Came down to SF to participate in what has turned out to be an interesting, fast-moving and information-rich conference pulled together by Ed Cotton at BSSP.
Five-minute presentations from 10 invited "optimists," each also asked to recruit two guests to deliver five-minute presentations. Then a few minutes of conversation with each trio.
My group consisted of my good friend and former partner Mark Barden, who invited me and his wife, artist and writer and mother Doris Mitsch, to join him in giving a presentation on the topic of Yes.
Super-stimulating conference so far. Highlights have been the mask work from William Hall, the musical improv of Joshua Brody, the clarity, pragmatism and idealism of Paul Kim from Mozilla and Alexis Madrigal from Wired, the passion and urgency of Heather Fleming at Catapult Design. Interesting presentation on the evolution of "good" from Madison Mount at Ideo.
Actually, every presentation has been insightful and valuable in one way or another.
Also interesting to me about the conference is the role technology and ADD play. Everyone tweeting and multitasking and blogging. Look at me. Does it add more value to the conference? Does it spread learnings to the world? Is the world even listening? How does it change our individual experience of the conference? How does it affect our collective experience? Does it make non-Twitters feel alienated? How do the speakers feel about the public feedback?
I tried un-plugging for a while, and actually find myself more engaged when there are several streams competing for my attention? Also find myself listening harder for nuggets that may make for good things to share, which seems to be focusing me in a way that passive note-taking doesn't?
Also interesting to me was the clear hunger that so many people have to orient their work around meaning and purpose.
Also interesting was how enjoyable I found giving my presentation to be. That's not a given. Speaking in front of a large group of peers is challenging.
Final set of presenters begins with Alex Frankel, interesting and likeable guy who spent a couple of years as a low-wage worker at several giant American companies, and Tucker Nichols, the artist behind the Anonymous Postcard project.
I look forward to talking with people at the end of the day. A lot of exciting things happening out there. I know, I know, I say it all the time, it's boring, but what an exciting time to be alive.