meshU rock stars, and a 4th mesh keynote

Last year, we launched a new mesh event called meshU — a one-day series of speakers and workshops for developers, designers, project managers and anyone who builds online properties (or wants to) — and we got a great response to it from the Web community. We’re doing it again this year, and we think we’ve got a fantastic lineup of speakers, including some real rock stars in the design, development and project management areas. So if that kind of thing is up your alley, you should probably drop what you’re doing and go register now (and while you’re at it, check out the great new website for meshU designed by the amazing and talented Jeff Sarmiento). meshU is April 6th at the MaRS Centre.

Here are some of the highlights:

Ryan Singer of 37signals on Value Judgments in Interface Design

Bruce Philp of GWP Brand Engineering on Ten Keys to a Branded User Experience

Chris Wanstrath of Github on Building a Business With Open Source

Ilya Grigorik of AideRSS on Event-Driven Architectures

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Let’s all grow up a little, shall we?

I’m hoping that the brouhaha (or maybe it’s actually more of a kerfuffle) over whether or not TechCrunch50 co-organizer Jason Calacanis plagiarized something written 10 years ago by a former DEMO organizer is actually a clever, top-secret strategy to boost the Google News page-rank of both conferences. Because the alternative is that this is one of the most childish outbursts I can recall from a group of alleged adults — right up there with photo-blogger and Zooomr CEO Thomas Hawk calling a staffer at San Francisco’s MOMA an a-hole on his blog for not letting him take pictures in the museum’s atrium.

According to a post at TechCrunch and one at Alexander Muse’s Texas Startup blog, someone named Deb McAlister, who was once involved with the DEMO conference but apparently isn’t any longer, wrote to Muse and said that an email Jason sent around to his oh-so-private mailing list (don’t get me started on that whole fiasco) with tips for startups on how to do a demo was actually a blatant rip-off of something she wrote for DEMO founder David Coursey about 10 years ago. According to Ms. McAlister, approximately 1,893 of the 2,200 words in the Calacanis mail were “DIRECTLY lifted” from her piece.

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Looking back at mesh 2008

Much like its two predecessors, the mesh conference this year was just a huge amount of fun — I can only hope that the people who attended and meshed along with us had as good a time as I did. From the keynote I did with Ethan Kaplan from, the VP of technology at Warner Brothers, and the one that my colleague Stuart MacDonald did with Lane Merrifield of (who seemed like just a terrifically down-to-earth guy — very Canadian) to the panels and workshops, and of course the great social events, it was as good a time as I can remember having at any conference. For me, the mark of a good conference is always the people you meet and the ideas you share, and hopefully we enabled a lot of that.

Some highlights for me personally included the design presentation at meshU by Daniel Burka of Digg and Pownce, who is just a super-nice guy (also very Canadian), and the ones by Ryan Carson — complete with his trademark hat — and Kevin Hale of As for mesh proper, the music panel was one of my favourites, in part because I programmed it; but also because David Gratton was such an excellent moderator, and because the mix of people of the panel was so good, with David Usher, CRIA head Graham Henderson and Kieran Roy of the indie label Arts & Crafts (CBC has an interview with David Usher).

The presentation by Mike Masnick of on “the economics of abundance” was also a personal favourite, and a whole bunch of people came up to tell me the same thing. Mike is extremely good at explaining difficult economic concepts as they apply to digital media and business models, and I could tell people in the panel room were getting a lot out of it — and I think 322 slides in 30 minutes is a new record. And of course, all the social meshing in the concourse was a big part of the conference for me, and hopefully for others, as well as the great parties put on by Maggie Fox and the Social Media Group and by Edelman, our PR partners for mesh 2008.

If you want to try and track some of what went on at mesh, here are some places to look:

— mDialog has video highlights of many of the keynotes and panels, and the videos are also available on iTunes as well (thanks to Greg Philpott and his team, and to the excellent Mark McKay).

— Flickr has some photos from mesh and from the mesh party at the Rockwood, hosted by SMG (thanks to Rannie “Photojunkie” Turingan and Arieh Singer)

— David Janes’ Onaswarm has a roundup of Twitter posts, Flickr photos and more.

— Nora Young of CBC’s Spark has posted video of her chat with Bill Buxton, which will be broadcast as part of next week’s show

— My former Globe colleague Peter Nowak has an interview with David Usher.

— Michael Geist has uploaded his excellent slide presentation on digital advocacy

— Daniel Burka of Digg and Pownce has uploaded his meshU presentation to Slideshare.

— Sam Ladner, who did the Reputation Management workshop, has uploaded her slide deck.

— Amber MacArthur has put up a YouTube video of her presentation on video

Jonathan Keebler and Guinevere Orvis (who was also on the video panel, and was an excellent choice) live-blogged most of the conference using ScribbleLive, which was featured in a TechCrunch article written by Erick Schonfeld, who attended mesh08 (and is a really nice guy).

