This Week in Tech Events – November 30-Dec.4, 2009

November has been a busy one!  As we move into December, I think tech events will take a back seat to company holiday parties.  But before the season kicks itself in high gear, there are a few events on our calendar this week you may want to check out:

FutureHosting – Presented by GigaOm & Peer 1

BC Innovation Council Soundboard: Legal Speak-Easy with Clark Wilson

  • Thursday, December 3rd
  • 3:00pm
  • The Lion’s Pub – 888 West Cordova Street
  • Free

UXCampVancouver 2009

  • Saturday, December 5th
  • 8:30-5pm
  • Vancouver Film School Downtown
  • Free

Bootup presents a Marketing Conversation with Jonathan Ehrlich

  • Friday, December 4
  • 3-5pm
  • Harbour View Room, Steamworks – 375 Water Street
  • $20
Upcoming Bootup Events
If you would like to be notified of upcoming Bootup only events, please sign-up. You can choose what type of events you want to be notified about from networking to investment pitch opportunities.  We’ll email you several weeks before events to let you know about registration deadlines and other important dates.

Key Takeaways from the Freshbooks Workshop

Mike McDerment was in town last week to give his first How to Build a Web App Workshop in Vancouver in partnership with us.  He kicked things off around 9:30am with a poll to find out how many attendees were currently building a web app business or thinking about it.  Upon a show of hands, I would say approximately 40% of the audience was in the process of building a web app.

Mike’s workshop was about setting up your business to provide you with the best chance of success and was more marketing/business focused than technical.  He shared stories and lessons learned from the early days of starting Freshbooks (originally named 2ndSite) in his parent’s basement until today (1.25M customers and growing!).  Here are a just a few key takeaways from his workshop:

  • Build the least number of features you can. Until you get it out there and get people using it, you know nothing!
  • Set a deadline for launch and stick to it.  There will always be a feature to add but you are lying to yourself if you say “we can’t launch without this.”
  • Invest your time and energy into customer development.
  • You can’t go it alone. Find founding team member(s), who are passionate and will be motivated by tiny successes.
  • Own or be a leader in a category.

Here are a few Tweets from workshop attendees:

We didn’t announce a standard #hashtag at the beginning of the workshop so it was hard to find all of your comments online but it is not too late. If you attended, we would love to hear your thoughts about the workshop overall and what you learned or perhaps, wish Mike covered.  So, feel free to comment on this post.

If you have specific questions about Freshbooks or the content of the workshop, you can give them a holler
in Toronto.

Thanks again, Mike for joining us in Vancouver.  Let’s not wait another 10 years to do this again.

This week in Tech Events – November 23-27, 2009

Michael Jonsson, Maura Rodgers, Rob Lewis

Michael Jonsson, Maura Rodgers, Rob Lewis

Before writing this post, I checked our Upcoming page and hopped on over to our media partner, Techvibes site to see if there were additional events of interest I should include. On the front page of Techvibes, I stumbled upon a similar post by Rob Lewis that sums up the week ahead nicely.  I added some ticket pricing, selected the events on our list and included it below for your convenience: (Thanks, Rob!)

New Media BC’s Vancouver iPhone Forum 2009

  • Tuesday, November 24th – 8:00am
  • BCIT Downtown Campus
  • $125 for members, $175 for non-members

Innovation Camp Round 2

  • Tuesday, November 24th – Saturday, November 28th
  • Kontent Creative
  • $149

26th Angel Forum

  • Tuesday, November 24th – 7:30am – 6:00pm
  • SFU Harbour Centre

Vancouver Enterprise Forum: An Evening with Mike McDerment

  • Tuesday, November 24th – 5:30pm – 8:00pm
  • Vancity Theatre
  • $45

How to Build a Wep App Business with Michael McDerment of FreshBooks

  • Wednesday, November 25th
  • V Lounge at Earl’s in Yaletown
  • Sold Out!

What Game Design can teach about Business Success

  • Wednesday, November 25th – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Vancouver Public Library
  • $50 for members of IIMA, $60 for non-members

BC Wireless Health Forum II

  • Thursday, November 26th
  • The Sutton Place Hotel
  • $40 for members of WinBC, $60 for non-members
Post your Event on Techvibes:
We are in the process of designing our new site and moving forward, we will be posting all of our events on Techvibes Events and Upcoming. We suggest you do the same.
Bootup Events

If you would like to be notified of upcoming Bootup only events, please sign-up..  You can choose what type of events you want to be notified about from networking to investment pitch opportunities.  We’ll email you several weeks before events to let you know about registration deadlines and other important dates.
Have a great week!

Investing in our entrepreneurial community

It was December 1, 2000 and I was packing up my desk at Spinway, the company I started over two years previously with Danny Robinson, Zach Levow and Michael Perone.  Spinway was our first real start-up.  A company we started in the house Danny, Zach and I shared on Cowper Street in Palo Alto, CA, just around the corner from the infamous HP garage and the birthplace of Silicon Valley. 

