CIX Top 20 – Showcase your Innovation

CIX Top 20 Submissions are open

We covered CIX in the past, and the Achilles Media team are hosting another great event in

CIX conducts an exhaustive search for the most innovative ideas, products, services and companies in the country. Each year 20 technology and clean technologies are selected via a qualified Selection Committee to showcase their innovative product and services in front of the CIX community. Each of the selected 20 will be asked to deliver a seven-minute presentation live on stage at CIX.  Recognized industry experts will act as Judges, evaluating the merit of their product or service and giving constructive feedback and guidance. The CIX community present at the event will vote for the CIX 2009 Award for “Canadian Innovation Leader”.

I’ve written a lot about CIX (Exchanging Innovations Canadian style, CIX Survey Says). This is a similar discussion on the 2 different models presented by TechCrunch50 and by Demo. CIX is a great event to connect later stage startups, investors, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Canada and the US at a local venue.

Science 2.0

Greg Wilson is hosting a great event for scientists about “Science 2.0: What Every Scientist Needs to Know about how the Web is Changing the Way They Work”. It’s a free event hosted at MaRS. The event looks at the impact of cheap computing in GPUs and PCs that present opportunities for high performance computing. It looks at open scientific data and community participation and discovery. There are a great group of scientific and computational luminaries attending. (My personal favourite is Jon Udell. Jon was a big reason I joined Microsoft, I have followed his work at InfoWorld and Byte Magazine, and I’ve been very lucky to meet Jon at FooCamp, Mix08, PDC08).

I hope that folks from the Ontario Science Centre, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, Royal Ontario Museum, take the opportunity to engage and participate. (It looks like a great group, there were over 125 participants registered on the Science 2.0 attendees list).

A decade ago, people like Jon Udell were imagining how the web could radically change the way science is done. Today, those visions are becoming a reality, and on July 29, you can join us for an afternoon of talks about what’s happening and how it could touch your life. Full details are at — the event is free, but you must register in advance (as there is limited seating). Our speakers will include:

  • Titus Brown: Choosing Infrastructure and Testing Tools for Scientific Software Projects
  • Cameron Neylon: A Web Native Research Record: Applying the Best of the Web to the Lab Notebook
  • Michael Nielsen: Doing Science in the Open: How Online Tools are Changing Scientific Discovery
  • David Rich: Using “Desktop” Languages for Big Problems
  • Victoria Stodden: How Computational Science is Changing the Scientific Method
  • Jon Udell: Collaborative Curation of Public Events

“Make Web, Not War” aka Can’t We Just Get Along?

Joey provides the details the upcoming ‘Make Web, Not War” event in Toronto and Vancouver.


Make Web, Not War is happening today in Vancouver (June 2, 2009) and next week in Toronto on June 10, 2009. (Let’s not start about disaster that is the web presence, frames, Flashturbation, no deep linking, etc.). Microsoft released the Web Platform Installer, WebPI for short, version 2 includes IIS7, SQL Server, Visual Web Developer, ASP.NET and PHP. That’s right, PHP and the ability to install popular PHP and .NET open-source applications including WordPress, Drupal and more.

Here’s my take, it’s great to see Microsoft embrace web technologies. The web is a mash of technologies from operating systems to application servers to database servers to web servers to development frameworks to AJaX frameworks to CSS frameworks. It’s all about choice. You can mix and match the pieces that make the most sense for you at a moment in time. And now that choice, flexibility and power come to web developers that run Windows operating systems.

Not everyone has the flexibility of choosing each of the layers. When I worked at Rye High, I built applications initial in ColdFusion 6 and Oracle 8i because it was what was available. The addition of FastCGI and PHP to IIS opens the available tools to many developers and IT professionals that run Windows in their corporate environments. The WebPI makes it drop-dead simple to install PHP and Drupal or MediaWiki. Pick the right tool for the users, the tasks, your infrastructure and support. Make informed decisions.

Are there limitations? Definitely, part of the fun is playing in the boundaries and pushing as close to the edge as possible.

Come together right now over me

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – Alan Kay

The event is about focusing on the task at hand. Let’s make a better web. Let’s solve problems. By helping developers gain access to the applications and platforms they want is important. Microsoft is starting to understand, again, the power of an ecosystem. Rather than fighting to convert PHP developers to ASP.NET, you can see the empire embrace and enable the tools that are a part of the web.

