Tech Week in Toronto is NOT for Technologists

Further evidence that TorontoTechWeek is actually not about technology or the technology community:

“Toronto Tech Talk (T3) is our after work networking series where we invite Toronto's business community to join us for some networking and hear from some of the CEO's that help to put our city on the map and make Toronto the ‘Northern Hub.’

This event is not just for the geeks or freaks, this is about professional networking, so whether you are in accounting, advertising, law, marketing, public relations or technology grab your business cards and come out for a drink and some great conversations.”

I hate when others think they are part of the technology tribe. Maybe this is proof that being geek is cool. I guess this is what eventually happens to all good bands (read Joey’s post ), like many, I became aware of The Clash only after they were a stadium band but it doesn’t diminish their impact on me. But there is a difference between being about connections between people and it being about “professional networking”.

As Tom Purves said in response:

“I ran an EnterpriseCamp last year, in the end it was pretty successful, though the venue choice was expensive and not ideal, and I got no sponsorship from the city, and a little PR from a listing on the TTW website. I had to put a relatively high price on tickets, and still make up the rest from my own pocket.
City hall didn't organize TTW last year. In fact they hardly did anything at all.” – Tom Purves

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this adds value to the members of the Toronto tech community. By getting the people already doing things, to be associated with their event, and then claiming credit for the successes that would happen without their involvement it just doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not sure how or why this event helps Toronto’s independent designers, technologists or entrepreneurs. I’m not even sure how helps larger companies who want to be perceived as build innovative products, services and marketing strategies. It feels like strip mining of the whuffie of community members.

I don’t see any return value by associating my social capital with this event. Am I wrong?

20 thoughts on “Tech Week in Toronto is NOT for Technologists”

  1. <p>Dave Forde and Rob Berry need to step up and try to defend this thing. I’ve been very active in the Toronto tech community and not a single person has ever had anything positive to say about it during that time. The responses I’ve heard range from mockery to indignation that those two gents in particular are getting paid quite well to run a bogus event. </p> <p>Right or wrong, they clearly need to engage in the conversation – this has become a PR disaster.</p>

  2. <p>Not wrong. So tragically right.</p> <p>“City hall didn't organize TTW last year. In fact they hardly did anything at all.'</p> <p>I sat in the very ICT meetings where they outright said this was their approach. When suggested that a “Field of Dreamonomics” approach wouldn’t work it was immediately dismissed. Their entire plan was “Build it and they will come”</p> <p>In addition to the EnterpriseCamp Tom put on a full BarCamp was organized and run on the weekend preceding the event. The response from the TTW organizers? They wouldn’t even list the event because it didn’t happen during a weekday (between 9 & 5), and they didn’t want any “official” events happening before Miller officially opened the week.</p> <p>I think your investment of social capital in TorCamp and related events has already done far more than spending the rest of your days propping this mess up could ever do. </p> <p>I’ve never gotten the impression there is any desire to change or consider a different tack at any level within TTW.</p>

  3. <p>I think the main error here is not the engagement/targeting of the non-tech business audiences per se, but rather the outsourcing of the conversation to intermediaries. There absolutely should be conversations between tech innovators and the rest of the business community. But it certainly should NOT be mediated and packaged in this ridiculous way.</p> <p>“This event is not just for the geeks or freaks” is a not-so-thinly veiled insult of people who actually build stuff and have a genuine passion for technology. THAT is shocking. Equating “geeks” with circus freaks in order to make a non-tech audience feel welcome is just so wrong I can’t even comprehend it.</p>

  4. <p>I'm so happy that you've called this event out for what it is David. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Noah, Paul, Tony and I were in the middle of building GigPark when TTW was on last year. We were desperate for help and to connect with other entrepreneurs/interesting people in Toronto. Apart from BarCamp (which was absolutely fantastic) we couldn't find any events that we thought were interesting and relevant for us. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Maybe we're not the target for TTW, but I suspect that's not the case.</p>

  5. <p>Frankly I wasn't even aware of the issue till I read your post, and now I am engaged. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Turns out these are the 'supporters' of the week.<br />This event is supported by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA) and the City of Toronto'</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I think Will summed it up well . where are the organisers in response to this post? That in itself tells us how engaged they are. Where are the comments on this post?</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Long answer: no David, your social capital is better used on the ground as you do and elsewhere, unless there is some economic capital laid on the table.</p>

  6. <p>The problem here is the city, its a funded project and every action needs to be approved. I still have that long gone invite for the first session of the ITC -'ICT Toronto: the City, the Industry, the Community' </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>They forgot the community . either they get it or they don't. Like Mark sez, there is no outsourcing the conversation to intermediaries. They need to step up to the plate and have a passion for change and engage with the dissatisfaction of the community. Learn to listen, listen to learn. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>IMHO, They (ICT) have not learn't eitherway !!</p>

  7. Dave Forde and Rob Berry need to step up and try to defend this thing. I’ve been very active in the Toronto tech community and not a single person has ever had anything positive to say about it during that time. The responses I’ve heard range from mockery to indignation that those two gents in particular are getting paid quite well to run a bogus event.

    Right or wrong, they clearly need to engage in the conversation – this has become a PR disaster.

  8. Not wrong. So tragically right.

    “City hall didn't organize TTW last year. In fact they hardly did anything at all.'

