Do you have any social media Klout?

Who are you most influenced by?

The standard response might include your parents, a trusted friend, a wise teacher, or even a religious leader. Of course, these influencers will change throughout your life. For example, your mother might play a very important role during your youth, but this gives way to your peer group in your teenage years. A university professor might guide your choice of profession and then your colleagues at work play a more important role during your adult life.

Influence is defined as the ability to have an effect on the character of someone. Pre-internet, this meant that face-to-face contact with people enjoying a dynamic conversation was the critical context for developing ideas, rapport and influence. Today, some argue that rich conversation has given way to online interactions as measured by Facebook and Twitter. My position is that these social networks are more about interacting with content generated by people as opposed to interacting with actual people. There’s a difference.

One organization at the forefront of measuring social media analytics is Klout ( This San Francisco-based company creates profiles on individuals and assigns them a “Klout score.” These scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a higher assessment of the breadth and strength of one’s online influence. Klout has even developed supplemental measures. “True reach” is based on the size of followers and friends who actively listen and react to their online messages. “Amplification score” relates to the likelihood that one’s messages will generate actions (e.g., retweets, likes and comments). “Network impact” reflects the influential value of a person’s engaged audience.

This is all fine and dandy and provides an interesting exercise for determining who actually “roars” the loudest when she tweets. However, there are several objections to Klout’s methodology, including assuming that any online user has no major influence in the real world (i.e., the old- fashioned way, by actually talking to people). Nevertheless, I checked out my own Klout score and it’s 31. This compares with The Hamilton Spectator at 54, Dalton McGuinty at 61, and Barack Obama at 86. I have about 2,000 Twitter followers, but to be honest, I don’t know how many of those actually read what I tweet or how many server bots that total includes.

I think the more interesting analytic is the list of topics that Klout says I’m influential about (i.e., business and communications). Well, thank goodness, that makes sense. Klout also tells me whom in particular I influence. I won’t share that list with you, but let me just say it’s pretty cool to see who reads your stuff, “retweets” your comments and “likes” your commentary. It feels a little weird to know so much about how you virtually operate in the social network universe. Plus, to summarize all of that activity with one number seems a little absurd.

I understand that Klout’s next logical move is to partner with retailers, which then offer special discounts to highly influential people. Imagine a luxury watch company offering 50 per cent off to a high-Klout-score individual who promotes the brand. So, we might see different prices for the same product on Amazon’s website based on your Klout score. Now I see where this is going.

I recall some time ago when we had a similar debate about one’s credit score. Everyone cried, “How can you come up with a single numerical expression of a person’s credit worthiness?” Well, we did, and refined it over time, and now everyone pretty much accepts the methodology. Perhaps this will happen with Klout, too. Maybe, maybe not. I think that being influential is something you can’t artificially manage. Either people listen to what you have to say or they don’t. If, as Klout recommends, you have to ask certain people to “retweet” what you said in order to boost your score, well then you clearly aren’t influential at all.


US JoBS Act Passes:Crowdfunding US Startups Grows Closer to Reality!

Originally posted on

On March 8th, the group of US Congress bills, collectively called the JoBS Act (Jumpstart our Business Startups) passed the House of Representatives and now goes to the Senate….and IMHO, that spells trouble for our Canuck startup futures…but let me explain! You already know as a reader, that we’ve been watching closely on HR 2930, the Crowdfunding Bill, but this group encompasses much more opportunity for both startups and investors and here’s a simple one-pager on the Act itself

Right now, it’s illegal for a US or Canadain startup to solicit investors on platforms like Twitter or Kickstarter. But the US-onlyJOBS Act would change that south of the border only!

For startups raising $1 million or less, anyone can now buy up to $10,000 or 10 percent of the annual income (whichever is less) in equity. One of the principle drivers behind the IPO filings of Facebook and Zynga was the 500-shareholder rule, a vestige of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, which said that any company with more than 500 shareholders has to open its financials to the SEC like a public company. But under the JOBS Act, anyone who gives $10,000 or less will not count toward this limit. The act also raises the shareholder limit from 500 to 1,000.