Further evidence of this acceptance of PHP as a language and a tool of the web can be seen PHP SDK for Windows Azure. The addition of Java in the Azure world.

Toronto –  June 10, 2009

I’ll be talking about the web, open platforms, innovation and karma at the Toronto event on Wednesday, June 10th at the Ted Rogers School of Management (use the entrance at 55 Dundas Street W.) and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..

It’s a full-day event with presentations by:

The Toronto event will feature breakfast, keynote, web partner community showcase, another keynote, lunch, breakout sessions, a Windows Server 2008 InstallFest, a web developer technical session and the FTW! competition final showdown. It’s be a very full day.

The registration fee for both the Vancouver and Toronto events is “donate what you want”, with a suggested donation of CAD$10. The money will go to a good cause:, the anti-bullying network.

Hope you’ll come out!


What: Make Web, Not War
When: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Where: Ted Rogers School of Business

55 Dundas St West
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C5

FutureRuby & MobileOrchard

futureruby-small-202x300Pete Forde and the gang at Unspace are hosting another kick ass conference about Ruby. FutureRuby is the evolution of RubyFringe. (I’m not sure why the decision to use a Maoist propaganda theme for the art direction, but it looks great. Perhaps it’s a way to fight the Imperialist regimes of Java and .NET).

RubyFringe is an amalgamation of a series of events focused on Ruby and emerging platforms including the browser, the mobile phone and other devices. 

Dan Grigsby who runs MobileOrchard is hosting an "Beginning iPhone Development Workshop” as part of the FutureRuby activities. It is great to see developers like Dan understand the power of mobile devices, and the ability to use their repertoire of developer tools to build for an emerging important platform. Being able to build custom web applications for iPhone, native iPhone applications in Objective-C (haven’t written Objective-C since I worked on a NeXT box in 1994 at UWaterloo). Joey deVilla talks about why mobile is the platform for the next billion users and why netbooks are a red herring for computer manufacturers. Why I might consider the MobileOrchard workshop:

Walk in Thursday morning with no previous Objective-C, Cocoa, or iPhone development experience; walk out — and over to FAILcamp — having built apps that incorporate location, motion and email. On Friday you’ll build table/ navigation style apps (e.g., Apple’s Mail and Contacts app) with persistent data storage, hybrid web/native apps, apps that consume ActiveResource RESTful APIs, and more.

Pretty compelling 2 day class.  There are a lot of things I like about FutureRuby, FAILCamp and the MobileOrchard workshop.


What: Future Ruby Leaders of Tomorrow, Today!
Ticket Admission includes (but not limited to): – Admission to all daytime tracks and impromptu celebrations – Breakfasts and lunches brought to you by the award-winning chefs of the Metropolitan hotel – Free transportation provided by FutureRuby and the Toronto Transit Commission – Three nights of all-inclusive parties (live entertainment, drinks, food, DJ's, surprises, plus epic dinner July 11th) – Killer swag – Noise workshops! – Discount hotel rates at The Metropolitan Hotel – Please note: Tickets are non-refundable, but are transferrable.
When: Thursday, July 9, 2009 (all day)
Where: Metropolitan Hotel

108 Chestnut Street
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1R3   Canada
What: Mobile Orchard Workshops Present: Beginning iPhone Programming For Rubyists
Walk in Thursday morning with no previous Objective-C, Cocoa, or iPhone development experience; walk out that same day having built apps that incorporate location, motion and email. On Friday you’ll build navigation-style apps (e.g., Apple’s Mail and Contacts app) with persistent data storage, hybrid web/native apps, apps that use Ryan Daigle’s iPhone On Rails/ObjectiveResource to consume ActiveResource RESTful APIs, and more. The class mixes practical project examples with Objective-C and Cocoa-Touch fundamentals like memory management, protocols and delegates, properties and categories.
When: Thursday, July 9, 2009 (all day)
Where: Metropolitan Hotel

108 Chestnut Street
Toronto, ON M5G 1R3   Canada

Conferences, connections & ecosystems

lights and crowds

Are conferences broken? Do conferences need to change?

What are the goals of a conference?

