Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Un-Geek Dinner in Toronto Last Night

Mitch Joel and Michael Seaton organized a Geek Dinner last night at the Houston Steak And Ribs House here in Toronto. I attended along with a few dozen other people.

I call it the Un-Geek Dinner because mostly everyone that attended is in the interactive space, but don't do any lick of coding in their day-to-day job.

If you don't know who Mitch is, he's like the Canadian version of Seth Godin, bald head and all. What shocked me about this guy is not only how humble he is, but his height. I very rarely meet anyone taller than me, so I was taken aback at how tall he is. Don't let his picture fool you (as it did me).

And Michael is just excellent at connecting people. If he understands what you do and if he likes you (that's 2 stars for me), he's got your back. Michael is also (finally) planning a podcast, so I'm sure he'll report more on his blog when it's ready to go. I believe his recent co-hosting duties on InsidePR has given him the jolt he needed.

I met quite a few people last night, but here's a smattering of the ones that stick out for some reason or another:

  • Ed Lee - I was familiar with who he is due to all the comments he leaves on the various blogs I visit. He has such a lovely English accent and there was a point where Mitch, myself and Terry Fallis encouraged him to start podcasting.

  • Sulemaan Ahmed - He's in charge of the interactive group over at Sears Travel. Quite an interesting and animated guy. We chatted at length about social media, branding and just taking over the world.

  • Luca del Rosso - He organizes The Power Within conferences and was just so passionate about what he does. He explained how he's able to get big names to come to Toronto and speak. More specifically, Luca is able to fill the room with senior executives because it's cheaper for these executives to attend the event than to bring in Bill Clinton on their own for $100,000.

  • Kathryn Lagden - She's the new General Manager over at AIMS Canada. This lady was taller than me and we giggled at how we purposely wear heels to networking events so we can tower over everyone else. She told me that she was hoping for a honeymoon over at AIMS, but has been running around getting a new website and blog launched.

  • Stuart MacDonald - I have never met Stuart in person, only conversed with him over email after he left a comment on my blog about my reaction to Mesh not podcasting. He's a jovial guy who seems larger than life in terms of his personality. If you need to juice up your party, call Stuart. He'll add the spark. He's very passionate about the online travel industry, simply because he was the one who helped expedia.ca grow to dominate the Canadian market. He's on the CIRA board and you can read more about his views on his blog.

  • Terry Fallis - Co-host of InsidePR, I met Terry at Podcasters Across Borders. At first, I didn't recognize him with the suit on, but that soon passed when I saw him smile. Of course, we talked about podcasting and he shared with me the equipment he's using to record his podcasts. Terry is just so engaging and I'll be seeing him again at the Podcast & Portable Media Expo in California.

  • Mark Evans - Was a no-show and I was hoping to catch up with him. I wanted to ask him why he stopped podcasting, but hey, they'll be other events.
This dinner reminded me about the importance of networking. If you don't show your face and let people know who you are, you lose out.

It was great to meet so many people in person that I've been reading about online. Nothing can take the place of human contact and I encourage all of you hiding behind your computers to attend your industry networking events, conferences and trade shows just to relax and have a gadget-free good time.

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