Startups can opt to raise as much as $2 million in this manner; but if they go the crowdfunding route, they will have to provide audited financial statements to their investors. And while raising capital from the crowd is pretty nifty on Kickstarter, it has some drawbacks for startups. Here are some highlights from our FAQ on crowdfunding:

“First, US startups must understand that minority stockholders have certain significant rights under state law, including voting rights, the right to inspect the company’s books and records, the right to bring a derivative claim on behalf of the company, and certain protections against oppression by the controlling stockholders. Indeed, the more stockholders a startup has, the greater the likelihood that a disgruntled stockholder will cause problems, including filing lawsuits.

Second, having hundreds of stockholders is an administrative nightmare and will be time consuming and costly. Presumably, each stockholder will be required to execute a subscription agreement and/or stockholders’ agreement to address key issues such as transfer restrictions, rights of first refusal, and drag-along rights. There will also be administrative issues relating to voting and stock transfer issues.

Third, startups will likely have difficulty raising funds from VCs and other sophisticated investors if they have hundreds of unsophisticated stockholders. Needless to say, few sophisticated investors will want to sit on the board of directors of such a company due to the risks of lawsuits relating to director liability, and I would assume D&O liability insurance rates will skyrocket for these companies…”

As you can see, there are other issues here to think upon…the US JOBS Act also makes it easier for small companies to go public by increasing the offering threshold for companies exemepted from SEC regulation from $5 to $50 million on companies. Additional regulations will be phased in over a five-year period for companies that stay under $1 billion in revenue.

And what is next for the US is that the U.S. Senate, which startups hope will quickly pass the similar bill. The White House supports the House bill, so upon reconciliation, it will be signed into law. Then entrepreneurs will have a new option to consider when raising money for their startup…in the US!!!

And for us Canucks? Well, IMHO, as the US moves to enble such funding….Canuck startups will have a choice…open up a US based startup for that kind of funding via the coming wave of US crowdfunding sites that will rise in response to the new JoBS Act….or stay here in Canada and give up any chance of same. Which would you do…I know what the answer will be for the startups that I work on and I know what counsel I’ll give for same.

Hello….Canada? Are you listening here?


Marketing is no longer just about your brand, it’s about your customers!

Last week I attended my monthly Strategic Marketing Peer2Peer hosted by Communitech. The event featured Alan Quarry of Quarry Integrated Communications as the guest speaker. Alan addressed the relevance of Marketing with his presentation: “Marketing is Dead, Long Live the Customer.” Alan opened up his presented with a great video that described the relationship between advertisers/marketers and their customers. Essentially, the customer is “breaking up” with advertising because it (or “he” in this video) no longer listens, doesn’t hang out at the same places and does not understand the customer anymore. To watch the video, click here.

As a segway from this video, Alan made a great point about marketers: we need to be “shift disturbers” and make the change from old advertising to new advertising. The economy has shifted in terms of power – taking it away from the marketer and handing it over to the audience – and marketers need to accept this and use it in how they approach their customers in B2B or B2C. This shift is due in large to the explosion of Social Media use, where customers have more control over what they want to see and how they want to see it. Social Media has also made things simplified and quick. End users don’t want to spend 30 seconds to a minute watching a commercial or spend 15 minutes reading an email newsletter; marketers need to get their point across as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Alan broke down the commonly known acronym “R.O.I.” to mean “Return on Insight” rather than “Return on Investment.” The cause of this shift is due to the following:

  • Marketers need customer insight in order to find out what’s working and what is not. i.e. blog comments, Twitter conversations, Facebook posts
  • Social Media exists so conversations can get started. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Pinterest, don’t exist purely so people can post information about themselves; end users are looking to form a relationship with their suppliers before trusting them with their business.
  • Customers want to be involved. Our end users want to get something valuable out of the information we provide. In order to provide this, ensure your newsletter for example, has useful content rather than promotional jargon.

As a result of these points, marketers need to do the following:

For more information about how you can make the shift in Marketing for your team, or for help getting your Marketing efforts off the ground, take a look at how we can help. Contact myself, Stephanie , to answer any of your questions on Marketing or if you’re interested in joining the Communitech Peer2Peer: Strategic Marketing group.

StartUp Founder Smugness: A Growing Problem Exists!

Originally posted on

As many of you readers know, we run a successful SEO practice here in the Hamilton area…and it’s really what gets up up each day. That said, you may also know that we work damn hard here too for our startup community…and I am only one “spoke” in that wheel…but it surely provides us with lots to do – and to think about too.

