Recent Activity Pt 2: Canada & Boston

Immediately following IIW (post here). I headed to Canada to speak at the International Women in Digital Media Summit.

The iWDMS brings together professionals from traditional and digital media communities, as well as educational/research institutions from around the world.  With high level keynotes, cross-sector dialogue, expert panelists, controversial debates and structured networking, the Summit will promote knowledge-sharing, and will explore innovation, skills gaps, policy and research in digital media–including gaming, mobile, and social media–and the impacts on and advancements by women globally. 

I gave an “Ideas and Inspiration”  talk for 20 min about the Personal Data Ecosystem called The Old Cookies are Crumbling: How Context & Persona aware personal data servcies change everything and will transform the world and was also on a panel about New Media Literacies.

There are a few things I took away from this event:

1) Countries like Canada are very small with just 30 million people and the center of commercial/intellectual life in Toronto an event like this really brings together a core group of high profile women in the media production business that represents much of the industry.

2) Both the government of Canada, provinces like Ontario and universities like Ryerson  are very serious about attracting and retaining top technology and media talent with a variety of tax and investment incentives.

3) See point (1) because of that …one must think internationally about appeal and distribution of any media across the whole world not just one market.

4) The way they talk about diversity used lang had language I never heard before the term “designated groups” included folks with disabilities, first nations people (in the US they would be “American Indians”), women, and ethnic minorities.

5) The idea that people shouldn’t be stalked around the web to “monetize” them was new and provoked some thinking amongst those who made their living developing metrics.

It was great to connect to Canada again and I hope that with the IIW coming up in Toronto in February some of the women who I met there can attend and consider how media can change with new tools for people to manage their identity and data.

I got to meet up with Aran Hamilton  (@Aranh) who coordinated efforts around the NSTIC of Canada in Toronto. We outlined the possibility of a Satellite IIW in Toronto and I learned more about what is going on there.  Basically up to point  (1) above…Canada is small.  95% of people have a bank account and of that something like 85% have accounts with one of 5 banks (Bank of Montreal, Toronto Dominion Bank/Canada Trust, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank) and there are 3 telco’s. So it seems like getting an NSTIC like system in place in Canada could involves meetings with a few dozen people.  They have the added advantage that Canadians have a higher trust in their government and institutions like banks and telco’s and have fewer “privacy rights” organizations.  So our IIW should be interesting and I hope that we can get some good cross over between the January 17th event in DC and this one.

After Toronto headed to the 4th MassTLC Innovation Unconference.  It was great to be joined by Briana Cavanaugh who is working with me now at  The community was thriving and it was the biggest ever unconference that I have run at 800 people and lots of sessions.  Jason Calacanis who apparently has relocated to Boston was there.  Jeff Taylor was there and had a rocking “un-official” after party that he DJ’ed.   The most notable costume was a guy in a suit with a 99% on his forehead. Yes Occupy Wall Street became a halloween costume.




Who is free to travel?

Peace Activist apparently are not.
Medea Benjamin founder of CODEPINK and retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright were both denied entry into Canada.

“The fact that the FBI has put us on this list. The National Crime Information Center Computerized Index is a form of political intimidation. The list is supposed to be for felony and serious misdemeanor offenses.

“We don’t qualify– it’s for sex offenders, foreign fugitives, gang violence and terrorist organizations, people who are on parole, a list of eight categories all together.

To be criminally rehabilitated, they would have to do a huge amount of paperwork and state that they were no longer going to commit the “crimes” they were convicted of.

Wright told OpEdNews “We were told (by the canadian border agents) if we tried to enter Canada again, we would be officially deported from the country, which is “big trouble. ‘We’ve warned you not to come back until we are criminally rehabilitated.’

Wright asserted, “We will never be criminally rehabilitated since we intend to continue to engage in non-violent peaceful protest of Bush administration policies, particular the war on Iraq and we intend to peacefully and nonviolently protest all of these until they end. They can lead to arrests for civil disobedience, like refusing to move from the fence in front of the whitehouse or standing up and speaking at congressional hearings.”

Never thought THIS would happen CAN$=US$

Doc just experienced in buying a 88.60 Canadian for $100 US what I experienced my whole life but the other way around.

I wrote this a few weeks ago…the day after “it” happened. When I was growing up in Canada the American Dollar was always worth significantly more then our dollar. Some time it cost as much as 1.35 Canadian to buy one US dollar. Recently the dollar has fallen to parity. I really never thought this would happen in my life. It is happening for two reasons. Demand for natural resources is going up in the global economy – Copper, Nickel, Lumber Oil etc. all are things Canada has in large quantities and exports. The other reason is the decline of the US because of …. well we don’t have to get into all those reasons here.