  • Communicate
    This can be research results, new products, new design, development or testing techniques, new ideas, etc. It can be about education and learning. It is the main
  • Exchange of Ideas
    To encourage the excitement, simultaneity, and ad-hoc in the halls discussions between people.
  • Connections
    To provide networking, partnership, and collaboration opportunities between the participants, companies, organizers and co-workers that last beyond the conference.
  • Recognition
    To celebrate outstanding work and research of the members of the community. The conference itself may represent the recognition of excellence by acceptance of a talk.

How do these goals compare to the goals of conference attendees?

  1. Evangelize: Conferences are a good place to share information about your company and to brand yourself. They allow you to share your expertise with fellow industry colleagues and potential customers…If you effectively demonstrate your capabilities, your company will benefit by 1- recruiting talent, 2- marketing its services, and 3- generating new business leads.
  2. Bonding with Colleagues: Often times, you have the opportunity to attend a conference with colleagues from work…Try to meet at least once for dinner or drinks and have non-office related conversations.
  3. Networking: One of the key aspects of any conference is meeting people who are normally inaccessible to you. The social media world, in particular, revolves around relationships. Conferences allow you to meet new people and maintain old friendships…Chris Brogan offers great tips on how to meet new people at conferences using social media.
  4. Education: The conferences are increasingly gaining reputations for not offering new knowledge for those who have been in the industry more than a year. However, I am seeing a shift where organizers are pushing for new topics and recruiting a more diverse group speakers. You can also gain valuable insight just by having conversations with various attendees. I really enjoy standing in the hallway of the venue and having random discussions with fellow colleagues about industry-related topics.
  5. Vendors: One of the best parts of conferences is meeting potential vendors face-to-face and learning about what they offer. This allows you to immediately determine if their product/service is applicable to your needs. It helps save time and allows you to go back to your office with some key recommendations of possible partners

Interestingly, I would condense these into:

  • Evangelize/Promotion
  • Communication/Education
  • Connections
  • Exchange of Ideas

The addition of an evangelism/promotion goal for attendees that is separate from the communication and recognition goals of the conference is important. It separates the needs of the conference to establish it’s self as a trusted resource and venue for professional activities from the need of the attendees to self promote and market. Yet it recognizes that there is an opportunity to allow companies and individuals access to a captive audience.

  • Communicate/Educate
    This can be research results, new products, new design, development or testing techniques, new ideas, etc. It can be about education and learning. It is the main
  • Exchange Ideas
    To encourage the excitement, simultaneity, and ad-hoc in the halls discussions between people.
  • Connect
    To provide networking, partnership, and collaboration opportunities between the participants, companies, organizers and co-workers that last beyond the conference.
  • Recognize
    To celebrate outstanding work and research of the members of the community. The conference itself may represent the recognition of excellence by acceptance of a talk.
  • Promote/Evangelize
    Share information about your company and your personal brand. The goal is separate from recognition, because it allows for recruiting, marketing, and lead generation.

The interesting part for me is “that last beyond the duration of the conference”. The ability to distribute content like Mix09, TED, and Mesh Conference allow participants and a community to grow and share the content. Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and make it easier to connect, stay connected and have ongoing conversations. There are tools like Ning, CrowdVine, and EventVue that make it easier to build custom community connection points for conference attendees.

If you could define the perfect conference agenda what would it be? What would be the events? What about the rooms? The layout of the food? What sort of technology? How much would it cost?

Steers, queers and peers


I love South by South West, it is a fantastic opportunity to connect with people. They might be old friends, friends of friends, new acquaintances, famous people, people you follow on Twitter, somebody that presented a session, or just a random badge wearer you meet in the hall at the bar, etc. But simply put, it’s an opportunity to connect with people.

Sessions. Panels. Hallways. Breakfasts. Lunches. Dinners. Parties. It’s all an opportunity to connect. It’s an smorgasbord of people from Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Austin, Lubbock, etc. Everybody gathered in Austin, Texas for a festival built around music, film and the technology that makes it happen. You can see the explosion of connections and the evolution of the tools. There’s Twitter, FourSquare, Facebook, imeem, the list goes on and on. The tools are making it easier to connect at the event and stay connected after.

The best part of all it is, you get to go home. Bring the vibes, the connections, the tools, the business, all of it, you get to bring it home.

