#DevTO – Part 1

I attended the second #DevTO session held at Richmond Day. I read a tweet about it and though it might be a good way to network and meet some new people. I knew some of the people involved more than the event itself, so though I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew it would be great.

This particular time, I was the only woman out of 6 people; four organizers, one presenter and me. It was marketed not only to developers specifically, but also to anyone who has an interest or deals with developers. I’ve done a bit of coding in my time and work as an IT Generalist, so I deal with developers, designers and more acting as a translator between the technical types and the business types.

An event like this helps me understand what developers face and perhaps help my clients by asking the right questions the first time, hence saving time and becoming more efficient.

At the first one I attended, I had the privilege of hearing Chris Brooker present Epilogger from the developer’s perspective. I’d seen their short presentation at Code Your Art Out a few days earlier, but it only scratched the surface. In this more intimate setting, I had the chance to ask more questions that helped me understand what difficulties they faced, why certain pieces were chosen and why others weren’t as well as what the process behind it was. It was also helpful to Chris to get feedback from users and developers alike, to provide more functionality and get ideas on how to solve some of the problems that they might have encountered so far.

I’d also recently signed up for #LadiesLearningCode (another post coming on that one soon). I went to their brainstorming session later that week and found that many of the women there were in a similar situation to myself. I thought many of them would probably appreciate something like #DevTO, so when I saw the invites come up for the next one, I started “marrying” the two hashtags together. Next thing I know there is a waiting list for the next #DevTO! I’m not sure how many spaces were filled because of my actions, but it came out of nowhere!

I’ll post more on the next #DevTO tomorrow, but in the meantime, Make sure you follow @DevTO_ca for more updates and register for the event here. At last check, they only have 5 spots left. Did I mention that they provide beer and pizza? 😉

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#MexiTO

I know I’m late in posting this, but given his recent successes, I figured the window might be open long enough for me to get this one down.

A few weeks ago, I decided to skip my usual Monday routine and attend #MexiTO at La Mexicana (@LaMexicanaResto) on Yonge Street. This was the first of Jo’s events that I had attended, though we had met a couple of times before (See my post on #HoHoTo and the follow up).

For $15, we had all-you-can eat tacos, a selection of appetizers and desserts. You could pile whatever you wanted on the tacos from refried beans, to chicken, to veggies. Did I mention that it was $5 margarita night? I highly recommend the mango flavour. 😉

In addtion to the meal and environment, we were also treated to a pinata! There were some videos and photos, but I apologize for not taking more myself. And no, my Sensei will not be seeing any of my poor performance. Last, but not least, we were also given samples of El Jimador tequila along with some cute swag, including a shot glass, key chain and mini shaker.

Of course, the company and connections that were made that night were too many to count, so I must thank Jo for putting us all in touch. This is what Twitter is all about. Make sure you keep an eye on this guy! Now you all know why I jumped at the chance to attend St. Louis! Check my post on that here.

My biggest #FollowFriday goes to Jo (@clickflickca).

Swag 2.0 by @RightSleeve

My Right Sleeve Notebook from Swag 2.0I had the pleasure of attending this event about a week and a half ago. Boy do they know how to throw a party! First thing we get is a wonderful notebook so we can note down all the wonderful swag we would like to purchase. It is definitely one of my favourite styles. Highly recommended for any conference you are attending.

I never knew how cool this business was until I walked in to the event. Everything from notebooks, to rugby shirts to funny shaped usb keys. I know Carolyn Van was admiring a few.

That’s the other cool thing about this event. When Mark asked if I was coming, I told him I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t in a position to buy anything. He said come anyway since it was a great way to meet people and they would love to have me. That’s community! I ran into people that I hadn’t seen in a while and got a chance to hang out with them all at one venue. And the food was enough to keep us around, especially the cupcakes.

It just so happens that Erin Bury’s article on Mashable was released the same day and that Right Sleeve was mentioned therein. The bags shown there are the very same ones we were given at the end of the night as gift bags.

And let me tell you…if you haven’t already heard…is that I’ve used almost everything that they gave us that night. The biggest one being the umbrellas that we needed not only that night to sheild us from the rain, but for many a night thereafter. Here’s me at #TweetGasm sporting the brollie and the bag, thanks to Jonny Bunning (@emaninTdot on Twitter).

