BLOGSCANNING by Robert Janelle

He can’t muster a Janelle-92X185Flip.jpgcluster on his own. The community will have to step up to help itself.

Multimedia entrepreneur's mission to beat inertia
From SCAN's Print Edition

Social networking is the cornerstone of the Web 2.0 tech bubble. Startups seem to focus on creating new ways to connect everyone online or on building extensions to existing networks, like the rush to develop applications for the Facebook platform. Given how important social networking has become to the high tech business (or, in some cases, is the business) it seems ironic that a large technology centre like Ottawa is missing a solid community for its multimedia sector.This is what local entrepreneur Marquis Côté has been working to change with Digital Ottawa (DO). Mr. Côté started the group in 2005 along with the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, though OCRI has become less involved over the past two years.

Digital Ottawa’s aim is to bring together members of the local digital media community ─ bloggers, web designers, programmers or copywriters ─ to network and create opportunities. This isn’t a huge community numerically. There are only a handful of dedicated web development companies in Ottawa with more than a dozen employees. The largest may be non-linear creations Inc. with about 30 on staff. On the other hand, digital design and site development is an activity of some larger organizations, including ad agencies. And there are quite a few independent contributors to the process operating in the SOHO (small office, home office) environment.

Networking and connecting are clearly one of Mr. Côté’s passions. His main venture, The Other Side Entertainment, is all about connection. It is a creative solutions firm that aims to bring together all the talent necessary to create digital media. Along with designers and programmers, Mr. Côté builds a roster of models, photographers, musicians, actors and many other disciplines not immediately associated with multimedia.

Beyond his own company, Mr. Côté has been involved in the technology industry since 1994 as a web strategist, working with a variety of companies and organizations, such as web solutions firm Imatics and Elections Canada.

The need to attend to his day job presents the first obstacle to taking Digital Ottawa further: finding the time to get the resources to grow the group. DO currently exists primarily on social networking sites Facebook and, along with the occasional networking event that usually draws about a dozen people. Taking the group any further, Mr. Côté says, would require somebody to step up the plate to offer some assistance, as his own availability is limited these days.

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