Entrepreneurship Theme Song

Yesterday, I asked the question “If Entrepreneurship had a theme song, what would it be?” Some laughed and thought the question was weird. But, I think ENTREPRENEURSHIP should have a theme song. Everything has a theme song, you win a football game and there is a theme song. you go on a road trip and there is a theme song, you get my drift.

From those that responded, I compiled a list. If you have a song to add to the list, please comment. The holiday season is approaching and who doesn’t want an “Entrepreneurship ROCKS” playlist?

1 – Stronger – Kanye West

2 – Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

3 – A Team Theme Song

4 – Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

5 – Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell – Das Racist

6 – The Great Escape Theme Tune

7 – Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

I know with all the entrepreneurs around, we can double this list easily. So, please feel free to add 🙂

Connect ’09 Ticket Winners

During our Under the Launch Party Event (LPV8) on September 16, we held a draw for two free tickets to Connect ’09, a premier event for technology startups hosted by the BC Innovation Council (BCIC) on October 19, 2009 at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, BC.

And the Winners are…
Congratulations to LPV8 attendees, Carly Franklin of Magpie Social Media
and Dan Coburn of Atomic Robot for winning the tickets to Connect ’09. 
That night, Carly and Dan will enjoy panel sessions with industry experts, a technology expo, awards ceremony and great networking with other innovators in the BC technology community including BES Board members, Leonard Brody and Danny Robinson.

Leonard is the Keynote Speaker this year for Connect ’09. Among his many achievements, Leonard is an experienced entrepreneur, who co-founded NowPublic, a citizen generated news website that recently sold to local news network, Examiner.com. Having heard Leonard speak before, I believe you will walk away feeling inspired.

Danny has been starting and advising companies for over 15 years.  As Managing Director of Bootup Labs, he helps early stage digital media companies go from “concept to proof.”  Danny will be sharing his wisdom on the Accelerator Factor panel at 5pm. If you are launching a startup, you will want to attend this session.

Join Carly, Dan, Leonard, Danny and many more innovators and technology professionals at Connect ’09.  If you haven’t got a ticket already, you can learn more about the event and register at http://www.bcic.ca/connect

DemoIgniteCamp Wrap Up

It’s more than a week after DemoIgniteCamp that we had at the Vancouver Convention Center thanks to Microsoft Canada and Joey deVilla. You can find his wrap up post on the Microsoft Canadian Developer Connection blog. My excuse is that I was involved in 6 events in 5 days and am just surfacing again 😛

I really enjoyed the opportunity to get really really techie. As Avi said, “Surprised that the demos (including mine) are all of tools vs. products”. We purposefully kept the list very developer / programming / cool tools focused, and I’m pleased with the result.

We had 7 presentations, none of them really in Ignite style aside from Joey’s. I think it would be fun to do “real” Ignite style presentations at some point, but in Vancouver, the original Pecha Kucha does a good job of that.

The 6 presentations aside from Joye’s were as follows:

  1. Clamato — Hot Smalltalk on JavaScript action by Avi Bryant
  2. TransitDB – Carson Lam’s online guide for Vancouver Transit users that won the PHP FTW contest earlier this year
  3. RestfulX Framework – Dima Berastau’s framework for bringing Rails-esque goodness and RESTfulness to Adobe Flex and AIR development
  4. PhoneGap and Ayogo’s use of it for iPhone Game Development
  5. Joyent’s Smart – Joyent’s server-side Javascript cloud platform
  6. Walruz — Ruby framework for managing complex authorization policies

My sincere apologies to Mobify for not having time to fit their presentation in at the end. It just goes to show that I really do need a gong for timed presentations (/me looks at DaveO).

Thanks again to Joey and the rest of the Microsoft Canada / TechDays crew for making the space available AND for buying a round of truly “Free beer” at the Lion’s Pub afterwards, and to everyone for attending and presenting.

So, this wasn’t really a DemoCamp event, and it wasn’t really an Ignite event. It was a lot of fun, and I’d like to do more like this. As I said at the event, I need help in programming and organizing these events – get in touch or leave a comment if you have some ideas.

