Launching Virtual EyeSee, a Social Media Company

For the past few months I have been focusing a fair bit of my time in setting up a new business.  It’s to do with New Media marketing or Social Media marketing.  Given the developments in open source software and free social networking sites it’s a great way for corporations to take advantage of these communication vehicles.  They can be used internally within a company or externally to communicate with customers.

With this in mind I have founded Virtual EyeSee a Social Media strategy and training company.  The goals are very simple to educate people about the trends in this space and inspire them to use these communication tools to increase their bottom line.

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The website was design and integration is by R-Cubed, who worked their magic to maintain a common look and feel for both the corporate website and the blog.

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EyeSee is where I blog about my adventures in Social Media.  You can become a fan of Virtual EyeSee on facebook and ask all your burning questions on Social Media.

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For the more advanced tweet me on Twitter.

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So do join me on my advetnures on line and learn how to participate in these spaces.  If you are looking for a guest speaker for your organization, team building, conferences or networking groups, I would be happy to talk about social media, web 2.0 or whatever you want to call it.

Startup Addict

When I worked for a start-up,  the challenges of funding and recruiting the right talent were very apparent.  It’s very simple, how do you get funds when the economy is on a down slide?  How do you recruit the right talent when you have a budget of zero $.

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Startup Addict is a social network that addresses this issue.  It’s an online community for people to fund startups, recruit talent, sell goods and network.

I will let you know how it goes.  Follow the updates on EyeSee.

Startup Index for Canadian Companies

I was getting my regular dose of updates from Startup Ottawa where I learnt about the Startup Index. This is an awesome idea, a list of startups Canada wide.
Once upon a time I was working on a project and needed to identify new companies and let me tell you it was a very hard task. It involved going through old newspaper articles and lots of Google searches.

It also has a list of investors and who they invested in. Perhaps it could be expanded to include a section for private funders too.

Startup Index has a lot of potential and once the word gets around it will be a one stop shopping so to speak. Perhaps an expansion to other countries, a Global startup index, how cool is that.

Microsoft Windows XP, June 30 deadline is looming

Bill Gates had a dream, it was to put a PC on every desktop in every home, office etc. That dream has certainly come true in the developed world. So when Microsoft announced that they will no longer sell Windows XP to OEMs as of June 30th this year there was quite an outcry from the users.

Vista has not turned out to be what was promised and a lot of people are reverting back to Windows XP. Some businesses have invested heavily in getting their processes and systems to be compatible with XP. What will be the impact of this decision on these businesses and Microsoft? Some speculate that this is a bad decision on Microsoft’s part. Before we can jump to conclusions we have to understand our options.

  • Open Office an open source software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more
  • Source Forge opensource software development website
  • Novell Open Workgroup Suite replacement for microsoft small business solution
  • Mircosoft alternate products listing
  • There’s always the MAC

Open source appears the way to go however there is not one company out there that offers one stop shopping like Microsoft does. So has Microsoft made the right decision or are there any loopholes?

Training ourselves out of our technology jobs

I recently met an old friend who works at one of the local hi-tech companies and was very excited about his up coming trip to Asia. He was going there for a couple of months and was hoping to get some sight seeing in.

On the flip side he did say that he was going to train a team of 10 and said that in 5 years he would have trained himself out of his job.

5 years ago, around the time of the tech bubble burst, manufacturing jobs were lost to Asia. It became apparent that we could not compete at that price level. At that time everyone said that it was ok as long as Canada was still involved heavily in R&D.

However, this conversation about training teams overseas are all too common today. What happens 5 years from now? Is Canada going to give up their R&D to the overseas market as we can’t afford to innovate here?

Let’s take a step back and try to connect the dots.

  • In Canada our universities are heavily subsidized, we pay at least 10 times less for tuition here than south of the border. So as a country a significant amount of our investment goes into university education. In Ottawa it’s not uncommon for someone to have multiple degrees
  • Since the technology downturn a few years ago, there are still thousands of underemployed tech workers in Ottawa. They are very well educated and have a lot of industry experience however there is no place for them to use these talents. Instead they have to settle for pizza delivery, warehouse work etc…. Silicon Valley North has not bounced back to its glory days
  • With the current trend of training R&D teams overseas the underemployed will increase significantly over the next 5 years, hence a wasted investment in the university education

The city of Montreal did something very interesting a few years ago. They promoted their animation industry to the global market. Today there are a lot of very successful companies that specialize in animation and gaming. Montreal is known worldwide for this particular skill which have lead to a lot overseas customers.

