Dear Team,

I’m skipping my wrap up on Amsterdam, mostly because there wasn’t much to report on WiMax post-Singapore. Conference went well, the sessions I attended ended up being really interesting, and the city of Amsterdam is perfection in the Spring. Ria, Ryan and I walked. A lot. Straight from there out to nextMEDIA – a conference with great content, people and location. Although I missed having Jasmine there with me this year, I still did some learning.

One of my favorite quotes ever was Jack Nicholson, talking about how he chooses roles. He said, “I like to play people who haven’t existed yet, a future something.” This is what I was hoping to see at nextMEDIA, a future something (don’t even bother, I’ve already registered that domain). I felt there was more time devoted to discuss issues and not very much time discuss what comes next (yes, I often use quotes in scenarios that have nothing to do with the original comment). 

What surprised me is that often talk went on about how to get people to consume the content they’ve already created and not very much talk about how people WANT to consume content. “I made this thing, how do I get people to care?” seems more difficult to me than “what do people care about and how will I build it?” I am fully aware that this is easier said than done, but you have to say it before you can do it.

Having said that, the highlight for me was Janet Kestin from Ogilvy Toronto. She spoke for an hour, I believe without notes and was intelligent, insightful and empassioned. Janet went through the Dove Brand and some campaigns she had worked on, then switched focus to some campaign she thought were brilliant. I too thought “The Great Schlep” was genius, but could not have eloquently broken down the details on why for you. Janet could…and did. 

I listen to people like her and I add to the list of thesis topics I’d like to write about if I were independantly wealthy and could drop everything, research and write something brilliant all in the span of a month, every time I heard something interesting. The sociology and psychology behind marketing, crowdsourcing, communities and advertising is something I could sit around thinking and talking about for days. What motivates people to buy, engage, participate and contribute is beyond interesting to me, it actually wakes me up at night (along with everything else…). 

I felt less-than-genius for not knowing about some of the mobile stuff going on, but when I looked at the schedule, I really only saw something about monetizing your content over mobile. While the two top words at WiMax and Mobile Marketing events are convergence and ubiquitous, I heard neither term once at nextMEDIA. 

I would love to throw a weekend conference of all the smartest, coolest, biggest thinkers in Canada just sitting around talking about what the future looks like. How can we take the platforms, infrastructure, gadgets and tools coming out and blow people’s minds with what we can do with them? I’ll need to come up with something better than the current working title, which is, “Collaborating Awesomeness for the Future with Smart People”

Working on it.