Alberta Venture’s Next 10 for 2010

The July issue of Alberta Venture features Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People for 2010. The list is as impressive as you’d expect, with Premier Ed Stelmach, Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith, MP & Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice, and MP & Minister of Foreign Affairs David Emerson all appearing. There are some well-known business personalities on the list as well, including Jim Shaw and Bob Black. A few favorites I’ll mention: Allan Scott, Ken Chapman, Chris Moore, and Mary E. Hofstetter.

Also featured in the issue is The Next 10:

They are not household names – at least, not yet. While our Top 50 list features some of this province’s heaviest hitters, a class of young Albertans are busy building their own reputations and asserting their place in the province through the passions they express through their livelihoods and interests. They aren’t yet widely known and their careers are still being formed, but these up-and-coming superstars have the potential to become power players in their own right. Theirs are names to remember.

Mack I’m honored to have made the list! I wasn’t expecting this, and the only heads up I received was a photo request from one of Alberta Venture’s art directors back in May. I didn’t know what it was for though. She asked for a headshot, and the timeline was short, so I just sent a few from my Flickr page. The one they chose shows me in Washington, D.C. waiting in line for tickets to tour the Washington Monument, snapped by Sharon right after I had returned from a coffee run.

Here’s the write-up I received in the magazine, courtesy of Duncan Kinney:

Mack Male is in your inbox, at your event, and in your social stream making the case for the numerous causes he believes in. For example, Male was able to rally support against the Edmonton City Centre Airport around the #ECCA hashtag on Twitter. He’s also a keen supporter of the recent open data initiatives in Edmonton and has given multiple presentations on the subject.

Short and sweet.

I’m in truly fantastic company on The Next 10 list. Sarah Blue, Stephani Carter and Brandy Burdeniuk, Terry Ermineskin, Don Iveson, Chima Nkemdirim, Brad Rabiey, Shayne Saskiw, Michael Woodside, and John Wright also made the list.

I would have written about this sooner, but it took me until last night to find an actual copy of the magazine! I checked lots of bookstores, grocery stores, and drug stores, finally snagging the one and only copy on the shelf at Save-On-Foods downtown. I know it shouldn’t matter, especially since Alberta Venture has done a pretty good job with the online version. Each article has a permalink (well a unique link, hopefully they are permanent), all of the photos are included, and comments are enabled. The layout could be improved, however.

I saw the July issue jokingly being referred to as the Twitter issue, as there are a few articles on social media in addition to the Top 50 and Next 10 (some members of which are on Twitter). Check it out! You can follow AlbertaVenture on Twitter.

Edmonton & Social Media in Merge Magazine

When I ran into Merge Magazine Managing Editor Sherree Elm after Pecha Kucha Night 7, she asked if I would be interested in contributing to the July issue of the local magazine. She really liked my presentation (which you can watch here), and was looking for something similar. I agreed to adapt my talk into a short article, which you can read here.

If we can increase our density, improve our storytelling, and develop our creative economy, I believe Edmonton can be the city that every other city wants to be like. Every Edmontonian has a role to play – find something you’re passionate about, and do it here. Never be afraid to say that you’re from Edmonton! If we take local action, I believe we can achieve global recognition.

In addition to my article there’s a short profile as well, written by Sarah Kmiech. She wrote:

Remember back in the day when people interested in computers and technology were considered introverted and socially shy? My how times have changed! With all the new social media available today, people are getting on their computers, meeting new people, sharing thoughts and ideas, and taking networking to a whole new level.

One person who has totally taken advantage of these media tools is Mack D. Male.

Sarah goes on to share how I got started with blogging and Twitter, and best of all, included my tips for getting involved yourself:

  1. Write about something you’re passionate about.
  2. Write relatively frequently. It doesn’t have to be every day, but there should be a regular schedule.
  3. Meet people in real life. People are more likely to read your blog or follow you on Twitter after they have met you in person.

Merge Magazine is available in the Media Classified Stands around the city, or you can read the July issue online here. Check it out! And don’t forget to follow @mergemagca on Twitter!

Edmontonians magazine calls it quits, the edmontonian celebrates 1 year

After 21 years of publishing, Edmontonians magazine is calling it quits. Citing declining advertising revenues, publisher Sharon MacLean announced today via email that the June edition of the magazine will be its last.

“The news business is caught in the cyclone of change, fueled by the tremendous growth in popularity of access to news and information on the Internet. Both readership and revenues have declined significantly; major dailies have closed their doors, as have a number of magazines.”

