The REAL Spring Newsletter

So I do apologize that I created the “3rd winter”, as my wife called it, after publishing the first “spring” newsletter.  Spring was almost here for our last meeting, and summer could very well be here when you read this, but I offer no guarantees on the weather in Grey-Bruce.

A couple fun days coming up May 4th and May 5th.  Celebrate Star Wars with a free VRCade night at KP9 May 4 – KP9 VRcade Night and follow that up the next day at Cesaro Kitchen Table for their Cinco Cervezas celebration with Beau’s – 5 beer samples paired with 5 food courses Cesaro Cinco Cervezas Celebration.

The network continues to grow! Our last meeting saw 17 people out for the User Experience Testing presentation and we are at 72 Facebook group members.  Of special note, my colleague and our lead developer recently relocated to just outside Hanover from London.  I like to think I had a hand in selling him on Grey County living #areyoumost . I also presented about the group at the last Owen Sound Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee, furthering the mission of advocating for tech in our community.

Related to advocating for tech in our community, I attended the Grey County Economic Development Breakfast Mixer:  Investing in Innovation.  Hanover local and now Partnerships Lead at The DMZ  in Toronto, Jordan Becker was the keynote speaker.  Honestly I really wasn’t exactly sure how incubators truly worked before Jordan’s presentation.  Coming out of it I was clear on incubators role, which can be summed up in the 4 C’s – Customers, Coaching, Capital and Community.  Jordan’s presentation was of great value as, we the community, plot the direction of the “STIC” – Skill Trades and Innovation Centre.  Again Grey County Economic Development team doing a great job to engage and educate as we move forward on this very important project. Note – If you have a better idea for a name for the “STIC”, share with us/Grey County.

The much anticipated User Experience Testing meeting happened on April 24th.  Lynda Chiotti gave us a great presentation on the concepts of user experience testing, testing techniques, and answered questions on applying these concepts and techniques in our own work.  She also provided a case study of Aaron Mader’s “Memories Project” noting the types of target users and use cases she felt would apply.  I definitely looked at our software differently the next day.  One of the things from the presentation which really resonated with me was that what appears to be easy and straightforward for the creator/developer of the software may not be as easy and straightforward for the end user.  So it’s important to allow users to discover the software without intervention to really get a sense of its usability, and that is why this testing is so important.  Lynda shared some online resources with us that you may find useful.

I failed to highlight in the last newsletter some of the tech Aaron is using for his project.  Aaron is learning about and leveraging available machine learning APIs to process the photos and audio.  These APIs can add data to the photos which allow for organizing / classifying and can process the audio files providing a synopsis / key points from the audio.  I wanted to make sure that members who weren’t at the meeting knew about the tech Aaron is employing, it’s really cool, and maybe just a little scary?

It was a full house at Heartwood Hall for the first Mentor Mash in Grey Bruce.  11 successful entrepreneurs & mentors from the Bluewater Angels, Georgian College Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre and additional successful local business people gave their time to offer their expertise in a speed-dating style evening of mentoring. Approximately 14 different entrepreneurs and inventors brought their ideas to each mentor to gather information and ask any questions they had about either expanding their current business or starting a new one.  “It was a successful night for everyone involved and I hope they do this again”, says April Robinson who was supporting a friend with a new invention.

Look for our next meeting near the end of June.  Just working out the specifics of the topic and timing.

And if the “4th winter” comes, it’s not my fault.

Cheers, Mike

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