Why He’s a Top 40: For being a tech guru and passionate blogger who is transforming Edmonton into City 2.0.
Mack Male has been a bona fide techie since his junior high school years, when he started a software solutions business, Paramagnus Developments, with a couple of friends. Today he continues as owner of Paramagnus and also works, by day, as a senior software developer for London-based knowledge assessment company Questionmark. But it’s his in-between role as a steadfast blogger that he’s probably most known for.
More than 6,000 people get their immediate news updates from Male’s Twitter account. His website, MasterMaq, has even more followers. He uses “Web 2.0” tools, such as Flickr and Facebook, to convene with those in the know and those who need to get in the know.
To give an example of how on-the-radar Male is, in 2006, he “guesstimates” he became the 985th person in the world to join Twitter – the 985th of the almost 18 million users today. This year, his tech-savvy knowledge was summoned by CFRN to teach Twitter skills to their employees.
Wherever he goes, Male promotes technological and urban progress almost evangelically. He also organizes tech-related community events, such as Twestival charity fundraisers and last month’s ChangeCamp, a seminar about how citizens can influence the government and how the government, in this age of participation, can access and utilize those ideas of change. “I’m a pusher of open data, which means making the information the local government has available – all this information we pay to create – so that we can build incredible things,” he says.
Last summer, Male took a strong stance against the campaign to preserve the downtown airport. “There was only one side of the story – from those who wanted to keep the airport open,” he says. “I thought the people who are going to deal with it in 30 years should help make the decision.”
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Five hours after Mack launched the website Notmyairport.ca (a cheeky reversal of the opposition’s “Save Our Airport” slogan), 200 Edmontonians sent out the following message on their Twitter accounts: “Dear city council, please close the airport.” Eventually, city council agreed to close it, and Male believes it’s not a coincidence. He sees it as a watershed moment, because “before, no one realized what kind of an impact young people and the tools they use could have in the political space.”