Last Wednesday, the StartupFest official launch party took place during a night where drinks and business cards were flying! The very well organized cocktail on the venue situated in the heart of the Old-Port facilitated many meetings and handshakes between the attendees. Montreal’s mayor Denis Coderre also participated to the event to take many selfies, but also to deliver an inspiring speech on the city’s role in the international business scene.
Durant the next two days, we assisted to many conferences and met passionate entrepreneurs, hungry to create links with others and to spread the word about their companies. So here are our highlights for the 2016 edition of Montreal’s StartupFest!
Thursday morning, the festival started with Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, who talked to us about the future of online communities. He also went on about pseudonymity, the anonymity feeling you get from being acting behind a pseudonym online, which gets people closer and allows them to be their true selves. He says that members of those communities open up more easily and truly connect, contrarily to social media user on Facebook and Instagram, who only show a heavily curated fraction of themselves under filters.
Later on, Ooshma Garg taught us a beautiful lesson of perseverance with the presentation of her business, Gobble. After abandoning a successful project that she wasn’t 100% into, she decided to launch a startup in a market in which she had true passion, food. Ooshma worked hard during 4 years, and on 4 different iterations of Gobble, to finally have a product that had traction and interest from the users. The last version of her project is a meal delivery service that you cook at home in less than 10 minutes using only one pan. For the moment Gobble mainly targets people in the Silicon Valley who have to often eat in a hurry, and they’re experiencing great success.
Another interesting talk was Noah Iliinsky’s about effective ways to represent different types of data to an audience. The most important lesson we got from him: to NEVER use Excel’s 3d options in graphs! Many have tried them to spice up their presentation decks, but most have failed due to unprofessional results, missing data, and overall lack of clarity.
To open up Friday’s lineup, Tim O’reilly who founded O’reilly Media presented to us avout his vison for the future. He talked about artificial intelligence, which scares many people by its future abilities to replace human jobs. To O’reilly, however, we should rather embrace new technologies and use them to augment ourselves into doing greater things, instead of trying to keep the status quo. Notable quote from his talk: “Work on stuff that matters”.
Finally, we assisted to a talk by Kara Swisher, tech industry journalist, about the diversity (or lack thereof) problem in Silicon Valley. According to her, many tech business leaders are simply too privileged and isolated from reality to address true society issues. In that same order of ideas, she thinks that a lot of talents are being wasted, instead profiting to superficial businesses that make life easier for Silicon Valley tech people, rather than the collectivity. To resume her thoughts in one sentence: “Silicon Valley, big minds chasing little ideas.”
After 2 days of talks full of ideas and fascinating experiences, as well as dozens of people from different horizons all reaching for their dreams, we head back to La Gare more motivated than ever for what’s next. Our mission is to disrupt our consumption habits as well as the promotional items’ market with design and sustainable products, will you be part of our adventure?
You’ll find our project #greenseries in collaboration with Quintus Marketing. Also find our products here if you want to make a difference with your business!