Posts by Category

Startups

Taking equity in startups as a consulting firm

7 minute read

I’ve been asked by a number of design agencies, development shops, and other consultants how they can work with startups. Part of this is understanding what types of services startups need and what their budget is. The other part is these firms thinking of themselves as investors, and wanting to have a piece of a product company that may pay off beyond just hourly consulting fees.

Much of the material is slanted towards design services, but is generally applicable to any service pr...

Committed to building Vancouver’s startup community

3 minute read

I’ve been in an introspective mood lately. It’s 2014, 10 year since I returned to Vancouver. 10 years of working with web technology and community building. What has changed about Vancouver, and where is it heading? How long does it take to level up a startup ecosystem?

Stages of early stage tech investing

3 minute read

How much to raise and what stage your company is at is a constant question asked by founders and investors alike. Describing the stages of tech investing is my attempt to categorize what I am seeing in the market today. For any new business, traction will trump everything, with lots of customers using the product on a daily or monthly basis being a great indicator.

There are many “it depends” for these stages and dollar amounts, and they also reflect common numbers in Vancouver / C...

You Can’t Outsource Product

6 minute read

One of the many tricky things about building a web startup is that you can’t outsource product. As a web startup, your web or mobile app is your company, your sole purpose for existing. Why do you think you can outsource it?

When you outsource building your product, your company is missing out on most of the important things that go into building a successful company. Sure, you can hire freelancers or a consulting shop to build you something. And that’s what you’ll...

Startup Riot Seattle 2012

4 minute read

I’m just getting back from 2 days in Seattle. In general, I’m trying to spend more time there, getting to know what’s happening in the Seattle community and seeing if Vancouver can connect more regularly (Cascadia!).

Startup Riot is actually run by a team from Atlanta, with Sanjay Parekh playing the front man. The event is run as a pitch contest, including feedback from experienced entrepreneurs as judges, plus several keynote talks and lots...

Ship Your First Version (Fail Money)

3 minute read

If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long. Matt Mullenweg

I had a great off-the-mic talk with Eric Woodward. We’re really aimed at the same thing, just that I try and encourage people in public and crush their dreams in private.

Eric is righ...

Moving from selling services to selling product

8 minute read

Moving from services work to having a successful product is probably one of the hardest things to do. Well, perhaps no harder than doing any startup from scratch, but the benefit in doing it from a services company is that you have a built-in way to bootstrap yourself.

As a single consultant or small development shop, you work for a number of clients on different projects. You might become known as an “X” shop, where X is some particular framework or programming language, being the...

What Support / Feedback Service Should You Use For Your Small Company

3 minute read

Let me start by saying that it feels like we’re actually in a golden age of great online support & feedback tools. I’m sure there are more than the ones that I’m listing here. Also, at different times, I’ve recommended each of these tools for a specific purpose - many of them have broad feature sets.

With that in mind, I recently did a mini-analysis of 5 different services that provide support & feedback functionality. I was analyzing from the perspective of a small company...

What I’m obsessed about

2 minute read

Brad Feld is finding a lot of noise in the system, saying he is noticing:

…lots of drama that has nothing to do with innovation, creating great companies, or doing things that matter. I expect this noise will increase for a while as it always does whenever enthusiasm for startups and entrepreneurship increases. When that happens, I’ve learned that I need to go even deeper...

Vancouver

Vancouver tech and the civic election

4 minute read

I’ve been asked by a number of people what I think the “tech platform” should be for parties running for the City of Vancouver’s November 2014 municipal election.

I feel under-equipped to tease out the intricacies of economic and civic policy, so I can only speak to what I’ve observed, what my gut says.

At the same time, I’m not sure what municipal-level policies can actually do for tech ecosystems, other than many of the things that anyone working in any industry wants fro...

Committed to building Vancouver’s startup community

3 minute read

I’ve been in an introspective mood lately. It’s 2014, 10 year since I returned to Vancouver. 10 years of working with web technology and community building. What has changed about Vancouver, and where is it heading? How long does it take to level up a startup ecosystem?

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Community

Conferences as Community Gathering

8 minute read

Rather than treating attendees just as an audience for lectures, conferences should be a community gathering that invites people to make it an awesome experience. Here are some thoughts on how to include community in your traditional conference format, starting with a bit of history about unconferences.

Committed to building Vancouver’s startup community

3 minute read

I’ve been in an introspective mood lately. It’s 2014, 10 year since I returned to Vancouver. 10 years of working with web technology and community building. What has changed about Vancouver, and where is it heading? How long does it take to level up a startup ecosystem?

What is an unconference?

3 minute read

Mitch Joel laments the ‘Death of the Unconference’, saying “This past month, I’ve seen a handful of events that are billing themselves as unconferences when, in reality, they’re just very shabby and cheap events.”

I don’t doubt that the term unconference has been co-opted. But I disagree with Mitch’s take on what the one, true unconference actually is and means.

Maybe we should backu...

Blogging

Harvesting knowledge

4 minute read

We are always learning. Whether we search for the answer to a question we have or an error we’re having in a piece of code, that practice of what to search for and sifting through the results is learning. Some of the time the answer might be obvious, we solve our current problem and move on. Other times, we have to look in 2 or three different places, synthesize the answer, and apply it. What are you doing to capture that type of learning? How do you share it with others, including your fu...

The Posts that You Don’t Write

1 minute read

I had a great discussion yesterday where the phrase “the post I didn’t write” came up. This is a fantastic phrase, and led me down the route of examining why and when I don’t publish posts, and thinking about why others – especially in the context of working for an organization – don’t publish posts.