— Mark Blevis live-blogged many of the sessions, as did Dave Fleet and Connie Crosby, and music-panel moderator David Gratton.

— Nav from Scrawled in Wax wrote about a couple of sessions, as did Colin Carmichael and mesh regular (or irregular), the excellent Michael O’Connor Clarke.

— Marketing magazine has a story about mesh 2008, as does The Industry Standard

and for bonus points:

— Mike Masnick writes about how Warner Brothers should move Ethan Kaplan out of the technology side of the label and into the business side.

— My Globe colleague Matt Hartley worked his tail off at mesh and wrote several excellent stories (and I say that as a completely unbiased observer :-): one about StumbleUpon, one about Michael Geist and online advocacy, one about online brand-building and one about online video.

— Alec Saunders of Iotum gets into a back-and-forth with moderator Rachel Sklar from Huffington Post about the privacy panel at mesh 08.

— Ross McKegney has some thoughts about meshU.

— Jon Lax of Teehan Lax posted his presentation from meshU.

— Mark Kuznicki and Sean Howard have posted their Government 2.0 presentation from meshU on Slideshare.

— Wayne Macphail from has posted video of six sessions at mesh, including the keynote by Michael Geist, the keynote by Lane Merrifield of Club Penguin, the “Video is Everywhere” panel, the “New Front Page” panel, the “Cultivating Community” panel and Mike Masnick’s presentation on “the Economics of Abundance.” Just click the “On Demand” button on the Rabbletv player.

— Reg Braithwaite has posted slides from his Building and Managing Great Software Teams presentation from meshU on Flickr.

— Alistair Croll has posted his slides from his Watching the Web presentation at meshU at the Bitcurrent site.

— more at the Tucows blog, as well as from Glen Farrelly and from Doug Walker, and some thoughts on meshU at StartupNorth.

— Rahaf Harfoush also live-blogged a couple of the marketing panels.

— Zoe Siskos of Social Media Group made a video and has posted it.

— Stan Sutter of Infopresse has a post up about several of the panels and keynotes.

— Kevin Restivo has posted some thoughts about mesh08.

— Rob Hyndman did an interview with CFRA and has posted the audio.

— Kathryn Lagden has a post up about the conversation between Nora Young of CBC’s Spark and researcher Bill Buxton.

If you have any other links to mesh-related stuff — or thoughts about it — please post a comment. There are also meshU and mesh feedback forms you can use to give us your take on either of the two events.

mesh 2008 day one: rocked

Have to get some sleep soon, since I feel like I’ve been up for about 18 hours straight, but I had to mention how great the first day of mesh 2008 felt. Obviously I’m biased, being one of the organizers, but I really think the keynotes were pretty fantastic — even if we did have to get Michael Geist to sub in for the missing Matt Mason. Ethan Kaplan is one of the most interesting and thoughtful people when it comes to the future of music, and I could have easily continued talking with him about it long after the keynote was over. And David Gratton of Project Opus continued some of the discussion about those issues on his panel in the afternoon with musician David Usher, Kieran Roy from the indie label Arts & Crafts and Graham Henderson from the Canadian Recording Industry Association, who was actually a pretty good sport about being made out as the bad guy all the time.

The music panel really seemed to get people fired up — we had a huge amount of great questions and interaction from the audience, which to me is one of the hallmarks of a great mesh panel. And we had some great feedback on a bunch of the other panels as well, including the Private vs. Public one with my friend Mark Kingwell from U of T, Internet researcher Nancy Baym from the University of Kansas and Ken Anderson from the Ontario Privacy Commission. Add on top of that some great workshops from the always excellent Amber Macarthur and Mark Kuznicki and it was a pretty awesome day — followed by drinks in the MaRS atrium and a great party at The Rockwood. And now, to sleep.

If you want to read up on some of what people have been saying about mesh, check out the aggregator page that David Janes has set up at Onaswarm, or see the live-blog that David Fleet did with CoverItLive (David Gratton live-blogged the Ethan Kaplan keynote as well, and Nav also had some thoughts about Ethan’s keynote), Or you can do a Tweetscan for mesh08 or check out the mesh08 Tweme. If you come across anything else interesting about mesh please send me a link, or twitter it and use the keyword #mesh08.

mesh 2008: We are sold out

Just a quick note to announce that if you were hoping to get a ticket to mesh ’08 next week in Toronto, you waited too long. We are officially sold out. If you’re still looking to attend meshU, however — the one-day workshop series focused on Web development and design that takes place the day before mesh — there are still some tickets available, although they are going quickly. You can register here, and there are more details at the meshU site. And even if you can’t come to the conference, you are still more than welcome to attend the mesh party, which is on Wednesday night and is being held at the Rockwood Club.