Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

You Don’t Have To Be In “The Valley”!

November 8, 2012

Last week Brad Feld visited Montreal as part of his Startup Communities book tour. He spoke at Notman House to a room packed full of Montreal entrepreneurs.

More and more, Montreal is receiving visits by high profile US entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

Feld says that building an entrepreneurial ecosystem requires four things. As he explains ion the video below, the community must be lead by entrepreneurs, needs to take a 20 year view, must be inclusive and requires engaging activities such as meetups and startup weekends and the like.

There has been much talk lately about the loss of a number of notable Montreal startup leaders, namely Sylvain Carle, Ben Yoskovitz and Raymond Luk, yet the Montreal startup community continues to grow. While many talk about how the best way to ensure the success of a startup is to do it in Silicon Vally, Feld rejects this premise. Feld told the Montreal audience first choose where they want to live and then build your startup there.

Feld practiced what he preaches having moved to Boulder Colorado from Boston about 17 years ago. At the time, Boulder was not the startup community it is now but Feld and others have built Boulder into a thriving startup community.

Montreal is an awesome place to live, surrounded by the beauty of the Laurentians, the Eastern Townships, Vermont, the Maine coast and the Adirondacks. Located less than 6 hours drive from Boston, New York and Toronto, Montreal’s international flavor coupled with generous government research & development (SRED) tax credit programs which reduces the cost of innovation make it an incredible location to build a startup.

Feld stated that building a startup community requires a core of around 10 committed leaders. Despite the recent losses, those who remain continue the mission of building our local ecosystem. As FoundersFuel graduates it’s newest cohort of aspiring startups at it’s Demo Day tonight, I am confident that Montreal is clearly on the way to growing a vibrant startup community to foster creativity and innovation.

Are you planning to stay and build your startup in Montreal? The Boulder Thesis states “You have to give before you get”. How can you help build Montreal’s startup community?

The Facts Matter!

July 17, 2010

In a competitive world of 24/7 news channels and realtime online media, getting the story fast seems to trump getting it right. After all, if you can get 2 sources you can always retract latter as more complete information comes along.

And if you’re a big company, then it is reasonable to expect the media to be gunning for you, right? In his article in the National Post today, that is exactly what journalist Matt Hartley says about Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ response to the so called Antennagate story.

Matt suggests that by the use of facts and comparison of the iPhone 4s antenna problem to competitor’s products, Jobs will not win much sympathy and in fact many loose favor of consumers. It seems as if the media feels cheated out of not having brought Apple to its knees and receiving an apology or an embarrassing and expensive product recall.

There seems to be an implication online that upon hearing the complaints as put forward by Gizmodo and other online posts, Apple CEO’s appropriate response should have been to make an immediate apology to customers and investors and recall the entire 3 million iphone 4s. It would seem that according to many bloggers, taking an analytical measured response, like demanding the facts, doing testing and making a decision based on data seems to be the wrong way to go.

Well If the facts that Apple presented are to be believed, it seems that Apple’s iPhone 4 customers seem to be overwhelmingly satisfied with their purchase. And while the reception problem can be reproduced over and over in testing, very few real world complaints are coming forward.

After all, it is exactly because Apple consistently makes product that its customers ( and yes, Fans) want, and address their needs with the highest level of quality user experience, that Apple is no longer the little kid and has taken the dominant industry role.

In my mind, where a company and its CEO take logical steps to acquire the facts and then regardless of the outcome, offer to satisfy customers and refund them, no questions asked if they still are not satisfied, meets the test not only of being a good marketer but also good corporate stewards.

And if that still does not satisfy you, in the words of Jonathan Mann:

“if you don’t want an iPhone 4, don’t buy one, if you bought one and you don’t like it, bring it back”

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Is Constant Connectivity Costing You a Bundle?

June 30, 2010

Efficient Use of Time is Essential.

In this competitive age, efficient utilization of resources is essential to stay ahead of the game and there is no resource that is more valuable than our time. Yet with constant connectivity, we are bombarded daily with a barrage of phone calls, email, IM and Social Network notifications that make us feel compelled (or addicted) to respond to in real time.

Time Interrupts are Inefficient.

In addition to the electronic interrupts, there are the constant barrage of impromptu meetings that occur in the office throughout the day. With all these interrupts it is a wonder that we get anything done at all. What is the cost of this lost productivity?

Carve Out Some Time.

It is essential that you set some time aside each day where you can work in a uninterrupted fashion. In my case, this is early in the morning before I get to the office. In his blog posting “Breaking the email addiction” in the Harvard Business Review, Tony Schwartz gives some suggestions on how to wean yourself off the need to constantly stay connected.

Are you able to disconnect regularly? Do you schedule “uninterrupted” time? Let me know.

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Don’t conform, let your unique creativity shine through!

June 23, 2010

Change is good. It’s how we advance the world. But to create change we must dare to think differently from the current wisdom and think outside the box. So why do we teach conformity and stigmatize mistakes?

“If you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original” – Sir Ken Robinson

While the world has evolved, the educational system has remained largely unchanged. We continue to teach our kids that if they study hard and follow the established rules they will find success. Despite that fact that each child has unique talents and abilities, we all send our kids to schools which by design require conformity and uniformity of thought.

In his 2006 TED Talk, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of Gillian Lynne the world-famous choreographer, which I believe is a good example in point. As a child, Gillian was underperforming in school and unable to focus and sit still.

Gillian was lucky that her hidden talent was discovered by a doctor and that her parents chose to nurture it rather than giving her Ritalin and telling her to calm down. Had that not been the case, Gillian might not have gone on to meet Andrew Lloyd Weber and choreograph some of the worlds best musicals including Cats.

Robinson asserts that “We are educating people out of their creativity” and goes on to tell us that “Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

Another case is from the life of Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, who dropped out of a more traditional college program giving him the freedom to enroll in a calligraphy class simply because it fascinated him. At the time it was hard to connect the dots but ten years later, as he was designing the first Macintosh computer it all came back to him. If he had never dropped in on that course, computers might never have had multiple typefaces and proportional fonts that we now all expect.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”Steve Jobs

So if you feel that you are not already on the right path, don’t be afraid to choose to a new course. Be creative and most importantly, don’t let the discouragement of others hold you back.

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Apple’s rejection of Flash doesn’t harm competition!

June 18, 2010

I don’t see that Apple is harming competition by their decision to keep flash off the iPad. In doing so Apple clearly recognizes that some consumers may choose to purchase a competitors product as a result of their decision. And some will. There is competition. Consumers can buy a net book, or another companies tablet or they can use a laptop.

Apple is not preventing others from offering competitive products. They have taken no steps to prevent flash videos being accepted on others products or on the web. Nor are they refusing to accept apps if their developers also make versions for Blackberries or Android phones. Consumers continue to have a clear choice. All that Apple is doing is limiting the technologies that may be used used on their platform in an effort to assure an excellent users experience. It would have been very easy for them to allow flash and increase their short sales yet they choose quality and long term gain. I love Apple products because they have great design and an incredible user experience. I do miss the ability to watch Flash videos on my iPad but I knew that when I made the choice to buy an iPad.

I guess there will always be those that like to point our what features Apple products are missing or to assume Apple’s dark conspiracy to take over the world. As for me, I don’t worry about what is missing. I only look at whether a product adds value to me at a reasonable price and gives me quality of experience. What’s your take?

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