Struggles of an infovore that likes to share

3 minute read

Since mid-September, I’ve gone through several rapid changes in how I share links, how I blog about them, and how I tweet those links.

In mid September I wired up If This Then That (IFTTT.com) to Twitter favorites and Google Reader shared items. At first I thought I’d push them here, to my Posterous-powered blog, but I would then never get around to expanding them. As well, the links were “l...

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Analysis

The Flickr Question

4 minute read

It’s that time of year again, when I face the same question: my Flickr Pro subscription has expired, and I need to pay so that all my photos are accessible online. But maybe I should self host? Is paying for a Flickr Pro subscription still worth it? Don’t get me wrong - I think the “Flickr deal” is still fantastic: about $2 per month for unlimited storage of all my photos. From a pure storage perspective, even Amazon S3 would cost me more than th...

Calendaring & Meeting Tools

2 minute read

As I’m sitting here manually adding blocks of “break” time to my calendar around meetings I’ve booked, I’m getting a little frustrated.

I’ve used Tungle for several years now, and it’s quite a good tool. Rather than playing the are-you-free-on-Wednesday dance (or as I like to call it, “Calendar Tetris”) with multiple people, you can quickly find time when everyone is free to meet.

Reactions to Microsoft Surface

4 minute read

I used Storify to collect a number of the reactions that have been ricocheting around the web in response to Microsoft’s announcement of the all new Surface tablet. I am puzzled by their pre-announcement, happy to see more competition in this space, and really hope they succeed in shipping.

Welcome to @Microsoft #Surface. Coming Soon. http://www.Surface.com https://pic.twitter.com/rLYDtge7 Windows

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How To

Best practices for tracking QR Codes

6 minute read

My friends at Common Craft have a book called The Art of Explanation coming out this fall, and it will include QR codes. In the book, there are multiple references to Common Craft videos, and Lee wanted to make it easy for people to go from reading a page in the book and then easily viewing the referenced video. These QR codes link to the explanation videos on their website. Since there is only one chance to...

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Micro

Went to the Art Breakers market at Heritage Hall yesterday. Bought several prints & also collected business cards for some upcoming commissions I want to do.

 Permalink

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Open Data

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Web Development

The New Hack Stack

3 minute read

In the past, the starter stack for web programming was LAMP. The ‘P’ originally stood for Perl, and then became mainly PHP.

Today, with $5/month shared web hosting and thousands of PHP-based scripts & applications, this success is hard to argue with.

But the truth is, managing even a shared hosting account is hard, never mind an entire VPS. You need to know the OS, the web server, the language, and the...

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Mac OS X

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Event

Northern Voice 2012 - Web Literacy

5 minute read

I attended day 1 of Northern Voice 2012, including Moose Camp, which is a block of time that is run unconference style.

I hosted a discussion on the concept of web literacy. I went into the discussion thinking along the lines of being a web maker - being able to understand HTML and code. But as we tossed concepts back and forth, it’s clear that web literacy is a very broad term, and that there are different levels o...

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Personal

Hello SPADE

2 minute read

I’m going back to my roots in open source and co-founding the Special Projects & Decentralized Engineering Company, or SPADE for short.

Working with Contractually

4 minute read

I’ve been working with Contractually for the past 2 weeks1. I’ve always loved Martin’s vision for Contractually2 – both the concept of moving past “digital representations of paper” to more fluid, data-native documents, as well as modernization of the legal business.

Broadly speaking, I’m doing Business Development. I’ve been trying the role title “growth hack...

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Mobile

Tomi Ahonen: app stores are tiny compared to global telecom revenue Permalink

2 minute read

In 2009, Portio Research counted the global value of ‘non messaging’ premium content (music, gaming, news, etc) downloaded or consumed on phones and sold to them worldwide, to be worth 85 Billion dollars. Yes, 250 times bigger opportunity for any content owner like say a Disney or TimeWarner or Turner etc to make money today, on ALL phones, not those few iPhones that are in pockets of some 4% of Americans and less than half of one percent of the rest of the world. Understand...

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Publishing

Turning the corner on ebook buying

1 minute read

I am a voracious reader. When I am in “reading mode”, I can consume 3 books a week. I’m not reading that much right now, which means I “only” read about a book a week or so.

When I first got my iPhone 4 (a little less than a year ago), I experimented with all the different ebook stores. Eventually, due mainly to availability, I settled on t...

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Announcement

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Review

A Personal CRM

7 minute read

I’ve been once again looking for a personal CRM. Something that gets to do’s out of my inbox, collects data and messages on the people that I’m interacting with, and generally keeps me informed and up to date in my communications. Here’s a review of past tools and analysis of my choice.

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Travel

Berlin Observations

8 minute read

I’ve been in Berlin for about a month now, minus a side trip to Rotterdam and a conference in Algiers. Here are some of the notes and observations I’ve made about the city that have stood out to me.

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SPADE

Hello SPADE

2 minute read

I’m going back to my roots in open source and co-founding the Special Projects & Decentralized Engineering Company, or SPADE for short.

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Tools

CRM updates

1 minute read

I got asked about my personal CRM post on LinkedIn:

I stumbled across your blog today, specifically a post about choosing a personal CRM from 2016. As a fellow tool junkie it was really exciting to see the different options available at the time broken down that way. It also made me curious about your current workflow. Has anything changed?

I’m always changing up tools ...

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