From Deadpool to Acquisition: Lessons From Sprouter’s Almost Fail : Thanks to Dharmesh Shah for letting me write a guest post for OnStartups about our recent experience with Sprouter. I’ve been a loyal reader of OnStartups for years, so it’s humbling to see my post published there. Read for lessons from our “deadpool to acquisition” journey…and a little Canadian humour.
Four years ago I was fresh out of university with a fancy journalism degree and a job paying peanuts in a golf course pro shop (one of my favourite summers ever, for the record). Three years ago I was working in the tech practice of a PR agency, learning the ropes and navigating the bottom rung of the corporate ladder. While at that agency I met my boss Sarah Prevette through a mutual friend, and when I found out she was starting a small business and needed a Community Manager I jumped at the opportunity. Well actually I said ‘what … Continue reading
The Globe and Mail has published its list of Toronto’s hottest young entrepreneurs, and I see a bunch of familiar faces on the list. The list includes 15 founders building companies in a variety of industries – from bedding to web startups to design agencies. Congrats to friends who made the list: Julian Brass, Notable.ca Justin Hein, Spenz Alyssa Richard, RateHub Lauren Friese, TalentEgg Ray Cao, Loose Button Hailey Coleman, Damn Heels See the full list of 15 entrepreneurs, and watch video interviews with each founder. I know I’ll be reaching out to the founders I don’t know on that list … Continue reading
Today I was happy to see two announcements about Canadian companies. First, Vancouver startup (is it still a startup?) Hootsuite reached 2 million members, and created a fun Infographic to show some stats about its usage. Second, the news that Twitter has acquired Toronto startup Backtype. Founders Chris Golda and Mike Montano were in a past YCombinator class, then were based in Toronto for a while (where they demo’d at a Sprout Up and made it on my BlogTO list of the hottest startups of 2009) until they relocated to San Francisco. They’re both really nice guys with a solid … Continue reading
When I met with Sarah Prevette about the Community Management job at Sprouter I had never heard the term before, and I really had no clue what the role meant within a company. This was late 2008 and it was still a really new position, without definitive job descriptions or templates. She described the job as a mix of writing, PR, communications, and social media, and I thought “I can do that” without knowing what I was getting myself into. Obviously the rest is history, and it seems like the position of Community Manager was made for me. But despite … Continue reading
Last week I posted my first five picks for the best startup blogs for entrepreneurs or anyone interested in starting their own business. They included Mark Suster’s Both Sides of the Table blog, which draws on his experiences as both an investor and an entrepreneur; and Mark MacLeod’s StartupCFO blog, which gives an insightful glimpse into the world of startup finance. Here are my final five picks to round out the top 10. A Smart Bear, by Jason Cohen – I almost met up with Jason last year at SXSWi, but ran out of time. This year I’m determined to meet … Continue reading
Today someone pointed out a new startup to me on Twitter. This isn’t unusual, but what is unusual about this startup is I have no idea what it does. In fact, no one has any clue what it does. But despite this the startup, Hipster, has over 14,000 signups on their beta invite landing page. TechCrunch reported on this odd phenomenon yesterday, and quoted Hipster founder Doug Ludlow as saying “I think people WANT to be surprised, and are willing to add their email address to a cool looking form for the chance of being delighted.” But it’s not that simple … Continue reading
Part of my job at Sprouter is sourcing the best startup/small business content on the web every week. It’s an enjoyable task considering I’m really interested in the ins and outs of running a business – through reading startup blogs and articles I’ve learned a lot about the investment process, common mistakes entrepreneurs make, and startup marketing. I know I’m constantly looking for additions to my Google Reader (my Startup Blogs folder currently contains 122 feeds), so I thought I’d share my top 10 must-read startup and small business-focused blog picks. Here, in no particular order, are the ones I … Continue reading
Some amazing projects have come out of Startup Weekends around the world – Foodspotting anyone? So it’s no surprise that Toronto’s first Startup Weekend in September was full of innovative ideas. The winner of the competition was Task Ave., a location-aware reminder app built by some of my close friends in the Toronto community. The guys (Matt, Satish, Nathan, Tony, Mark, Brian) have been working hard over the past few months getting the app ready for public consumption, and I’m happy to report that it’s now available for purchase in the iPhone app store. So why should you pay $2.99 … Continue reading
Technology journalist, Financial Post columnist, former Managing Editor at BetaKit.com, and one of Marketing Magazine's 30 Under 30.