♦Can we recognize the land as a precious common good it is? We would then treat housing as a human right, not a commodity. People that live in a particular geography will have control over its use and stewardship. Public land will not be sold for profit-making. We can start saving the common good. Saving lives. Hear the wisdom of the people directly impacted by the homelessness, housing precarity and displacement. They speak of the inherent capacity of lived experience to guide strategies and policies. Actually, they tell us why it is necessary for low income residents to be at the heart of the solutions we will be creating as a community. The hope is that in the next year or two, you will have a chance to talk to many of them about their vision of social and affordable housing in Waterloo Region.
Both in the culinary world and here in Waterloo Region, Detroit-style pizza is relatively little known. But, holy smokes, is it ever good.
One of few Detroit practitioners in the region is Graffiti Market in Kitchener’s Catalyst137 complex on Glasgow Street at Belmont Avenue.
With unique interactive tables that are a story unto themselves, there’s a lot going on at Graffiti Market – the unique pizza included.
The primary cook behind the development and preparation of the thick pie is Brian McCourt, culinary director of the Ignite Restaurant Group, the company which owns Graffiti Market.
McCourt visited historic Buddy’s Pizza in Detroit and returned needing to make this style of pizza at Graffiti.
“We knew we wanted to do something different in the region, and the Detroit visit was a game-changer. The caramelized cheese crust, the light crispy and airy dough. It blew my mind,” McCourt says.
Like many foods, there’s a myth here: for Detroit pizza, it is that in the post-WWII years, cooks put together deep and meaty pizzas and baked them in rectangular pans with two- or three-inch sides that had been used in the automotive industry.
The certain truth is that the deep dish pans help create an essential element of the pizza’s quality: a thick, caramelized crust, about an inch deep, that is at once crisp and chewy. It’s truly delicious.
Detroit-style dough, in its Graffiti iteration, is high in moisture. “It’s 75 percent hydration, like focaccia,” McCourt says. By comparison, a standard white bread has a flour to water ratio at about 60 percent.
After fermenting for several hours, the dough is spread out in the deep pans – but only after the pans have been coated generously with butter and olive oil. “That means flavour and caramelization,” says McCourt.
There are seven pizzas on the current menu: from the simplicity of a Margherita (buffalo Mozzarella and basil) to the ten-ingredient laden Southern Hospitality (which, improbably, includes braised collard greens and coffee porter).
With a good dosing of cheese and San Marzano tomatoes (the sauce goes on top), the pie is cooked in a special Italian-made oven with bottom heat only.
Prices start at $20 for a small. But hold on: it’s an immense amount of food; the Can I Kick It (part of the menu’s Hip Hop thematics) pizza is four large slices that weigh 26 ounces – that’s over a pound and a half of food.
It includes fennel sausage made by Kitchener’s ForeQuarter Butcher Shop, a few hot peppers, red onions, basil, Italian parsley and fennel pollen on the finish.
There’s also some seriously good beer made on premises by their sister company Red Circle Brewing Co.
Finally, I need to add that, for me, a Detroit-style pizza, like that at Graffiti Market, reminds me of my Sicilian Nonna’s rectangular pizza, perhaps its closest relative. Thick yet crisp, the edges of the crust were nicely browned.
“It’s probably my favourite flavour combination for pizza,” says McCourt of the Kick It. “This is seriously the best pizza in the world.”*****
Suite 385-137 Glasgow Street
Kitchener, ON N2G 4X8
One of the oldest instructions in tech support, and, relatedly, one of the oldest jokes in tech, is whether you’ve “turned it off and then back on.” It comes right after making sure the thing is plugged in.
Tech as an industry, however, doesn’t really follow those instructions. Bigger, better, faster, disruptier doesn’t happen if you slow down or stop entirely. At all costs, we can’t lose momentum or first-mover advantage. Or so we’re led to believe.
But tech’s insistence that the only way is forward and upward as fast as possible is not the result of Newton’s Laws of Motion. It’s the result of ongoing choices that are consistently rewarded, whether they’re a good idea or not.
A couple of weeks ago Twitter announced that they are stopping political advertising on the platform, globally. (Jack Dorsey’s explanatory thread.) What’s that? A tech giant decided to… turn it off?
Now, Twitter doesn’t deserve a hero cookie for this one decision. They’ve failed to address myriad issues of abuse perpetrated on the platform for years. But the announcement did make me think that, in a way, it was finally an example of a tech platform actually pumping the brakes and stopping something that (OBVIOUSLY, SCREAMINGLY, BLATANTLY) was broken.
Whether they’ll eventually turn it on again, and in what format, remains to be seen. While we’re on the topic, though?
When you find out that foreign interests are screwing with your election processes via your platform’s reach, and you publicly deny it for far longer than is even remotely plausible, then insist on downplaying the degree of influence.
Just turn it off.
When you find out your platform is a festering hotbed and organizing platform for Nazis.