    I sat in the very ICT meetings where they outright said this was their approach. When suggested that a “Field of Dreamonomics” approach wouldn’t work it was immediately dismissed. Their entire plan was “Build it and they will come”

    In addition to the EnterpriseCamp Tom put on a full BarCamp was organized and run on the weekend preceding the event. The response from the TTW organizers? They wouldn’t even list the event because it didn’t happen during a weekday (between 9 & 5), and they didn’t want any “official” events happening before Miller officially opened the week.

    I think your investment of social capital in TorCamp and related events has already done far more than spending the rest of your days propping this mess up could ever do.

    I’ve never gotten the impression there is any desire to change or consider a different tack at any level within TTW.

  9. I think the main error here is not the engagement/targeting of the non-tech business audiences per se, but rather the outsourcing of the conversation to intermediaries. There absolutely should be conversations between tech innovators and the rest of the business community. But it certainly should NOT be mediated and packaged in this ridiculous way.

    “This event is not just for the geeks or freaks” is a not-so-thinly veiled insult of people who actually build stuff and have a genuine passion for technology. THAT is shocking. Equating “geeks” with circus freaks in order to make a non-tech audience feel welcome is just so wrong I can’t even comprehend it.

  10. I'm so happy that you've called this event out for what it is David.

    Noah, Paul, Tony and I were in the middle of building GigPark when TTW was on last year. We were desperate for help and to connect with other entrepreneurs/interesting people in Toronto. Apart from BarCamp (which was absolutely fantastic) we couldn't find any events that we thought were interesting and relevant for us.

    Maybe we're not the target for TTW, but I suspect that's not the case.

  11. Frankly I wasn't even aware of the issue till I read your post, and now I am engaged.

    Turns out these are the 'supporters' of the week.
    This event is supported by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA) and the City of Toronto'

    I think Will summed it up well . where are the organisers in response to this post? That in itself tells us how engaged they are. Where are the comments on this post?

    Long answer: no David, your social capital is better used on the ground as you do and elsewhere, unless there is some economic capital laid on the table.

  12. <p>this line is enough for me to not think about T3 twice: 'This event is not just for the geeks or freaks' & very offensive indeed !</p>

  13. The problem here is the city, its a funded project and every action needs to be approved. I still have that long gone invite for the first session of the ITC -'ICT Toronto: the City, the Industry, the Community'

    They forgot the community . either they get it or they don't. Like Mark sez, there is no outsourcing the conversation to intermediaries. They need to step up to the plate and have a passion for change and engage with the dissatisfaction of the community. Learn to listen, listen to learn.

    IMHO, They (ICT) have not learn't eitherway !!

  14. <p>Folks – it was a play on words, if you were offended then my apologies to you, it was NOT meant to offend anyone. If you have ever met me in person then you’d know that there was absolutely no malicious intent by myself or anything that I’m involved in.</p> <p>The vision for Toronto Tech Week (TTW) host and have as many of the different groups that make up the community host events and ultimately help build a better Toronto tech sector. Toronto Tech Week will be part, one of the things we’ve done is host Town Hall meetings where we’ve invited ANYONE from the community to come out and learn how they can get involved, whether it be exhibiting, speaking, or hosting their own event.</p> <p>Last year was the first year for TTW and a lot has changed with TTW since then, it was far from perfect but it was he start when you look back at the local industry for as long as I’ve been worked and been involved in it. DC, I’ve tried to reach out to you to get together and clarify as to what TTW is vs. not, so let me do it again here and suggest that we meet and figure out how to make this all work.</p>

  15. Folks – it was a play on words, if you were offended then my apologies to you, it was NOT meant to offend anyone. If you have ever met me in person then you’d know that there was absolutely no malicious intent by myself or anything that I’m involved in.

    The vision for Toronto Tech Week (TTW) host and have as many of the different groups that make up the community host events and ultimately help build a better Toronto tech sector. Toronto Tech Week will be part, one of the things we’ve done is host Town Hall meetings where we’ve invited ANYONE from the community to come out and learn how they can get involved, whether it be exhibiting, speaking, or hosting their own event.

    Last year was the first year for TTW and a lot has changed with TTW since then, it was far from perfect but it was he start when you look back at the local industry for as long as I’ve been worked and been involved in it. DC, I’ve tried to reach out to you to get together and clarify as to what TTW is vs. not, so let me do it again here and suggest that we meet and figure out how to make this all work.

  16. <p>I think the key sentence in everything that's been written here is this:</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>'But there is a difference between being about connections between people and it being about 'professional networking'.'</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I think that really puts a finger on the the thing that TTW organizers are missing. There's something sort of rote or incurious about the whole exercise. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>At least on the evidence of Thursday night's TechTalk. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Rather than being an experiment-'hey, what can we do to get people talking and collaborating and connecting,'-it settles for some fairly stale answers-'we'll hand out some drink tickets and some chips and dip.' </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>And to me that sort of misses the boat if the idea is to brand Toronto as a center for innovation, technical or otherwise.</p><br />
    & kent

  17. I think the key sentence in everything that's been written here is this:

    'But there is a difference between being about connections between people and it being about 'professional networking'.'

    I think that really puts a finger on the the thing that TTW organizers are missing. There's something sort of rote or incurious about the whole exercise.

    At least on the evidence of Thursday night's TechTalk.

    Rather than being an experiment-'hey, what can we do to get people talking and collaborating and connecting,'-it settles for some fairly stale answers-'we'll hand out some drink tickets and some chips and dip.'

    And to me that sort of misses the boat if the idea is to brand Toronto as a center for innovation, technical or otherwise.

    & kent

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