Mesh Marketing

The Mesh Conference team continually amazes me. You can read my bromance piece on the big brother Mesh Conference. But Mark, Rob, Mathew, Stuart, Mike and Sheri continue to do a fantastic job bringing together leading thinkers with the Toronto community. I have hosted my share of local events and I recognize balance of cost and accessibility, but the quality of the mesh speakers and the ticket price is fantastic. I’m always impressed with the spread of speakers from startup to agency to larger company. This event is no different. It has a great group of founders, executives and thought leaders.

The current event is happening in the middle of the fall startup event storm, but it is significantly differentiated from the regular startup event. This is an event for marketers. It is focused on content strategies, mobile tactics, social media tools and features some great folks like:

Jennifer LumHicham RatnaniKristina Halvorson

It’s a great group. I’ve personally seen the amazing work of Jennifer and Hicham (I sit on the advisory board of TribeHR where Jennifer is an investor, and I’m a semi-loyal customer of the Frank and Oak – only semi-loyal because they keep selling out of stuff to fast). It’s a great event and it would be a shame for Toronto marketers to miss the event in their own backyard.

Halifax Pop Explosion

I had a great time at NxNE. It wasn’t representative of the time I’ve spent at SxSW. But this is probably a good thing. I was on a panel hosted by Dave Senior of Playground Inc. with Michael Litt (@michaellitt) of Vidyard and Raja Bhatia (@raja) of Confluence Labs. Great fun talking about startups, traction, funding, teams, marketing, etc. It’s funny, it was a great panel, I spent a lot of time heckling Mike. But I guess the reviews were positive. Because my friend Meghan Warby (@withoutayard) invited to Halifax to attend Halifax Pop Explosion.

I have a few confessions:

  1. I have never been to Halifax.
  2. I am going because I get to see my friends Jevon (@jevon) and Ben (@byosko)
  3. I am putting together new material

I’m in Halifax from Tuesday, Oct 16 until Friday, Oct 19. It’s a short stay, but I am choosing to be home for dinner on Friday with the kidlets. I’m looking for food recommendations, a place to have a pint, and some sights. Any suggestions on where to eat?

I’m also putting together a new presentation. The program description for my talk, titled How to Start a Startup, is:

Everyday more and more web startups are getting founded by entrepreneurs tenured and new. However, most abandon basic business pillars when building a venture in the digital economy. Not every start-up requires the same advice, but there a similar threads that apply to almost every company attempting to build a new digital product. We will be discussing the 5 things every startup must have to succeed.

I need to build a new talk and slide deck. I was thinking I could do something fun, like try to only build a presentation using quotes from The Social Network. Which in looking through the IMDB quotes could be surprisingly difficult.  I need to make this presentation a little more fun. Otherwise it’s going to feel like a “how to” guide for the basics of a startup. Which isn’t a bad plan, but I’m not sure I would sit through an hour long talk. Maybe I can use Paul Graham’s Want to Start a Startup:

  • The Idea
  • People
  • What Customers Want
  • Raising Money
  • Not Spending It

And just intersperse stories I have from Influitive, Maintenance Assistant and the startups I’ve worked with. I think coupled with Thomas Tunguz’s Your startups top 3 priorities

  • Distribution
  • Monetization
  • Engagement
I guess I can talk about my experiences along The Startup Curve. And since I’ve never seen the Acquisition fo Liquidity or Upside  of Buyer, my experience will be limited.
Paul Graham's Startup Curve

Strangely I haven’t given a presentation in what feels like a long time. It’s a good time to build a new deck that is engaging and fun. Maybe I need to start with a simple hypothesis and build out the supporting materials.

Featured Image: AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Steve Dinn

Mesh is TO’s most important DIY conference

Mesh Conference is Toronto’s most important DIY conference.


