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.

Strong versus weak connections

I missed the Malcolm Gladwell conversation at F5 Expo in Vancouver last week, however, there has been a lot of buzz about the ideas presented. Christopher Holt summarizes Gladwell’s talk:

Fidel and Che didn’t use Facebook to change their world. They didn’t even have fax machines. They built strong trust ties, not loose networks like those that most people have with their Twitter  buddies.

So here’s the idea about social media — it’s a load of tripe that ain’t gonna change nothin’. You want to change the world? You need to spend time, build strong networks based on reputation and authenticity, and develop very close trusting relationships

Basically he’s saying that in order to change the world you need to build strong networks based on reputation, authenticity and trust. And strong networks are not built online. That social network connections tend to be of the weak variety, i.e., easily broken because of the lack of trust and reputation. This is counter to the evidence presented by Veenhof, Wellman, Ouell and Hogan [PDF], who suggest that social media tools are transforming relations with family, with friends, with community relations.

“Rather, research is showing that the Internet is fostering participation with community members and in social organizations. To a great extent, this is basically an enhancement of existing relationships— people now have other media to connect them.”

The data from Veenhof et al. supports the separation of strong and weak connections, however, social media (Internet usage) augments and supports existing relationships. What is missing are the tools for establishing trust, reputation, and authenticity online. The majority of the data continues to support existing familia and friendship relationships as strong ties.

What are strong versus weak connections?

Social network analysis often partitions one’s contacts with other people into strong ties and weak ties. While there is no precise boundary, strong ties generally provide one or more of the following: intimate social support (measured as those with whom one “discusses important matters”), help in times of need, or regular and intentional social contact (that is to say, they actively seek each other out regularly, rather than ‘bump into each other’). Weak ties are those individuals who are socially close to a person, but not close enough to fulfil those criteria (Boase et al. 2006).

How do you critically evaluate the reputation of others online? Is it their academic or corporate pedigree? Is it the number of followers? Is it through personal connection? What about as the number of levels of degrees of separation increase in your social graph? You know who your friends are and presumably you trust them, do you trust their friends?

Who are the people that you actively seek out?

Trust like knowledge is an emergent property

I think that Stowe Bowd has captured my biggest concern about trust management:

Stowe Boyd, Craig Newmark on Trust

Trust — like knowledge — is an emergent property of social networks, an attribute of social relationships. That I trust a friend and that friend trusts me is a construct of emotions and thoughts, based on interactions over time, and the result of past experiences…Attempts in the past to suggest that knowledge can be managed as an asset have largely been fruitless. I predict the same will be true of trust and reputation. And not just because it can be gamed, or that it is highly contextual, but because it won’t connect with our minds well, and how we think and feel about trust.

And this is consistent with Gladwell’s comments at F5 Expo and the work from Veenhof et al, that strong connections are incredibly well supported by digital communication tools. I keep wondering if there is an opportunity to build a trustworthiness score, something like a credit score. However, the ability of the financial industry to operationalize a measure of the riskiness of a consumer is probably much more easily accepted than other industries to accept a computed trust measure.

Additional Reading

Don’t believe the hype

Zombie Money
Photo by rendzu

It sucks to have a reputation problem. But when you take over an organization that has mismanaged $1B of public money.

Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter released a scathing report in the fall that found the agency had mismanaged $1 billion of taxpayers’ money, with little oversight. CBC News

It probably helps explain why I”m so distrusting even when hearing the new leader make noise around doing the things to better help the citizens.

“The sooner we can have a crisper definition of what’s in this for the patient … the sooner the public who’s paying for all of this will see the value of it” – eHealth Ontario, CEO Greg Reed

This seems like a pretty clear question that should have been asked before starting this Billion Dollar eHealth Debacle. The lack of transparency, the lack of accountability, the lack of a measure of success. I find it challenging regardless of the pedigree of the new CEO (former Dundee Bank of Canada chief and long-time McKinsey & Co. consultant) that he will be able to deliver. We need to stand up and demand better from our politicians and those that lead our publicly funded institutions.

When it comes to government agencies and activities it’s the appearance of impropriety that matters most. We as citizens should demand the best for our dollars. One of the cornerstones of open government is transparency (and accountability). We need individuals that dream big, that are willing to report on their actions, and be accountable for the deliverables. Process is important, it is no substitute for results. Meritocracies are not without their criticism, but when looking at the effectiveness of an individual or an organization’s ability to deliver.

