This blog is hibernating

Things have been exceptionally busy these days with Entrinsic and other assorted goodness, so this blog since 2005 will be taking a little nap (for the time being).

Please visit my Magma channel for a bevy of interesting videos, or reach out to me on Twitter or email. Thanks!

SocialMediaWeekToronto & CaseCamp

Social Media Week Toronto is coming up fast week of February 1-5. As city organizer, I’ve been working with our dedicated volunteers and advisors to pull together a week of interesting activities for our local community. Visit the site and get in the know. Entrinsic is producing Toronto’s events.

CaseCamp will also be making an appearance during SMWTO. Stay tuned for details on speakers. I’m happy to say that this will be a return to the roots, with a smaller and more intimate event.

Upcoming: Entrinsic & CaseCamp

The last 7 months have been thrilling and super challenging. In addition to being a new dad, I’ve joined the ranks of entrepreneurs and, with my business partner Will Pate, have started a new digital communications agency called Entrinsic.

Looking back, I suspect that I have been hurtling towards this eventuality all along, and now that it’s here I couldn’t be happier. We have a narrow focus, blogging and corporate social media, and I’m humbled to be (or have been) working with great clients like the Museum of Modern Art, Staples, Massey Hall Roy Thomson Hall, SickKids Hospital, Aeroplan and Nokia. More news on Entrinsic to come later, but wait, there’s also… CaseCamp!

On September 16th, CiRCA will be hosting the 10th CaseCamp in Toronto and I couldn’t imagine a better line-up. All my Internet heros will be here, and instead of listing them all, I encourage you to read this post. Please, sign-up, it’s going to be amazing.

Stepping into Magma

Congratulations to Andrew, Jamie, Kenyatta and Ellie on the beta-launch of Magma.  I’ve just had to pry myself away from the screen after an hour of surfing, this site is seriously addictive, wow.

For the last 6 months my go-to site for Internet randomness has been PopUrls. I value a well done aggregator, and Magma takes the concept to the next level. Not only does it pull videos from across the web, it works in real-time so the freshness is near 100%. That, combined with filtering putting the best videos on the top, makes for a fantastic homepage experience.

I look forward to seeing the rollout of the social networking and measurement features, as well as how others take advantage of the API.

For reviews and screenshots visit TechCrunch and Dembot.

A CaseCamp Drinkup this Saturday

It’s been 14 months since the last CaseCamp, so in the interim, c’mon out to see friends and celebrate spring Saturday night! Facebook event / Eventbrite invite.

The Drinkup will be at Function 13 in Kensington Market, with a DJ and a freshly opened interactive art exhibit.  Doors open at 9pm.

We will be fundraising for SickKids Hospital, and if we can get things all arranged in time, announcing the next CaseCamp with some very special guests

ikonica | The heart and soul of branding in Canada

The bible for branding in Canada was just published and it’s called ikonica: A Field Guide to Canada’s Brandscape. It is a focused study on what makes Canada’s most successful brands tick – Four Seasons, BlackBerry, Cirque du Soliel, Umbra, Aeroplan, Roots, WestJet and many others.

What distinguishes this book in my mind (aside from the breathtaking graphic design by Mr. Paul Hodgson) is the thoughtful study of the linkages between branding and culture. Through understanding the values that make Canadian brands tick, we learn a little more about our national identity and ourselves.

I congratulate my long-time friend Jeannette Hanna and her co-author Alan Middleton on their outstanding new book.Read-up on ikonica in The Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, and MJ Braide’s blog. Or just live vicariously and head over to Indigo and buy it right away for some good summer reading.

CaseCamp a week later

Thanks to everyone who helped make CaseCamp Toronto 7 one of the best yet.  Volunteers (Michelle, Arieh, Tania, Kevin, Matt, Rahaf, Iris and Rachel) and sponsors (Thornley Fallis, comScore, Social Media Group, Pigsback, InterCom Search, Freshbooks, Tucows, NextMedia, Infopresse and Segal Communications), we could not have done it without you.

Thanks as well to our great presenters, participants and after party planners (Mark Kuznicki especially) for helping to catalyze such an outstanding community.  Photos are here.