Edmontonians had started to cultivate an online presence, amassing over 4400 followers on Twitter, but the publication remained firmly rooted in print. Perhaps anticipating a question about where the industry is going, Sharon wrote “there is much hope for the future of publishing – we simply ran out of time to bridge the transition.”

I can’t say that I was a fan of Edmontonians, but I know many people in the city really liked the publication. So far no announcement has been made on the website, so I’m not sure what will happen to the content available there. There’s also no word on what Sharon will be up to next.

The decision to cease publishing Edmontonians magazine comes at the same time that local website the edmontonian is celebrating its first year. And what a year it was! Jeff reports:

75,000+ people have checked us out. We’ve averaged 3 posts per day. We’ve got more than 2 comments per post. In the last year we’ve posted more than 780 times. We’ve also shown off more than 1,500 photos of Edmonton. We had 40+ contributors who wrote, took photos, shot video, gave us prizes, and did lots of other great stuff, all helping to tell Edmonton stories.

Of course, if you read Jeff’s actual post, you’ll see that the above stats are mixed in with his trademark writing style. Free from the constraints of print, Jeff and his partner-in-crime Sally have been able to produce content the way they want to, when they want to. That has resulted in a publication that I and many others enjoy going back to (or subscribing to) each and every day.

The similarity of their names notwithstanding, I think these publications are a great representation of two completely different worlds. The advertising-supported physical print model is increasingly under fire from the more flexible online digital media model. Will the edmontonian be around for 21 years like Edmontonians was? Almost certainly not, at least not in its current form (who knows what kind of technology we’ll have when 2031 rolls around). But for right now, its pretty clear that the edmontonian is the more sustainable model.

Congrats to Edmontonians on 21 years of telling Edmonton stories! Congrats to the edmontonian on a fantastic first year!

Miley Cyrus in Vanity Fair – so what?

Allow me to stray from my usual meanderings for a moment to the media storm du jour – Miley Cyrus’ so-called “racy” photo in the June 2008 issue Vanity Fair.

miley cyrus The photo that has everyone up-in-arms is shown to the right. First of all, let me say that I don’t really like it. There’s something weird with her make-up I think. Maybe it’s because I like blondes, or maybe it’s because Miley is only fifteen years old, but I’d rather look at Lindsay or perhaps Keira and Scarlett. Vanity Fair has definitely produced some excellent stuff over the years.

I don’t see what the big deal is with this photo, yet everyone is yammering on about how it sets a bad example. And of course, Miley and her handlers are playing the blame game. Here are some things to consider:

  • Since when do tweens read Vanity Fair? I realize the photo is splashed all over the place now, but seriously, it’s not like she posed topless on the Disney Channel or anything. Parents, do your jobs.
  • She now says she’s embarrassed? Disney says she was manipulated to sell magazines? Bullshit to both. I have to believe Whoopi – everyone knew what was going on. These sorts of things don’t just happen by mistake.
  • Vanity Fair will likely sell a ton of magazines thanks to this shoot. They’re also not hiding anything – they’ve put a behind-the-scenes section online, and a video of the shoot.

Here is what Miley originally said when asked if she was “anxious” about the photo:

No, I mean I had a big blanket on. And I thought, This looks pretty, and really natural. I think it’s really artsy.

And here’s what she said in a prepared statement:

I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.

I feel sorry for Miley – her “handlers” are now telling her to say things she doesn’t mean. They should have supported her instead.

miley cyrusAnd here’s my biggest question of all – how come no one has a problem with the second photo, of Miley and her Dad? In my opinion, that’s a much more disturbing photo. If you didn’t know any better, would you look at that and think, “oh what a lovely father-daughter photo”? I sure wouldn’t.

I wanted to post this so that I can look back on it one day when I’m a father, to see if my opinion has changed at all. At the moment, I have no issue with the photo. I think it’s up to Miley’s parents to ensure she is comfortable with the shoot, and it’s up to the parents of her fans to make sure they set a good example, talk with their kids, and not leave their copy of the magazine lying around the house. Just my two cents.

By the way, I dedicate this post to Justice, the biggest Miley fan I know! 😉

Read: Vanity Fair

All Macked Out – Unlimited Magazine

paramagnus No, I didn’t come up with the title. But it’s sorta catchy, no? Anyway, that’s the title of an article in this month’s issue of Unlimited Magazine, part of a column called Look Who’s Teching. The column takes a look at the “wired west” and the growing number of individuals dabbling in technology here:

There’s momentum now, agrees John Bristowe, a development advisor with Microsoft Canada in Calgary. Bristowe, who talks to developers throughout Western Canada, noticed the shift in 2004. “I don’t know what happened,” he says, “but the tech community really began to take off.” Case in point: Calgary. “We’ve always had a vibrant developer community,” he says, “but what you’re seeing now is a growing interest in venture capital, entrepreneurship and the sort of things you only hear about down in Silicon Valley.”

