Growing the Food Bank, by Shrinking our….

Hopping in the Inner Harbour for Charity

Harbour Hop 2013 at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, B.C.

We came. We jumped. We lived. We raised money for the VIATeC Food Bank Challenge in support of Victoria’s Mustard Seed.

On Thursday November 28th at twelve noon, roughly one dozen brave souls, myself included, (I use the term ‘brave’ loosely for yours truly) met at the Contech Inc offices and walked down toward Fisherman’s Wharf.

With the Times Colonist and CTV News on hand, the audience of spectators counted down from five, and…… Well, to be perfectly honest, I have next to no recollection of the less than four seconds it took me to get in, and get the heck out.

Many of the veteran jumpers (Victoria Tech firms such as Contech, Starfish Medical, Vigil Health, Telus, and VIATeC to name a few) actually went in a second time just for kicks!

The long and short of it is that we were able to raise money for an extremely important cause.  With one full week to go, it’s not too late to sign up for the VIATeC Food Bank Challenge.  You won’t even have to hop in the harbour.  Well, at least not until next year.  And for those of you there this year, if you have any photos of the event you’d like to share, please shoot me an email so we can post it here and feel warm until next year.

A special thanks goes out to Contech Inc for once again organizing the event, and supplying the trembling jumpers with food and refreshments after the event.

by Steve Hof


Not your Average Room Full of People

Discover Tectoria 2013

Bob McDonald and Ann Makosinski Both Set to Speak.

You’re Welcome Victoria.

With Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks; Ann Makosinski, the 15yr old winner of Google’s Global Science Fair; and more than 70 other gifted presenters and exhibitors, Victoria’s Crystal Gardens promises to have the highest average IQ of any building in Victoria this December 13th for Discover Tectoria.

Loved by audiences across Canada for making complex scientific issues understandable, meaningful, and fun, Bob McDonald is in high demand. A fixture in broadcasting for more than 30 years, he is currently the host of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks, the award-winning science program that is heard by 500,000 people each week. He is the author of numerous bestselling books, and a member of the Order of Canada.

In addition to hosting Quirks & Quarks, McDonald is a regular reporter for CBC TV’s The National. As a writer, he has authored three science books, and contributed to numerous science textbooks, magazines, and newspapers, including The Globe and Mail. His latest book is Measuring the Earth with a Stick.

McDonald has been honoured for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of science within Canada. He is a recipient of the “Michael Smith Award” from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; the “Sir Sanford Fleming Medal” from the Royal Canadian Institute; and the “McNeil Medal” from The Royal Society of Canada. He also won a 2008 Gemini Award for “Best Host in a Pre-School, Children’s or Youth Program or Series.” He holds six honorary doctorates from Canadian universities.

Ann Makosinski, of course, is the fifteen year old Saanich student who, motivated by her friend in the Phillipines who was failing school due to a lack of light to study with, invented a hollow flashlight powered by human thermal energy. Her invention and Google Science Fair Award have her in popular demand, with TEDx talks and many other coming opportunities. Yah, that’s the level of talent bursting out of Victoria right now.

For those of you living under a rock, Discover Tectoria is the preeminent Victoria tech showcase that happens but once every two years.  Besides the more than 70 presenters and exhibitors, the local Gaming Studio and Innovation Showcases have some some incredible hands on experiences to offer; think robots, simulators, and everything in between.  Just picture a room packed with geniuses giving you a sneak peek into both Victoria’s, and the world’s future.

by Steve Hof

Harpos Nightclub

Think you Know your Victoria Geography?

Can you tell us where these photos from days gone by were taken?

We’ve gone with five fairly easy ones this week, just to get off to a quick start….

Leave your guesses in the comments below, and try to guess the year as well.

Photo #1

Old Vic Pic 1

Photo #2

Old Vic Pic 2

Photo #3

Old Vic Pic 3

Photo #4

Old Vic Pic 4

Photo #5

Old Vic Pic 5

Like I said, these ones were pretty easy.  If anyone gets them all right, we’ll kick up the difficulty level a bit.

by Steve Hof

Who Wants to Join VIATeC at SXSW 2014?


Some of the Accelerate Tectoria VIATeC crew are putting together travel plans for SXSW 2014.  Before we start making travel plans, however, we need to know how many of you might be interested in joining us in Austin?

Last year Dan, Rob and Robbie from VIATeC pulled together several Victoria tech companies for the annual event in Texas and created Tectoria House.  Their crew included TicTalking, MediaCore, Yupiq and others, who blanketed the massive festival with good ol’ Tectoria charm, spreading the word about our Imagination Economy.

SXSW Interactive brings together some of the world’s most creative thinkers to talk about many of tomorrow’s most innovative ideas.  The 2014 edition, dubbed An Abundance of Innovation, has hundreds of confirmed sessions, and promises to be an unbelievable opportunity.

