Montreal’s Creative Startups

Last Thursday, I went to District 3’s DemoDay, to take a look at a bunch of startups mentored by District 3 Innovation Center, at Concordia University in Montreal.

I went there partly out of curiosity, and partly as I am a designer of all sorts, as well as an entrepreneur. The event was very impressive, not only because the venue was great (Sid Lee’s Multifunctional Space setup for Montreal’s Creative Community), but the food was excellent (another startup, Gourmet chez toi), and the 13 startups who took the stage did a very good job at presenting themselves – some were more descriptive in their approach and offering, some were short and sweet and to the point: all were of course asking for money.  🙂

You’ll find information about the event and the startups on the event’s page, but here’s the list:

  • M-Dreams Stage: Entertainment. Realtime motion capture of a dancer, digitized and used to generate visuals overlayed in realtime on the dancer. http://mdreams-stage.com/
  • Hyasynth: Medicine – pharma. Developing drug-medication of select genes found in medical marijuana, to treat various illnesses without the effects of weed, such as smoking it and feeling the “other” effects. hyasynthbio.com
  • Easy CPR: Fix the problem of too many CPR procedures done wrong by… doctors and nurses. Mechanical apparatus connected to software giving realtime feedback on correctness of doing CPR, allowing CPR giver to correct while performing it. Link to their page on District3.
  • Revols: Custom earphones to fit YOUR ears. Gel-like substance formed to your ears on first fitting and solidified in under 60 secs (if I remember correctly). Procedure is guided by an app on your smartphone. Promise of serious reduction in consumer pricing compared to currently available similar customized product. revolsound.com
  • Paradox Interfaces – tryb: Building online teams to compete in SERIOUS online gaming events. paradoxinterfaces.com
  • Imaginary Spaces: Software that allows you to create virtual spaces “easily” – and 3D print them if you are such-equipped. Very interesting – had a Sketchup feel to it, but looked easier to use. imaginary-spaces.com
  • Memo App: App that allows you to create or find micro-events of you liking. The type of event that doesn’t really take much to organize, last minute type, which you may not be aware they are happening. memoapp.com
  • e-panneur: Online grocery shopping AND delivery from… MULTIPLE STORES!  Really cool.   e-panneur.ca
  • Stay22: Online event platform that takes care of “all” the logistics of attending the event of your choice: just give it the event, and it will find it, give you the date(s) and location, and propose lodging choices. Don’t remember if it also proposes transportation choices too…
  • TeekTak: online platform to help freelancers with ALL the paperwork of being a freelancer, in a “simplified” manner. teektak.com
  • JOTUN: Online game inspired by North Mythology, bringing back a lost art with this hand drawn game. jotungame.com
  • HEDDOKO: Smart motion-capture suits. Designed for advanced, professional athletes who do not have the $$$ for MOCAP, and want to get data from the field (not in a controlled environment such as MOCAP). Will also offer consumer level garments, with less sensors. heddoko.com
  • MuCity: These guys will record events from multiple points of view, package them in such as way that will allow you to “relive” the event. At this time they released the full audio of the pitches. Just need to get their app. mucity.co

Kudos to to District 3 for their work and for organizing this great event!

Talking about rates amongst peers…

Rates… How much to charge? Who’s charging how much?  What for? etc. Very subjective topic, and not that straightforward to discuss.

I blogged about this topic last year, What’s in a rate? and Was the rate worth it? to discuss some intrinsic considerations that go into determining rates.

This is a brief summary of 90+ minutes of discussions…

Last Wednesday I facilitated an ISPI Montreal event, entitled “Everything you always wanted to know about rates, but were afraid to ask…“. It was a pretty good event, lots of questions and interaction between participants. We were particularly happy that we had a fair number of student from Concordia University’s Educational Technology program: gave them the opportunity to hear their future peers talk about this hot, business topic.

