Opinionated Guide to Vancouver Startup Community
Great stuff/opinion from Boris and Tera.
My comment on this was “great to see this, now let’s be opinionated”.
What I meant was, a large, inclusive list is not really that useful if you’re just being nice by including some things that really need some work before they actually participate / help grow the ecosystem.
What’s the bar? Good question: we aren’t good at holding anyone or anything accountable. Try something, if it works, double down and support it. Or kill it and learn from it.
Regular Events / Meetups
Vancouver Pixel Crafters is a merging of the old BES plus Vancouver Tech Cofounders. It is curated by Jesse Heaslip, Mack Flavelle, Ray Walia, and me.
It’s designed to be a mailing list and broadcast channel, so that people who want to do a one off event or get the word out about something don’t have to create yet-another-meetup-group. Want to have your event included? Join the group and suggest it.
Startup Drinks are run out of this group on a monthly basis, hosted by Martin Ertl (still looking for a co-host for SD).
Ladies Learning Code and Startup Weekend are usually announced here, as well as many Launch Academy “open” events.
There are a TON of meetups (basically, one for every programming language) with various levels of activity.
A great, large group missing from the list was VanJS, but basically, just go look at meetup, go to some of the events, and make up your own mind if it’s any good or not.
I do actually think we are heading into a “splinter” situation. I see a lot of people starting new meetups that don’t have a focus that is sufficiently different from existing groups AND they are all asking some of the same speakers / topics to be discussed.
Consider helping organize an existing meetup or suggesting an event inside one rather than creating yet-another-meetup. OR pick something focused and aim for a committed group - bigger is definitely not always better.
Annual Events / Conferences
We are so lucky to have GrowConf, which has a great history of being awesome for 3 years in a row.
I wouldn’t list Launch @ Grow as a separate event - it’s done hand in hand with Grow activities. It’s an evolution of Launch Party, which is no longer a regular thing outside of GrowConf week.
Startup Weekend gets to stay on the list, but basically every city has this.
Are there other GREAT annual conferences that are primarily tech / startup focused and have a good, multi-year history? Not really.
Northern Voice is arguably the longest running one, but it is very much user-focused, so wouldn’t make the cut.
Polyglot Conf is only going into it’s second year next year, so MAYBE it won’t suck and thus be included :)
Co-Working / Accelerators
GrowLab, Launch Academy, The Hive, and The Network Hub. No one else gets on this list until they start pumping out successful funded startups OR are a coworking destination that regularly holds community events.
I’m not interested in University / Government Resources (again, until they start pumping out successful funded startups). The “segregation” of having a UBC-version of Startup Weekend is particularly bad for better integrating academia into industry.
Traditional & New Media
Techvibes is doing a great job in Vancouver and across Canada. Knowlton is killing it with his “teaser” titles / tweets (e.g. “This startup has figured out talent success” or similar) and Rob Lewis wears a nice french cuff on most of his shirts.
Startup North is great, but most of the active contributors are back East. If you’re looking for a startup-focused place to contribute some writing, do it!
In “traditional” media, naming individuals is perhaps more useful (even though the digital version is what likely drives traffic).
Stephen Hui at the Georgia Straight doing his Geek Speak interviews (and in general, other tech pieces in the Straight).
Gillian Shaw for being highly involved & up to date in doing tech coverage in the Vancouver Sun.
I like VIAwesome, not really tech focused.
This seems basically random. It would be great to have a discussion of what the “startup funnel” in this city looks like, with some real metrics, otherwise it’s just a popularity contest.
Especially hilarious was the selection of people begging to be on the “notable startups” list - put your head down and get some funding, make some revenue!
Number of employees, number of paying customers, monthly / annual revenue, or amount raised might all be useful indicators of “notable”.
I think we are still missing some online / community infrastructure pieces.
I’d like to see a list of local startups / companies. The Made in Vancouver WordPress site doesn’t cut it - it means we’re forever re-entering the same data, and locking it up in a way that doesn’t make it easy to slice, dice, and REUSE that data.
I’m still hoping that starting with the Startup Genome data and building something at WeAreYVR in an open data will will “solve” this.
The other piece is a community calendar.
I stood up VanCal but need to do some work on it to automate pulling in data from Meetups, Google Calendar, etc. (it has this in there, you just need to manually refresh the events - this should be automated, so needs some code time). Read the original intro for more »
What I specifically love about VanCal is the Venues list: instead of the constant “hey, does anyone have space for 50 - 100 - 150 people?” we can actually have a central resource of private & public, free & paid venues that might be a fit for your event.
The whole thing is a wiki, so go nuts adding more info.
Want to talk more about this? Want to “own” some of these pieces? Come to the Pixel Crafters Barn Raising on Nov 22nd and talk about what you want to see, and what you want to help with.
Remember, this is MY opinion. Have your own? Something missing? Make your own post, with your own opinion.
Basically, I don’t want people to feel HAPPY about the state of Vancouver’s tech ecosystem. I want you to feel anxious, driven, and strive to do better. Let’s suck less!
Less backpatting, more committing to work together to do more and build more (and LESS splintering and not building on previous efforts).
We need more posts like this, so thanks to Tera for kicking it off.