Change of plans

So much for Cordoba & a return to Malaga.

At the last minute (literally) I decided to go to Cadiz. Cadiz is a small city on the Atlantic side of southern Spain, and apparently the city has fallen on pretty rough times. But there is tons of history in the city (it was founded in 1100 BC and is where Columbus departed on his 2nd & 4th trips to America), and it is also home to the world's 3rd biggest Carnivale (next to Rio de Janerio and Trinidad). Carnivale is on right now and in its last weekend. I was half an hour early for my train to Cordoba, but when I got to the station I saw the train leaving for Cadiz in 5 minutes and made a quick change of plans. My only worry is that my pre-paid phone card will run out while I'm gone and I won't have data. I cannot live without data, and Cadiz will be much less enjoyable if I can't have Wikipedia, Google Maps & Google Translate at my fingertips. I NEED DATA.

The weather is shit all across Spain, but I figured there is no real sense in heading home and Cadiz is a more accessible via Seville than from Malaga. It is cold (10 degrees), raining and I have no idea if I can get a hotel tonight but WeatherEye (via access to data) told me is was much colder in Cordoba. Plus it only is 12 euros & 2 hrs to take the train to Cadiz... if it doesn't work out I can either take the train back to Seville or home to Malaga. Speaking of which, I'm more convinced than ever that the YYC-YEG corridor needs a high speed rail system.

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 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).