Enter my point today – that as a startup founder you need to speak to your customers BEFORE you bloody well go off on a tangent – lengthy rant on!

I was excited a few days ago, to find over on a great piece there on a new SaaS product that I thougth just might help me big-time in my own new startup, a mobile app, and I read that I could use this new product to help market my own startup. Cool I thought….and that’s what led to my total frustration with the founders of same.

I clicked the link on techcrunch, and found the site and looked around…nice looking site….and I had a discount code in hand from the techcrunch site too…so I thought, sure, for a 90 day free trial – let’s give it a shot! Sad mistake….

I clicked on the “Sign up for Free” button…and got a form to fill in but the form had NO text to tell me what text to enter where…just very nice looking white boxes. Hmm…okay, so maybe a page refresh might….nope. Didn’t work. Hmm…okay so three fields…maybe I’ll try – email – password – password confirm – and then click on the Sign Up submit button….and yes! That worked….and I now get the SaaS package listings to choose from and I wanted the “Indie” one, so a click there led to that IE warning you get if the site does NOT have a Certificate that is valid….but I clicked on the not recommended “go to the site anyways” text button and yup…another much longer form again with no text to show what needs to be filled in any of the fields. No way to fill that one in…and I’m stopped cold. Can’t become a customer. Can’t ask for help as there’s no support button. Can’t do anything…but sigh at the founders’ “customer-lost stupidity” and surf away.

Wait, you say. Maybe there was an issue with my own computer and what the founder’s had “expected” me to be using…and yeah, my thinking too and that get’s this rant to the crux of the matter!

As a long long long time computer user (since the 70′s) I know a thing or two about the boxes we base our lives on. In this case, I was using a new win7/IE9 combination – like over 50% of the world does. It’s my own default browsing setup – I use what my clients use and for them all, it’s the default windows software that is on more than 90% of the computers out there.

Am I ‘biased’ here? No more than anyone else who uses a computer, IMHO as 90+% of the world uses a PC. And the various versions of IE run at slightly over 50% of the world too…so….I am definitely “in” the majority of users. Also, as my own experience has shown, I’m also “in” the business usage majority too.

So “what” you’re thinking…the founders of that SaaS service could care less, is what!

Think about it. You want to launch a business startup, a SaaS service aimed at the busines world – and your site won’t even work with the majority of business computers out there. What does that say about that SaaS product that you want folks to buy on a monthly sub…..yup. I agree…founders mired in their own technology bias…sigh….

But I did think – hey, maybe if I email the founders I can get some info on why their site is so arrogant when it comes to the segregation of users…of customers, so I did just that. I found a way to contact them and complained that their form didn’t work as well as the discount code either. And I got a reply….sigh…and what I got was a standard “boiler plate” email response. No mention of the items that I’d listed as problems, no mention of the fact that the founders neglected to include us Canadians, no mention of anyting at all other than “sign up for a great SaaS service”…sigh…

So I replied back and said “whoa” wait a minute…I’m a potential customer who can’t even signup….what part of that doesn’t bother you….and why is your site not working for me? And yes, I did then get a further answer too….from one of the founders it appears – here’s what he had to say….

“Hi Jim,
Very sorry for the trouble. Obviously this is not the experience we want to have. We currently don’t support IE9, just Chrome and Firefox and Safari.
You’re completely correct that we need to make it easier for Canadians (and other international users). The coupon code wasn’t being accepted because it was valid only for the first 100 users and those were scooped up quite quickly! Hopefully we’ll be able to get a new web dev shortly; currently I’m doing that work as well and it is definitely not my forte! Again, sorry for your trouble. Hopefully we can earn your trust and win you over. Please do let me know if there’s anything else I can do…”

As you can see, this founder readily admits that they made the site “work” for only about 30+% of the browsing world! And that 30% is not the business majority, those who actually have the funds to pay for this SaaS service. Mistake. Big mistake. As the founder put it so aptly here – they are aware of the bad experience, of the loss of trust between the customer (me) and the SaaS product (them)…but oh well….what “rush” to market would mean that you arrogantly NOT allow 50+% of the world to become customers?

