M&M (Massive and Meetup)

John Boll­witt did an excel­lent job of describ­ing (and pho­tograph­ing) the Mas­sive Tech Con­fer­ence this year. I took no pic­tures, as I was not in Jour­nal­ist mode. I did take some notes, though. The only thing I’d add was that some of the Con­fer­ence ses­sions upstairs (where I’d nev­er been before at the Con­ven­tion Cen­tre) were pret­ty good. Open­ing remarks were by Leonard Brody, the founder of Now­Pub­lic (the impres­sive local start­up that I learned about way back at my first North­ern Voice — actu­al­ly, Moose Camp 2006, to be pre­cise), and also the author of “Every­thing I Need to Know About Business…I Learned from a Cana­di­an” as well as “Inno­va­tion Nation: Cana­di­an Lead­er­ship from Java to Juras­sic Park”. The main thrust of his talk? That Cana­da is one of the most inno­v­a­tive, entre­pre­neur­ial, and fis­cal­ly well-posi­tioned coun­tries in the world, but often are our own worst ene­my because of our self-image (mod­est, self-effac­ing, per­haps even self-dep­re­ca­to­ry). He felt that Cana­da needs to get over this low self-esteem, make the most of our com­ing wealth from being the num­ber 1 oil pro­duc­er in the next decade (which I have to say I’m not com­plete­ly in agree­ment with), and bet­ter reward small busi­ness­es and investors in those busi­ness­es. He offered equal parts praise and crit­i­cism for Cana­da, and prob­a­bly got many atten­dees think­ing about what we have here, as well as what we might have. The sta­tis­tics and find­ings he quot­ed alone (and I wish I’d tak­en down more of them) were sur­pris­ing. Exam­ples: Cana­da has twice the rate of entre­pre­neurs as the US. Cana­da is in the best fis­cal shape of the G8. Canada’s rep­u­ta­tion among oth­er coun­tries, or rather, it’s ‘brand’ is ‘peo­ple’, and is decid­ed­ly more pos­i­tive than that of the USA (sur­prise, surprise).

Cybele Negris, who I know from work as the COO of Web­names, gave a very good overview of the new .mobi domain for cell phones; not too tech­ni­cal, not too sales‑y. This is a hard thing to do, since it’s a rel­a­tive­ly new top-lev­el domain (like .com or .net) and still with­in the realm of techies, but should­n’t be. The main issue is that North Amer­i­ca has to catch up with Asia in both adopt­ing it, and offer­ing wire­less data plans that don’t charge by the byte. At the end of her talk she announced that Web­names was offer­ing every­one at the show a free domain reg­is­tra­tion (a nice pro­mo­tion as this could in some cas­es be worth the cost of going to the show).

As for the show floor for me, I was extreme­ly pleased with the reac­tion to my search for employ­ment. I have a stack of busi­ness cards in front of me from var­i­ous poten­tial employ­ers and recruit­ing firms , and many of them have ‘Send Resumé’ writ­ten on them. I hand­ed out about 6 or 7 copies of the resumé to var­i­ous peo­ple on the show floor. It was not a ‘feed­ing fren­zy’, but I def­i­nite­ly heard the mes­sage many times that many busi­ness­es were hun­gry for hi-tech work­ers, and that my skills and expe­ri­ence were extreme­ly valu­able. In the com­ing weeks and months we’ll see how that plays out. For now, the morn­ing after, I’d say that I’m very encour­aged by what I saw, the peo­ple at the booths who I talked to, and the gen­er­al employ­ment pic­ture of Vancouver.

Par­ty at the Fin­ish Line
After a long day of meet­ing strangers (for the most part), it was nice to relax and talk to some friends. The month­ly blog­ger meet­up was at The Whip, a bar/restaurant at Main and Sixth (East Sixth, just bare­ly). Despite the S&M sound­ing name, it was com­fort­able and a good venue for the 9 of us who met at about 7PM.
The top­ics includ­ed the lat­est fad(?): Twit­ter, how to main­tain (or doc­u­ment) your good rep­u­ta­tion online, google bomb­ing, the Streisand effect, and what one post ever got the most traf­fic (whether you’re hap­py about it or not). Notable in her absence was Isabel­la, the group’s orga­niz­er, because she was attend­ing to her daugh­ter giv­ing birth (which some of us learned via twit­ter!). After imbib­ing and talk­ing till about 10, we all shuf­fled off, in some cas­es to con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tions via blogs or twitter.

Now that I think about it, it was quite a con­trast from the day I went to Mas­sive in 2005. At the par­ty after that show, I did­n’t know a soul (but did my best). Last night, I knew every­one around the table, either online or offline. What a dif­fer­ence 2 years can make.

4 Replies to “M&M (Massive and Meetup)”

  1. The fun­ny thing about a hair­cut is that only the peo­ple who saw your hair before you got it react to the new (quite a bit short­er) length.

    When I used to live in Boston, because of the extreme shifts in tem­per­a­ture (there is no Spring in Boston; you go straight to Sum­mer from Win­ter), I used to let my hair grow quite long in the cold months, and then in late Spring —usually about April or so— I’d shave it all off. I did this every year. You could real­ly tell how con­formist a com­pa­ny was based on how this freaked them out : Odd­ly enough, the peo­ple who had the hard­est time han­dling it were the Inter­net Start­up I worked for in ear­ly 2000. Con­verse­ly, my friends and cowork­ers at Fideli­ty Invest­ments did­n’t blink an eye. Makes one won­der about the stereo­types of tol­er­ance for indi­vid­u­al­is­tic behav­iour in small com­pa­nies vs. larg­er ones…

    Any­way, no one com­plained that they would­n’t hire some­one with such short hair. 🙂

  2. Good to see you again at the meet­up, David. Best of luck to you in your career tran­si­tion. I’m afraid I’m not much use in the net­work­ing depart­ment for your par­tic­u­lar skill set, but it sounds like you made great head­way at the tech con­fer­ence. Keep in touch.

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