Archive for category BrainJams
What an awesome week in DC. As an IBM Futurist (influencer, amplifier, thinker, whatever), they often invite me to attend various conferences and events to learn, to ‘report’ via social media and to help stimulate conversations with the participants who are usually IBMers, customers and potential customers. This trip was part of the #NewWayToWork tour they are producing, so they pay for the travel expenses and I get to just be myself and speak my mind. They ask for some pics and tweets, which I would do anyway, and they promote my work in support of the broader social media amplification of the brand and their forward thinking positions. More on the event this week in a little bit, as I want to recap what made it so awesome for me and my projects personally.
The New Way to Work event was just one of several highlights as I made the most of the travel opportunity to talk to more people about my community collaboration software, Will Someone. I was also working to line up some strategic consulting gigs, to fuel more development of the software, to host a kickoff BrainJam for We Are the Solution and spent time catching up with old friends and making new ones.
I started the week off by diving into the great community that Nicole Patrice has formed over the years, including her colleague Ross Buntrock, who was gracious enough to let me stay on his couch for the one night not covered by IBM. They are working on something that is simply stellar, but nothing to share about it just yet. I got to catch up with Cyrus Radfar who was in town from SF, out on the road like me meeting people to help grow his company, Kapuno. Then we had this sumptuous fall meal that Nicole prepared and great conversation for hours over some great wine with a bunch of folks in town for a Nature Conservancy event, many of whom are an integral part of the Summit community.
I’ve started privately sharing information on the first major project we are working to undertake surrounding We Are The Solution, the non-profit community organization we have recently launched. I was particularly inspired and found great hope in talking to Wayne Price, the original Summit documentarian, who is just an awesome human being, who just happens to live in the East Bay, not too far from my home. Then I got into a great conversation with Margot Machol about her upcoming book where she interviewed something like 60 entrepreneurs and their mothers. Apparently, they all share what I was fortunate to have, a mother who instilled a deep belief that we could do anything. I think she’s going to be doing some cool things hopefully with Blab now that I introduced her to the concept, but still lots to discuss ahead of the book launch.
Before heading off the next morning to a meeting with my old friend, advisor and hopefully soon to be team mate, Thomas Vander Wal, Nicole, Ross and Rick were gracious enough to listen to my vision for Will Someone and the broader ecosystem we are building. Thomas and I reviewed our nextgen plans for Will Someone, caught up on life, other work and our usual reminiscing about what we tried to create in 1999 around conversational intelligence with Conversal. After our conversation, I had a chance to go have lunch with one of my fraternity brothers and finally eat at the new Exchange, our old college bar.
Rushing from there back to the hotel and being stymied by a few administrative snafus, I finally got into my room in time to interview Doug Foulds as part of my new #CXDNow series on Customer Experience Design. This is something they are paying me for, sponsoring the show, so I was a bit anxious before the show and a bit more when we kept hitting some technical challenges during the show, but as usual, it worked out great.
With only a few moments rest, I took care of some other work and took an Uber into Georgetown for a super high quality entrepreneur networking event. Tons of smart people, quick chat with Nicole to introduce her to someone working on cool related tech, a connection for one of my Wearable World mentorees and a great conversation with several other startup founders. I was hoping to go down to Fatoush to relive the late night mumchie quashing Fatoush Gyro, but apparently, its closed now, so I just ate some Kebobs and headed home to get some work done and get some rest.
I woke up refreshed to head to the US Institute of Peace for the IBM New Way to Work Event. At the last minute the day before, they asked myself and Mark Babbit to participate in a fireside chat format event on the marketing track. Really grateful for having a chance to spend more time with him, he’s wise, smart, cool and just a great guy to hang around. Apparently we did a pretty good job, you can see a pic of us and the graphic recording that was made of our discussion below. When people were leaving, they were apparently quite impressed and amazed at how rich the workshop was. That it wasn’t just a typical sales pitch, but instead a real conversation with inspiration, solid strategy and even tactical advice. Several remarked that they were kind of bummed about how tough things had gotten but were feeling energized and inspired to go back to work and create change. #GoalAccomplished
After the event, we had a great lunch with Mark and Adriana Zegarelli where I learned how organizations thrive by going “Beyond Budgeting” from our other lunch mate Steve Player, Steve is a super smart guy who is also a fan of the work of Doug Kirkpatrick and the Self Management Institute. I then headed to a couple of meetings with my friends at the US State Department down the street to catch up and talk digital diplomacy. It turns out that the Gov2Gov event that Lovisa Williams and I hosted in 2009 with Dominick Campbell and our ‘special friends’ in the Canadian Embassy over in London inspired a thing of its own, the Digital Diplomacy Coalition. So cool. I so often think I’ve accomplished nothing in my life so far, but this week I was reminded of all the ways I really have made a contribution to the world which really has me psyched for all the great stuff to come. After catching up with Lovisa, I was able to reconnect again with Archana Poddar who also works at the State Department and get her insights on a few projects I am developing. Awesome people working to make government better.
