Friday, April 19, 2024
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DemoCamp Toronto: Input Please

Next Monday is DemoCamp Toronto which is the must-attend monthly gathering of designers, developers, and entrepreneurs in Toronto’s tech startup scene.  These events have been happening for over 5 years and keep getting bigger and better.

There’s a great lineup of startup presenting this time around:

There will also be noodles.  There are more details in David Crow’s post and if you haven’t got a ticket yet you should do so quickly because these events almost always sell out.

Please Tell Me What You Want To Hear

But wait, that’s not all – I get to speak too!  David asked me to give a talk to kick things off on customer development, product/market fit and building a startup marketing plan.  Here’s what I’m planning on covering in my talk:

1/ What exactly is a “lean startup” and how is that different from just being poor
2/ An introduction of Customer Development and how that changes the marketing function at a startup
3/ What is product/market fit and how do you know when you have it
4/ What does a lean startup marketing plan look like
5/ Why market segmentation still matters and messaging is still hard
6/ How to transition from marketing to early adopters to a broader audience

Does that sound interesting to you?  Is there something else you’d like to hear?  Should I just stand up and tell jokes instead (hey I’ve been to DemoCamp and I know exactly how hard an audience this is)?

If you could let me know in the comments, I would really, really appreciate it.



  1. It is almost always costly in any startup, people with ambition can get squashed with this. All or any free advice or services, financing opportunities and cost effective ways of doing business are most welcome.
    Good luck with your presentation

    • Hi Terry,
      Thanks for the suggestion. Part of what I’m going to talk about is how to push as much spending out to later in the process as possible so that you aren’t wasting money on building and/or marketing a product people don’t want, or developing a sales channel that isn’t going to work. I’ll try to cover a bit on funding sources too.

  2. Hey April,

    I know a lot of start ups that are transitioning from early adapter customers to broader market, mine being one of them, so I think your topic is timely and appropriate.

    The one thing I always think about when I attend talks on anything is the credibility of the speaker in regards to that subject.

    Have they run their own start up?

    Have they experienced first hand the trials and tribulations of developing a business from scratch?

    Can I put my faith in their advice?

    Do they have skin in the same game that I’m playing?

    • Hi GG,
      Now THAT’s a good question! I will cover my background at the beginning of the talk. I’m a product marketing exec. I’ve held senior positions at a bunch of startups (I ran product marketing at Janna Systems, DataMirror, InfoBright, and a couple of others), I’ve also worked at bigger companies like IBM where I was involved in acquiring startups. Right now I’m splitting my time between 2 startups, one that is later stage and the other that is pre-launch. I’m not a founder. My talk is going to be oriented around what I know, which is marketing. Specifically around what marketing you can do at each stage and when it makes sense to start spending on marketing (including hiring a head of marketing). I’m not going to teach you how to found a company, I’m (hopefully anyway) going to give you some ideas how to market it and grow it after it’s founded. Does that make sense?

  3. Hey, great topics and looking forward to it! The only other thing that I think I’d be interested in would be re: relating this to the business model. I.e., How do you balance giving your product away for free to achieve growth and market penetration vs. actually making money off of your product / service by charging customers?

    Thank you,


    • Hey Rob – I’m going to touch on that – it’s a complicated topic and varies a lot market by market but there are some general things I’ve seen companies do that I can cover.

  4. This sounds like a great talk, and I would love to hear what you have to say. Of course since I live in Tucson, AZ I probably won’t be able to drop by. Would love to see six blogs on these six points in the coming weeks. Thanks, Jan

  5. Hi April

    you seem to be talking about going from customer individual products to marketing for mass markets.

    If I were attending (… for me in Germany, it is too far away…), I would prefer to hear something about building mass market ready products (how to develop them, rollin of requirements,…, L10N-I18N-G11N, how to avoid pitfalls, etc)

    Andreas Rudolph

    • Hi Andreas,
      My focus specifically is marketing. I’m going to talk a bit about how to work with early adopters to figure out if you have a good fit between your product and a market and then how you make the transition from early adopters to a more mass market. I’ll write a blog post on this after the talk to better explain what I’m talking about.

  6. Makes perfect sense April,

    I couldn’t get a ticket before they sold out but Chris Nguyen assures me that if I show up he can rub some elbows on my behalf.

    Here’s hoping I make it.


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