Saskatoon’s Fledgling Tech Community

I have been meaning to post about Saskatoon and the tech sector for some time but Ginger Koolick beat me too it with this great post aptly titled “Tech Community in Saskaboom, SK” .  I have been involved in the tech community in Saskatoon for some time.  I founded Delron in 1989, CompuSmart in 1995, moved on to Point2 in  2000 and now in 2008 am a  founder of VendAsta and MyFrontSteps.
At Point2 over 90% of our customers and almost all of our business development work was done south of the border.   Having traveled extensively on business in the United States, I can tell you first hand that Saskatoon has a lot going for it. Saskatoon is a great place to live. It is a place you can afford (and want) to  raise a family.  Most of us can drive to work in the span of one or two songs. You can’t really even call that a commute. I have been to San Fransisco, New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and the like, and I can tell you that I appreciate the two extra hours a day I can spend with my family rather than strangers on a train or a jammed freeway.
However, the greatest thing Saskatoon has going for it, plain and simple,  is it’s great people.  Intelligent hard working people.   It is true that a lot of young people leave Saskatoon but those that remain are here for a reason. From the perspective of a business owner this is great news. Like the priest in California Dreaming you know they are going to stay.  That said, their personal motivation for staying need not be a ball and chain that prevents them from enjoying the same benefits of those living in the Valley.
What do I mean by that you might ask?   Well, I find it surprising how large a factor physical location plays in business development given how “connected’ the world has become.  When visiting other tech meccas it always amazes me how exciting and symbiotic their ecosystems are. Having a nucleus of companies and people sharing common work, interests and goals makes for  an exciting ecosystem.  The energy from the individual entities is stored by the ecosystem and resonates within; truly making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.  This is just starting to happen in Saskatoon .  We have only just begun to feel and understand the value this ecosystem can bring to all involved.  How fast and far we advance with this idea is up to us. If you are in the the industry don’t be afraid to share and interact with others.  Guys like my Neighbour, Ryan Lejbak a founder and owner of Zu have it got it right – you get by giving. He is making a great start by driving things like the Saskatoon Bar Camp.  If we work together we can build a thriving tech community right here in Saskatoon. 

13 Responses to Saskatoon’s Fledgling Tech Community

  1. Good one! 🙂

    I should clarify and probably edit my own post – though my husband won’t hear of us moving, that’s a feeling I strongly share these days. When we moved to Saskatoon from Calgary, I was more than willing and happy to come back to the province I was raised and educated in. It was the right decision for so many reasons.

    You are so spot on about the workers here being intelligent and hard working. Every day I am grateful, impressed and proud to be in the company of such down to earth, egoless, awesome and inspired people.

    Just to point out BarCamp Saskatoon is driven by Ryan also myself and everyone who attends and participates.

  2. Brendan King says:

    Wow, I am sorry to hear about your Compusmart experience. When I converted Delron to a Compusmart Saskatoon in 1995 we became the third Compusmart in Canada as part of a national chain. We worked hard to make our customers happy. I am always amazed at how many people I meet who remember me and thank me for the service and personal attention I gave them as a customer. Now that said, I sold my stake in and moved on from Compusmart in early 2000. So while I am not trying to deflect from your criticism I guess I would point out that I probably wasn’t there to help you – if I were I would hope I would have made you happy.

  3. Jason says:

    I was on track to setting up a small development office in town for a Chicago based company. If everything had gone as planned, we probably would have opened up sometime this summer hiring 4-6 developers. Sadly mergers and acquisitions change everything, and that dream went with it.

  4. Brendan King says:

    Thanks for the post Jason, sorry to hear that you were not able to proceed. I don’t know how far along you were in your planning, but I would love to talk to you. I am going to be in San Francisco from the 21 to the 26th. If email your contact info from either of the links here at I will reply and setup a time to talk.

  5. […] like what Brendan King wrote on his blog IRT Saskatoon’s Fledgling Tech Community and when you see a group like VendAsta (in the office or by the pool), one realizes it is a pretty […]

  6. Hey Brendan,

    I just read the article in the Star Phoenix. Congrats on the funding!! I am looking forward to watching Vesdasta take off. All the best.

    Take care bud,


  7. […] – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by cfmatre on 2008-12-31 Saskatoon’s Fledgling Tech Community – bookmarked by 2 members […]

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