With this in mind, I do have a very easy solution to this problem, promote the technical talent in this city globally.

I have had this conversation with various decision makers in this city and they all tell me that a hi-tech company, Dell had moved here for this reason. I need to clarify this whole Dell situation… when Dell moved to Ottawa to create thousands of jobs, it was for their “call center”!!!!! These types of jobs are low paying and for students, not for someone who has a degree and several years of industry experience.

Let’s promote Silicon Valley North and attract overseas companies to set up shop here for R&D and let Canada utilize their investment in the education of their tech workers.

Democamp 9 – Ottawa

DemoCamp Ottawa 9 is coming up. Due to increasing popularity the venue has moved from it’s old location at the Clock Tower, to the Velvet Room.There is a new lineup of up and coming companies.
  • Stockify – Investing Software
  • SIMtone – Virtual PC
  • picsphere – complete workflow solution for event and studio photographers
  • myChoiceBot – Web app for shoppers researching any type of purchase decision

So mark your calendars, May 26th from 7-9pm.

The Ottawa Web Weekend – Day 2

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Everyone was back at 10am on Sat. morning to get working on project A. We all gathered in the same space as the previous night however there were many conversations taking place at one time and hard to focus. The software developers moved out of the cafe area and into the meeting rooms. The marketing, business, legal and UI team worked together. The challenge was to define the requirements and develop the use cases. This would give the developers a place to start.

Here is a sneak peak at the team.

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Mark Blevis was the official podcaster for the event and here’s podcast 1.

I was on the business team and also did double duty trying to capture the goings on visually.Who would use the system and how they would use it had to be defined. We found all sorts of great target markets but we realized that the ones that had a long procurement cycle or heavy regulated were not our initial customers. Also the users had to have a fast internet connection and use computers in their daily business operations.

After lunch the requirements and use cases were presented to the developers. They provided an update on what programming languages and databases they would use. Here is a podcast of the developers.
While the developers created their development environment etc… the other group had to come up with a company name and branding. This was essential for the UI team so that they could get started on the design. This was quite a lot of fun and some of the names could have been taken out of context.

The general group dynamics were interesting. The people in the cafe area were loud and spent a lot of time talking. The developers were very quiet. Well this is a typical scenario in the real world.

The day ended with a lot of the basic product definitions, work flow, name and branding defined. Another podcast.

Stay tuned for updated on day 3.

Ottawa Web Weekend – Day 1

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I attended the Ottawa Web Weekend and it’s was a blast. It was held at The Code Factory. There are a tonne of great ideas and lots of great energy in the room. There were over 30 people in the room!!!

The session started off with introductions – who we were and what team we were in for the weekend. Next came the ideas that were captured on the white boards. Then came the complex task of narrowing down the selection. Some ideas were grouped together and we went around the room discussing the pros and cons of each.

The other factors that we had to consider were

  • the skills of the people participating. Some ideas needed more of one skill than we had e.g. more than 2 flash programmers
  • the idea had to be productized in a weekend
  • patents and the cost associated with filing them
  • patent infringement

With all of these great ideas floating around we had to come up with a strategy of finalizing the idea. We agreed to discuss each group of ideas and spent a few minutes discussing it. For, against and how to make money.
Then came the method of voting. We each had 3 stickies and we got to pick our top 3. It was apparent that the G and A were the most popular. We then split up into G and A.

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Then each split further, as eight per group is a good discussion size. So four groups in all, 2 for G and 2 for A.
Each group hashed out their idea further from a technical point of view as well as business. We then pitched our ideas further and then a final vote. The majority went for the A.

So we ended the day with the groups e.g. technical, business splitting up and planning how to start on day 2.

Here are some more pictures. Stay tuned for further updates from the weekend.

Social experiments and the Ottawa Web Weekend

Social experiments are very popular these days and the Ottawa Web weekend is a twist on this theme.

People register for this weekend and pick what they want to be involved in.

  • Programmer/Architect/Systems
  • Designer/Intergration
  • Marketing/Media/Communication
  • Business
  • Legal
  • Weekend Organizer

The goal is to “launch a web product and start a company by Sunday night”. Participants get shares in the company according to how much time they spend building it.

It is a BYOL event, what’s that? Bring your own laptop.

I am very intrigued so want to sign up. I still have to decide what I want to participate in. Business or Marketing? Any suggestions?? Here are some discussions regarding this event.
Cost; $20
Where: the Code Factory.
Begins: Friday, May 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm ET
Ends: Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 9:00 am ET
So sign up soon before they are sold out.