OCE Discovery07: Remarkable?

I attended the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery07 event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre yesterday, May 1, 2007. Is it worthy of mention? One major wow moment: disembodied 3D holographic virtual Ray Kurzweil addressing the audience live from the podium:


Take me to your leader.

The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent after the jump…

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ConceptShare: collaboration sex appeal

The ConceptShare boys have been burning things up just about anywhere that gives a damn about Web 2.0 and online collaboration software.

Now ConceptShare is moving from image-based collaboration into rich media: audio, video and flash. Adding new media types only enhances the application’s value to a wide audience of designers and their customers, while retaining the key differentiator of the original: you don’t have to book a meeting to collaborate. ConceptShare is based on the simple but powerful idea that meetings suck.

At the rate they’re improving, I think we can expect them to continue impressing customers and industry watchers alike. Bernie, Scott and Chris are very smart guys who can teach the Toronto web development and startup scene a few lessons on how to do it right. Fast, agile, iterative and savvy. Luckily, you will have the opportunity to learn more when Scott comes to speak at the upcoming Mesh Conference. And, as usual, expect them at upcoming DemoCamps and BarCamps in Toronto.

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Canada Worse than 3rd World Countries when it comes to Mobile Data Access

From Tom Purves:

And all levels of government say that “ICT� competitiveness is key factor in Canada’s future economic prosperity. Ya. Right. I would like to say that Canada is a 3rd world country when it comes to Mobile ICT, except you can clearly see from this chart that even *Rwanda* has orders of magnitude better Mobile Data service than Canada.

The graphic is shocking.

Travesty of Canadian Mobile Carriers

The mobile content and platform innovation and competitiveness implications are massive. Blog about it. Digg this story.

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This Week in the Chat Swarm, Ep.1

This week on “As The Swarm Turns”, Sandy turns to drink, Markus tries to beat his crack addiction and Walkah and Ryan C discover that they are long-lost brothers. Meanwhile, Bryce discovers a nasty surprise in the basement of his mysterious new cottage.


The TorCamp community has a stable ad-hoc always-on chat room in Skype. I thought it might be interesting to start a weekly summary of the conversation for those of you who might be interested but don’t need the distraction, or just for posterity’s sake. Or this could just be a giant inside joke, you decide.

The TorCamp Chat Swarmâ„¢ is a gathering place for smart tech blogger BarCamp types in Toronto, with special guests visiting from Vancouver, San Francisco, Atlanta, London, Rome and other places I’m probably forgetting. The Swarmâ„¢ is a virtual water-cooler for independent, creative, entrepreneurial or self-employed and community-oriented folk. Conversation varies from banal to brilliant to steamy, depending on the flavour of the moment.

Out of Context Quote of the Week:

mark raheja:
depends. if you’re both wearing baby panda costumes…then yes, definitely cute.

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Live-Swarming the Canadian Venture Forum

My thanks to Peter Evans of the Toronto Venture Group, Mars and Riverdale Partners for comping me a pass to the Canadian Venture Forum. This is a great opportunity to communicate what’s the current sense of things in VC land and bring it out to the wider community.

I’m a terrible live-blogger. I really like to have some time to digest and see Remarkk as a place for context and analysis rather than a news feed.

However the TorCamp Skype Chat Swarm is the place to be for live coverage. I am using as the place to capture my notes, and the wider TorCamp community is following along remotely.

I haven’t blogged about this innovation yet, but Tom Purves covered it pretty well at its birth. Since its inception 6 weeks ago, the Swarm has been a locus of self-organization, rants, praise, new projects, new events and even business deals and partnerships. Swarmies are hungry, entrepreneurial and smart as a whip. The Swarm is operating as a Collective Intelligence – ask it any question, it will have an answer.

Add my skypename for entry: markkuznicki, or ask any TorCamper.

