Silicon Valley for Canadian startups

It’s been a year and a half since I moved to Silicon Valley (well, San Francisco, actually) from Montreal. I get a lot of questions from Canadian entrepreneurs — both visitors as well as prospective immigrants — about how to navigate Silicon Valley.

Yesterday, I gave a presentation to the current FounderFuel class on the things I wished I knew before moving to the Bay area. There’s a summary of some of the key points on the FounderFuel blog, and here are the slides:


Lost in the Mail: HSBC Loses Disk With Personal Data on 370,000 Insurance Customers

HSBC LogoAccording to this Bloomberg report, HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, mailed a disk containing personal information from one city to another. But it didn’t make it there. And the data on it was not encrypted.

The disk, sent unregistered to Swiss Reinsurance Co., contained password-protected details including customers’ names, life-insurance cover levels, birthdates and smoking status, London-based spokesman James Thorpe said. It didn’t contain clients’ financial details or addresses, he said.

The article then goes on to state: “The company will encrypt any disk which includes sensitive information in the future, Thorpe said.”

Good idea, guys.


First TwittYul, Meetup of Montreal Twitterers

TwittYulThe first TwittYul was last night. Sylvain Carle, who organized it, says that TwittYul was just like Twitter, with people popping in and out of unstructured conversations.

Here’s the list of people who were there:


If you’re not on the list aboce, or if you’re in Montreal but were not able to make it, leave your Twitter username in the comments so that others can link up.

AJAX, Google, SEM, Uncategorized

Google suggest

In the rush to jump onto the Web 2.0 badwagon, some of the most effective uses of AJAX are still the simplest. Google suggest — which refines your query with up to ten suggestions as you type — tops my list. I’ve experimented with it as my browser default page for the past week and, despite causing the occasional IE crash, am finding it to be a remarkable time saver. Not to mention a good source for keyword variations for seach engine marketing purposes.