We’re also announcing another DemoCamp Vancouver event on October 22nd. If all goes as planned, we’ll be announced some startup funding related news at the event. If you want to present, please follow the link and sign up for a “Pitch Presenter” ticket.

Under the Launch Party – our hottest event yet!

by Maura Rodgers (@Maurar)

Another Launch Party is under our belt.  Our 8th Launch Party to be exact. Aside from finding a venue with a PA system that doesn’t make us sound like Charlie Brown’s Teacher or has sufficient AC to keep all 400+ of us a little cooler, I would call it a success.  I enjoyed seeing many familiar faces as well as meeting visitors from Seattle, Ontario, Kelowna, California and abroad.  We hope you left with a smile on your face and a pocket overflowing with new business cards that lead to meaningful relationships.

If the PA system had actually worked at the event, there were a few things we really wanted to say:

First of all – thank you very much for coming out to celebrate and support the entrepreneurs in our digital media community.  As Danny has said many times before, we believe Entrepreneurs are the Superheroes for our economy.  Entrepreneurs are the ones, who will lead us out of the tough times. The ones who understand that in order to solve a problem and change the world, you need to take a risk and go where no one else has gone before. (hence, the Superhero Trophies!) And that is why LPV exists – to salute entrepreneurs for their innovation and surround them with the right people, who can help them take their idea to the next level.

Speaking of the right people…
Many thanks to Debbie Landa from Dealmaker Media for flying up from San Francisco to co-host our 8th event.  Debbie founded Dealmaker Media in 2000 and organizes a number of high quality conferences and events in the Valley, LA and NY each year. When it comes to the digital media and VC landscape in the States, Debbie is plugged in.  49% of the companies that have been selected to pitch at her events have gone on to raise funding or be acquired.  Not only is she an experienced entrepreneur, who knows how to spot a winner, she’s also Canadian!  Debbie is @deblanda on Twitter.

Check out Dealmaker’s next event Under the Radar on November 19 in Mountain View, CA

And if it wasn’t for…
Sun has always been a big supporter of our Launch Party events and the Vancouver technology community. We hope that you had a chance to meet with Jeremiah from Sun Start-up Essentials, who flew in from San Francisco for the event.  As many of you already know, for your startup to succeed, you need more than a good business plan–you need a way to implement it quickly and cost-effectively.  If the mic actually worked on Wednesday, Jeremiah would have told you that the Sun Start-up Essential Program provides you with discounted hardware and services, free support and training, and access to a network of investors and startups around the globe. If you are interested in learning more, you can Apply online or follow-up with Jeremiah directly. You can also find him on Twitter @jshack.

Big Thanks to:
Our media sponsor, Techvibes, Layer 7 and all the crew at Strutta, who designed and managed the LPV8 Start-up Competition.   Thanks to Sonia, Jordan, Tina, and all of the volunteers, who worked the door. Your support and enthusiasm are what make each and every event so wicked awesome (that’s Bostonian for really good!).

Just Bootup
You may have heard that Strutta hired Ben Pickering as their new CEO, which means I am now working as the Executive Director of the Bootup Entrepreneurial Society with Sonia Ryan as my wingman.

The Bootup Entrepreneurial Society (BES) may share the Bootup in the Bootup Labs name (and their coffee maker) but it is NOT part of Bootup Labs.  While they help early stage companies too, BL is all about turning a profit.  BES is a non-profit that exists to build a solid infrastructure to help all entrepreneurs (not just BL companies) take a brilliant idea and turn it into a real business.  BES is thrilled to have Leonard Brody, Boris Wertz, Danny Robinson and Boris Mann on our Board.  All of these Superheroes want to see more digital media companies take root and flourish in BC and are investing their time and passion to make this happen.

Launch Party, which was founded by Danny, Dimitri and I and will now be managed by BES. In addition, BES will be organizing a number of events and workshops on a monthly basis to help digital media entrepreneurs start, build and grow their business.  Stay tuned for more.

