R.I.P. Peter Falk

Peter falk

Many people will recognize Peter Falk as the grandfather reading the story in The Princess Bride (and he was great in that), but he’ll always be Columbo and the guy behind the true “Serpentine!” gag to me. Requiescat in pace, and thanks for the inspiration when I needed it most, Lieutenant.


Angry Birds: Kickin’ Ass with Their Shopify Store

angry birds and shopify

entrepreneur logoOne of the best-known of Shopify’s nearly 14,000 stores is the Angry Birds store, where you can buy plush versions of the birds and pigs from the insanely popular videogame. Entrepreneur magazine has a story titled Anger Management, which covers Rovio (the people behind Angry Birds) and why they chose Shopify to sell their merch:

"We looked at a number of different options, but Shopify made the most sense," [Niklas Kari, head of retail] says. "We had strong recommendations from other partners, and setting up the store was easy."

The Angry Birds store opened in October 2010 with the assistance of Mark Dunkley, one of our superstar designers, who cranked out a whole store design from concept to working ecommerce site in 72 hours. Since its opening, they’ve sold 2 million plush toys.

angry birds store

Check out the article in Entrepreneur, and if you’re thinking of starting an online store, Shopify’s the one to go with!

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Ottawa Techie Events Tonight!


Don’t forget:

For more details, see my earlier post on tonight’s events.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


I’ve Never Lived This Close to a Ribfest

Gator bbq

This is the view from my living room window this morning. The Ottawa Chicken-Rib Cook Off starts today on Sparks Street (outside my front door!) and runs through the weekend. I hope to catch some of it tonight, because it’s my only chance — tomorrow morning, I fly to Seattle for BarCamp.


Epic Meal Time T-Shirts!

First, a public service announcement:

bacon is life

epic-meal-timeEpic Meal Time is a YouTube cooking show in which host Harley Morelstein cooks meat-a-licious, bacon-laden, high-calorie meals with booze aplenty on the side. Harley says that Epic Meal Time is basically “Jackass in the kitchen”, but unlike Jackass, I would try their stunts (and food) at home.

Here’s Meat Building 101, an Epic Meal Time episode where they visit a home in the “student ghetto” of my alma mater, Crazy Go Nuts University and build a replica of Grant Hall out of meat:

Epic Meal Time now has a store! It features a line of T-shirts with designs that fans will find very, very familiar:

epic meal time shirts

And guess what powers Epic Meal Time’s store:

shopify logo


BarCamp Tour Update: Seattle This Weekend, New Orleans Next Month, and Toronto…Soon!

BarCamp Seattle

seattle barcamp

This weekend, I’ll be in Seattle for BarCamp as part of the BarCamp tour, a cross-North-America sponsorship put together by five startups: Batchblue, Grasshopper, MailChimp, Wufoo and the company for whom I am representative, Shopify.

BarCamp is an unconference – a gathering that turns the traditional notion of a “conference” upside-down. Rather than the content being determined by its organizers, it’s determined by the attendees. At the start of the conference, any attendee can propose a session topic, and if it’s accepted by the group, that session gets put on the schedule grid and assigned a time slot and a room. Sessions themselves are somewhat different from sessions at a traditional conference: while there’s still roles akin to a “presenter” or “presenters” and an “audience”, the line between the two is considerably more fuzzy. They’re closer in spirit to open discussions rather than lectures.


BarCamp Tour are not your typical sponsors. Just as BarCamp is an unconference that turns the notion of a conference upside-down, you might say that we’re “unsponsors” doing the same to what is traditionally viewed as sponsorship. Yes, we provide funding to various BarCamps, but we do something that most sponsors don’t do: we show up and participate. We help out the organizers with everything from putting together parties to helping move furniture and clean up. We take part in the sessions, sometimes as participants in the “audience”, sometimes as “presenters”. While we do promote our companies, it’s not in a hard-sell way, and often, we do it by listening to and learning from the people there – after all, they’re potential customers, partners and even hires.

BarCamp Seattle takes place this weekend on Saturday, June 24th and Sunday June 25th at the Adobe Conference Center in Seattle’s Fremont neighbourhood (801 N 34th Street). Saturday is a full day with check-in starting at 8:00 a.m. and the unconference kicking into full swing at 9:00 a.m.; Sunday is a half day with check-in starting around 8:00 a.m. (emphasis on around; there’s a party on Saturday night) and the unconference resuming at 9:00 a.m..

BarCamp Seattle, like all BarCamps, is free but you need to register. To register, visit BarCamp Seattle’s EventBrite page.

BarCamp New Orleans

barcamp new orleans

My next BarCamp will be BarCamp New Orleans, also known as BarCamp NOLA. I’m rather looking forward to this one for a few reasons:

BarCamp New Orleans takes place on Saturday, July 16th and Sunday, July 17th at the Launch Pad coworking/startup space (643 Magazine Street, Suite 102). Registration on the Saturday is at a very civilized 9:30 a.m. with the unconference getting into full swing at 10:00 a.m. and running until 5:00 p.m.. Sunday is a “Hack Day” with registration at 9:30 a.m., start at 10:00 a.m. and running until 5:00 p.m..

Like all BarCamps, BarCamp New Orleans is free but you need to register. You should register soon – only 76 spaces remain as of this writing!

BarCamp Toronto


A couple of weeks ago, I put out the call for help in getting together a BarCamp in Accordion City. We haven’t had one in four years and I think it’s about time! The other folks on the BarCamp Tour, most notably Jonathan Kay of Grasshopper who absolutely loves “Toe-RON-toe”, have expressed interest in having one in Canada and are willing to be a sponsor.

A great collection of people have stepped forward and volunteered to help. I’ll be meeting with them online very shortly (I’m in Ottawa for the summer, but I return to Accordion City in the fall) to discuss what happens next, but know this: the first step toward bringing BarCamp back to Toronto has been made.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Techie Events This Wednesday in Ottawa


If you’re in the Ottawa area on Wednesday and you’ve been looking for tech get-togethers or a chance to meet the Shopify crew, you’re in luck! We’ve got a couple of events taking place, and as the Shopify spokesmodel, I’ll be at both of them:

I’ve got both events written up on the Shopify Tech Blog and Global Nerdy. See you there!