'Guelph Tech' Archive

Closed For Business

February 4th, 2013

In case anyone’s been listening all these years, things have been quiet here for a couple of months. As best I can tell, I started writing here with this post in Jan 2006.

I don’t know if I’m shutting this site down but for the time being, I’m going to be writing over at ThreeFortyNine so keep an eye there and join our email list.

Thanks for showing up here and reading…

ThreeFortyNine Happy Hour

October 30th, 2012

ThreeFortyNine isn’t hosting our weekly Founder’s Club this week as it falls on Wednesday night, which is too scary of a night for it. Instead we’re hosting a happy hour down at The Ebar on the following night. While our primarily goal is to get our all our members in a room together to catchup and have a drink, it’s also a chance to meet other folks in the community. Who should attend? As we say on our site…

“We’re a small group of aspiring entrepreneurs. Some of us have yet to launch our first business, others are on their second and third.”

If you’re the least bit curious about launching your own business, or already have, I’d suggest you stop in for a drink and meet us.

So this is my invite. If you’re in Guelph Thursday and have an entrepreneurial bent then you’ll likely get along with our crew. Please come out for a quick drink and meetup at 5pm Thursday. If you can make it, please register here and we’ll see you Thursday.


October 2nd, 2012

We took a break, someone had a kid apparently, but DemoCampGuelph is back this November for our 20th instalment. Hopefully you remember us?

The event will be Tuesday November 27 at our usual location at The eBar. If you’ll be attending, please make sure to register here. If you’d like to demo, email me directly with a short pitch (less than 200 words) explaining why the folks in attendance need to see you demo!

Please help us spread the word and get another great crowd out.

A Coworking Update….It’s Just Us In Here

September 11th, 2012

I had a conversation yesterday that’s occurred a few times over the past year. In speaking with someone about what we’re up to at ThreeFortyNine, they commented about us being government funded or associated with other organizations here in town.

To be clear, we have no government backing and it’s just us here. I’m certainly open to conversations about any/all support and collaborations but the fact is that’s not the case today. I’m biased but if you’re asking me, what we’re up to here in supporting early stage technology entrepreneurs should be at the top of any list related to economic development in a community.

What does that mean? It means ThreeFortyNine is simply an underfunded, struggling business in Guelph, not unlike a lot of others. To date, it’s taken a lot of personal time and investment to build up and we’re not ‘out of the woods’ yet. We’re working our asses off to deliver real value to our members here. If we succeed in doing that, we’ll earn our place in this community and our existence. If we don’t, well let’s not worry about that.

Why do this? The honest answer is I took a leap I had no business taking. In doing that I found an incredible community of people. I fight daily to make this place viable because I really do love working here and I love the people who are members here.

Join Us! Today, there are two main avenues to work for yourself, not by yourself here at ThreeFortyNine. We have a few full time coworking desks left, which gets you 24/7 access to our space. We’re also looking for more members for our ongoing events series, the core of which is our Founder’s Club which I refer to as group therapy for us folks dumb(smart) enough to try launching something of our own. Get in touch with me, let me know what you’re working on and we’ll figure out a time for a tour or to sit in on one of our upcoming events! Or say something nice about us on the twitters!

Nice Words A few testimonials from folks in our community….

“What excites me about ThreeFortyNine goes beyond just the workspace and into an environment created by a collection of driven, imaginative individuals with an aversion to comfort zones. People here aren’t afraid to challenge themselves and, quite frankly, that attitude’s contagious”Matthew

“There’s a value to spending time at ThreeFortyNine beyond just a spot to hang your shingle. There’s an air of collaboration and support there that you don’t find just anywhere. The conversations, shared ideas and feedback among individuals of such varied backgrounds and skill sets bear unlikely but welcome fruits”Danny

“I recently had a chance to hang out at ThreeFortyNine’s Founders Club. I was greeted with friendly entrepreneurs in a relaxed setting sharing thoughts, opinions, and some laughs. I left with new ideas and got to meet some new faces. If you’re looking for a place to connect with others, or just connect better with what you’re doing, this is a good place to be”, Mark

[cross posted at ThreeFortyNine]

Free Beer in Guelph

June 8th, 2012

Now that’s a title! I want to buy you a case of giant beers in exchange for you referring great people to work with to us.

