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.