Brave New World

I’m stoked about what is going on in Toronto and Canada. I’m excited about what is just about to emerge. We’re coming out of our cocoons. We’re finally starting to realize that for it to be a start-up, it must be a business. It was great to see Canadian companies like Freshbooks,, Raincity Studios, Akoha, iStockPhoto, Thornley Fallis PR, PostRank and Social Media Group. They were all in Austin looking for new clients. This was a marketing event.

“The business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rests are costs.” – Peter Drucker

The good news is that there is room for traditional marketing and the new scary social media marketing. Tradeshow booths, bag swag, and parties co-exist with presenting, participating and engaging with people online and off. Love seeing these people, my friends and acquaintances, and their companies out building their brands. Marketing to the unwashed masses (like me). Then back home to keep on innovating.

And that is the key. These are companies that are building innovating solutions. They are attending conferences like SxSW to build their brands, make people aware of the crazy cool shit they do back at home. It might seem like it’s all bourbon, late nights, and hangovers. But for almost everyone, it’s about being real people with real lives, real companies, real products, real jobs, and the very real need to make money. But it is the conversations and the participation that matters.

What did you bring home?

Let’s home it’s not the dreaded SxSWi sickness.

  1. Pay attention to your customers. It’s not mine, borrowed from Tony Hsieh from Zappos. But it starts to define what you as a startup are doing. What problem you’re innovating around? Who pays you for what? Where are they having conversations? Can you find them to engage with them?
  2. Diversity is critical. “Much of what we think of as innovation is just the creative tension between differing viewpoints”. The diversity of people, venues, presentation formats, art, engineering, media, film, venture, and rock-and-roll create a wonderful tension and we need to continue to embrace this tension.
  3. It’s a great time. It is a tough for a lot of people, but the investment world is driven by greed, not fear. Find the thing that your customers desire, the thing that enables their greed.
  4. It’s about the people and the connections. Spend some time in the weeks following up with the folks you met. Turns out you might meet them next year. /me waves from Canada.
  5. Even with all the social media, crap is still crap. Build something that matters. Make it count for your customers. This is where the innovation is key. You need to be faster, cheaper, better than your competition. And trust me you have competition. You can meet them at SxSW.
  6. Take more pictures. I have 2 cameras, 2 smart phones with cameras, I was thinking about buying a Flip. But I don’t think it matters, until I get into the habit of snapping pictures. #FAIL on my part. Time to change personal information capture habits. Feeling like this is going to be painful.

DemoCamp Toronto 19

Hard to believe that it’s been almost 7 months since DemoCamp Toronto 18. It’s just crazy.


How to attend?

Everyone needs a ticket. You can register for a ticket at EventBrite.


Space at the venue is limited. And this is an iterative process. We’re trying to figure out how to make this work.

There are essentially 5 types of tickets:

  1. Student – Must be enrolled in a full-time academic program, and you must be of legal drinking age as the event is happening in a bar.
  2. Early-bird – Access to view the demos.
  3. Regular – Access to view the demos.
  4. Sponsor – Logo on the site, 2 tickets to view the demos.
  5. Networking Only – No access to view the demos.

What the hell is the networking only?

After the disaster that was perceived as paid seating at DemoCampToronto18, we are separating the networking and the demos. This time we really are going with paid access to the demo floor.

The networking will happen on the first floor. The demos will be happening on the second floor. The second floor is limited to 80 people. This will hopefully allow the audience to be a little quieter and give people the opportunity to listen and watch.

How to present?

All presentations are 5 minutes long. There are 2 types of presentations:

  1. Demos – maximum 2 slides and a functioning software or web application demo. Hardware and mobile demos are allowed however, please discuss with me.
  2. Ignites – 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds

Basically drop me a note (I’m david at this domain dot ca), I’m hoping to have our Strutta submissions up and running soon.  The biggest thing is to tell me why incredibly connected, informed and engaged people will care about what you have to say.


in09_logoSarah Baird from Interactive Ontario has offered up 3 passes and a session (3×15 minute presentations) for the best presentations at The Interactive Exchange: IN09 conference.

There are some other door prizes including a ticket to MeshU.


When and where is it?

It’s a secret. Do you know the handshake? Seriously relax!

DemoCamp Toronto 19 is happen on March 3, 2009 at The Imperial Pub.

Who should attend?

DemoCamp is a social event. Cocktails and startup demos for designers, developers and marketers in Toronto.

