#FITCTO Recap – Tony SY Ke

Since Christmas last year the great guys and gals at FITC have been donating FITC tickets to #DevTO attendees. To top that off they generously offered the #DevTO gang complimentary tickets to attend this great festival of art and code at the Hilton downtown Toronto.

Steve Jobs Called My Work Sh*t, and Welcome to the Post-PC Era

I loved the title of this presentation and I knew it would be a great kick off to my FITC experience this year. Tony SY Ke’s 90 minute talk was all over the place but as he proceeded you could see how all these stories linked up together and eventually you get to the point where the title of the talk came from.

Come out from the trenches

Tony kicked off with a great statement about why you should be attending networking events such as meet ups and conferences. This advice goes out to everybody whether you are still in school, just graduating or have been in the trenches for a decade. The best thing about these events is the opportunity they provide you to step out of your trench or climb out of your hole and have a look around to see what everybody is up to. This helps you get a bird’s eye view of what is happening elsewhere and how all these trenches and holes people are keeping themselves busy with come together and connect.

10 billion

By 2014 there will be around 10 billion post-PC devices. Everybody will have not one, but multiple devices. Look around you today and you can see this trending towards that. Mobile devices are quickly becoming an extension of the brain, your bridge to the collective knowledge of everybody around you; online and offline. Today’s app developers have to fall into two camps to get a chance at being successful, either 1) your app creates content or 2) it organizes content. If it doesn’t do either then re-think your idea. Apps that create content like  DrawSomething also let you turn your creativity (good or bad) into a conversation. There is an abundance of content available offline and online and the other camp of apps help you make sense of this flood of information. A cool example is getabstract that allows you to read the key ideas of tons of business books available today in 10min! Yes, nobody has time to read these fairly big books that could end up being a little dry sometimes.

Context. Adaptive. Connected

Building a meaningful and powerful experience for your users requires you to consider three important concepts: 1) contextual data 2) adaptive data and 3) connected UX.

Contextual data. Time, data, location, movement. All external.

Adaptive data. Emotional data, learned data, recommendations.

Connected UX. How do you connect the digital world to the real physical world?

Portrait over landscape

There was a sudden diversion here into a discussion over what is better design for phone screens, landscape or portrait? Basically, for interacting with your website or app portrait is always better because it allows you to use the app with one hand. Also keep important interaction points away from the top left corner or bottom right corner as those make it harder to use the app with one hand. Once you design for landscape you force your users to use both hands which might not be ideal all the time.

…and this is why Apple will never create a phone bigger than the iPhone – unless Steve Jobs is dead

Tony continues on to talk about some of his best and most interesting projects and ideas throughout his career across London, Vancouver and New York.


Pretty vs. Functional. There is a difference

Interactive TV can be done fairly easily yet very few stations do this well or at all. Some key features here include things like a white background vs dark background for daytime vs nighttime. Auto-scrolling the schedule to the current time slow for more context.

Travel apps. A lot of travel apps and site suck. They don’t present data intelligently. They just present a lot of data. Why do they show what the current weather is? I’m not currently there. I don’t care. I care about what the weather will be when I’m there next week. Who cares where the airport is? How far is the hotel from the airport is more relevant.

Nike Plus. Weather context. If it it’s raining give me some motivation to go out and run.

Recommendations. Amazon recommendations suck but it’s hard to do recommendations well when they’re’ machine generated. Better yet, recommendations from friends are easier to implement and probably more relevant that machine based ones.

Wifi Calendar Router. This is a pretty crazy idea but I liked it. WiFi routers are one trick ponies, why not teach them some new tricks? Imagine your WiFi router is actually a calendar that sticks to your fridge or hangs on the wall. It’s also got a little screen and you can push and subscribe any data feed to it such as the weather, bus schedules, birthdays, etc. Makes routers are little more useful and you don’t have to tuck it away behind the TV.

Your Music DNA. A common conversation between kids and adults alike:

“Hey what music do you listen to?”

