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TeamCamp Predictions for 2015

December 23, 2014

Chris Schmitt

For the 5th year running TeamCampers spent a happy evening together talking about things to come in 2015. This is always one of my favorite TeamCamp meetings as talking about interesting technologies and the changes ahead always leads to creative ideas and opportunities. This year was no different:

Ian – 1. Tanking oil prices are really going to hurt Alberta and Canada however this will prove to be a boon for Ontario; 2. There will be digital factories that will manufacture many things in one place (Tri told us this is called “in-place manufacturing”).

Alain – 1. Quad copter drones will start making deliveries; 2. There will be a lot of drone accidents; 3. Someone will invent the teleportation of odors. Awe, that stinks!

Chris P – There will be a big boom in eCommerce and a resultant decline in Big Box stores. Chris’ prediction led to a lively discussion on the future of commerce and integration with apps.

Vicki – There will be another housing crash in the United States.

Moni – 1. Over the next few years automated driving will cause huge job losses; 2. Tesla will crash and burn.

Tri – 1. Customized clothing will become more and more popular; 2. It will be a big year for Koneka.

Chris S – 1. Agile will begin to flourish in the enterprise; 2. The invention of highly efficient batteries proliferation of charging stations will finally make electric vehicles viable.

JF – 1. IT security will remain a major issue; 2. A lot of emphasis in IoT, consumer 3d Printing/Scanning, a lot of Kickstarters. It still won’t be mainstream as you won’t be able to purchase 3d printed replacement parts for your broken home appliance yet, but we’re heading that way; 3. The current SaS trend will continue; 4. Windows 10 might actually be decent.

Have a Happy Holiday and joyful and prosperous New Year!


PS – You can review predictions from previous years here.


TeamCamp: Days of Future Past

May 16, 2014

Chris Schmitt

A lot of things have changed in the almost six years I’ve been running TeamCamp. When we first started TeamCamp: Ruby on Rails was still new; there was no iPad; Web 2.0 was at the height of it’s glory; social media was just taking off (Twitter only had a few thousand users); meetups in Ottawa focused on building Startups were rare; incubators like y-combinator were even rarer; and, there was no such thing as a “Lean Startup”. It was the “glory days”. It was like the gold rush. Lot’s of opportunity, everyone was at the starting line, and it was yours for the taking.

Now a lot has changed. There are many vehicles for individuals and teams to pitch and prototype their ideas, and better organized than TeamCamp. The App store has taken over. There are millions of developers building apps even though it’s hard to make money. The bar has been raised. The apps that are successful are professionally executed and marketed, and there are more books and websites about building a startup than you can shake a stick at. It’s an industry in itself.

A lot has changed for me personally as well. In the early days I had a burning desire to build something and perhaps start my own company. Since then I’ve realized that the more I learned, and the more out-of-the-box ideas I brought back to my employer, the more successful I became as an “intrepreneur”.  I’ve also witnessed the incredible sacrifices and struggles that entrepreneurs face, enough to know that quitting your job to start a company not a trivial decision.

It’s time to turn a new chapter in TeamCamp. The promise of TeamCamp was to form “like-minded individuals into teams for the purpose of turning smart ideas into startups”. We’ve had some success, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun, and I’ve seen many of my TeamCampers grow into new opportunities and exciting careers. While I don’t think I can deliver in the original promise of TeamCamp anymore (there are other, better venues as mentioned), judging by the ever growing TeamCamp membership, I think there is still value in the concept.

TeamCamp will be on hiatus for the summer. I will be polling the TeamCamp membership over the next few weeks to better understand what you expect from TeamCamp so that if and when we return in the fall, we will be in a better position to  serve the community. I appreciate your feedback.





TeamCamp Kickoff this Thursday, Sept 19th

September 16, 2013

Chris Schmitt

I have a little homework for you in preparation for this Thursday’s meeting. But don’t worry: it’s simple and fun! I’d like you to think about 3 problems that you encounter as you go about your day. They can be big or small – it doesn’t matter. You might want to think about keeping an idea journal so you don’t lose track of your thoughts. Don’t put too much into solutioning at this point.

Here’s an example: yesterday while cycling I started thinking there must be a better way to know when cars are approaching from behind. You see, I had a pretty close call the other week. I had been checking my mirror and didn’t see anything behind me. I started to make a left turn and next thing I heard its the sound of a truck blowing its horn and screeching tires. I didn’t get hurt, and the driver was safe, but it scared the hell out of me. So my problem is to find a better way to warn a cyclist that a vehicle is close behind.

It’s that simple. At the meeting we’ll pick one or two of the problems and apply a brainstorming technique called Morphological Matrix (I wrote about it here) to come up with some unique ways of solving that problem.

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!


Why you haven’t heard from me in awhile…

May 1, 2012

Chris Schmitt

Update: I now have a blog for my cycling trip:

This Saturday, May 5th, I’m taking a 1-way flight to Vancouver, returning home by bicycle. It’s going to take me 6 weeks to get to Toronto where my employer, Allstream, is located.

This is a life long dream for me, one I was beginning to give up hope on. My love, Vicki, convinced me that there’s no better time then the present. She has supported me all the way: giving me the time to train, helping me to plan the trip, and giving that extra push whenever I start having second thoughts (6 weeks is along time to be alone and away from home). Now here I am, just 5 days away, packed and ready to go. I still can’t believe it. It is a dream come true.

I’m very excited about re-starting TeamCamp when I get back. When I’m on my bike my mind flourishes with new ideas and new approaches. I’m looking forward to doing some fun and interested things things with our small but energetic TeamCamp group when I get back.

