Archive for 'meetups'

Wordcamp Ottawa 2013

Ottawa is having their very first WordCamp. This is a great event on April 27th 2013. Check out their website for further details.


They are planning 3 tracks of presentations,

“Content Creators” with presentations that will help users that create content in WordPress sites.
“Site Creators” with content for those who are more experienced users, but not necessarily designers or developers.
“Code Creators” will include presentations for designers or developers about site set-up, theme design, plugin development, best practices for development, and more.

This is open to anyone interested in WordPress. You do have to register to ensure a spot.

By Natasha D'Souza

Why can’t we make apps as good as fucking weekend hackers?

This past Friday I had the opportunity to see fifteen apps that were developed in 6 hours at HackOTT.

And they were almost all really good.

The rules were that the teams had to be 1-3 people.  They had to use local APIs (Shopify, Tineye, Freshbooks,, Pretzil, to build their apps, and they had to be cool (not sure this is official, but sure seemed like it).

As best as I can tell, the event attracted awesome, talented programmers who wanted to spend their Saturday coding – which is what most of them do for a “day job” – to see what kind of cool things they could create.

And cool things were definitely created!

So what the hell?  How can programmers build such awesome iPhone and web apps in such a short time and yet companies take months and a lot of money (if they ever actually build something) to make mediocre apps?

Here are some examples (just for fun):

1. Reservely (Brad and Jevin):

An application that allows users to select a restaurant nearby and make a reservation.  The system calls the restaurants and lets them accept or decline with a push of a button, or connect with the requestor.  (won first prize)


2. MoodVee (SelectStart Studios):

An app that lets you select from the library based on your “mood” (select a color and they’ll pull back the most popular movies that have that color predominantly on their DVD cover)

3. DateShake (SelectStart Studios):

An app that randomly selects a friend (from twitter), a restaurant (from, and a movie (from by shaking your phone.

If I had more screen shots I would post them here.  But the point is… how awesomely talented are these people and why can’t we use this model to make more awesome stuff?  I think we can.

Oh, and don’t go all “it takes a lot more than a good app to build a business” on me.  Come on.  6 hours and pure awesome.

Congrats to all who participated, and especially the sponsors and coordinators (special cred to who are late to the location-based business directory party but seem to be connecting with the community in an awesome way).

By Scott Annan

HackOTT approaches! Bring out your API love.

On Saturday, February 26, 2011 at Shopify, Canada’s best and brightest API developers and consumers converge to make cool stuff and do awesome.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone threw a hackfest, brought in some great food, fellow hackers/possible future coworkers, hand-picked some great Canadian APIs, and had their developers show up to help you hack on something cool?

Welcome to HackOTT!

The YellowPages, FreshBooks, Shopify, and TinEye developers had a great time in Montreal, and are now coming to Ottawa to help you to build an app in a day. Want to build in a team? We love to see that sort of thing.

If our esteemed panel of judges deems your creation beautiful and useful, you will showered in prizes. (HackMTL giveaways included a MacBook Air, an iPad, a Kindle, a flight in VC Raymond Luk’s personal airplane…)

For more details, check out

See you at the hack! Register here.

PS – Think your company has a kick-ass API or would be up for sponsoring? Give the organizers a shout!

By Edward Ocampo-Gooding

Now open: Mercury Grove, a shelter for aspiring startup entrepreneurs

Mercury Grove Office

As I announced at our launch party last week, we’re opening up the Mercury Grove office to innovative entrepreneurs who are looking for an alternative to the local Bridgehead or Starbucks.  It’s a funky place located downtown Ottawa (in the Glebe) with lots of place to work, a lounge, conference meeting space, a video-recording room (coming soon), and a ping-pong room.

And it’s free (almost).

The idea behind opening up our space is that I think that Ottawa has some of the greatest entrepreneurs, talent, and ideas in the world.  But we don’t spend enough time together collaborating on ideas, discussing technology opportunities, or discussing ways we’re changing the world.  I think the more we can be surrounded by people who are facing similar challenges (trying to get launched, trying to get noticed, and trying to get paid) the more we can feed off each other’s successes and learn from each other’s experiences.

There are plenty of models out there, and I think there’s a lot of legitimacy behind them, but I also think there’s a lot of negatives.

You can go out and get your own office if you have a few employees, and this works well to build the team and concentrate on your world domination.  But it can be expensive if you’re only one or two people.  Co-working spaces are an awesome modern alternative to renting office space, but there are costs involved there too, and often these spaces develop cultures that don’t meet everyone’s needs.  OCRI and a lot of experienced executives in Ottawa have been talking about an Innovation Centre (capital I, capital C) to rival MARS in Toronto as an innovation hub, but for web startups I think this is overkill and the focus with most “incubators”, “accelerators”, and other “-ators” is misplaced on “added value” of the mentors, fax machine, and receptionists and the cost is almost always way to high for what you get (usually equity).  What I want and think others may want as well, is a raw space with an internet connection where we can build a movement to change the world.