Just turn if off.
When your employees keep committing violent crimes against your customers, and your response is that they’re not really employees, but contractors, so not your responsibility, and you let them keep working, with carte blanche to prey on more people.
Just turn it off.
If your company considers endless rounds of investment and dizzying levels of debt to be the most viable business model year after year, instead of actually figuring out how to sell what people want to buy.
Just turn it off.
When your customers are regularly robbed, scammed and even murdered thanks to your failure to address long-running issues or accept any culpability, and then you actually expect anyone to believe the sweeping changes you claim you’ll be making will make any difference.
Just turn it off.
While we’re at it, the media doesn’t help. When there’s a high-profile shutdown, stories invariably post how much money was or is projected to be lost while some system was down, or some company deals with some major issue. This is not necessary, nor is it helpful a lot of the time. These are not service level agreement situations.
When stories are framed that way, everything comes down to money. It cements the notion that it’s the only thing that matters. Why would we stop doing the thing if We’re Going To Lose Money? We can’t lose money! We can’t lose momentum! Someone might sneak past us! The CEO’s bonus might not be enough to buy several islands!
Kids are exhibiting mental illness at disturbingly young ages. City infrastructure and community fabric is being damaged. People’s lives are being destroyed. But heaven forbid we risk shareholder value.
When “it” is finally turned off, obviously something got bad enough to pass a threshold. Remember that scene in Fight Club explaining the circumstances under which insurance companies will do a recall? Yeah, like that. More money was at risk if they didn’t turn it off.
But turning it off doesn’t only have to be used to slow or stop a disaster. It’s time and space to take a breath. To acknowledge that the current course isn’t perfect. To actually do some analysis on what’s working and what could be better.
What else happened when it stopped? What additional harm was prevented? What benefits were gained? What opportunities arose? What did we notice that was long overdue?
Surely that’s at least possible. Surely we’re not so far gone that the only reason we grudgingly turn it off is that we’re facing a tanking stock price or prison.
Growth, disruption and momentum aside, no one sees these problems because they’re studiously not looking for them. Because they make it clear they don’t want to be told about them, and that no one else is to know, either. People may clamour for no more Nazis, but they get… an extra 140 characters.
I don’t believe no one sees the cliff coming. That mistakes couldn’t have been corrected or course changed before it got to the point where the big, red panic button had to be pushed.
After all, we see people complaining for years on these same platforms about what’s broken. By the time governments start looking into these issues it means that everyone is aware of both their existence and the lack of will to address them.
Additionally, if the tech industry is so hellbent on their refusal to turn it off, then logic would dictate they’ve put zero resources into figuring out how to fix what’s broken or how things should work before turning it back on. Which means lost revenue and momentum could be indefinite.
Hmm… what about just making it look like we turned it off?
Case in point: turns out that political ad ban on Twitter isn’t so much a… political ad ban.
Makes you wonder if we’d be better off if someone just pulled the plug on the whole thing.
M-Theory is an opinion column by Melanie Baker. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Communitech. Melle can be reached at @melle or email@example.com.
The post M-Theory: When it’s time to just turn it off appeared first on Communitech News.
This month, we’re super excited to introduce two new volunteer roles, and recruit for two more!Seeking:
Membership Coordinator. Are you passionate about our membership? Interested in enhancing the value, designing aspects of the program, and sharing the stories? We want to hear from you!
ENDURrace Coordinator. Do you live or work in Woolwich Township and love this spring race? Are you interested in helping this race to have the largest positive impact in the community? This could be you!
These positions involve remote volunteer work of 0-2 hours per week. Interested? Feedback? Looking for information? Contact Jordan.Introducing:
This fall we added two important members to our team!
Diversity Coordinator, Shannon Lerner. Shannon is committed to challenging barriers to inclusion for people of any background and identity. After acknowledging our differences, we can embrace our community’s strength in diversity.
Charity Challenge Coordinator, Carmen Zannier. Carmen loves the positive energy that races provide the community, and is excited to use her love of running for a good cause.♦
Run Waterloo is a lean non-profit that relies on incredible efforts by a strong team of volunteers.
The post Our team is expanding! appeared first on Run Waterloo.
How To Enhance Performance, Make Efficient Use of DynamoDB Provisioned Capacity And Your Money
Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »
The other day I read a fantastic write-up by Australian game development professor Brendan Keogh titled “Are games art school? How to teach game development when there are no jobs”. Basically, it boils down to a discussion about whether or not a game development degree is worth it. It was actually a written version of his presentation from his talk at GDC this year, but since the video of the talk is only accessible with a subscription, he was kind enough to make a version that anyone can read.
