Category: Uncategorized


I came across this profile of Anker in my bookmarks. Really great profile from The Verge. I remember purchasing my first Anker battery years go and thinking – get out of the way other accessory companies! I am an Anker fan now. Love Anker! Great story too!

Steven Yang quit his job at Google in the summer of 2011 to build the products he felt the world needed: a line of reasonably priced accessories that would be better than the ones you could buy from Apple and other big-name brands. These accessories — batteries, cables, chargers — would solve our most persistent gadget problem by letting us stay powered on at all times. There were just a few problems: Yang knew nothing about starting a company, building consumer electronics, or selling products.
[Read on]

Women can do anything!

But you wouldn’t know it by the looks of things in the technology, software and startup scene. Last night as I was catching up on some reading, got a tweet from David Crow about a new accelerator in Montreal Founder Fuel: I thought that’s bloody awesome. I wish there were so many accelerators a decade ago when I entered the software industry. Boy that would have been super helpful. And then I checked out their mentor list and BOOM! what the heck: an all male line up? in 2011? In Canada? In one of the most welcoming industries in the world (software) and from friends and colleagues I know. Oh no Founder Fuel you did not!

This is getting very tiring. And needs fixing.

And then I browsed my way to the Grow Conference in Vancouver as I am planning a hacking event in Vancouver in August and to my surprise again: an all male line up for a start up, venture capital and growth conference in the tech space. Really? In 2011? Grow Conference: I love you. I attended your conference last year. But this: you need to fix. Now.

I am a do-er. I am going to give you a solution that I can point to because you are too lazy to do some work. And I am tired of pointing this out every time.

Yes, finding women you can include in your panels, mentorship programs, speakers line ups requires work. I am going to help you help my industry: I will be bringing you a We are Toronto Tech website very soon. NY is doing an awesome job at that with We are NY Tech and a spotlight in women in the industry as well. Take that Toronto. And we will be turning Toronto and Canada upside down to find you the women you need to include in your conferences and programs. In the meantime: you lot are connected to the world, get on your email and do some work please.

I don’t want to hear a peep coming from you unless you are calling me to talk to me about the changes you have implemented. Now go.

Monday reading

  • What’s in your orange juice? Perhaps not the childhood oranges that you were once so fond of! What isn’t straightforward about orange juice? HAMILTON: It’s a heavily processed product. It’s heavily engineered as well. In the process of pasteurizing, juice is heated and stripped of oxygen, a process called deaeration, so it doesn’t oxidize. Then it’s put in huge storage tanks where it can be kept for upwards of a year. It gets stripped of flavor-providing chemicals, which are volatile. When it’s ready for packaging, companies such as Tropicana hire flavor companies such as Firmenich to engineer flavor packs to make it taste fresh. People think not-from-concentrate is a fresher product, but it also sits in storage for quite a long time…

Photograph By Greg Ma.

Cough syrup makes a fine breakfast!

Yes I am still sick. This is sad. I should really go see a doctor as this insane cough is not going away; but again, why put an end to a great thing: silver lining of being sick? I lost 5 pounds! Catching up on my reading this morning so here are some sweet links. Enjoy.

A great Salon article by David Brin: Is the web evolving us?

Some of today’s most vaunted tech philosophers are embroiled in a ferocious argument. On one side are those who think the Internet will liberate humanity, in a virtuous cycle of e-volving creativity that may culminate in new and higher forms of citizenship. Meanwhile, their diametrically gloomy critics see a kind of devolution taking hold, as millions are sucked into spirals of distraction, shallowness and homogeneity, gradually surrendering what little claim we had to the term “civilization”.

Call it cyber-transcendentalists versus techno-grouches.

Via Evolving Excellence: A $170 million public company that manufactures high end hydraulic manifolds and values, profitable since it was started in 1970, six plants around the world employing roughly a thousand people. What’s unusual about that?  How about this:

  • There is no organization chart
  • There are no job titles or job descriptions
  • No performance criteria
  • No bonuses and no perks
  • No regularly scheduled meetings
  • No approval levels for capital or expense spending
  • No goals
  • No offices or high-walled cubicles
  • If the peers accept the idea, then “management” is presumed to accept it – hence the need for very little management
  • Every employee is simply expected to figure out where they fit

Kevin Meyer recounts his visit to American Apparel:

No fancy lobby with glitzy lighting and display cases, no plush waiting rooms.  An open entrance with a guard and a sign-in sheet.  For a $500 million company with over 5,000 employees.

But here’s my final and perhaps most important lesson: do what works.  It’s that simple.  Tools, even lean tools, are just tools.  Leadership requires people.

Madeleines = Happiness

There are madeleines in the Idéeplex but by the time you read this they will all be gone. The madeleines were wonderfully baked by Martin! How awesome is that? Madeleines were my childhood snack and starting the day with a madeleine (or two) and a cup of strong coffee will ensure total happiness.

One for you… One for me!

"[…] there’s a huge gulf between a head of state shaking your hand and a minister making a bank transfer."

Really? No! Who would have thought? Certainly not the one laptop per child folks!

After two-and-a-half years of relentless organizing, product development, and evangelizing, the so-called $100 laptop is ready to go into production in October. At a time like this, you’d think that übertechnology visionary Nicholas Negroponte and his team at the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization would be stockpiling champagne for a blowout celebration. Far from it.

While the notebook computer for schoolchildren in underdeveloped nations is just about ready for prime time, the goal of distributing tens of millions of the cute green-and-white machines still seems a far-off dream. The reasons: The computers, now called XO Laptops, will cost about $188 each to produce initially, nearly twice the original estimate; and, so far, not a single government has written a check.