From here I ran into the evening, first with a stop for happy hour Oysters at the Old Ebbits Grill with Mark Babbitt, then for a quick catchup at The Hamilton with my old boss from the US Mint (wrote a bit about her and my time there recently), and finally to catch up with another one of my fraternity brothers, Andrew Keenan to talk life, politics, beers and social activism. Afterwards, I stopped by my favorite DC restaurant, Zaytinya, shhh don’t tell anyone how great it is. Then off to the hotel to get all the video editing for #CXDNow now and publish the blog post.
With only a few hours sleep, I headed off to Busboys and Poets to host the first BrainJam for We Are The Solution. Almost 10 years ago, we held one of the first BrainJams in DC. We had several people cancel, but with the 5 of us who were there, including Todd Tweedy who was at the first one, it actually worked out quite well, with everyone getting something meaningful. There is amazing power in our focus question – “What are you trying to accomplish? How can I help?” It proved itself in DC, and I can’t wait to see more of them happening in DC, across the country and even around the world.
Special thanks to Todd and Audience Machine for sponsoring breakfast. Kathy Chamberlain for letting us know about all the other great things already happening in DC that is similar, including the Social Enterprise DC group. Ricardo Abella for participating and sharing his story. Special thanks to Alexandra Long, who was at the IBM event the day before and gave me inspiration to keep going, to let me know that my stories and insights were making a difference. Even greater still, for her volunteering to help create the Journey Map for We Are The Solution that we are building as one of the practical how to segments of the #CXDNow series.
Towards the end, Nicole Patrice was able to join us and serve as a living breathing human example of the sort of impact we had previously with Social Media Club by inspiring people all over the country to convene their tribes, to embrace our mantra, “If you get it, share it”. Hearing her tell everyone about her experience traveling around the country and connecting with local SMC chapters, was a big part of my realization that while what I hoped to create didn’t fully manifest, what SMC produce was not only meaningful, but a beautiful expression of my original intent.
By the time I had finished sharing a full demo of what we built with Alynd, she had already introduced to me to three of her Summit friends. From Busboys and Poets, I headed over to Teaism for lunch with my dear friend and former coworker Sacha Cohen. After getting back to the hotel, I ended up connecting with one of Nicole’s suggested contact’s, Tyler Kellogg, who traveled across country helping people in a similar spirit of what I have been striving towards, but in human to human contact at a very personal level. You can hear more of his inspiring story here from his TEDx talk in Greenville.
So then it was off to the airport and onto the plane where I wrote up the highlights of this crazy week in DC, the epicenter once again for a massive change in my life. A week where I have truly lived my true purpose for this life, a life that is much more important then my experience of it, but which is also just pretty amazing, filled with amazing friends, crazy big dreams of a better world and the sort of hope that we can be the change we want to see, and ultimately see that change manifest in the world.
The time is now. You too can make a difference. So what’s stopping you?
Over the coming weeks, perhaps you can join us as we host more BrainJams in support of We Are The Solution. Check out these dates and if you can, come help us help you to make the world the best it can be, because while WE face many challenges, we are the solution to it all. If you are interested in helping, simply comment here or head over to the web site and subscribe to our Newsletter and we will invite you into our Slack group.
- San Francisco – October 22, 2015
- London, UK – October 30, 2015
- Dublin, Ireland – November 5, 2015 (during Web Summit)
- Bilbao, Spain – November 18, 2015 (during EEC)
Spent the better part of the day down at Citizen Space for Equality Camp, focusing on supporting the marriage equality movement. There were some great discussions and a lot of great people, a few of whom I captured in some of these photos. Hope you enjoy…
As I sit here and look around the room at the number of people who have paid good money to be here at Content Week, where I am serving as Conference Chair at the moment, it just occurred to me how we can get more of these wonderful, smart, caring people into conversations with us at unconferences. We will likely do this with a future Social Media Club Workshop – if you try it, please let me know how it works.
