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I take it all back... Canadians are cutting edge when it comes to Web 2.0

Mesh_1 Well, open mouth insert foot - as they say. It's true that in Tris Hussey's [podcast interview] Monday Blogging 101 session at Toronto's mesh conference some of the questions seemed charmingly naive (i.e. in a time warp way). But the rest of the conference was an eye-opener.

This was an un-conference conference where audience participation was strongly encouraged. Audience members (who were primarily Canadian and ranged from geeks to corporate marketing and e-commerce types to VCs) spoke up articulately about Web 2.0 - what it means to them both personally and from a business perspective.

If you think the Web 2.0 thinkers, strategists and implementers are all in the U.S., think again.

My favorite presenter was 16-year-old Canadian high school student Gary King. (Check out his blog at kinggary.com.) He was one of the lucky winners of a 15-minutes-of-fame slot. Meaning he got to stand up in front of the sell-out crowd of 400 and tell us what he does -- and why.

Frankly, I was so mesmerized by how articulate and poised he was, I can't remember exactly what he said. Suffice it to say that he can code in PHP, etc. and I suspect got multiple summer job offers out of his 15-minute presentation.

Edelman's Steve Rubel gets a close 2nd for his cogent riffed responses to Stuart MacDonald's questions, in one of the featured sessions.

As does Tara Hunt (now "chief blogger" for Silicon Valley startup Riya.com) for her engaging presentation on pinko un-marketing. She really got the audience going after showing a video clip of 17-year-old bowiechick [links to video on youtube.com] demonstrating the cool things you can do with Logitech's Quickcam Orbit MP.

Apparently Melody's clever video has been downloaded 250,000 times. So... viral marketing for Logitech, right?? Or is there something more here? (Did Logitech engineer this somehow? Does Melody have any idea of what she's put into motion??)

AND if I can return for a moment to my "Canadians are nice" theme, I gotta say this was one of the best organized conferences I've been to, well... in memory.

Organizers Stuart MacDonald, Mark Evans, Mathew Ingram, Mike McDerment and Rob Hyndman threw the presenters a smashing dinner at Toronto's Drake Hotel on Monday night. The food was memorable - thanks guys!

They hand-wrote thank you notes and delivered each one personally. The events company they engaged (sorry, can't find the link) gladly helped stow my roll-on bag in a safe place during the conference sessions. Called me a taxi, asked how they could help, etc.

Finally, I had a great visit with Judy Gombita (Toronto-based networker supreme) and Donna Papacosta, Canadian podcasting queen.

Judy is the last remaining blogging holdout, as far as I can tell. She's communications director for Certified General Accountants of Ontario and has an email list to rival none.

If you're active in online and next-gen Internet marketing and you're not on Judy's email list, you're probably not as cool as you think you are.

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Posted by Debbie Weil on May 16, 2006 in Events , Web 2.0 | Permalink


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Rob Hyndman

Debbie, our event managers were MCC Planners, and they really were superb.



Randy Charles Morin

Debbie, the bankers didn't show up at mesh. Watch those same geeks when the bankers enter the room. It's a different story. Toronto's tech community makes so much money from the banks that Web 2.0, although glamorous, is a big pay cut.

David Jones

Debbie, my only regret from mesh was not getting the chance to introduce myself. I saw you and Judy (I'm on her e-mail list, whew!) a bunch of times, but lost track before I could weasel myself in to your conversations. I ran into Donna at registration on the first day and a few other times, but couldn't grab you all together.

You may not know this, but I used your 7 tips (with attribution of course) as part of my Blogging & PR session that was unfortunately running concurrent with your panel.

Hopefully, we'll meet if you ever make it back/are allowed into Canada again :)


Judy Gombita

Hey, Debbie! It's always great to see you in person and I'm delighted you finally made it up to TO to present and participate in one of our events and meet some of the local peeps.

You're right, the mesh conference was quite wonderful and a huge success by all accounts. Perhaps mesh was, in and of itself, the best demonstration of a successful Web 2.0 project. If you think about it, all of the information, marketing and registration was online/word-of-mouth...not a single piece of paper changed hands. I also thought the wiki page was a great addition, as the sense of community started even before the opening keynote. And those "meshies" (a.k.a. the organizers you mentioned) were "wicked," although I don't know where they all get their energy.

But I'm disappointed you didn't mention that you made it to a Tim Hortons and ordered a "steeped tea." That almost makes you an honourary Canadian, so I hope your next visit is soon.

All the best,

P.S. Gary King was the first person I met at mesh on Monday morning and I enjoyed chatting with him and getting some honest Gen Y feedback. He's quite something, isn't he!

Tris Hussey

No matter what Debbie ... you rock! Now, we've got to get you out to the West Coast!

Sulemaan Ahmed

I met Debbie at Mesh and she was quite gracious as I quoted some of her work when I wrote my thesis a few years ago. Yes her first post may appear uppity but she clarified. She could have easily just told everyone to go fish. And who hasn't put something in writing, be it blog or email and had the intent misinterpreted? She is as nice as they come.

Ed Kohler

The Mesh conference sounds pretty awesome. Everything I've read about it talks about how great the speakers and attendees were and how candid the discussions were. What more could you ask for?

Maybe the Tim Horton's donuts helped loosen people up?

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