Plus, pivoting from the pandemic

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Together with Ian Wong

September 21, 2020

Special guest: Ian Wong (Co-founder and CTO of Opendoor)

Beyond the business bio: On Ian’s desk, there’s a custom bobblehead of him wearing the jersey of his beloved (but defunct) Vancouver Grizzlies.

Opendoor in 10 words or fewer: Online platform to buy and sell your home.

Fast facts about Opendoor: Founded in 2013. Operating in 21 cities across the United States. Preparing for an IPO valued at $4.8 billion USD.

As a bored grad student in statistics, Ian started answering questions on Quora. An invitation to a Quora user party led to a conversation with the COO of Square, which led to Ian’s transition from academia into the startup ecosystem. …


Plus, building an inclusive company

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What today’s startup founders can learn from tech leaders

August 24, 2020

Special guest: Michelle Zatlyn (Co-founder and COO of Cloudflare)

Beyond the business bio: Michelle grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Cloudflare in 10 words or fewer: A network that increases the security and performance of websites.

Fast facts about Cloudflare: Founded in 2009. More than 1500 employees. Raised more than $1.3 billion USD.

Michelle and her co-founders arrived in Silicon Valley without money, a track record, or connections. …


Plus, telling stories with UX

Innovation as a competitive advantage

July 27, 2020

Special guest: Jim McKelvey (Co-founder of Square and Founder of Invisibly)

Beyond the business bio: Jim is an accomplished glassblowing artist.

Square in 10 words or fewer: Point of sale devices and financial platforms.

Fast facts about Square: Founded in 2009. More than 64 million businesses use Square technology. Revenue (2019) of $4.7 billion USD.

At Jim’s glassblowing studio, he lost a sale because he couldn’t accept a customer’s credit card. …


TechTO Travel: Retrench, refocus or pivot? — May 4, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on the global economy, and no industry has been impacted as significantly as travel. Companies are dealing with revenue losses in the billions and employees are experiencing layoffs and instability.

Between government restrictions and consumer fears, demand for travel has plummeted, forcing companies to evaluate their best strategy for survival: retrench, refocus, or pivot?

Many travel companies are facing — pardon the pun — a limited runway. What role will tech innovation play in helping travel-related industries chart a new course for success?

On May 4, hundreds of people involved or interested in travel gathered online to discuss the urgent issues affecting the tourism, hospitality, and transportation sectors. …


TechTO Retail: Adapting to sudden shifts in consumer demand — April 20, 2020

During the last thirty days, have you purchased ANYTHING other than groceries (and toilet paper…)?

The “stay-at-home” situation has completely disrupted normal patterns of consumer behaviour and corporate strategy. Few companies are experiencing business as usual — some retailers are overwhelmed with sudden demand, while others are facing historic challenges.

Can tech innovation help retailers survive the storm?

On April 20, hundreds of founders, innovators, and entrepreneurs gathered online to not only share strategies for navigating the present situation, but also brainstorm ideas for reimagining the future of retail industries.

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Stylish glasses from Alex Norman, Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal, and Jason Goldlist

An all-star team of retail leaders contributed their insights and…


TechTO Together — April 6, 2020

Over the past three weeks, TechTO has hosted more than 20 online events! We continue to learn new ways to support the tech community, and we love the challenge of improving the opportunities to meet, learn, and grow together — online. Thanks for joining this adventure and sharing your feedback.

Although we miss the hoverboards and pizza of our in-person events, we have discovered some unexpected joys with our online format:

  1. Without the restriction of a maximum venue capacity, we can bring together larger numbers of people for a shared experience.
  2. Thanks to the magic of technology, we can connect audiences with awesome speakers from various locations. On April 6, we heard insights from Jeff Booth in Vancouver and Ryan Hoover in LA, along with Andrew Macdonald and Mike Silagadze in Toronto. …


TechTO Together — March 23, 2020

Six years ago, we founded TechTO to bring together tech founders, leaders, and innovators. The original goals were aspirational and bold: gather the community to build a world-class ecosystem that emphasized the spirit of winning together.

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As a community, we have celebrated achievements, developed relationships, and explored ideas. And now — during these unprecedented times — we will continue to work together, supporting our companies, teams, and ecosystem.

Physical restrictions separate our community, but TechTO is committed to providing continued experiences to meet, learn, and grow together.

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On Monday, March 23 we hosted TechTO Together — a free online event to gather our community during this challenging environment. Over the course of the evening, 4000 people tuned in to hear perspectives from an all-star series of leaders and innovators. Plus, the event captured the interactive flair of TechTO events, with opportunities to meet new people, ask questions, and more. …


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The future belongs to quantum computing — a revolutionary field that offers limitless potential for theoretical research and practical applications. With a rising profile as a hub for technological innovation, Canada is well positioned to play a leading role in the development of quantum-related industries.

In this post, TechTO highlights the companies, research centres, and people that are contributing to Canada’s quantum landscape.

Pioneers in the quantum field reach new milestones every day. As such, TechTO plans to update this quantum overview on September 1, 2020. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, recommendations or ideas for collaborations.

For a quick background on quantum computing, check out this post.


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Photo: Graham Carlow/IBM

Quick background on Quantum Theory

Quantum theory is the branch of science that studies nature on the smallest scale. The field spans the physical observation of atomic and subatomic particles (like electrons and photons), as well as the philosophical implications of theories that imagine the possibility of parallel universes.

Early quantum pioneers include Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger — responsible for the famous paradox about a cat that could be alive and dead at the same time. American Richard Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions toward developing an understanding of quantum mechanics, despite his quip that “nobody understands quantum mechanics.”

In 1981, Feynman coined the term “quantum computers,” challenging the next generation of scientists to pursue practical applications of quantum theory. Scientist Peter Shor captured the science world’s attention in 1994, by demonstrating how quantum computers could easily factor large numbers — possibly thwarting the dominant systems for data security. In 2007, Canada’s D-Wave announced plans for the first-ever commercially viable quantum computer. …


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Alyssa will present again at the Best of TechTO on February 24 at City Hall. Together, we will be celebrating the amazing accomplishments of the Toronto technology community. Join her and other leaders from Uber, Drop, Proof, and Vena Solutions: http://bit.ly/alyssa-best-of-techto

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How does psychological health relate to marketing? Alyssa Atkins, former VP of Marketing at CareGuide shared how she used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to blow past $5 million ARR.

Most of us are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

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Alyssa adapted it to create a hierarchy of marketing and this is what she used at CareGuide to approach…

About

TechTO

Meet. Learn. Grow. TechTO supports Canada’s thriving technology community. www.techto.org

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