This camp produced more online discussion than any before, specifically around the Story2Oh! case.  The core of the discussion has taken place here and here.  Having this much discussion is something that I find very exciting.  Woven into the fabric of CaseCamp is the mash-up dynamic of arts and business, it’s a place that showcases grassroots uses of social media like Spacing, Newmindspace, Rocketboom and Istoica with corporate cases like TD Bank, Petro Canada, Sears, BMW and WWF.  Obviously the goal is to foster discussion and take everyone to new places.

CaseCamp needs to be a safe place where people from various communities and industries can feel comfortable sharing their work, exchanging their ideas, asking questions and getting into healthy debate.  It’s not good for the community when the dialogue turns sour, when it gets personal, when there’s swearing on message boards and collegiality disappears. I urge everyone participating in this online debate to keep it respectful.

Looking ahead to the next camp I think we’re starting to have an issue with size.  I find that community events don’t scale very well and that the tone of CaseCamp has changed from when it was a 150 person event.  If anyone has any ideas as to how we can work to get back to that smaller group feel when we’re a 500+ person group, please email me.

Last, congrats to Mark Aronson for winning a pass to the Interactive Marketing Conference, I’m working on getting everyone into the CaseCamp LinkedIn group so please be patient, and check out the amazing line-up at Mesh!

CaseCamp Toronto 7!

All, I’m thrilled to announce the next CaseCamp on April 29th at the super hot CiRCA club downtown.  As always, CaseCamp is free to attend, bring friends!  Register on the wiki or the Facebook event so we know how many to expect.

This time, the cases are:
1) – Boxing Day 2007 and growing their online community. RFD has made the jump from being exclusively online to now advertising on the TTC, Derek is going to talk about this   strategy too.

2)  TD Canada Trust – Key learnings from their Facebook initiative, The Money Lounge.  Presenting will be Sue McVey, VP Strategy Planning.

3)  Jill Gollick – A television screenwriter who is evolving TV scripts to live on social networks.  Her case will be Story2.Oh!, a weeklong romantic drama that had an audience of thousands and ran on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and other social platforms.

4)  The Radiothon Diaries – The strategy, program, and metrics behind the videoblog for the Hospital for Sick Children.

Many thanks to our sponsors – Social Media Group,, Segal Communications, comScore, Intercom Jobs, Thornley Fallis and Freshbooks.

Introducing The Radiothon Diaries

Each year in partnership with Astral Media the SickKids hospital puts on the worlds largest Radiothon.  Three stations, Newstalk 1010 CFRB, 97.3 EZ Rock, and 99.9 Mix FM broadcast 12 hours a day for three days from the hospital, interviewing patients, families and staff, all with the objective of raising money.

This year, I am part of the team at Segal Communications that has added a new twist to the event.  We’re filming a daily videoblog capturing stories and moment from the SickKids atrium, and sharing them on YouTube, Facebook and a variety of websites.

Below are the two most recent diary entries. These videos are made to be shared, so please, send them to your work associates, friends and family.  And if you’re moved to donate, well, that’s a good thing.

Part 2 – SickKids Radiothon DiariesShare on Facebook

Part 1 – SickKids Radiothon DiariesShare on Facebook

Welcome Lila

On February 2 my lovely daughter Lila was born at 7 pounds 11 ounces.  Iris and I (along with the rest of our family) immediately fell completely in love with her.

Lila was born with a heart defect called transposition of the great arteries.  My deepest thanks go out to the brilliant and caring staff at Mount Sinai and Sick Kids hospitals who gave Lila a tremendous amount of care from the moment of birth, performed a flawless surgery, and are now helping her (and us) through these last stages of recovery.

Thank-you to everyone who has been emailing and calling over the last week, your support has meant the world to us. Iris and I can’t wait to bring Lila home and introduce you all to her.


Truth about airline seatbelts

“What’s the point of listening to the safety instructions given by flight attendants? If there’s a crash, everybody dies, right?” Wrong.

Debunking the Tipping Point

“If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one–and if it isn’t, then almost no one can,” Watts concludes. To succeed with a new product, it’s less a matter of finding the perfect hipster to infect and more a matter of gauging the public’s mood. Sure, there’ll always be a first mover in a trend. But since she generally stumbles into that role by chance, she is, in Watts’s terminology, an “accidental Influential.”

Black Mirror

This Arcade Fire online video makes turns you into the producer. Fun!