It’s probably one of the best articles I have read about getting a game development education and what being a game developer really means. Brendan talks about how game students come in with a misconception about how the program is meant to prepare them to get a job in the AAA game industry. The problem with that, of course, is that there are waaaaay more game development students than there are jobs in the industry.♦
I have to agree with Brendan on this point, because even in the United States where we have the vast majority of studios, there are whole swaths of the country where game development jobs are almost nonexistent. That even includes metropolitan cities like DC, where the only major studio is Bethesda, but there are at least two graduate programs that I know of offered nearby, and a lot more in the surrounding states.
The thing is, I have a bit of personal experience with the graduate programs in the area. I actually enrolled in a class at one of them, and though I met many lovely people there, at the end of the day I just didn’t feel like the return on investment was worth it for the amount of money I spent. Of course I was in a unique situation, coming from a programming background, having also already made games on my own.♦
That’s the part that is trickiest, which Brendan also brings up in his article. “The students I’ve seen have the most successes as game developers-be that finding any job or be that getting some form of recognition for the games they make-are the students who act like they’re already game developers. Because they are. You don’t need a degree to be game developer. I would tell this to students regularly.” That is what I feel like I knew intuitively, perhaps because my bachelors degree was in Visual Arts, and Brendan also spends a lot of time comparing game development studies to art school.
The reason he compares the two is because, like art school, students of these disciplines often end up having to pave their own way to a career. In fact, I found it quite interesting that he compared artists with game developers, because it ties into another post I wrote a little while ago about Nathalie Lawhead and her work which bridges the gap between art and games. The skills art and game students acquire can transfer to a number of different industries. For example, a game development student might end up working as a web developer, or a project manager, or a journalist.♦
Ultimately, I decided it doesn’t make sense for me to pursue a graduate degree in game design and development. Reading Brendan’s article reinforced my decision. That is because it reminded me that if you make games, you are already a game developer. The degree will not make you more of one. That being said, I really liked how Brendan talked about his approach in teaching a game development program. If I lived in Australia, I might have considered taking his class.♦
Getting students should be focused on making games early, and often. They should be looking at games that aren’t AAA quality but rather those made by indies all over the world. This shifts the perspective of what game development really is and what types of people make games. His article inspired me to stop being a perfectionist and focus on making simple things and releasing them. He also convinced me that the worth of a game development degree is (probably) not equal to the cost. That is, if you are not in great financial straits.
That is the true path to success in the game industry — start making games now. The more you make, the better you get. And the more chances you have of being recognized for what you do. Of course you will fail sometimes. Your game might even be a bit trashy, but that’s part of the process and how you grow. Oftentimes people wait until they are motivated to start a project. But, the sad truth is that if you wait for motivation it might never come. The truth is that action comes first, then motivation, which leads to more action. It is a cycle, but the first step is to make a game.♦
This blog post is both a reflection and response to the write up by Brendan. Still, I felt like I only touched the surface. If you are still want to learn more, I highly recommend reading it. He gets into all the nitty gritty details, with statistics and everything. You won’t regret it. Or check out his games on itch.io.
So, do you think a game development degree is worth it? Have you graduated with a game development degree? Found an alternate path besides AAA game industry? Thinking about going indie or making alternative games? Leave your thoughts about the state of game development and education in the comments below!
Originally published at www.multimedia-minds.com on June 26, 2019.♦
Is a Game Development Degree Worth it? — Multimedia Minds was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
The ice was certainly cold, but hearts were warm and giving at this year`s 2019 tournament.A one-day fantasy hockey tournament held in Waterloo Region had a successful event to raise awareness for the Region’s homeless.
Hockey Helps the Homeless, an organization using inaugural hockey tournaments to collect donations for local homeless agencies, announced the KW tournament has raised over one million dollars to date, thanks to the support of over 300 participants, volunteers and donors.
The event, which took place on October 25th, marks the sixth year HHTH has run the tournament in Kitchener-Waterloo.
“From the start, Kitchener-Waterloo has really rallied behind our cause and they continue to exceed our expectations,” said Ryan Baillie, the Executive Director of Hockey Helps the Homeless.
“Year-after-year we are blown away by the generosity of our players, donors and volunteers in KW. We are incredibly proud of them for reaching the $1 million net to charity today.”
During the event, HHTH also announced they will give $260,000 dollars to support programs at Lutherwood, House of Friendship, oneROOF Youth Services and the YW Kitchener-Waterloo.
Source: Kitchener Today
The post Hearts Were Warm appeared first on YW Kitchener-Waterloo.
We couldn`t be more thrilled and excited with the news that Libro has donated a generous investment into our YW In Her Shoes Employment & Entrepreneurship Program!
Libro has donated $20,000 to YW`s In Her Shoes Program!
This donation will support 30 newcomer women giving them employment training and a unique opportunity to make money while training.
Their contribution to our program will also support 30 more women in our entrepreneurship program and will help them develop exceptional skills while developing their own business`s.
Ensuring that these women have the materials and tools they need to succeed such as sewing machines, marketing training, continued education, and workshops will pave the way for confidence,experience, connection and community.
We are proud to stand alongside Libro to create opportunities for women and invest in their promising futures.
