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If you’re so afraid of spilling the beans that no one knows you have any …

By Leo Valiquette

During my years as a full-time journo, I crossed paths with many a startup technology venture that claimed to be operating in so-called stealth mode. It was the early 2000s, before the process of getting technology to market was as socially enabled as it is now, and startup CEOs seemed to consider it hip and trendy to apply the S word to their businesses.

Where, I wonder, are many of those startups now?

We wrote many moons ago about the inherent foolishness of trying to build a business by somehow staying under the radar. You can’t define a market need, develop a product to meet that need, secure the funding necessary for operations or build the team that can pull it all off without telling the world who you are and what you are trying to do.

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Great articles roundup: Social measurement, bootstrapping, marketing, social media

By Daylin Mantyka

link2 300x240 Great articles roundup: Lean methodologies, story centred design, real time marketing, value proposition, pitching editorsAs a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are memeburn, ReadWriteWeb, TopRank Blog and Fast Company.

Meaningful social measurement: A lesson from the underpants gnomes

Sam Beckbessinger looks at why measuring follower counts on social media is a meaningless metric that’s quickly falling out of favour. Instead, she proposes four more meaningful metrics that offer greater insight into the community you’ve created around your brand.

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The saddest marketing story I’ve ever heard

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 January 2011. We welcome your feedback.

By Francis Moran

I heard the saddest story the other day.

A few years ago, we worked on the launch of a new personal finance website developed by a veteran personal financial advisor. The site was detailed, secure, incredibly useful and solved a sharp, expensive and disruptive pain that the advisor had been running up against his entire professional life.

Our media launch went well. We got some decent coverage, both in mass media and, more valuably, in the trade media reaching financial advisors. Although the site was designed for individual subscriptions, advisors were identified as its most important channel to market since they were expected to counsel their clients to use it.

We were a little confused when the campaign was not continued past that initial launch, especially since some of the best opportunities we generated for the client were over the long term, including, for example, an agreement to have the site’s creator contribute a regular column to one of the key trade publications in the space. From the other folks working on the launch we heard encouraging news about the possibility that the site would be white-labelled by one of the largest firms of financial advisors on the continent, and other early signs of traction. So we were at a bit of a loss when everything went unexpectedly quiet.

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What an entrepreneur can learn from a literary conference: Part II

By Leo Valiquette

I’ve blogged before about my ambitions to become a fabulously successful novelist and my annual April trek to Toronto to attend the Ad Astra literary conference. Having just returned from the 2013 edition, here are my latest observations that apply as much to entrepreneurs as they do to authors.

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When is it time to say, ‘Our CEO’s got to go?’

By Denzil Doyle

By definition, innovation is all about change, which means that the duties and responsibilities of a high technology CEO are bound to change as the company grows.

While a board of directors must pay close attention to those changes and how well the existing CEO is reacting to them, the board must resist the temptation to terminate the CEO prematurely. This is particularly true if the founding CEO is a technical person. Many directors are of the opinion that it is their responsibility to bring in a more “business-oriented” person at the first sign of trouble.

Unfortunately, business orientation can mean different things to different people, but as a general rule, the following four parameters are important in a CEO’s evaluation:

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Recent Comments

  • 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.

  • How can we foster culture of entrepreneurship? | Waterloo Innovation Summit : [...] Velocity also provides hands-on workshops for anyone at the University to learn about becoming a successful entrepreneur, and awards over $300,000 per year through the Velocity Fund to promising early startups, to help launch their success financially. We keep finding really good problems that are worthy of solving and that we think we’d be good at solving. - Mike Kirkup, Director of Velocity and Student Innovation Waterloo’s Velocity accelerator is 5, and growing fast [...]

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