“A little bit of everything I guess”

We don’t all just listen to one type or another, some of us do, but most listen to different genres all the time and just something about certain songs trigger something inside you and you like it. This is where the idea for your music DNA comes from. Basically its an app that analyses your music and spits out a sequence of coloured shapes. These can be printed on a tshirt for example and could work at concerts or other festivals and break the ice between complete strangers since you already have something in common. You both have this shirt, and you might have similar music DNA.

Economy of Attention

90 minutes later after many stories that also included casino gangsters that looked friendly to 7 year old Tony, lighter clickers, and building the A-team van from card board because no stores carried it, and other stories of how he ended up in design Tony sums things up nicely with:

today we are living in an economy of attention more so than ever before. Our attention spans are declining but websites and apps that command our attention can get away with a $1B valuation or even $100B valuations.

April’s Featured Startup: Mega Traders

As part of growing and cultivating the #DevTO community we want to start featuring some of Toronto’s startups. This month we have selected Marlina Kinnersley’s new venture: Mega Traders.

There’s a new kid on the block with speed and agility who passionately wants to disrupt traditional classified sites with a social commerce platform that’s intuitive, super fast and trustworthy. This new startup is an online person-to-person marketplace for trading, buying and selling unwanted items socially. This company’s mission is to turn anyone into an entrepreneur, while encouraging bartering through offline interactions for more sustainable living; their vision is to provide a vehicle for collaborative goal achievement – say what? Marlina Kinnersley, CEO, explains:

“Swapping happens all around us, between people all over the world throughout our lives because we want something we deem valuable that someone else has. Together we can trade our unused items for something we will treasure.”

“Marlina has a really innovative and compelling concept here, and she is looking for some talented developers/coders who are excited about the intersection of social media and e-commerce.” Bohdan Zabawskyj, VP-Technology, Mercatus & Advisor.

Users will be able to create a store, post for free, specify their wish lists and ultimate goal, share their swap or sale items socially and achieve their goals through uptrading activity.

“We are a ‘stealth startup’, looking for a team to help create a prototype/MVP model to demonstrate the viability and market demand for the concept”, the CEO says.

Please contact Marlina Kinnersley at marlinakinnersley@gmail.com for further details.

Check out her About Me page – http://about.me/marlinakinnersley and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What is a #DevTO Ticket worth to you?

When #DevTO started out it was the four of us pitching in together to cover the expenses of holding an event, of course back then we didn’t know where we are going with this and just went with the flow. Today we have sponsors that help us cover those expenses.

We have some big plans for 2012 including more events, hackathons, full day events, more speakers, etc. To fund these big plans we need to consider charging for tickets. Everything we have done thus far at #DevTO was driven by feedback from the community. Location, food, presentation length, topics, etc.


So please help us answer this question: What would you pay for an evening that includes 2 presentations, pizza and drinks amongst Toronto’s broad developer and designer community? $5? $10? $15?

Have a safe and happy long weekend folks!


The #DevTO Crew!

Happy 12th #DevTO

Thursday April 19th 2012 Location update: Location for April 30th is now at the CSI Annex – 720 Bathurst Street – between 6pm and 9pm

#DevTO 12 is around the corner and I’m speaking on behalf of the four of us when I say we are absolutely humbled that we have received all this support from the Toronto community and that a year later we are still able to deliver this event. This is a huge milestone for us and confirmation that the vision we had a year ago is a reality today. Thank you to all our friends, supporters, sponsors, partners and fans that have helped us however which way they could through the first 12 months. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Feel free to leave us any comments below, don’t be shy now! : )

Your Tickets

Tickets for the event can be grabbed from here. We also have the mailing list which gives you ticket access 1 day before they are published on the site!

DevTO Inc.

If you missed our announcement at #DevTO 11 we have officially incorporated our humble little operation with the promise of building a tight knit community for all of Toronto’s techies. Yes all of them.

