#FF Girl Geeks Toronto

I know I’m a little late on this one, but figuring they have their event this evening, I thought it might be okay.

Girl Geeks Toronto is a spin off of Girl Geeks Scotland and was started a few years ago. Over the last year, I’ve gotten to know the team running this pretty well and they have been extremely supportive of my WITHamOntinitiative. They’ve just relaunched their website and it looks like it’s off to a great start after a hiatus of about a year or two.

Girl Geeks Toronto

Girl Geeks Toronto

I attended their FITC lunch and had the chance to sit near Stacey Mulcahey, one of the few women speakers they have in addition to Pearl Chen. I was in the running to win a lunch with her from FITC, but I got it just the same thanks to GGTO. ūüėČ

Every month gives something a little different. It’s not just about programming or the IT field. Last month, I saw presentations including from Sacha Chua who told us of the app she designed to manage her wardrobe. Not necessarily what colour works best with what, but how many times have I worn it and when was the last time? Now you can really tell what you did and didn’t wear during the season and what has to go! Being a fashion-challenged person myself, I think this might be helpful to me. I’m still waiting to hear when this is going to be available to the public. I always learn something new. I’m not about to go out and nab the next thing they present, mind you. If I did that with every event, I’d never leave my house!

If you do want to leave your house today, I highly recommend that you check out this one. Here’s the link for tonight’s event if you can make it and of course, follow my girls here on Twitter.

#FF Julia Merlini

Julia and I have known each other for about 10 years. She’s quite a bit younger than I am, but we get along great. A few months ago, she mentioned something about getting onto Twitter and how she wasn’t sure how it worked. I gave her a few pointers, but the biggest one: Jump In.

She attended a few events that I dragged her to and when the time came for her to attend her own through Twitter, she wasn’t sure that she should go. I urged her to attend and she hasn’t stopped since.

You will usually find her sharing some fashion Instagram photos of her funky boots (she has quite the collection), or some beach photo. She does a great job of it and has even helped me out on a fashion dilemma or two. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to the party ending of a conference and she was the one who said: “You’ve been at all the seminars, why shouldn’t you go to the party?”. I knew there was a reason I kept her around. ūüėČ

She’s heading off to San Francisco this fall for a new adventure in her life, so you guys better keep an eye on this dynamo. Look after my #grasshopper, Jules Merlini.

Julia aka. Jules in Fleurs

Julia aka. Jules in Fleurs


#FF Michael Canton

One person that I have overlooked in my previous Follow Friday editions has been an amazing supporter of mine, is Michael Canton. I intend to rectify this today.

Michael and I met at Startup Drinks Hamilton back in the winter, either just before or just after I’d moved to Hamilton. I admit, I didn’t know much about video, nor did I really delve into it much with everything else on the go. At least I knew there was someone out there that I could turn to if I needed advice on it. I was starting my own consulting business and I know that this was not a piece of the social media that I was going to start to learn about at this stage of my game. He launched TechTalk4HamOnt and interviewed me during their first taping at DemoCamp Hamilton in February. I went for a job interview and they said that they even found a video of me giving an interview (it would have to be this one) when they did a Google search on me. They now could tell that I was able to present to people in front of a camera which was to my benefit. Needless to say, I know I need to improve on my video visibility and will be doing so in future.

Michael has always offered some neat little tidbits of information or leads about other people that I should connect with. He has amazing ideas and a wonderful eye for video. He has been a very strong supporter of my Women In Technology Hamilton initiative and has videotaped everything without charging a penny. He believes in it and that it is a great thing for this city. That’s enough for him. For those clients that I have that want to start doing video spots, podcasting, livestreaming and the like, I’ve given them Michael’s name first… always.

If you don’t already, make sure that you follow Michael Canton on Twitter and check out his many videos. Thank you Michael.

Michael Canton of Valley Town Media

Michael Canton of Valley Town Media

#FF Bill Beattie

As I mentioned in my earlier post about Jim Rudnick, I’ve found that the people in Hamilton have an amazing capacity to give of themselves. It may not seem like a lot to them, but to me, it has meant the world. Enter Bill Beattie.

I met Bill at my first meeting of the¬†Hamilton Business Networking and Entrepreneurs Group¬†back in November, just two days after making the decision to move here. I remember him being one of the first people that I spoke to at this meeting, along with his wife Arlene. Both were extremely kind and offered to help in whatever capacity they could. The house my family was moving into had already been arranged, so the need of an agent wasn’t in the cards, but I needed to start building my network in Hamilton and meeting great people like Bill and Arlene was key.

I was planning on moving at the end of December and needed to get quotes for moving companies. Who better than a real estate agent to give me some good advice on who to go with? I called Bill and he gave me the name of Mountaineer Movers¬†who were a pleasure to deal with. I’d gotten about five or six quotations and I ended up going with the one he recommended and was not disappointed.

When I told him about my Women In Technology Hamilton initiative and that I needed sponsors for the event, he didn’t hesitate, even though he isn’t in tech, nor a woman. He just thought it was a great idea and that he needed to help out. Thanks to him and the other sponsors, I was able to have a great launch and we got it off the ground. Now the fun begins.

