A panel I'd really like to see at mesh '09

One of the big factors that makes mesh ("Canada's Web Conference") such a success is, of course, the founders.

It almost goes without saying that this thing wouldn’t be even a fraction as good as it is, year over year, without the passion, energy, and intelligence invested in it by Mark Evans, Mathew Ingram, Rob Hyndman, Stuart MacDonald, and Mike McDerment.

And yet, other than the one Third Tuesday group hug we managed to pull off just before the mesh conference in 2007, there really hasn’t been an opportunity to get the five founders up on stage together and have them share some of their insights into the state of the Web in Canada (and things of that ilk).

They’re a group of really smart, experienced, plugged-in, and genuinely interesting chaps. Without any cheesey attempt to blow smoke up their fundaments, it would be great to see a big panel session with the five founders at mesh next year, perhaps as a way to wrap up the whole thing.

This year, as in previous years, the last panel sessions of the second day came to an end in their respective rooms, and people then hung around, not wanting to let go of the buzz, eventually wandering off in groups to the various after-parties. It felt like it needed one last group session to bring everyone back together again, in an attempt to summarize or group-grok the overall conference before ringing the closing bell.

Logistically, this might be difficult - it would require opening the big conference space at the MaRS centre back up into one big room after being divided into three separate spaces for the main body of the conference - but I'm sure that would be doable somehow. Perhaps rejigging the agenda of the second day, to put a 15 minute break in after the last panels...?

I get the impression the mesh founders feel more comfortable acting as foils to their headliners, rather than playing the role as frontmen themselves (which is a credit to them all, of course) – but this just seems like an idea that wants to take shape.

Heh – call it the mesh mosh. Throw the five guys up there in front of the assembled hordes and try to get one huge closing conversation going. I think it would be a terrific way to end what is already a great conference.