From co-founder John Stix and all of us here at Fibernetics, Worldline & Newt™,
Happy Birthday to our CEO, Jody Schnarr!
There’s nothing like giving stuff away.
Especially to nice people….and especially when they are a customer.
Our first ever Facebook contest was a booming success. Not only did we add a ton of followers to our brand new Facebook page, we also got to hear a bunch of feedback from our customers on some issues they were having, and also about how happy so many of them were with their Worldline service.
It’s been great for all of us here, as folks rarely take the time to call us up and tell us, “Hey! You’re awesome!” Seriously, who does that? Well, it turns out they do on social media outlets like Facebook. Who knew?
Anyway, back to the Facebook 50/50 contest, which was used to promote our new Unlimited High Speed DSL 50Mbps Internet service. As I said, it worked out great with over 3000 entrants from across the country. We employed a 3rd party contest company, (thanks Contest.is!), to take care of the draw for us, and they randomly chose a nice lady named Carol from London, Ontario as the winner.
London. That’s close to Worldline headquarters .VP Mike Brown, (who is Mr. Enthusiasm), decided since this was Facebook thing was a first for us he wanted to drive it out in person,
Dawn, the president’s EA gave her a shout and let her know she’d won. Carol was thrilled as she’d “never won anything before.”
We arranged a time that worked for all, loaded up the truck and drove the hour down the 401. Carol, who is retired, was very happy for the personal delivery, and we carried it up to her apartment for her, and were ready to set it up, but she told us to leave it in the box, as she was going to give it to her daughter, especially because her 2-year old granddaughter would “go nuts.”
She then offered us coffee and, oh, while we were there, “Could you check on my modem? I think it’s running a little hot.”
It turns out Carol isn’t just a Worldline winner, she’s also a Worldline customer, and took the opportunity for a little service call. Smart lady!
So congratulations Carol. Hope your daughter enjoys her TV (and that we haven’t ruined the surprise.)
And we can’t wait for the next contest to start, which is this coming Tuesday to celebrate the brand new look for Worldline.ca, with the winner taking home one of these:
A few weeks ago, we started these little contests on Facebook. We would post a picture, like the one over there on the right, of a place where Worldline’s Unlimited High Speed Internet and Digital Home Phone has become available. Then we would challenge our Facebook friends to guess the location, and the first one to submit the correct answer wins some Worldline swag.*
We had another contest on Wednesday and the entries came in fast and furious. The way picked the winner was the pretty straight forward. Since Facebook sends out an email any time anyone comments on a post, the first email we received with the correct answer, (in this case Owen Sound, Ontario), was from a lady named Shari.
Today we announced that she had won and we received this reply:
“Hi there! After looking at the contest post. I don’t think i was the first to answer correctly. I just want to be fair. I do love Worldline though!!!
A controversy erupts! Shari was right. Looking at the post, it appears this guy Manuel was actually first. But we received her mail first. (It was certainly Facebook’s problem, not ours. Our email always works perfectly!)
Manuel for being first, and Shari for being so freekin Canadian. Congrats to you both.
And congrats to Owen Sound as well. Now everyone in that beautiful city can take advantage of Worldline’s Unlimited High Speed Internet and Home Phone bundle, and save up to $600/year.
Oh, and if you want to play along with our Facebook game, “Like” us on Facebook and you can see how much you know about Canadian geography, because we’re adding new communities to the Worldline family all the time.
* The swag is on the way, but there will be a delay because we recently changed our “look” and we’re waiting on the new stuff to arrive.
They made it to Google! Congratulations from Worldline to Canada’s iconic police force turning 140 today.
KITCHENER, Ontario — Twenty years ago, no one would have believed the Kitchener-Waterloo area would blossom into the most vibrant technology start-up community in Canada – the Silicon Valley of the North.
The twin cities of about 400,000 people 70 miles west of Toronto were then known as the market hub for the German farming communities that stretched in all directions. But one young company, Research In Motion, gained international attention with its iconic BlackBerry cellphones. That generated the growth of a start-up hub that can’t quite rival Silicon Valley, but compares well with Austin or Boulder, Colo.
RIM (which now does business under the trade name BlackBerry) has risen and stumbled, but the Kitchener-Waterloo start-up community is thriving, with about 1,000 start-ups and particular strength in mobile technologies. Its success is the result of its attractive costs compared with larger centers, its proximity to the industrial base of nearby Toronto, and the benefit of being home to University of Waterloo, one of the country’s leading engineering schools.
“It’s fairly inexpensive to build a company in Kitchener-Waterloo,” said Adam Belsher, CEO of Magnet Forensic, whose forensic software helps investigators retrieve data erased from hard drives.
A spirit of cooperation has helped to develop the community, he adds. “Here, it’s not that everyone is competing for software engineers. People just want to help you out.”
That spirit of community led two decades ago to the creation of Communitech, a start-up accelerator. It began as a mentoring partnership between industry and academia, and two years ago opened a 50,000-square-foot innovation center that Communitech CEO Iain Klugman says is “unique.” Not unique in Canada. Unique anywhere.
“If there’s anyone else doing anything like this in the world, I’d like to hear from them,” said Klugman, sitting in the common area of the meandering facility in a former tannery. “I haven’t found them yet.”
About 100 companies work within Communitech, a sparse assembly of interconnected rooms whose concrete walls are adorned by the work of local artists. It houses a seed-stage accelerator, two university start-up incubators and an accelerator for later-stage companies. There are also 12 established companies renting space. Major corporations such as Google and BlackBerry have offices so they can work with start-ups. Banks, accountants and lawyers have booths. There’s a $22 million low-orbit satellite project underway in a back room, with the first satellite to be launched this summer.
In addition to its 100 tenants, Communitech works with about 600 other start-ups outside the facility.
“I fell in love with Communitech from the first time I saw it,” said Tony Abou-Assaleh, CEO of TitanFile, which has pioneered a high-security, easy-to-use document-sharing system. “I wanted to be there because of the unbounded energy.”
Abou-Assaleh and co-founder Milan Vrekic took TitanFile into the HyperDrive seed accelerator at Communitech, which has helped to nurture a company that won national awards in Canada and has drawn angel and venture-capital financing. One reason his company has thrived is the communal spirit found in Kitchener-Waterloo and the willingness of seasoned executives to mentor the newer companies.
“In other parts of the world, people have to pay for such advice,” said Abou-Assaleh. “Having such advice given to you at no cash cost is a great benefit to a company that has to preserve its cash.”
Among those who have given freely of their time and knowledge are former BlackBerry co-CEOs and co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. BlackBerry—which is struggling to turn itself around with its new operating system and a new line of phones – is still the dominant tech company in the twin cities, and still provides talent and mentorship to the start-up community.
“What I try to do is to expose these folks to the technological realities of commercialization and growing globally,” said Balsillie, who retired last year. He said in the last five to six years, the global start-up world has become a “minefield” in which one misstep can cost an entrepreneur a company. He worked privately with about 30 founders and CEOs, offering frank strategic advice.
Balsillie also serves as an adviser to Magnet Forensics’ Belsher, a former RIM executive, and the two often talk informally about how to scale up the business. The advice — or something — is obviously working. Magnet has increased revenue 1,800% over two years, and now has 1,500 clients, including law enforcement agencies in about 100 countries.
Balsillie said Kitchener-Waterloo has succeeded largely because of the quality of its entrepreneurs.
“It comes down to good entrepreneurs and good ideas and the support of the community,” said Balsillie. “It starts with the entrepreneur and the idea has to be substantial.”