Until we can decide on what is merit we’re left to suffer the traditional *cracies that run rampant:

the truth is out there - i want to believe
Image by megaul

We have seen crap keynote speakers, crap politicians, crap companies, crap performance all continue to use their social position and political power to manipulate the system in their personal favour. And as messed up as a meritocracy might be, it focuses on results – improving the lives of citizens, of customers, of the world – provided that we can define objective measures of success

“When I’m in Canada, I feel this is what the world should be like” – Jane Fonda

Reputation and trust matters. So does the ability to critically evaluate the merit of the companies that you purchase your goods from, the speakers at the conferences you attend, the truthliness of your newscasters or comedians. Be critical of the people. Be critical of their stories. Be critical about their point of view. Ask questions about their motives, motivations and desired outcomes.

The lack of critical thinking might help explain the inability to define success in Canada. Step back and ask questions.

meshmarketing– Oct 22, 2009


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.

Social Media Group – Manager, Influencer Outreach

Toronto, ON

We’re looking for a passionate social media practitioner to join our growing team.

Based in our Toronto branch office, you’ll be responsible for providing top-notch service to some of North America’s leading brands.

As a Manager in our Influencer Outreach team, you’ll get to do leading-edge work surrounded by some of the best and brightest folks in the business. It’ll be your job to help develop and deliver strategies, campaigns and programs for our clients.

At SMG, we practice applied social media, not theoretical. Our clients appreciate that our expertise is real and market-tested and that we offer a unique perspective as a pure-play social media agency.

We’re looking for candidates who:

  • are excellent communicators
  • have experience providing client service
  • have worked in the social media space
  • actively participate online
  • are looking to have a remarkable experience doing phenomenal work

At SMG we value honesty, curiosity, innovation, invention, excellence and partnership. Our mantra is to add value in all our interactions at every opportunity. We treat each other and everyone else with respect. And we have a tonne of fun together!

If you’re interested in applying, please check out the job description and send your resume and cover letter to maggie [at] socialmediagroup [.] com and leona [dot] hobbs [at] socialmediagroup [.] com. Please make sure to include links to your websites and profiles on social networks.

Chango/ – Social Media Intern

Toronto, ON

Originally from

Chango Inc. is “hiring” 2 social media interns for the summer to coordinate our social engagement strategy for and!  Checkout our recent TechCrunch article and some of the online Buzz. Salary is zip, zero, zilch.  However here’s what you do get:

  1. The opportunity to build your personal brand while pumping up Tweetbucks and Chango.
  2. Work 4 days a week on our stuff, use our facilities on the 5th day to work on your own stuff.
  3. A chance at a full-time job at the end of the summer as a Chango community manager
  4. One intern will walk away with their own Macbook 13″ laptop at the end of the summer.  We will be running competitions throughout the summer and the overall winner gets the laptop.  Think social media “Apprentice”.
  5. $50 StarBucks card each month + Wifi access.
  6. Your own place in a cool brick & beam office in the coolest part of downtown Toronto.
  7. A great chance to share your knowledge, and learn from a passionate group of experienced entrepreneurs, developers, executives and investors.


What you will be doing

  • Build creative mini-campaigns to promote the Tweetbucks & Chango brands with next to no budget!
  • Stay highly caffeinated while blogging, tweeting & talking all day about our service.
  • Plan, shoot and produce video-blog segments
  • Work with seasoned entrepreneurs and an extremely talented development team

Skill-sets required

  • Highly comfortable using and communicating with Twitter and other social media services
  • Excellent written English and communication skills
  • Positive and self-motivated attitude willing to tackle tasks with limited supervision
  • Some technically savvy

How to Apply

Successful applicants will provide us with a 2 page outline of how they will build the Tweetbucks brand using  social media tools.  Applicants should be creative design a low-budget campaign that might include Twittering, blogging, producing video blogs, fan pages, tweet-ups, competitions and more.   This is your chance to show us your creative side and your understanding of how social media works.   Submit a link to your proposal via our Contact form.   Hint: Checkout the I heart the Cube campaign @tswizz put together to try to win a car.

Our Location

Work in the Fashion / Media District of Downtown Toronto – King St. West.   Starbucks is 10 seconds away with a killer patio.

Platforms and health

All Images copyright Gizmodo Live Blog.

LifeScan’s app is for people with diabetes in order to “simply diabetes management.”


In their example, they’re putting themselves into the shoes of Maddie, a 15-year-old girl with diabetes. She tests herself six times a day and injects insulin multiple times a day. First she needs to prick her finger and get her glucose reading. Now the insulin meter can transmit her reading to her iPhone over Bluetooth or over the 30-pin dock connector.