To learn more about our program: In Her Shoes, you can click here.
The post Libro`s Investment Secures Promising Futures appeared first on YW Kitchener-Waterloo.
We plated, sampled and enjoyed our fundraising event along with many other “Charcuterie-Connoisseurs“ at The Kitchener Market. Lead by the wonderful Executive Chef; Terry Salmond- we learned the fine (and tasty) art of plating a charcuterie board – just in time for the holidays!
Chef Terry teaches that your boards don`t have to be perfection – just create and design using wonderful and quality cuts of meat, cheeses, sausages and accompaniments. The art is creating something visually appealing that surprises and wow`s your guests.
One special guest told us:
This was the BEST fundraising event I`ve ever been to!
And one excited table commented that:
The idea along with proceeds going to the YW Kitchener-Waterloo makes this a fantastic event, and we hope it happens again!
Each attendee also received a complimentary hand-crafted charcuterie board to take home – generously created and donated by Herb & Janet Kunsch.
All proceeds to go directly back to YW Program`s to support women and families. We`d like to thank everyone who joined us in making this event a huge success including our sponsors:
-Finest Meats & Sausage
-The Charocoal Group
-Executive Chef Terry Salmond
-The Kitchener Market
-Herb & Janet Kunsch
Snapshots from the event:
The post Three Cheers for Charcuterie! appeared first on YW Kitchener-Waterloo.
It’s lunch time which is the perfect time to ask: do you eat when you’re reading?
It’s okay. We won’t judge and neither do the folks at Book Riot. Check out “Eating and Reading at the Same Time” by Anna Gooding Call.
And by the way, in case you were curious, my reading-eating treats vary with the seasons. In the fall, I love to read while enjoying a crisp, tart Courtland apple. Winter, a hot, strong cup of tea and a piece of good chocolate or a homemade shortbread. Summer, a G & T while reading in the shade in my garden is a total pleasure. And spring, well, it depends on if the day has hints of winter or hints of summer attached to it.
— Sandi H.
UW Student Theatre presents, “Daughters of the Bomb”, an original student written/directed play. In 1989, a group of friends do their best to make a positive impact as the Cold War heats up, and their world falls apart.
For more information, please visit us at facebook.com/UWStudentTheatre or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday December 5
7 pm (doors @6)
Tickets: $10 online, $15 at the door
Buy Tickets Online
Stories of the Raksura: Volume Two1 is the second volume of short works set in Marth Wells’ Raksura fantasy world.
Whether you’re developing a novel vaccine or designing antibody therapeutics, chances are you have used several epitope mapping techniques to learn more about how your antibodies are behaving. However, this crucial step in many research applications often comes with complications when working with challenging proteins, such as those with non-linear binding regions. An ELISA has […]
The post Technical Guide: Epitope Mapping Techniques appeared first on Nicoya Life - Improving Human Life by Helping Scientists Succeed.
There are no shortages of traffic nightmares caused by live events. Although they allow us to support our favourite artists, athletes and celebrities, the process of navigating events is usually centered around traffic and transportation. Questions like: How early should I leave? Is it worth driving or should I take public transportation? Can I beat the traffic by leaving early? Are all top of mind when attending an event and ultimately, deter the overall experience.
Importantly, live events don’t happen in isolation. Due to their grandiose, they usually carry broader implications on the entire community. As a result, using data to understand the nuances of live events when developing traffic management plans is essential for traffic professionals to promote safe and efficient travel around live events.Impacts on fans
Though traffic congestion accumulates leading up to the start of an event, it’s effects are much more pronounced at the end due to the spike in attendees leaving at the same time.
When the Rolling Stones held their one and only Canadian show in Oro-Medonte township (population of 21,000), it attracted 71,000 fans from all across Canada. Despite praises sung for the show itself, nothing positive was said about the traffic situation at the end of the concert. Fans trying to leave the arena were stuck in the parking lot for hours, with some of them stranded until four in the morning. For context, Mick Jagger took the stage at 8:45 pm.
Smaller events have also shown equal challenges with traffic and guest experience.
When Calgary FC played at ATCO field (capacity 6,000) during the Canadian Premier league, it caused a long traffic jam on the main expressway leading to the arena. Only half of the stadium was present when Calgary made history by scoring their first goal within 26 minutes. Fans stuck in traffic didn’t make it to the game until the second half was well underway. This not only hurt fans’ spirits but would presumably have taken a toll on the sales for the businesses inside the arena as most people buy, food, drinks and merchandise before the game or during the half time break.Impacts on Community
When a live event occurs, the surge of people coming to and from the event disrupt local residents, impose additional stress on local transit, and cause significant frustration for day to day commuters. As of late, the impacts of live events have also come in the way of students and their education.
Students in South Carolina were granted a half-day of school for quite a novel reason: A Beyonce and Jay-Z concert.