We, at ThreeFortyNine, started a referral program recently with our members that I wanted to open to the public.

You refer a potential coworker to us. They try it out for two weeks for free. They become a full time member for at least three months. I buy you a case of 24 large cans of your favourite Wellington Beer. If you’re not a beer drinker…………sorry that confused me a bit, if you’re not a beer drinker we’ll figure something else out.

I recognize it takes time to refer great people to us. You deserve some beer for your time. Have your friend contact me directly, make sure they mention you referred them.

A Startup Roadtrip!

May 11th, 2012

(Note: Cross posted with ThreeFortyNine.)

What happens when you take the best parts of a good old roadtrip and mash it up with one of Canada’s coolest startup conference? I wasn’t sure either but ThreeFortyNine Roadtrips is my best guess.

Travelling to and from conferences is a massive waste of time. You attend a great conference, hear awesome speakers, and then travel back to your home city, which is filled with people who didn’t share that experience. There’s no one to continue the conversation with, no one to hook up with next week for a coffee and keep the flow going.

We’re fixing that by getting a first class car on the Via train and travelling to, and from, Montreal for the International Startup Festival.

We’ve been working madly to get the prices as low as possible for this trip. We’re excited to announce today that we’re reducing the price on all tickets by 20%. The costs for a startup are now $600. That includes your Startup Fest conference ticket ($295) and your first class Via train, to and from the conference ($470).

Not only will you have focused travel time with a train full of startup junkies while being pampered with first class service but you’ll be saving money! Really, we’re too good to you….

Space is limited so grab your ticket now. For the next 10 people who buy tickets, we’ll post your profile in our “who’s coming” section on the site. As we ramp up publicity, we hope that will drive some traffic to you and your project.

Build A Startup In One Night

December 19th, 2011

Have you heard of Startup Weekend?

“No Talk, All Action, Launch a Startup in 54 hours.”

Heard of Lean Startup Machine?

“Lean Startup Machine will change the way you view entrepreneurship forever — for the better”

While I’m only an outside fan of event’s like these, what I love most about them is their unrelenting focus on action based networking. Networking is second nature to established entrepreneurs. For the rest of us, it doesn’t come as easy yet. These events shift the focus away from networking for the sake of networking and instead get straight to the action. Through the action, networking occurs.

We already have a lot of networking, let’s get together and have a drink, events. What we need more of is, let’s get together and build something together. My question, would you participate in an event with the following framework that we’d run in conjunction with Startupify.Me?

  • One evening, starting at 7pm at ThreeFortyNine, ending whenever we’re done or pass out.
  • Project to work on is set in advance. We’ll need to build a process to select them, possibly taking on some hack-for-good projects? They will likely be new projects, however, we may have some that span events?
  • 6 to 8 attendees, ideally with diverse skillsets, ie not all coders.

Starting at 7pm, we quickly set the work agenda for the evening and decide on deliverables. Then we get to work and build it, in an evening. We’re not likely building a startup in an evening but you never know.

This is an opportunity to work on something tangible with people in your community. It’s a chance to get a taste of this whole startup thing. It’s a chance to try your hand at something you don’t work on all day at your work.

Interested? Please let me know? Comment below or email me directly with your thoughts.

PS. I’m working with Leila and Corey to bring a HackDays event to Guelph early next year. Update, registation page is up for Guelph HackDays on Feb 18th.

A Few DemoCampGuelph Changes

November 22nd, 2011

After DemoCampGuelph18, I realized it was time for some changes. No reason to psychoanalyze it but I woke up the next day ready to call it quits on this event. I said to my wife that I may have hosted my last DemoCampGuelph. Over the next few days I shared that feeling with a few folks in our community who attend the event and the responses were actually quite energizing. People seem to like this little event. So instead of walking away, let’s try a few changes, if you’ll humour me.