Part of the event was to present the results of a survey we ran to our local ISPI Montreal members, and compare the results to the same survey dating back to 2004: the conclusion?  Rates have not changed that much over a decade (see for yourself).  Most likely due to the fluctuation of the economy, which affects the job market and the expenditures for training. And we all know that tougher times brings down the axe on training which is always front and center for the chopping block.   😦

We basically asked the participants two questions, to trigger some discussion and reflection…

First: What factors influence the rate you charge when working directly with a client?

Participants broke off in small groups and went off to come up with their prioritized list of factors. We tried to mingle the students evenly so they benefit as mush as possible from their future peers.

The result? See for yourself… (sorry, I’m missing one)

Of course skills set, experience and knowledge came out, but not education per se, or more precisely, the need to have an education such as the one offered in Educational Technology.

What came out more was about the type of work and the context in which that work needs to be done: type of work, the market, the economy, the profile of the work, its length, specific technical skills, the budget available, the industry, etc.

Second: How do you explain/justify your rate?

This question we addressed as one group.

Right off the bat there was a reaction to the word “justify”. Didn’t expect it but wasn’t surprised. What was argued is the rate you present is the rate that should be. I guess it’s fine when either you offer a pretty clear value of what that rate buys, or there isn’t much competition, or you’re in demand – one would assume that if you are in demand then you are worth what you are charging.

But when you don’t have any of those conditions, it’s a different ballgame. Especially if you’re dealing with a client that is bottom-line driven. But you can always pass.

The discussion moved towards the concepts of value, uniqueness and expectations. In essence, it’s about being a business: being a consultant requires that you look at yourself as the “product” your business offers. As such, you need to need to consider these concepts and package a service offer that supports the rate you want.  Or, as one of the students said, the rate you “offer”.

But all in all, rates are just a unit for calculations, right? The bigger question is “how much one takes to do a job?” If one person charges $100/hr and takes 100 hrs to do a job, while another charges $75/hr and takes the same amount of time, with the same outcome in quality and alignment with expectations, why is the cost different? We often say that in theory, the higher the rate, the faster the job and the higher the quality, right? Or is it not so clear cut?

As I say in my previous posts, there are a lot of intrinsic aspects that add value to a person offering their services. The key, as it was discussed in the latter part of the evening, is the value offered and the value required. This leads to clearly stating and understanding expectations from both sides of the fence.

One point was brought up about using salary as a gauge to determine an equivalent rate. A friend of mine who’s working in a para-public organization explained to me the way they do it: you take the salary, for this example let’s say… $50k for a junior position, add 30% to cover benefits, and then account for how much time off you want, how much time you think you’ll need to run your business and LOOK FOR WORK, that gives you a daily rate of about $325 or an hourly rate of $41. These numbers came up with this little Excel sheet I made for you.  🙂

More live discussions should be had, on topics such as base Ratios for Design and Development, scoping & estimating, constraints & risks…

Makes sense?

PS: you can always take a look at my previous posts on these topics:

How to Deal with STRESSED OUT Customers

Thanks Tim!   Another great perspective on understanding and dealing with people. Especially the importance of having a clear enough picture of your own needs and objectives so you know when to… get away.     🙂

Tim Ohai

Next week, I am stoked to be joining my friends Jim Keenan (@keenan) and Anthony Iannarino (@iannarino) for a “jolt of Sales 411.” Our topic is going to be people who drive us nutshow to deal with a pain in the a$$ prospect/customer. Knowing these guys the way that I do, it’s going to be a GREAT conversation. One that you definitely won’t want to miss.

Since I typically obsess think about things way too deeply before doing these kinds of events, and I have been focused on the concept of stress this past year, I wanted to cover stress as ONE of the ways that a client can become an absolute terror.

High thermometerIn case you missed my last post on dealing with stress (and since it was months ago that I posted it!), let me give you a brief summary. I find that stress is generally…

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The dark side of gamification

Interesting perspective, and great film! Reminds you to be careful on which strategies to use for what purpose.

E-Learning Provocateur

How well do you chop your cucumber?