Six schools surrounding the venue decided to dismiss students early, worried that if the school buses left at their normal times, they would get stuck in traffic around the stadium due to the influx of 40,000 concert goers. Even though the show’s start time was 7:30 pm, schools dismissed students as early as 11:00 am.
As another example, people living in the City of Toronto experienced a similar disturbance during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Championship when the Toronto Raptors hosted the Golden State Warriors at the Scotiabank Arena. The game was scheduled for 9:00 pm but multiple roads in the downtown area were closed from as early as 7:00 am. People who usually drove downtown were strongly urged to find alternate modes of mobility. Due to high anticipated numbers of people in and around the stadium, street car service was also suspended at 9:00 pm. Suffice to say, that day, the general public, would’ve thought twice before heading downtown.How Miovision can help
While the effects of large events extend beyond traffic, there are strategies that transportation professionals can implement to mitigate the negative impacts of congestion. Traffic Management Plans are considered the standard template to use when developing these mitigation strategies, and are extremely helpful in guiding their implementation. But, a foundation of accurate and reliable traffic data is essential to making informed decisions; it is paramount that these plans are developed on good data. Miovision offers both permanent and portable traffic data collection and analysis tools, which can be used to enhance Traffic Management Plans. To find out more, download our whitepaper and watch the Fan Experience webinar.
The post How live events affect traffic appeared first on Miovision.
♦Oh, those Russians.
They were back in Waterloo Region in the Canada-Russia Series this past Thursday for the first time since 2007 when Justin Azevedo ruled the Aud.
And who knew the clash would inspire me so much?
1. Game 3 of the Canada-Russia Series ran at the Aud and the building was electric. I often criticize the morgue-like feel at Rangers games but fans sure showed that they can be loud and engaged when they have reason to be.
Sometimes an issue seems too big to be able to fix. Often we feel powerless because of the number of factors involved. Even with that feeling, we can find ways to make a difference.
An article about homelessness in our community brought Tessa Jennison to action. Jennison had read the story while working at a startup in the Accelerator Centre. “The homelessness problem has gotten worse. The Region’s affordable housing list has a nine-year waitlist. Winter is life-threatening,” said Jennison.
Lack of affordable housing is one of the issues. Mental health and addiction are also factors.Jennison told her two colleagues she wanted to do something. “But what?” they asked. Homelessness is a huge, complex issue. So Jennison suggested they go for a walk.
That walk sparked the creation of Crossing Trek, a walk across Waterloo Region to raise awareness of the risks of exposure for homeless people, and to raise money for local organizations trying to fix homelessness. In its first year, Jennison and her two colleagues trekked to raise $5,000. When supporters asked if there was going to be another trek, Jennison formed a non-profit to expand the event.
In 2019, it grew to include more than 100 participants and crew. They raised $45,000 from more than 800 donors with the funds going to the Working Centre in Kitchener. The money supported transitional housing and medical services at 115 Water St.
“It’s an issue that’s not sexy,” Jennison said. “People are uncomfortable thinking about it. People feel shame and guilt. Privilege guilt. Someone is sleeping in a snowbank when you’re going home to sleep in a warm house.”
The issues can feel huge and daunting. But Jennison believes that as a community, we can produce tangible results. “Go on the trek or sponsor someone who is. Be a corporate sponsor,” she said.
Jennison is expanding the Crossing Trek in 2020 to include 300 people with a fundraising goal of $100,000. The funds will support a long-term affordable housing project, which is in early stages of development.
“This walk started as a way to shift perspectives. From an urban planning perspective, I see a potential to reprioritize these issues,” said Jennison, a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s School of Urban and Regional Planning.
The trek shows how long it takes to walk through the region in winter, an activity Jennison believes we lack perspective on.“The simplicity of it was easy to absorb. People could follow online and see how long it took to make the journey on foot. It offers a sense of perspective on what distance is like for a different mode of travel.”
Jennison noted that while the trek is a way to shift perspective, participants don’t experience what it is like to be homeless and travel on foot. “We have a mandatory gear list and safety teams with us – and we have homes to go to at the end of the trek.”
Gentrification continues to push at-risk people farther and farther out from the core, making it increasingly difficult for them to reach social services. “It takes longer to get to services,” Jennison said. “The journey can be challenging in the winter time.”
She cited Seattle as an example of a knowledge city, similar to Waterloo Region, that didn’t do enough to prevent homelessness early on. “Today, they continue to have a huge problem with homelessness,” said Jennison, who wants to see us focus empathy and compassion to address the problems here.
She also looks at affordable housing and addiction treatment as priorities. “We can focus on social compassion at the same time we build our reputation as a tech community,” Jennison said. “These issues can spiral out of control. There is no going back at that point.”
Visit www.waterlooregioncrossing.com/trek to learn more about how you can get involved as a participant or a sponsor.
