did a good job with the rant I've shared along with +April Dunford +William Mougayar +Chris Arsenault +Mark Evans
and others weighing in. I think this whole banding together problem is simply one of a lack of structure, metrics, and commitment. Here's what I would suggest/do.
1. Form Canadian StartUp Association. Call it the CSA because it will attract a bunch of folks from southern american states thinking this is another Confederate States of America association. Great for clicks on ads and bulking up search results.
2. You can buy your way in ($1000 bucks a year) or earn your way in (articles, mentoring hours, etc, per year).
3. Your start up commits to the rule of 10 per month. 10 hours of marketing help, 10 hours of development help, 10 gigs of space on a server some place, etc, etc. Per month. The math on this gets extraordinary if you get 1000 members. That reservoir of help goes towards helping each other and helping that guy in the cubicle get that cool thing off the ground.
4. Private bitch board. Some place private where we have a solid place to vent, complain, name names, and help each other with issues, problems, suggestions, etc. Founders only. No exceptions, you gotta know somebody. Sound familiar?
5. Team cross feeds. My marketing uber dude is +Tyler Lessard
and when you combine him with +April Dunford
, that's just chunky goodness. By moving this beyond one founder hanging with another and getting our teams to work together on non-competitive stuff, helping each other polish a slide or message, we get a monster talent working on companies to kick some ass. Special note: Chunky goodness was a superlative used by the Campbell Soup company so, no wise guys, I did not call Tyler and/or April fat.
6. Interns Interns Interns. See my numbers above. Get a 1000 start ups to cough up some cash, just a little I know it's tight, presto, you can get some part timers to run this thing as well as getting experience with marketing, project management, etc, etc. The point is make this somewhat professional and stop treating this 'problem' with semi-annual rants (good rants) and we gotta do something. Do it.
7. Sponsor we'll use. KPMG sponsors StartupNorth so, ah, how many people out there use KPMG? Yes, you in the back, thank you. So let's think out of the box a bit. Get a hotel in central toronto to 'sponsor' CSA as the official Hotel. We get a discount rate for all members, plus we promise them to hold a few events, etc. There is a Druxy's next to my office. Ryan and his sister run it. Make em the official catering place and then use em. Let's pick an official watering hole, an official breakfast location where VCs can ask for yet another forecast they aren't going to use. You get my point. See the interns above. We get them to fan out and find some sponsors we'll use. Note: KPMG is an amazing supporter of all things entrepreneurial in Canada. My point is to make sure they, like others, truly can get something out of it, which then gets happy sponsors of everything we need to do.
8. Support stuff. There were 13 comments on this rant from Jevon but only 3 'likes' and 6 +1s. Really? That's bad math.
Running a business is very very hard and sucks up lots of time. Trying to do the zillion things you have to do to get something off the ground is even harder and more time consuming. My passionate belief is that if we collectively carve off a portion of that time and collectively work together, that investment will pay back zillions. You will get the critical mass, the talent, the advantages, the edge, you (we) all seek.
Rock on, Jevon