Smack dab in the middle of the dot com boom and the ripest entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world, we grew our fledging ISP from launch to 8M users in only 11months.  It was an amazing journey full of hard lessons and wonderful relationships formed.  And while it was also a crash course in shareholder agreements and venture financing, my biggest takeaway from “my first time” was how important the relationships we made and the community we nurtured were to achieving success not only at the time but well into the future.

A week after Spinway was acquired, I was thrown head first into an entirely different type of venture called Parenthood.  With very little time to think about what was next, what was right – we headed to Vancouver.

And here I am. 3 start-ups deep.

Why am I telling you all this?
Because I get asked all the time – Why Vancouver?  Why would you want to start a company here over Silicon Valley? And Why BES?

And my answer is, 1) I married a Canadian and 2) “Vancouver is my home now.” A great team with a good idea can start and build a company  just about anywhere.  I have had many opportunities to go back to CA and Boston but this is where I want to raise my family and grow my business and my next business after that…

As Brad Feld reminded us when he visited us last May – it takes time to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and a commitment from us all to work together to make that happen.  Many of you have been invested in this community long before I got here (ahem Boris Mann, Kris Krug, Dave Olson, Roland Tanglao, Jordan Behan and Megan Cole to name just a few) and welcomed me with open arms. Thank you for that.  You are part of the reason I am still here and why the Vancouver technology community has such a strong foundation.  We started Launch Party and BES to give back, build on the foundation you started and make it easier for early stage entrepreneurs moving forward to start and grow their digital media businesses here.

And we want to hear from you!
As a community driven non-profit organization, we only want to bring in mentors or put on events or workshops that will help you take your idea and build a successful business out it.  While we have a few things on the calendar, we really want to hear from you:

  • What kind of workshops would you like to see? (example: How to negotiate a term sheet?, What is a Captable? Branding 101? )
  • Who would you like to connect with and learn from? (Example: Brad Feld, Guy Kawasaki, Dave McClure)
  • Does an open, co-working space interest you?
  • What else do you think we need to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem?

Feel free to comment on this post, vote on speakers or offer suggestions at or email me directly at maura [at] anytime.

Want to volunteer?
Thanks to volunteers, who have donated their time in the past like Warren Frey and Tris Hussey, (and the many others!) we have been able to keep the cost of our events down and increase awareness as well.  Your support has truly made all the difference.  If you want to get involved and help with PR, LPV or Democamp etc, we would love it.  And if you have a digital media event or initiative you are working on that you would like our help with, let us know.

Thanks for your continued support and your feedback.


This Week in Tech Events

It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week – an entire week dedicated to celebrating and promoting entrepreneurship around the globe.  So, if you are currently riding the start-up rollercoaster or thinking about hopping on, there are several events on our calendar this week worth checking out:

Add your Event

If you would like us to know about your tech event, please add it to our event group and post it on Techvibes Events.

Upcoming Tech Events

Sign up to our event list to find out more about upcoming Bootup Tech Events.  You can choose what type of events you want to be notified about from networking to investment pitch opportunities.  We’ll email you several weeks before events to let you know about registration deadlines and other important dates.

Innovation Camp Round 2

Please note that this event is not being put on by the Bootup Entrepeneurial Society but they were kind enough to let us use their blog to let YOU know about it.

Registration is open for Innovation Camp Round Two!

Why are ideas like zippers, chestnuts and sharks?

Find out at Innovation Camp – a creativity and innovation workshop designed to inspire entrepreneurial thinking. Entrepreneurs see problems as opportunities. The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. At Innovation Camp, we practice techniques to create and implement solutions to problems and along the way, we build community and embrace imagination and innovation. During round one, participants raised $5000 in 7 hours for the Vancouver Food Bank! Innovation Camp is all about doing – there are no boring lectures, just engaging activities that stimulate your creativity and challenge you to think big and turn your ideas into reality. You’ll connect with brilliant people and work together to build on great ideas and find innovative solutions to real world challenges.

Here’s what people had to say about Innovation Camp Round One:

  • “A great way to explore creative ideation and problem solving with a fun group dynamic.” – Quinn Ingram, musician with the band Your House
  • “I was recharged, inspired, laughed and met really cool people. AND our workshop raised $5000 for the Vancouver Food Bank on a rainy Saturday afternoon!” – Cinci Csere, EAT Communications
  • “I had the opportunity to network with inspiring people, exercise my creativity, and have fun. I received valuable feedback about how I work with other people, and took home some new tools for thinking outside the box.” – Sandra Trace, programmer writer at SAP

Check out for pictures and details from Round One.

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!

Cost (for all 3 days): $125 for early bird tickets until November 10th. Regular price tickets are $149 after November 10th.