And that gets me to the point, here of my rant. What kind of founder does NOT think about their marketplace? What kind of founder does NOT think about which segments can afford their offering and then appeal to them? What kind of founder uses their own, biased sense of the technology to use and doesn’t consider the majority of users? Here’s some folks who preach just the opposite…to engage customers to learn what you DO NOT KNOW!!!!!!!!!!

Remember, you will need consider “who” the market segments are that you’re trying to sell to….and then go after them via your technology rather than locking them out…don’t you agree?

TechTalk4HamOnt goes to Leap into Startup Weekend!

The Startup Weekend Hamilton (@starthamilton) ticket sale launch party Leap into Startup Weekend took place February 29th at The Baltimore House (@BaltimoreMMXI). In addition to selling tickets and networking we had a great keynote by Yuriy Blokhin (@yblokhin) and Erica Podlovics (@erikapodlovics) of Kik (@kik). Michael Canton (@valleytownmedia) and Tim Miron (@tjmiron) joined us that evening and filmed another episode of TechTalk4HamOnt (@TechTalk4HamOnt), speaking with Yuriy and Erica as well as Startup Weekend organizers Stephanie Shuster (@stephshuster) and myself (@hamiltonkb).

Tickets are still on sale for Startup Weekend Hamilton, which takes places April 27th – April 29th at Mohawk College. Early bird discount prices are only available for the rest of the day (today March 31st!). If you are a student use promotional code ‘student’ to get a discounted price. Registration available here:


FREE Bridging to Information and Communications Technology program for Internationally-Trained Professionals

The ICT Council predicts skills shortages for 2011-2016 due to retirements and new skills are required to perform increasingly sophisticated tasks. Internationally educated professionals (IEPs) play a vital role in Canada’s economy, since Canada has to maintain and, ideally, grow enrolment in ICT-related post-secondary programs beyond current levels to fill the full projected skills and labour downfall.

The YWCA Hamilton, in partnership with Mohawk College offer FREE Bridging to Information & Communications Technology program for internationally-educated profesisonals in ICT sectors.  This program is designed to prepare IEPs for employment in Canada’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. Participants must meet eligibility criteria, which include specific language and communication aptitudes; must have attained recognized formal educational qualifications in ICT sector, and have previous professional experience prior to coming to Canada.

 The program offers customized free credit courses to participants through Mohawk College to address technical skills, online training courses from CAPE and ICTC, and extensive job readiness workshops through the YWCA Hamilton.  Just as importantly, these foreign-trained professionals will be networked within their sectors and will participate in workplace opportunities according to their interests and specialization.

If you are internationally educated ICT professional, are legally entitled to work in Canada and have a Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment overall score of 7-8 or higher, this program is for you. For more information, please contact Jupiter Deveau at T: 905.522.9922 ext 142; E:


Learn Web Application Engineering by the co-founder of Reddit

If you haven’t joined an online course already now is your chance! Udacity has listed several new courses coming up mid-April including Web Application Engineering taught by Steve Huffman, the co-founder of Reddit. Udacity currently has two active courses CS101 and CS373 that you can jump into today for free.  It’s not just Udacity but Coursera with many courses running now or will be running shortly, and let’s not forget MITx.

The first of these free online courses were started in October of 2011: AI Class, Machine Learning and Introduction To Databases. They were run by Stanford professors Sebastian Thrun, Andrew Ng, and Jennifer Widom respectively.

Sebastian Thrun, along with several other co-founders, then created their own company called Udacity. Thrun’s methodology is based on the idea of iterative progression: you may get a C in college and be done with it, but with Thrun and Udacity you may get a C, have to try again, and try again until you understand the material and can get an A. Courses are taught by Stanford professors and other passionate guests; mostly using youtube videos and a built-in python interpreter, which leads to an intuitive and fun experience.

At the same time Professor Andrew Ng, along with Professor Daphne Koller  created their own company Coursera.  They are currently offering tons of free online courses taught by professors from Stanford, UofM, and UC Berkeley. Many of the Coursera and Udacity courses overlap.

MITx has launched it’s first course Circuits and Electronics with world re-known professors Anant Argwal , Gerald Sussman (author of SICP, and Scheme programming language), and Piotr Mitros.

There is another MIT endeavor not related to MITx. It is that of Professor Pritchards’ Introductory Physics course running on the MIT RELATE platform which like all others you still have time to register for.

