Is your founder a Rob Ford?

By Jeff Campbell leadership-370x229

The behaviours and acts of Rob Ford that are being amplified by media outlets around the world are comical at times, misguided for certain, illegal and problematic. But are they really problematic in terms of the job he is to perform or simply so opposite to the behaviours we expect of a leader that we immediately deem them problematic? Don’t get me wrong — Rob Ford is definitely behaving inappropriately. If, as Ford maintains, he continues to perform his job and is producing better results than his peers and predecessors, should we attempt to distance the personal behaviours from his role and track record as a leader?

What I wish to focus on here is not the sordid and incomprehensible behaviours of the mayor of a truly world-class, and Canada’s largest city, Toronto. Rather, I wish to shine the light on start-up leaders who behave badly.

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Great articles roundup: Misfit and millennial entrepreneurs, marketing teams and content marketing

By Daylin Mantyka link

It’s Friday — which means that it’s time for the great articles weekly roundup. This week. we selected worthy content from Fast Company, Under 30 CEO and Marketing Tech Blog.

First, an article that dives into the definition and value of a misfit entrepreneur, followed by a post on how to  achieve success through innovation. Next, we selected a slideshow that outlines how to create the optimal marketing organization. Closing the roundup for this week is some real-world advice on developing a unique content marketing strategy in a dev shop.

A brief manifesto for misfit entrepreneurs

Sunmin Kim defines a misfit entrepreneur as a person who has shifted from her or his formal training, such as engineering, to explore other industries by means of developing a business. In this post, Sunmin explores whether or not career pivots offer an edge on the competition or act as a hindrance to progress.

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‘They didn’t do any marketing. They just went to SXSW’

By Francis MoranBell Curve

I’d be a semi-rich man if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone point to one of the spectacularly successful companies that have exploded onto the marketplace over the last few years and say, “They didn’t do any marketing. They just …” and then fill in the blank with some seemingly trivial thing, like “They just went to South by Southwest,” or “They just did social media.”

I heard it again just last week when I guest lectured to a University of Ottawa MBA class, with Twitter and Facebook held up as the examples of companies that “didn’t do any marketing.” As I told the students, Twitter and Facebook are no more examples of predictable startup success than buying a lottery ticket is an example of sensible retirement planning. I drew a bell curve in the air and said that if that bell curve described the distribution of success for a given collection of technology startups, then Twitter and Facebook — and here I moved several meters to the right and stretched my right arm out — are way over here. They’re not even outliers; they’re in a completely different orbit.

And still the mythology persists. I can understand it. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are all wildly successful companies, and who wouldn’t want to emulate them. The truth is, though, that most who do, fail. We hear about the (very) odd one that succeeds but, by definition, we hear nothing about the failures, of which there are countless.

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The facts behind unhappy unpaid inventors

By David J Frenchsigning a document

A recent story published by the Ottawa Citizen on Nov. 7 tells of an individual named as an inventor on a patent for foaming alcohol hand rub who feels he has not received just treatment at the hands of his employer:

Engineer sues company he says pressured him to give up his rights to foaming hand sanitizer,” by Robert Bostelaar.

“Francisco Munoz, a chemical engineer who came to Canada from Mexico, is suing former employer Deb Brands, alleging the company unfairly pressured him to surrender his patent rights to foaming hand sanitizer.”

The story is essentially that of an employee who was asked to sign a piece of paper transferring to his employer rights in an invention for which he was a co-inventor. He signed as requested. Apparently, his employment was terminated shortly thereafter and six years later, with the invention having proved to be a substantial success, he is claiming that he has been taken advantage of and seeks compensation. But it’s more complicated than that.

Normally, in the absence of a written agreement, regular employees who make inventions own the rights to those inventions. They owe nothing to their employer unless, as a special case, they have been hired to invent. Engineers who are working in order to achieve a specific goal would normally fall into this latter category. The duty of such an employee hired-to-invent includes signing written confirmations of the employer’s ownership of any patent rights that he may generate.

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Entrepreneurship: It isn’t really about the money

By Leo Valiquetteentrepreneur

It’s Entrepreneurship Week.

There are events aplenty to recognize, celebrate and wax philosophical on what it means to be an entrepreneur, what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and how entrepreneurs should be supported, encouraged and nurtured.

As Francis blogged last week, Startup Canada is making its voice heard on the subject this week with Startup Canada Day on the Hill. I also invite you to read the related op/ed I wrote on behalf of Startup Canada.

On Monday, I had the honour of visiting the folks at the University of Ottawa about their various endeavours to support student entrepreneurship, as well as groom a new generation of intrapreneurs.

All of which makes me think about what is an entrepreneur, or perhaps a better way of putting it is to consider what motivates a true entrepreneur. Why do they choose to endure the long hours, the high risk and the dodgy chance of reward? It would appear to be, from a purely rational standpoint, some form of obsessive madness.

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