Dates & Times: (limited seating, max. 24 participants)

  • November 24, Tuesday, 6:30pm – 9:30pm (includes sandwiches and tea/coffee/juice)
  • November 26, Thursday, 6:30pm – 9:30pm (includes sandwiches and tea/coffee/juice)
  • November 28, Saturday, 10:00am – 6:00pm (Note – all day session, includes sandwiches and tea/coffee/juice)

Location: Kontent Creative offices, 55 Water St, Vancouver, BC

Register now or check out for more details!

This Week in Tech Events

There are several tech events happening in Vancouver this week on the Bootup calendar that you may want to check out:

For our friends in Toronto:

Add your Event

If you would like us to know about your tech event, please add it to our event group and post it on Techvibes Events.

Upcoming Tech Events

Sign up to our event list to find out more about upcoming Bootup Tech Events.  You can choose what type of events you want to be notified about from networking to investment pitch opportunities.  We’ll email you several weeks before events to let you know about registration deadlines and other important dates.

Have a great week!

How to Build A Web App Business with Freshbooks CEO, Mike McDerment

How I met Mike McDerment
In July 2008, my company Strutta was selected out of over 100 applicants to be one of 11 companies to demo at Twiistup 4. Our team, dressed in white to celebrate the launch of our new white label contest platform, descended on the Viceroy in Santa Monica, CA to make some noise.

On top of attracting some new customers and dominating the Skee Ball table in the Twiistup Arcade late night (oh yes, I did!), I met some really great people including Saul Colt, the Smartest Man in the World, who introduced me to Mike McDerment, the CEO and Founder of Freshbooks.

I really enjoyed meeting Saul, Sunir and Mike and learning more about the itch that caused Mike to start Freshbooks.  Upon returning to Vancouver, I continued to hear rave reviews about his company and read stories of how the Freshbooks team went out of their way to deliver exceptional customer service time and time again. It was abundantly clear that Mike and his team had successfully started and built a customer driven product and organization. Not an easy feat!

Vancouver Enterprise Forum, November 24
So, when I sat down with the VEF Ops committee last May to help put together a wish list of engaging speakers for the year ahead, Mike’s name immediately came to mind. Lucky for us, Mike happily accepted our invitation to come West to share his start-up story and answer your questions at the VEF on Tuesday, November 24.

How to Build a Web App Business, November 25
While Mike is in town, he will also be delivering a very informative workshop on How to Build a Web App Business at Earl’s V Lounge in Yaletown on November 25 at 9am.  Mike will cover everything from building your app and your team to marketing, product management, metrics and financing.

For an entrepreneur, who recently graced the cover of Entrepreneur magazine as the Founder of 1 of 100 Brilliant Companies that has attracted more than 1M users, I trust Mike knows a thing or two about building a successful web app business.  Sign up now while there are still some spots left!  Tickets are $100, includes lunch and refreshments.

Celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week with Paul Kedrosky

There’s a reason why CNBC asks Paul Kedrosky to weigh in on everything from Google Acquisitions to Microsoft to smartphone wars.  He is insightful, experienced, and a highly regarded equity investor and as a result, he is in demand and always on a plane.  I am happy to report that on November 19, 2009, Kedrosky will be flying in to Vancouver this time to share his thoughts on entrepreneurship, early stage investing and answer your questions.

And it’s Global Entrepreneurship Week!
From November 16-22, people around the world will be coming together to “foster a global culture which recognises entrepreneurs as drivers of economic and social prosperity.” So, at 6pm on November 19, close your laptops, leave the office or get out of the garage and come meet other entrepreneurs, who are just as crazy and illogical as you are for choosing to make a difference and change the world.

Register now. $10 bucks gets you a beer, some snacks and access to Kedrosky’s big brain.

Kedrosky’s Latest Appearance on CNBC
Is Google Evil?  Kedrosky shares his insight.

Coworking @ BOB

Andrew got in touch to tell us that Building Opportunities with Business (BOB) is opening up their space for co-working:

From their business development page:

To further our mission we would like to make available to select partners, individuals, and businesses the main floor of 163 East Pender Street. We hope that this open shared work space can contribute to the revitalization of the inner-city by providing a space for creative professionals to flourish, for ideas to percolate, to cross pollinate, for businesses to grow, a place where stuff gets done.

What we’re offering is a work surface, be it a desk, a chair, a table, a couch, or the bay window, wherever you’re most comfortable. Of course we’ll offer wi-fi and other niceties such as an electronic white board and a projector to facilitate discussion and creative thinking. There’s a fridge for your food, a microwave, filtered water cooler, and secure storage for your bike. The price is a flat $200 per month and includes keyless access.

We’re looking for creative professionals, progressive thinkers, the socially responsible and ecologically conscious who want to be surrounded by others of like mind. Folks who want more than a cubicle and a 9 to 5 and dream of bigger things and a better Vancouver to call home. If this sounds like you, contact Andrew “Muskie” McKay 778-328-7672 or write

They’re looking for people to get in touch if they’re interested in the space, and hope to be up and running by late November.