Ernie Whitt's AutographAnother little side story is how I met one of the greatest baseball players of all time; Ernie Whitt formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays. I recognized him and the ring on his finger. He didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to snag his autograph. And how apprpriate? I happened to have one of my other Right Sleeve notebooks on hand with their letterhead for him to sign in. Karim Kanji is still jealous to this day. 😉

If you ever have a need of swag (or don’t and like to admire new toys) then you must check them out. They have great products and are wonderful people. You can find Mark Graham and his team here. If you have an idea, I’m quite sure they will have the solution. I know that they will be the first ones that I go to.

Thanks to Mark and his team for putting on such a wonderful event. Hope to see you all very soon.

Rightsleeve Prize Pack

I have some serious catching up to do!

A few weeks ago I attended FashionConnectTO (#FCTO) put on by the wonderful gang at XConnect (@XConnectTO). One of the swag pieces we received was a pair of sunglasses c/o RightSleeve. They also had a company there taking photos. Here’s mine!

Now the event was awesome, but it didn’t stop there! If you posted your photo with the shades to RightSleeve’s Facebook page, you could win a prize pack. Why not? Well, I won.

I didn’t expect to be graced with one of the most awesome prize packs ever! I’m using the notebook right now to draft this post. I broke it in last week while at Flash in the Can here in Toronto (#FITC). Wow is it great!

Gone are the days of giving out pens. You gotta have great stuff to give away, whether it’s at a conference or recruiting new graduates from University. Well, these guys have got it all. I’ve been invited to their Swag 2.0 party today. Can’t wait to see what they have in store. I’ll keep you posted!

Proof once again that Twitter gets you free stuff.

Camaraderie and Zip Cars Toronto Announcement at Veritas

I was introduced to a company called Camaraderie (@Camaraderie) by Scott Honsberger just over a month ago. We’d crossed paths two nights in a row at two totally separate events, a week later getting off the same streecar, and a few weeks later at a meetup for a company I’ve been looking at. Camaraderie is a shared workspace in downtown Toronto for individuals, small businesses and startups. This was a fairly new concept to me, and yet, a no brianer. So when he invited me to one of their events, co-hosting with Zip Cars Toronto for an announcement. I could tell that this was a match made in heaven. Office space and transportation, with out long term commitments and as-needed. Wonderful!

The event was hosted at Veritas at King Street East and Sherbourne Street. I’d never been there before and enjoyed a glass of their house red wine (Pinot Noir, Cave Spring). I could never resist a good Pinot Noir!

Zip Cars has some great offers for members of Camaraderie, which are still pretty good even if you aren’t a member. I even walked away with some great swag, including a porcelin travel mug. Not cheap! And what follow-up! I had a rep from Zip Cars call me the next morning to see if I had any questions about the offerings that had been given to me the night before. They sent me an email with all of the pertinent info and did not push anything.

If you haven’t checked any of these companies out yet, I would certainly take a look. Enjoy!

FITC FTW

I’d noticed recently that a few people that I follow on Twitter have been talking about this conference called FITC. For those that don’t know, FITC = Flash In The Can. For more info on the conference, you can check it out here.

Enter Justin Kozuch and 49 Pixels (aka Pixel to Product). I entered a contest to win a conference pass worth about $700. Did I mention that he would be a great Manager of Conversation? (@FITCJustin). Well, he should.

But now I have a dilemma: What sessions should I attend? I’ve got a background in doing web sites, but the skills need some upgrading. Have even thought about getting back into it recently. I was pretty good at coding them, but could use some more design ideas.

So dear readers, if you were granted such a gift, how would you use your powers for good? The schedule is here. What would you attend and why?

Automatic Mutual Follows On Twitter – My Take On It

I have read a number of posts about automatically following people when they follow you. It’s the polite thing to do.  I’m not sure why people follow me, but if you have some thing to say, then I will follow you back.

