Launch Videos

April 7, 2008

(The room was very dark, the sound is low, but if you sit really close to your computer, you just might get something.)

The introductory video of the Kickstart launch, held at Casa Loma in Toronto on April 2, 2008.

Lawyer Eddie Greenspan speaking about his twenties, the law and parking.

Entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip talking about his early experiences (getting fired from Dennys restaurant).

Joe Magnotta talking about Lyme disease and the work of the CanLyme foundation.


Written by Emer Schlosser

Launch Wrap-Up

April 4, 2008

Launch Crowd - from above

So. The launch occurred on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at Casa Loma. Though slated to begin at 7:00 pm, a few keeners snuck in early – one even came at 5:15. The authors, with help from the Casa people, Liberty Group and a few friends, set up the event, trying to turn the (somewhat murky) castle into a lively backdrop. With the help of interior designer Reg Dohms (a family friend of Alex’s), small flowerpots on tables bloomed balloon sextets, a coatrack was transformed into an alluring replica of the book’s cover and the book-selling table proclaimed itself in a remarkably colourful fashion. We couldn’t have asked for a better set-up.

When the trickle of people coming in turned to a flood, the staff quickened their pace and dealt properly with the unexpected hundreds. People began talking about the book – which, for authors, is always welcome – and about the location. When the speeches started, it became difficult to fit everyone into the spacious library.

Dundurn representative Beth Bruder got things off to a good start, giving worthy praise to the young stalwart who helped bring Kickstart into the publishing world, Zoe Pope. Then, Andrew Feindel welcomed everyone and the other two authors (Paul Matthews and Alexander Herman) spoke about the book, how it came about and where they see it going in the future. Most of which, ye worthy blog readers, is well known from this site. Paul outlined the plan to bring Kickstart to students, to help them figure out what to do with their lives. Alex (in a somewhat more mercenary move) told people to go to their favourite bookstores and ask for the book (just to see if it’s in stock).

Eddie Greenspan then spoke about his early start as a criminal defence lawyer. He spent a good deal of his speech, however, talking about how the authors had ripped him off with the cost of parking ($5) and drinks ($3). This was all in jest of course, but, for the record, the authors would like to say that those amounts were a) not their decision and b) not going into their pockets. Greenspan helped promote the Kickstart project by explaining how important it would be for young people to learn about these early “success” stories.


Eddie Greenspan speaking at the Kickstart launch (photo: Sarah Guerin)

The founder of GAP Adventures Bruce Poon Tip echoed these comments. He explained that, as someone who once got fired from a Dennys restaurant (and never made the McDonalds training program), it was hard to become an entrepreneur. Sometimes, he said, you feel like an island. It’s important to know that others in Canada are going through the same thing. And so, Kickstart can help with that.

Then Joe Magnotta, a former high school classmate of the authors, spoke about the CanLyme foundation. His father had had Lyme disease and he knows about its devastating effects first hand. The problem in Canada, he explained, was that there’s no awareness – Health Canada barely recognizes it as a serious issue. As a result, it’s rarely diagnosed. This makes prevention extremely difficult.

The launch was a success. They came from many generations, from many fields and from many walks of life. Some flew from Ottawa, some drove from Montreal, some skipped meetings, work, anniversary parties. We couldn’t have asked for any more. The important thing is that we sold a lot of books – the proceeds of which are going to CanLyme. And that people started talking about that awkward time in life when you don’t quite know what to do. Ideas were exchanged, experiences communicated and stories heard. Thank you all!


Pushing Copy: Krista Stout selling Kickstart (photo: Sarah Guerin)

The Casa Loma Library

The Casa Loma library (photo: Sarah Guerin)

Alexander Herman and Paul Matthews introducing Kickstart.

Alexander Herman and Paul Matthews introducing Kickstart (photo: Sarah Guerin)

Listening to speeches in the library.

The audience listening to the speeches (photo: Sarah Guerin)

Bruce Poon Tip

Bruce Poon Tip talking about getting fired from Dennys (photo: Sarah Guerin)


The authors signing books (photo: Sarah Guerin)

As you may know, participant Bruce Poon Tip will be speaking on Wednesday night, along with lawyer Eddie Greenspan. Have a look at this segment done on him for CEO TV.

