Recapping Grow Conference 2012 (#GrowConf)

I love Vancouver. I think if you took the best things about Chicago and mixed them in with the best things from Seattle, then added in a touch of London for fun, you would end up with Vancouver. So, this report from Grow Conference 2012 is going to be tainted. It’s a great show, and if you read this blog, you are probably in the target market. So, I’ll try to limit it to the top 5 or 6 things I picked up there:

– Oh Canada! The country has a program where if you invest in a Canadian based startup, you can receive up to 50% of that investment back in tax credits.
– Oh Canada, part deux. There are a wealth of developers up here. Studies have found the AVERAGE Vancouver developer is stronger than the AVERAGE Silicon Valley dev. Now, they freely admit the TOP developers are in the Bay, but if you need competence, you can find it. Supply outweighs demand, so a decent dev comes in at $60-80k.
– The Canadian Angel scene is funny, because there’s a lot of money, but most of it was NOT made in tech. Tons of money in Calgary made by people in the oil and gas industry. Tons of money in Vancouver from the real estate industry. So lots of money sitting on the sidelines, bu the holders of that money don’t necessarily know how to invest in tech.
– I can’t explain exactly what made the Grow Conference more friendly than just about any other conference I’ve attended. There was pretty much no one that I talked to that I didn’t want to talk to. People were outgoing, lively and fun. It was probably the nicest – and maybe the smartest – mix of people I’ve attended a conference with.
– BTW, the train from Seattle to Vancouver is great. It’s about an hour longer than it should be, but a pretty easy way to make the trip and still be productive. Amazing views.
– From this point forward, I have a giant section of notes that I am keeping more private. Let your imagination wander. Email me if you want details.

Now if you want a play by play of all the speakers on Thursday, I suggest you head over the TechVibes Live Blog. It is a much better recap than what I could pull together for you.

If you get a chance, here are some companies I hope you will check out. I knew these guys before, but talking with their exec teams at lengths made me like them even more.
Liquid Planner
OfferUp
9Slides
Freak’N Genius

Thanks to the folks at Geekwire for convincing me to go. Time well spent.

Pics to come.

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