In memory of Hans Gregersen

I was grieved to learn that Hans Gregersen, a familiar face at Vernon’s Geek Beers, passed away in April.

He’d told me he had cancer last August, and knew it was terminal. The last we spoke was in October.

It’s incredible sad to know he’s gone. ❤️

Hans was a regular at Vernon Geek beers (starting in 2015). He was gentle, kind, and smart.

I loved hearing about the stuff he was working on in Unity, his thoughts on programming, and his passion for games.

📷 Photos of Hans
💐 You can read his obituary here (and share memories)

We will miss him. We’ll miss his gentleness, we’ll miss his laugh, we’ll miss hearing him share his interests with us.


Coronavirus sucks

How are you doing?

I’m feeling… out of sorts. The rapid spread of coronavirus, and the resulting isolation measures, have taken a toll on many of us.

On one hand, I know that extreme social distancing is incredibly important (I wrote about this here).

On the other hand, I’m getting messages like this from local business owners:

Many local eateries are voluntarily moving to close dine-in (and do take-out) in order to flatten the curve and encourage social distancing.

Vernon restaurants, bars, cafes, and services are hurting. 💔

  • Daily revenues are already down 50% or more.  😳
  • Most will have to lay off their staff.
  • Many have decided to suspend operations.
  • Some likely won’t make it through this.

In the best of times, main street businesses operate on slim margins. They’re all scrambling to figure this out.

The government has promised some help, but none of them knows what that means.

We need to help!

Here’s what we can do right now to help:

  • Order gift cards online.
  • Order take-out as much as you can (if they’re still open).
  • Encourage them. Tell them you care.

Here are some businesses I’ve been in touch with, and ways they’re asking for help:

Andrew, at Ratio Coffee & Pastry

“Please, if you can, tell people to pre-order donuts for tomorrow (order form will be up shortly). Also, we’re going to try to do online pizza orders (for pickup). You can still take drinks to go right now!”

Pearl, at Marten Brewpub:

“Please tell folks to grab cans UnderGround Kombucha when they shop. We are in Askews, Butcher boys, Safeway, Nature’s Fare, Railtrail cafe, Quality Greens, Choices and Lakeview markets. Also, we will be selling bombers and new growler starting tomorrow by request for pickup in the afternoon.”

David, at The Fig:

“If you are in a position to order food to go or delivery, please do so not just from us, but from all the remaining restaurants in town! You can also buy gift cards now that you know you will use later. The government has announced funding to support businesses but no information on how to access this has been released as of yet, so we are all hoping to weather the storm.”

Kelly, Midtown Bistro:

“Starting tomorrow we will be offering a special takeout menu for family-style, healthy, local food. We will offer delivery or even pick up out the back door. We are taking so many extra precautions to keep everyone safe.”

If you can help, please do.

A few other items from our community:

  • Daryl Chymko is organizing an online hangout tomorrow at 15:30. Here’s the link.
  • Need a sign or digital graphic made for COVID-19? Lesia is doing work free for frontline health care workers. Contact her at:
  • Does anybody need a 3d printer? VO2 Master bought an Onyx One 3D printer in December. Used it maybe 5x times. They’re trying to sell it for 70% of what it’s worth – around CAD4,000.

Stay safe,
Justin Jackson
On behalf of Startup Vernon + Geek Beers

PS: naturally, Geek Beers won’t happen this month. Please come to Daryl’s hangout tomorrow at 15:30!


Vernon cultural center needs your help

In a few weeks, North Okanagan residents will go to referendum to vote on borrowing $25 million towards the $40 million cost to build an art gallery, museum and performance space that will let us appreciate culture and heritage, and access far more exhibitions and programs.

Between now and Oct. 20, we need all the help we can get spreading the word about all the incredible ways this cultural centre will benefit Greater Vernon.

Please help however you can:

Here’s a chance to play a part in changing the course of Greater Vernon’s future and gain a beautiful downtown building with endless benefits for our community.

Can you lend some of your time and talents for this turning point?

As we prepare to launch our campaign, we’re looking for volunteers to help with:

  • Coordinating volunteers
  • Administration
  • Communication & information technology
  • Project management

And soon, just about everything else! Even a few hours would mean so much and go such a long way.

Make a difference:

  1. To volunteer, please contact Maria Brunskill at
  2. To help us find more volunteers, please share this email with family, friends and colleagues.
  3. Follow the Vernon Public Art Gallery and the Vernon Museum & Archives on social media, and help us spread the word in the coming weeks.