Last year I wrote about how startups don’t need offices and was interviewed by the Globe and Mail on the same subject.  I STILL don’t think startups need an office and felt compelled earlier this year to get an office in order to receive government funding.  Otherwise, I still wouldn’t have an office.  Mercury Grove has thrived for the last 6 years as a virtual company and I think the office is unnecessary for us to continue to be successful.

But, alas, I conceded, so now I have an office.  So, I figured if I had to have an office, you don’t have to.

Now I admit, it’s a bit of a social experiment and we’ll make it up as we go, but here’s the general idea:

  1. There is no financial cost to use the space
  2. You have to be open to collaborate and share with other people
  3. You can’t be all douche-baggy (not all the time)
  4. You have to participate in some of the events

So… the next time you’re heading out to Bridgehead or Starbucks but are looking for a little more collaboration and fun with other innovative startups, come on by and plug-in.  Oh, and if you’re looking for somewhere to host an event, send an email to and I’m sure we can hook you up.

Address: 738A Bank St. (map here)
Phone: 613-237-2071

By Scott Annan

StartUp Drinks – Feb. 24

The next StartupDrinks Ottawa is happening on Feb. 24 at 6:30 pm at Patty Boland’s on Clarence street.

If you haven’t been before, StartupDrinks is a casual networking get together for tech entrepreneurs. (or people involved inm or otherwise interested in, startups) that happens simultaneously in multiple cities.

For more details on StartupDrinks, or what’s going on in other cities, visit

But don’t forget to register and be there on the 24th!

By Kelly Rusk

Startup Ottawa Drinks


We’re planning the second Startup Drinks event next Wednesday, September 30th and hope you can join us.

We’ll be meeting at the Cornerstone Grill at 92 Clarence Street (in the Market) at 6pm.  This is an informal meeting where we can get together, talk shop, and meet other local entrepreneurship-ish folks.

Although its called “Startup Drink”, we encourage anyone who is involved with startups to attend.

We’ll be making name tags for everyone, so please signup here if you intend to join us.

There will Startup Drink events in Toronto and Montreal on the same date (and possibly Waterloo) if you are traveling and can’t make it in Ottawa.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

By Scott Annan

Join us for Startup Drinks on Wednesday


We’re planning a Startup Drinks event next Wednesday, August 26th and hope you can join us.

We’ll be meeting at the Metropolitan Brasserie at 700 Sussex (at Rideau, across from Chapters) at 6pm.  There aren’t any presentations or speakers, just a chance to reconnect at the end of summer and meet new people.

Although its called “Startup Drink”, we encourage anyone who is involved with startups to attend.

We’ll be making name tags for everyone, so please signup here if you intend to join us.

If you’re traveling on Wednesday and still want to attend a startup event, you can join the Startup Drink events in Toronto and Montreal.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

By Scott Annan

WordPress Developer Pub Night – July 7th

Jamie Oaslter has come up with an amazing idea:  A WordPress Developers Pub Night!  Jamie is proposing that Tuesday July 7th, 2009 be the first Ottawa WordPress Developers Pub Night.

Location and time are subject to interest from the community. Current theory is a start time of 8pm at Shoeless Joe’s at 3049 Carling Ave which has cheap wing night on Tues and very nice booths.  There are several ways you can make your preference / interest known:

1)  Leave a Blog Comment on Jamies original post.

2)  Follow on Twitter – @wdgo on Twitter and tweet your preference(s). In general, this is probably the best way to stay up-to-date with those who live in Ottawa with an active interest in WordPress until the full / robust website for our community is launched.

3) Or you can email Jamie at: jamie [AT] with your preferences. I’ll send out an email to everyone who emails me by Monday afternoon with the location / time as well as putting up a new post on this site.

Rock on WordPressers!

By Scott Lake

Reminder: Sign up for the Ottawa Geek BBQ

This is a reminder for anyone who wants to go to the Ottawa Geek BBQ this coming weekend to be sure to sign up.  Here is the eventbrite link.  See you there.

By Scott Lake

Calling all education technology people…

Kyle Mackie from University of Guelph got in touch to let me know he is coming to town this week and would like to hook up with anyone who is working in education technology space.  Here is a short description of what he is doing:

I work at the University of Guelph in Teaching Support Services, managing a team that works with course instructors to add technology into their courses.  The UofG is migrating from Blackboard to Desire2Learn as an LMS.  Also doing a fair amount of work with social media, presentation tools, ePortfolios, RSS widgets, accessibility, documentation and training, and other stuff.  I’ll be in the Ottawa from midday Tuesday to midday Thursday and could would like to meet up with other edtech folks a coffee or whatever & chat. 

If you are involved in this space you can get in touch with Kyle here:

kmackie {at} uoguelph {dot} ca


By Scott Lake