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Posts Tagged ‘community’

Reposted from StartupNorth

By David Crow

Are you curious about what being a startup is really about? Do you think there are too many events in Toronto?

“Being in the community is important to you, but being in front of your customers is what is important to your startup.” –  Jevon MacDonald

Well, we’re trying to help connect entrepreneurs, designers, developers and others interested in starting new high potential growth companies. Why? Check out Paul Graham’s What Startups Are Really Like. In particular, 17. The Value of Community. We’re trying to create a peer group, people who are facing similar obstacles in creating new tech, software, mobile, social Internet startups.

“One of the most surprising things I saw was the willingness of people to help us. Even people who had nothing to gain went out of their way to help our startup succeed…The surprise for me was how accessible important and interesting people are. It’s amazing how easily you can reach out to people and get immediate feedback.” – comments on What Startups Are Really Like

I want a vibrant, connected, accessible community of founders, investors, advisors and others in Canada. And I’m not alone. There are great communities across the country in Ottawa, Montreal, Waterloo, Guelph, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver (and be sure to check out StartupDrinks).  Here’s what we’re doing locally:

  1. Consider attending DemoCamp Toronto # 25 on January 27, 2010.
  2. Are you looking for a social opportunity to connect with the individuals that fund high potential growth startups in Canada? You should consider applying to attend Founders & Funders on February 15, 2010.
  3. StartupEmpire is happening on May 20, 2010. Stay tuned for details.

So it’s not about partying, but it is about finding others facing similar challenges and those that might be able to help your startup.

I hope you will participate.

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. At Microsoft Canada, he is responsible for helping Canadian start-ups gain access to software, support and visibility in the Microsoft ecosystem through programs like BizSpark (details at microsoft.com/bizspark). David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow

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By Bryan Watson

Following on  my last post  about Angels actively engaging in their community, I thought it important to outline exactly why information asymmetry, as discussed, can be such a problem for Angel investors.

Information asymmetry, the condition in which at least some relevant information is known to some but not all parties involved, leads to market inefficiencies. In this case, the most important inefficiency it causes is adverse selection.

In economic terms, adverse selection happens in a situation where sellers have relevant information that buyers lack. In the context of Angel investors and potential investee companies, this is where a company has some information (or there is information generally available in the community about a company/technology) that the investor lacks.

Post-engagement due diligence can reveal problems with a specific company, but by being plugged into the community, writ large, an Angel can gather enough context to help ensure that he or his group is seeing the best risk-adjusted opportunity with the highest potential for return that is our there in the market.

Having this information, you might find out that, even through the company you are conducting due diligence on is perfectly fine and a good investment opportunity, ceterus paribus, there are better opportunities, risk-adjusted, out there with higher potential returns. He might also find out that the opportunity has been shopped around for many years, never gaining any traction for a variety of reasons, and is generally considered to be a lemon!

Just one more benefit of being plugged in to the community: reduced averse selection!

Throughout his career, both in Canada and the UK, Bryan J. Watson has been a champion of entrepreneurship as a vector for the commercialization of advanced technologies. Upon his return to Canada in 2004, Bryan established his venture development consulting practice to help emerging-growth companies overcome the barriers to success they face in the Canadian commercialization ecosystem.  Visit Bryan’s blog and the National Angel Capital Organization.

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StephenBy Stephen Rhodes

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In communities, or as Wikipedia says, groups of ” interacting organisms sharing an environment,” we recognize the need for people to come together, where intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common.

Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a book about these collectives called Tribes. He defines them as any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.

He says, “for millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.”

communitiesGodin’s point is that the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. Blogs and social networking tools are building new communities of common interest where thousands, even millions of people, join forces around ideas, causes, sports team and product lines.  In Facebook alone, 250 million people are interacting.

People in small towns understand community. They get together at the local hockey game on a Friday night, or the market on a Saturday morning or church on Sunday. These communities within the community grow out of a common interest.  And within these communities an inherent trust develops between the participants.

In business, formal networking provides significant opportunity for growth on the strength of the trust developed within the group. If you have personal experience with an investment banker or venture capitalist in your networking group and a friend or associate needs one, you are likely to connect the two. But let’s say you don’t know one, but someone you trust in your group does.  The trust developed within the group provides the comfort you need to make a referral.

The Internet and community builders like Twitter, Facebook and You Tube allow you to build bigger communities faster and to connect on the basis of the trust developed.

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit  The Marketing Pad online.

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