For, your information, the next general TeamCamp meeting will be on June 21st. RSVP on Meetup here.  I don’t have a theme for our next meeting yet but I have a feeling we’ll have a lot to talk about.

Thank you all, for supporting TeamCamp over the years. I look forward to seeing you on my return.

Pitching an Idea by Telling a Story

October 30, 2011

Chris Schmitt

A great way to pitch an idea is to tell a story.  Explain how you came up with your idea by explaining the situation, the problem that arose, and the difficulty you experienced in solving it. If your situation  resonates with your audience then you’ll have an easier time explaining your idea and how it would have solved the problem.

For example, the idea for Twegather came from the experience of planning a “geek” BBQ. We used Twitter to communicate the BBQ and soon we found that people were replying to and retweeting the invitation. The word spread quickly.  The problem was we had no way to easily track how many were coming, how many were thinking about it and how many couldn’t make it. Our idea was to build an application that would keep track of this for us.

Now I’m not saying that telling a great yarn means you’ve got a great idea. Others may not feel the same urgency as you did to solve the problem. But at least it won’t be because they didn’t “get it”.

All great ideas originate this way. They solve a concrete problem in a simple way. Now it’s up to you to explain your idea in a way that people will understand.

Care to try your hand at telling your idea as a story? Come out to TeamCamp this Thursday, November 3rd. RSVP here.

– Chris

PS – For more great ideas on pitching ideas  read the book “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath. The Heath brothers reveal the anatomy of ideas that “stick” and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier. You can download the first chapter here. Interestingly, the process of making an idea sticky, i.e. keeping it simple; making it unexpectedconcretecredible and emotional; and then telling it as a story; is a great way to test if you’re on to something.

Feb 17th with Robert Saric – Gamefluence: How to Get in the Game?

February 14, 2011

Chris Schmitt

Join us on Feb 17th for a lively discussion with Robert Saric around “Gamefluence”, or how to add gaming elements to a website to improve the user’s experience.

A large part of Robert’s research on game mechanics has been around the psychology of achievements, appealing to one’s competitive ego and understanding two distinct personalities: incrementalists and completionists. Robert is in the process of building a gaming engine for the community, that will ultimately serve as a framework for motivation without encouraging nonconstructive community behaviours (i.e. just getting the most points).   His goal is to educate their users with relevant advice based on each user’s chosen career path, congratulate completion of learning modules and tasks, and ultimately, make “fun” a consequence of a successful learning experience where the outcome can fundamentally benefit each user’s career.  Based on his research, and the fact that everyone is talking about gaming mechanics, Robert thought it would be worth while to share some of his thoughts on this topic.

1   Gaming is huge, let me quantify it for you.
2.  Don’t use the word Gamification (it’s as bad as Web 2.0).
3.  Gaming is all about experience.  That’s it.
4.  The psychology of game theory
5.  The evolution of gaming continues .. in 5 years .. in 10 years

For more information, see Robert’s article on the topic.

Robert is the co-founder of, a startup that’s focused on connecting employers with talented students and recent-grads. has helped almost 3,000 of its users establish powerful, relevant online resumes that are directly applicable to their chosen career path. As a speaker, Robert has had the opportunity to present to students across Canada talking about:  career success, digital leadership, influence and interaction, and even game theory in social commerce.  He enjoys participating in open-forum/panel discussions, and some of the more recent topics included: monetizing mobile apps, identity management, lessons for student entrepreneurs and social network awareness.

Where: The Code Factory, 2nd floor (Ring the buzzer to come to take the elevator to the 2nd floor)

When: Feb 17th, 2011 at 6pm

RSVP: Here

– Chris

Next Meeting Feb 17th with Robert Saric

January 21, 2011

Chris Schmitt

The next TeamCamp meeting will be Feb 17th with @Robert_Saric. Robert will speak about Gamification of web applications/sites. More details to follow.

Note: there will be no regular TeamCamp meeting on Feb 3rd.

TeamCamp Jan 20th

January 12, 2011

Chris Schmitt

The last project night at TeamCamp was so successful that we’re going to do it again. We’ll keep working on projects underway. If you have a new idea for a project drop me a note and we’ll set aside some time to discuss it. If you’re new to TeamCamp, please make sure you review and acknowledge the TeamCamp Participation Agreement.

RSVP: here

Where: The Code Factory, ring the buzzer to take the elevator to the 2nd floor

When: Jan 20th, 2010 from 6:00 to 8:00PM

TeamCamp Start-up Christmas

December 8, 2010

Chris Schmitt

It’s a TeamCamp Christmas! Last year we enjoyed some eggnog and festive treats while revealing our predictions for 2010. It was such a blast that we’ve decided to do it again! So get out your crystal ball and come on down to The Code Factory at 6pm at 246 Queen St. West, Ottawa, and let’s hear your predictions for 2011. Bring your favourite holiday treat.

RSVP here

When: Dec 16th, 2010 at 6pm

Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St. West, 2nd Floor (ring the buzzer to take the elevator)

Where Do Ideas Come from?

November 24, 2010

Chris Schmitt

Great post in Seth Godin’s blog this morning on where ideas come from. Seth has an uncanny way of summing things up concisely. You’ll notice that a lot of the items listed have to do with overcoming fear, or what Seth refers to as the “lizard brain”. That’s the little voice inside your head that says things like: “it’s been done before”, or “nobody would be interested in that” or “no one would ever pay for that”. Beat that little voice down because nothing ever gets done by not starting.

Got an idea to share? Want to overcome that little voice in your head? Come to TeamCamp next Thursday and share your idea. Who know’s, maybe you’ll spark the “next big thing”.

Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St. West

When: Thursday Dec 2nd at 6pm


If you’re new to TeamCamp please acknowledge the Participation Agreement