#FF ThirdOcean

If you ever want to attend a great panel discussion, make sure you add ThirdOcean to your follow list. They have been in business for a couple of years now and is headed by Carolyn Van and Karim Kanji. After attending my first event, FashionConnect that they put on under their brand XConnect, I found out that Carolyn and I both graduated from the same University, same faculty and probably within a day of each other. I like to think I graduated BEFORE her, but hey, what difference does a day make? 😉

Burritos from GameConnect (#GCTO)

Burritos from GameConnect (#GCTO)

Since the first panel, I’ve continued to attend their events regardless of the topic because I always find it interesting. The point is to find the intersection between technology and another industry. The topics have ranged from Film, Gaming and Education and they always put out a good spread. It is thanks to their events that I was introduced to Rightsleeve and their wonderful services. Their latest one was HealthConnect (#HCTO) where the discussion was centred around health. Amazing discussions come out of their panels and it is never boring! I can’t wait to see what the 2013 season brings.

Both Karim and Carolyn have been extremely supportive of me in my endeavours and have welcomed me with open arms. It is thanks to Carolyn that I began learning about WordPress just over a year ago. Had it not been for her insight and suggestions, I would not be where I am today. To give you an idea, I presented at WordCamp Toronto 2012 last month with a success story. They don’t just limit themselves to their own business either! You can find them almost everywhere, including Venus Ventures and Lean Startups. Heck, they were event at TEDxToronto today! Please give them all a follow on this wonderful Friday and I hope to see you at the next one.

ThirdOcean

ThirdOcean

#FF RightSleeve

As usual, RightSleeve has outdone themselves. I was once again invited to their Swag 2.0 event in May. I went last year and had a great time. This year was no exception.

Ernie Whitt Autograph

Ernie Whitt Autograph – Notice the RightSleeve paper. 😉

For those that don’t know, Rightsleeve is a promotions company that has clients large and small, but all feel important. Last year’s event had more exhibits and suppliers, but this year I did a lot more networking. I’d been out of touch with everyone for a while, and this was a great chance to catch up. Either way, it’s a great event. Last year, I even met Ernie Whitt, former catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and got his autograph! Karim Kanji is still jealous to this day.

I’m not only impressed with the products they have (and give out!) but with how friendly and supportive they are. They do a lot of promo for many worthwhile events around town, including Third Ocean‘s XConnect panel discussions, which I try never to miss.

When I was working on getting my consulting gig off the ground, I got an invite from Mark Graham to attend. I was in no position to spend money with them, but he didn’t care. Their events are a great chance to network and are definitely fun to attend. Mark wanted to help out and knew that I’d probably spread the work of their good deeds. Well, it obviously worked and I’ve never forgotten his kindness. Every chance I get, I put their name forward and know they won’t disappoint. So please make sure that you add Rightsleeve to your feed and let them know if you have any promotional swag needs. They are definitely the best in everything they do.

Here are some examples of their work:

Rightsleeve Notebooks

No Rightsleeve collection is complete without their notebooks. Two black ones used. Started the red one on Labour Day.

Rightsleeve Cooler Bag and Water Bottle

Rightsleeve Cooler Bag and Water Bottle perfect for a day outing.

Rightsleeve Umbrella

They gave these out the first year I went and it is my favourite umbrella.

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.