DoorDash makes a more permanent home in Toronto

TORONTO – The food delivery app; DoorDash (DASH: NYSE) announced the launch of a new office in Toronto to house its ever-growing Engineering team. This will be the company’s first International Engineering hub and serve as a model for similar hubs in future.

The move is part of a greater trend of tech companies, such as Netflix and Twitter, setting up operational headquarters in Canada’s most populous city.

Besides leveraging into Toronto’s talent pool, the expansion will also serve the growing merchant, consumer, and delivery teams across Canada. The company recently onboarded Qaiser Habib; a veteran engineering leader with extensive experience leading large engineering teams to head the expansion. According to Habib, the expansion will “bring a local perspective to these efforts, focusing on the needs of our Canadian customers”.

Altogether, the hub will seek to fulfill 50 full time Engineering roles who will work on critical business projects with a focus on expanding DoorDash’s reach and breadth of services throughout Canada.

In a news release on Wednesday, the company specified its core areas of focus:

  • Launching New Merchant Services
  • Scaling a Reliable, On-Demand Logistics App
  • Enhancing Online Ordering for Restaurants
  • Building a Leading Customer Loyalty Product

Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford congratulated the company on its growth. “As a leader in innovation and technology, DoorDash is set up for success in Ontario,” said Premier Ford. “We are laying the foundation for a strong economic recovery in Ontario and companies like DoorDash will play a significant role in our future success. With our deep pool of talent and commitment to cutting red tape, Ontario will once again be the best jurisdiction in the world to do business.”

DoorDash shares have risen over recent days, as investors dismiss the company’s wider-than-expected quarterly losses blamed on short-term lack of delivery drivers. The company also posted a cheery outlook, raising its forecast as consumer demand continues to outstrip its previous estimates.

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Netflix selects Toronto for its Canadian HQ

TORONTO – Netflix has chosen Toronto as the location for its proposed Canadian office. It had announced its intention to set up in Canada in February and began a selection process to determine which city would best suit its needs.

“Our pitch was clear. Toronto is a film-friendly city, which welcomes and celebrates the screen industry in the broader sense: digital, television and film’ said Mayor John Tory. “The quality and diversity of our talent pool is second to none, anywhere in the world … we have a robust and ever-expanding production and post-production industry including a great partnership with our unions,” he added.

Netflix expects to add 10 to 15 employees based in Toronto. Their first hiring priority is the content executive, who will work directly with creators on ideas and pitches for films and series. Job postings for other Toronto positions will be announced on the careers section of its website.

Netflix has also set up a production hub in Toronto two years ago when it leased studio spaces along the city’s waterfront. It spends around $200M annually on shows in Toronto and has invested more than $2.5 Billion in production in Canada since 2017.

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Reddit to set up in Canada increasing global presence

Reddit, the popular social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website has announced its plans to open a location in Toronto. As per the announcement, the Canadian flagship will include dedicated Management, Sales, Community, and Engineering teams. Following its rapid growth in the US market and expansion into the UK in 2020; the Canadian move was to be expected since it is home to the site’s third-largest market in terms of user traffic.

Globally, Reddit brings together more than 52 million Daily Active Users across more than 100,000 communities related to just about every topic — from pets to personal finance and everything in between. Recently, Reddit made headlines because of the coordinated actions of users on its subreddit forum, r/WallStreetBets, in buying shares of certain stocks and the subsequent controversy surrounding ‘the short squeeze’ and accusations of market manipulation.

The site is accused of not monitoring its chat forums adequately in favour of free speech. Reddit has made attempts to redress these concerns by making some changes to its moderation policies, as it looks to monetize of its ad revenue potential.

Reddit attracts a younger, more informed and diverse demographic. For example in Canada, they claim users skew young with 59% aged between 18 – 34, and more than 40% of users are female – who spend as much as 31 minutes per day on the site, placing it ahead of Instagram and Snapchat by some estimates.

