Inspirational presentations at the Startup Festival

shine your light


2013 International Startup Festival

Here is the first of this week’s three blog posts related to what I heard and learned at the 2013 International Startup Festival in Montreal last week. Two keynotes really touched me, both as a person and as an entrepreneur.


The Crooked Path to Success: Margaret Dawson

Margaret Dawson is a great example of woman who did and still does things her own way. She explained to us how her path to success has been far from a straight line, more of a zigzag. She encouraged us to trust both our guts and logic. Finally, she finished her presentation by reminding us to «Let your light shine».

Her presentation touched me because my path to success is also far from a straight line. I went from one university to the other, from one program to the other, learning a lot but not finding exactly what I was looking for. I worked in many fields, jumping from one to the other, never staying long. I finally found my balance, being a clinical mental health nursing professor at the same time as I’m selling software with my better half. Sounds like a mismatched combination but it works for me. Both my guts and my logic are telling me I’m doing the right thing for myself at this point in my life. As a professor and as a sales director, I can let my light shine. Who knew.


Entrepreneurship is the Shovel You Use to Dig a Path to a Brighter Future: Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman  reminded us that entrepreneurs can and should have a huge influence in their communities. «Your business may not change the world. But your life can.» He says that entrepreneurship is the tool we use to bend the world to our vision. Entrepreneurship is not owning a business, it’s a way of life.

Again on a personal note, my better half and I decided a year ago to say «Bye Bye Boss» and to take our business to the next level. We’re now dedicated 100% to the business, for better of for worst. Most days, it’s for the better. The reason we did so is to be the masters of our own universe. We’re making enough money to live the way we want but we’re not seeking too much. Risking to lose the control of our business is definitely not worth it for us. VC not welcome. I’ll get back to this topic later this week. In a nutshell, we want to create a better life, both for yourself and for others, being fully in control of our business and life.

But what do we do for others? First, our mission is to give the power to the end-users. We think that our clients are bright enough to manage their own data. People don’t need us to do everything for them, they have great ideas and we want to enable them to create the applications they need to achieve the best they can with their businesses. We go totally against the trend to pre-chew everything for everyone. Yes, you will have to think, scribe, browse, build and try and do it all over again. And you will be proud of yourself when your application is perfect FOR YOU.

Finally, we love to support young businesses who touch our heart and soul with their ideas. We offered a yearly subscription of Kohezion and consultation to a startup we believe will thrive with a product very important to us, having two young drivers in the house. Please help here if you also think what they’re doing is important.