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BarCamp

I’ve been ridiculously remiss in blogging and tech-activity organization these days. I have no defense other than to say that at this moment, the best contribution I can make to the Montreal tech community is to ensure that Standout Jobs becomes a success; so all of my energies (and more) are going there.

However, compared to just one year ago, the community has come very far indeed. Just take a look at all the tech events that are happening this week in Montreal:

This reminds me of all the activity that goes on in Silicon Valley, where there are events like this every day of the week. This tells me that Montreal is really approaching Silicon Island every day.

Now, the only thing left is for a few of the most promising startups in Montreal to make big splashes, and we’ll be there!

And so, gentlemen, as they say in my native tongue, 加油!

(To keep up with upcoming Tech Events, be sure to check the events list posted on Montreal Tech Watch)

Long time no blog… I’ve been just swamped with standoutjobs.com matters… That’s the startup life I guess!

I’m currently in Toronto, where I attended BarCampToronto4 last Saturday and met some amazing people. In no particular order, they are:

Starting tomorrow I’ll be at the Mesh Conference for a couple of days. If you’re there, be sure to say hi!

Attendees
Attendees
Originally uploaded by Montreal Tech Watch.

Thanks for coming to BarCampMontreal2 everyone! As usual it was a blast. And man, am I tired after such a great day!

So I present, as usual, my after-camp Wrap-Up, which is just links to the reports various folk are kind enough to write up. :)

First things first: BarCampMontreal2 pictures.

Now, the list of reports:

See you guys again soon!

BarCampMontreal Logo
BarCampMontreal2 is almost upon us! It will take place this Saturday, April 28th.

To be very honest, I’ve been intentionally keeping quiet and taking a bit of a back seat for this BarCamp. This is really kind of to force the community to pick up the ball and run with it: Afterall, the *Camp community will go nowhere if I have to constantly push it myself, right? Well, I have to say so far I’m quite impressed! As of 4pm on Thursday there are already 23 scheduled presentations and 53 registered attendees.

I have to thank several BarCampers for stepping up and doing the heavy lifting on BarCampMontreal2, including (but not limited to of course!) Simon Law, Sylvain Carle, and Laura Vizbara.

I would also like to give a big Thank You to the sponsors of this edition of BarCamp. They are:

(If you or your organization would like to sponsor this worthy initiative, we are always looking for sponsors so please get in touch with me at fredngo at gmail!)

The press is picking up this edition of BarCamp as well: Here’s a recent article by La Presse, and our own Sylvain Carle will be interviewed on CIBL radio for the show Citoyen Numérique today.

This looks like it’s going to be another great BarCamp. See you on Saturday and don’t forget to register!

Update: I’ve thrown my hat in the ring for PowerPoint Karaoke, being organized by Martin Dufort. Any other takers? (What is PowerPoint Karaoke?)

Ha ha, guys… Don’t take anything posted on April Fool’s Day too seriously. ;-)

Time now for a real post: a report from BarCampOttawa3.

One Laptop Per Child
One Laptop Per Child
Originally uploaded by fredngo.

I am writing this blog post at BarCampOttawa3. The Ottawa crew have done a great job organizing; and I heard that up to 200 people attended this edition! Great job guys.

Compared to Montreal, I noticed that there is a much bigger cross-section of the technology world represented here. In addition to the usual Web 2.0 enthusiasts, there are also traditional application developers (C++, etc.) as well as microchip designers, RF design engineers, embedded systems designers, and even one guy who has a startup working on internet-connected door locks. All of this makes for a much bigger cross section of possible discussion topics and a much more concrete reason to run multi-tracks. (They are running 4 concurrent tracks at this BarCamp.) Until we start getting this kind of crazy cross-sectional representation, I think our current tack with a “1.5” track BarCampMontreal2 will work very well (1 big presentation room, 1 smaller discussion room).

Another thing that was immediately obvious was a real mix of people and cultures: Indian accents, German accents, Japanese accents… Ah, wonderful multiculturalism… In this current climate of backlash against minorities in la belle province, and as a member of a minority myself, I want to emphasize how much fun it was and very refreshing to be around this kind of atmosphere. We have much to gain from accepting other cultures into our reality.

OK, enough political commentary; let’s get on to my thoughts on the presentations. I had time to write up two of them.

10 (or so) Legal Considerations when Starting a Tech Company

One great presentation I attended was by Mr. Mike Dunleavy (md@lwlaw.com, 613.599.9600 x268) from the law firm of Labarge Weinstein, called 10 (or so) Legal Considerations when Starting a Tech Company.

A couple of things I learned from the presentation:

The lifetime capital gains exemption has recently been raised to $750,000.

You can establish a family trust to save potentially millions in taxes; the idea is to split the shares of your company with family and friends, in order to use their exemption limits. So when your company is sold for $7.5M and you’ve used a family trust to split the shares among 10 friends and family, the entire amount is tax-free. Seems like a huge tax loophole to me, but at the moment it’s a perfectly legal maneuver.

He talked about many other important things including IP Agreements, Shareholder Agreements, and Tax considerations. It was a fascinating presentation and doubly more so because it is a Canadian-based view (previously I had only attended such presentations in the U.S.).

I’d personally love to see this type of legal presentation at BarCampMontreal2, so if you’re a Montreal lawyer specializing in helping Tech Startups, please contact me. It would be wonderful to have you with us.

Ruby on Rails and What It Entails

Tobias Lütke
Tobias Lütke
Originally uploaded by fredngo.

Another presentation I attended, Ruby on Rails and What It Entails, was given by Tobias Lütke, a CoFounder of jadedpixel.com. They are the guys behind the amazing Shopify.

I found it interesting that the first and foremost point he made was that Ruby on Rails developers believe in “Beautiful Code”. The reasoning is that Beautiful Code leads to Happiness. Happiness leads to productivity. Productivity leads to met deadlines. Finally, met deadlines leads to successful products.

I really agree with this; throughout my various incarnations as an engineer and developer I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time hacking on really, really, really, ugly code. As soon as a system becomes a steaming pile of junk, it’s just no longer “fun” to work on, and having fun is really key to productivity.

Tobias claims that happy teams of 4 using RoR outperform normal teams of 40 using outdated technology.

Another interesting thing he said is that it is extremely easy to replace pieces of Ruby on Rails with natively compiled C, so as you observe the loads that are placed on your application you can optimize the most time-critical parts if necessary.

I do really have to investigate Ruby on Rails a lot more.

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