Thursday, June 11, 2009

Influx conference

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.


I'm Jelly said...

P.S. My first live blog!

DexterBurns said...

Do they need any jaded, snarky nay-sayers?

Ashly Stewart said...

Lots of good stuff- I think the best part of live tweets or live blogs is that it allows people some kind of idea about what is going on and what it's all about. I have never heard of the Influx conference before, so there is that moment.

Lots of interesting things happening, thank you for sharing.

Gary Hirsch said...

Jelly this was the first conference I presented at where I could go and look at the Tweets and see what people thought of what i did, usually just the people that love it tell you face to face right after, or you hear nothing. Of course this just allows me to dwell and obsess, and mul.....mull some more over any less than glowing comment and conclude to never take another risk ever again. Damn you feedback, damn you honesty, ah the joys of self centerness! Can't we just go back to old days of slate and chalk?

Freckles said...

With us all at various points of our creative processes and lives, there was tangible a very genuine desire to awaken within each other our next positive action. So simple, it reminded me of this:

Your technological episode was a highlight as well :)

Thank you for sharing!