In January 2017 I led a workshop at The Battery entitled “Upgrade your decision-making”. My goal was to share some of my thinking about Athletics and Intuition in the form of a “Decide Nothing toolkit” – a few simple techniques that I use to help me stay in flow and make decisions intuitively. Some of the techniques that I shared are
Move without hesitation
See over the mountain
Shake hands with monuments
Check your messages
Welcome the unfamiliar
Roll the dice
This workshop was continuation of some events that I hosted in 2016 at the Battery and part of a series that I will be leading through the rest of 2017 on Athletics and Intuition. Check The Battery’s Events page for upcoming dates; the next one is scheduled for April 10, 2017.
I’ve had several days lately that have blown my mind, and yesterday was one of them.
I got up at 6am and led an event as part of EO SF’s 25th Anniversary where I took 20 entrepreneurs from all over the world (not a dirty word btw, entrepreneur means business owner not “tech douche”) out in SF bay and treated them to a swim/float under the Golden Gate on a massive 4 knot flood tide. We jumped in by the red nun buoy outside the south tower and were swept in through the gate right next to the base of the tower in a roaring rip of whitewater, and then spent 20 minutes or so being spun around by upwellings and whirlpools in the middle of the bay.
This event was the culmination of many years of event production and experience creation, as well as the unique combination of my perspective as an SF native, a salt water hog and an EO member leader. I was so stoked to share my vision and love for the bay and the Bridge and incredibly gratified to see how others GOT IT in such a big way. We had an incredible time and definitely blew some minds.
Back on shore I raced back to my place, had a quick shower, changed and then to the Legion of Honor for EO SF’s 25th Anniversary celebration. I had to have a quadruple espresso to compensate for the change in venue. Fantastic event and I’m proud to be a member of EO and former chapter President of EO San Francisco. So cool to see so many fellow independent thinkers making their unique way through the world.
We had to leave the party a little early because I had tickets for a rock show. Black Sabbath in Oakland. Bloody amazing, as I imagine Ozzy might say. I can’t really describe how incredible it was to see them play. Sabbath is the soundtrack to so much of my life. They put on an unbelievable show, especially considering that Ozzy, Tommy and Geezer are all about freaking 70 years old. Thank you guys.
The end of the show was very emotional for me. I saw how affected the band was by their performance and the massive love from the audience. I looked around and saw every fucking person in the hall stoked out of their brains and just pouring love and rock sweat out in all directions. And I thought: what a crying shame it was that I had never seen them play in all those years when I was younger, when they were younger, when they were some of my idols. I wanted to go to those shows. I went to some – I saw Van Halen play at the same arena in 1983 – but I didn’t go to very many. Why? Partly because I wasn’t sure if I was cool enough. I had some cool friends and some of them went to a lot of shows but I didn’t get invited to the coolest shows. I didn’t realize at the time that all I had to do was show up.
But most of all because I was simply too fucking wasted too much of the time. Growing up here in SF was incredible and it was also an unholy mess in a lot of ways. Last night I simply got in my car and drove to Oakland, parked, went to the show, drove home. When I was 16 or 18 or 20 I could have done the same, except I would have been trashed before, during and after the show, unable to drive to or from, not to mention unable to remember much of what I saw or heard anyhow. And taking the bus or BART to Oakland or the Cow Palace is a lot less attractive when you know you’re going to be super fucked up. Getting wasted was standard operating procedure for all of us in those days, and it caused me and a lot of my friends to miss out on a lot of living. It also killed a lot of us. I have way too many dead friends from those days.
So it was heavy – and it could be no other way. Black Sabbath is the heaviest cornerstone there is. The soundtrack to my darker side, yes, the side of wasted youth, but that is long ago and now the dark side is just part of who I am. Now it’s dark joy. I was there with a million friends – my old college buddy Dave Pehling who I ran into in the crowd, the guy to my right who passed me a joint, the two screaming-hot chicks in the row behind us, and everyone else who was there to receive and re-transmit Sabbath’s unique rock message. A day and a night to remember – and this time, I will.
But they don’t have to. I can help make your conference awesome! I started AdMonsters in 1999 and it grew to become a highly acclaimed and uniquely valuable conference series and professional community. With the addition of OPS in 2011, we produced more than 100 conferences in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Singapore, and Brazil, and AdMonsters continues to be a great success today as part of the Access Intelligence family of companies.
If you have the feeling that your conference could be better, I can help. I started AdMonsters as an enthusiastic practitioner. That’s a nice way to say that I had no idea what I was doing, and it took me a long time to learn how to produce not only a great conference, but to do so smoothly and repeatedly, and to keep it fresh along the way.
Read on for further thoughts about conferences, and get in touch if you’d like to talk about how to make your conference awesome!
Why do you go to conferences? A break from work? The chance to meet new people? Want to learn something? Got a project you’re working on that you need help with? A trip on the company dime? Looking for a job? Just want to have fun?
Now, think about what the conference is designed for. What is the purpose of the conference? Organizers have different reasons for putting on conferences, and those reasons may or may not line up with your own. Great conferences have a very clear reason for being,and organizers of great conferences will be transparent about the purpose of the conference and help you determine if the conference is a good fit for you.
Conferences, right? I know, super exciting. But I bet you’ve been to a lot of ’em, and only a few have been really great.
It’s a bit of a paradox that there is a conference for everything (I’ve been the a conference about, yes, conferences), and yet most people hear “conference” and roll their eyes. Conferences are boring, conferences kinda suck, conferences are just ok – but I just heard about this cool new conference about…
Why are some conferences great, and some not so great? One thing that makes a huge difference is who owns the conference. Most people don’t think much about it, but conferences are owned and produced in various ways, each of which has some pros and cons.
If you’ve never considered it before, ask yourself: how is the conference organizer making money?
I’ve produced more than 100 conferences over the years as part of my work leading AdMonsters, and I believe there are some reasons why most conferences suck – and some straightforward ways to make your conference awesome.
One way to encapsulate this is with core values for conferences.
In 2010 I was part of the production of a unique creative event and dinner for 200+ in New York called Do You Want Gold. This event was a fantastic example of the combination of art and business, and a unique and wonderful experience for everyone who participated.