Faces of OKGNtech: Rob Dawson
Accelerate Okanagan - Jan 29 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable, and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.

Our community is strong and growing with record speed, and maintaining connections through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic. We’ve got a plan.

Introducing “The Faces of #OKGNtech,” a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram at @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Rob. Rob Dawson is the Founder of the digital marketing agency Top Search Result and co-founder of Hockey by Design, a site focused on visual design and branding in hockey. When Rob isn’t marketing you’ll find him playing sports with the Urban Rec crew or hanging out with his two-year-old son.

[Editor’s Note: Rob also runs the Okanagan Tech Facebook group and the Okanagan Entrepreneurs meetup group. What an OKGNtech all-star!]

What has your own entrepreneurial journey looked like?

“I’ve built so many websites that didn’t go anywhere and just turned into weekend ideas, but I feel like it’s important to go through that phase of trying and failing! You’ve gotta kind of test out a bunch of different ideas, and eventually you’ll come back to what you’re naturally good at. So far for me, that’s been real estate, tech and digital marketing. Those are three things that I keep coming back to!”

What makes you love the kind of work you do?

“I come from a family of entrepreneurs (four generations of them). Something I really enjoy about being a digital marketer is that I get to learn about all the different types of businesses out there! I know a lot of people probably think that looking at Google ads all day could be pretty boring, but every business I work with is so different, and I really have to learn what they do and more importantly who their audience is.”

When did you get into digital marketing?

“My background is actually in business. I got my MBA at the University of Prince Edward Island. I really got into digital marketing back in 2007 when I was doing a co-op at a real estate company and they wanted me to implement some software. The owner was like, ‘This is Google ads. You’re young. Figure it out.’ I’ve essentially learnt everything I know from YouTube. When I started out, no one on P.E.I. knew what Google ads were, so when I told people I was in digital marketing they’d be like, ‘Oh OK, that’s nice.’”

What advice would you give to somebody interested in digital marketing?

“When I first started out I learned everything from WordPress to Drupal to SEO to Facebook ads … all of it! So at first I went really wide, and then I got more and more specialized. I encourage people to test everything out and pivot until something sticks and then really hone in on that specialty. For me, being 10 years into digital marketing, it has opened up so many different doors!”

What do you love most about OKGNtech?

“The Okanagan tech industry really punches above its weight for a small city population-wise. What I mean by that is there’s a lot more opportunity here than you would find in other cities of the same size. Because of that, instead of four degrees of separation, it’s literally, like, one degree of separation. If you meet one person that is a connector, they’ll connect you to everyone. Nobody is hoarding their connections.”

When were you first introduced to OKGNtech?

“I drove across Canada when I moved to B.C. and I was introduced to Okanagan tech literally in the first month that I moved here. I met with Jeff Keen, and he connected me with Shane Austin. I started working out of Shane’s co-working space, coLab, and started getting connected to the community here. Startup Weekend was another big one for me. You can go to an event every day here if you want. The options are there, which is really valuable.”

[Editor’s note: Wondering what events are coming up? Check out Accelerate Okanagan’s events page,  coLab’s events page, or Digital Okanagan Meetup.]

You are a huge supporter of OKGNtech and the overall success of entrepreneurs. Tell us a little bit more about the two groups you’re involved with?

“I run the Okanagan Tech Facebook group because I find that I am always hearing Okanagan tech news, so why not share it! If I didn’t run that page I think I would miss out on that stuff, so it just makes me more aware of what’s actually going on beyond my own stuff. I have also been running that and the Okanagan Entrepreneurs meetup group here in Kelowna. I’ve been running those two for about two years, and I’d count them as hobbies!

Have you made a lot of connections through your two groups?

“I’ve met tons of people through my Facebook group and Entrepreneurs meetup group! Especially those who have just moved to town. If you’re new to town and you want a cheat sheet, like, if you’re looking for a no-BS guide to Kelowna, then I want to meet with you. You always remember the first person you met, right? I remember the first two people I met, and I want to return that favour.”

[Editor’s Note: The Okanagan Entrepreneurs meetup group is made up of nearly up to 900 members. Wanting to get involved? OKGNentrepreneurs.]


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