This is a guest post by Jim Rudnick, from www.canuckseo.com
Last Friday, May 27th, saw the second ever DemoCampHamilton2 held up at Mohawk College and it was another great success for one and all!
First, big kudos once again to Kevin Browne, founder of softwarehamilton.com community and DemoCampHamilton founder and driver of this type of community grassroots mission to get our city up and running when it comes to moving our town into the knowledge world! So thanks Kevin!
Next, Mohawk College and it’s lead Professor Duane Bender too should be praised as he led Mohawk into being one of the sponsors of this event and provided a great venue for same! If you’ve not been up to their main campus on Fennell St. in awhile you should absolutely climb the mountain and look over their brand new surroundings and wonderful modern architecture for their lecture theatres, labs, classrooms, and yes I understand even “The Arnie” is getting upgrades as I write this! So thanks Duane and IdeaWorks for your help on this event too!
But Mohawk was not the only sponsor, the growing Innovation Factory as also on that banner too and yes, met with and chatted and had a beer too with Keanin Loomis, their Chief Advocate and Stephanie Shuster, their Creative Manager and we all agreed that the demos were both informative, definitely innovative and yes, should deserve consideration too! So a big thanks Innovation Factory!
But before I get to those actual demos, I wanted to first, mention Mic Berman, acting COO for FreshBooks who gave our DemoCampHamilton2 KeyNote Address – and boy was she ever spot-on, eh! FreshBooks, if the name is new to you, is simply tagged as “painless billing” and that captures the essence of that firm and site in two simple words! They provide online billing, i.e. invoicing your clients using their online site to send out those invoices and then receive payment via anything from creditcards to snail-mailed cheques etc…and I understand they’ve already got more than 2 million users!
Now, how’s that for a great idea whose time has come! Mic, offered up a short 20 minute or so, keynote address that featured her thoughts and advice, counsel as well as tips/tricks for anyone who’s involved in a startup. She was frank and candid and spoke not only of her own successes but her failures too….and the more than 100 democamp attendants had many questions and points of view on that preseo that she again answered fully! So, thanks Mic! Great way to get our evening started and yes, I too was glad to see that her own list of “local” startup proponents included some of the folks in the room as well as groups and firms who try to help in any way! Kudos Mic!/p>
That all said, what were those demos? Well, as you must already know….the format for our demoCamps is that we have 5 demos offered up, and each demo gets 5 minutes to speak to their own build, and then we have a further 5 minute Q&A where anyone can ask questions of the presenters. This works well, IMHO, in that it can get someone who is so ‘focused’ on their own site or app that they can not ‘see’ what those of us who are just meeting the app or site for the very first time ‘see.’ It’s a method, that works well and yes, I wanted to say right up front that the focus that some showed last Friday night on their own apps, was a learning experience – at least I hope so.
Winners/losers is not the way to describe what I think one would consider in any demoCamp post-mortem…but I did find the following interesting….that “passion” — the all out, full tilt, heavy duty love of what you do CAN be seen by any demoCamp attendants – at least from my own POV…and why do I say that?
Joey Coleman, of Open Hamilton, is one journalist who’s passion comes thru in every sense of the word! He loves what he does, he expounds on what he does, he offers up samples and rationales that offer up the world as he sees it — and that to me is exactly the type and kind of project that I’d be most comfortable in investing either time or money in. His kind offer of free workshops, his linkages with local Hamilton based software groups and communities and his obvious love of statistics and programming mean, IMHO, that this Open Hamilton project is an “up-and-comer” and that I’ll be watching him and his passion closely, eh! So thanks Joey….muchly appreciated lad!
There were of course, other demos to watch last Friday and they ranged IMHO, from narrow channel entrants to the marketplace to one that in all honesty had the whole “itch/scratch” paradigm backwards.
Oh – what is the “itch/scratch” paradigm? Basically, it’s the belief that if you find an “itch” in the marketplace, a service that does not exist, a ‘hole’ in the marketplace, an item that someone needs to get fixed or corrected….then you provide the “scratch” for that “itch” by producing that service or product yourself. It’s this process that all startups attempt to follow…that what they want to “sell” to the consumer or to other businesses, “fixes” a problem that their prospective customer might be having.
Pretty basic explanation and yeah, I should have trademarked that “itch/scratch” term, but that’s how I see the impetus that drives startups. And last Friday, while we did see mostly firms that have followed this methodology, it was also apparent that some did not. Finding a solution to a problem that does NOT exist, IMHO, is a waste of a founders time….and hopefully that message did get thru last Friday.
But all said, it was a great night! Why don’t you all try to come out to our next DemoCampHamilton3, which at present is planned to be in September ahh... summer off....aint that a nice thing, eh!