Today, I'm excited to announce the launch of Spaces, a place to discover where Canadian innovation comes to life.
Spaces aims to promote the Canadian tech scene by showcasing tech offices and spaces to increase awareness of the wide range of tech organizations in Canada. Whether these are startups, agencies, studios, incubators, accelerators, or co-working spaces, there is a lot going on here that people may not be aware of. Spaces will lay all of this out in front of them and give them the means to explore and learn where Canadian tech and innovation is created.
Hey all, the podcast we recorded Friday is finally up. Please give it a listen, feel free to share your stories, and give us feedback on how we can do more/better. A special thanks to everyone who offered their time to participate. If you want to jump in, we're doing a Twitter chat on the subject (#BKchats) at noon. ... See MoreSee Less
David Eaves has written a very insightful post on the role, motivations and drivers of behaviour using the AD&D Alignment System. It is an incredible post because of how it frames the roles of emerging technologies: open source; encryption, surveillance, sousveillance, DRM, etc.
"Fourth, one thing I like about the above is that social media and self-organization genuinely is chaotic. It is also often far better at protesting and “tearing something down” than it is at building something."
Reading applications to Y Combinator is like having access to a crystal ball. Twice per year — once in the winter and once in the spring — thousands of men and women apply to Y Combinator. Each of these bright minds has his or her own vision of the future of technology. They pitch ideas related to B...
So after a session I participated in at MaRS about tech recruiting a few weeks ago, Sarah Efron from the Globe & Mail asked me to put some of my points into an op-ed. It just posted here, if you’re interested:
I have to say, I was hesitant to write it. On the one hand, I think tech is in a really shitty spot on diversity, and I want to help any way I can because it pisses me off and it’s a place that Toronto should really be excellent and we aren’t, yet. But I also know that white men have a nasty habit of ending up in the centre of every conversation and I don’t really like any situation where I seem to be putting myself up there as an expert on stuff that, really, many other people know far more about than I do. The stuff in the article is pretty basic, first pass stuff, but judging from the MaRS audience, still new to some.
Anyhow, I hope I got that through in the post — it is a thing I care a lot about, but I am curious to know if you folks think I got the balance right, or just became another part of the problem. Thanks for any feedback, regardless. ... See MoreSee Less
Avery SwartzThis is so great Johnathan. I love that you even acknowledge that you shouldn't be the one saying it, but you have to.
Also, don't assume this is "basic, first pass stuff." It's still new to a lot... I've seen many in this group make many of these mistakes.
Kamil Rextin"I don’t care who you are, just show me your hobby projects on Github, or your think pieces on Medium” – but a bit of reflection is all it takes to realize that screening based on free-time pursuits gets you more affluent white men than it does underemployed single moms." ✊🏾
Colleen Sargeant JamesVery well written and valid points! I find companies are talking about diversity now because it's a hot topic but they are disingenuous. The fact is, in order to be diverse you must be inclusive and the lack of diversity will always suggest exclusion.
John Philip GreenNice that everyone is talking about this (again)... but is my company CareGuide still the only high growth tech startup in Canada that actually has more women than men?
Can anyone name another like us with more than 20 employees?
Karen Schulman DupuisJonathan, it's a good, solid piece, and I commend you for calling out the fact that you're a white man speaking about diversity (which of course is crazy in this context). I think that there are some people that are in the startup community that wouldn't listen to this piece unless it was written by a guy, so we have to tackle these issues piece by piece.
Next steps in this conversation is to include the women who're doing the hard work in this space day after day. I encourage you to connect with Cathy Gallagher-Louisy of The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion for resources, guidance, experts and insights.
2 days ago · 8
Varun MathurI think the right forum for affirmative action in tech is at the education level - encouraging everybody, some more so than others, on a tech education - in high school/colleges (and startups can play a role in that). Beyond that, in the industry, it has to be purely based on merit alone and we need to be blind to any attributes of a person - race/gender/ethnicity should be irrelevant and not favor or disfavor one group over another. Would any person who believes in his/ her merit in the tech industry feel comfortable he/she got hired for a role not just because of merit, but because of an attribute/affirmative action ?
Janice DinerHorizn has 30+ Staff
9 Horizn staff were born in Canada
Horizn staff come from 9 different countries
We speak collectively 10 languages
Horizn manages business in 25 countries and 11 languages
Diversity is Canada, Horizn represents!
Steven UsterAmazing article. We are currently on a mission to attract and hire more women at FundThrough. I completely agree with Jonathan on this. It is critical for the success of any company, especially a start up. There are some amazing tips and tools in this article that we will start using ASAP to ensure that the vast majority of our next hires are female.