The Launch Week

March 30, 2008

As some of you may know, we have our book launch coming up this week. It will take place at Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, in Toronto. It will begin at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, April 2. We are thrilled so many people have RSVP’ed, but, to tell you the truth, we are all a little nervous.


Casa Loma in all its over-the-top glory (photo:

Nervous, perhaps, because this is the culmination of a three year project. One that’s consumed us, at times divided us and – thanks to the great participants we’ve had – often inspired us. Way back in February of ’05, we sat down for our first interview with none other than TV personality Valerie Pringle. Alex was pretty shaky during that encounter, being the first time he’d ever been on the question-asking side of an interview. But Valerie was generous with her time and gave some great answers. She has said she’ll attend the launch, which lends the event a nice piece of symmetry.

“…the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started…”

We are also lucky enough to have two (possibly three) of our most interesting features speaking at our event. Eddie Greenspan will regale us with the ups and downs of his start in the criminal justice field. Bruce Poon Tip will talk about founding his unique eco-tourism company, GAP Adventures. Come one, come all: it’s sure to be an interesting evening.


A young Eddie Greenspan with his wife, Suzy.

We’ve always tried to make Kickstart’s underlying philosophy one of helping others. The book tries to use the words of successful Canadians in order to point the way for those young adults whose real lives are just beginning. We include ourselves, for obvious reasons, in this latter category. We’ve learned an awful lot from those who were generous enough to donate their time. Whether it’s about being a ballerina, an entrepreneur or a librarian, we feel that others can learn a lot too.

But maybe there’s something for which we can actually help…

Publishing. This has been a question many young people have on their minds these days – especially those looking to try their hand at writing. Do we have any advice? Well, perhaps. We’re just starting out on this adventure known as publishing a book: hell, we haven’t even had our launch yet. But, with the help of our great publisher Dundurn, we’ve learned a thing or two about getting our book into stores.

First of all, money talks. Every time you see a cookbook at the front of a bookstore, or wonder why your favourite novel has its own little shelf under the Fiction category, there’s a reason. At the large retail chains this usually has to do with how much push a book is getting from its publisher. It’s not the staff being creative with a store’s presentation (which is what we’d always thought). Every placement is the result of a specific agreement, usually made at the top of the chain of command.

We’ve already tried to seek out our book in the great Indigos of Toronto. One particular store was hording it in the backroom, which is understandable: it usually takes a few weeks for a bookstore to process a delivery of books from a distributor. We had to push for them to agree to bring the book to the shelves a little early. Thank you, Indigo.

In fact, in this country, a lot relies on that particular chain. Say what you will about the disappearance of small mom and pop operations, if you get your book into Indigo/Chapters, you’re set. Especially if Heather Reisman likes your style. The jury is currently out on what she thinks of ours… but we know that Ms. Reisman is on the same page as us: she believes in respectful entrepreneurship (see her fantastic Entrepreneur Series with Peter Munk and Jim Pattison, two of our own favourite interviewees), as do we; and she supports great Canadian writing (especially prominent in her Heather’s Picks section). We’re not sure if we fit into this last category, but we’re big fans of those who do. We hope that a relationship with Indigo/Chapters develops. Because, for first time authors, so much relies upon it.

A (somewhat) helpful vid on publishing…

Book Launch Party

February 4, 2008

We’re pleased to announce that, in celebration of Kickstart hitting stores in early March, we are throwing a book launch party in Toronto on April 2nd.

What’s the point of writing a book if you can’t throw a party? And if you’re going to throw a party about ambition and drive, why not stage it at Canada’s only Casa: financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt’s dream house on Austin Terrace at the north end of Spadina Road?

Come join the myriad participants from our book – everyone from lawyer Eddie Greenspan to Valerie Pringle to filmmaker Patricia Rozema – as we raise a glass.

Proceeds from all books sold will go to the CanLyme Foundation (, an organization that helps those suffering from Lymes disease.

Check our website for more details in the coming weeks.