On June 16 and 17, Saskatoon's tech community came together for Canada's Mobile & Social Media Conference, or MoSo - and VendAsta, naturally, was there.

Tiffany live-tweeted the whole thing, so check out @vendasta for her play-by-play. You can also search the hashtag #mosoconf and check out the photos on the MoSo Facebook page.

For the benefit of us unlucky chumps who spent Thursday and Friday back at the nearly-empty office, Tiffany took notes:

Day One

Put Your Marketing Money Where Your Mouth Is
Saul Colt, FreshBooks

The conference started on a high note with Saul explaining how FreshBooks took a dry-as-dust service - billing and invoicing - and made it fresh and peppy.

Whether it be giant Twister boards, lost cat posters, or his hugely successful banana stand, Saul has long understood that no matter what you're selling, you need to stand out. Hence the pants:

Saul Colt of FreshBooks. © Liam Richards Photography.

Saul's key take-aways:

  • Every marketing message needs to accomplish three things - make people laugh, make people think, and create a genuine emotion.
  • If you can't or don't want to compete, change the rules.

A New Story For An Old Medium
Craig Saila, Globe & Mail

Next up, Craig Saila described how the 167-year-old Globe and Mail recognized the need to change with the times. It's been two and a half years since the Globe entered the app market, and Craig shared the newspaper's mobile app strategy, which boils down to innovation, agility, and opening data.

Getting To Plan B
Brendan King, VendAsta

Of course, you can't have a tech conference in Saskatoon without our own Brendan King making his mark.

Brendan's message is that Plan A rarely works. He walked us through his own diverse and interesting career path, demonstrating how above all, being a successful entrepreneur requires flexibility.

The key lesson: Monitor, measure, learn, and correct! By following these guidelines, Brendan was able to continually adapt his plan to help him get to where he is today.

VendAsta's Brendan King. © Liam Richards Photography.

After Brendan's presentation we got to see Saskatchewan's digital community in action with several companies presenting their newest apps. You can read about all the apps at the MoSo App Showcase.

For the rest of the afternoon, the group divided into six discussion groups led by, among others, Jonathan Snook & Jackson Wilkinson of Yahoo & Posterous, respectively; Thynk Taynk's Khayyam Wakil; and (of course) Brendan, who explored the ins & outs of entrepreneurship.

Media and Mobile Trends
Duncan Stewart, Deloitte

The last session of the day featured tons of great info about what the future has in store for mobile technology. Highlights:

  • More than half of all computers aren't computers any more (tablets, smartphones, etc).
  • Tablets are no longer toys - 25% bought this year will be enterprise.
  • The future of TV is...TV.
  • The internet will peak: "Our children will have a worse wireless experience than us."

Super interesting stuff. You should check out Deloitte's Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2011.

And with that, we went downstairs for a barbecue and MoSoFest - an awesome indie rock festival at Louis' Pub.

Day Two

Best Practices For Social Media & Mobile Marketing
Sidneyeve Matrix, Queen's University

The next morning, as the conference nursed its collective hangover, Professor Matrix stood up to discuss emerging trends in social web communication, design, and marketing.

She identified three up-and-coming mobile trends: shareability, appification, and location. She also told us how truthiness + weirdability = tellability. By the end of her talk, we were all wide awake and Sidneyeve Matrix was our new favourite professor.

Professor Matrix (with the VendAsta Travelling Bear).

Lessons Learned Keeping Up With The Revolution Of Change
Michael Scissons, Syncapse

Michael is a Saskatoon boy who now runs a leading social media company with four offices worldwide and over $30 million in funding. His story was very inspiring and undoubtedly sparked some ambition in the crowd. At only 27, he's accomplished more than many people do in their entire careers.

Michael discussed how enterprises are communicating with their customers from around the globe and how social media spending is expected to grow to $3.1 billion annually in the US by 2014.

Michael Scissons of Syncapse. © Liam Richards Photography.

After another App Showcase, everyone got the opportunity to take the mike and pitch their company or product. VendAsta took this chance to announce the launch of Canadian Tire Deals (more about this in the next few days) as well as to let everyone know that we're hiring.

After that, attendees got to choose between two Master Classes.

The Social class was led by Thynk Taynk's Wakil and Annelise Larson of Veria. It was a great overview of how analytics and metrics, when used properly, can map out the entire landscape of your online journey. We also got an in-depth look at how pattern recognition can be used to advance projects, make connections, co-work, or form collaborations.

The Mobile class, led by Rajeev Massand of BlackBerry, took a look at the new BlackBerry PlayBook.

The conference wrapped up with a Mobile Learning Master Class and an "UnPanel" discussion of success stories from local companies.

All in all, MoSo went a long way to cement Saskatoon's reputation as the "Silicon Valley of the North". If there's a MoSo 2012, you can bet VendAsta will be there - and we'll make sure Brendan wears some flashier pants.