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Ottawa’s Venture Creation Group gets ‘re-energized’

By Francis Moran

I heard some terrific counsel last night from serial startup veteran Mahshad Koohgoli at The Ottawa Network’s inaugural Venture Creation Group event of the season. Koohgoli, who helmed Nimcat Networks from launch through to a successful acquisition by Avaya Networks, was the key presenter at what the VCG hopes will be a re-energized forum for the local start-up community. Or, as gracious host LaBarge Weinstein lawyer James Smith put it:

“Our overall objective is to re-energize the VCG by providing a forum for hard, constructive networking among local entrepreneurs and enterprising service providers – facilitating management team formation, in particular – with a view to similarly re-energizing the nature, volume and impact of technology startups in the region. We welcome anyone interested in the same objective, and would be happy to hear from startup founders who would like to participate.”

The new format, sessions of which will be held at LWLaw’s offices in Kanata every second Wednesday starting at 5pm, aims to bring practical advice to entrepreneurs so they can, as Koohgoli more or less put it, “Learn what to do in your first start-up so you can avoid making the same mistakes in your next start-up.” Incidentally, his next start-up, called Protecode, is very much a consequence of some lessons he said Nimcat struggled to learn.

Not another bloody PR agency blog!

By Francis Moran

Blame it all on Alec Saunders.

By that I mean, Saunders is in good part responsible for our inflicting on the world yet another PR agency blog.

Over the past year or so, I’ve had several engaged conversations with Saunders, a tech company veteran and compulsive blogger, about the role this no-longer-new social marketing tool can play in a public relations company’s activities. There are two clear sides to that role.

The first, which I will address at greater length in a future post, is the role blogs play in reaching and influencing our clients’ target markets. On that score, I have never needed any convincing, and here at inmedia, we have included the right bloggers in our pitches for as long as there have been bloggers. But, as I said, more on this later.

The second role, around which I have long been much more skeptical, is whether a blog can be an effective outreach tool for a public relations agency or, indeed, for any company. Here, my skepticism lies not so much in the nature of blogs themselves as in the same sort of critical analysis I bring to the consideration of whether any communications tool is appropriate in a given situation.

Saunders thought me a non-believer. Not so. My thinking could well be summed up in the phrase, “A blog if necessary, but not necessarily a blog.”

By which I mean that, just as with any other communications tool, a successful company blog must be as effective as possible and must deliver a competitive ROI. Let me expand briefly.

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