The folks at Techvibes, which does yeoman’s work of covering the Canadian technology scene, relaunched their Startup Index by publishing the top-100 on Canada Day.
Anything that puts the spotlight on Canadian startups is a good thing but the Techvibes list raised a couple of issues.
1. Do lists have any value other than raising the profile of many startups that may not other get a lot of attention? Or are lists simply beauty contests that provide more benefits for the publisher than the startups on the list? After all, everyone loves lists so they’re great ways to attract attention and pageviews.
2. Is there an accurate methodology to rank startups? Techvibes uses Alexa, which I view as a flawed approach given it uses a relatively small sample size to measure, and the people involved need the Alexa toolbar installed.
If Alexa is not the way to go, how else could startups be ranked accurately? Perhaps there isn’t a way to create an bullet-proof list given lists are so subjective and there are many ways to assess a startup’s traction, sexiness, momentum, etc.
At the end of the day, lists are digital candy: sweet and easy to consume but they shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
This isn’t to suggest they don’t have some value given there were a few mystery startups I checked out after reading the Techvibes list. A good example is Calgary-based who.amung.us, a free real-time stats tool for blogs and Websites, that is ranked third.
What do you think? Do startup lists have any value? Is there a more accurate way to create lists?