Original post by Martin Cash via Winnipeg Free Press
PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image Billionaire Terry Matthews visited the convention centre Wednesday. Matthews has had a hand in 90 start-up businesses.
SIR Terry Matthews has a lot to say about remedies for what ails the technology sector in Canada.
The Ottawa-based Welsh/Canadian technology billionaire was in Winnipeg this week to speak at the annual meeting of the Information and Communications Technology Association of Manitoba.
He said while the Canadian technology sector may be struggling, some relief is in sight.
Among other things, he applauds the federal government’s latest budget that proposes to make $400 million available for venture capital activities and doubled funds available to the National Research Council’s IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program).
After having a hand in about 90 technology startups, mostly in the Ottawa area — including companies such as Mitel, Newbridge Networks, March Networks and Bridgewater Systems — Matthews figures he’s got it down to a science.
And the outspoken industry veteran is passionate about sharing what he’s learned to make Canada’s technology sector work better.
Among other things, he said he hires new university grads who aren’t married and don’t have a mortgage who are willing and able to work long hours for relatively low pay, but with the possibility of earning stock options. (He claims Mitel was the first Canadian tech company to offer stock options.)
Another key element to the Matthews technology startup model is to make sure the technology is client-driven.
May 1, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Peter Cohan WALL & MAIN via Telegram
I learned last week that Worcester has hired some people from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning to help develop a plan to boost startup activity. An MIT student, who is a candidate for a master’s degree in city planning, called me on April 16 to ask for my assessment of Worcester’s advantages and disadvantages for startups, and my thoughts on what the city could do to attract more startups.
In a nutshell, here are my answers: My favorite idea for how to attract more startups is for the University of Massachusetts Medical School to hire a researcher with a reputation as the world leader in the most promising field in biotechnology. In my view, Worcester’s strengths for startups are its relatively low commercial rents and salaries, and a lower cost of living. Worcester’s weaknesses are its lack of world leadership in many areas of technology, its challenges in attracting venture capital, and its relatively limited economic opportunity.
In several interviews I’ve conducted since last fall, Worcester’s lower commercial rents and housing prices, as well as what business people consider more reasonable salaries, are among Worcester’s key competitive advantages.
April 30, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by ZACH DAVIS via Tech Cocktail
It all started at a conference in 2009. The presenter was giving a talk on web form design and user behavior. His company recently started using eye tracking technology to study on-site behavior. The information they were able to gather through this new method was immensely helpful, but the price tag was, well, just immense – $40,000 for three months worth of data.
This was when the seed was planted in the head of YouEye‘s co-founder and CEO, Kyle Henderson.
Henderson and his college roommate Derek Carter started playing with the idea in their spare time. ”We did the necessary R&D, and quickly realized making an affordable version of this technology was very feasible,” says Henderson.
Before long, the duo moved to DC to pursue their idea full time. Henderson’s background was in product development. In order to make his and Carter’s idea take off, however, Henderson needed to assume the role of business operations - specifically raising money. ”I was very new to this space. The first question I asked was ‘What questions should I be asking?‘”
So Henderson did what any good biz dev person does, connect with those who can help. He reached out to the media. He utilized his network, and expanded upon it. Before long, YouEye was offered an invite to demo at the Launch Conference in 2011. ”We went with roughest of prototypes, but got some really great feedback and added media coverage.”
April 27, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post byEric Savitz via Forbes
Hadley Harris is chief business development officer at Thumb and general partner at ENIAC Ventures, where he invested in Thumb.
It’s not everyday that a venture capitalist makes the leap from being an investor to a full-time position at one of the startups in their portfolio. Diving head-first into running marketing and business development at a startup is a drastic change from the high-level involvement of an investor.
Yet I’ve traded in the comfort and safety of being a VC for the sweat and peril of working for a startup. So there has to be a good reason, right?
As a founding partner of ENIAC Ventures, an independent seed stage fund with a focus on mobile software and services, I have looked at over 600 startups in just two years – and out of that vast pool of companies I have only invested in 25.
After spending extensive time with startups, I suddenly found myself driven to become more involved with one of them. I wanted to trade in the VC life for the chance to help build a company, but first, I had to ask myself, “Is developing this company worth all the blood, sweat and tears required?”
After spending three-and-half years building Vlingo, while simultaneously co-founding ENIAC, I was well aware of the effort required.
April 22, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by ALEXIS MADRIGAL via The Atlantic
After five years pursuing the social-local-mobile dream, we need a fresh paradigm for technology startups.
