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DemoCamp Montreal Rocked


I had the great fortune to be invited to demo at DemoCamp Montreal 2, which happened last night.  It was a great event, and the SAT is a wonderful venue, including an open bar!  Thank you to organizers Austin Hill and Fred Ngo for letting an interloper from down the road in Ottawa present.

Talk-Now was the first presentation.  I gave a seven or eight minute demo, and then answered a bunch of questions on topics ranging from business model to privacy.

Next up was Hugh McGuire, and his project Collectik.  Collectik is a system for finding, sharing and organizing podcasts.  Hugh wanted something akin to Bloglines, or Juice but with podcast specific features, like synch with ipod and play a podcast in a flash player.  So he built it.

It’s neat technology, but perhaps the best part of his talk was his “Lessons learned”.  These boiled down to two things: 1) you can’t fix UI problems by adding functionality, and 2) people won’t necessarily do with it what you designed it for.   

He also talked briefly about business model, and the three that they’ve used with Collectik: 

  1. if you build it, Yahoo will buy it.  That got a good laugh.
  2. Adsense.  Does pay, but not much more than hosting costs.
  3. Turning the engine itself into applications for specific users. ie. Vertical marketing, rather than the horizontal podcast organization play.

Next up was Martin Dufort and Alain Lavoie of Kakiloc.  I’ve written about them before, but it’s always interesting to see how their product and concepts are evolving.  For those who don’t know, Kakiloc is a mobile social networking system.  It lets you maintain your contacts, discover new contacts, and interact with contacts all in a mobile setting.  It’s like LinkedIn married to location. 

The process is pretty simple to get started.  Invite some people, create some “places”, which are descriptions of places on the map, and create some triggers and policies for them.  For instance, notify me when Martin is within 1 km of my current location. 

They’ve built PC, phone, SMS, and IM interfaces, all of which have a slightly different place.  They’ve also added Twitter-like functionality by allowing you to specify “mood messages” in addition to location.  

It’s a cool concept, and it may really start to shine as new phones equipped with GPS hit the market.

One of the niftier ideas of the evening was filmmaker Brett Gaylor’s Open Source Cinema.  Brett’s a documentary filmmaker, making a film about copyright in the digital age, using open source principles.  All the footage is on his site.  You can view it, remix it, contribute new footage, and comment. Everything is available under a Creative Commons license. 

Very cool.  Go check it out if you’re at all interested in videography.

Last demo of the evening was Anad Agarawala’s Bumptop. Developed for Anand’s masters thesis at the University of Toronto, he and his team are now working on turning the concepts into a business.  This demo generated a lot of ooh’s, ah’s and laughs.  Words can’t really do it justice, so here’s the video.

Following the event, Austin Hill had a great party back at his place (thanks for organizing!), where you could bump into the likes of Garage Canada’s Tom Sweeney, and various other Montreal enterpreneurs.  I spent a good chunk of time chatting with Shai Lipkovich about n-Tegrity, a startup building a biometrically enabled personal data manager in a USB form factor.

Other bloggers writing about DemoCamp Montreal: Patrick Lor, Marc-Andre Cournoyer

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