SOOOO, you don’t need to make a full commitment yet, but if you’re interested in joining the team in Texas this March, please either leave a comment on this post, or email Robbie Aylesworth in the very near future.

by Steve Hof

Tectoria House at SXSW 2013 Inside Tectoria House

The VIATeC Team at SXSW 2013

It’s the Thoughtful Gifts that Count


Ever tried to meet your hero? No? Well how hard did you really try? Local entrepreneur and proud Tectorian, Dylan Benson, decided he wanted to meet his hero.  His hero just happens to be Alexis Ohanian, and for those of you living under a rock this past decade, Alexis is the co-founder of reddit, one of the most successful and notorious websites in the world. Dylan, however, managed to combine just the right amount of moxie, skill and random acts of kindness to make the meeting a reality.

Roughly 3 ½ years ago Dylan started spending time on reddit, quickly becoming involved enough to create subreddits with his friend Aaron to showcase their favourite content.  As Dylan got more and more into the site, he realized its potential for social and community minded interactions.

Perhaps the most compelling of these social interactions came during Dylan’s first Reddit Secret Santa Experience.  What’s a reddit Secret Santa Experience you ask?  Well, Dylan was given a name, an address to send the gift to, and nothing else. Most people would have simply chosen a generic gift, and while he soon realized the difficulties involved with buying a gift for a complete stranger, he decided to press on.  Dylan spent an inordinate amount of time combing through years of posts this anonymous user had made.  Eventually, he came across one of this man’s posts detailing the childhood memory of losing his beloved Casey Jones action figure while out one day with his mom.  Perfect.  Dylan found the action figure online and quickly sent it along to his Secret Santa recipient.  He was proud to have found a somewhat relevant gift, but had no idea what was about to happen.

Not too many days later, Dylan received a phone call describing a tearful conversation the recipient had just had with his sister.  It turns out there was far more to this story than Dylan had been made aware of…..  The man’s mother had since passed away, but that day still held a strong memory for him, not as the afternoon he lost his toy, but rather as a testament of his mother’s love for him.  He could barely put into words how touched he was, and how much the small gift would forever mean to him.  That day, two people who had never met in person, sealed a lasting friendship.

The Secret Santa Story doesn’t end there, however.  During his quest to find a meaningful gift, Dylan came across numerous users who were frustrated with online gift giving sites.  The sites seemed to offer very little assistance in finding gifts appropriate and meaningful to those they were purchased for.  Dylan, an entrepreneur at heart, recognized the opportunity at hand.  That moment sparked the creation of, a successful Tectoria based website owned by Dylan and his two partners that strives to produce ‘The Ultimate Secret Santa Experience – Year Round.’

Shortly after the Secret Santa experience, Dylan joined the Alexis Ohanian Fan Club.  And while he realizes how goofy it sounds for a grown man to join a fan club, Dylan did so because of how engaging an online presence Alexis was. (Often responding to fans, and involving himself in their conversations)  Dylan received his Welcome to the Fan Club email, and responded in a unique way, mentioning a past blog post of Alexis’ surrounding a grilled cheese sandwich.  Sure enough, Alexis responded to Dylan’s email personally.

Inspired, Dylan approached Alexis’ agent and began negotiating terms regarding a possible speaking engagement here in Victoria.  Dylan also reached out to VIATeC’s own Dan Gunn for assistance.  Dan was excited about the opportunity of bringing Alexis to Victoria for the Thinklandia festival, and swiftly stepped in to help.  Together they were able to secure Alexis as a speaker, and to top it all off, Dylan was given the honour of introducing him.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Dylan used the ten or so minutes he had with Alexis to pitch the Startup community here in Tectoria as an ideal extension of ‘Small Empires’ (the name of a show Alexis hosts.)  Needless to say, Alexis liked the idea and agreed to keep a dialogue going.  (Dylan continues to work with Brandon Gains on making this project a reality, and we’ll keep you posted with any new information.)

Dylan’s story showcases the benefits of perseverance, creativity, and ingenuity. Thankfully, however, the Tectoria community is chalk full of similar tales, so we encourage you to swing by this blog whenever your day calls for a little extra inspiration.

By Steve Hof

Your Free PR Opportunity Awaits


Hello People of Tectoria!

Your friends at VIATeC have decided to start sharing all of the great stories that Tectoria has to offer. Whether you’re a startup entrepreneur, an Accelerator program mentor, a college student with a grand idea, a teacher with an inspirational tale, or simply a Victoria resident who’s been positively influenced by our number 1 sector, LET US KNOW!!!!

How do you let us know? Great question.  In a perfect world you’d type up a 150 – 650 word article, attach it and a few pictures to an email and send it to us.  From time to time, however, we will have time to interview people and write the articles for them.   Did I emphasize ‘from time to time’ enough?  But seriously folks, we want to promote you, your business, and how you fit into the Tectoria story.  YOU, however, have to take the first step.

So, if you’d like some free PR, please send your stories and pics to me, Steve Hof, at  PIKO does a lot of marketing work for VIATeC and our offices are actually here in VIATeC’s Accelerator Building at 2659 Douglas St.  So next time you’re in the neighbourhood, feel free to come introduce yourself and ask us any further questions you may have.

Cheers!  Now let the storytelling begin!

by Steve Hof