If you’re anything like me you run a tight schedule, so it’s a good thing that most courses will be repeated every ‘term’. The professors improve on every iteration of their classes so you can only expect them to get better, and already the quality is outstanding. Overall it’s a great system and I love the fact there are multiple players from big schools engaging in this method of education. It could lead to something revolutionary if it hasn’t already. If it’s all a bit much I’ve included short descriptions, links, and video where available, for all relevant courses below.

I think everyone should at least dip their toes into one class from Udacity and one from Coursera, you never know where it could lead you or how it could change your context.



For non-programmers learning to program and develop a minimal search engine in python. Taught by Professor David Evans, a great teacher.

How the web works, managing state, security, integration, scalability, more… – Taught by Steve Huffman (co-founder of Reddit, Hipmunk)

Implement a limited javascript interpeter using python while learning lexical analysis, parsing, and more … – Taught by Professor Westley Weimer

Working in python and dealing with probabilities, sensors, path finding, more … – Taught by Professor Sebastian Thrun

Symmetric/Asymmetric encryption, Public-key protocols, Secure computation, more… -Taught by Professor David Evans

Under development:
Theory of Computation, Operating Systems, Computer Networks, Distributed Systems, Computer Security, Algorithms and Data Structures, Software Engineering Practices



Serves as a first course in electrical engineering or electrical engineering and computer science – Taught by Professor Anant Agarwal, Professor Gerald Sussman, Piotr Mitros


Introductory Newtonian Mechanics with some calculus. “We’ll train you to concentrate on planning and understanding the solution rather than focusing on obtaining the answer. ” – Taught by Professor Pritchard



From the game of life to societal models of rioting behavior, modeling will help you become a better thinker – Professor Scott E. Page (University of Michigan)

Model Thinking


From spelling and grammar correction in word processors to machine translation on the web, from email spam detection to automatic question answering, NLP is everywhere – Taught by Professor Dan Jurafsky (Stanford) and Professor Christopher Manning (Stanford)

Natural Language Processing


Learn modeling of conflict among nations, political campaigns, competition among firms, and trading behavior in markets such as the NYSE. – Taught by Professor Matthew O. Jackson (Stanford) and Professor Yoav Shoham (Stanford)

Game Theory


Learn algorithms for using a PGM to reach conclusions about the world from limited and noisy evidence, and for making good decisions under uncertainty and more. – Taught by Professor Daphne Koller (Stanford)

Probabilistic Graphical Models


Learn how two parties who have a shared secret key can communicate securely when a powerful adversary eavesdrops and tampers with traffic and more. – Taught by Professor Dan Boneh (Stanford)



Learn several fundamental principles of algorithm design. You’ll learn the divide-and-conquer design paradigm, with applications to fast sorting, searching, and multiplication. Learn the answers to questions such as: How do data structures like heaps, hash tables, bloom filters, and balanced search trees actually work, anyway? – Taught by Professor Tim Roughgarden (Stanford)

Design and Analysis of Algorithms I


Learn engineering fundamentals for long-lived software using the highly-productive Agile development method for Software as a Service (SaaS) using Ruby on Rails – Taught by Professor Armando Fox (UC Berkeley) and Professor David Patternson (UC Berkeley)

Software as a Service


Learn about remarkable successes of computer vision – capabilities such as face detection, handwritten digit recognition, segmenting out organs or tissues in biological images and more – Taught by Professor Jitendra Malik (UC Berkeley)

Computer Vision

Under development:
CS 101, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Interaction, Making Green Buildings, Information Theory, Anatomy, Computer Security


Snappay: Our New Mobile POS System StartUp!

Originally posted on

Yes, right up front, by using the “our” in this blog post, you should know that I’m involved with a new startup, Snappay that is a mobile POS system built for merchants to use their smartphone to charge a customer/client’s credit card. And I’m very pumped on this venture into the financial payments channel too!

First, the pain? Walk around at any trade show inCanadaand you’ll notice most merchants are selling $100+ items but they’re accepting payment either by cash or the risky and slow hand swipe machine. Those merchants have no choice but to use these payment methods because standard Point of Sale machines are way too expensive for smaller merchants. Snappay’s solution empowers merchants of any size to accept credit card payment easily and securely through the most convenient method possible, the smartphone that they are already carry with them.

