News as an Algorithm

Highlighting a mesh13 media panel

With news in the palm of our hands, the way in which we consume and discover as well as the way in which the stories are told continue to change. Technology that embraces personalization, social networks, social graphs and high-quality content is providing opportunities for new models. The business for online news has not yet been fully stabilized, but it hasn’t stopped a growing number of startups from jumping on the digital bandwagon.

During this session, we’ll be talking to two startups that are changing the way we get our news as well as the news that we get.

Paul Quigley is co-founder of NewsWhip, the news site with a billion editors. The technology tracks all the news published by about 5,000 English-language sources–-about 60,000 news stories each day. So how can you find the best quality and the most compelling in 60,000 stories a day? Paul and his team thinks the answer lies with people. They think that people have an instinct for good stories, and that we know the news stories worth sharing with our friends. So NewsWhip built a technology that tracks all the news shared on Facebook and Twitter each day, to find the fastest spreading, most shared, highest quality stuff, and reveal it to the world. All in real time, in dozens of countries and niches. But for NewsWhip it is not just about the news as a story, this team is also working to monetize. NewsWhip’s revenues come from its popular professional tool, Spike, which gives newsrooms and content marketers detailed insights on what’s trending hour-by-hour in hundreds of cities, regions and countries—so that early trending stories can be uncovered quickly. Right now, Spike is giving useful insights to many digitally focused newsrooms including the BBC,, The Huffington Post, Mashable Buzzfeed, and RTÉ. Social Amplifier, which displays a news company’s most trending stories in real time, gives readers and journalists a live view of what the site’s users are sharing, making sites more engaging and sticky. NewsWhip also recently released an API, widgets and mobile apps.

Joining Paul is David Cohn, who has written for Wired, Seed, Columbia Journalism Review and The New York Times among other publications. Most recently he is the founding editor of Circa. With more and more people relying on their phones as their primary source of news, Circa’s editors aim to gather top stories to break them down to their essential points — facts, quotes, photos, and more, formatted specifically for the phone. Circa is creating the first born-on-mobile news experience, delivering it in a format native to mobile devices, with an experience intuitive to mobile users. In the organization’s words, Circa is news, re-imagined.

How will these startups and others change the way the story gets told and what we see first?

To learn more, here are the bios for Paul Quigley and David Cohn.

A Month to Go Before mesh13

mesh conferenceIt’s hard to believe mesh13 is only a month away (May 15/16 to be exact).

We’ve got a really strong line-up of speakers, led by our keynotes: Ryan Carson (Treehouse), Joshua Benton (Nieman Journalism Lab), Kyle Monson (Knock Twice) and JP Rangaswami ( If you haven’t been to mesh before, our keynotes our fireside conversations in which we encourage lots of questions from attendees.

Another key part of mesh is the wide variety of topics being explored, discussed and focused on. This year, we’re tackling books, money, social media, online advertising, censorship of the Web, email marketing, presentations, design, television, HR and video.

We also have a mini-startup stream on day two, as well as our Hosted Startup program in which 50 entrepreneurs will be invited to attend mesh for free.

If you’re looking for food for thought on how the Web is impacting how we live, work and play, you’ll find lots of insight at mesh.

If you want insight, information and inspiration about how to do your job better or differently, there are plenty of hands-on sessions.

Tickets are now on sale. Pre-registration tickets can be purchased for $579, while one-day tickets (which we created this year) are $399.

mesh: Explore, Learn, Network

One of the taglines we used for mesh is it’s the place to explore and discuss what’s coming over the digital horizon.

It is why we bring in speakers who are actively involved in new ideas, trends and businesses that are changing the digital landscape. These sessions are great food for thought because they’re designed to make you think, explore new angles and consider new and different concepts that are shaping how the Web is evolving.

This year, for example, our keynote speakers – Ryan Carson, JP Rangaswami, Josh Benton and Kyle Monson – will bring you into the fast-moving worlds of education, work, media and brand journalism.

And we’ve got panels focused on the future of money, books, education, politics and travel.

But the other side of mesh is where we deliver panels and workshops that deliver insight and information about how to do your jobs differently or better.

These are hands-on and interactive sessions with a focus on learning, training and education. They are led by people in the trenches who can provide real-world examples and case studies to give you tactical insights, tools and best practices.

For us, success comes when you walk away from of these sessions with inspiration and a list of to-dos when you get back to the office.

This year’s line-up of our get-stuff-done better sessions include Joe Pulizzi (content marketing), Ashley Wilson (email marketing), Scott Lake, Joel Yashinsky and Hessie Jones (social media), Chris Sukornyk, Ray Philipose and Roy Pereira (digital advertising) and Amanda Richardson (presentations).

The bottom line is mesh offers a great one-two punch of strategic thinking and tactical learning, which makes for a great two days.

Pre-registration tickets for mesh are $579. If two days is too much time out of the office, no problem: we have one-day tickets for $399.