The column introduces topics like “the unconference”, “tagging”, and “agile software development”, and profiles a number of individuals, myself included:

When Mack D. Male co-founded a software company in Edmonton at age 16, his goals were clearly and rigorously defined. One: fame. Two: fortune.

Eight years later, his ambitions have matured, and Paramagnus has grown in step.

mack in unlimited I can’t say I’m incredibly pleased with the photo – it’s kind of an awkward pose! That said, I think it’s pretty cool that they made the three photos look very similar, considering they were taken by different photographers in different cities! I haven’t yet seen what it looks like in print, but the photo online is pretty high resolution. The photographer I worked with was great too. He did his best to stick within the strict guidelines the magazine gave him.

I am quite happy with the article. I think Tyler managed to capture our conversation at Starbucks very well. He also did a really great job of ensuring he had the technical details of podcasting correct. I would however like to clarify one comment Tyler made:

Suddenly more money was going into podcast creation than was being made, and Paramagnus was left to search out the next big hit.

We’re always keeping an eye out for what’s new and cool, but that doesn’t mean that we’re ignoring Podcast Spot. We’re long overdue for an update, but we’ve still been working on it. And yes, we have something new in the works also.

Anyway, give the article a read and let me know what you think! There’s lots of other interesting things in “The Tech + Media Issue” too, so be sure to check it out.

Read: Unlimited Magazine

How gay is Edmonton?

Post ImageApparently the city I live in is gay enough to make it into Out Traveler magazine’s top five gay-friendly tourist destinations in Canada. Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Toronto are the other cities. Here’s what they say about Edmonton:

Its hard not to take a shine to Edmonton, the laid-back capital of oil-rich Alberta. A refreshing optimism permeates this city of one million–buoyed by its oil-boosted fortunes. Edmonton has struck it rich but hasnt changed its friendly down-to-earth charm.

Let the herds kick up a ruckus about Calgary; bold, assured Edmonton gallops way ahead, leaving the rest of Alberta in the dust.

Such kind words! The magazine notes there’s a number of gay and lesbian bars and clubs in “the burgeoning gay village of Jasper Avenue, a two-block area with half a dozen gay businesses.”

Sun Media talked to editor in chief Ed Salvato, who had this to say:

“We chose Edmonton because we think it’s one of the more interesting places for gays and lesbians to visit in Canada. It’s a bastion of progressiveness. It’s surprisingly gay-friendly.”

City councillor Michael Phair, who is openly gay, said the magazine showcases Edmonton as “diverse and welcoming.” Sun Media also talked to gay activist Kris Wells, who wasn’t so upbeat:

He says he still doesn’t feel safe walking down Whyte Avenue hand-in-hand with his partner. “It’s still not safe to be visibly gay or lesbian. You put your life at risk.”

So I guess Edmonton is gay-friendly but most Edmontonians are not? Perhaps that’s because Edmonton is situated in the Texas of the North! Clearly we have some work to do.

Read: Canoe

I still like magazines!

Post ImageDon Dodge asks whether newspapers and magazines are dying. I’ve been in this discussion before, at least for newspapers:

I hate almost everything about newspapers. I don’t like the size of the paper. I don’t like the way it makes everything black. I don’t like that every page has to be jammed full of stuff. I don’t like that the pages are not full color. I don’t like that once I find something interesting, I can’t do anything with it (like send it to a friend, or blog about it with a link, etc).

Needless to say, I think newspapers are a dying breed. Or if not dying, at least drastically changing (I still read newspaper websites online, for instance). The physical newspaper as we know it, won’t be around too much longer.

Magazines, on the other hand, will be around for a while I think. I’ll give you two pieces of evidence to support this. One is Chris Anderson’s mainstream media meltdown which shows that while newspapers, television, music, and others are losing eyeballs and subscribers like crazy, books and magazines are somewhat mixed. This suggests to me that people find magazines more valuable than say, a newspaper. Not the content itself (I am not suggesting that people don’t find a TV show valuable) but the medium – I think people like physical magazines and books.

