mesh 2007 Tickets Now On Sale

It is with great pleasure that Mathew, Stuart, Mark, Rob and I announce that the mesh conference 2007 is now open for business.

What’s mesh? It’s a two-day conference in Toronto that endeavors to answer the question “What’s next online?” This is our second year and we sold out last year to a crowd of 400.

We try to answer that question by talking about how the internet is disrupting four streams: media, society, marketing and business. Our way will be illuminated by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Robert Edelman of Edelman Public Relations, Jim Buckmaster of Craig’s List, Tom Williams of GiveMeaning and Austin Hill of Gifter, all of whom will be joining us for keynote conversations. We’ll be releasing more about our other speakers and the topics and panels over the coming weeks.

A number of people have asked me to fill them in when event goes live…so I’m telling you now. I’ll add this too, we want you to be there and given the interest we have received prior to today, I’m guessing we will sell out well before the event. So please buy your tickets now if you want to come.

So, there it is. Please visit the site and come join the conversation.

On a side note, I don’t think I could have possibly imagined how much I could learn or how much fun I could have by being a part of this group. Mathew, Rob, Stuart and Mark – thank you very much. I would also like to thank our sponsors who make it possible to bring in such wonderful speakers. I can’t wait for May 30/31.

Things I Just Don't Believe In

As posted on the FreshBooks Blog (there are some comments there too):

Sometimes I see things I just don’t believe in. Here’s an example.

A recent Fortune Magazine article describes how Dov Charney, the founder and CEO of American Apparel, raised money through a SPAC. SPACs are shell companies that raise hundreds of millions in equity and go public. Once public they wait for an opportunity and once they find one, they put their equity to work. Since going public is such a painful process with Sarbanes Oxley and all the other red tape, SPACs are attractive to entrepreneurs as a quick way to raise big capital.

Here’s my thing: I just don’t believe in SPACs. Time may prove me wrong, and if that’s the case, so be it.

American Apparel is an interesting company who has grown very quickly. They do untraditional things like manufacture all their garments in the US, which in these times of outsourcing, I applaud them for. That said, SPACs seem like soulless entities to me. What are the odds they share the business values of the people at American Apparel? Slim to none I’d say. What if the dark clouds come when you have an investor like that? Wouldn’t be pretty I suspect.

Time will tell. Let’s give it 5-10 years. Standing here today, American Apparel’s decision to take investment from a SPAC seems like folly to me.

SPACs remind me of something we recently went through up here in Canada – income trusts. Income trusts were all the rage in Canada in recent years, and with all due respect to those who believed that simply by converting to an income trust corporations could simply side-step income taxes, you were fools.

Things that sound too good to be true, usually are too good to be true. Other things like SPACs, they fall into the category of things I just don’t believe in.

DemoCamp12 – Gonna Be A Big One

From the FreshBooks Blog:

Largely thanks to the efforts of David Crow, over the past 12 months new life has been breathed into the Toronto technology community. Popular “unconference” type events that are free to attend (such as BarCamp and DemoCamp) have drawn developers, designers, marketers and entrepreneurs out of the woodwork. I’d like to take a second and recognize some standout companies that have been born of Toronto and surrounding areas over the last 24 months.

ConceptShare – launched about three Months ago, my favourite service of 2006 is ConceptShare. It was founded by a three person team based out of Sudbury Ontario and the service is a FANTASTIC way for teams to collaborate on visual designs.

B5Media – B5 is a blog network – a new media company with over 2 million unique visitors a month. My friend Mark Evans left the National Post to pursue this opportunity as COO. I was looking at their site yesterday and they have over 14 verticals advertisers can place their content. If you are an advertiser or marketer, or if you are an aspiring blogger looking to earn some revenue, check them out.

Shopify – based in Ottawa, Shopify is an on demand shopping cart service. The technology behind the service is simple and quick to use and the layouts and designs are gorgeous. If you are looking to sell something online – or test if selling something online will work – you can get started quickly and effectively with Shopify.

Nuvvo – Ever wanted to teach a class on something, but you could not figure how to find students? Look no further than Nuvvo. You can prepare, manage and teach courses using Nuvvo – as well as collect payment. The couple behind the product are an exciting pair of technologists who I’m willing to bet you will hear from for years to come.

BubbleShare – run by serial entrepreneur Albert Lai, and recently sold for several million dollars, BubbleShare is one fantastic photo sharing service. I wrote it up here.

Next Monday is DemoCamp12 and I expect there will be 150 or more people in attendance to hear all about BubbleShare 2.0 and annual updates from several of the companies above. If you are in the area, sign up and join us.