Don’t Overpay Developers

The cost of an engineer is inflated right now. Informally, I poll salary expectations each semester from Waterloo co-ops. 2-3 years ago it was $65k-$70k. Last year/this year its $95k (the base Google, Facebook new grad offer). On top of that lots of engineers are able to source funding for their own social-mobile-cloud startup, more incentive not to join your own startup. Its not even a North American phenomena, in India I know technology managers making $120k+, in China I know guys turning down $100k offers now. There’s really no such thing as low cost development anymore.

So, whats a startup looking to build product to do?

“Ideally, to protect against inflation, you want a royalty on someone else’s sales so you don’t have to invest any more capital—you license it to them and you make money as their volume grows.” Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway AGM, April 30th 2011

Don’t build new stuff and overpay inflated development costs if you don’t have to. Find partnerships so you can sell more product to your customers. Find more channel to resell your product. And so on. Maybe its time for more hustle and less hack??? (I’m a hacker, so writing this hurts a little bit).

Hack/Reduce Toronto

Hack/Reduce Toronto - June 18, 2011

We are pleased to be supporting Hack/Reduce Toronto. The rise of real-time computing, distributed sensors and big data have provided the ground work for development of a way to distributed the processing of these emerging large data sets across a cluster of computers. There are lots of Toronto and global companies leveraging the processing and analysis of large data sets to discover unique relationships in their data (Backtype, Postrank, BuzzData,, Google, and others. This is a wonderful opportunity for technical cofounders to get experience leveraging Map/Reduce, Hadoop and the shared expertise of local experts with some hands-on learning about big data.

What is Hack/Reduce?

Hack/Reduce is a free one-day big data hackathon. The goal is to extract valuable information from large datasets and learn how to work with big data. The event brings together Developers, Companies, Entrepreneurs and Students interested in Big Data.


  • Free access to Amazon EC2 clusters that can be scaled up according to your needs.
  • Pre-loaded datasets (participants are encouraged to suggest datasets)
  • Introduction to Hadoop and Map/Reduce and the infrastrucure
  • Support from Hadoop and Map/Reduce experts
  • Food and drinks

At the end of the event, participating teams and developers get to present what they have done, what they learned and what problems they faced. It’s an opportunity to develop something great, learn Hadoop MapReduce and meet people interested in big data.

Who is it for?

Developers, researchers and students in big data or interested in working with big data. The best thing is if you have something you want to get done that requires a lot of computing power. Alternatively, you can come to learn to use Hadoop. Basically Hack/Reduce is about developers, working with new people, pizza, unlimited computing power and large data sets.

Who is involved?

Get Involved

Smart or Lucky? What Differentiates Successful Technology Companies?

I will be on a panel tomorrow discussing whether it is better to be smart or lucky.

I know which one I would pick. What do you think is more important? Share your answer of on before the panel.

Join us for a roundtable teleconference moderated by Judith Hurwitz, author of the newly published Smart or Lucky? How Technology Leaders Turn Change into Success, with panelists Chris Selland, Jevon MacDonald and Jeff Nolan. We will discuss approaches and recommendations on how to win in competitive technology markets.

Creating successful technology companies that stand the test of time is never easy. No matter how smart an entrepreneur is timing is everything. Having the right idea and right execution at the time when the technology infrastructure is in place and the market is ready can be the difference between success or failure. But even this lucky isn’t enough. A successful technology company needs to have a well defined growth strategy that takes into account changing customer needs. The failure rate is indeed high but there are techniques and strategies that can help turn great ideas into sustainable companies.

Updated to include proper link.