Existing Point of Sale machines are way too expensive for smaller merchants and require an extremely painful sign up process. Snappay instantly turns any smartphone or tablet into a fully functional Point of Sale machine without the need for additional hardware and merchants can begin accepting credit card payments immediately after signing up.

Simply put, our vision is to “Provide merchants with the easiest and most secure way to accept payment.”

What are the most important market factors?

KPMG reports that findings from a newly-released Mobile Payments study, that reveals that executives believe the use of a mobile device to make payments or conduct banking transactions will be mainstream in less than four years, disrupting the traditional payment infrastructure, intensifying competition for banks, and opening up opportunities for collaboration and integration.

Mobile payments are preparing to go mainstream. Nearly one in five respondents say that mobile payments are very important today. But the majority — 54 percent — believes that, while mobile payments will be reasonably important in the future, today they are in their infancy. Most companies we surveyed assess that it will take two to four years for mobile payments to move into the mainstream in their primary region of business. And our snappay app is ready to launch as the first-to-market!

Convenience and availability will drive success. Whether assessing the supply or demand side for mobile payments, respondents agreed that these two factors are the key advantages. Respondents recognize that convenience and availability are critical requirements in changing consumer behavior. And nothing is quicker or easier than our snappay app.

Security is the prime impediment. No surprise, certainly, that security is critical where customers’ money is at stake. However, we believe that convenience, availability, and ease of use are fundamental to the success of an activity as basic and widely adopted as payment. Consumers will not adopt new payment solutions if they have to wonder whether they can use the solution each time they encounter a new merchant. Companies participating in the mobile payments ecosystem may overestimate their ability to make mobile payments as convenient, ubiquitous, and easy to use as current solutions. In doing so, they risk failing to deliver on the promise of mobile payments. And our snappay app never stores or even saves your credit card data…so our security is unbreakable!

And whom are we aiming at, target market wise?

Snappay’s mobile POS solution will be rapidly adopted by businesses that typically have yet to accept credit cards, such as musicians, artists, plumbers, and service oriented companies. As well, our targeted non-bricks & mortar retailers are a very large part of trade shows, gift shows, association shows, conferences, seminars, workshops and any of the more than 55,000 trade show associations that exist inNorth America alone.

We understand that there is a massive un-optimized market to help businesses accept credit cards. Of the approximately 30 million businesses in North America, only 9 million currently accept credit cards. Although there is a small cost for businesses to accept credit cards, our merchants see 30%+ spikes in their sales because they now accept plastic.”

With significant releases coming up in the pipeline for 2012, payment simplicity will reach a new level as Snappay’s product teams deliver tablet-based point of sale systems, NFC payments, and business analytics.

Our launch product is going to reinvent the payment industry and how businesses interact financially with one another we feel and that as the first-to-market originator of our specialized POS systems, we will encourage early adoption by these non-bricks & mortar based businesses all acrossNorth America.

As well, our application will enable a user to both use their own POS system, from within their own mobile phone – but as well, they will be able to sell, authorize, refund and even use subscribed payments too!

As no credit card information is ever stored by our application, our snappay mobile POS system is fully PCI compliant and secure!

  • Secure, fast, reliable and easy to use
  • Instant deposits to all merchant accounts
  • Real-time payment processing through our secure gateway
  • Full transaction log
  • Digital signature and email receipts
  • Ability to add tax and tip via user definable settings
  • PCI DSS compliant
  • No Hardware needed
  • Available funds in USD, CDN, GBP & AUD

Here…look at our video to see exactly how quick and easy it is to charge a customer or client’s credit card –

Interested? You just might be…so please visit our website here – – and take a look at what we’re offering….and did I mention the app itself is free! And our rates for handling your payments via PayPal, are the lowest in the financial payments channel too! Should sound good, eh! Hope so!

Upcoming CIPS Golden Horseshoe talks

Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) is a national association of information technologies professionals that offers networking opportunities, certification of IT professionals and accreditation of University and College IT programs.

CIPS Golden Horseshoe (CIPS-GH) holds a monthly series of talks aimed at such IT professionals. The events usually happen on the last Wednesday of every month, and lately have been taking place at Mohawk College. I have been to several of these events and gave a talk myself at a recent event. The events do have a charge for non-CIPS members and prior registration is required. They are of very strong educational value to those in the area who work in IT or those who manage IT, in addition to providing some great networking opportunities.