Thanks again for coming!

AND the LPV8 winners are…

The results are in and it’s time to announce the winners in the LPV8 Startup Contest. A panel of 8 Judges casted their votes for the “Startup Most Likely to Succeed” and awarded Hootsuite. From Judge Gary Yurkovich’s comments: “For social marketers, this is a great platform. Almost mandatory to have something like this when managing multiple Twitter accounts”. So a big congrats to Hootsuite!

Judges Choice winners Hootsuite

The people have spoken and their votes went to MyWeddingMatch.com whose witty video made them a favorite among voters.

People's Choice Myweddingmatch.com

As for the event itself, the 8th installment of Launch Party was again a huge success with the highest number of attendees. The 9 demo companies were busy all night spieling to the crowd. Stay tuned for our announcement of our next Launch Party Vancouver event.

OH at Launch Party 8

Here are a few “over heards” from last night’s Launch Party Vancouver 8 event:
  • 6oz: Great job on #LPV8 last night @sonsryan ! It was teh hotness – both literally and metaphorically 😉 – Kirsten was demo’ing Hootsuite, and perhaps remarking on the fact that it was the temperature was a *little* high last night
  • tinatinatinah: my friend just asked me how the “nerd convention” went last night. well, i replied to my disconnected friend, #LPV8 went rather well! =) – Tina is the newest Strutta employee, and this was her first Launch Party
  • davidascher: Enjoyed the #LPV8 event last night — saw old friends, made new ones, and got great feedback about Thunderbird 3. Lots of “wow!”s – David is the CEO of Mozilla Messaging, and was demo’ing Thunderbird 3
  • quickmobile: great party last night at #LPV8 – best event of the season so far! Kudos to @dannyrobinson and the team – thanks… – thanks Patrick – we attended and/or helped organize 4 events in the past 3 days, so it was a pretty intense kick off to the “season”
  • gheer: Fun night last night at #lpv8, met a lot of interesting people. Really enjoyed meeting the @yowza and @gist folks. – all the companies were great, and LP makes it easy for lots of one-on-ones; forget standing up and pitching once – you’re pitching to 200 – 300 potential users, partners, and investors, one at a time 😛
  • justincumby: #LPV8 = fantastic event. Kudos to @yowza @hootsuite @angelpui @zed5000 @gist @lilipip for the great demos – awesome west coast innovation! – Justin was part of the Sun Startup Essentials crew that sponsored the event
  • SeattleCityGirl: sad I didn’t know about #lpv8 until now. Would have been fun to attend! Guess I’ll just have to wait for #nPost event Tues night! – Gist and Lilipip were up from Seattle, and Groove Systems was representing Kelowna; every Vancouver Launch Party is likely to feature folk from elsewhere. Portland, I’ve got my eye on you for LPV9!
  • launchpartyhq: Hey @stewarttownsend – we met with @thinklondon and @jshack at #LPV8 – maybe we can do Launch Party London? – hmmm…who tweeted this?! No promises, but sounds like fun!
Thanks to everyone for coming out. We’ve got a couple of good prospects on deck for LPV9 already. Want to launch your company or new feature with us in Vancouver? Head on over and apply.

Presenting companies at DFAIT Bootcamp

Today is Bootcamp day in Vancouver. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is running California Market Access Bootcamps throughout the west.

The Entrepreneurial Society helped organize the event in Vancouver along with other local connections from BCIC, SFU TIME Center and the Vancouver Economic Development Commission.

In the morning, the event is open to all the companies that applied. Chris Gill of SVASE is running a session on tuning your pitch and putting together what investors want to hear.

In the afternoon, 24 selected companies are presenting to three panels of investors and advisors from San Francisco, San Diego, and local firms.

The selected presenting companies are:

Congratulations to all the presenting companies, and good luck with your pitches this afternoon!

Co Founder Corner at Launch Party

We’re not doing a full Co founder Speed Dating event for this Launch Party, but we do want to keep helping potential co-founders to connect.

