Montreal Needs More Money

We havent’ had a good one of those in a while, a long thread of comments and back and forth between blogs. Julien started it with Montréal… Needs… Brains… then Hugh, Robin and Evan joined in.

I actually agree with something Julien said in the comments which is that we don’t get much visibility internationally (whether that’s important is something else). I think he’s wrong in placing the blame for that on local discussions being too limited, on people not collaborating enough, but it’s true that we don’t have much of a profile. Librivox got there, Île Sans Fil and Wifidog got there, Poly9 (Québec city though) got some. In podcasts and blogs Casey and Rudy have a good profile but (to my knowledge) it’s rarely mentioned where they are from and Mocoloco is very well known but, again, mostly “orphaned” in the coverage and neither is a “team building something” as much as my first examples, they are random successful self publishers, not example of collaboration or showcases of local technical knowhow.

I’m sure I’m missing a couple but compare that to Vancouver and we’re wayyy smaller on the web 2.0 visibility bandwagon (I can hear Boris and Karl cringing on that one :-p ). I should think about this for real instead of spewing a post in one go but if I had to point at a reason I’d go more for the “missing Flickr” than for communication.

I think when Flickr was bought they raised awareness and energy in that region and since then there’s been just enough of a rise in VC money to help a few more startups get noticed. Neither here nor there is anywhere near San Francisco but there’s a whole list of differences for that one. I think Austin (and friends) is trying to correct the situation on the Angel / VC front and we will hopefully have a lightning rod “à la Flickr” sometime in 2007.


Casey McKinnon January 28, 2007

Actually, it’s pretty well-known that we’re from Montreal… when I did Kitkast ( I often referred to it as the “San Fernando Valley of Canada”, and even now almost every article written about us mentions we’re from Montreal. The problem, perhaps, is that Montrealers don’t read Rolling Stone magazine, BBC News and the Hollywood Reporter. The first time Montrealers seemed to hear of us was when the Montreal Gazette finally took an interest in us!

julien January 28, 2007

Yeah, and even then, the Montreal Gazette brought how many people to your website? Yeah, me too.

cfd January 29, 2007

You are forgetting some good players like Taleo (Quebec City) or some that don’t even seek local visibility like OZ Communications ( I think that there’s many more that we don’t see, nor hear about. But yes, somebody should be telling everybody that they are from this part of the continent!

Patrick January 29, 2007

@Casey: Oups, my bad. Cool.

@cfd: Never heard of OZ, good example. As for Taleo, they’re pretty old, still a valid example but doesn’t necessarily reflect the current “ecosystem”‘s workings.

@Julien: I’m wondering what you’d expect to be better though. In your case for example, loads of local blogs have written about you and you’ve been in old media. What happens elsewhere that’s different? (Although in the case of this post I’m thinking more actual company projects / webapps than blogs or podcasts)

Sylvain Carle January 29, 2007

My short take on the subject is a bit more sociological : generation gap.

I have a gut feeling that there is a much stronger discontinuity between generation here than elsewhere, brought by several historical/local patterns : profound change in demography, the “french entrepreneur complex” (old stuff from several generations ago) and the language barrier (but towards ourselves).

I think that these factors can provoke diversity, slower but stronger growth and a better preparation for international/global perspective and markets.

What I found real hard a few years ago with my first real startup (Messagia, where I was CTO, bought by Got Marketing) was that the “founders cocktails” organized by our VC firm to “network” with other CXO was completely out of my league, in a weird “you’re too young and not wearing a suit” kind of way. And maybe more because of my own perspective than from others.

So my answer to this discussion is to make it happen. Small steps. More face to face time with local and international entrepreneurs. More places to meet. More “cocktails” where I think I might be out of place but still, find the people that I can relate with.

And yes, money. Work to get the money-flow from the previous generations of entrepreneurs to this one. Should take a few years, then it will be time to start working with the following generation!

hugh January 29, 2007

Hey, we all forgot to mention Craig Silverman, whose has gotten tons of coverage all over, see:

julien January 29, 2007

very true. craig is a great example of someone who’s quietly doing his thing below the radar very effectively, and getting lots of visibility through it.

and patrick, i’m not like “oh i don’t get enough visibillity through old media”— in fact, i think we all recognize the limitations of old media be able to send traffic and subscribers and even general interest to our blogs. it won’t work, especially when the english dailies here are only read by old people.

hugh says i need to get out of here and see what it’s like elsewhere. i think i believe him! i don’t really want to be like toronto, don’t get me wrong. but sometimes i do wish people were a little more a-type.

Robin January 29, 2007

And Freddy, one of the Bande-Passante roommate, was covered by Boing Boing last week for his comic book adaptation of 1984

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