February Update

February Update

The first weeks of 2018 started with a bang! Lots of new faces joining us for coworking, an action-packed DemoCamp with creative projects from the recent HackED student hackathon, and our first session of Preflight is already complete. 

My recommendations this month: 

  • Check out what Amir and Brea have to say about our Preflight program & apply for our next session starting on March 1st.
    • Preflight is an annual membership that comes with ongoing mentorship opportunities outside of learning sessions. 
  • Sign up for a Business Model 101 session. Steph is offering a special weekend edition on March 3rd for those of you with packed evenings!
  • Apply for DemoCamp! Our most enduring community event is turning 40, and we're on the hunt for great projects & products to share.  

Member Update | Gfycat Uses Artificial Intelligence to Fight Deepfakes Porn

Member Update | Gfycat Uses Artificial Intelligence to Fight Deepfakes Porn

We do a lot of student tours of our space and one thing we can count on like clockwork is the astonished reaction from students when they find out Gfycat is an Edmonton-founded company that has deep roots in the community. Gfycat lets you create, discover and share awesome GIFs, amazing moments and funny reactions. If you see a GIF on Reddit, it's most likely powered by Gfycat. 

This week, WIRED covered the strides our friends are making to identify a form of AI technology called deepfakes. Deepfakes are videos that use AI to paste a celebrity face onto someone else's body in a video with uncanny accuracy. When it comes to celebrity or revenge porn, according to SARAH RENSE in Esquire it's legal quicksand. "Legally, there is little protection against deepfakes because the body doing the act isn't the celebrity's own. These videos aren't made from illegally stolen nudes, and as Wired wrote, "You can’t sue someone for exposing the intimate details of your life when it’s not your life they’re exposing." You can even drag the First Amendment into it, defending deepfakes as art, satire, and "free speech" because they weren't technically created illegally." 
 

Image: Wired, February 14, 2018. Photo Credit: HOTLITTLEPOTAT

Member Update: Full Circle Visuals | I want to be a virtual-reality content producer … what will my salary be?

Member Update: Full Circle Visuals | I want to be a virtual-reality content producer … what will my salary be?

Full Circle Visuals, Preflight member company and Launch Party alumni, were recently featured in  The Globe and Mail as experts in the field of virtual-reality content production. Ryan and Sam bring together a mix of journalistic excellence (think back to the Edmonton Journal's ground-breaking 360-degree dodgeball tournament coverage) and technical know-how to bridge the gap between storytelling and immersive experiences. 

Why Meetups, Socials and Ski Trips Matter

Why Meetups, Socials and Ski Trips Matter

In just a few weeks, a busload of members (from students to founders) will take off for a weekend of skiing at Kicking Horse. Lauren, our resident ski expert and Community Manager, does a tonne of work in her free time coordinating all of the extra details that make a trip like this special. 

You might be asking yourself "how on earth does a ski weekend in the mountains remotely support tech entrepreneurship and innovation?" Fair point, it might seem that some of the extras seem unnecessary - the coffee sessions, socials, Summer BBQs, t-shirts for toddlers or onesies for new babies, Christmas parties and pizza (so much pizza). These activities are vital for our startup community to thrive and grow. It's so much more than just bringing people together for networking. 

HackED 2018 + Awesome Student Projects at DemoCamp #39

HackED 2018 + Awesome Student Projects at DemoCamp #39

Last night at DemoCamp #39 some of the student teams that participated in HackED2018, hosted by the Computer Engineering Club at the University of Alberta, join us to show off their projects. This edition of the hackathon was bitter-sweet for us. So many students, from across programs and schools, are participating that the event outgrew our home at the Mercer Warehouse. Over the past five years, we loved hosting students as they stretched their imagination, built projects on the fly, and taught themselves a dizzying amount of new skills - just because they could. 

Member Profile: Jolene Poulin

Member Profile: Jolene Poulin

Last week, I had the chance to chat with Jolene Poulin one of our student members. I'm excited for her to share a little bit more about her studies. Jo was in our 2017 Summer Student Program that includes our Preflight program. In this program, we deep-dive into topics like customer validation, minimum viable product and how to tell your story to customers & investors. 

Jo really jumped into the startup community and takes advantage of opportunities to connect with members and startup teams at all kinds of events, not ones just for students. It's great having her at our Member Coffee, Speaker Series, and Hack Days to show other students the ropes and welcome even more new faces into the fold. 

Recommended Listening: Learn To Unlearn - Masters of Scale

Recommended Listening: Learn To Unlearn - Masters of Scale

There is something about a podcast that brings the experience of an entrepreneur to life in a way an article, book or even video lacks. Hearing their voice full of the tone and expression brings focus to crucial moments and lessons in short bursts. 

Masters of Scale, from LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman, sets out to describe and prove theories that explain how great entrepreneurs take their companies from zero to a gazillion in ingenious fashion. It's my favourite podcast, and Episode 15 is one of the best! 

Risk-Takers and Money Makers: Edmonton Entrepreneurs

Risk-Takers and Money Makers: Edmonton Entrepreneurs

This Thursday, we'll chat with CBC Edmonton's Mark Connolly at a special edition of his Mark About Town... at night series for "Risk-takers and Money-Makers: Edmonton Entrepreneurs."In partnership with the Leder School of Business at the King's University, a great panel of local entrepreneurs (including two Startup Edmonton alumni companies) will share their lessons learned while building businesses in Edmonton. 

    January Update: A full year of programs, Student DevCon on the horizon, and lots of recommended readings

    January Update: A full year of programs, Student DevCon on the horizon, and lots of recommended readings

    2018 is already off to a great start with lots of full meeting rooms, brand new members joining the space, and all of our Foundational Programs are open to registration! 

    The first few weeks back in the office are always full of plan making for the year ahead. We're so excited to help support even more tech founders, students, and startup community members in 2018. 

    Be sure to make a note on your calendar to join us for DemoCamp 39 on January 31st. Seeing folks demo their working products is the best inspiration to get started on your projects. Once you're inspired, Shay is leading more sessions of our Preflight program than ever before to guide you through the ups & downs of founding a tech company. 

    So, how do we start being braver when it comes to ideas?

    So, how do we start being braver when it comes to ideas?

    "What's the biggest lesson 2017 taught you?" Steph, our Program Manager, asked as we started our planning for the year. 

    Without hesitation, the biggest lesson  from a year full of highs and lows is that our members, companies, students, and team need to be more creative, ambitious, even reckless in the types of problems they're tackling and the scale of solutions they're building. 

    2017 was full of travel and conversations with my colleagues across the country and around the world. The most significant takeaway from my experiences last year in cities like San Franciso, Waterloo, and New York is that early-stage teams are unapologetic when it came to how daring and unexpected their products are.