Putting all sizes into perspective. A wonderful visualization tool.

LP portraits

The social cloud

An interesting video presentation from Google main OpenSocial evangelist mashing up social computing and the social graph. A must see.

100 books every child should read

“If children are to become readers for life, they must first love stories.” Books for early years, middle years & early teens.

Mommy tortise, baby hippo

“After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately , it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together.” Great pics.

RPM Jukebox

Crowdsourcing the Library of Congress

The Library  has chosen about 3,000 photos from two of their more popular collections to show on Flickr. Through tagging, the community will help identify and categorize the content. Enjoy these wonderful color photographs from the 1930’s and 40’s.

The new Tailor Communications Design

Iris just relaunched her website with new portfolio work in identityprint and web. Congrats!

Harvard Business Review Breakthrough Idea: Toronto TransitCamp

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of an article I co-authored with Jay Goldman and Mark Kuznicki in the February 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Our article Sick Transit Gloria, part of the Breakthrough Ideas of 2007 feature, demonstrates through the Toronto TransitCamp case study how Web 2.0 culture and tools can be brought to bear to affect change in an organization. This model of engagement is particularly relevant to organizations interested in benefiting from deeper relationships with stakeholders.

My co-authors and I recognize that while our names appear in the byline of this article, the ideas and the event itself were created and inspired by a group of local community participants and peers, and global thought leaders. We would like to acknowledge those contributions and inspirations here:

Our friends who helped make TransitCamp happen: Robert Ouellette, ReadingToronto; Tim Shore, BlogTO; David Topping, Torontoist; Matt Blackett, Spacing; Adam Giambrone; David Crow; Bryce Johnson; Joey Devilla; Madhava Enros; Michael Glenn; Misha Glouberman; Julia Breckenreid; Ryan Feeley; Kieran Huggins; Andrew Moore; Kevin Bracken & Lori Kuffner, Newmindspace; Rannie Turingan, photojunkie; Patrick Dinnen

Friends and inspirations: Alec Saunders, Iotum; Amber MacArthur; Alex Lowy; Andrew Baron, Dembot; Anthony Williams; Arieh Singer; Audrey Carr, Between Us; Austin Hill, Billions with Zero Knowledge; Ben McConnel and Jackie Huba, Church of the Customer Blog; Bianca Goldman, A Wee Bit Skint; Bonnie, Ernie & Rachel, GreatCycling; Brian Oberkirch, Like it Matters; Cambrian House; Chris & Jessie, Istoica; Chris Anderson, The Long Tail; Chris Messina, FactoryCity; Colin Henderson, The Bankwatch; Colin Smillie; Cory Doctrow, Craphound; David Eaves; David Gray, Communication Nation; David Pritchard; David Weinberger, Everything Is Miscellaneous; Doc Searls; Don Tapscott; Elspeth Roundtree; Eric Goldman, Napoleon’s Gambit; Ev Williams, Evhead; Greg Wilson, The Third Bit; Guy Kawasaki, How to Change the World; Harold Rheingold; Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid; Iris Glaser, Tailor Communications Design; Jason Kottke; James Bow, Transit Toronto; James Cherkoff, Modern Marketing; Jeannette Hanna & Jeff Howe, crowdsourcing; Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine; Jeremiah Owyang; Jesse Hirsh; Jevon MacDonald,; Mike Beltzner; Joe Clark; John Battelle, Searchblog; John Moore, Brand Autopsy; Johnnie Moore; Joseph Thornley, Pro PR; Karen Quinn Fung; Kate Trgovac, My Name is Kate; C.C. Chapman; Kathy Sierra, Creating Passionate Users; Kelly Seagram; Kenyatta Cheese, Braintag; Lawrence Lessig; Lee Goldman; Lee Odden; Leila Boujane, Idee, Inc.; Lloyd Alter, treehugger; Maggie Fox, Social Media Group; Mark Dowds, Mark Evans, A Canadian Take on the Web; Mark Raheja; Mark Surman, commonspace; Martin Cleaver; Matt Mason; Matt Mullenweg, Photo Matt; Matthew Dewall, Maybe Sorta Kinda; Matthew Ingram; Michael Anton Dila, Torch is Wicked; Michael Lenczner; Michael O’Connor Clarke; Michael Geist; Michael Seaton, The Client Side Blog; Michelle Perras, Shot From the Hip; Mitch Joel, Six Pixels of Separation; Nicholas Carr, Rough Type; Nikki Goldman; Om Malik, GigaOm; Peter Francey; Phil Hood;Richard Florida; Riccardo Cambiassi; Rob Hyndman; Robert Scoble, Scobleizer; Ryan Coleman Found in Translation; Saul Colt, The Smartest Man in the World; Scott Beale, Laughing Squid; Sean Howard, Craphammer; Sean P. Aune; Sean Wise; Seth Godin; Shel Israel, Global Neighbourhoods; Steve Munro; Steve Rubel, Micropersuasions; Stowe Boyd, /message; Stuart MacDonald; Sulemaan Ahmed; Tara Hunt, HorsePigCow; Michael Arrington and Erick Schonfeld, Techcrunch; Thomas Purves; Tim O’Reilly; Todd Defren, PR Squared; Tom Davenport, Make IT Matter; Tom Williams, the $5 philanthropist; Tom Peters; Will Pate; Yochai Benkler