She can then track her readings and mark them appropriately as before a meal or after a meal. Then she can track what kind of food she’s eating and how much of it, plugging it into the iPhone, which will tell her exactly how much insulin she needs after her meal.


Maddie can then re-calculate on the phone if she then needs less insulin because she’s going to exercise later.


With the iPhone app, she can then let her parents know that she’s OK by sending them a message directly through the app that has her glucose level and how she feels.

Apps like LifeScan and Charmr show that there is a real need to understand people and their devices. But that we’re about to see an explosion of personal medical devices targeted at behaviour change and routine monitoring of health. I love this space. What I love more is the emerging platforms like Google Health and HealthVault are trying to solve a BIG difficult problem of electronic health records. There is a huge opportunity to start software and “experiences” companies around this space.

Time to research Ontario government funding in this space. It looks like they have invested the $30M from the Innovation Demonstration Fund. Need to review companies and technologies in the Health Technology Exchange at And learn more about Investment Accelerator Fund. You can get access to software and support from BizSpark. What a great time to start a company! Great people, great ideas and great platforms are all abundant.

I’m inspired about personal healthcare startups.

Tucows – Director of Marketing

Toronto, ON

We’re looking for someone to head up the Marketing Team at Tucows.

Reporting to Ken Schafer (VP Marketing and Product Management), you’ll play an active role in developing the marketing and communication strategies for the company.  Your goal is to energize and enable a marketing team of seven campaign, community, content and communications specialists in order to help them meet all the marketing and communications needs of the company is most of it’s lines of business.


At Tucows, we believe the Internet is the greatest agent for positive change the world has ever seen. We know that people find the Internet complex and confusing, so our work is to make things simple and reliable. We’re big on innovation and creativity and believe it is found in every employee, customer and partner we have. And we know that through teamwork we can achieve remarkable things.

Don’t know Tucows? We’re one of Canada’s oldest and most successful Internet companies and our services have customers in over 150 countries.

OpenSRS manages over eight million domain names and millions of email boxes through a reseller network of over 9,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover is the easiest way for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. YummyNames owns premium domain names that generate revenue through advertising and resale to marketers and entrepreneurs. is an online video network building on the foundation of software and solutions available at since 1993.

Our offices in the Liberty Village district of Toronto are home to over 150 passionate and dedicated Tucows’ team members.

You can find out more about us and our brands by visiting our corporate website.


You are passionate about the Internet – if you aren’t, you won’t like working here.

You’ll bring at least five years experience in Internet marketing management with you and you’ll have a proven ability to drive business forward while continuously improving the value of everything you and your team touches.

Working in a fast-paced team environment won’t scare you. In fact you’d be willing to say “change is my friend” and actually mean it. You present ideas clearly, concisely and always keep an eye on the business benefit of those ideas. You’ll be able to tell us how being self-directed and proactive has been key to your past success and point to ways you’ve been a creative problem-solver and communicator up and down organizational hierarchies.

If you have experience with B2B or channel marketing it will be a strong asset to you in this job.

You could very well have a college diploma or university degree in marketing, communications, or business but you’ve probably learned more from reading and writing blog and Twitter posts than from those degrees.  In fact, if you don’t have an active blog, twitter feed and other social media outlets for your passion for the Internet you’ll have a hard time convincing us you’re right for this gig.


You’re the brain and heart of everything that happens in marketing and communications at Tucows.  You engage with your team to develop goals for and then implement projects in the four key areas we see as essential for marketing this century:

  1. Campaign Marketing including; lead generation (SEM, SEO, email marketing, online ads, webinars, etc.), new reseller sign-up, upsell and retention, sales collateral, etc., as well as data integrity within and ExactTarget databases
  2. Community Building including; community engagement (company blogs, micro-blogs and forums), community outreach via social media, social media monitoring, developing and maintaining an active customer advisory council, etc.
  3. Content Creation including; web site content, screencasts, webcasts, technical documentation, service bulletins (via email, web site,, service status communications (status page, email, twitter, rss, internal war room management), etc.
  4. Communications including; events and tradeshows, corporate media releases, line of business media releases, media outreach, media inquiries, crisis communications, investor relations, etc.

Most importantly, you’ll be happy to roll up your sleeves and do actual work to help move these goals forward.

If this sounds like your dream job, cruise on over to our site to read all the details and drop us your application.

RBC Asset Management – Digital Marketing Associate

Toronto, ON

Position Purpose

Please note this is a contract opportunity for between 6 and 12 months with the possibility of renewal.

