Recovering From Mesh

When I was a kid, I went to Canada a few times with summer camp (it was a “travel camp”) and I always enjoyed it. I remember a time, in Toronto, just as we were all supposed to be heading back to the buses when a group of three or four of us were killing time outside some sort of theater that had some guy standing out front trying to convince passing tourists to buy tickets. Like a bunch of punk kids, we wasted his time for a bit before one of us asked, “Hey, if we buy one ticket, and all of us sit on top of each other, is that okay?” The guy paused for a second and said, “You must be from New York,” before turning and walking away.

I haven’t been to Toronto since then (even if I apparently have semi-famous cousins with theaters named after them who live there) but as if to mentally punish me with guilt for being a part of the taunting crew (and don’t ask me about when we taunted the Expos mascot Youppi to the point that he punched a little kid…) I’ve discovered that Canadians have been universally, fantastically, stunningly, incredibly nice consistently throughout my life. Having not been north of the border in about 20 years, it’s nice to find out that those in Canada are just as amazingly friendly as those I’ve been dealing with south of the border.

I spent all last week at the Mesh Conference in Toronto and it was fantastic. I’ll admit that the thought had crossed my mind to bail out and attend the All Things D conference once I found out they overlapped, but, I’d already agreed to go to Mesh, and it seemed like an opportunity to meet different people with different perspectives rather than the same old crowd. Indeed, that’s pretty much what happened. Perhaps it was because I knew so few people there, but I found that I ended up having an awful lot of really fantastic conversations and meeting many more people I hope to stay in touch with than at other conferences.

Getting a chance to finally meet Rob Hyndman and Mathew Ingram (two organizers of the event) in person was simply great — though, I don’t recall saying anything deserving of the amazingly kind words that each said about meeting me. I’d already met Mike McDerment, and didn’t have much of a chance to speak with Stuart or Mark (the other organizers). However, there were a ton of fascinating individuals and entrepreneurs who I got to spend time with. I certainly can’t go through the whole list of name, but it was great to finally meet folks like Cynthia Brumfield and Tony Hung. And, Rob’s introduction to Pema Hegan, founder of Gigpark, not only resulted in a great conversation on its own, but then to attending a regretfully fast (second fastest game in the majors this year) Blue Jays/White Sox game with his co-founder, Noah Godfrey (which, in turn, resulted in another fantastic conversation with Noah). And, while at the game, I got to talking with Patrick Lor, which turned into hanging out at the hotel bar with Patrick and Austin Hill. And, by “hanging out,” I mean an incredibly enlightening wonking out on the finer points of economic theory (including plenty to think about for followups on my series of ramblings).

That was only a taste. All in all, a totally worthwhile event. My only regret was not having a chance to chat with (or even meet) Ethan Kaplan, who about six or seven people told me I absolutely needed to talk with. Conveniently, his assigned seat at the “speakers and sponsors” dinner was right next to mine, but it turned out that the part of Ethan Kaplan was played by someone else that night (though, my dinner conversations with a bunch of folks were also fantastic). Tony Hung fears that his brain would explode if Ethan and I ever “faced off,” so at least we spared Toronto the trouble of having to deal with that… but hopefully, I’ll get a chance to catch up with Ethan some other time.


Rob Hyndman  on June 5th, 2007

It was our pleasure, Mike – we had a blast. I hope we get a chance to do it again.

Austin Hill  on June 5th, 2007

Mike, the conversation was great – and I can’t wait to continue our conversation.

I had a great time hanging out. I’ll send you some of the economic theory stuff we were talking out – you’ll enjoy it :)

What a startup can get out of the Mesh conference « SCHOOLBOY ERROR  on June 7th, 2007

[…] 3. Energy and excitement I find Mesh like a shot of adrenalin. I have so many inspiring conversations that I leave the conference FULL of passion for my business and for my life. This kind of excitement can fuel you for months. […]

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