The Pirates Dilema

Video introduction on the bestselling book The Pirate’s Dilemma, How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism.

The secret to raising smart kids

“Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their effort or persistence (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.” (Thanks James!)

Puking babies!

Sticker activism in Toronto

Top Hunter S. Thompson quotes

The failings of the Google Generation

“Although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web.”

Qualities for a successful life

20 traits, including sincerity, wholeheartedness, honesty and incorruptibility, “let it be known that you stand firm for what you believe in and that your morals, values and actions are not for sale. Don’t let outside forces corrupt the person you are.”

Secret strategies for viral videos

“Over the past year, I have run clandestine marketing campaigns meant to ensure that promotional videos become truly viral, as these examples have become in the extreme. In this post, I will share some of the techniques I use to do my job: to get at least 100,000 people to watch my clients’ “viral” videos.”

Big wave surfing

A narrated large-format slideshow.

Beautiful long exposure photos

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

“Getting Seth in this flick is like suddenly growing an extra six inches in the crotch,” said Smith, who wrote the role especially for Rogen. “And as if that wasn’t awesome enough, we scored the comedically and aesthetically gifted Elizabeth, too. Castwise, I’m now extremely well-hung.”

The redesign of Diary Today magazine

“One solution was to create the simple cover convention of featuring a “portrait” style photograph of a dairy cow every issue.” Moo & moo & moo!

CaseCamp Vancouver 3!

Many thanks to Cinci Csere for taking the torch from Joy and Kate and planning the third Vancouver CaseCamp (on Facebook).

CaseCamp is a free unconference on social media and communications, for Cinci, “CCV3 2008 is about producing fresh ideas to create an open discussion environment where people can feel supported and comfortable.”

Some great presentations already in the hopper, including MTV, Future Shop and Twitter.  Mark it in your calendar for Feb 20.  Add yourself into the wiki or  Facebook event page, and become a Facebook Fan of CaseCamp.

Can we act fast enough to save dissapearing tuna?

“So far this year, fishermen have pulled in only 12 percent of the 1,533-ton US quota, the worst of several years of steeply declining catches. This is signaling the collapse of a fishery once valued $19 million.”


$675,000 for a 16-room mansion in the Bronx. Full article.

Inspiring innovation at Virgin

“What’s great about Virgin is that the sky’s the limit. In fact, it’s not even the limit because we have Virgin Galactic now! We don’t even have a ceiling at this brand anymore.

A LineRider adventure

100 outstanding quotes

Comedy by: Albert Einstein, Fredrick Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Voltaire, Plato, Winston Churchill, George Carlin, Steve Martin, Steven Colbert, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Dennis Miller, Jay Leno, Rodney Dangerfield, Sarah Silverman and Chris Rock.

Men: 2008 ultimate to-do list

What the world eats

“What’s on family dinner tables in fifteen different homes around the globe? Photographs by Peter Menzel from the book ‘Hungry Planet.'”

The truth about female desire

The Falkirk Wheel

The world’s first and only rotating boat wheel, a modern interpretation of the Peterborough lift lock.

From above

Photographs taken at low altitude between Hamburg and Cape Town.

5 dangerous things that are good for kids

Like playing with fire.