We’ve decided that from now on, every Launch Party event will include a “Co Founder Corner”. We’ll have an area set aside where people who are looking for cofounders can hang out, leave their business cards, and in general know they’re in the right spot to meet other potential founders.

We’re not (yet) implementing any extra “technology” to help with this. Maybe a good excuse to start experimenting with checking in via Foursquare – we’ve already entered the Launch Party venue, the Circa Resto Lounge.

» Next Launch Party Registration: http://lpv8.eventbrite.com
» Vote for LPV8 Startup Most Likely to Succeed: http://lpv8.launchpartyhq.com

See you at 6pm on Wednesday, September 16th, and don’t forget your business cards!

Dean Prelazzi Interview

Originally posted at The Why of The Web.

Dean Prelazzi, Director of ICT, Wireless, & New Media Technologies Sectors British Columbia Innovation Council

That job title is fantastic. What exactly do you do and what experiences have you had that made you a good fit for the role?

I got my start with an Ottawa company called CrossKeys, one of Newbridge Networks’ first affiliate companies. We were making carrier-grade network and service management software – selling into the largest telecommunications carriers on the planet. I spent some time in product management, marketing, and later sales, selling into AT&T, Sprint, Qwest Communications, Global One, and a handful of CLECs on the east coast. Since then my career has spanned a number of areas related to thin client computing, internet performance and networking, data analysis, point of sale applications, SaaS applications and social networking. Generally, I guess you could say the diversity of my tech background and the breadth of roles I’ve had in sales, marketing, and product management – always with early stage companies or early stage technology – gives me a unique perspective with enough technical depth to be dangerous and some solid experience in product positioning and marketing. I also did an MBA focused specifically on high technology and I wrote a thesis (kind of) in the area of marketing and selling complex technology.

As far as my role at the BC Innovation Council is concerned, I tend to characterize it as business development. I’m passionate about B.C.’s tech sector and more importantly, its role in driving our economy in the 21st century. I’m focused on initiatives that help build B.C.’s entrepreneurship infrastructure as one of the key drivers of technology commercialization and startup growth. I’m also keen to meet companies one on one as I find I can help them think about their challenges from a different angle, brainstorm with them a little, connect them to valuable resources, and ultimately help them move the ball forward by bringing my marketing skills to the table. By the way, yes – it is a fantastic job. Love it. But I do miss being on the front lines selling too. Working directly with customers to address their needs is very satisfying. But, I feel I’m doing that today. It’s just a different kind of customer.

What is BCIC? Where did they come from, how long have they been around, what do they do and what direction are they heading in?

The BC Innovation Council (BCIC) is a Crown agency of the Province of British Columbia. It was formed in 2006 through the merger of the former (Innovation and) Science Council of British Columbia (SCBC) and Advanced Systems Institute (ASI). SCBC was established by Province in 1976 and became active in 1979 and ASI became active in 1991.

We’re the lead organization charged with driving the commercialization of innovation in the Province and we’re focused on accelerating the growth of our science and technology communities and competitively positioning British Columbia in the global science and technology economy in order to provide significant employment opportunities and a high standard of living for British Columbians. On the tactical side of things, one of our focus areas is talent development which we do through our Science Fair program in elementary and high school, and through any number of science and technology grants and scholarships to high school and university students – undergraduate and graduate.

We’re also involved, increasingly, in developing entrepreneurship talent though a number of programs both in universities and the private sector. Our partnership with New Ventures BC in support of their annual business competition is a big example of this. Every year, the competition helps 30 entrepreneurs think critically about their business and refine their business plan through a rigorous training and mentorship process. As I indicated earlier, entrepreneurship infrastructure is a key to commercialization and growing our tech sector so we’re getting more active in this area, with an increasing focus on aspiring technology entrepreneurs (whether from universities or the private sector) and tech startups. This was appealing for me when I was considering joining the organization.