Copyright All rights reserved by geoperdis

That’s right Mesh Conference is a DIY event. It’s the Do-It -Yourself endeavour of small dedicated group of individuals. And you can see each of their personalities and interests in the schedule and speakers. Rob Hyndman (@rhh), Stuart MacDonald(@stuartma), Mark Evans(@markevans), Mathew Ingram(@mathewi), and Mike McDerment (@mikemcderment) have been working very hard since 2006 to build a world-class that has attracted renown speakers, mayors, and attendees. The secret is that Mesh is an event that all of them want to attend. The reason they invest time and effort into this event is because it is really for them.

Ingram, Hyndman, Evans, MacDonald - missing McDerment
Copyright All rights reserved by photojunkie

Why is Mesh Toronto’s most important DIY event?

There are great events ranging from my DemoCamp to EcommerceCamp, from MakerFaireTO to Open Toronto, TechTalksTO to HackTO.  There are a great number of local events that have emerged. The thing about Mesh is that it started in 2006. Over 5 years ago, shortly after the first BarCampToronto. And since the very first Mesh, it has always had an air of professionalism that others should strive to obtain. Mesh from the very first event was an event that was world class. It was Canadian in size (about 1/10th the size of a US event). But it has always been DIY, it has never felt DIY.

Rob, Stuart, Mark, Mathew, Mike and Sheri deserve true accolades for building an event that defines the emerging technology, emerging culture, emerging policy in Canada. Thank you!

I hope to see everyone at the Allstream Centre this week.

Mesh 2011

Apparently I’m late to the game with the recognizing that Mesh Conference 2011 has announced a new location and their schedule.

New Location

AllStream Centre at the CNE

The conference moves to the Allstream Centre at the CNE grounds. This is a first year Mesh won’t be at MaRS. I’m hoping the new space allows for new conference experience. MaRS is a fantastic venue, but Mesh has really outgrown the space. It will be interesting to see how Sheri and the team organize lunch, social events, and other interactions to build strong connections between attendees.

Speakers

I’m excited there are a lot of my friends who are speaking at Mesh. These folks are just world class and it will be interesting to hear about their experiences.

I’m also incredibly stoked about Gabe Zichermann (LinkedIn) from GamificationCo. Gabe wrote Game-Based Marketing and hosted The Gamification Summit. Looks like another conference that covers marketing, culture/society, business, and media. It’s a great Canadian take on the web, technology, politics and culture.

I am disappointed that MeshU did not survive the fiscal constraints of running a conference. I know from our past experiences running StartupEmpire the lack of sponsorship and revenue that a smallish conference can generate.  I’m hoping that there will be something for design technologists and entrepreneurial technologists in Toronto in the near future.

 

Top 5 Reasons to go to Grow Conference

Grow Conf, Aug 19-21, 2010 Vancouver, BC

  1. It’s Silicon Valley in Vancouver
    How can you ask for a better lineup of people? You get the opportunity to interact and connect with Lane Becker, Rob Chaplinsky, Dave McClure, Dan Martell, Jeff ClavierDebbie Landa, Chris Albinson and others. This is a world-class list of angels, investors, entrepreneurs and technologists.
  2. It’s Canadian startup royalty
    Royalty is the wrong word. But it’s a chance to get inspired by some of the best Internet startups in Canada. The event is sponsored by the C100 and Debbie Landa, Chris Albinson, Rob Chaplinsky, Lane Becker and Dan Martell are all Canadian. But it’s the connection to all of the others attending and speaking that is most valuable: Rick Segal, Boris Wertz, Mark MacLeod, Danny Robinson, Amar Varma, Chris Arsenault, Steve Woods, Leonard BrodyJonathan Ehrlich and all of the others that will be involved.
  3. Tickets are cheap
    The super early bird tickets were snapped up. Regular tickets are only US$285. It’s not a lot of money for an event. When you consider that food alone is approximately $15 breakfast + $10 morning break + $25 lunch + $10 afternoon break + $30 cocktails = $90, so your ticket is only costing you $195. You might not like my pricing but I can tell you that WiFi at the MTCC is $30/connections. There are hard costs to running an event.
  4. The food
    Vancouver has some of the best food in the world. Tojo’s, Vij’s, Blue Water Cafe, ReFuel, Gotham Steakhouse, Joe Fortes, Lumiere. The list just goes on and on. If you’re creative you can do this on a budget, step one follow someone who is on an expense account or has already had atleast one successful startup.
  5. The Vancouver peeps
    There are some great entrepreneurs, technologists, designers and thinkers living in and around Vancouver. Ben Skelton, Dave Olson, Kris Krug, Meg Cole, Danielle Sipple, Avi Bryant, Andre Charland, Boris Mann, Dave Shea, David Eaves, Kate Trgovac, Alexandra Samuel, Gordon Ross, Jason Mogus, Dick Hardt, Rebecca Bollwitt, Tod Maffin and others. 

