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  • StartCanada: Web Design / Development + Social Media Marketing

StartCanada Blog

The StartCanada Blog provides insights about some of the work that we’re doing; including web design / development, design thinking, social media marketing, small business information, trends, tips, ideas and inspiration for start-ups, professionals, non-profits and small businesses.

Design Matters

  • Companies with good design outperform others by 219%
  • Design is a competitive advantage. It can capture consumer desire. It can speed up production. It can reduce cost. It can fatten margins. And the companies that grasp these realities are more likely to win in the marketplace
  • But exactly how valuable is design? The Design Value Index tracks a portfolio of publicly traded U.S. companies that excel at design, including Apple, Disney, Nike and IBM. Over a 10-year period, this basket of 14 companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 219%

Source: Canadian Business, April 2016
Photo: Ceiling of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto by Angelo Narciso

Innovation Is...

Source: Jeanne M. Liedtka, Design Thinking, University of Virginia

Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in the Automotive Industry

Aaron Lewis, a design intern at Uber, ended an article he wrote with... "Owning a car will one day be like owning a horse - fun for the wealthy, but financially foolish for everyone else." It makes sense to me. However, the road towards that idea continues to inspire a lot of design ideas and opportunities. Here is FastCompany's Most Innovative list for the Automotive Sector in 2016:

  1. Hyundai - For augmenting autos with gesture-controlled heads-up displays
  2. Ford - For embracing e-bikes and ride sharing
  3. Tesla Motors - For adding autopilot features overnight and making your car come to you
  4. Quanergy - For developing software that makes driverless cars cheaper for the rest of us
  5. Sober Steering - For breathing a better breathalyzer into being
  6. Local Motors - For 3D printing a car we can actually drive
  7. Harman - For giving each passenger a "sound zone," paving the way for peaceful road trips
  8. Hudway - For creating the only app that keep's drivers' eyes on the road
  9. Getaround - For turning car owners into car loaners
  10. Evenflo - For building a car seat that alerts parents if a baby gets too hot or her seat belt unbuckles

Source/s: FastCompany Magazine, March 2016
Photo: Charging the Tesla Model S at Tesla, Robson Street, Vancouver by Angelo Narciso

So You Want To Move To Canada?

Lots of people are thinking about it these days. Here's an excerpt from the So You Want To Move To Canada article of Lloyd Alter that provides insights worth knowing...

Canada has been welcoming Americans for a long time, although the country loses more to its bigger, richer neighbour than it gains from it. Canada was popular during prohibition, and again during the Vietnam War, when thousands of Americans came along with writers, architects, educators and others who added so much to the richness and economic vitality of the country. No doubt the welcome mat will be put out again.

There is a buzz out there that some Americans are thinking that it might be a time to consider moving to Canada; Even starchitect Frank Gehry is thinking of returning after 70 years away. Many American news sources have taken note of a website“Cape Breton if Trump Wins,” which is full of useful information. But most Canadians would say Cape Breton? Really?

Right now the country is a mix of good and bad news; economically it's not so hot, with its addiction to oil and commodity revenues. That’s caused the loonie (what Canadians call their dollar) to drop like a rock; this is hard on Canadians but just wonderful for Americans who find their dollar goes way farther up here. If you have a telecommuting job that you can do in Canada while getting paid in U.S. dollars, you have scored.

It's an excellent read. Love the old postcards, too. Go for it. Read the complete article.

Source: Mother Nature Network
Photo: Angelo Narciso, Canadian Pacific Railway, Banff National Park, Alberta

10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2016

The MIT Technology Review picks 10 emerging technologies that have a chance of solving big problems and opening up new opportunities. The 10 technologies that you need to know about are as follows:

  1. Immune Engineering: Genetically engineered immune cells are saving the lives of cancer patients. That may be just the start.
  2. Precise Gene Editing in Plants: CRISPR offers an easy, exact way to alter genes to create traits such as disease resistance and drought tolerance.
  3. Conversational Interfaces: Powerful speech technology from China’s leading Internet company makes it much easier to use a smartphone.
  4. Reusable Rockets: Rockets typically are destroyed on their maiden voyage. But now they can make an upright landing and be refueled for another trip, setting the stage for a new era in spaceflight.
  5. Robots That Teach Each Other: What if robots could figure out more things on their own and share that knowledge among themselves?
  6. DNA App Store: An online store for information about your genes will make it cheap and easy to learn more about your health risks and predispositions.
  7. SolarCity’s Gigafactory: A $750 million solar facility in Buffalo will produce a gigawatt of high-efficiency solar panels per year and make the technology far more attractive to homeowners.
  8. Slack: A service built for the era of mobile phones and short text messages is changing the workplace.
  9. Tesla Autopilot: The electric-vehicle maker sent its cars a software update that suddenly made autonomous driving a reality.
  10. Power from the Air: Internet devices powered by Wi-Fi and other telecommunications signals will make small computers and sensors more pervasive.

Source: MIT Technology Review
Photo: Angelo Narciso, Presto Lumo at the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Logo Design/Development: The Making of Rio 2016

Witness the design and development process undertaken by the team behind the logo for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Source/s: Vimeo

2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends

Top 3 Most Important Communication Channels

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Email

Top 3 Social Media Sites

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Source: Philanthropy News Digest

Group Rewards Work Better

Bonuses are more effective when awarded to teams instead of individuals, according to new joint findings by the Universities of Leicester, Sydney and Western, Sydney.

The researchers found that group rewards generate more co-operative, better-performing teams and individuals, than individual-based rewards.

Importantly, the best and worst performers both did better work in a group bonus system. Poor performers, who would typically be at risk of being fired under individual reward systems, were found to be "essential to the effective functioning of the group," according to the researchers, who refer to them as 'self-sacrificers.' Why? They're the ones who put aside their own work to help colleagues in need. If they get sacked, the whole group falls apart.

Source/s: Canadian Business, February 2016
Photo: Angelo Narciso, Santa Claus Parade, Toronto.

Design Thinking Meets Start-ups / Entrepreneurship

"Design thinking is an approach to problem solving that encourages these qualities as teams combine right-brain creative thinking with left-brain analytical thinking."
- - - Jeanne Liedtka, University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

Google for Entrepreneurs, moderated by Kaili Emmrich, features three business and product design leaders to expound on how design thinking can be a vital tool for start-ups and entrepreneurs. They are:

  • Eric Ries (The Lean Startup)
  • Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO)
  • Jake Knapp (Google Venture Design Partner)

Why Founding a Startup After 40 is Better

Excerpts from interviews with: John Berthels of Cocoon, Grant Robinson of Atomic, Dean Elwood of Voxygen, Elizabeth Shassere of Textocracy, Scott Nelson of BigControls and Steven Rahseparian of Secured Universe.

Has your age affected your life as a startup founder?

  • I’m still in the same general industry but now I’m productizing my knowledge from over the past 20 years.
  • It’s a much bigger risk now than if I was in my 20s. I’m not couch-surfing and I can’t go back to live with my parents if I fail. You have no choice – you have to make it.
  • At 21, I didn’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body. That’s something that developed over time as I gained experience of my craft... I hate to think what 21-year-old me would have done in these situations, it would have been a trainwreck.
  • I’m better able to get on with people, and more life experience means I can better see the ‘bigger picture.’
  • One of the oddest things i’ve found is that because I’m older and have had a leadership role and worked for many years, people assume I don’t need any help, so they don’t tend to take my pleas for assistance very seriously. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they just aren’t sure how to help.
  • The hard part is walking away from a steady job. I’ve got three kids. It’s only been possible to become an entrepreneur with deep support from my partner.

What would you say to someone thinking of moving from a steady job into entrepreneurship?

  • You have to be comfortable with risk.
  • ... It’s the fastest way to learn and grow as a professional. I wish I had done it sooner, and after you make the jump you almost certainly will too.
  • Just get out there and do it. People want to help. I’ve not met anyone who didn’t in some way want to help and support me.
  • You have to be all in, with your family along with you.
  • Longterm happiness is important. With a strong relationship you can put your collective happiness on the line because you’re in it together. You have permission to fail – you can take that step into the unknown because someone is there to pick you up if you fail, with the understanding that you’ll do the same for them.
  • Do it. Whether you succeed or fail it’ll be the best thing you ever did.

