A Great Series of Posts on Community

I’ll keep it short & sweet today:

If you’re interested in Community development, both virtual and physical, and you haven’t been following David Crow then you need to head right on over to his blog and check out his recent series of posts on “Community 2.0“.

Some very cool stuff in his posts, and links out to lots of other resources. Well worth your time to give them all a read.


– Ryan

SummerCamp: A Toronto Creative mashup

A couple of weeks ago I got a Skype message from my friend Mark Kuznicki (a.k.a “Remarkk”)

Mark: this could be a master stroke of serendipity + genius
Me: uh-oh
Mark: so CaseCamp @ Circa, same night as StartupCamp at CIX


Mark: ALL the communities, together!!!

Knowing Mark, there were probably half a dozen identical conversations happening with other folks on Skype at the same time. In the span of just a couple of short weeks things have progressed from an “idea” to a full fledged event dubbed “SummerCamp” (the name made a lot more sense in last week’s weather ;) ).

Currently almost 300 people are confirmed and another ~200 are “Maybes” – needless to say it’s going to be a big, fun party with most, if not all, of the various TorCamp spin off communities (including VizThink) represented in some way or another.

SummerCamp runs at CiRCA (John St.) tomorrow, April 29th, from 9pm until they kick us out.

One reality is capacity – we’ve only got the second floor for the party and there’s a very real chance we’ll max out… which means lineups! There are some community Supporter ($15) & Community Sponsor ($500) tickets available which help defray the costs but also get your name on the guest list and a halo of good karma for the day.

Mark has all the details and links at his blog.

Hope to see you there!


Refinding my Blogging voice

Needless to say, this blog has been awfully quiet over the past couple of months. It’s been an odd experience for me as I’ve never really had trouble coming up with things to post about but recently, when I open up the Blogger dashboard and click on “New Post” I, more often than not, end up staring at the blank screen for a bit then moving off to another site without writing anything.

I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but it’s understandably a result of the changes going on in my own world right now. I suspect a large part of it is the upcoming job switch towards the end of this week. It’s had an unusually long lead-up to the change – depending on how you count it’s been 8+ weeks since serious discussions started but a case could be made that this move has been 20 odd months in the making since I attended Dave Gray’s Visual Thinking school back in September 2006. I realized today that I actually registered the domain vizthink.ca on May 1, 2007. One year to the day before I’m due to start working for VizThink.

I hadn’t acknowledged it until know but I guess what I’ve been feeling is a sort of mental limbo. It’s been 8 weeks of having an intensely split focus, supporting and working at Clay Tablet, while anticipating and planning for VizThink (not to mention the added focus of two young kids at home). As a result I’ve found my creative energies have been completely zapped.

I’ve had moments of this in the past, a few days or a week or so, where I find I just can’t be creative. I stop writing, I stop taking photos, really if it isn’t core to getting stuff done, it just slides right off my radar.

I’ve also struggled a bit with what this blog will become as my role changes. It’s not like I’m just moving on to some other technology or translation related company. It’s a pretty big shift in day-to-day reading and what I’ve slowly started to realize it’s going to necessarily change the focus of this blog. As you may, or may not have noticed, I’ve already changed the name of the blog from “Found in Translation” to, well, nothing. It’s just me now, no theme, no “voice” yet to speak of.

I don’t have the answers yet but I expect this blog will evolve to become a bit more general interest (my interests) which will obviously include Visual Thinking, the odd bit of Translation but also just odds’n’ends I scrounge up from the web.

I hope you’ll stick around for the ride as I refind my blogging voice over the coming months.

If you’ve got suggestions, ideas or comments, by all means leave them in the comments section or drop me a message…

– Ryan

Photo: wmacphail via Flickr

[Workshop] "Visualizing Information" – A Daylong Workshop With Karl Gude & Dave Gray

If you’re in, near, or can get to New York City or Chicago in the first days of May I highly suggest you check out the upcoming day long workshops that we’re putting on through VizThink.

There’ll be no drab, droning PowerPoint lecture in this session – Dave and Karl are both dynamic & interactive presenters – not only are you going to learn a lot, you’ll have a fun time doing it.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in a few of Dave’s sessions over the past couple of years and hung out with Karl quite a bit at VizThink San Francisco back in January. Both are great presenters (their VizThink sessions were the highest rated across the entire conference) and all around fun guys.

If you need to give your boss some info to let him/her know more (without letting them know it’ll actually be fun too) then point them to the VizThink blog post (incl. below) – your secret is safe with me:

Visualizing Information: A one-day workshop with Karl Gude and Dave Gray

Participants will learn how visual thinking can be used to explore complex information and present it more effectively. This workshop combines high-level design principles with practical applications-–rules of thumb and “tricks of the trade”–that professional information designers use to quickly create clear representations from complex or potentially confusing information.

Participants will learn through a series of hands-on exercises, designed to develop their analytical, design and visual thinking abilities. Workshop facilitators Karl Gude and Dave Gray have, collectively, more than 50 years of practical, hands-on experience, creating visual explanations for national news media and multinational corporations.

Topics covered include:
– Introduction to visual language and visual literacy
– Strategies of information design
– Primary methods for organizing both qualitative and quantitative information
– Professional tips and tricks

Your presentations don’t have to be dull and ridden with bullet points. After this workshop you will understand how to explore, organize and visually display information of all kinds, from complex data sets to visual instruction manuals.

For registration and pricing information go here. The New York workshop is May 2nd, Chicago’s May 7th.

Hope you can make it out!

– Ryan

VizThink Communities Go "Global" – VizThink London 1

Last night Tom Ball & Rick O’Neil from Cognac ran the first VizThink community event in London, England.

Based on a couple of quick emails I’ve received from the guys it was a big success – everyone had a good time, it went smoothly and they learned some lessons for next time.

A slideshow of the pictures from the evening is below.

If you’re in a reader or the slideshow doesn’t work you’ll find the photoset here.

VizThink Austin
Also, on the heels of VizThink London event, an event in Austin is starting to come together for April 30th. Check out their wiki page for all the details or to sign up to attend.