I just loved my 3-night, 2-day whirlwind book-promoting visit to Toronto. I met so many quality people I can't start singling them out for fear of offense through omission. But here are some thoughts and anecdotes that pop into my mind as I fly home.
- The thing you should never leave home without is your passport. I talked my way into Canada with relative ease, but was heavily warned the hard part would be getting back into the country where I was born and reside. If I were an Arab terrorist, my name would have been a clever subliminal message. In any case, my wife must love me, because she sent it by overnight mail. It got int my hands more than four hours after FedEx guaranteed it would. Does that mean I get a refund? How about an apology or nearly freaking out.
- I spoke at two events sponsored by the Association of Internet Marketing and Sales (AIMS) and batted .500 in terms of audience reception. I was relatively well-received by about 50 marketing professionals in one talk. A similar presentation to C-level executives on the prior day was more tepidly received. I could blame them, except Jim Estill, the blogging CEO of Synnex Canada, followed me and was more warmly received. He gave a simple, straight-talking, highly personalized talk. Even I enjoyed his more than mine.
Personal lesson #1: If I want to have a naked conversation know your audience. Know what they want of you. Sometimes I think, it would be smart to start with a Q&A, then deliver the talk. Personal Lesson #2: If your first joke fails, quit trying to be funny.
Thank god for the paucity of ripe fruit during Canadian Winters.
- Amber Mac is Canada's most popular video and audio podcaster (and TV personality). She much prettier than Microsoft's most popular video podcaster, and it turns out she used to work for then as well Amber tried to co-interview me with the venerable podcast giant Leo LaPorte. We should do a sitcom on this one. Amber and I tried to set up in the stodgy hallway's of some sort of exclusive "club," where we had both just spoken to AIMS marketing folk. As we tried to get audio connected with Leo, a troupe of white coated staff started moving the furniture around. We couldn't get wifi set up. The Club engineer gave us an antenna. Every time we tried to get going another parade of people passed by. Finally we moved into the club's Internet room where two people were checking email and trying desperately to ignore us. When we finally got Leo plugged in, Amber and I were getting feedback from our microphones, o we had to sit back-to-back. I would hear her speak about ten seconds after she had spoken. Technically, it was a fiasco and we had to reschedule.
Lesson: Sometimes the technology sucks and you just can't blame it on Microsoft.
- I was interviewed on ROB TV's SqueezePlay, a national TV news segment. It went well, except I kept calling the host, whose name is Amanda--Heather. It was not my first TV appearance for Naked, but it was the first time, I was ever required to wear makeup. It was a trip to watch the right side of my face get younger, followed by my left side. A few dabs of something on my skull and my bald spot covered up nicely. A quick powder on the forehead and poof--that unsightly shine disappears. After my seven minutes of fame, my regained youth washed off rather easily.
Lesson: Plastic Surgery may be longer-lasting, but makeup is cheaper and faster.
- Most Canadians with whom I talked tech, told me two things repeatedly: (1) Canadians are very polite, and (2) Canada lag far behind the US in blogging despite the fact it leads the US in broadband availability. I found the former statement to be entirely true, although I watch part of a hockey game that indicated there were limits to how widespread the courtesy goes. The latter is also true. Yet, this object in Silicon Valley's mirror is closer than it realizes. They have an increasing number of internationally admired bloggers. They have a growing community and you can see wells of passion for it getting deeper. I am very optimistic about what will happen in the Toronto-Ottawa area over the next year.
It seems to me they are in for a Hell of a ride.