# # #
While you’re strapping on your hiking boots, I see and hear that…The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery has Feast for the Senses 10 on Thursday, Nov. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. It’s an evening of tapas and drinks, with a tour of the works of Adad Hannah before a meal and tasting menu from Chef Dan McCowan and Sommelier Ainsley Szvitak of Red House. The Lions Club Santa Claus Parade is on Saturday, Nov. 16 starting at 10:30 a.m. The Apollo Cinema has Interactive! Willy Wonka on Saturday, Nov. 16 starting at 4 p.m. There’s bags of special props and other surprises.
The post The trek to end homelessness appeared first on Communitech News.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Leaving family, friends and Wi-Fi might not be most people’s idea of a dream experience. However, for biology Professor Kirsten Müller, these things are necessary for her upcoming once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica. In this trip, she will travel alongside 99 other women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine) fields as the fourth cohort of Homeward Bound.
My oh my, it’s been a while since I wrote anything here. Much water has flowed under the bridge, but since there’s snow on the ground, perhaps I’ll be inside more and I can do more blogging.
Most importantly for today, Ed Willett has just released an interview with me for his podcast The Worldshapers. I’ve known Ed for years, and I think it’s a great idea to interview SF writers about their creative process. He’s also managed to accumulate an impressive line-up of guests; I definitely recommend checking out the whole podcast series.
And by the way, congratulations Ed on winning an Aurora award this year!
Maxwell’s Concerts & Events proudly presents Blame It All On Their Roots, a tribute to Shania Twain & Garth Brooks, Saturday December 28th!
Tickets on-sale Friday November 15th at 10am
$20 tickets + service charge
19+, valid photo ID required
Doors open at 7:30pm, music starts at 8:00pm
Last week, students from the University of Waterloo pitched their early-stage startup ideas at the Concept $5K Semi-Finals hoping to be one of the ten teams selected to move on to the Concept $5K Finals on Wednesday, November 20. This competition is the successor to the Velocity Fund Finals $5K and marks the first iteration with the new Concept name.
Over two incredible nights, a total of 31 teams pitched their innovative ideas to judges from the local startup community and members of the Student Venture Fund. Each pitcher had just 3 short minutes to convince the judges they should be selected to advance to the Finals and that their startup idea is worthy of $5K in funding. The students’ pitches focused on stating the importance of the problem, their innovative solution, the potential market size, why they are the right team to solve the problem, and how they would use the $5K if they won.
After all of the pitches were complete our judges hurried off to a separate room and began deliberating. It is never an easy task to determine the finalists and this term was no different. Each team that pitched offered compelling reasons to be selected. In an ideal world, we would love to fund them all, but in this world, only ten are chosen to move on. So without further adieu, we are pleased to introduce the first-ever Concept $5K Finalists!♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
Get to know this term’s Finalists
CodeGEM is developing a feedback management system to quantify code improvements and promote better feedback.
Equal is building the world’s smartest corporate credit card.
Flowy is building AI-powered digital transformation tools to commoditize frictionless automation.
GoolooUp is developing an innovative online food court.
IXIM is developing low carbon building materials using bio-based compounds.
Recircuit is building an online marketplace for pre-processed recycled plastics.
Ribbit aims to create the world’s first fully autonomous airline service.
Scope is building lenses whose optical power is electronically tunable.
Tomat.io is building a tomato harvesting robot for greenhouses.
Vision Spatial Technologies
Vision Spatial Technologies is building a computer vision powered traffic light that improves safety and reduces the liability of ski resorts.
Make sure to come out to the Concept $5K Finals on November 20 to watch these awesome student teams pitch for their share of $20K in funding. This Fall we are extremely lucky to host special guest speaker Marcelo Cortes. Marcelo is an UWaterloo Computer Science graduate and Co-founder of the incredibly successful company Faire, which operates a wholesale marketplace for independent local retailers and makers. Faire was in the news recently as they announced an additional round of funding and achieved the status of unicorn (a startup valued at over $1 Billion).
Before we get the pitches going, he will be sitting down for a candid fireside chat with Velocity Director of Startups, Jay Shah. This will be an incredible opportunity to hear about Marcelo’s journey in the startup world and what it’s like to be the CTO of a billion-dollar company.
The fireside chat begins at 11:00am and the $5K pitches will get started shortly after lunch at 12:30pm. Register to attend or join in via our live stream on Facebook!
The post Meet the Concept $5K Finalists appeared first on Concept UWaterloo.
Identify a market that everyone else has ignored, deliver a great product, and then become a champion for your customer.
And there, ta-da, you have the simple, elegant formula behind Faire, the Kitchener- and San Francisco-based scale-up that recently landed a US$150-million Series D, and in so doing became Waterloo Region’s newest unicorn – a private company valued at $1 billion or more.
And they’re not done yet. Not by a longshot.
“We know we can be a much, much larger company than a billion dollars,” says Faire CTO Marcelo Cortes. “Our market is huge. We are serving a very large space that’s really outside, in the dark, [with respect to] technology.”