So get on Twitter and follow this fine man, Bill Beattie.

Bill Beattie

Bill Beattie

#FF Joey Coleman

I remember saying on more than one occasion that I’d love to hang out with Jonathan Goldsbie. Well I think I’ve found his Hamilton counterpart. Meet Joey Coleman.

In addition to being a journalist, Joey can be found at Thinkhaus or at Startup Drinks with Open Hamilton. Be preparted for a long and entertaining evening when he shows up, because he tells great stories. He’s always been a fountain of knowledge when it comes to local politics and history. I started following him on Twitter from the #HamOnt hashtag while learning about my new home. I then met him at Startup Drinks a few days later where I got a crash course in local municipal politics.

I really enjoyed attending Random Hacks of Kindness here in Hamilton to help the local installment of this international intiative. Joey has really enlightened me in the ways of open data and though I’m still learning, I’ve been a quick study.

Thanks Joey for putting up with me and enduring my never-ending questions. You can read his blog for stories including those from Hamilton City Hall or CBC Hamilton (which is always fun) and follow him on Twitter…NOW!

PS. I just found out last night that he and Roger Gillespie of the CBC are going to be on the dunk tank at Upper Gage Garage this afternoon to raise money for HARRRP. Roger’s on at 1 pm, followed by Joey at 1:20 pm. I wouldn’t miss this for the world!

Joey Coleman from his Facebook Page

#FF Jim Rudnick

I can’t remember exactly when I met Jim Rudnick, but I’m sure it was at Democamp, Startup Drinks or an event at the McMaster Innovation Park. Anyone who knows Jim will agree that this guy is everywhere in the Hamilton, Ontario region.

When I refer to the differences between Toronto and Hamilton, I say that people in both places are very supportive. The big difference is that people in Hamilton have the time to actually help. That’s not to say that Toronto people don’t want to help and not everyone is like that. Life in Toronto is just so full that most just don’t have the capacity. But I digress…

Jim has always given his time to advise me, whether it be on my consulting business or reaching out to his network to ask for support with my WITH Initiative. Best of all, he gets results! Thanks to his personal touch, I raised more than half of the money I needed to launch.

Jim is a mentor through the Innovation Factory and is helping so many entrepreneurs I’ve lost count. He keeps his ears to the ground on many of the goings-on and has even put my name forward for a few positions.

If you don’t know Jim, you can most likely find him at any tech event in Hamilton and of course, you can follow him on Twitter here. Thank you Jim.

Jim Rudnick of Canuck SEO and KKT Interactive

Jim Rudnick of Canuck SEO and KKT Interactive

#FF David Hills

I met David Hills at my first Hamilton Business Networking and Entrepreneurs Group event back in November, 2011. This was only a few days after the decision to move to Hamilton happened. I then saw him about a week later at a Bronzie’s Tweetup that I was attending through a friend of mine, Justin Baisden. We hit it off pretty well and we started seeing each other at similar events over the next few months.

One of my favsHe called me about a new meetup in January that I didn’t know about. A week later, he saw that I was attending another event that turned out to be one of his best sales nights. When I did my Social Media 101 presentation at Hamilton Business Networking and Entrepreneurs Group, I was able to rent his pico projector to present to a room full of potential clients. Most of my client base now comes through this group. If you haven’t seen this wonderful invention, you can see it here. It is the coolest thing and I know you will be amazed.

He has always been a great source for local connections and influencers that I haven’t yet met. If I ever need a sounding board for something local, he’s the first person I call. We now co-ordinate many of our events and check in with each other at least once week. We sometimes attend the same functions two or three times a week. I joke that his wife must get jealous of all the times we see each other. It is now a rare¬†occurrence¬†that people will see us at an event in our area without the other, much like a comedy team.

David has always been very kind to me and extremely supportive, including referring clients to me and singing my praises. I only hope I can live up to all of his kind words. Make sure you ask him about the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, especially for their upcoming Air Show and give him a big Follow Friday. You can find David on Twitter here. Thank you David.

#FF Alex Blom

I’m borrowing an idea that my friend Alex Blom started a couple of years ago. Instead of just listing #FF’s (Follow Fridays – A practice on Twitter where people recommend who everyone else should follow), he started doing a weekly blog post dedicated to a single recommendation for Follow Friday. So it’s only fitting that I give my first one in this series to him, not only for the idea, but because I was his first too¬†(Minds out of the gutter, if you please. It’s pretty full down there already). It is still ranked second in Google when you use my name as the search term, ranking over Twitter and Facebook. The only one that’s beating it currently is LinkedIn.

