Fun times at McHacks

This week-end I had the opportunity to drop by the McGill Campus to give out our prize to the winner of the McHacks competition. I have to admit I had not been on campus for far too long, and great memories came back as I entered the Shatner Building.


I missed all the hard work that teams put in over the week-end to come up with the most clever apps they could develop over the week-end. As I visited the space on Sunday, I could witness many red eyes, but also some palpitations as people were heading over Leacock 132 to see the finalists.

What I missed in sweat and tears was compensate by the great enthusiasm (and designs) of the 6 finalists:

  • An app connected to ensure your second toast is not burnt
  • A clever 3D device that could create “buttons” on any surface thanks to an Oculus interface
  • BananaScale, converting an assortment of random facts into “banana units”
  •, “Tinder for food”
  • An app to read faster by displaying only one word on the screen at a time
  • A Pebble app to exchange contact info (which I have to admit – and date myself – reminded me of the business card exchange function on the Palm Pilot. What was that, infrared?)

Congrats to the winners,! Winners of the $500 credit from

As a bonus, a somewhat interesting view from the Dobson Center on Entrepreneurship on what it takes to build a successful startup:

  • Three P’s:
    • Passion
    • Problem
    • Piercing Science
  • Three H’s:
    • Hacker
    • Hipster
    • Hustler

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Why developers have shifted the balance of power – the new BANT

Had a great chat with a mentor/advisor today who has been investing in many successful SaaS businesses. One of his key success factors is a scientific and relentless focus on sales (and marketing) to maximize sales conversions and minimize the sales cycle.

He reminding me of the importance of finding people with BANT when you want to sell something:

  • B = Budget
  • A = Authority
  • N = Need (burning need)
  • T = Time (urgent)

Now here’s the interesting impact when you think of cloud. In most large enterprises, cloud initiatives have were started by developers themselves. Why? Mostly because they have the burning and urgent need to get access to infrastructure resources. Their projects depend on it, the business depends on it, all of this innovation depends on it.

In the “old IT” model, that’s as far as it went. Developers had Need and Time requirements, but they were not met because they had no Budget or no Authority.

However, what happens when developers can expense AWS instances on their credit card? Tada! Now they have Budget! And even if they still don’t have “official” Authority, they are giving it to themselves, in the name of innovation and time to market.

Who can blame them?