Faire’s customers are small retail shops – gift stores, speciality stores and the like – and the makers who service them. Faire’s algorithms curate product suggestions, and it is so accurate, so good at pinning down what sells, that Faire allows unsold inventory to be returned, removing a store owner’s risk and, ultimately, lowering the store owner’s anxiety.
What it additionally does is give a mom & pop shop staying power – the leverage it needs to face down a Walmart-style big-box competitor, and online retailers like Amazon.
“The reality is that our customers – makers and retailers – have really been underserved,” says Cortes. “They are the long tail, and kind of forgotten. Nobody has built tools for them.
“All they see is the news about the retail apocalypse and that the Amazons of the world are going to take over this space. Well, we don’t believe that is true and the data shows that it is not true.
“We’re giving [our customers] tools so that they can compete with the online stores and with the big-box stores. They really appreciate that there is a tech company that’s fighting for them and helping them be more successful.”
Faire got its start in January of 2017 as Indigo Fair (its origin story was featured on Communitech News in April, 2017). Cortes, CEO Max Rhodes and CIO Daniele Perito met through their affiliation with Square, the mobile-payments company.
Now, less than three years later, Faire is affiliated with 7,000 makers and 50,000 retail outlets and last month the company made its services available in Canada. The company’s Kitchener co-headquarters, with more than 70 staffers, was recently relocated to the renovated former Budd’s department store space on King Street – the very kind of store that Faire might have served.♦
Faire’s Kitchener office is located at 165 King St., West, across from City Hall in what used to be Budd’s department store. (Communitech photo: Sara Jalali)
Faire’s appeal, Cortes believes, stems from the fact that small retailers themselves appeal to their customers. The experience of shopping in a small, tastefully designed and smartly stocked shop, with knowledgeable, friendly staff, is one that a big-box or online outlet can’t replicate.
“A lot of customers – and there are surveys that support this – they enjoy the experience of walking into a store, a physical retail shop that has a style. They know they’re going to find unique items there that they wouldn’t find elsewhere,” says Cortes.
“They like the human interaction. They enjoy meeting with the person that can tell them the story of the manufacturer, the story behind the product, and give them more information on the product itself. It’s that experience that we don’t we really don’t think is going away. People enjoy that.”
Cortes is from Brazil. He moved to Canada nearly 19 years ago, aiming, at the time, to learn English. Once he arrived, he didn’t want to leave. He enrolled at University of Waterloo, later married, had kids, and he’s now so enamoured with his adopted home he won’t leave under virtually any circumstance.
“I started working for companies like Google, and eventually Square, that all had offices in California. They all tried to get me to move to California and I always told them. ‘No, I’m not moving.’
Cortes, then, heads up the Kitchener office; his co-founders are in the U.S. (Faire has an office in Salt Lake City, as well as San Francisco and Kitchener).
He admits that even the company’s investors were at first skeptical about his determination to remain here and support an office in Waterloo Region as well as the Bay Area. That skepticism has been erased, he says.
And the role of the Kitchener office, which at first was exclusively an engineering and development site, is expanding. Today, Cortes says that “98 per cent of the company’s engineering takes place in Kitchener, as opposed to 100 per cent when the company launched, and that product design, product management and customer success teams have now been added here.
“The reality is that there is amazing talent in the region,” says Cortes, adding the company is looking to add 10 people per month for the next several months – the majority of them for the Kitchener office – and double its overall workforce of nearly 200 by the end of next year.
Growth toward a billion-dollar valuation hasn’t always been a straight line. Rhodes described in a January 2018 blog post some of the difficulties the company has weathered, including retailers returning too much product and too many retailers not paying. Quick changes were made, and “Within six months, our team had brought return rates down by 75%, cut defaults by almost 90%, and made other changes to get the marketplace to profitability,” Rhodes wrote.
Cortes acknowledges the period was a difficult one, one the co-founders had to grind through on their way to a solution.
“So yeah, what Max talked about, the bumps along the way, when we started our recommendation engine was not as good as it is today, so the return rate was much higher. The default was higher. We weren’t very good at giving proper credit limits to the customers.
“[But] the more we grow, the more data we have, we learn a lot more and we become a lot better at serving our customers.”
Several successful raises since, it’s clear the company has found its footing. He acknowledges that reaching a billion-dollar valuation has been satisfying, but says he always believed deep down that it was possible. He knew there was a need for Faire’s service. And the co-founders were passionate about protecting the small retail experience from being subsumed by the retail monoliths. Corner stores, he explains, are his people.
“We believe in them.”♦ ♦ ♦
Some of the thousands of products sold by Faire’s customers. (Communitech photos: Sara Jalali)
The post Faire: ‘We can be much larger than $1 billion’ appeared first on Communitech News.
Trail of Lightning is the first book in Rebecca Roanhorse’s post-apocalyptic paranormal Sixth World series.
