By Nathan Rudyk
Three years ago a friend of mine from the University of Waterloo's student newspaper where we developed our passion for writing, started a Web business conference called "mesh".
Mathew Ingram – now a successful Globe and Mail columnist and renowned blogger (and still a helluva nice guy) – and some other friends of his in Toronto created what is now a must-go-event for entrepreneurs and investors who instinctively understand that new Web-based businesses can be built with a fraction of the investment capital required in most industries.
In its first year the mesh confererence was a little bit like teenage sex – a bunch of people talking fervidly about doing it, who in many cases had not done it all or weren't doing it very well. So ... fun, but not very meaningful.
Last year, based on the fact the mesh founders (and even families) are always in attendance throughout their event and are also hooked into the blogosphere for feedback, I expected better, brought along our VP & Creative Director Steve Reside, and mesh delivered. It was a fantastic interactive learning event from been-there-done-that entrepreneurs, and the networking led to a new client that will pay our mesh fees ($469 for a two-day conference that will likely, as last year, sell out) for many years to come.
This year Steve's looking forward to the new meshU, a one-day series of focused Web tech workshops. If you need more convincing, here's some hype from the mesh conference's email hypster (and lawyer to the start-up stars) Rob Hyndman:
Right now, we can tell you about several keynotes: author Matt Mason, whose new book The Pirate's Dilemma looks at the implications of digital piracy; Club Penguin co-founder Lane Merrifield, a Canadian who helped build a virtual world for children that was bought by Disney for $350-million; and Ethan Kaplan, the head of technology at Warner Brothers Records, who is intimately involved in the evolution of the modern music industry.
We also have some great panelists and other speakers lined up as well, including University of Toronto philosopher and author Mark Kingwell; the CEO and founder of Techdirt, Mike Masnick; media blogger Rachel Sklar from The Huffington Post; digital-copyright expert Michael Geist; Internet researcher Nancy Baym; the founder of RedFlagDeals.com, Derek Szeto: Blip.tv founder Dina Kaplan, CommunityLend CEO Michael Garrity; Agoracom founder George Tsiolis and a host of others.
Just ... go.