Founders and Funder$

David Crow and Jevon MacDonald are hosting ‘an evening of socializing and dinner for entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists’ entitled Founders and Funder$.

A prescription for the Toronto Web 2.0 scene that’s needed filling for some time. Way to go gents, and thanks for being the community catalysts.

Peter Sellers has A Hard Day’s Night

13 photos that changed the world

“Any picture can speak 1,000 words, but only a select few say something poignant enough to galvanize an entire society.”

A firsthand account of waterboarding

A riveting read. “The goal of waterboarding is to simulate drowning without the actual drowning or inhalation into the lungs … It’s horrible, terrible, inhuman torture. I can hardly imagine worse. I’d prefer permanent damage and disability to experiencing it again.”

Report: Teens and Social Media

“Girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation. Some 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys, however, do dominate one area – posting of video content online.” PDF Mash this up with Guy’s predictions for 2008.

Classic travel posters

Wonderful designs in this “collection of 35mm Kodachrome slides of travel and marketing posters from the 1950’s and 1960’s.”

Controversial fashion ads

10 best rollercoasters on earth

How-to lose your job on your own time

“In the absence of strong protections for employees, poorly chosen words or even a single photograph posted online in one’s off-hours can have career-altering consequences.”

Crayon physics

“Experience what it would be like if your drawings would be magically transformed into real physical objects.” (Thanks Dave via Mitch’s holiday card!)

IHT 2007 in pictures

Emotional bonding on social networks

“A sense of belonging or affiliation alone is not equivalent to a true sense of community. Achieving a real sense of community requires long-lasting reciprocal relationships and a mutual commitment to the needs of the community as a whole.”

Mouths as eyes

This summer launched a contest to create 30-second shorts about our city, with judging by panel and YouTube views. I’m proud to say that our Garden video won first prize with Boytech coming in third. HTO didn’t place, but was great fun making.

I’d like to thank the entire team, which included Matt, Clea, Iris, Brenton, Jamie and Arieh, for their amazing creativity and contributions to the project. This was all volunteer, and I think the work is fantastic.

Visit the site to see all the videos.

Giant human skeleton unearthed!

The official National Geographic story is worth the read. Right up there with Turtle and The Rickroll other top memes of 2007 (thanks Rocketboom!)

How-to keep your brain in shape

10 tips, including “Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you look forward to every new day in a constructive way. Stress and anxiety, no matter whether induced by external events or by your own thoughts, actually kills neurons and prevents the creation of new ones.”

How to write a special blog

Sublime creativity

This key fetched $210,000 at auction

TXTris by Media Lab Toronto

Exploring the intersection of art, media, and technology with an interactive SMS wall at CaseCampToronto6. Thanks guys!

Mini filmfest: Wes Anderson

Video diary from Maker Faire

Produced by Andrew Baron and Sarah Meyers for Rocketboom.

Siskel & Every (& Roeper) archive

Every movie review they’ve done, search and stream.

The Beatles sing Stairway to Heaven

Building global blog momentum

The launch strategy behind Blog Action Day, the one-day online environmental movement last October 15. 

The oldest living animal in the world

“Only after researchers cut through its shell and counted its growth rings did they realize how old it had been —between 405 and 410 years old.”

10 ways to kill a bad mood

A double relaunch!

Today, December 17, marks two exciting announcements that have been a long time in the works. First, this blog is finally back online after an unfortunate crash. Thanks Patrick for the fantastic dev job!

And second, I start my new job as Director of Social Media at Segal Communications. I’m looking forward to a new crop of clients and diving deep on developing branded communities in Facebook.

2008 is shaping up to be an exciting year, until then, stay warm!

Scrapbook of Auschwitz’s senior SS officers

“The photos are poignant as they juxtapose the comfortable daily lives of the guards with the horrific reality within the camp, where thousands were starving and 1.1 million died.” Full article in the NYTimes.

TV affects baby development

“For every hour of baby-video viewing per day, children ages 8 to 16 months knew six to eight fewer words than those who watched no videos.”

Right brain vs. left brain

10 ways to sleep better

Use mobile phones for activism

Study: How we respond to hot people

“Our attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive members of the opposite sex … If we’re jealous and worried about our partner cheating, attention gets stuck on attractive people of our own sex because they are our competitors.”