Maggie Hoskie is a supernaturally enhanced monster-hunter. She became so as a consequence of a near-death encounter as a girl. Another way to look at her is that she’s a marginally domesticated monster whose utility to her Diné people is slightly higher than the risk of allowing her to live among them. True so far.
When children are stolen away by monsters, Maggie is the logical person to ask for help. That’s not to say she’s always successful…
Faire, a scale-up that operates an online marketplace for independent local retailers and makers, has announced $150 million in new funding through a Series D raise. In total, the company has raised $266 million and now has a valuation of $1 billion, fulfilling a prediction that Forbes made just a few months ago.♦
Chef Dan McCowan of Red House in Uptown Waterloo is the featured chef at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery’s (KWAG) Feast for the Senses event on Thursday, November 14.
The event, now in its tenth year, pairs a multi-course tasting menu with drink pairings selected by Red House beverage manager Ainsley Szvitak and is inspired by the Gallery’s fall exhibition and the works of Vancouver-based artist Adad Hannah.
Guests will be treated to a guided tour of Glints and Reflections, in which Hannah uses photography, video, installation and performance to create “living pictures” that reference iconic works from western art history and personal histories alike.
For his part, Dan McCowan has selected a number of artworks from this exhibition as inspiration for his locally-sourced cuisine, with each dish serving as a culinary interpretation of a specific work of art.
“At Feast for the Senses, we aim to draw a link between great contemporary art and the idea of food as art as imagined by some of the best chefs in this region,” says Shirley Madill, KWAG’s Executive Director.
“We believe that chefs and sommeliers are artists and what they do an art form. I look forward to what Chef Dan McCowan and Ainsley Szvitak have in store for another great evening at KWAG.”
McCowan is Scarborough-born but raised in Waterloo Region. A graduate of George Brown College, he has Red Seal Certification and has worked at Oliver & Bonacini’s Jump in Toronto and locally with The Charcoal Group of restaurants, for whom he helped open The Bauer Kitchen as chef de cuisine.
He opened his own restaurant, Red House in Uptown Waterloo, a few years ago. McCowan focusses on fresh, original cuisine served with local ingredients.
Limited tickets to Feast for the Senses 10 remain on sale for $68 (plus HST) and are available online at www.kwag.ca/feast or by phone at 519-579-5860 x100. (Please note that guests must be age 19 or older to attend.)
Movie Show & Tell for Friday November 15th starting at 6pm:
Hochelaga – Canada 2017 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hochelaga,_Land_of_Souls
Queen Street Commons Café 43 Queen South Kitchener -- Everyone welcome. No charge for admission.
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Join us every Friday night for Movie Show & Tell at Queen Street Commons Cafe.Contact Info: Martin: email@example.com (519) 576-4240 x103Image: ♦Event Calendar: Community EventsThe Working CentreCategories: For Job SearchersThings to DoCommons StudioFilm Maker NewsQueen Street Commons CafeCommunity Space and EventsEvent Type: Film Screening
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In today’s resource-scare security environment, securing the modern enterprise requires doing more with less. That’s why security features are baked into every single OpenText product and process. We know that making enterprise security issues more manageable while improving business processes and user experiences is crucial. Our security workflow does just that and includes endpoint detection …
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In today’s data-driven environment, quickly finding information is critical for legal teams seeking to gain the information advantage in litigation, investigations and regulatory compliance matters. The demand for speed — amid escalating risks — calls for legal departments and their law firms to automate routine workflows and inject time-saving tools based on machine learning and …
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Customer experiences are the sum of multiple interactions across various journeys. They become harder to optimize as customers choose their own unique paths to action, with unprecedented power in their hands brought by technology. To meet customers’ expectations in terms of immediacy, personalization and convenience, marketers and line of business managers need solutions that augment …
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Whatever you do, having access to the right information instantly, whenever you need it would make your job a whole lot easier. But when you’re working to complete a task or move a project forward, the information you need is often “out there, somewhere” in some form. Even if you know it exists, it’s not …
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In today’s competitive environment, one imperative for every organization is to meet expectations for a dynamic digital experience. This requires a digital-first approach. Unfortunately, introducing new products, services, channels and ways of working can take longer than the market demands. IT infrastructure and systems can be difficult and costly to re-engineer and adapt. At the …
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Holistic, cross-enterprise information governance has long been the vision for records administrators coping with large-scale enterprise content. In truth, the realities of operating a large organization, with independent and geographically-dispersed business units, often result in the deployment of multiple repositories, each of which evolves to unique configurations and records policies. As records policies become more …
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According to Forrester Research, 63% of marketers use some sort of journey mapping. Yet customer journeys are more complex than ever, requiring more one-to-one personalization across many touchpoints and experiences. This, in turn, requires more data and visibility across all touchpoints, events and interactions. Gaining intelligent insights about your customers’ omnichannel interactions with your product …
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