Advisory Board Spotlight: David Crow
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
In our feature with Social Media Week Global, we mentioned that Toronto has a great startup culture; there are many innovative thinkers in the city looking to change how we live and work digitally. To help us explore this side of Toronto, Entrinsic and Social Media Week invited David Crow to join our Advisory Board. We’re excited to have his startup experiences and communities on board, and look forward to seeing what he thinks Toronto and Canada startups can bring to the table.
David Crow is a creative technologist and a technical marketer whose job is to help companies understand emerging technology, business models, and design practices to better create compelling digital experiences. He is the CMO at Maintenance Assistant focused building maintenance software that technicians will actually use
David has also lead grassroots entrepreneurial community efforts in Toronto, founding StartupNorth and hosting events including DemoCamp and Founders & Funders. Previously, while he was at Microsoft, he advised emerging companies with product-market fit and go-to-market strategies, along with providing access to software, support, and visibility through BizSpark. Prior to joining Microsoft, David led product design, marketing, business development and corporate strategy for start-ups in Toronto, and Austin, TX. He received his Master’s from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo. He blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca; you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/davidcrow and http://twitter.com/startupnorth
How is social media is being shaped by tech startups in Canada?
Steve Blank describes a startup as “an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.”
Canadian tech startups are building amazing set of social media platforms including brand monitoring (Radian6, Sysomos, Lymbix, Hootsuite), content creation (ScribbleLive, Keek), user reviews (Homestars, BuzzBuzzHome), social reputation gaming (Empire Avenue), mobile sharing (Kik, Enflick) and gaming (HitGrab, Big Viking Games, Uken Games, Massive Damage) and others. These are companies that are leveraging the amazing talent available in Canada to build global companies.
What makes Canadian startups different from other countries’ startups? What are we doing differently?
Canadian startups are built in a very conservative financial environment. It requires Canadian startups to focus on finding paying customers and focus on growing revenues from the beginning. For the startups that survive those very early days, it builds very strong and operationally efficient companies that know how to generate revenue and grow. The Federal Government supports Canadian startups through unique tax incentive programs like SR&ED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development). SR&ED provides tax incentives for R&D activities including product development at startups. This program is unique to Canada, it sets us apart from other geographies. For many startups, the SR&ED dollars provide the funding and time to complete product development before they are able to focus on sales and marketing. SR&ED can make all the difference in a startups survival in Canada.
Canadian startups are building a culture of connectedness that helps them collide each other, have random connections, and find people that can help them. We have a emerging set of tools and events like StartupNorth, Sprouter, DemoCamp, GrowConf, Mesh Conference, Startup Festival, CIX and Social Media Week. The events make it easier for startups and founders to have chance collisions with others that have beneficial expertise and experience. It is important that we continue to build a culture that helps one another out, with no expectation of getting anything in return.
What are some of the tech startups in Canada that are innovative in social media? How?
Canadian startups are building great social platforms, social content and infrastructure including:
What is one piece of advice for tech startups attending SMWTO this year?
Events like Social Media Week represent a great opportunity to connect in person. You can start to form relationships with individuals online but we are social creatures and coming together to learn, share and celebrate is key. My advice is try to connect with people online before the event and then seek them out for lunch, a coffee or a Manhattan at one of the events. It’s about getting out there with the chance that you might have a meaningful connection.