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Does your business suffer from multiple personalities?

By Leo Valiquette

There’s a fitness club in my neck of the woods that broke away from its corporate mothership and rebranded itself with a new name a couple of years ago. I shake my head every time I visit the place and still see the mothership’s name on the company vehicles and on the guest wi-fi account.

It’s all the more painful because it’s a former client I worked with to develop new brand messaging and promotional copy.

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Making the business case, face to face

This is the 10th article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Screach, a startup based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England’s North East. Screach is an interactive digital media platform that allows users to create real-time, two-way interactive experiences between a smart device (through the Screach app) and any content, on any screen or just within the mobile device itself. We invite your feedback.

By Leo Valiquette and John Hill

They say the world is more connected than it’s ever been. You can push software to a global audience with the tap of a key, and serve customers worldwide from a desk in your living room.

Of course, the trade-off is that it’s loud out there. You’re immediately competing with the world, and you’ve got to be disciplined, dedicated or clever to be heard. So how do you go about building a market in a new country when you haven’t got millions of dollars to throw at it?

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Startup Weekend coming to Ottawa

By Francis Moran

Ottawa is about to finally get its own edition of Startup Weekend, a global phenomenon that has seen more than 45,000 technical and business people come together in more than 200 separate events around the world to spend a full weekend building new businesses. The intensive 54-hour company-building competition will take place in the nation’s capital April 27 to 29 at Shopify’s headquarters at 126 York Street in the Byward Market.

Although The Ottawa Network had a similar event a couple of years ago, this will be the first time the city has welcomed the official Startup Weekend, an initiative of the Kauffman Foundation, the large American NGO that promotes entrepreneurship. The event kicks off on Friday evening with rapid-fire pitches from participants who would like their ideas to be the focus of company-building teams over the weekend. All participants vote on which ideas will be workshopped, and teams form organically around each idea. The teams work feverishly all weekend, breaking occasionally for presentations, sleep and coffee, and present their ideas late on Sunday afternoon. A panel of judges selects the winning team.

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‘My PR agency can’t write’

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from October, 2008. We welcome your feedback.

By Francis Moran

“I’ve just come to expect that my (public relations) agency can’t write,” was the astonishing admission I heard a few weeks back from a vice president at one of Ottawa’s larger technology companies who called us to see if we’d be interested in participating in an agency review process.

(I’ve promised not to name him (or her) for reasons that will be obvious as you read the rest of this post.)

I could hardly believe my ears. But yes, he said, it had long been his experience that the PR practitioners he had been dealing with from a range of different agencies and across a number of companies just weren’t very good writers, and so it fell to him to write most of the materials used in his campaigns. One of the key reasons he was approaching inmedia, he told me, was our very strong reputation in the marketplace as superb writers, a reputation he said was confirmed when he read our blog and web site.

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Making lemonade: Four big ideas

This is the next contribution to this blog by Associate Andrew Penny, an Ottawa-based business development and market strategist for B2B companies, and president of Kingsford Consulting Ltd. Andrew’s post is part of our continuing series about the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market. We welcome your comments.

By Andrew Penny

Global warming, Greek debt crisis, Chinese labour issues, U.S. unemployment, Royal visits… life is tough and running a business with all this change and uncertainty is even tougher … or is it? I say when life gives you lemons, open a lemonade stand!

I regularly ask our clients from a wide variety of sectors how their businesses are going. With few exceptions, it appears to be business as usual. (One of our strategic marketing plan clients, selling software to the retail industry, is having one of their strongest months ever. Another has received an unsolicited acquisition offer – a good one!) Look around you, people are still putting gas in their cars (despite the cost), they are buying groceries, going to school, buying houses, making holiday plans, building bridges, sewers and railways and so on – all things that keep the economy working.

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Recent Comments

  • James LaPalme : Francis Would not say thrived - but close - in spite of geography. 15ish years ago - a group of similar skilled and experience and capable business folks (sales, channel, alliance, business development) all lived in Canada (Ottawa-Toronto-Waterloo). All except for one stayed - that would be me. Well the guys that went to Silicon Valley have thrived well beyond expectations. The others - Boston, Dallas and EU have done very well - thrived. My survival has been predominately based on CEO's from outside Ontario seeing my value. Best to move on to more receptive fertile ground if ambitious. A successful strategy is to move south do a few years and remove the pure northern business experience then come back - which my experience is very few will.

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

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