As a thank you to our twitter followers, MFX is giving away an original painting from a local artist, Jessica Jungton, to one of our followers. Here is the draw for that painting.

Since July 3rd, Machteld Faas Xander has had a new, vibrant and cheery face around the office: Lisy Ruiz. Lisy’s enthusiasm for marketing and her willingness to tackle any new task makes her a perfect fit for the MFX environment.

Lisy is part of the Specialist High Skills Major for Business program at Resurrection C.S.S. She is with us as part of the co-op course that is required for this program.

Working as an assistant to Rebecca and Cheryl, Lisy has been dedicated to Music Works. All have appreciated the passion that she has shown for this project. Lisy has also taken up numerous tasks around the office. She has been helping with our photography as well as social media work, including writing blog posts and pioneering our Tumblr account.

Everyone at MFX is going to greatly miss Lisy when she finishes her co-op placement with us this week. We wish her the best in all of her future endeavors and hope that she comes back to visit!

Kitchener – Music City!

With a stunning location, creative and passionate people, and enough Post-It notes… anything is possible. So, when the City of Kitchener hosted the Music Works: Strategy Sessions on July 19th at Hacienda Sarria, it was no surprise to see 135 talented musicians, venue owners and music lovers sharing their brilliant ideas, all focused on building a local music cluster and creating the Kitchener music scene into Music City!

Silvia Di Donato, newly-named Manager of Arts & Culture for City of Kitchener and strategist of this initiative, began with words of excitement and encouragement. Councillor Barry Vrbanovic and CAO Jeff Willmer, brought greetings from the City. Bob Egan of Blue Rodeo, a proud Kitchener resident, delivered an impassioned keynote on working together to build a vibrant music scene – starting with ideas from today! Finally, Cheryl Ewing and MFX’s Rebecca Short, who planned and facilitated the event, briefed the excited crowd on the agenda for the afternoon.

Working in small, informal groups, facilitators led delegates through a brainstorming session to answer important questions around three themes: Audience is Amplified, Business of Music Grows and Commercial Live Music Venues Thrive. At the end, large posters covered the exposed brick walls with ideas as vibrant as the attendees. Everyone had a chance to absorb activities from other tables, and jot down more ideas on two ‘graffiti’ walls: ‘What Would Music City Look Like?’ and ‘Burning, Disruptive Ideas’.

The excitement and energy from attendees made time fly by. Once five o’clock hit, we all celebrated with Spanish tapas, and great live music, courtesy of Joni NehRita, Tim Louis and a fabulous back up band – a perfect example of why the live music experience is so amazing!

Throughout the evening, attendees relaxed, shared insights, enjoyed performances and continued to talk about ideas.

The Music Works: Strategy Session has set the tone and building blocks for the Music Works initiative…an initiative that will certainly be nothing short of brilliant! Stay tuned for more to come.

On behalf of Machteld Faas Xander and Cheryl Ewing Consulting, thank you to everyone who helped make the day a success!

For photos from the event, courtesy of Stefan Myles from Fandy Photography, click here.

Machteld Faas Xander is almost at 200 Twitter followers. We would love to thank all of you for following our tweets and other social media accounts.

We love that social media, and the Internet in general, are able to connect people. Especially close to our hearts is how social media gives people a better chance to share their stories and what matters to them with a larger audience than they otherwise would be able to.

Here is a story:

I love painting. I believe that art gives us a channel in which we can express ideas, feelings and concepts that we may not yet be able to communicate with words.

A few years ago, I created a painting series that was composed of two parts. I was moving to live in Europe and was struggling with the thoughts of leaving behind friends, home and what was familiar to me. I thought a lot about the concepts of connectivity, distance and the bonds that can bring people together.

The paintings each focused on a journey: where we came from and where we are going. Each painting seems complete on its own. But with the use of colour, the paintings are brought together to show a deeper connection.

In line with these ideas and what I wanted to accomplish, I gave one of these paintings, entitled Distance There, to a gentlemen that owned a chain of banks in Europe. He hung the painting in the main branch so that all of the employees and customers can see the image when they enter the building.

I brought the other painting, entitled Connect Here, back to Canada. I have been keeping it, waiting for the perfect opportunity to finish the initial concept that I originally created three years ago.