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Snapchat launches TikTok rival Spotlight

SANTA MONICA – Snapchat has launched its latest feature called Spotlight – a recreation of the immensely popular Chinese social media platform, TikTok, in a bid to attract users back and revive its previous fortunes.

Although Snapchat previously showcased videos, Spotlight now makes auto-playing user-created videos a prominent feature of the app, allowing viewers to browse through by swiping up or down. An algorithm suggests content based on user preference but also allows them to delve into a specific topic.

To sweeten the deal further, Snapchat has promised to invest serious capital behind its latest project. It is allowing creators a chance to monetize their videos, promising to pay up to $1 million per day for the platform’s most popular content. Monetization is one key aspect missing from TikTok – something creators have rallied for in the past.

Other differences include the ability to upload videos without a username or handle, and the lack of a comments section. Spotlight does not allow watermarked videos in an effort to discourage reloads of Tiktok content, something that has plagued Instagram’s Reels since its launch.

Snapchat is an American multimedia platform that allowed users to post pictures and videos, with its key feature being that content is available only for a limited time. The platform, founded in 2011, rose in popularity between 2014 and 2018 until its growing user base plateaued as a result of Instagram and Facebook launching similar features on their apps.

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Designing with Empathy: Understand your customers

Saturday, April 11th 2020

Webinar details

How to better understand the humans behind your customers.

Too often, customers do something that we struggle to understand. Why did they not end up buying our product? Why did they request a refund? Why do we never hear from them after they sign up?

We’ll walk through how the practice of empathizing with your customers can reveal the secret world of customer decisions and motivations. Our Empathy Discovery processes and tools will help you simplify your customer experience and drive better business performance.

At the end of the webinar, you will have a better understanding of: The value in practising customer empathy

Quantitative and qualitative research processes and tools

Key question(s) that will be addressed:

1. How do we understand what customers expect from us?

2. How can we include customers in our product discovery/delivery process?

3. What types of results can we expect from practicing Empathy Discovery?

Key takeaways: 

*If you’re not practising some form of Customer Discovery, your business is at risk of being disrupted

*Understanding customer decisions, motivations and emotions play a significant role in maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage. 

*Amazing customer experiences aren’t random; they are meticulously crafted and iterated upon.

About the Presenter: 

Sam Kashani has over a decade of experience in design strategy, user experience design, business design, user research, and creative leadership. He is passionate about developing simplified products, empowering organizations to be customer-centric, and finding ways to make businesses more revenue. He has delivered strategies for a wide range of products within healthcare, fin-tech, commerce, and retail, enabling growth, adoption, and engagement

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Presentation Slides: 

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Do you have a Futures Thinking mindset?

Saturday, March 14th 2020

Webinar details

This webinar is aimed at Business Leaders and will provide an overview of the leading tools, techniques, and principles of Strategic Foresight and a systematic approach to applying them to identify growth opportunities and anticipate risks in the near plausible future and develop a strategy to win using Rapid Foresight Canvas.

​​​​​​​Rapid Foresight Canvas builds on strategic foresight to help identify the changes and shifts in the business environment and map out what business competencies would be needed for the plausible future world through a sprint-based approach and facilitating a structured conversation with your team.

About the Presenter

Sajan is a Customer Experience Strategist, working at the intersection where business goals, customer needs, and technology meet. He leverages his knowledge and experience in human-centred design, strategic foresight, service design, social and behavioural sciences to deliver critical & creative insights, future-looking strategy, and desirable digital experiences for customers. He enjoys writing about technology, design, and business and focuses on consumer and behavioural trends in the context of strategic and innovation purposes across various industries and sectors. Sajan currently works with Questrade and has previously worked as a consultant with the Digital Services team at PwC and Strategic Foresight team at Idea Couture, helping companies tackle disruption and innovate through digital experience innovation. He holds an MBA degree from Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and an engineering degree in Automobile.

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