Follow VPAG on Twitter & Facebook

Follow Vernon Museum & Archives on Facebook

When you vote “yes” to the cultural facility, you vote yes to:

  • Accessing far more exhibitions and programs
  • A beautiful marquis building that’s accessible and easy to find
  • Connecting to our roots and sharing our stories
  • Attracting businesses and professionals who want to live in a community that values enriching cultural life
  • Creating a community that fosters diversity, inclusion and innovative thinking
  • Inspiring and nurturing young artists
  • A vibrant, safe downtown
  • Employment, tourism and local spending
  • Improved individual wellbeing through opportunities for creative expression and learning, and by building a sense of identity, achievement & belonging

Did you know?

  • The Vernon Public Art Gallery is the oldest art gallery in the Interior and has never had a permanent home?
  • The GVMA building was a 1967 Centennial project
  • The gallery and museum could be hosting world-class exhibitions and more pieces from their own permanent collections if they had the required space, ventilation and water protection?
  • Due to limited space, less than 10% of the museum’s collection is on display?
  • The Vernon Public Art Gallery has been recognized provincially for its curatorial and innovating programming and could do so much more with a purpose-built space?
  • Both the Vernon Museum & Archives and the gallery lack space for programming? The gallery has to host workshops in an exhibition room, restricting the amount of programming it can offer to the public.
  • We have a chance to access millions in provincial and federal government grants that will otherwise go to other communities?
  • Community groups will be able to rent multi-use spaces?
  • With payments for both Kal Tire Place and the Performing Arts Centre completing as the centre goes ahead, the average cost per family is only $12/year or $1 a month!!



Amistad’s new EP

Just bought Amistad’s new EP: “Talk Peace to Wolf.”

Love seeing great music come out of Vernon, BC. Give these fellas a listen!

Buy it on iTunes →


Vernon BC tech survey

Care about the future of tech in Vernon? You can give your input on the local technology scene (and Startup Vernon) here:

I was just looking through my records, and it’s been 3 years since our last poll. A lot has happened since then – those were the days where only 5-6 people would show up for Geek Beers. Definitely time for an update. 😉

There’s a lot of interest in Vernon’s tech scene from community leaders, governments, and outside investors. If you can give me an idea what you want, I can refer that to them.

Justin Jackson

PS: feel free to share the poll with others too.


Sneak peek of Marten Brewpub in Vernon, BC

Stefan and Pearl (of the Naked Pig) gave me a secret tour of the soon to be opened Marten Brewing Co. (coming in early 2015).

Folks: this place is going to unreal. It’s WAY bigger than you imagine, and their attention to detail is amazing. You’ll be able to watch them brew the beer (the brewery is the centrepiece of the pub).


Photos from Geek Beers, September 25, 2014


Looking for a co-working space in Vernon?

“Coworking is about making the personal choice to work along side other people instead of in isolation.” – Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance

“Coworking Spaces are places that can facilitate the act of coworking. I like to think of coworking as a kind of club, and a coworking space as the clubhouse. Without a club that people want to be a part of, the clubhouse doesn’t have a reason to exist.” – Alex Hillman

Are you interested in a permanent co-working space / community in Vernon?

Please fill out this survey


Hootsuite scores $165M from top Twitter investor | Internet & Media – CNET News

Hootsuite, a 4-year-old social media dashboard for businesses, has closed a $165 million round of funding at an undisclosed valuation. The round was led by Insight Venture Partners, a seasoned New York-based firm that pumped late-stage money into Tumblr and still holds a substantial stake in Twitter.

via Hootsuite scores $165M from top Twitter investor | Internet & Media – CNET News.


If a small Albertan town can get 1 gigabit internet, so can Vernon

The town of Olds, Alberta (8,500 residents) has a community owned ISP called O-Net. This week, O-Net made an announcement:

On Thursday, the board of O-Net gave approval for residents to get access to a full gigabit or 1,000 megabits per second of bandwidth for the same price that they currently pay for a guaranteed download speed of 100 megabits per second — $57 to $90 a month, depending on whether they have bundled their internet with TV and phone service.

(via Small Alta. town gets massive 1,000 Mbps broadband boost – Technology & Science – CBC News)

This is really progressive thinking for a municipality. They’re a rural community who responded to business owners who said they’d leave if Olds didn’t improve internet speeds. The town stepped up, and spent between $13-$14 million laying their own cable, and building their own ISP (they did this with the help of grant money).

Vernon, BC needs to be thinking this way.

The city has identified technology as a growth sector. To be a technology leader, it’s going to need broadband speed. Currently, the fastest consumer internet I’ve been able to find in Vernon is 50 MBPS. The internet in Olds is 20x faster.

I think there’s opportunity for local businesses to help pay for this. A dedicated 1 gigabit connection for a business is $5,000 / month in Olds. To achieve $1 million in annual revenues, you’d only need 17 businesses to sign-up.