When I find out that I have a new follower, they obviously have a reason. If I don’t know them, I look at the other people that follow them and follows that we have in common. If they follow a bunch of famous people or common companies that have a huge number, then there is a good likelihood that we have common interests, but I still may not follow you. However, if the follows in common are people I actually know or have had conversations with, then I believe we have more in common, so I will be more likely to follow you back.

Suffice to say, that if we have no followings in common, and you have nothing written in your bio, I will most likely not follow you back. If you have something to say to me, I’m quite approachable. Speak up! Give me a reason to follow you.

I have followed some people based on the guidelines above, and for the most part, it works. Some people I have unfollowed, but at least I give them a shot. I’m really not a bad person, so follow me and we’ll get along just fine.

Twitter Gets You Free Stuff!

Thanks to @clickflickca’s retweet yesterday of @NOWcontests, I won tickets to their NOW Talk series with none other than Maestro Fresh Wes and Mark Holmes of Platinum Blonde. They were talking about music and the industry in the 80’s, about origins of music in Canada, influences, etc., and WOW! These guys should jam together sometime. I hear they are both playing at The Horseshoe on Saturday for the 40th Anniversary of the Junos, but not sure if they are going to be on at the same time.

I must say that I really enjoyed it (like there was any doubt!) and this is the second in a series of NOW Talks. The next on is in February about the 90’s.

My favourite part was when Wes was talking about being “starstruck” himself when he found out he was going to be on the stage with Mark Holmes. Apparently, he was on the phone and saying to his buddies “Yo, I’m in the same room as Mark Holmes! Y’Know, Platinum Blonde! Holy Shit!”

So, for my Follow Friday, I suggest following @clickflickca for leading me to @NOWContests, another good follow. Also, I’m going to recommend following @NOWToronto. A great read for Toronto. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Here’s the vid I shot that night –Mark Holmes at NOW Talk

Mark Holmes and I

Taken at the NOW Talk on January 6, 2011

Maestro Fresh Wes and I

Me and Wes after the NOW Talk

I’m Posting More Often in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog a lot more often using a tool in WordPress. I can’t promise to do it everyday, but I will post at least once a week. So far so good with my Bridget Jones posts. (Will have another today).

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Signed,

Shanta

PS. I’m going to try and post through my other two blogs depending on your interest, so check there too and follow me on Twitter (@TantienHime)

My ADHD blog: adhdjourney.wordpress.com
My Creative Writing Blog: shadowshui.wordpress.com (going to post there later today.)

Why are you following me?

Geese Following

Why Are You Following Me?

This is a follow up from a #TODebate discussion on July 2, 2010 in which we discussed on what basis you pick who you follow on Twitter.

I haven’t had much movement in followers simply because I wasn’t doing many blog postings (been working!), but only commenting on things I saw in Twitter, but not much past that. This all changed when I met Alex Blom (@AlexBlom) at Product Camp Toronto back in May, 2010.  Almost a month ago, he decided to start a series of posts on Follow Fridays. For those not versed in Twitter (and until he told me, I didn’t know either), this was a post that you would do on Friday with the tag #FF in which you would recommend someone that you think others should follow. It became really silly when people would just post a tonne of names and the whole purpose became rather deflated. Instead, Alex decided to do a post in which he introduced the person and gave you a reason why you should follow them, including a bio (that was more than the little one included in Twitter). I was fortunate enough to be his first. Within three days of this post, my followings on Twitter went up by 33%. Now, for small time like me who hadn’t had a new follower in a long time, that’s a big deal. I was able to track within those few days exactly where they found me. This was of interest to me and it continues…

Because it didn’t stop there. I haven’t done a blog post in almost a month, and yet, other than those I’ve met personally, or been introduced to, I’ve gained even more. Just last week, I had about 5 new followers in one evening. That’s a lot for me!

So now I want to know:

  1. How did you find me? Did you see this blog or my other one? Did you see one of my retweets or maybe someone you follow has mentioned my name?
  2. Why did you decide to grace your twitter feed with me?

Comment below because now I want to know who my readers are, what they want to know, what they like and what they don’t like. If you can provide sources, that would be nice to so I can properly thank those who have been good to me as you have in following me. I also want to know what works and what doesn’t. I’m not a professional marketing person, nor do I want to rely on statistics and analytics (essentially technology) to tell me. I want to hear from you.