Happy New Year everyone! May 2014 be everything you want it to be and more in 2014.
Earlier on Thursday, itbusiness.ca published my latest article. In it I highlight who I think will be the top Canadians to watch in 2014. And not just any Canadians. but those who, I believe, will be making a big impact in 2014 and beyond in digital technology.
I hope you enjoy the article which you can read HERE.
mesh – Canada’s premier digital conference is a chance to connect with people who are excited about the potential of digital — people who want to know more about how it is changing the way we live, work and interact with the world. And you won’t just connect with them in the hallways — at mesh, every session is interactive.
mesh takes place every year in Toronto. This year the conference takes place from May 23-24 at the Allstream Centre.
Comprehensive deal covers internet streaming of music from Universal,Warner, Sony, EMI, and more than 1000 independent labels
Toronto-based digital music company Mediazoic today announced a deal with the AVLA (Audio-Video Licensing Agency), which will allow Mediazoicʼs internet radio network to carry the music catalogues of more than 1000 record companies representing the majority of all sound recordings and music videos produced and/or distributed in Canada.
Based out of a radio and record production studio in downtown Toronto, Mediazoic makes software that allows both individuals and commercial organizations to create, customize and curate their own internet radio stations. The system keeps track of all “listens” throughout the network, allowing royalties to be paid not only to the creators and rights holders of the music, but also to other stakeholders in the music ecosystem.
Current station hosts on the Canadian-owned-and-operated internet radio network include renowned deejay Alan Cross, iconic Toronto live music venue Hugh’s Room, annual music festival Indie Week, and local hip hop MC and artist MC FÜBB.
Cross, whose Weekly Top 11 show is unveiled every Friday on the network, has high praise for what Mediazoic’s unique take on internet radio has done for him. “Mediazoic’s resources have been a big help to my website, driving both traffic and time spent.” he enthuses, “Everyone should give the company a look.”
The network also has several radio shows in development, which will benefit from the wide range of music that this deal opens for Mediazoic and its listeners. One such show is hosted by established music journalist Karen Bliss, who will be resurrecting her popular interview show Lowdown, a one-hour comprehensive “this is your life” type show. Lowdown, Bliss’s music industry brand, has appeared in all kind of incarnations: a Canadian music industry column, an online radio show, a TV segment on Inside Jam, a TV show on Bite TV, and a music seminar. Through these formats, she has covered hundreds of artists, including Avril Lavigne, Billy Talent, Nelly Furtado and Sum 41.
“Our listeners know that every one of our stations has been playing great music since our launch last year.” says Mediazoic founder Greg Nisbet, “but let’s face it, now that our station hosts can throw a bit of Joni Mitchell, K’naan or Leonard Cohen into the mix, the listener experience is going to get a whole lot better. Our aim has always been to capture some of the magic that happens between people when great music is created and heard, and spread that magic across the digital realm, so we’re really excited about all of the wonderful collaborations that this deal will allow us to explore.”
“Weʼre pleased to work with Mediazoic, which will ensure that all of our members, whether they represent emerging or established artists, benefit equally from “plays” on this innovative new network,” says Graham Henderson, President of AVLA and Music Canada.
The deal between Mediazoic and AVLA covers reproduction rights. Mediazoic is also working with Re:Sound, the Canadian not-for-profit music licensing company that licenses recorded music for public performance, broadcast and new media to cover performance rights. “Weʼre always happy to work with innovative companies like Mediazoic to ensure that music creators are fairly compensated within emerging business models.” said Ian MacKay, Re:Soundʼs President.
This post will not be the answer to all of RIM‘s current problems (yes, problems). It will, however, help the two-headed beast-led company get back on the path to respectability.
The answer can be found with one word: Respect.
What I have realized is that RIM does not seem to understand what respect means. And I hope to address that today here in this post.
Wikipedia defines respect as such: “Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem.” The writers of that post might as well have added “company” to that definition. Nevertheless, this definition of respect is suitable for this blog post.
This blog post is not intended to summarize all the blunders that have occurred to RIM in recent months. If that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t wind that here. Search on your favourite search engine or tech blog to read up on those.
Let’s get into some detail below on this thing called respect:
Respect for the brand
The BlackBerry brand has been an innovator in the mobile and email communications space for many years. The BlackBerry pager was the first device to offer incoming and outgoing email to the masses. Many of the users were business people yet everyone wanted one. Unfortunately, affordability was not what it is today.
The BlackBerry brand stood for quality, innovation, and status. Today? Not so much. The public perception of both RIM and it’s BlackBerry products has fallen. And it seems that RIM is the only player not concerned about this.
Respect for the investor.
It’s one thing to defy public opinion and turn the other cheek. Has anyone ever heard of an investor at RIM suggesting that the company is on solid ground? We all know that the stock has taken a beating. But guess who else has taken a beating? The average Canadian investor who has money invested in Canadian stocks and mutual funds.
Almost every Canadian blue chip fund has a healthy portion of its portfolio invested in RIM. Which means many Canadians have lost a healthy portion of their savings due to the struggles at the Waterloo-based tech company.
Respect for their partners.