Which brings me to my second piece of evidence – the magazine itself! Despite still not being able to do anything with the content in a magazine, the size is usually comfortable, and the pages are cleanly laid out and colorful (and don’t make my hands black). I often will refer back to a magazine article (and the articles themselves are usually longer and more indepth than your typical newspaper story). Don thinks the outlook for magazines might be worse than newspapers because newspapers are local focused. Perhaps he’s right, but I think it takes longer for a magazine article to be out of date than a newspaper story. There’s hope for magazines yet.

Don also asks: “What are your reading habits? How do they compare to your parents reading habits?” Probably not fair for me to answer that question, as my parents are fairly young and very tech savvy. My Dad subscribes to the Edmonton Journal online, and I doubt they read any other physical papers except the local “Inuvik Drum” (which I think is probably the norm in towns of only 3000 people).

Bottom line – newspapers will disappear and I won’t be sad to see them go. Magazines may disappear too, but it will take longer, and until we have digital books or magazines*, I’ll be sad to see them go.

Note: I’ve never actually subscribed to a magazine. I’m very a much a “buy on the spot when I see one that looks interesting” kind of magazine shopper.

* – by this I mean a physical book or magazine that looks like one today, except that it wirelessly connects to the Internet to update the content to be whatever I want to read. So pages don’t have “print” on them per se. This gives you the full benefits of say, a laptop, but with a form factor that is more natural and easy to read. And believe me, it’s coming.

Read: Don Dodge

The Idiots at Beckett Hockey

Post ImageWhat would you do if you had to get a magazine printed, and you wanted to feature an event with two possible outcomes that hadn’t happened yet on the cover? Would you pick one of the outcomes, print a generic cover about the event, or not use it at all? I’m sure you picked the right answer (one of the latter two). Beckett Hockey unfortunately, picked the wrong one:

About 60,000 copies of the influential monthly magazine Beckett Hockey are currently being printed with the front cover proclaiming ” ‘Canes capture the Cup!”

While the series will be decided by the time the magazine about NHL collectibles hits stands in Canada and the United States late next week, there’s a chance the headline – next to photos of Eric Staal, Cam Ward and the Stanley Cup – could be totally wrong.

The editor says that when the magazine went to print, it “looked like a safe bet” that the Hurricanes would win. Now he claims it will be a collectors item if Edmonton can pull it off, so he’s not too worried about the premature declaration.

How does a person get to be editor of a magazine when they can do stupid things like this? Did he not stop to think about what he was doing? Did no one else question the decision? I mean seriously, the whole thing screams stupidity!

Check out the July 2006 issue at the Beckett website, so that you too can shake your head in disbelief/disgust/shock/anger/etc.

Read: Yahoo News

PodcastUser Magazine

Post ImageIn January I wrote about the new ID3 Podcast Magazine, which I figured would be the one and only magazine devoted to podcasting. Today I noticed at Podcasting News that there’s a second such magazine called PodcastUser, though it appears this one will only be published in PDF and not as a physical magazine.

The first issue is now available for download, and at 24 pages, there’s quite a bit of information packed into the magazine. I haven’t read it in great detail, but there’s reviews, some news, quite a few “how-to’s”, and as far as I can tell, no advertising.

From the first issue:

Podcasting has a great community feel to it, and that is precisely what this magazine celebrates; a thriving community of people, discussing and providing different content by using the same medium.

The second issue will be available on March 1st, so check it out!

Read: PodcastUser Magazine

ID3 Podcast Magazine

Post ImageA pretty interesting development happened in the podcasting world in the last couple days – a magazine was announced! Yes, a real, printed magazine all about podcasting. Here’s what ID3 Podcast Magazine is all about:

After months of many milestones, we’re adding another to the list – the unveiling of ID3 Podcast Magazine. Named after the podcast data tag (an insider’s term for an insider’s magazine), the international trade publication will be dedicated solely to serving podcasters with extensive editorial coverage about all things podcasting.

Starting with the first May/June issue, ID3 Podcast Magazine will be delivered bimonthly to subscribers in four formats – online, electronic (PDF), podcast, and/or print. Yes, print! It’s about time podcasters have a full-color print magazine they can call their own – a magazine that packages all the excitement and fascination we’ve discovered in podcasting.

I’m less concerned with having something physical to hold, but it’ll be neat nonetheless. I assume most of the content will not be “news” as things happen too frequently, but I’d love to read some interviews with people from the industry.

I don’t know that much about publishing a magazine, but I am willing to bet that such an undertaking is not cheap, so I hope this actually does get off the ground.

Read: ID3 Podcast Magazine