I met Alex just over 2 years ago at Product Camp, held at the Ted Rogers School of Management. I attended a session for beginners in Product Management and he had made some comments on Twitter that I thought were of interest. I joined him during the lunch break and we discussed the session at length. I hadn’t really used Twitter all that much and my account was still locked down. ¬†He’d had difficulty locating my profile and that was why. This was one of the biggest and best lessons I learned about Twitter vs. Facebook. Don’t lock Twitter down. It defeats the purpose. We had a great conversation and started meeting up regularly after the camp.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the majority of what I¬†know¬†today about social media and marketing is from his¬†tutelage. I’ve picked up a few things since then, but I would not be where I am today without his lessons. When I got hired on the mayoral campaign in Toronto and was told to help the candidate improve his tweeting, I didn’t know what to do. Alex gave me some pointers so that I could at least steer the candidate in the right direction. A year later, I was hired on another political campaign as the social media co-ordinator. Now, I have a successful social media consulting business and have multiple clients.

Today, I can still call on him if I need help or if I need a double check on what I’m doing. I highly recommend that you all follow him on Twitter and read his blog. ¬†Thank you Alex Blom, for helping make me into what I am today and letting me borrow your idea.

My Fun Saturday – The Teaser

It was definitely a busy day yesterday. On Friday I just chilled out knowing that it was certainly going to be a whirlwind on Saturday. And I was right! I got full use out of my metropass!

My day started out with a great event at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was intended to get feedback from the public about the Gallery. I’ll be posting more on it tomorrow, but you can certainly follow the discussion on Twitter by watching the hashtag #AGOChat. The photos from that event are posted here. I know that Rannie will certainly have wonderful photos posted from the event soon. As a thank you, we walked away with some pretty cool swag. Definitely setting the bar on that one!

My Andy on his first day out

After finishing at the AGO, I rushed over to the Liberty Noodle for the HTML5

Barbecue. This was done jointly with the Toronto Google Technology Users Group which I attended two weeks ago where I won my Andy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there until it was almost finished, so I won’t have much on that except to say that it was a packed room and a great bunch of people. Even after the presentations were done, there were some great discussions and of course cool swag. ūüėČ You can follow the Yorkville Media Centre for more details on this, the #TOGTUG group and of course, AndroidTO coming up in October.

I’ve posted the photos from the Stella Artois Block Party here. Please feel free to tag at your leisure. This was another great event where I got to see some old friends and meet some new people that I might have seen on Twitter, but hadn’t had the chance to meet in person. Many thanks to @StellaArtoisCAN for throwing this great event. Follow the hashtag #BlockParty from last night to see some craziness.

I’ll be writing on these topics more in the coming days so stay tuned!

Top 5 Celebrity Tweeps I’d Like To Meet

I decided to do something a little different for Follow Friday. These descriptions and reasons are a little bit longer than a tweet, so I decided to make a post out of them. I started with a neat short list and then there were so many that I had to break them up and even extend them a little. Some I may some day meet, some never. But what if we don’t have dreams what have we got.¬† I will have a few more lists in coming weeks but for now, here is my list of celebrities I’d like to meet in no particular order.

Stephen Fry on TwitterStephen Fry (@StephenFry) – I have always loved his work, with and with out Hugh Laurie. I watched an interview with him recently while he was in Toronto by Jian Ghomeshi of the CBC (@JianGhomeshi) and part of it dealt with his view on Twitter. I highly recommend you go and watch it. He seems like a real and amusing human being.

Rick Mercer on TwitterRick Mercer (@RickMercer) – Here’s some Canadian content for the day. Love watching his show, “The Mercer Report” on CBC. Also had the pleasure of watching him host “A Night of The Stars” for the Toronto Association for Community Living one year and he is a hoot. He is to Canada what Stephen Fry is to England.

George Stroumbulopoulos on TwitterGeorge Stroumboulopoulos (@Strombo) – I’ve just recently started watching his show and I’m ashamed that I haven’t watched it much before now! He is an incredibly great interviewer and seems to be a really nice guy all around. I’m sure that if I met him in a bar somewhere, I’d be starstruck and he’d just take it as it comes.

John Cusack on TwitterJohn Cusack (@JohnCusack) – He has some really weird tweets sometimes, but as an actor, I love what he does. One of my all time favourites of his is “Say Anything”, but this post is even based on one of his movies where the term “Top 5” is used many times, “High Fidelity” which is my second favourite.

Nathan Fillion on TwitterNathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) – Really interacts with his followers and seems to have the whole Twitter thing down. He sends a lot of pictures through Twitter of the set that he might be working on, introduces celebrities that are new to Twitter and just loves what he does.

Honourable Mentions:

Tim Roth on TwitterTim Roth (@TRHooligan1) – Always liked him as an actor, but really got hooked on him in the recently chopped “Lie To Me”. I adore the fact that he used his real accent and the part really seemed to be how I would imagine him in real life. His tweets are really interesting discussion starters and his pictures of either New York City or his eye are different than most you might see. The only thing is that even though he has almost 4,000 followers, he’s not following anyone else. So, he’s got to pick up his game a little.

David Krumholtz on TwitterDavid Krumholtz (@DaveKrumholtz) – Just recently joined Twitter but has a really fun time with it. Love watching him start to get the idea of how to use Twitter. Loved his role in “Numb3rs” and currently going through by seasons now. He’s a nerd cutey.