Networking Events

To define the marketing, advertising, web, and tech industries in Calgary as small would be more then accurate.

The above is not a statement about the level of talent, or the potential for greatness, as some of the most talented creatives and developers that I know are based in YYC and are doing tremendous work. There are also some awesome things that are starting to incubate this growing community.

However, aside from one massive interactive firm, 3-4 great agencies (all with 30 staff or less), and a couple of stock photo sites - there isn't really a lot of options for a world-class writer, programmer, designer, IA, or programmer who wants to be paid accordingly (apologies to all those Calgarians that disagree).

As a web entrepreneur it has been particularly tough at times to reach the people that I need to make my business grow. The people that have "been there" in the web space can be counted on one hand and, of those, there is a high likelihood that their experience comes from the stock photography business (Eyewire, iStockphoto and Veer all started up in Calgary). I am not directly connected with any of those people (yet). In many cases when a new technology starts up in Calgary, it will go elsewhere to become successful (ex: StumbleUpon).

The most common expertise in Calgary is Oil & Gas related, and the most common advice I'm able to get is "you should go on the Dragon's Den" (a Canadian "business" reality show where investors will offer up $100k for 51% of only the very best companies brought forward... usually in some sort of dramatic combined effort that will fall apart after the cameras are off). I am thankful for all the advice I can get, but I am hungry for more.

I am traveling for personal reasons, not for work. Aside from sending some emails back to Canada, tinker with my Google AdWords account, and sketching out some plans for my company, there isn't a lot I can do work-wise until I'm back in Calgary.

One of the things I can do while traveling is meet people, so I've tried to go to as many networking events as possible to try to meet some like-minded folks and perhaps one or two people that can help me when I make my return to Canada. When I was in NY I went to 5-6 events and met some fantastic people in the process.

Anyways, one event that I went to was at Bloomberg LP. They are hiring UI specialists and had a networking event for UI, with a speaker from Amazon.com. The speaker was quite good, although the information he was able to share was a little limited. He admitted so by telling us that he knew information that would answer some of our questions but was limited to telling us information that was already public knowledge. Nonetheless, it was a worthwhile evening and just to give a sense of what a networking event for those involved in UI in NY was like... it was attended by approximately 200 non-affiliated industry people (in YYC having 200 industry folk at an event likely means 80 are made up of 2 companies), had free wine and hot food, and was held in Bloomberg's offices.

Here are a couple of pics from the event and the link below is the presentation (on slideshare w audio).

http://j.mp/zwJXx

I can't get your calls & texts!

For the next six weeks I won't be checking either my New York or Calgary calls. I am attempting to set something up so that I can at least get forwarded calls or messaging, but for now it requires a bunch of sim card changing, roaming and long distance charges & I'd rather spend that money on alcohol.

If you'd like to get in touch with me, the best way is probably email or skype. If you want my skype username or my Spanish cell #, send me an email. If you don't know my email or you have no way of getting it, then I likely don't know you or you're probably not reading this anyways.

In Malaga

I still need to get caught up, but jumping ahead to the present for a moment, I just woke up from a nap, went outside and this is what I saw. After an afternoon of touring around drinking wine and beer and eating tapas I can easily get used to this place.


Got to get caught up.

Okay, I am a little behind on my updates (not that anyone reads this thing). But for the sake of keeping a bit of a travel log, I'll start to get caught up. Right now I'm on my way to Malaga, Spain. I have to post updates for:


- a visit from some Roibus-loving friends;
- skating at Rockefeller;
- my birthday (both my real one and a pre-birthday night out);
- Colbert Report;
- and some networking events & other bricka-brak.

But my plane leaves soon, so for now I'll post this photo of me and my roommate on our way back from the Beth Orton concert.

Finally saw some live music.

It took a while, but finally got a chance to see some live music in NYC over the past week.

