Montreal Business Community: Startup Camp and Yulbiz January

Last month, I attended StartupCamp Montreal and Yulbiz, and I’ll be discussing the people from Montreal‘s business community whom I met below. You’ll recall that I spoke at FacebookCamp Montreal. Now, most of you reading this are not in Montreal (though considering the attention my competitors pay this blog, perhaps that’s not quite so) – so why should you care? Well, two reasons.

  1. One, this kind of post is great for networking and building relationships. The people you meet and then blog about may not be aware of it immediately, but next time you see them you can tell them about it. And those you link to who are using WordPress will likely see the link in their Dashboard, assuming Technorati has been pinged recently. (For pointing out the importance of pinging Technorati to me, the hat tip goes to Ann. She is officially my most linked/acknowledged source/trusted friend&advisor now! Great blog too folks, so subscribe if you know what’s good for you!)
  2. Getting to know your local business community is an important habit for any SEO consultant – good, rad or sexy! You can get work subcontracted to you, learn new stuff from competitors (or share some drinks), and of course boost your credibility/personal brand. Oh, and did I mention link building?
  3. The rest applies to you personally in that you can imitate the ideas/style of writing/compliments etc that I share below in your own interaction. And yes, I know this is reason #3; I’m under-promising and over-delivering.

I started out my night chatting with Steve Cristofaro and Etienne Denis of 90 Degres. Steve’s an up-and-coming project manager there with a good head on his shoulders. If I were looking to hire a project manager and he was available, I’d snap this guy up in a minute! He understands what needs to get done and takes care of it, besides going the extra mile for his subcontractors, like getting me my check despite the invoice not being in PDF format (I didn’t know I was supposed to send it that way).

Steve’s also very knowledgeable about computers, and apparently, we’ve had the technology to do wireless communications (think cellphones/wifi) since the 60s! Like a lot of other technology, it was created for the military but they didn’t have the foresight then to jump on the technology and get using it. (And for all those who castigate the ‘military-industrial complex’: turn in your computers. They’re too warlike :P.) Thanks for the history lesson Steve :).

Stephane Waffo is another friendly chap I had the pleasure of chatting with. He’s searching for some business idea to start up in the world of online video. If you can’t read French, his blog is still worth a look for the cool stuff he’s done with the design.

On a related note, at Startup Camp I saw a presentation about Streametrics, which is an analytics offering for online video. I also got to have a great chat with Emmanuel Scotto, who is part of their team. I think the idea for video metrics is great (maybe Google could finally monetize Youtube properly :P!) , but their blog could use more analytics oriented content and less self-promotional type material. Have a look at their post on the event, in any case. (The blog is in both languages; the homepage/main content is still French only.)

Also at StartUp Camp, I spoke to Laurent Maisonnave, who’s running Videopresse with his friend Christian Aubry (whom he met at one of Montreal’s monthly Yulbiz meetups, as I understand it). For those who care about the MSN-Yahoo merger and MSN’s market share of search, consider his warning words about Yahoo’s crummy video-commenting service. (Notably, the screenshot of a SERP title tag reads: “Mainteance”…) Have a look at their video production services for filming tutorials, conferences and home tours (i.e. for you real estate agents). I like the name, I like the design and I like the services – you guys have a fan here, Lauret and Martin :).

You can get in touch with Laurent and Christian by email at: message [[-a t]} videopresse.com. Sorry for the weird formatting; I’m trying to avoid spam scrapers pulling that up.

Other quick names: I talked VC and startup funding with Mark MacLeod, CFO for Mobivox (Free Calling service). They’ve raised $14M and are looking for more. Apparently they’ve got someone doing PPC, but clearly the site’s SEO leaves much to be desired. In any case, that’s the lowest converter (though I wonder how the PPC is being managed, if the site is so lacking in SEO) for them, which is meaningful given their six figure user base.

Right around the same time I got to see my friends Ben Yoskovitz from the entrepreneurial Instigator Blog/Standout Jobs and Marc Chriqui, from I Love To Play, (sports social networking). Check out their sports blog too :).
One of the most fascinating chats I had was with someone from InPowr (whose name is not on their business card, unfortunately – very silly!), who are using social media to help people achieve their personal goals and increase their level of wellbeing. That is a very intelligent move, imho, and I can see the monetization by promoting in in the health/diet vertical.

Still with Startup Camp, I briefly spoke with Greg Adelstein of iGotcha Wifi Media. Amongst other things, they’re giving away Wifi and selling ads that are displayed to the wifi users. For a reason I really can’t fathom, they’re letting some domainer sit on igotcha.com rather than buying it out. The longer you wait, the more expensive it’ll get folks (assuming you believe in your own success)! Then again, 10K from a smaller revenue pie might be less significant than 100K from a larger one, but then the timing gets tricky.

Bringing it all back to Yulbiz, I met Karl-Frédéric Anctil from Ekorce, a Montreal branding studio. The site’s all flash (sigh), but at least they’re honest about what they do and present themselves as a branding (in the sense of logos) and interactive agency, not as SEO consultants (you guys know who you are, and you’re not getting any links from me :P). He and his team are redoing NVI’s logo, and I give him credit for a nice product. Though mine’s obviously much sexier ;). Interestingly, see this post on the history of Web 2.0 logos/branding that Karl posted.

And speaking of my competitors, I was surrounded by NVI’s mercenaries at the last Yulbiz! You might remember that I previously mentioned that Nicolas had joined the enemy’s ranks. Well this past Yulbiz I was surrounded by Nic, Guillaume and Sarah all at once! Not to mention fellow mercenary Jean-Francois trying to bully me into submission so that I’ll join Adviso!

(FYI for my regular readers to get in on the joke: I linked to NVI using the ‘joined the enemy ranks’ as anchor text and triggered a reputation management alert there haha :D. Nic says Sarah was very worried when she saw that in the report, until they tracked down the link. Guess what’ll happen with “NVI’s mercenaries” as anchor text? Hehe ;)…)

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Comments

  1. Wow! It's too much, please stop ;) Thanks a lot Gabriel for your kind words. I hope to see you soon @ Yulbiz, StartupCamp or some geeky 5@7.

    Comment by Zelaurent - February 19, 2008 @ 3:10pm
  2. Hi Gab! I was not worried i found it funny ;) Hope we gonna rank on NVI's mercenaries :P Hope to see you soon :)

    Comment by Sarah - March 19, 2008 @ 4:07pm

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