  • The primary purpose of this position is to design and maintain the front-end of RBC AM public and private web properties (Internet, intranet, advisor and GFS sites) for marketing and communications initiatives within RBC Asset Management
  • Responsible for the overall look and feel of all web properties, create elegant, useful and usable designs that unite, engage and bring value to user experience, provide expertise in usability and solve visual problems and noise
  • The desired impact of the role is to increase user satisfaction across all web properties, to drive sales of investment products and retain existing clients and assets
  • Ability to deliver a superior online client experience for sales force and clients, drive revenue and efficiency while delivering the required key messages


  • Responsible for updating all the web properties for RBC AM including the Internet, intranet, advisor, direct and GFS sites
  • Respond to ad hoc requests within desired timeframes
  • Maintain high standards of quality control for all websites
  • Ensure consistency between information posted on all websites, email communications and web components
  • Effectively translate Product and Marketing intelligence into online concepts
  • Ensure that the online client experience is efficient and ensure that RBC AM key messages are highlighted where appropriate
  • Develop a strong understanding of various design techniques and multimedia formats – audio/video
  • Continuously look for ways to improve the online client experience through leverage of the expertise and knowledge of the Online Strategies, Web Properties and Applied Innovation groups
  • Work with external vendors in the execution of any project elements that have been outsourced;
  • Keep up-to-date with new media and marketing strategies, design trends and practices
  • Experience executing online marketing strategies
  • Work closely with other RBC AM team members to develop innovative new online experiences for both staff and clients, to deliver the RBC AM story

Key Relationships

  • Peers on the Enterprise Sales, Product, Marketing & Communications teams.
  • Liaise with members of RBC AM team to meet key deliverables.
  • Liaise with Online Strategies and Web Properties groups to leverage best practices.
  • Liaise with vendors and agencies.

Time Allocation

  • Creative web design, audio/video editing – 90%
  • Process development / improvement – 10%

Job Requirements

  • 1-3 years online marketing experience (financial services preferred)
  • Strong design style, including creative design solutions within the constraints of the project or brand standards
  • Graphic design and multimedia experience – conceptual design, creation of creative and multimedia solutions
  • Ability to effectively use the following design programs: Adobe Creative Suite Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Knowledge of HTML and CSS
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and in a team environment
  • Ability to work within tight timelines and to prioritize multiple responsibilities
  • Attention to detail, project management and organizational skills
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills
  • Familiar with technical issues of web development (web standards and accessibility)
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to interpret technology for non-technical users
  • Experience with social networking, community-based sites, and Web 2.0 a definite plus
  • Proficient in MAC OS – based design programs including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Flash
  • Please supply a URL for your online resume or portfolio.


  • BA/BS

Special Conditions

  • Contract


Diversity in the workplace, one of our shared values, lies at the heart of our rewarding, open, supportive and inclusive work environment. We respect and respond to the many competing and evolving priorities in our lives so you can focus on what you can do best – put clients first.


Apply online

Brightspark – Senior Marketing Manager

Toronto, ON

Brightspark 3.0 Inc is focused on building, launching and operating revenue generating Internet businesses. We’re in search of a Senior Marketing Manager with solid, proven software and Internet marketing experience.


  • Minimum of 10 years experience working within the software development and Internet/Web 2.0 sector, with a clear understanding of the Marketing related processes in taking multiple projects to market in a development environment.
  • Proven Product Marketing experience with an understanding of what it takes to translate product marketing into projects, and ability to manage the end-to-end product management life cycle across a number of projects.
  • Solid experience in having strategized and driven the PR, Product Marketing and Marketing Communications process and the relative components that goes along with each.
  • Demonstrated ability and experience in managing people both internally, as well as external vendors and contractors.
  • A guru in having past ‘Marketing’ experience preferably within an Internet/Software Development company, with an understanding of the development product life cycles, plus proven experience in a startup environment.
  • You have a passion for the technology world and flourish by living immersed within the world of technology. Knowledge and experience with social networking, search optimization and Web 2.0 are additional key components for this role.
  • Self-starter, entrepreneurial approach. You need to be very well organized and function comfortably under pressure in a fast-changing environment.

This role requires a personality that is able to equally balance their ability to address and support the needs of the product definition, development, sales and web implementation teams.

A team player who knows how to get the best out of everyone, can work cooperatively with others, with a complete passion and ability to function well according to the varied requirements and constant-changing environment. You know to function well in a start-up environment

If you are interested in working with this very experienced team in a dynamic environment, please send your resume to and refer to Job #: 114.