It’s a ridiculous question, I know, but in the short film Sight the protagonist plays an augmented reality game that awards him points for the consistency in the thickness of his slices.

The scene irked me. The last thing I would want while preparing dinner is a computer judging me. Really, who cares how wide I cut the slices, and who judged that distance to be the perfect width anyway? It’s certainly not my idea of fun. And besides, it all tastes the same.

It’s a clear case of gamification gone too far ? and of course that was the film’s message. The plot continues to delve into much darker uses of the technology, raising the spectre of what appears to be utopia on the surface hiding dystopia underneath.

Sight screenshot

In my previous post Game-based learning on a shoestring, I advocated the use…

View original post 423 more words

Performance Enhancement: gadgets, gizmos and GoPros

For sure this is on the high-tech spectrum of use of technology in personal life, but it gives a great perspective on how the technology we can use in our personal lives inevitably increases our performance. Why not promote this in the work place?

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

Austria is not far away, but somehow the journey takes me longer than it does to get to Singapore. It’s not down to any inefficiency in the Swiss Train network, which offered a profuse apology for the one minute delay, but more likely down to my circuitous route and last minute planning. However that circular route and ‘just in time‘ booking gave me an incredibly cheap holiday. How? Not because i’m a great travel planner, but rather because of the host of sites dedicated to finding me the best deal: performance in the moment, enhanced by thoughtful technology. It’s the nature of the Social Age. I can decide to go skiing, then just go skiing. Barely any planning required.

Performance Enhancement skiing

But that was just the start: being willing and able to use the technology and free enough to jump at the last minute got me to the…

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Good bye acute meetingitis! Plan your day-to-day meetings as a true KMer…

Thanks Ewen! Can’ talk enough about useless meetings, especially those which benefit only a few, if not just one of the attendees. Like the idea of Open Space Technology, and I very well may use the Meeting ticker. 🙂

Agile KM for me... and you?

On this blog I talk a lot about (large) events, how they’re designed, facilitated, useful, successful, impactful… or not. There is a related, mundane, day-to-day topic: the case of everyday meetings. We spend sometimes so much time that we might want to think about how to make them as useful.

And in this post, I just want to stop and consider how to plan your time in these day-to-day meetings in the best possible way, from a KMer perspective (also because good KMers are innovation conveners – and good practice-shapers).

So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting - time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom) So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting – time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom)

So here are some principles to get your started in planning your (attendance at) meetings:

Come prepared

Long preparation, short war so… If you’re not prepared, you’re likely going to be wasting your time and others’. And as I keep referring to meeting cost calculators (such as Meeting Ticker

View original post 552 more words

Le codéveloppement comme outil d’apprentissage

Voici un billet très intéressant sur le codéveloppement professionnel. Ça me penser demander: est-ce un entre-deux entre l’apprentissage formel (structuré) et l’apprentissage informel (par osmose, décidé par l’apprenant) ? À suivre…

A comme Apprentissage

Aujourd’hui, j’ai eu l’opportunité dans le cadre de ma pratique d’assister à une «histoire de codév», une activité de l’Association Québécoise du Codéveloppement Professionnel (AQCP). Si comme tel je connais en surface les notions relatives aux groupes de codéveloppement  (il y a des professionnels bien plus ferrés que moi en la matière!), ce qui m’a incitée à participer à cet atelier était le cas vécu qui y a été présenté.

nuage-codev

Qui dit cas vécu dit possibilité de faire des liens avec sa propre expérience, qu’elle soit passée, actuelle ou envisagée dans un futur plus ou moins rapproché. C’est pour cela que j’aime beaucoup le partage de cas vécus dans les ateliers 🙂 : ma machine à faire des liens s’emballe, et cet atelier ne fut pas une exception!

Définition: le codéveloppement professionnel

Avant d’aller plus loin, je veux prendre le temps camper ce qu’est un groupe de codéveloppement professionnel. Payette et Champagne (1997)…

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