We’re there. The future that visionaries imagined in the late 1990s of phones in our pockets and high-speed Internet in the air: Well, we’re living in it.
“The third generation of data and voice communications — the convergence of mobile phones and the Internet, high-speed wireless data access, intelligent networks, and pervasive computing — will shape how we work, shop, pay bills, flirt, keep appointments, conduct wars, keep up with our children, and write poetry in the next century.”
That’s Steve Silberman reporting for Wired in 1999, which was 13 years ago, if you’re keeping count. He was right, and his prediction proved correct before this century even reached its teens. Indeed, half of tech media is devoted to precisely how these devices and their always-on connectivity let us do new things, help us forget old things, and otherwise provide humans with as much change as we can handle.
I can take a photo of a check and deposit it in my bank account, then turn around and find a new book through a Twitter link and buy it, all while being surveilled by a drone in Afghanistan and keeping track of how many steps I’ve walked.
The question is, as it has always been: now what?
Decades ago, the answer was, “Build the Internet.” Fifteen years ago, it was, “Build the Web.” Five years ago, the answers were probably, “Build the social network” or “Build the mobile web.” And it was in around that time in 2007 that Facebook emerged as the social networking leader, Twitter gotknown at SXSW, and we saw the release of the first Kindle and the first iPhone. There are a lot of new phones that look like the iPhone, plenty of e-readers that look like the Kindle, and countless social networks that look like Facebook and Twitter. In other words, we can cross that task off the list. It happened.
April 18, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Christie Nicholson via Smart Planet
Digital startups are no longer coalescing around Silicon Valley, they’ve spread globally to Europe and Asia, allowing for a lot more choice on where entrepreneurs plant their next chance at a billion-dollar buyout. While it seems the Valley is still king many other cities provide surprising advantages and interesting demographics. For instance established startups that are in the scaling stage of business can raise 27 percent more money in New York than in the Valley, and those in London can raise 30 percent more money than those on the West coast. Also New York City has double the number of female founders compared with the Valley and London.
Such insights come from young entrepreneurs who decided to analyze data from 16,000 startups to compare the global digital hot spots for business. Some of the findings from the project—calledStartup Genome—are below. Overall takeaways appear to be that Silicon Valley is still by far the leader in startups but that New York and London startups appear to be more conservative and thoughtful in their business strategies.
Here’s a curated list from a longer list on TechCrunch:
Work Ethic: Companies in Silicon Valley work 35% more than companies in New York City. In Silicon Valley teams work 9.5 hours a day on average vs. 8 hours in London and 7 in New York City.
Startup Throughput: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem continues to lead the way, but the gap is growing smaller every year. Silicon Valley’s ecosystem is currently 3-times bigger than New York City, 4.5-times bigger than London, 12.5-times bigger than Berlin, and 38-times larger than Boulder.
Product Types: Compared to New York entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are 2-times more likely to build games, 50 percent less likely to build marketplaces, 23 percent more likely to be build social networks, 3.5-times more likely to be build infrastructure and 2.5-times less likely to be build financial tools. Compared to entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, London entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to be build eCommerce products, 35 percent less likely to be build social products, 3.5-times less likely to be build products based on user-generated content and 2-times more likely to be build project management software.
April 16, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Heather Clancy via ZDNet
In late February, Twitter began recruiting small businesses for a new advertising service by offering credits of up to $100 for those who signed up to help it beta-test its ideas. The service was supposed to go into testing during March (the recruitment site is still live if you want to participate), and the social networking technology company hopes to sign up people for real starting in late 2012.
Meanwhile, the social networking company has released a guide to help small-business ownersget started as tweeps (see below). Some of the ideas are very rudimentary and intended for neophytes, focused on explaining how to use hashtags or retweets to reach different or broader audiences.
For example, here are some terms you’ll need to know, if you don’t know them already:
- Tweet – The term describing a 140-word-limit comment sent out over Twitter. (Can also be a verb!)
- Tweep – Someone who uses Twitter.
- Hashtag – Twits rely on a hashtag, aka the # symbol, to reach certain audiences. For example, there may be a community that likes reading all tweets about #greentech. You can set up a custom search and follow all comments related to a certain hashtag.
- Retweet – This is a noun or verb to describe when someone passes one of your tweets along to his or her followers in its entirety.
- Mention – When someone mentions and comments on something you’ve broadcast without necessarily retweeting the whole tweet.
