Sneak Preview of our New “Caves and Commons” Office Space

October 2, 2008

So we just moved into our new office this week.  lots of offices, lots of common space and lots of designated scrum space.  Huge paint on white boards.  Fun people. What more could you ask for?   I have a much longer and comprehensive post coming on office space, but for now check out some of the photos here.

 


VendAsta Raises 3M for MyFrontSteps

August 9, 2008
Last week we closed our first round of VC financing for MyFrontSteps and I have been too busy to blog!  The release hit the press Thursday and we were very fortunate to have it picked up by many publishers.
 
Here is an example on the the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch .  Inman news did their own version of the release here
Our local news paper the Star Phoenix also ran a story on VendAsta.  I have also done interviews for CBC radio and the Dow Jones Venture Wire.  No links for those yet.  
 
Thanks very much to the many people that helped along the way, you know who you are. 

Getting to Graphing Social Patterns East

June 9, 2008

Finally made it to GSP (Graphing Social Patterns) East in Washington. Jeff and I were supposed to arrive Sunday night. The hot weather sparked a thunderstorm in Toronto so we couldn’t land and had to to on to Ottawa. The Ottawa airport was overwhelmed with incoming flights so they couldn’t take us off the plane, Instead they parked us (in a plane parking lot as Jeff described it). We sat there for a couple of hours, refueled and got back to TO in time for, well in time for nothing actually. When we got off the plane nobody said anything to us, it was as if nothing had happened. It was about 10 PM and an Air Canada employee at the gate told us that they “shut down customer service because it got too busy with the cancellations and rerouting.” Wow. He must have noticed the tired angry incredulous look on my face because, with a sigh, he handed me a tiny white slip of paper. A coupon for a hotel, or a meal or credit or something maybe? No a small piece of paper with two phone numbers. One to rebook my flight and one for area hotels. It seems there is/was no way to rebook your ticket at the airport. You need to call an 800 number and wait on hold for over 15 minutes (at least they warn you) and then talk to someone. Air Canada had already booked me on a new flight but it didn’t get into Ronald Regan until 10 am and the conference started at 8 am today. I finally changed our flights to get into Dulles at 7:45am. Okay, but Dulles is a 29 miles from the conference and Ronald Regan is 5 miles. I did it, but Air Canada, if your listening, it sucks. Oh and the hotel that Air Canada gets you at a discount – when you get there they don’t want to let you stay for the $75 quoted, but for $145 – no problem at all.

We got to sleep at 1:30 Toronto time and had to get up at 4 am to get the shuttle to the airport. We waited in the Air Canada line and finally got to the front only to have the attendant inform us that our flight was operated by United. “Go down to isle J”. Long line at isle J. Why couldn’t the person on the phone last night tell me that we needed to go the United gate. Air Canada, I don’t know if you listening. but this sucks.

So now we have a very short time to get through customs and security. Customs goes smoothly but we we get to security the guy says to me, and I kid you not, “I have been waiting for you”. We get some kind of rub down search that you might pay money for in other circumstances. But we made it to our plane, Washington and the conference.

It’s 102 degrees here so I spent the lunch break at the small pool here at the Regency Hyatt. Another Canadian, well a Newfie so almost Canadian (joking) , showed up. Nice guy working on cool stuff.

Back to the conference!


News from the News People

June 5, 2008

Some interesting news from the news people at Inman.  Jessica is moving on and Joel and Glenn are moving up.  All of us at VendAsta are going to miss Jessica.We have gotten to know and appreciate her over the years.  Jessica we wish you well in your new adventure. I hope we still have the pleasure of crossing paths. 

 

Congrats to Joel and Glenn.   Joel certainly has a a keen insight into the future of real estate marketing.  He is especially apt at identifying and dissecting the latest and greatest.  Joel you will make a great VP Content. 

 

I have had the pleasure of being interviewed and meeting Glenn over the course of the years.  He is a super nice guy with a mild demeanor, but don’t let that fool you.  Glenn does his homework and has a way of capturing the essence of the story and getting all the facts.  Glenn you will make a great managing editor.