Source/s: The Next Web
Photo: Angelo Narciso, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer Is Dead

  • Starting today, Microsoft will stop supporting Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9 and 10 on most operating systems
  • Microsoft has been distancing itself from the Internet Explorer brand since March, when it launched the Microsoft Edge browser, but it isn’t quite dead. Edge runs only on Windows 10.
  • Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
  • Microsoft will not create new security patches for the older versions, leaving anyone who doesn’t upgrade vulnerable to new hacks or attacks.

Source/s: Wired, Microsoft

Some Words from Successful Entrepreneurs


Happy New Year !!!

Photo: Angelo Narciso, New Year's Eve Fireworks, Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, Alberta

Merry Christmas !!!

Wishing you a Christmas filled with meaningful fun and cheer! Merry Christmas!

Photo: Angelo Narciso, Santa Claus Parade, Toronto, Ontario

Canada Regains Green Glow

Four years ago, Canada became the first country to withdraw from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that set global targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions... A lot has changed since then... "Canada is back," said Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna.

Source/s: Los Angeles Times
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Wind Turbines, Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada

Pray for Paris

Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Eiffel Tower, Paris

Canada's Best Places for Business 2015

The Top 10 Overall

  1. Milton, Ontario
  2. Calgary, Alberta
  3. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  4. Burlington, Ontario
  5. Whitby, Ontario
  6. Strathcona County, Alberta
  7. Oakville, Ontario
  8. Ajax, Ontario
  9. Brampton, Ontario
  10. Grand Prairie, Alberta

Most Lucrative Markets

  1. Milton, Ontario
  2. Strathcona County, Alberta
  3. Calgary, Alberta

Most Affordable Cities

  1. Montreal, Quebec
  2. Moncton, Alberta
  3. London, Ontario

Most Business Friendly Cities

  1. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  2. Delta, British Columbia
  3. Victoria, British Columbia

Source/s: Canadian Business Magazine, November 2015
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Big Impact of Small Business in Alberta

  • Small businesses account for 95% of all businesses in Alberta and more than 33% of private sector employment
  • Small businesses in Alberta had the second fastest growth in the period 2003-2013
  • 36.3% of small businesses are based in Calgary
  • 29.2% of small businesses are in Edmonton/Capital Region

Source/s: Alberta Venture Magazine, November 2015

Build Something. Then Advertise.

  • The most successful brands earn the right to speak before they even run their first ad.
  • Before anybody is going to believe a word you say, you have to earn the right to say it.
  • Great brands like Google, Starbucks and Lululemon didn't do much advertising on their way up. They stood for something and behaved accordingly.
  • What they did was focus on their sense of purpose and on doing things - sometimes with theatrical flourish - that would manifest it.

Source: Bruce Philp, Canadian Business Magazine, November 2015
Photo: Angelo Narciso

25 Best Brands in Canada

... Ranked by the only metric that matters - the respect of average Canadians.

  1. MEC
  2. Cirque du Soleil
  3. WestJet
  4. Tim Hortons
  5. Roots
  6. Shoppers Drug Mart
  7. Videotron
  8. BRP
  9. Loblaws
  10. Canada Goose
  11. Gildan Activewear
  12. Home Hardware
  13. Canadian Tire
  14. Lululemon Athletica
  15. Saputo
  16. Metro
  17. TD Bank
  18. RONA
  19. McCain Foods
  20. Jean Coutu
  21. Telus
  22. Sun Life Financial
  23. RBC
  24. Molson Coors
  25. IMAX

MEC CEO David Labistour on the company's logo / company rebrand: "... the more complicated the logo was, the less power it had. The simpler and more utilitarian your logo is, the more it shows up on the screen of a mobile phone."

Source: Canadian Business Magazine, October 2015
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Canoe on Lake Louise

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StartCanada Business Development Corporation

Big dreams. Start here.

StartCanada is a Canadian company that designs, develops and manages elegant and effective websites for start-ups, professionals, non-profits and small businesses. StartCanada also provides social media marketing services for its clients.

Angelo Narciso leads StartCanada and is involved with business development, the design thinking process of web design / development, website management and social media marketing.