Finding Demos

I do not want to chase people to submit demo pitches. It’s a lot of work to find people who want to demo. So let’s distribute that work. I’m looking for 5 volunteers to help me with this. All that I’m asking is that you make the commitment that you will find us two people who will submit a pitch for a demo spot. That guarantees our selection committee will have at least 10 demos to choose from. Please contact me directly if you’re willing to make this commitment and help us find great demos. I will make sure to recognize your efforts publicly at our event.


Having live music after our event was an experiment. For some reason I never took it beyond ourselves. Part of the motivation of having live music was to provide a means for our local arts and music scene to collide with our tech scene. That isn’t happening as we’re doing it today. We’re basically exposing a single artist to the tech scene. So this time around, we’re going to promote the music show on it’s own. The intent being that when we wrap up, some music fans will trickle in and they’ll have no choice but to co-mingle with us techies.

Thoughts? Feedback?

A Startup Gateway Drug….

November 21st, 2011

The most consistent response to my Startupify.Me pitch is some variation “oh, that’s very different than what I thought you were doing”. I’ve long known that this effort would require pounding the pavement and pitching it in person. There just isn’t anything quite like it that we can refer to. That means I’m either innovating with this model or I’m insane. I’ll get back to you on that….

In the meantime, let me clarify some of the key points.

Forced Exit

We are not a custom development shop focused on building prototypes for clients. We will turn over our entire team every 6 months. All the developers exit at the end, ideally into a new business they’ve helped prove. For the client, we offer an opportunity to find the technical cofounder this new business demands. For our developers, this is your chance to step into a new business and ride shotgun.

Built To Accelerate

While we are talking about creating startup companies here, it is a unique model. We want these new products to have the best shot at survival. What our client companies bring to that is an existing business. They have an experienced team who has created value, marketed it, sold it, delivered it, and done it all within a financially viable model. Ie, they’ve proven they can run a business. Some, or all, of those are what a new entrepreneur needs to learn in a hands on fashion. Once Startupify.Me has proven this new product can get to it’s market, we now have everything required to truly accelerate it. We don’t need to find angel investors. We don’t need business mentors. We don’t need a market, a sales team etc.


All our clients have existing businesses. Most of those businesses are services businesses, which means each dollar in is tied directly to people, which means they are difficult businesses to scale. As well, most of businesses are necessarily connected to their founders. What we’re offering those client’s is a chance to co-create a new technology based product business. It will certainly have to leverage their existing business but in the case we’re successful, it will scale well. The leverage points may be technology they’ve built to deliver their services better, their client base, an ability to access a particular market, etc.

We have a few more spots left on the bus for client businesses and software developers willing to take their first step down this entrepreneurship path. Let me know if you’re either of those!

DemoCampGuelph 18…And You!

September 1st, 2011

I/we need your help! We’re low on demo applications for our next event on Sept 21st. What I’d like to do is get some of you sharing publicly what you’d like to see demo’d at our event. Frameworks you’ve heard of but haven’t had a chance to play with? New OS’s or distros that you’d like to learn more about etc.

If you’ve attended before, what are some sweet demo’s that you’d like to see? Write up a blog post listing them all, preferably with a link to http://next.demoCampGuelph.com so people can sign up to attend or submit demos. Or just use this tweet link to share on twitter.

Bottom line, maybe if we ask, we’ll receive. Some demos I’d personally like to see?

  • Anything to do with the Hudson/Jenkins split. Compare the two etc.
  • I’d love to see a 5 minute all out terminal/ssh/emacs/vi whatever shell demo that leaves me wondering what the hell just happened. Then post the script somewhere for me to figure out what went on.
  • Something zombie related….just because.
  • I dig plug computing so anything to do with it.
  • For that matter, if anyone can get their hands on some raspberry pi, that’d be dreamy!
Thanks ahead of time for helping out and spreading the word so we can have great demos in a couple of weeks.