Piclens is Super Cool and Super Smart Too

June 4, 2008

Looks like I am not the only one that likesPiclens (see my Trulia Snapshot review ).  YouTube’s head of monetization Shashi Seth has left YouTube-owner Google to become the chief revenue officer at Cooliris to head up monetization of Piclens.  I think it is super smart on the part of Cooliris and Kleiner Perkensto start thinking about monetization early on in the game. Look for this same strategy from a really super cool bunch of guys from the North. :)


New Inman Site Strategy Explained

April 24, 2008
I have always been a fan of free and providing value . Done right this doesn’t mean you  can’t make money (maybe you can even make more).   I really like the idea of transforming a paid subscription (web 1.0) into a paid social network (very web 2.0).   I like what Joel and his team have done with the Inman News site.  Joel talks about the obviously well thought out  strategy and execution here.  Congrats guys!
 
Joel, nice tips on reputation tracking btw.  We have some free value of our own coming soon at Vendasta.  :)

Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

March 11, 2008
We are heavy users of Google Docs and other free services. but the fact is we don’t use them because they are free – we use them because they are the best choice for us.  I have always believed that “Free”, in the right context, makes sense. Chris Anderson, author of the Long Tail and editor of Wired thinks so too.  Check out his latest cover story on Wired.” Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business
                         
You may not agree with all his statements but ultimately the ideas he espouses are dead on.  There are some particularly insightful statements such as “Technology is giving companies greater flexibility in how broadly they can define their markets, allowing them more freedom to give away products or services to one set of customers while selling to another set.”   
                         
Any provider of an online service should take note.  I know we will. 

Freedom Potential

January 30, 2008
Starting a new company is both challenging and rewarding but most of all it is refreshing. Imagine, for a second, that you could walk away from whatever it is you are doing for a living.  Really walk away.  Not just take a holiday, but walk away for good from all the day to day triviality.  Walk away from the phone calls to return, the full inbox, reporting requirements, and the ever present pressure of management responsibilities.    
             
Just imagine what you could imagine. :)  Essentially this is exactly what I, along with 7 of the smartest guys I have had the great fortune to cross paths with have done.  It is amazing at what a great group of people, instilled with persistence and determination can conceive and create when given the environment, opportunity and time.      
                  
Just a few short months ago the 8 of us were bogged down with daily responsibilities and duties. Dreams and visions seemed hard to achieve. Product development felt like it was mired in molasses.  The list of bugs, maintenance and improvement tasks counted in the thousands.  This doesn’t just happen in individual companies. It seems it can affect entire industries as one of the really smart guys, Michael Wurzer points out in this blog post.
                      
But, for now at least, we are free to huddle up here in far away Saskatoon Saskatchewan free from the melee of meetings, inboxes and telephone calls. We are free to hire the brightest minds and build the greatest software. We will make the most of this refreshing opportunity, and we will try, for as long as we can to stave off the weight of daily duties and responsibilities. Ironically, success itself will  take its toll on our new found freedom and ensure a return to duties and responsibilities of daily life.  But with a little luck, and a ton of persistence, determination and effort we will create a company that sustains and encourages this creative culture no matter our size or success.

The New Foosball Tables Arrived Today!

January 30, 2008

Two brand new T2000 Stainless Steel Tornado Foosball tables arrived yesterday.  I want to put down a challenge right here and now.  If anyone comes and visits us and beats us on these tables we will pay for you’re flights and hotel.   Russ Caper, if your reading this practice up!  Russ was my foos partner at the GooglePlex party at Inman New York. You can see the tables in action here.


What are we up to?

January 25, 2008

I was going to put up a little video of Guy and Jeff installing our new refrigerator but then something much more interesting came along. Robbie Burns day!  My roots are Irish and Scottish so Robbie Burns day is a great reason to celebrate (that and its Friday!).

Its a lot of fun working in this environment – always something happening!  Check this out!  But before you do you might want to check out this not so subtle clue as to some of what we are up to!


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