Partners such as Rogers, Bell, Telus, WIND, retail outlets, PR agencies, suppliers, employees, and many other partners have seen the BlackBerry and PlayBook portion of their sales here in Canada dwindle.
If it wasn’t for the ubiquitous Android devices or Apple’s iPhone, I’m very curious what the state of Canada’s technology community would look like…
Respect for their employees
How hard must it be to face family members, friends, colleagues and even passers-by when they know you work for RIM?
Respect for the consumer
I’ll be honest with you. I’ve had 2 BlackBerry’s. My current one is the Torch. The only reason I use it is because I received it free at a BlackBerry Torch launch party.
The Torch was supposed to give Apple’s iPhone a run for its money. Never happened.
The PlayBook? No comment. Although everyone who uses one loves it.
I’m not even going to mention the 3 days with no data. And don’t get me started on $100 of free apps as an apology.
Respect. It is this humble blogger’s opinion that if the suits at Research In Motion respected their customers, partners, employees, investors, and brand that they would be in a better position.
Here’s a quick suggestion to get on the path to respectability: Be humble; start listening to your consumers, employees, investors, and partners; start focusing on your core strengths; and become passionate again for technology and innovation.
I love Toronto. And not just the Blue Jays baseball team or the CN Tower. I mean what makes Toronto, well, Toronto.
Her people. Especially those people who are making things happen. Whether it be community activists like the folks at the Toronto Green Community or the start-up/tech space that I have been involved in for the past couple of years.
Earlier today, I had the opportunity to chat with Canadian entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalistBoris Wertz. He appeared as my guest on The XConnect Show. It was our 19th episode and the first time we had a live audience.
The reason we invited a select audience was because our team knew that many people in the start-up space would love the opportunity to listen and learn from Boris. So we had about 10 guests sit in on the session.
Before our taping I introduced Boris to every member of the studio audience. And that made me feel happy and proud. Happy that I could do it and proud that I had the chance to do it.
What made me more happier was receiving an email from one friend a few minutes ago who apologized for leaving without talking to me so he could share with Boris a cab ride across the city.
I don’t usually use this space to blog about my professional life. So I hope you don’t mind if I make an exception today.
This week I’m proud to represent thirdocean and XConnect at Canada’s top technology and start-up conference in Vancouver: GROW Conference. If you’re a regular here you probably already know that I am a co-founder and partner of both thirdocean(which is a social media and community management agency) and XConnect(which we’re building into Canada’s top technology and new media resource).
Both companies are less than one year old. Which makes this trip all the more important from a business perspective. Not only am I in attending GROW in order to learn from some of the top entrepreneurs and business minds across North America but I’m in Vancouver to network and solidify some professional relationships. The goal, obviously, is to grow both of our businesses.
So I hope to be able to share some good news with everyone soon after I return from this trip.
For the rest of the week I’ll be blogging over at XConnect. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on both what I’ve learned and whom I’ve met. If you’re a fan of our XConnect Show (live every Wednesday at 11am EST) this week we’ll be chatting with Alyssa Richard and Matthew Slutsky. Both Toronto-based entrepreneurs are disrupting the national real estate industry. Rachel McConnell (our Community Manager) will be filling in for me as host of the show. I hope you’re able to watch.
If you want to receive this blog post in your email click on the button on the right hand column that says sign me up under the Email Subscription header. In the meantime, please feel free to register on our communications system. You will be able to easily follow my journey here in Vancouver as well as everything else we’re doing at thirdocean and XConnect.
Melody Adhami (@MelodyAdhami on Twitter) is the co‐founder and COO of Plastic Mobile, an award‐winning mobile marketing agency. Melody co‐founded Plastic Mobile in 2007 and only three short years later was featured in a national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and named the Queen of Apps in a series about Wired Women. Today she has reached the pinnacle of her career by being featured in 5 Questions! 😉
What motivates you to do what you do on a daily basis?
Innovation is one of the biggest motivating factors for me. To know that every day I go to work and do things that are at the cutting edge of technology makes every day more exciting than the day before. I love the fact that what I do surprises and amazes so many people. Making an impact also motivates me to continue to do what I do. When I know that our initiatives change the way people conduct business or the way consumers conduct their daily lives, any amount of hard work seems entirely worth it.
If you had 30 seconds to impart your wisdom on a classroom of soon-to-be graduates, what would you say?
Do what you love because then it doesn’t feel like work. If you find yourself in a job you hate, re-evaluate and make a change. Work hard and play harder.
In your opinion, what has been one of the most important technological developments over the past 12 months?
Tablet technology and their proliferation/mainstream adoption. The tablets are changing the way consumers are digesting content both in the types of content and the location in which they consume. So what I mean is that people don’t have to be limited to watch YouTube clips or reach the news at their desktops. They can do it virtually anywhere.
If you had a crystal ball, what would you say will be the most important technological development over the next 12 months?
NFC technology and the effects that can be anticipated in the next 12-24 years. Ultimately, all payment transactions can take place in one single mobile device. Your phone will not only be your email client, your internet, but also your wallet.
Who is one of Canada’s tech stars and why?
My personal favourite tech star is Amber Mac. I had the opportunity to meet with her a few months ago and I love her energy, enthusiasm and overall tech knowledge. She is definitely a great Canadian tech star.