Some of our other programs, for example partnering with ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver, are designed to build community, stimulate job creation and commerce, and raise awareness, outside of B.C., regarding the depth of technology skills and competencies available in B.C. as a method of attracting investment and business to the region. ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver is the most active SIGGRAH Chapter in the world and likely played a role in helping bring our region to the attention of Pixar and certainly helped secure the SIGGRAPH 2011 conference which will bring 20,000+ professionals in the animation and graphics industry from around the world to Vancouver in 2011. And some of our other initiatives still, are aimed at directly engaging innovators in universities and the private sector, and helping to drive the development of even greater innovation – for example by facilitating the development of a new association with common research interests, or at times by bringing together other federal and provincial departments to fund a new project rooted in either the development of a new innovation or the commercialization of one.

What is Connect ’09? Is this the first Connect? Who is it for and what is the point?

Connect ’09 is designed for tech start-ups, aspiring entrepreneurs, and students. It’s intended to ‘connect’ this community to the knowledge, people, and resources that can really help them move their business forward and it’s aimed at all technology domains including ICT, Wireless, New Media, Clean Tech, Life Sciences, etc. An example is the structured networking part of the evening in which over 40 of B.C.’s top technology business leaders are making themselves available, formally, to be approached by technology entrepreneurs – maybe to answer a question or two, provide a sound bite of advice, or facilitate an introduction in the future.

The ‘structured’ part of the networking is characterized by all the mentors at stand up tables, their names and profiles clearly laid out in the event program enabling attendees to seek out certain people if they choose. It’s quite unique. I guess you could say we’re trying to break down any barriers that may be preventing some members of the community from approaching others. Ultimately, this event is about celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship in our community and helping to make sure folks have the tools they need to be successful, or at least information of where to find them. Leonard Brody is delivering the Keynote speech this year. He’s a cofounder and CEO of Now Public – which, by the way, was just acquired for $25 million this week. Iain Black, the Provincial Minister of Small Business, Technology, and Economic Development will also be in attendance, and speaking at the event.

There are also a series of panel sessions aimed at some of the areas that are key to the success of a start up. (1) funding (2) building partnerships (3) the value of startup accelerators(4) building well designed products – and it’s all topped off by a let-your-hair down style cocktail reception that I know everyone will enjoy. Every tech entrepreneur in B.C. should be at this event. It will not disappoint. Get to www.bcic.ca/connect to register soon as it will sell out.

What do you see as major trends evolving in the ICT, Wireless, & New Media Technologies Sectors? In your mind what are some of the big picture ideas that we will see emerge over the next 2 years? What about 10 – 20 years?

Wow, that’s quite a question. Well firstly, during the next few years on the new media side of things, social networking is increasingly hitting the mainstream. We’re seeing it in mainstream business applications more and more as companies take notice of the powerful effect of online networking in the context of what’s been demonstrated through Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. And it’s not just about the networking part of it. There’s tremendous value in being able to assemble a crowd quickly on the basis of common interests or a common profile or demographic, perhaps to answer a question, enter a contest, promote a cause or hey – BUY A PRODUCT! So I think this will continue. Companies will find new and creative ways of generating big business commerce by bringing together online crowds – essentially pushing the bounds of what we understand exists in the applications currently at the forefront of this space.

Also, I think the adoption of SaaS-based business applications (software as a service) is accelerating, especially in the small business space. Core business applications to run your business are no longer one size fits all. You can find on-line applications to run your Personal Training business, your Life Coaching business, your Brand Marketing business, your hockey team, your charity – all customized to meet the unique structure of those businesses in terms of how you interact with your customers – and the kind and scope of applications available today is continuing to grow. I don’t know if this is an earth shattering observation as a major trend, but I think it’s a trend that may be flying under radar a little as folks tend to get most excited about the Twitter-ish things going on. Point is, some of the basics of business are still a hot target for online productivity applications. In many cases it ain’t sexy, but it’s paying you $30 a month per user which adds up fast if you can get the word out with a great application.