Here’s where you can see the complete schedule for mesh, which happens May 15 & 16 at the Allstream Centre in downtown Toronto

The New World of HR

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It used to be an employer would have to sift through a pile of candidate resumes only to read through the demonstrated abilities, consult Myers-Briggs and hope for the best. Maybe a consultant would be called to shorten the process, but the placement was still reliant on what the candidate offered or the research revealed.

Then came the Web and, more recently, social media. We share everything so it only makes sense the practice of hiring would start to leverage digital to tell the story of the future employee to find the match. It also makes sense prospective employees would study an organization’s online assets to see if there is a good fit. Like any partnership, the more you understand each other the better chance everyone has in the long run.

For this session on May 16, we have gathered Ben Baldwin (ClearFit), David Ain (Egon Zehnder) and Gary Swart (oDesk) to help us understand how the dynamics of hiring talent have changed as employers and potential employees leverage social media and their digital networks to find opportunities.

Ben Baldwin is the co-CEO with ClearFit, an online service solution that provides small and medium size businesses with a better way to find the best employees. ClearFit matches candidates with new employers using patented data analysis. The startup, which recently received $7-million in venture capital, analyses the prospect’s experience, organization’s culture and other measurable factors.

Joining Ben is David Ain, a Partner in Egon Zehnder’s Toronto office. David is a member of the firm’s Consumer, Technology and Private Equity Practice Groups. His practice is largely focused on consumer, technology and digital clients across North America. He also works extensively with private equity firms on CEO, CFO and other senior searches for a wide range of portfolio companies. David will share his insights on how the industry has changed.

Rounding out the panel is Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk. With more than 2.7 million registered contractors, the world’s largest online workplace lets businesses and contractors to work together. By using technology to remove the barriers of traditional hiring, oDesk’s platform enables businesses to find and collaborate with talented contractors regardless of where they are located..

According to the oDesk CEO, “Businesses are recognizing the competitive advantage of being able to hire the skilled professionals they need, regardless of where they happen to be, and scaling their teams on-demand. We see this as a massive market opportunity — any work that can be done via the Internet — and predict that by 2020 one in every three people will be hired to work online.”

From securing contractors to finding the right full-time employee, the hiring game has changed and it’s tough to know your next move. Learn from these three thought leaders so that you an get a head of the competition for the best talent for your next project or your business…or to seek out your next great work adventure.

To learn more about our speakers, please click on their links below:
Ben Baldwin (ClearFit)
David Ain (Egon Zehnder)
Gary Swart (Odesk)

The Web as a Gym for the Brain

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Over the past decade, we have studied and learned more about memory and cognitive function. We have come to understand the brain is a muscle that can be trained. Using this knowledge, we have been creating tools that can help us combat aged-related memory loss as well as those brought on by an array of health factors ranging from depression and thyroid conditions to Alzheimer’s disease. The Web has offered opportunities that let us explore and improve our collective “brain health.”

In a session called “The Web as a Gym for the Brain,” we’ll explore the virtual playground through the ideas and innovations of Cogniciti’s Veronika Litinkski, SharpBrains’ Alvaro Fernandez and Vivity Labs CEO Michael Cole.

Veronika Litinkski created and launched Cogniciti. While brain health can be measured in a variety of different ways, the startup is a unique science-based digital brain health platform to address concerns specific to the aging process. The platform leverages the wealth of research on memory and cognitive function amassed by Baycrest Hospital’s's interdisciplinary team. When it is ready for general use, the report will tell you if your overall cognitive abilities are within the normal range for your age, or whether further assessment by your doctor is advised. The report will also provide information about factors known to be associated with cognitive health, such as health conditions, medications, or changes in your mood, as well as information about how to maximize your cognitive and brain health.

Alvaro Fernandez is the CEO of, an independent market research and think tank tracking health, education, and productivity applications of neuroscience. Alvaro is the editor-in-chief of the industry report “The Digital Brain Health Market 2012-2020: Web-based, mobile and biometrics-based technology to assess, monitor and enhance cognition and brain functioning,” and the co-author of “The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness,” recognized as a “Best Book” by AARP.

Michael Cole is the CEO of Vivity Labs, creators of Fit Brains. The Fit Brains Trainer app was downloaded more than 1.5 million times in the first 60 days of launch. The online brain fitness platform combines casual brain games, personalized tracking and customized recommendations with a motivational rewards system and a variety of social features. The team has seamlessly blended entertainment, science and technology to create something fun for anyone looking to keep their brain sharp!

Veronika, Alvaro and Michael have been creating tools, sharing information and building organizations so our brains work better and memory lasts longer. All, in their own way, ensuring we have places online to better understand our minds. On May 15, we will look at how the Web is playing a key role in the brain training and fitness marketplace by giving consumers more ways to get active.

To learn more about our speakers, please click on their links below:
Veronika Litinski (Cogniciti)
Alvaro Fernandez (SharpBrains)
Michael Cole (Vivity Labs)