And the unwritten sixth reason to attend, though many will tell you this is a reason to avoid, I’ll be there.

MEIC and NextMedia

I realize that I sit on the Board of Directors for the MEIC and on the Board of Advisors for NextMedia, however, I didn’t know about this great partnership and opportunity. It’s a contest focused on taking early concepts for tablet computing and media consumption, the goal isn’t to build the technology, it’s to get people to sketch and explore new opportunities enabled by mass penentration of tablets.

This is a fun contest for designers (and aren’t we all designers). All you need to submit is an outline of the value proposition, the initial design concepts including IA or prototype screens, the audience and the business model. It’s a great

  • goal of the application, and specifics of functionality
  • audience target
  • intentions for development
  • information architecture or up to five screen shots

The prize

The winner will recieve a development deal worth $25,000 in development services from Trapeze to go from concept to reality. And business development, strategic relationships and incubation with the MEIC.

Toronto Tech Week 2.0

Wow, May 17-20, 2010 is shaping up to be Toronto Tech Week 2.0. It’s going to be a busy week, but like Social Media Week TO and Mobile Innovation Week. This has something for most of the industry. Coverage of engineering, clean tech, software, health, bio, policy, culture, news, participatory culture, entrepreneurship!

You can’t ask for a better set of conferences in Toronto. If we had Rudy’s BBQ, I’d be almost as excited as I am about SxSW.

Social Media Week + PowerPoint Karaoke

Eli Singer, the team at Entrinsic, and a supporting cast of  people & advisors have organized the first Social Media Week Toronto.

There is a great schedule of events that span the gamut of social media for companies large and small, not for profit, and local case studies. The schedule is a week with independently organized events. Some of the events I’m watching include:

PowerPoint Karaoke is one of my favorite social formats. It is just brilliant. I first saw it executed in 2006 at ETech. And I wrote about as an alternative format to DemoCamp. I’m stoked to see that my friends Tom & Jay are making the effort to make it happen in Toronto. Remember it’s a social event, it’s meant to be a way to have fun!

North by Northeast Interactive

If it feels like there is a push of activities in Toronto, there are.

You don’t need to attend every event, there is lots going on.

Impact National Conference & Impact Ventures

Cross posted on StartupNorth.

Impact Entrepreneurship GroupImpact_blog_redlogo started life as a student group designed to help promote entrepreneurship as a career path. It was started by Kunal Gupta, now the founder & CEO of Polar Mobile. It started as a conference for students, “a one-day event in Kitchener, Ontario attracting 150 delegates”. It is still primarily a conference/event machine for student entrepreneurs. However, with the creation of Impact Consulting and now Impact Ventures (see below) this is changing very quickly.

The next INC_logoImpact National Conference is happening November 20-21, 2009 at the Westin Harbour Castle on Queens Quay in Toronto. The conference features some interesting speakers including some familiar faces: Andy Nulman, Sunjay Nath, Ali Asaria, Jordan Banks, Saul Colt, Austin Hill, Mike McDerment and others. It looks to be a great conference with a great list of speakers in Toronto.

