Welcome to Our House
Why We Love Startup Open House
This coming Thursday, Sept 22, we’ll be once again participating in the Toronto Startup Open House(SOH) event.
We love SOH — it gives us a chance to show off the amazing heritage building we work in and even better, it gives us an excuse to run our popcorn machine and invite our friends from Longslice Brewery to come by for the evening and share in some beverages and a little ping pong.
But as fun as those things are, they’re not the reason we’re participating again this year. Sure, we love an excuse to have some fun and eat some snacks as much as the next startup, but there are lots of reasons to participate in SOH that go beyond tasty grub. For startups and startup visitors alike, here are our top reasons to join in the SOH fun!
Reason 1: Join and Support the Startup Community
Yesterday we saw a tweet asking why so many of the so-called “startups” on the list of participants were included in the event at all, since by any reasonable definition, those businesses were well beyond the startup stage.
It’s a fair question, but here’s the thing: any startup can tell you that growing beyond a certain number of staff or a certain annual revenue amount doesn’t change the DNA of your organization. That hunger, that scrappy, get it done ethos — that doesn’t leave, and it’s what makes a startup a startup.
And the same is true of the people drawn to startups. Whether they’re at the top of their industry or just starting out, there’s an attitude and an ethos that determines whether startup culture appeals to you, excites you and gets you going in the mornings.
We’re incredibly lucky in Toronto to have a mix of startups: from firmly established firms that grew from next-to-nothing to become powerhouse businesses that continue to change the landscapes of their industries, to newbies with small staff teams, limited overhead and ideas that cannot be contained, it’s a healthy, exciting mix of talent, ideas, experience and enthusiasm.
And one of the best parts of SOH relates directly to this: the way smaller, newer startups gain traction and succeed is by having an incredible community of like-minded peers that brings in investment, talent, and mentorship to the city and encourages the kind of success those that have come before have obtained.
Communities support and grow the communities they’re a part of. We’ve grown to where we are now with startup energy pulsing through our veins. We’re thrilled to be part of a growing and thriving community of businesses inspired by the same drive and passion for their work that is the ultimate definition of “startup”, regardless of size.
Reason 2: Meet New People, Exchange New Ideas
One of the things we love most about being part of the startup community — really, the thing that we’ve always loved — is how passionate everyone we meet is about their work. Whether they’re building the next Uber for dog walking or solving ongoing headaches in healthcare, the people we meet that are working at startups are enthusiasts.
But they’re not just some kind of manic workaholics. Far from it, in fact.
The kinds of people we’ve always met through the startup community are enthusiasts about their lives. Passionate about their business, but also super into skateboarding, or gaming, or baking, or one of a million other things.
We believe there’s a reason for this: big ideas, the ones that change industries and are the the core of startups, come from people who invest in their own lives. Because there is no substitute for life experience when it comes to creating just about anything.
Startups are equally skewered and celebrated for their alternative approaches to work-life balance. Things like flexible hours and work from home options, ping pong tables in the office, drink carts and elaborate off-site bonding schemes… it’s an easy differentiator to bandy about in the ongoing startup discourse. But it actually serves a purpose.
When people are allowed to be people, to live full and complicated lives while still maintaining full-time jobs, they become more than the sum of their skills. They bring ideas and experiences to the table that simply wouldn’t be there if they hadn’t had to wait in line for a movie, or seen that work of art in person, or watched the way all the parents at daycare greeted their kids. Ideas are spawned from experiences, and startups are fertile idea breeding grounds.
Because SOH lets us meet and interact with people from all over, with a whole host of new ideas and experiences that we’d never have access to otherwise, it’s one of our (and your) best opportunities to exchange ideas and meet exciting, excitable, interesting, passionate people.
There’s nothing quite like the thrill that comes from meeting someone new and hearing a new perspective on something. It’s the part of SOH we look forward to most every year.
Reason 3: Inside Access
Let’s just go ahead and call a spade a spade: SOH is a *fantastic* opportunity to snoop!
We’re not shy about saying we think our Toronto HQ is amazing. We love it and we know others are struck by it because several times a day some innocent tourist will walk in thinking it’s a museum or a small hotel and we’ll have to politely turn them away saying, “No, sorry, this is a business and you can’t come poke around.”
But that’s not the case during SOH.
During SOH we get to invite people in and show off our workspace and bask in the glow of a beautiful building. And we’re far from the only business with an incredible workspace — SOH let’s you explore dozens of inspiring, interesting, a-typical offices in the city. You’re literally being invited to peek behind the curtain.
We all know that it’s not the building, nice though it may be, that is truly interesting to snoop. What you really get the chance to snoop through is the way the company operates, the culture, the vibe.
When we open our doors on Thursday we’ll be showing off our beautiful heritage building, but we’re more excited to show off our incredible staff and the work we’ve been doing that we’re really proud of. You get ready access to people who can not only tell you about the work and what it’s like, but can give you a sense of the experience of doing the work, too.
Each and every business that participates in SOH will be exposing the seedy underbelly of their values to you when you walk through their doors. You’ll get a feel for the space, meet the staff, see the work. You can’t really beat that kind of backstage-pass access.
Reason 4: It’s Really Fun
Okay, fine, we admit it. We’ve got a lot of noble, worthy reasons that really are the core of why we join. But frankly, it’s a fun event and if that’s the main reason you go out and explore the SOH participants, you could do a lot worse things with your afternoon and evening.
At Myplanet we’ll have our popcorn machine running, snacks out, ping pong and foosball ready and waiting, a photo booth with raffle prizes, and demos of some of our latest work as well as several of our staff on hand to answer questions and give you insight and information about what we do, why we do it, and what it’s like to work here.
Plus, this year our former colleague and good friend Sebastian Lesch of fellow startup Longslice Brewery will be on hand to offer samples of two of Toronto’s finest craft brews, Hopsta La Vista and Loose Lips Lager.
To get a sneak preview of our office and what we’re about, check out this video.
See you Thursday! Startup Open House doors open at 3pm and the event goes til 8pm.