tools to work together, online and offline, to build something greater than they could ever do individually.

You want to change the world.

You’ll make sure our community is in the loop:

  • Welcome new players.
  • Respond promptly to players’ complaints and suggestions. Seek out answers and provide constant updates.
  • Voice the community’s opinions inside of Akoha. You’ll be their advocate for their wants, needs, and concerns.
  • Help players when they have questions. Give them the answers they need, in a prompt and friendly way.
  • Gather, train, and encourage a community of enthusiastic players helping them in answering questions, solving problems, and advocating Akoha.
  • Post regularly to our blog and forums. You’ll highlight player activity, help introduce new features, and comment on the powerful stories that our community creates.
  • Communicate our roadmap, our plans, and our changes to the game as we introduce new features and bugfixes.

You’re responsible for growing a strong and vibrant community:

  • Develop, maintain, and enforce a code of conduct that our users should adhere to.
  • Create new in-game events. Organize virtual or real world player meetups.
  • Identify and reward key players who are our power-users.
  • Reach out and promote Akoha with key bloggers, influential personalities, and aid our players in spreading the Akoha message.
  • Plan, produce, and develop social media campaigns to increase visibility with the public. You’ll use videos, podcasts, Skype teleconferences, and player meetups.
  • Be the go-to girl or guy for our social media and grassroots marketing campaigns.

You’ll know the pulse of the game and our players:

  • Track the performance of our online activities.
  • Report metrics on blog and forum activity, customer acquisition, web analytics tools, and other measurement tools.
  • Work with developers and testers to raise, track and follow up on customer support issues.
  • Work with public relations and marketing to develop an Akoha voice that resonates with players.

What you’ll need to succeed:

  • Funny, smart, and industrious personality.
  • Outstanding oral and written English.
  • Serious, bordering on obsessive, passion for all things related to the Web.
  • Web presence: a blog, YouTube channel, etc. WordPress skills are a bonus. Even better if you like take photos, upload videos, or make music.
  • Experience developing an audience for your online profile gives you brownie points.
  • Experience building online communities is a huge plus.
  • Strong interest in social change, social games, Facebook games.

What Akoha offers you:

  • Competitive compensation, including an incentive plan, benefits, and stock options.
  • Playing arcade games with us on the company MAME machine.
  • Free snack food and an introduction to our espresso machine. (Her name is Monica.)
  • Optional Dress-Up Fridays. Every day is casual day, but sometimes you just have to rock out.
  • Incredible co-workers who are fun and passionate about their jobs, just like you.
  • Work with some of the leading change makers in the world who are fighting for the environment, battling poverty, funding education, improving health-care, and nurturing the arts.
  • Rub shoulders with Internet media gurus, rock stars, and movie celebrities who will be working with our community.

Does this sound like the perfect job? Apply now.

Dreaming the Next Web

Albert presented his vision for The Next Web at the October 2007 OCE Mind-to-Market Breakfast. I love that they’ve titled these events “Wake up and smell the future”. I hope it smells better than most CS labs.

OCE is offering a set of great programs like the IAF [PDF] up to $500,000 in early-stage funding for emerging technology companies. The Investment Accelerator Fund is AWESOME. “Investments are made in the form of a convertible debenture (loan) in return for a nominal equity position”. It’s very similar to the QuickStart Seed Funding from Charles River Ventures. I’ve written about this program when it was announced.

“It’s a challenge to find angels or early-stage firms like Ycombinator that develop entrepreneurs and companies. It’s a very different incubation model, i.e., incubate the people, the company, the technology – DON’T provide them space.” – David Crow – Nov 6, 2006

After the OCE breakfast we had an interesting discussion with entrepreneurs, community instigators, angel investment organizations, the Toronto Board of Trade and the OCE. Money is and important ingredient. One that we need to make it easier for Canadian entrepreneurs to find. But it is the people and skills to develop our talent that is just as important. There is the need for the right money, the right connections, the right skills to mentor and develop the people and the company into a powerhouse. Jevon and Jonas provide much better ongoing coverage and analysis of startup financing issues in a Canadian context at