13th: The Drums and Surfer Blood at Bowery Ballroom
16th: Tip the Van at National Underground; Takka Takka and La Strada at Mercury Lounge
18th: Beth Orton and Sam Amidon at the Bell House

Hopefully I'll get a chance to see another show or two before I take off, but brought back a souvenir from both Beth Orton and the Drums...




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The Pneumatic Tubes of The Roasting Plant

While I've been in New York, I've been trying out various coffee places. Mostly because I love coffee, but also because I need some places to get out of the apartment and still be able to concentrate on work. Starbucks is always a safe standby, but I've found a few others that have been great in and around my neighborhood (SoHo):

  • Cafe Borgia
  • City Girl Cafe (wifi)
  • Caffe Reggio (wifi)
  • Caffe Dante
  • Rheon Cafe

All of the above are great places and I will continue to frequent them. Also, NYC is full of coffee shops and I have a long way to go before I've experienced even a small percentage of them. Nonetheless, I'm currently sitting in The Roasting Plant and its unique for a few reasons:

  • every table is small (2 people max) and has a power outlet
  • they do not except tips... even if you try
  • free, unsecured, fast wifi
  • open until 12:30
  • it is not crowded, and their setup pretty much prevents it
  • all of their coffee is freshly ground and brewed on a per-cup basis, getting their beans from giant containers that feed the brewing machines with pneumatic tubes (see photos)


Now, their coffee isn't the cheapest in the city by any stretch - but that probably keeps out a lot of the riff-raff. It's not the most convenient place for me to go for a java but I will definitely be back.

Kudos to The Roasting Plant (www.roastingplant.com).

My Top Movies of 2009

                                                                                            <div style='padding:5px 0; text-align:center; width:480px;'>See more funny videos and TBT Videos at Today's Big Thing.</div> <div style='padding:5px 0; text-align:center; width:480px;'>See more funny videos and TBT Videos at Today's Big Thing.</div>

Was watching the above video the other day and made me think of my top films from last year. In no particular order, I was able to come up with 10:

Avatar
District 9
Watchmen
Star Trek
Hurt Locker
White on Rice
Where the Wild Things Are
Up
Inglorious Bastards
Zombieland

For being great for what they were, honorable mentions to: Coraline, Dead Snow, Art & Copy, I Love You Man.

Missing are Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moon - both of which I have yet to see, but I have a feeling would make the list.

Website is down

All right. Well, my previously not very impressive web site is now down. Or it was down a week ago, and I just realized now when I checked my analytics to see what 8 people visited my site today. Turns out none - so by some quick math (8 visitors per day x 7 days minus 50 accidental visits minus 5 googlebots) - that person that wanted to visit my site this week probably thought I had died, or gone on to do something productive with my life.

A quick call to my hosting company told me that they were incompetent because they only operate their 24/7 support between 9-5. Thus, my sites are still down.

What does this all mean? It means that I'm spending this time looking for alternative ways to broadcast myself to the world. And since my previous main personal site existed of an introductory blog post on a Wordpress blog from a year ago, well, I've already got a new site up of equal caliber.

I've heard great things about posterous and thought I'd give this a go.

For the uninitiated, my name is Brian Clegg (not the writer Brian Clegg of http://www.brianclegg.net). I have devised some web software that I hope will revolutionize sports training (I'm being slightly over the top here, but it is something I'm very proud of so check it out at http://www.aimhockey.com). I am also a web consultant and I work under the banner of 3.9 Marketing (http://www.threepointnine.com).

I came from Edmonton, Canada and make my home just south of there in Calgary. I realized that with my job, and being unburdened by a mortgage or girlfriend, I could escape the harsh Canadian winter and travel around a bit. I am currently in New York. It is December 2009, so if I'm slow on the updates, I plan to be in Europe soon and back in Calgary well before Stampede.

Now that I have a web site for 3.9 all set up, I plan to make this all blog about me. I'll probably post stuff about my travels here.

If you care (if you've read this far and made it through all of the above garbage then there's a 50% chance that you might), you can follow me on twitter @rbclegg (http://www.twitter.com/rbclegg).