#Hohoto – The Toronto Community Gives Back

Cross posted from the VizThink.com blog

As December approached I had been trying to figure out what to do with the Toronto VizThink Community, my plan at the time was a simple “VizDrinks” idea, basically a mixer at a local bar with whoever wanted to come out. Around the same time a group Montreal announced they were doing a big Christmas party for the technology/startup community and the idea was floated about doing something similar locally in Toronto. A handful of us through our support behind the idea and on December 2nd we met at a downtown bar to come up with a plan.We left with a name, #Hohoto, a date and a cause – Toronto’s Daily Bread Foodbank.


The next 13 days were a blur as the event came together and this past Monday night we found ourselves at the Mod Club in downtown Toronto, with a sell out crowd of over 600 people from the technology, marketing and visual thinking communities here in Toronto, and at the end of the night handing the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank a check for $25,000.

I put together the following video/slide deck as a brief history of the event:

The outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming, as you can see from the video above we had over 60 organizations sponsor us either with cash contributions, in-kind services or raffle prizes so we could raise a little extra money at the event as well.

I want to personally thank two of our VizThink sponsors, and community members, Betsy Weber & the team at TechSmith and Michael Deutch & the team from Mindjet. Techsmith added a few licenses each of Camtasia and Snagit to the mix for us to give away and Mindjet gave us a couple of copies of Mindmanager for Windows 8 (Over $3000 in prizes alone from these two companies!) – all three are fantastic apps that I use daily and I know many people were hoping their ticket got drawn for them.

All in all it was a wild night, from interactive video walls displaying tweets tagged with hohoto to DJ requests via Twitter and the insanely popular p#hohoto booth setup and run by Rannie Turinigan & Canon (pics here). We even had a recorded messages from a handful of 2.0 “Celebrities” including Biz Stone, co-founder of twitter – heck, even the mayor of Toronto, David Miller recorded a greeting for the crowd.

All in 13 days. It was truly something special to be a part of and I was glad I got to include the VizThink community as part of it too. I also want to thank my co-conspirators without whom this wouldn’t have happened:

Leila Boujnane – CEO, Idée Inc.
Alexa Clark
– Managing Partner, Plethora Press
Duarte Da Silva
– Senior Manager, Communitylend.com
April Dunford
– Director, Incubation Marketing, Nortel
Peter Flaschner
– Founder, The Blog Studio
Rob Hyndman – Founder, Hyndman | Law & Mesh Conference
Sheri Moore – Partner, Creative Director, MCC Planners Inc.
Michael O’Connor Clarke – Vice President, Thornley Fallis Communications Inc.
Michael Penney – El Presidente, Afterlight Films
Michele Perras – Manager, Mobile Experience Innovation Centre
Corey Reid – Chief Cat Herder, FreshBooks
Ryan Taylor – Goldsmith, Adventurer, The Fair Trade Jewellery Co.
Rannie Turingan – Photographer, photojunkie.ca
Elena Yunusov – Founder, communicable.ca

Embedded below is a slideshow from the #Hohoto Flickr Pool. If you want to see more of the fun at #Hohoto you can also check out Flickr YouTube Facebook or Twitter

VizThink Toronto 8 – Next Tuesday!

It’s that time again, VizThink Toronto 8 will be taking place next Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 6:30pm.

I’m still sorting out venue details, but it’ll be in the downtown core… Dan Rose, who many of you know, will be facilitating a session inspired by some of the ideas in Dan Roam’s “Back of the Napkin”.

Dan’s a really experienced, and gifted, facilitator so it promises to be a really great evening. Come on out an join us! Details & registration can be found at http://wiki.vizthink.com/vizthinktoronto8

Not in Toronto? September is our busiest month ever for VizThink community events – there are also events in Austin, London (England), Amsterdam, Madrid & Seattle this month. For details about these, and future, events check out this post on the VizThink blog.

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!


VizThink Wrap-up: Building Visual Thinking Communities

Source: Brandy Agerbeck, Loosetooth.com

Just to close the loop on the VizThink wrap-up I wanted to take a quick look back at the session I facilitated on the Tuesday afternoon.

Free Beer
Needless to say, as the schedule emerged, I was nervous that no one would show up. The first draft of the schedule had me presenting in the same time slot as not just cartoonist Scott McCloud but also Dave Gray (Dave was thankfully moved to the morning session)… when I combined that with the fact their were 8 sessions running at a time I got very, very nervous. I jokingly asked Tom Crawford if he could add ***FREE BEER*** to my session title in hopes of drumming up some interest.

What I hadn’t factored on was the apparent desire that people have for community in the Visual Thinking space and was pleasantly surprised when roughly 30 people showed up.

The Presentation
The title, “Building Visual Thinking Communities”, is pretty self explanatory… Just to delve a little deeper what I specifically talked about were; some of my thoughts on community, my experience with VizThink Toronto and finally my recommendations & suggestions for people running their own event.

I’ve uploaded the deck to slideshare or you can view it embedded below:

During the session I included three interactive components. The first two were related where I had everyone pair up, interview each other, and then make a mind map of the other person. In the second component I had the pairs group up (8-10 people) around tables and then introduce their partner to the group.

The third component I deliberately saved for the very end of the session. Selfishly – it could be easily stretched or condensed to fill the time left in the session but from a community point of view I wanted to get participants to start thinking about what they could teach the community at their own. The premise was simple. Take an index card, write your name on it, your city/region and finally a one-liner describing something you could teach at a VizThink session.

Truth be told I wasn’t sure how this exercise would play out. It couldn’t really go horribly wrong but it also wasn’t guaranteed to generate the results I hoped for.

In the end though, I shouldn’t have been concerned. Everyone had an idea and many had two, three and even four ideas! And they were all good.

All in all I think the session was a success. I had a great time facilitating it, and I got the impression the group was enjoying it as well.

Immediately afterwards a few people came up to me and indicated they were interested in getting VizThink evenings running in their community.

Emerging Community
As of today I’ve got the following cities where there are people organizing, or interested in organizing VizThink evenings:

Atlanta, GA
London, England
Seattle, WA
Mountain View, CA
Chicago, IL
New York, NY
Austin, TX

(Edit: Forgot New York! Edit2: Got some interest expressed from Austin too!)

Active VizThink communities are already underway in:

St. Louis

Yes, that’s 11 cities listed above! It’s crazy to think that it hasn’t even been a year since the first VizThink event here in Toronto and now it’s on the verge of truly going global.

If you’re in or near any of these cities please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to hook you up. I’m also in the process of setting up a Cities section on the VizThink wiki where I’ll create a page for each city and a space for people to express interest in organizing or attending.

If your city isn’t listed but you’re interested get in touch with me as well. I’m happy to create a page that will let people express interest in your community as well, and hopefully get something.

I’ll be posting any upcoming events I know about here on this blog so definitely subscribe if you’re interested. (Watch for a London announcement soon). If you’re new to this blog also be sure to check out my Photo Blog.

All the various means of getting in touch with me are in the last slide of the embedded slide deck above. You can also find me at the following sites: LinkedIN, Facebook, Plaxo, VizThink Wiki, Flickr.