Thursday, January 31, 2008

Toronto Tech Week - Town Hall Meeting - January 31, 2008

This morning I attended the town hall meeting for Toronto Tech Week. This event--or series of events--will be held September 22-26, 2008 this year, and will be based at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre. Last year was the first year for this event (it was held in May) and had 3,000 people in the technology industry attending over 20 events. This year the goal is to have about 48 events and attract at least 4,000 people. More details below from the meeting, including opportunities for volunteers, sitting on committees, sponsorship, and holding a related event.

Chair Dave Forde did conducted the meeting and fielded questions along with other committee chairs. I was pretty jazzed about it by the end, and started to think about how the various groups I interact with should get involved.

Below are my notes from the meeting, which are fairly detailed:

Toronto Tech Week
Town Hall Meeting
Metro Hall Room 308
Thursday, January 31, 2008

2nd year - this year being held Sept 22-26, 2008
last time - over 20 events, 3,000 people attending, people from Rochester to China attending
focus very broad - entire industry
National press coverage: Backbone, IT World, Globe and Mail
brought people from across the country together
Goals: looking to increase attendance to 4,000
Launch 10 new start ups
45 hosted events

Key Dates
Feb 5 - Executive reception
Feb. 20 - Tech Talk
Mar. 25 - next Town Hall meeting
Sept. 22 - 28 - Toronto Tech Week 2008
Executive reception - invited 75 executives from across Toronto to explain what the week is.

  • 50,000 copies of a 24-page guide distributed with media partner IT World
  • revamped TTW website
  • producing an HTML email message that can be sent to target market
  • podcast between now and the event
  • welcomes people onto the marketing committee to develop a strategic plan

  • creating a community around Toronto Tech Week
  • partnering with one of the national newswire services so they can release press releases
  • series of industry roundtables on selected key topics
  • revamping the current website
  • Question from IBM: Why not have a space on Second Life? Harlequin did it, Canada Post - Maple Village
  • idea: the media will be invited to give international exposure
  • group comment: need to use the social media. Blogging will bring in more people. Need to think about this, plan it. Need to at minimum to have people linking back to the website from their sites. Need to put out tweets on Twitter - has connections to people across Canada and the U.S.

Target markets

  • Tier 1 - mid-management to director
  • Tier 2 - entrepreneur/start-up
  • Tier 3 - C-level
  • This year not targeting students.

  • Metro Convention Centre has been booked to act as the “home” for the event
  • the Monday: State of Nation - executives describe where we are with technology
  • e.g. Toronto signed digital cities agreement with San Francisco
  • 2 day trade show - morning keynote, afternoon keynote, and concurrent sessions - Metro Convention Centre - 25 booths available - there will be a registration for the sessions; trade show will be free to bring people in.
  • 2008 focus: innovations in the area of green tech/clean tech, sas, web 2.0
  • talent management and career day - Wed. Sept. 24 - informational and educational sessions. Two streams: talent management - directors of HR, hiring managers, etc.; career day - for technology talent. 8 to 12 concurrent sessions, split between the topics. 30-45 minutes in length. Have not yet decided the content on all the sessions. Putting together request for speakers. Looking for people who will engage the audience.
  • There will also be a career fair for people in the industry - technology workers with experience.
  • Encouraging other groups to host their events at the Metro Convention Centre. They can also host their own event e.g. Toronto Board of Trade, MaRS
  • Companies looking to sponsor an official event - they have packages. No fee to host your own event.
  • Technology Idol - students can submit video to explain why they are the next “top tech talent”. This is the one event involving students.
  • Thurs. (and possibly half of Friday) - Future Forward 2010 - areas such as mobile marketing, social media, online advertising - more focussed for the marketing/communications industry, what is the next thing on the Internet
  • Thurs. evening - official after party - at one of the local bars. Open bar if they can get enough sponsorship.
  • Half day Friday
  • Break out rooms still available to be rented directly from the Metro Convention Centre; try to rent the A/V equipment together with the Toronto Tech Week planning group so they can get the best price break as a group.
  • There will be overlap of events, but that gives people choice.
2008 organizing team

Dave Forde
Rob Berry
Mia Wedgbury
Elaine Pratt
Robert Berger
Jerry King & Rick Segal
Ernesta Rossi & Peter McNeil
Brian Makse

Sponsors to date

City of Toronto
Thin Data
IT World Canada
Backbone Magazine
Government of Ontario

Available volunteer opportunities
  • Internet Day Co-chair
  • Marketing Committee
  • Events Committee
  • Communications Committee
Available sponsorship opportunities
  • Sponsoring of Toronto Tech Week
  • Sponsoring of a specific event or day
  • Exhibiting at the 2-day trade show
Next Steps:
  • Get involved with a Committee
  • Suggest a topic or speaker - who
  • TechTalk Feb. 20th - TBA
  • Next Town Hall Meeting - March 25 [update: website showing this meeting 8am March 26]
  • There is a Facebook group


Dave Forde
dforde @

Rob Berry
rberry @


HL said...

Great Law Blog, I love reading articles and other blogs about law. My website, provides legal information for hotels, motels, restaurants, spas, resorts, casinos, and all types of hospitality-related businesses. We have a number of legal articles that involve national laws and specific information for states.
Please check out my blog at when you get a chance.

The Hospitality Lawyer

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glen Farrelly said...

Hi Connie:

Thanks for the details on this. I'm looking forward to it. I can't determine from the site, or anywhere, however what the cost for attendees will be. As a soon-to-be fulltime student, that unfortunately is the most crucial point.

Also, it seems that while the title of the event is "Tech" the focus seems be pretty much exclusively on marketing and advertising. Do you think there's value in this event for people to come without a background and/or interest in that area?

Thanks again,

Connie Crosby said...

Hi Glen:

Great questions. I'm not involved in the organization of Toronto Tech Week so won't be able to adequately address your questions.

The intended audience is meant to be c-level executives as well as start-up tech companies. At least, that is what was expressed when I attended the town hall meeting in January.

Unfortunately I don't know anything more about pricing. Hopefully they will post something soon.


Connie Crosby said...

For anyone looking for the Toronto Tech Week website, it was moved to: I don't see any information about 2009 or 2010 being set yet.