I have finally found the connection that I have been looking for. To celebrate connectivity and bringing people together, Machteld Faas Xander will be giving away the second painting, Connect Here, to one of our first 200 followers.

We will put the twitter handles of our first 200 followers into a draw and choose one of you to receive the painting. I really want the painting to go to a someone who will appreciate it, so if you would like the painting, send us a tweet @MachFaasXan expressing your desire for the painting and your handle will be entered an extra 20 times into the draw. You have until the 200th follower to tweet us. The winner will be contacted through twitter and will have 48 hours to reply once their name is announced.

When the community in Europe sees the painting and looks at the abstracted background, they will be staring into your painting. Although an ocean separates us, we are closely tied together.

Many people ask us why we do what we do. The answer is simply; we believe that sharing authentic stories makes the world a better place. This is also why we want to help people in the community share their stories.

This is the story of Ian Pinnell. Listen to his experience and how it taught him not to trust stereotypes:

If you have a story that you want to share with out community, send us a tweet @MachFaasXan or e-mail to set up a time and place to record it.

All of us at Machteld Faas Xander were recently invited to a company-sponsored, mid-week matinee screening of the Steve Jobs ‘Lost Interview’ film at the Princess Twin Cinemas.

In 1995, writer/broadcaster Bob Cringely*, in the process of making an InfoWorld TV series called  ‘Triumph of the Nerds’, conducted an hour long interview with Steve Jobs. The recording was lost after its initial airing.

Found again, just recently, and released to selected theatres, the one-hour interview reveals a charismatic, engaging Jobs openly discussing the founding of Apple and his battles with Apple CEO John Scully. At the time of the interview, Jobs had been away from Apple for 10 years and was running NeXT computers (which he sold to Apple one year after the interview).

It was great to see and hear Jobs relate his early career experiences with business partner Steve Wozniak, and the development of their first electronic device, the ‘Blue Box’, that made free long-distance telephone calls. He also details his visits to Xerox HQ in California; these visits were the inspiration behind the creation of ‘Macintosh’ the ‘world’s first modern PC’.

It was also during this interview where we heard Jobs declare that ‘Microsoft made mediocre products’ (a declaration that caused the famous rift between Jobs and Bill Gates).

Most memorable for many of us, were the last few minutes of the film. He described the vision he had for the future “where wonderful products will be created by artists and poets”. None of us captured Jobs’ exact words but we all left the theatre with the lasting impression that under his leadership, Apple products were built with, and inspired, passion and creativity. He passionately believed that was what made his company’s products so special.

*Robert X Cringely’s story is also an interesting one: His real name is Mark Stephens and he worked for Steve Jobs during the early days of Apple in the late 1970s (Jobs offered him company shares in lieu of salary but Stephens held out for payment at $6.00 per hour).
Stephens started using the name ‘Cringely’ because, in 1987, his new employer asked him to. That made him the third reporter named ‘Cringely’ to work at InfoWorld, a weekly computer trade paper. There have been many more ‘Cringelys’ since he was dismissed from InfoWorld, shortly after completing the Steve Jobs interview.

In an out-of-court settlement with InfoWorld, Mark gained the right to use the ‘Cringely’ pseudonym, and continues writing technology news columns and hosting various industry documentaries.

Thank you to those who supported and entered the June Storytelling Contest. We are please to announce that we are now holding a July Storytelling Contest. The MFX July Storytelling Contest features a memorable traveling experience. The prize for this month is a $100.00 gift card to Cambridge’s Café 13.

E-mail your submission to along with your name, age, and preferred contact method by July 31, 2012. All stories must be under 500 words and tell a memorable travel experience. The winning story will be announced on August 6, 2012, at noon via twitter. The winner will receive a $100.00 gift card to Café 13 and will have their story published in our blog.

For updates about the contest, follow our twitter account @MachFaasXan. We eagerly anticipate all of the entries. Best of luck!

Here is an example of what my submission would be.