Gustavo MeloThe "best candidate vs. best team" argument is the most important here, as I see it. Without a clear and specific framework we can use (and we don't have a good one for hiring yet) to remove bias from the hiring process, it's inordinately difficult to do so in practice. However, a shift in perspective towards the desirable qualities of a more diverse team, especially as it impacts business success, gives you an immediate counterbalance and added incentive to be more mindful of thought processes related to hiring.
2 days ago · 2
Sarah EfronThanks to Johnathan for this piece and this discussion. At The Globe we are also trying to increase diverse points of view in our coverage. If that's you, feel free to connect with me, particularly if you're in a leadership role in a growth company. [email protected]
I am looking for help in identifying female angel investors across Canada. Suggestions, please!
Also, if you are attending StartupFest already and are interested in the topic of founders & funders, join me at AngelFest. I know I'm going to try and rope David Crow into at least an AMA or round table :) ... See MoreSee Less
a one-day event dedicated to exposing what’s next in early-stage startup investment. Presented by BDC Capital and in partnership with NACO, this premium event brings together seasoned and prospective members of the global angel investment community for a day dedicated to sharing best practices, how-…
Hi all, we're recording a very special edition podcast on startups and mental health tomorrow as part of CMHA Mental Health Week next week. We have one spot still left open and are looking for a founder willing to speak about the internal struggle that can accompany and burden building a business, as well as the needs of all founders to look after the mental needs of their employees.
This is a topic close to my heart (and head). Hit me with a message if you can be downtown Toronto tomorrow afternoon as part of a dope pod crew. ... See MoreSee Less
Douglas SoltysHi everyone, totally overwhelmed by the number of public and private messages being sent my way with offers to participate and share personal stories. This is great. I think we're good for tomorrow's podcast recording, but I'm going to reach out to everyone individually to see if there's more that we can do. This isn't just a one-off for us.
Hi everyone,any thoughts on how find a technical co-founder in Toronto and area? I'm building a new on-line membership organization. Any referrals very welcome, or pointers, etc., would be great. Alternatively would like to find a consultant who can provide one time technical advice on the write technical solution for the project. Thanks Sandra ... See MoreSee Less
Madhu ChamartyAngellist has more and more candidates. also coop program at Waterloo, and postings on Uni. job boards - bidding gems there 😎
1 month ago
Varun MathurWhat you need is a hustler - someone who can translate your idea/vision in to a workable, initial version until you realize it still makes sense or see if it has any traction.
What you DON'T need is somebody who seems strong technically but has little interest in working through the many sleepless nights it takes to publish an app to the Android or iOS app store. This set of potential tech co-founders might seem great on paper, but are of little use to you if they don't have the market-relevant skills and the hunger to take you from a landing page to a minimum viable product.
Where do you find hustlers -- in boring, online forums.. blogging away or publishing code which few care about. You look for people really passionate about coding/design who do it in any case - and if that is the case, they must have coded/built something till date in any case and thats who you are trying to find.
Which brings you to your next problem after you find some prospects - why would they work for you. What you are offering at this point is (maybe) equity in an unestablished venture - it is your job to excite them with your passion, with the opportunity ... I would recommend to not look at them as "tech co-founders" but as co-founders who happen to be technically inclined -- these would be very smart people. A 10% or a 15% co-founder is not a co-founder but someone who will have less motivation and jump ship and make something of his or her own when the right idea strikes (because he/she already has the tech skills). Remember, skilled coders have a lot of opportunity -- from other startups to big tech companies.
Another approach you can try is "pretend" to yourself your idea/product exists and see if any potential customers care. Maybe you have mockups, initial design or maybe you are just asking them to fill out online forms. Excitement is contagious -- if you can get somebody excited about what you are doing, you might have an easier time finding people to partner with. Don't worry about people stealing your idea - there always are multiple folks working on similar ideas in different parts of the world...the execution would matter and differentiate you. If there is nobody else apart from family/friends who you can excite about your venture, then perhaps re-think it instead of going ahead to build it.
Happy to add/share more feedback - feel free to reach out and good luck!
Thom Lambpersonally I quit looking for a good developer and just learned how to do code. If your building something that is just a crud dashboard it ain't that complicated.
1 month ago · 1
Chinmay PatelHi Sandra Paquette: What is the project about? What type of technical founder are you looking for? I may be able to find someone from my network. Feel free to inbox me, if you want to keep your idea confidential.
1 month ago
Thom Lambplus if your first idea doesn't work out you have skills then that you can fall back on. Not a lot of prospects out there for a non technical founder and given the average success rate of start ups....