Bring out your dead.

Run what ya brung.

There is a lot of cool software, applications, campaigns and other things happening in Toronto. DemoCamp is a way to bring out the designers, developers, marketers, funders and everyone else associated with early-stage technology and emerging companies. Attendees tend to be interested in technology, design and entrepreneurship.

CUTC – where the future goes!

cutc2009 CUTC abbr. Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference. [que-te-see]

  1. Happening in Toronto on March 12-13, 2009 at the Toronto Hilton.
  2. CUTC is the biggest and most defining platform for students to meet and learn from experienced industry and academic professionals.

I haven’t been to a CUTC yet. Unfortunately, I won’t get to go this year. It’s happening the same time as SxSWi and I’ll be back in Austin. Looks like a great event for Canadian undergraduate students (sponsored by Rypple and Infusion Development). The conference schedule includes:

  • TechPanels – open panel discussions between 2-4 industry representatives on cloud computing, mobile communications and next-generation consoles.
  • TechShops – Interactive workshops with hands-on tinkering. Play with Eclipse, Maya and other tools.
  • TechTours – Go see where the magic happens. Picture desks and monitors 😉 I actually love lab and studio tours. Seeing others workspace is inspiring and can help you determine if you want to work there.
  • TechTeam – Divide into groups with students and industry pros to build upon an idea and present a feasible solution. Awesome, you get to see how people at different companies think about rapid problem solving.
  • TechShow – I think this is presentations, entertainment and inspiration. It’s a show. It’s designed to facilitate conversation.
  • TechExpo – think tradeshow. You get to see what’s going on in the industry. Push it. Poke it. Prod it.

In case you missed it, it’s about Tech!Looks like a great conference. Just hoping that they publish a schedule sooner rather than later.

LaunchParty Vancouver 6

Rob Lewis and the team at TechVibes is doing a great job. They picked up on LaunchParty Vancouver 6 happening on February 26 at the Steamworks Brewing Company. The LaunchParty web site is powered by Danny Robinson’s Strutta, who happens to be a partner in Bootup Labs with my good friend Boris Mann.

LaunchParty Vancouver 6 (LPV6) startups will be posting 2 minute videos and the audience gets to vote on the startup “most likely to succeed”. Brilliant. TechVibes also provides a handy profile of each of the companies.


Handi MobilityCompany:
Handi Mobility
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Coming soon… [more]


Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

HearWhere is a search engine helping you find live music playing all over the world. With more than one million shows from over one million… [more]


3rd WhaleCompany:
3rd Whale
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is a digital media company focused on providing tools, resources and innovative projects that help individuals the world over live a… [more]


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is a user-driven Social Network community and communication platform specifically designed for the television (TV) enthusiast. It is a… [more]


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Webcams just got an upgrade. TimeCam.TV is a service that creates an online time lapse from any Internet camera or webcam. It is the easiest way to… [more]




Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Rilli is a map-based online and mobile event creation tool for social people, doing real things, in the real world. [more]

It begs the question when is the next DemoCamp. Leila has been pushing on finding a venue. It has been too long and we’re going to correct this for FY2009, look for an announcement with DemoCamp details in the next few days.

meshU schedule

meshu I’m a big fan of meshU. I was lucky enough to speak last year. Mike McDerment has announce the initial meshU schedule today. Perhaps a little Rails focused on the development side (AideRSS, Unspace and Engine Yard – even 37signals on the design side), this might be a result of FreshBooks using Rails for part of their infrastructure. I hope that Michael and the team will consider expanding the technologies to include things like PHP and Drupal, jQuery, other MVC frameworks, other mobile & rich client development environments, configuring your development environment.

The initial schedule looks great for designers and developers. It’s hands-on practical exposure to leading Web 2.0 technologies, techniques and patterns. meshU is a bargain, it’s $289 to attend ($25 for a limited number of student tickets). It fits right into a similar spot that TechDays filled for developers on the Microsoft stack. Way less expensive than Mix, PDC or Web2Expo particularly when you remove the travel costs. I love seeing world-class talent and conversation happening in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver (yes, I know that meshU is only in Toronto – for now).




What: meshU
Registration: $289 – Limited number of student tickets at $25
When: Monday, April 6, 2009 (all day)
Where: MaRs Discovery District Auditorium

Toronto, Ontario