I’ll never forget this moment. My family was enjoying a relaxing lunch in the cruise ship’s restaurant, as the ship prepared to port at Tunis. Dessert had just been served, a soft-looking strawberry cake, and I gazed at the large circular windows that lined the vessel. One was directly in front of my seat. I daydreamed with my eyes on the view, half sky and half water. It seemed peaceful. I put the fork up to my mouth, eyes still intent on the window and my balance registered that something was off. A little movement or swaying is common on these ships so I dismissed the thought. My view changed as the window started showing more and more water until there was no sky visible, only the dark waves.

My plate started to slide away from me and I just watched it go. I didn’t turn my head from the window, until I was startled by the sound of crashing glass. The bottles from the bar had fallen to the floor, leaving a pool of ruined liquor and glass. And we were still tipping. But the restaurant was dead silent; no one even moved to get up. Everyone looked blankly at each other, some in shock and others fearing the worst.

Although it couldn’t have been longer than a few moments, we seemed frozen in time. The ship regained its balance and went back in the other direction. Everything swerved to the opposite direction. Still no one moved.

My dad looked at my family and said quickly, “Stay calm and don’t panic. Get up; we are going to the lifeboats.”
We were the only family to get up and leave the area. I remember having to jump over a fallen tree that was blocking the doorway in my heels and blue sundress.

The ship recovered its stability and thankfully no one was seriously injured. We had been on the fifth floor of the ship. On the fourteenth floor, water and children had been thrown from the pools and all the tables and chairs in the buffet had been hurled to the edge of the room. We were never given a straight answer from the company about why this had happened. From the balcony near the lifeboats, however, my family and the one other family who had gathered there could see the sandbar.

As we looked out on the water and blue sky, my brother reminded me of what I had told him earlier that morning: it was the 98th anniversary of the day that the Titanic sank.

Sharing authentic stories makes the world a better place- that’s what we believe at Machteld Faas Xander.

The sign is up! Our friends at Mad Hatter Tech are now officially part of our space.
Watch movie magic flash the process before your very eyes!

I was privileged to be one of over 40 digital media, education and business innovators from around the world who were invited to get together and discuss how to kick-start the next generation of science communication practices. The event was called the ‘BrainSTEM unconference’ and was co-sponsored by The Perimeter Institute and Communitech. Organizers Karen Gallant and Greg Dick are quick to point out that the event couldn’t have happened without the generous support of Canada’s Federal Economic Development Agency.

All the action began Monday evening June 25, at the Perimeter Institute where we were asked to choose the 6 sessions we would like to attend from 24 topics that were available to us. A welcoming BBQ followed. Ok, enough about food.

Tuesday at 8:00 am we reconvened for… more food.

Serious unconferencing began at 8:30 am with a keynote address by Angela Maiers (check out She is famously dedicated to the pursuit of literacy and learning. The highlight for me was her activities using social media built around the ‘You Matter’ theme to reach children and youth and successfully engage them in activities that are making life better for others around the world.

Next, it was off to the first session each of us chose. Mine was ‘The Online Degree’ where six of us gathered to discuss the issues and opportunities that the Internet offers educators.

My second session was ‘Transforming Experiences into Digital Content’. Seems to me that much of what is needed here is a refresher on age-old principles of communication: compelling and authentic stories that are relevant for the audience.

No need to mention the delicious lunch.

I’m pretty sure that the most dynamic place in the entire Institute was our next stop: the Space Room. Here, 30+ students in small teams were pounding away, developing new gaming, videos and apps in a 72 hour marathon contest to win $$$ for their digital creativity. Huge Congrats to the winners of the Build-a-thon, listed at the bottom of this blog.

‘Free Content and Financial Returns’ was my third session. Big revelation for me was that selling gift and novelty items (tee-shirts, mugs, etc.) are key generators of cash for most of bloggers in the session.

Because of conflicts with session choices and not being able to attend the third day of the ‘Unconference’, my last sit-down was with a gang of participants who wanted to share ‘Social Media’ experiences. Here we learned how human-centered content will get you further towards the top of search engines’ lists without spending a fortune.

Our hosts treated us to an evening visit to the Hub at the Tannery. Good fun and oohs and aahs in Christie Digital’s ‘Hive’.

I’m really sorry that I couldn¹t attend the last day. I was most looking forward to ‘Looking into the Future’.

These descriptions don’t do the event justice; it was amazing and I suspect people will be clamouring for an invite to the next one… will that happen?

Can I come?? … Pleease???