Happy Belated Canada Day

Canadian Flag
First thanks to Ted Leung who took this photo last year at Gnomedex when it was Canada Day and we sang Oh Canada.

Canada day is a great Day particularly for all of us in Identity who are Canadian. The list is long and I don’t know everyone who is in the community and is Canadian. At the RSA Identity Gang Dinner we had fully 10/30 folks who were.

There is me (of course).
Kim Cameron
Paul Trevithick
Laurie Rae
Pamela Dingle
David Huska
Dick Hardt
Garrett Serack,
Kevin Miller,
Paul Madsen
Even Mike Milinkovich
(if you are not on this list and want to be let me know – I am not leaving you out on purpose just can’t do all the recall I need to do to make the list complete. I know there are several more folks on Kim’s team at MSFT.).

I have a page that has Bruce Mau essay that to me explained conciesly why we are into the topic. on why Canadians are so into Identity (It has been there for more then a year – linked from the side bar. I recommend any of you wondering about it read this – it is more complex then ‘just health care’.

I went and saw Michael Moore’s movie Sicko yesturday. It was a great film and did a good job of depicting the healthcare system I experienced growing up – see any doctor you want, get care 100% free. One of the things that got me thinking was that if the United States did figure out how to do universal health care that might really be a blow to Canadian identity. From the wikipedia article on Canadian Identity.

Much of the debate over the contemporary “Canadian identity” is argued in political terms, and defines Canada as a country defined by its government policies, which are thought to reflect deeper cultural values….such as publicly-funded health care… [that] make their country politically and culturally different from the United States.

In a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation contest to name “The Greatest Canadian“, the… highest ranking [was] social democratic politician and father of medicare Tommy Douglas.

Thanks for saying Happy Canada Day Kermit. He even quoted Marshall McLuhan musing that if he were around today he wouldn’t be surprised so many of us in identity are Canadian.

In his posthumous work The Global Village, he writes:

Yes, Canada is a land of multiple borderlines, of which Canadians have probed very few. These multiple borderlines constitute a low-profile identity, since, like the territory, they have to cover a lot of ground. The positive advantage of a low profile in the electronic age would be difficult to exaggerate.

Canada has another advantage over the USA which, sadly, resonates even more today than when McLuhan first wrote the words:

It is by an encounter with the hidden contours of one’s own psyches and society that group identity gradually develops. That Canada has had no great blood-letting such as the American Civil War, may have retarded the growth of a strong national identity, reminding Canadians that only the bloody-minded could seriously wish to obtain a group identity by such violence.

Update: Dale just sent me a link to this explaining then Canadian equivalent to “As American as apple pie”

“As Canadian as possible under the circumstances.”

Canadianness Today

Dave Winer wrote this post about patriotism and highlighted the canadian singing of O’Canada at Gnomedex.

Anyway, the last day of Gnomedex happened to fall on Canada Day, and in celebration, Chris and Ponzi brought out a big cake and the Canadians rose, and sang their national anthem, Oh Canada. I had heard it before, but never in its entirety and for some reason this time it really grabbed me. Patriotism is moving, even when it’s not your patriotism. Maybe even more so, because it doesn’t get all mixed up with personal stuff, you get to experience love of country through someone else’s eyes, and it’s really beautiful. But then I saw a friend of mine from Berkeley, Kaliya Hamlin, standing, and singing. I had to look twice and think, and then I remembered, she’s Canadian! That’s right. I’ll never forget that image, Kaliya is tall and strong, opinionated, a bit nutty (in a nice way), a leader, and underneath it all, she’s even more different from me than Jackie Robinson was, because she’s patriotic to a different country, and Robinson and I are both from the United States.

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</div>This was actually a very moving moment for me to because I have been living in the united states for a about 10 years. I have not travelled back all that often. (In part cause I didn’t have the papers to return for quite a while when I was in paper limbo – yes I know what identity issues are first hand). It was just so wonderful to be an American context that celebrated the diversity in the room that included Canadians. I got to sing with my Canadian Geeky friends the anthem in front of our American Geeky friends. We got to share an identity moment together. It was lovely. Since when do you sing anything let alone anthems at tech conferences anyways.
So today I also by chance joined the Canadian Tech Mob…. the trouble is I can’t seem to get WP to actually display my recently uploaded sidebar so the code is in there just not ‘displaying’.