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Coopetition is a Dirty Word…Dirty in a Good Way

Small firms often need to cooperate to compete. That’s what the Entertainment & Creative Cluster Partnerships fund is all about. Jay recently threatened to slap me if I used the word coopetition, but he’s in Redmond now, so I feel safe.

Check out Jevon MacDonald of Firestoker making the call for collaboration to his startup competition in the Enterprise 2.0 space. Of course, they are Enterprise 2.0, so they WOULD naturally move to the new paradigm.

So, are stealth startups dead? If you’re a closely guarded secret, how do you attract the kind of attention you need to forge partnerships, gather users, talent and other resources?

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Tech lust: I want an iPhone! Now!

I have resisted all smartphones and PDAs up to now. Blackberry was too corporate. Treo seemed too crappy and poorly integrated with the rest of my life. Motorola…well I never really took it seriously. And I really hate the whole structure of being locked into a mobile provider’s network, content and the exorbitant data pricing in Canada.

Now Apple’s iPhone.
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How I lust for this thing. Impossibly thin. iPod, phone and internet communicator. Fantastic form factor and absolutely breakthrough user interaction. Thin, widescreen, gorgeous. WiFi, GSM, Bluetooth, EDGE. Integrated with ITunes content. Partnered with Google and Yahoo. A real web browser experience. Running OS X. A real computer. $599 USD for 8GB model.

It won’t be introduced until June in the US in partnership with Cingular. How much longer before a Canadian can get one?

I am panting in breathless anticipation.

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BubbleShare Finally Gets Its Payday

After a previous flirtation with Fox Interactive that ended abrubtly, Toronto-based BubbleShare finally found a buyer who’ll love them forever Congratulations to Albert Lai and team. BubbleShare hosted the very first DemoCamp, which started a phenomenon in the Toronto tech and startup scene. It’s great to see a successful exit for them.

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Play in the Entrepreneurial Sandbox

Via David Crow and Mark Dowds, news of an open house next Friday, January 12th at 5:30pm (sign up on Upcoming) for Indoor Playground, a coworking facility for startup entrepreneurs, coders, consultants, their friends and fans at Richmond and Spadina. With very flexible membership options, there seems something for everyone. From a few desks to a 1-day a week part-time space to meeting space when you need it, it will be interesting to see how the startup community comes together in this kind of a structure.

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There is a need for creative entrepreneurs to get the space (and decent espresso) they need to work and have meetings but also to gather and mix and socialize in a way that helps make the connections to discover the next big idea. I applaud Mark, David and the rest who have contributed to this. My one quibble: at first, I really didn’t like the name, but I guess that’s a taste thing. (How about The Sandbox?)

I DO like the idea that innovation and play are closely related – something I picked up from listening to Alex Manu and Eric Zimmerman. What is a game? A game is a set of rules. Play is what happens in the interstitial space between those rule structures. Play, creativity, innovation and passion are are all very closely related. These ideas are at the very core of a vibrant startup culture.

It is up to the community that comes together in the playground to embrace this idea and create the rules that will support its creative process.

If creativity and innovation come from play and passion, then understanding how to build the surrounding rules for the game is really important. The rules include how companies are formed, how individuals and companies engage with community, how space is created and sustained for community and play, how large companies and government can support the processes of discovery and benefit from them in a way that doesn’t kill the creative spirit that spawns those innovations in the first place.

The places that get the rules right for the 21st century creative economy will win in a global race that is only beginning.

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Global Connect: Wonky, but in a Good Way

Late in coming, I thought I would blog my impressions from the Global Connect conference at MaRS last week. My quick take-aways:

  • IP transfer is broken, especially in Canada
  • VC is broken, sort of. maybe. especially in Canada. I guess.
  • Paul Kedrosky rocks and should live in Toronto, damn it
  • Ross Wallace and Ilse Treurnicht of MaRS did a fantastic job
  • The innovation race is just beginning
  • The blogging wonkosphere is lonelier than I thought

More after the jump…

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