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For the last time, they won’t come just because you’ve built it

This is the 11th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

“Companies that can’t clearly articulate their customer and market are not real serious companies, they are research projects … Engineering and marketing need to work together from the get go.”

We began this series a couple of months ago with this timeless quote from Band of Angels’ Ronald Weissman. It strikes to the heart of what all of us here take as gospel.

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Words of wisdom: What can you learn from a thunder lizard?

This is the eighth article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

“A startup is ultimately … not just about whether an idea or a product works, it is about whether or not you can create a business around it. Whether or not the ecosystem will support it, the customers will buy it, if the channels will support it, and if the manufacturers will actually create it. And because of that, we need to be able to test all these different facets of our business model, and do so quickly.”

This comes from someone Forbes calls “the most powerful woman in startups,” Ann Miura-Ko, co-founding partner with FLOODGATE. In October, she gave a lecture at Stanford University titled “Funding Thunder Lizard Entrepreneurs,” which is filled with so much insight we were tempted to just transcribe the whole damned thing and offer it up as a blog post of its own. However, her talk is available as a conveniently indexed webcast.

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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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