podcamp toronto 2009 – friends, fun and a little drama


Podcamp Toronto was another great experience for me on Sunday although clearly Saturday was the day to go. The content was much stronger then, the turnout was much higher and I think the vibe would have been much less tired. Folks who attended on day 1 were beat by day 2 and you could tell.

Look, Sunday wasn’t all bad…there was some weird territorial drama unleashed at the wrap up session that clearly showed some folks were a bit frayed but these volunteers had worked very selflessly…so those involved get a pass on that. As surprising as it was to watch, it was also intriguing.

And yes I will go again next year.

Podcamp is a unique event…by now you’ve heard of its unconference structure…that has its pluses and minuses…mostly pluses. My overall challenge with Sunday’s content was that much of it was stuff I already knew. There wasn’t much take away I could say was a real “light bulb” moment for me. That’s the risk one takes in attending and I am cool with that.

The reward is the “law of two feet” which allowed me (and everyone else) to walk into another session if I wasn’t happy with what I was learning at present. And to be fair, when I went to go to another session, that’s where enjoyed myself the most: the hallway conversations. So there were at least two sessions I never actually got to because of these great social media hallway hookups….which sounds a lot more prurient than was the case.

Peter O'Connell (center) with Erica Bontje and Stephanie Ciccarelli from Voices.com

Peter O'Connell (center) with Erica Bontje and Stephanie Ciccarelli from Voices.com

Meeting old friends like Leesa Barnes, Stephanie and David Ciccarelli and Julien Smith as I walked the halls at Ryerson was great fun. Making new friends like Bernard Hellen of Traffic Marketing + Design, Dave Delaney (whose company – Griffin Technology – donated a couple of prizes that I was awarded for a Podcamp Toronto audio promo that I voiced and produced), Steve Saylor – the Albino Podcaster, a woman named Ninja who was both nice and very well versed in Martial Arts….and many more.

The three standout IRL meetings for me were catching up with Dave Fleet, whose PR blog I have subscribed to for a long time – he was very gracious to introduce himself to me, thanks Dave. Sean McGaughey who has coordinated the audio promos among many of his Podcamp Toronto duties was also so kind to seek me out and I was so pleased to get to spend some time with him- Sean, thank you very much.

Finally, the individual who impressed me so much whom I had never met before was the gentleman who organized the Mentor’s Lounge. This was a place where people with expertise in a wide variety of areas….podcasting, web design, etc…would sit with those folks who had questions and a connection would be made. Sunday I volunteered to Mentor anyone on the topic of audio production and podcasting as it had been requested.

Connie Crosby (seated) and Tommy Vallier at Podcamp Toronto 2009

Connie Crosby (seated) and Tommy Vallier at Podcamp Toronto 2009

The guy who coordinated all this was named Tommy Vallier who is a WordPress Developer and New Media Strategist. He is also, in my opinion a pretty sharp leader and connector. As you might expect at an unconference, connection in a setting like the Mentor Lounge never ends up being as clear cut as you might think/hope.

As a result, people could have just stood around uncomfortably, not knowing what to do. Tommy connected everybody and then stepped back and let the magic happen. He did it with a great attitude and a positive team spirit. He made the Mentor Lounge.

This was a highlight of Podcamp Toronto for me and I am thankful to Tommy and all the event organizers for their efforts in making Podcamp Toronto another wonderful experience for me.

3 Responses to “podcamp toronto 2009 – friends, fun and a little drama”

  1. Hi Peter,

    It was great to see you as always!

    Take care,


  2. Stephanie:

    I’m sitting here in the McDonalds in downtown TO….where are you guys? ;))

    Best always,
    – Peter

  3. Thanks for the shout out Peter, it was great to meet you too.
    I highly recommend you check out Tommy Vallier’s service should you have any need for WordPress, he’s helped me loads.