 

What is most interesting to me is the announcement of the Impact 2010 Programs, including Impact Ventures.

Many talented youth with innovative ideas steer away from an entrepreneurial path due to the numerous challenges, including funding and guidance, which they inevitably face; Impact Ventures was created to remove these obstacles. Impact Ventures strives to provide youth entrepreneurs with the seed funding, advisory services, workspace tools, and strategic resources they need at the crucial idea stage to create a successful business. Based on the successful Y Combinator model used in Silicon Valley to bring the next generation of ideas to life, Impact Ventures will help propel new startups to achieve their business objectives.

The selection process consists of an application form and an interview; there is no business plan required. During the pilot, three to four ventures showing the most opportunity for growth and long term sustainability will be chosen for the first batch. This three-month program will bring these budding entrepreneurs to Waterloo, the technology hub of Canada, to present them with all the components each entrepreneur needs to help build their venture.

Components for each selected Venture:

  • $15,000 in seed funding for an average of 6% stake in the company
  • Mentors available for hands-on help as well as advise
  • Advisory services including Legal, Accounting, Banking and more
  • Office Space in Waterloo to create an environment of collaboration
  • Themed weeks where experts related to starting a business will provide their insights and advice
  • Consultants to help a new company fill gaps in its initial organization

Impact Ventures is dedicated to the implementation of the entrepreneurial spirit amongst Canadian youth and values the independence of each entrepreneur. We are not interested in controlling the direction of the company as we trust in the entrepreneurs to make the best decision for their company. We believe in a non-regimented and friendly atmosphere where you are allowed to develop your startup with little interference, numerous resources and advice when you need it. Impact Ventures is set to revolutionize the startup industry by giving entrepreneurs an excellent spring board that will launch them to their success.

I’ve been talking with members of team creating Impact Ventures including Taimur Mohammad and Ray Cao since my post "Incubators, accelerators and ignition” back in April 2009. It looks like the Impact team has taken up the challenge and will be using their network of advisors, past members to help guide and mentor new companies. It also looks like they’ll be providing funding and consulting services to help kick start these early ventures.  There is a Waterloo residency requirement, which potential a detractor for many students actually enables students in the VeloCity program a formalized incubation phase beyond their residence. For many non-University of Waterloo students this provides students access to the ridiculous support network available in Waterloo (I’m looking at you TechCapital and Communitech and BarCampWaterloo). This is something that is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

meshmarketing– Oct 22, 2009

meshmarketing

My good friends Mark Evans, Michael McDerment, Stuart MacDonald, Mathew Ingram and Rob Hyndman, also known as The Mesh Boys, are hosting a new event in Toronto called meshmarketing. Mesh Conference has evolved into the leading conference for impact that the Web and participatory technologies have on marketing, media, culture and politics in Canada. It leads me to believe that meshmarketing will be a great event.

What is meshmarketing?

“meshmarketing is a one-day event focused on insights, tools and tactics to help you win customers’ hearts and minds, online. An insightful keynote will lead us into a series of engaging conversations and "show and tell" presentations, as well as in-depth workshops.”

Who is speaking?

There are great entrepreneurs and marketers including:

And some of the best Canadian talent that we haven’t seen at community events in a while including:

It’s a very inexpensive conference (tickets are Cdn$489 + GST) to see world-class talent in Toronto. For Toronto residents, you don’t have to travel, you don’t have to pay for a hotel, you get access to leading international and Canadian speakers (ok, it’s focused on eastern Canada, I’m not diminishing either the speaker list or my friends from the western parts of the country). If you’re looking for what looks like it will be a fantastic event focused on marketing, analytics, mobile, community, participation, reputation, search, video, word-of-mouth and a whack of other buzzwords, meshmarketing is going to be hawt.