The idea is similar to what I was talking about with Chris Carfi regarding how we might be able to fully realize our spirit of social entrepreneurism in the software industry – by providing one free license to a 501(c)3 for every licensed copy sold to corporations. Perhaps even create a buddy system, or just enable the corporate purchaser to choose from a list of those non-profits who have shown sufficient interest. In fact, some non-profits who really want the software in question, would become evangelists, trying to find others who would also benefit from the software.
So what we could do with increasing corporate participation in unconferences is charge a lot of money for corporate attendees to participate – perhaps $1,500 each for a 2 day event. Each corporate participant would have ‘sponsored’ the another under-funded, but highly valued contributor to the conversation, paying for their travel expenses, and perhaps even providing a small stipend. We would need to use a few hundred dollars to offset hard costs, but the end goal is the same – to get the right people in the room, to get the costs covered and to enrich our ability to learn from each other. Perhaps we can do this with the Informl Learning Unconference we have been speaking about with Jay Cross – or perhaps use this technique to help Nancy White bring her incredibly talented crew of facilitators together.
Just an idea at this point – wonder if it has legs to run?
I have talked with several of y’all about sponsoring and/or attending the upcoming Web 2point2 unconference (tag is web22 btw) happening on November 9 and 10, so now is the time to do something about it. If you are still interested in sponsoring, please send me a note and a logo to one of my email addresses so I can include your support in the launched version of the site which I will most definitely be completing on Sunday.
You can also register for $32.95 (plus a small service charge) which includes a t-shirt, 2 lunches and access to the Web 2point2 Release Party, which will be a blowout on Thursday night November 9. Special thanks to Dave Winer who unbeknownst to me was on an email thread circulated by the lovely Miss Grace and who blogged about it on Scripting News, also becoming the first paying participant. Nice.
“Like all the cool kids, I’ll be at Web 2.2, November 9-10 in San Francisco. Like the web, it’s open to everyone”
More details coming very soon, but please do know that space is limited, nothing I can do about physics…
While I have been thinking about this and talking with many of you about this personally over the past month, we are now moving forward with our plans for re-organizing our efforts with BrainJams and moving forward with Social Media Club. For the last few months, I have been thinking about this matter constantly – trying to tap into my true heart’s desire about what I wanted to do with my time and what purpose I was going to serve in the world with this work. In fact, to give you a real sense of how long I have been thinking about this, I actually registered the Social Media Club domains back in March.
Now things are pretty clear, we are moving out and we will be announcing more about our plans over the coming days. If you want to know more about why we are making this shift and what it really entails, I have a long post over on BrainJams that provides all the details.
There is so much going on lately, it’s hard to know where to start. For once, I will take the simplest approach possible – here is a list of some of the cool events we have in the BrainJams future:
Sunday July 2 930am-1230pm: The morning after Gnomedex in Seattle, WA I am helping Shannon Clark from MeshForum to organize a MeshWalk focused on three very important post conference questions we often don’t have time to consider: 1) What are your big takeaways from Gnomedex? 2) What are you going to do with it? 3) How can we help each other to make it happen? Meshwalk is a walking conference with some occasional stopping points for engaging with other participants in wider conversations. It is a great chance to exercise your body and your mind (and work off the hangover from the night before!)
Thursday July 19 530pm-830pm: Our rescheduled date for the “Rent An Expert” event. Thanks to Joel Sacks from CNet for really stepping up to the plate to obtain approval for us to host the event at CNet’s offices in downtown San Francisco (in the same room where I am writing this post from Bloggercon right now). I will be writing more about this over the next week, but please help us get the word out. If you are trying to learn how to do something with Blogs, Podcasts, Vlogs, Wikis, Photography or other forms of social media tools, come on over to our event Wiki and post a request. Likewise if you want to share your expertise. As Howard Rheingold says, “What it is -> is up to us!”
Thursday August 3 930am-500pm: Our next Bay Area BrainJams event! I have been waiting to announce this for way too long – I am so excited about this BrainJam. We are organizing this day long unconference to bring together Bay Area Social Media and Web 2.0 enthusiasts with members of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. This is a great opportunity for our BrainJams folks to talk to real people who are doing really great work for their communities around the world and help them understand what is possible with the new world of easy to use Web tools. This event will be held at the Parc 55 Hotel as a pre-conference workshop for the NCDD Conference. Due to the costs of the hotel and the lunch that will be provided, there is a fee of $50 for this event to cover the costs that the conference organizers are incurring. In deference to our prior free events, the organizers are offering a reduced fee for this BrainJam (other workshops are priced at $75). I also have a few free passes for those who are willing to contribute their expertise and lend a hand with the workshop, so call me or write me an email to discuss.