Speaker Lineup

Fight the Waddle and Get More Users Using Your Map
Kevin MacDonald – Loxcel.com



750 million consumers carry GPS smartphones wherever they go. They’re your biggest audience — but your harshest critics. Consumer maps display spatial information, just like GIS maps. But a consumer who might tolerate a map that waddles into his desktop browser will

probably “click & cancel” that same map on his smartphone. A consumer map needs the right perspective of what the user — and his smartphone — needs. Maps typically have small budgets, so its implementation must be economical. I will describe the evolution of mashup designs, identify shortcomings and propose “faster & simpler” alternatives that also reduce mobile bandwidth and CPU resources.

Kevin believes a map can be a consumer-friendly search tool, like Google or Bing search — but with location as its primary context, and you as its primary audience. He created consumer-facing maps to support TV and Web-based marketing campaigns. Invented and developed “faster & simpler” Web services that power popular consumer maps. Monthly magazine columnist, presenter and moderator in the Geospatial industry.


A new way of looking at event technology, and why all organizations should be running events.
Ahmad Iqbal – atendy.com



Atendy is an event technology company which specializes in Management, Promotion and Engagement of an event. The current event technology is very fragmented, with some vendors offering registration services, others offering networking solutions, and countless others selling event mobile apps. The fragmented model does little to no favours for the event organizer. Each element of their event takes too long for the host to complete one by one. In addition, since none of these applications are part of the same platform they don’t talk to each other, and therefor don’t provide smart analytics. They also fragment the experience for both host and attendee.
We treat events like an offline social networking event. Atendy technology helps you turn your event into a social network for your organization, while also delivering key metrics to get better results and meet your organization’s goals for running them.

Ahmad presently work at Atendy, which he co-founded with his business partner Christopher Carmichael. Atendy is an event technology platform which allows event organizers to create, promote and engage their events. Any event from small gatherings to large corporate conferences can utilize our services. Their proprietary technology is already actively selling out events in five countries, turning a profit for the company, while still in Beta testing. The platform aims at re-launching a further validated version in April, 2012.

Ahmad loves events and entrepreneurship and doesn’t believe in following a life path of least resistance, he believes in disruption.

DevTO Sponsored by



DevTO is sponsored by the following great companies! Make sure to thank them on Twitter for helping us bring this event to the Toronto community!

Rypple is a social performance platform built for teams to share goals, recognize great work, and help each other improve. With Rypple, performance management becomes painless and effective.

FITC produces design and technology focused conferences and seminars worldwide which inspire, educate and challenge attendees. Since 2002, FITC has brought together like-minded professionals and students in Toronto, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Francisco, Chicago, Seoul, New York, Los Angeles and many other cities. Staying fresh by covering relevant topics including interactive design and business, HTML5, Flash, FLEX, AIR, mobile and more, FITC provides the professional development and networking opportunities needed to keep attendees up to date on the rapidly changing industry they work in. FITC produces a number of events internally and in collaboration with other event organizations throughout the year.

Headstart Solutions  is a social recruiting and career development agency. We specialize in social media recruiting on-demand and outsourcing solutions, using the latest social media tools and methodologies to engage, recruit, and stay in touch with the best talent.

Thinkwrap is a team of outstanding software developers, engineers, architects, strategists, and designers whose ability to create responsive web environments serving 100,000 users doesn’t stop them from architecting for millions as if they were one.Our strong community of purpose is built on our clients’ lasting business success.

ThirdOcean is a social media marketing and community management company. Our communications are delivered by and hosted on social mediums.


GelaSkins The best skins on the planet! GelaSkins are removable covers for protecting and customizing your portable devices. They feature stunning, photo-quality graphics ranging from fine art prints to contemporary urban images designed by our growing family of artists from around the globe. Stand out in the crowd with personalized protection from GelaSkins.

Extreme Startups
is the epicenter of innovation in Toronto and is dedicated to providing everything it takes to see its startups succeed!


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