- Links – To get around the 140-character limit for tweets, you can add a link (which WILL take up space). So, you might comment on a new promotion and include a link that can be visited for more information.
- Meetup – When tweeps who converse regularly over Twitter get together “live” to continue a conversation or attend an event of mutual interest.
- Direct message – When you follow one of your followers, you open the door to receiving direct messages from that individual.
Aside from these basic things, here are some best-practice suggestions that bear reporting for those of you who haven’t lived in Twitterdom as long as I have (working on my fifth year).
April 16, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by ALLEN GANNETT via TNW
I never expected to pay to lunch with a bunch of strangers.
I’m increasingly cynical about social media and the new social-local-mobile startups, which seem to emerge daily. The craze of collaborative consumption is no exception. From sharing your apartment, to sharing your car, and even to sharing your home-cooked meals, collaborative consumption offers technology that helps you share your goods and experiences. Social eating startups are one flavor currently flooding the collaborative consumption space, with names such as GrubWithUs, LetsLunch, and local DC startup Wednesdays.com.
Although I’m addicted to going out for lunch, the reasons to use Wednesday.com escaped me. What was wrong with the people I was lunching with regularly?
However, the technology angel on my shoulder encouraged me to be open-minded. So when an email arrived from Wednesdays.com inviting me to a “Lean Startup Club Lunch,” I signed-up.
The lunch was billed as a way to discuss the previous night’s Lean Startup Club meeting (“Love’d it? Share your opinion of yesterday’s meetup with your fellow LSCers over lunch!”). I imagined meeting a group of diverse people who spanned generations, race, and gender, yet were all interested in entrepreneurship.
April 15, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Tim Catts via Bloomberg
A General Electric Co. employee examines a component for a gas turbine at the company's factory in Belfort, France. Photographer: Fabrice Dimier/BloombergZVZS
More than a century after General Electric Co. (GE) built its first research laboratory in an upstate New York barn, it’s wooing Silicon Valley engineers in a bid to connect machines the way Facebook Inc. (FB) links people.
New hires are coming from Oracle Corp. (ORCL), SAP AG (SAP) and Symantec Corp. (SYMC)as well as Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, as GE persuades developers to forgo potential windfalls from initial public offerings to work for the last original member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
GE’s vision for the so-called industrial Internet is to build networks that harvest data from heavy equipment, boosting efficiency for commercial users such as railroads and airlines. The center of the effort is a $1 billion facility in San Ramon, California, that will be staffed with as many as 400 people. In the process, GE also aims to disprove the notion that older stalwarts can’t lure tech talent from younger, cooler startups.
“GE already has a brand, but when people take a step back they probably think about it as more related to an older company,” said Shannon Callahan, head of technical talent at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. “But the magic about Silicon Valley is when you come out here and you’re building something new, you get the opportunity to brand it as something new.”
Bill Ruh came from Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) last year to lead the venture as a GE vice president and has been hiring ever since.
April 15, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by UZI SHMILOVICI via TC
In 1919, Walter Gropius founded in Germany theBauhaus, a school for engineering and design, and gave birth to one of the most important and influential design movements in history: Modernism. Gropius’ big idea was that designers and engineers should collaborate closely in order to build phenomenal products. Later, in the mid-1950s, Braun adopted this approach and had phenomenal success in building signature products, many of which were commercial hits, made huge impact on people’s lives and are now museum exhibits.
If you want to trace back Apple’s design ethos, this is where it all started. But Apple didn’t only borrow the design language from Braun. It also borrowed the process. Apple’s design process is based on the same close collaboration between engineers and product designers. This process guarantees stunning results. It is time to bring this approach to software startups. In order to do that though, designers have to first reset their mindsets.
The Problem With Designers Today…
At some point along the way, something went wrong. Whether it is design education, or the booming advertising industry in the 60s, designers focused their talent on designing collateral and marketing materials rather than designing products. This led to beautifully designed advertising campaigns for what were mostly mediocre products. Maybe it was a pure case of following the money.
Even then, instead of focusing on creating great design that will make an impact, designers were more obsessed with receiving awards from their colleagues, winning philosophical design debates and building exclusive member-only organizations that will accept only the “best” designers. The worst effect of that is that many talented designers got stuck in this cult are wasting their careers focusing on the wrong things, oftentimes working on projects with little, or no value, to other people’s lives.
April 12, 2012 | Techmeetups