On the wireless side of things, two things immediately come to mind. First, I think Wireless Health represents a monumental tidal wave of innovation and opportunity in the longer term. Wireless applications used in an electronic health records context as well as a medical diagnosis and treatment context with transmitters sending vital signs to a database for immediate analysis and diagnosis, along with an alerting system which loops your physician into the situation. There’s some very wild stuff coming down the pipe. From an infrastructure point of view, I’m excited about the jump from 3G up to LTE (Long Term Evolution) or sometimes referred to as 4G designed to increase the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks. New and improved quality of service capabilities are also built into the LTE architecture which will open up a plethora of new high bandwidth applications in the wireless world – streaming high definition video is one of them along other applications in consumer media and entertainment, enterprise collaboration and health care, and cloud computing.

I don’t know about the 20 year time horizon (I’d really like to see a transporter, or hyperspace capability like in the old Asteroids game) but over the longer term, I think we’ll see a fundamental shift in how humans interact with digital content and applications whether from desktop workstations or mobile devices. I think the user interface will transform, driven by the science and engineering behind computer animation and graphics, which will evolve into mainstream business applications. In a nutshell, I see the user experience becoming more fluid, more immersed or integrated in the application rather than separate from it as it is today. It’s hard to put into words. This company I discovered recently right here in Vancouver, Mingleverse, embodies my vision here a little. Mingleverse is a new way to communicate which immerses the person right in the digital communication medium. It has a telepresence angle to it. It’s pretty wild.

Do all good technologies in the ICT, Wireless, & New Media Technologies Sectors take off? If it’s a useful product/technology/idea is that enough to commercialize something or does it take more then that? If it takes more then what are the other ingredients in getting something new and innovative to the level of the accepted norm?

Great question. Short answer is no. Good ideas fail every day. I think what makes or breaks the success of many startups is the extent to which the new product or service is solving a problem worth solving. That is, there have to be people or business processes suffering in some way even though at times they may not know it until they see a new way of doing something. But once that new method is introduced, the old is recognized as inferior which drives the desire to buy the new. There’s a fine line here though that I often struggle with myself, because sometimes people don’t know what they want or need. That is, market research – while I’m a big advocate of doing it, and doing it well – doesn’t do a great job, if at all, in telling you the future.

Regardless, if you have an idea, I think you should grow it incrementally and along the way seed the market with a prototype for the purpose of acquiring feedback and validating its utility. One of the best things I think startups can do is spend some time identifying their ideal customer profile. And then get to know that customer segment intimately to test the assumptions that were made about that audience. Sometimes the best way to get to know them is by asking them to use your prototype, and then watch them use it – or not use it. Bottom line, know your customers! This gets you through the first hurdle of early adopters. But then you have to chase widespread or viral adoption, so to speak. To do this, you really have to have the value proposition nailed, and it has to be written through the eyes and experiences of your customers and through their perspective of the problem you are solving. Don’t skimp here. Get real clear about the value of solving your customer’s problem, in their own words. To a degree, this should optimize your chance of success in marketing and selling your technology.

Further Reading:

Innovation Camp is Coming

An exciting new workshop called Innovation Camp is coming to Vancouver! Join us as we expand our creativity and innovation by participating in engaging activities and challenges designed to inspire your inner entrepreneur, without the boring lectures. Practice invaluable skills such as identifying opportunities, learning from failure, resourcefulness, collaborating with a team and adapting to changing environments. Connect with brilliant people like yourself and work together to build on great ideas and find innovative solutions.

At Innovation Camp you will:

  • learn techniques to view problems from fresh perspectives in order to identify opportunities
  • apply those techniques in entrepreneurial situations and reflected on what was learned in the process
  • receive clear, concise feedback on your ability to work as part of a team
  • analyze and learn from failures in your own and others lives
  • laugh and have fun!

Price: $75.00 CAD
Location: the beautiful Kontent Creative offices, 55 Water St, Vancouver, Canada
Dates and Times:

  • October 13, Tuesday, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • October 15, Thursday, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • October 17, Saturday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • October 19, Monday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm(16 hours total)

Register now or check out InnovationCamp.org for more details .

Please note that this event is not being put on by The Bootup Entrepreneurial Society though it’s definitely geared towards people who are excited by what BES is building.