Last night, over 400 people piled into the MaRS Discovery District to commemorate the one year anniversary of Product Hunt Toronto. The sell-out event was a who’s who of the Toronto tech community, unifying product makers and hunters in a nightlong celebration of what the city can build.
The event was headlined by Simon Vallee, Slack Product Manager, serial entrepreneur, and Canadian ex-pat. Focused on the art of creating products that are both beautiful and functional, Vallee clearly articulated the process behind Slack’s design culture, which he advocated for in our exclusive interview. Detailed and engaging, it was a talk befitting one of Canada’s fastest-growing startups.
#product triforce: Utility, User Engagement, Compartmentalized, platform UI. Gold, it's like the "smartest lean" . #ProductHuntTO
— Balaji Gopalan (@BalajiGopalan73) August 27, 2015
Vallee’s keynote was followed by updates from two Toronto companies that had presented at previous Product Hunt events: Volley and Wealthsimple. Fitting the theme of the evening, both presentations reflected the current culture of Toronto design: simple, direct, and willing to make tough choices.
Lessons on collaboration with Volley. Be honest. Trash your trash. We are nonlinear. Ask for help. @ProductHuntTO #producthuntTO
— Picatic Toronto (@PicaticTO) August 27, 2015
A panel conversation featuring all presenters followed, with Robleh Jama of Tiny Hearts – you know, the Toronto design shop that has its apps featured by Apple – joining the fray. The participants were quick to compliment each other’s work, reinforcing particular design preferences and references. It was a love fest that provided useful tips for the packed audience.
"If you fundamentally believe in your product, don't let rejection stop you. Keep going." – @simonvallee #producthuntTO #startup
— Shub Sengupta (@shubsengupta) August 28, 2015
Wealthsimple was then honoured with the first-ever Product of the Year award, determined by audience voting. Huda Idrees, Wealthsimple’s Director of Design, accepted the award (after calling her co-workers onto the stage), and was decidedly pumped about the win.
“We’re on a mission to build a world-class product, team, and company,” she told BetaKit. “As excited as we are about what Wealthsimple has accomplished in the past year, we’re even more excited about what we have in store for the future!”
Speaking with Daryna Kulya, Product Hunt Toronto’s organizer, after the event, our conversation focused not on the future but the year in retrospect.
“I started Product Hunt TO because that’s an event I wish existed, event I would want to attend myself,” she said. “Reflecting on yesterday’s celebration, I am proud that something I created for myself became so useful to many others. I am truly privileged to work with an awesome team to make this happen.”
“As I was sitting in the audience yesterday and listening to Simon’s talk and presentations from Volley and Wealthsimple, I realized it is still an event I would love to attend myself,” Kulya continued. “There is so much joy in creating something you want and then seeing others get excited about it!”