The events for March and April have been scheduled, check them out below!

When: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 – 6-8pm
Where: Mohawk College – Room E108
Talk: It’s time to virtualize your Business Critical Applications – Barnaby Jeans, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P – Senior Systems Engineer, VMware Canada
Details: As customers continue their journey to a virtualized data center there are often questions around virtualizing applications like Oracle, SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and even SAP. With vSphere’s performance and reliability even large scale production databases run comfortably within a virtual machine and in many cases these business critical applications enjoy even higher levels of availability than running in a physical environment. Join Barnaby for an interactive session that will address common concerns around support and licensing and will provide you with insight into best practices to consider when virtualizing business critical applications.
Presenter: Barnaby brings 15 years of Solution Architect and pre-sales experience spanning Oracle, Red Hat, Microsoft, and VMware. Barnaby’s current role is to support the VMware Canada sales and pre-sales team in helping customers evolve their environments through virtualization and cloud enablement. Barnaby is a certified member of the CIPS Grand Valley Section and a former CIPS national board member.


When: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 – 6-8pm
Where: Mohawk College – Room to be advised
Talk: 2011 Global Risk Study debrief – Product and Portfolio Manager for IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services Canada
Details: Organizations are adapting to an increasingly complex global environment with more holistic approaches to business resilience planning. Traditional business continuity plans (typically with a strong IT focus) are still critical, but they are becoming part of a bigger picture, as senior executives strengthen their oversight of enterprise-wide risk management. To ensure business resilience, companies are moving toward a risk management process that both addresses the myriad types of risk that functions across the organization face, and encompasses all facets of risk management, from its identification through to mitigation. Mr. Yip will review key findings of the study and discuss their impact to Business Resiliency in Canada.
Presenter: Rodney Yip is a Product and Portfolio Manager for IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services Canada. Leveraging over 30 years of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity experience, Mr. Yip brings a pragmatic approach to resolving industry issues. His experience includes plan development and execution, product development and recovery team management. An advocate and proponent of Business Continuity, Mr. Yip has helped bring recovery planning and continuity to the Canadian business consciousness. He has worked with all sectors of business including government, financial services, retail, manufacturing and healthcare. His current projects include Cloud Backups, Cloud Recovery Infrastructure, IT Recovery Services, Work Area Recovery Services and Managed Continuity. Mr. Yip is an advisor to IBM Canada’s Crisis Management team and is a proud supporter of industry groups such as the Disaster Recovery Information Exchange (DRIE) and the World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM).


DemoCampHamilton6 Recap: Game on!

DemoCampHamilton6 took place last Tuesday March 20th in the TwelvEighty Pub at McMaster University. A packed house of over 200 students, developers, entrepreneurs, designers and investors came out for an exciting evening where the local gaming industry took center stage.

Keynote speaker Joel Auge (@joelauge), the CEO and co-founder of HitGrab, discussed techniques for building a great product and a great startup. In addition to discussing the lean startup methodology, Joel focused on the importance of measurement and he encouraged us to “Build. Measure. Learn. Repeat.”. Joel encouraged McMaster students to consider staying in Hamilton, and he expressed an interest in doing future game development himself in the city.

The first demo was by done by Linda Mitton of indieoption (@indieoption), who showed us their networking hub designed for independent filmmakers to find the resources (cast, crew, locations, props, etc.) necessary to develop their project. Snakehead Games (@snakeheadgames), who recently located to James Street North in downtown Hamilton, demoed their latest project, a cool iOS word-based puzzle game. Next up was McMaster student Alex Alywin (@alexalywin) to demo Campus Social, a web service and mobile app that helps student clubs promote events and manage their online presence.

After a short break DemoCampHamilton regular FluidMedia demoed a developer-level R&D tracking service. Rich Halliday of Green Pixel (@GreenPixelDev) demoed BlockHopper (available on the App Store), a 2D platformer where the user has to place blocks on the screen to navigate towards an end goal (the blocks themselves having different behaviours depending on the type). Last up was Steve Veerman (@veerman) who demoed Social Hamilton (tentative name), a web app which aggregates social media information from ‘places’ (businesses, restaurants, schools, etc) across Hamilton and allows a user to quickly find events and updates in the city.