Wanted: Startups for a research study


Our friends at Microsoft are looking to Toronto as a hot bed of startup activity. Don’t take my work for it, the Startup Compass folks ranked Toronto number 8 on their Startup Genome report for startup activity. The study is being conducted by our friend Sam Ladner (LinkedIn), a Senior User Researcher in Microsoft’s Office Envisioning team. Sam is ex-Toronto, she joined Microsoft six months ago in Redmond. She researches trends in the future of work, and helps builds prototype productivity technology based on that research.

She is looking for participants for this study to help Microsoft learn more about how startups organize themselves, choose technology tools, and their organizational culture. The data will be used to build technology for the next generation of Microsoft products.

About the Study

Participants would need to sit down with a researcher and possibly a note-taker for a 1-hour interview, but for observation they would go about their work day as normal. The researcher and note-taker would stay out of the way and simply observe and take notes.

The researcher would take handwritten notes and some audio recording. With participants’ permission, the researcher would also record video and take still photographs.

All data collected during the research would be used internally at Microsoft. The data would be held on a secure server that sits behind Microsoft’s firewall. This server is only accessible with valid Microsoft employee credentials.  Raw data such as photographs, fieldnotes, audio recordings and unedited video will only be accessible to the immediate research team. Edited video and/or photo slideshows will be shared with other Microsoft employees. The research report will not be published publicly, though the researchers may refer to the aggregated and anonymous findings in professional conferences or symposia. Participants may opt to have video of their offices and themselves to be included in these conferences or symposia, but by default their identities will only be known to internal Microsoft employees.

We will build prototype technologies, based on these findings. We hope to build the next generation of tools that startups themselves need.

Participate in the Study

Microsoft is currently recruiting for an ethnographic study of startups and freelancers. The belief is the number of these workers will continue to grow, and Microsoft wants to know more about how self-employed information workers use technology. If you are a startup founder, Microsoft wants to meet you. The study involves face-to-face interviewing and some job shadowing. Microsoft offer a cash or software incentive in appreciation of your participation.

Fieldwork will take place in early July.

If you want to participate or would like additional information, please complete the form below:



Microsoft, WPC and Entrepreneurs in Toronto

Microsoft <3 Entrepreneurs - WPC Party

Did you know that 15,000 global players in the Microsoft ecosystem are descending on Toronto in July? Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is happening July 8-12, 2012 at the ACC and the MTCC. That’s a lot of people building on the stack. The BizSpark One program was one that I championed during my time at the Microsoft, and there are a lot of Canadian companies that are building on the Microsoft stack:

Mark Relph (LinkedIn, @mrelph) and the Redmond and Silicon Valley crews will be in Toronto. Mark used to be my boss at Microsoft Canada, and has subsequently caught the startup bug. He’s helping startups through BizSpark and BizSpark One programs. Along with the folks from a far, Christian Beauclair (LinkedIn, @cbeauclair) and Shane Davies (LinkedIn) will also be around to support Canadian startups.

And whether you love or hate the Microsoft stack, they are trying to move to greater independence to enable developers. Microsoft is looking for ways to help startups, BizSpark, Azure and other programs like Kinect Accelerator make it easier to understand why.

Why not join WPC attendees and other startups on July 10 at MaRS?


Ctrl Alt Compete – A startup documentary

Interesting my friends from Microsoft are hosting a screening of Ctrl Alt Compete which features our own Josh Sookman (LinkedIn, @jsookman) of Guardly and Brian Wong (LinkedIn, @brian_wong) of Kiip. It’s a documentary about building startups and the founders passion, fortitude and the shear insanity of doing this. Looks like a fun take, realistic take.

Watch the trailer.

Trailer on YouTube for Ctrl Alt Compete

The movies takes a revealing look at the startup and emerging business scene through the eyes of five founders and their teams telling a story of the passion, fortitude and insanity that is bringing a startup to life. Microsoft believes tech entrepreneurship is fundamentally changing the world. The things that developers create; the ideas that they’re able to make reality; the tangible value they deliver is reshaping the way people live their lives every day. Building a startup from nothing to something is hard—REALLY hard.

Ctrl Alt Compete

Red Carpet Event for the Canadian Premiere of Ctrl Alt Compete Screening

Join a networking crowd of investors, community start-ups and entrepreneurial students for the first Canadian screening of Ctrl Alt Compete – a Microsoft movie documentary on what it takes to be a start-up:Passion. Fortitude. Insanity.

There are lots of tech startups out there taking their shot at changing the world. There’s no shortage of ideas. The infrastructure to build quickly is cheaper and more accessible than it’s ever been…there’s lots of capital floating around for the right idea. If only it were that simple! Building a startup from nothing to something is hard—REALLY hard. There is a “story behind the story” of just how hard it is to go from inception to reality and become the products and services that we use every day.

It’s a story of the power of people pouring their passion, drive and dedication into building something that changes the world—no matter how hard.

We believe that is a story worth telling and sharing.

At this premier screening event, you’ll hear insights from industry executives, Start-Ups from the cast and local leaders in the Start-Up community.