Monday, August 13

Couple of thoughts after Gnomedex 7.0

You know, from all of the blogsh*t I saw on the feeds this weekend after Jason's presentation of Mahalo and Dave's heckling, I am astounded at the controversy it caused. But then again, as most PR mavens know, any press is good press.

But, my take-aways are very different than I thought I would take. First off, it was a nice gathering of alternative and mainstream thinkers. Bloggers alike, Chris made sure that we knew that we were our blogs first, names second and job titles, if you got around to it.

My most engaging conversations were with some of the digerati and other folk just enjoying the breath of fresh air that Seattle afforded us. My favorite discussion came from a sit-down with Robert Scoble - just a chat about life in general, instead of what was the newest thingy, or who said what to whom. I have known Robert for some time, but only in that business-friends sort of fashion, where you rarely get a chance to chat about life in general. In our conversation, it harkened back to another experience back in Web 1.0 days.

In the summer of 1997, I was attending an event at Stanford where I watched John Doerr talk about the future of the dotcoms. At the end of the talk, people were streaming out to meet him and Jerry Yang, who happened to be there for another meeting. I watched as people surrounded them both and heard someone say, "There's one of the nicest guys in the Valley" as they were waiting to talk to Jerry.

Funny thing, I remember Jerry when we were grad students (plotting the changes that would help grad students get from under the thumb of the oppressive undergrads) and I assume his experiences in Yahoo! have given him a slightly harder edge after all of these years. But that phrase kept ringing in my ears as I talked with Robert toward the end of the first night of Gnomedex.

Robert, for all intents and purposes, has become a media sensation in his own right. From blogging at Microsoft, to PodTech and the experiences he gains just simply by chatting with some of the minds of today and the visionaries of tomorrow, he has every right to seem like his is the word that all should heed. But, when you chat with him about the experiences he has had, the people he has met, the ideas that come to him on changing the world - and the absolute fortunate happenstances he benefits from - you realize that Robert is one heck of a nice guy.

In explaining my interaction with him to another Gnomdexer (Tajee from Amino-Tajee), I said that he reminds me of that kid who is coming down the stairs on Christmas morning, all bright-eyes and enthusiastic to what Santa might have brung. Now that is not a description I would give to just anyone, but Robert and his enthusiasm - that was the most I could come close with a verbal feeling.

Funnily enough, Robert had a spiritual sympatico with Neil and Cali from, another duo whom I met through my Goodnight Burbank travails, have that same sweetness and enthusiasm that can only be explained by having the chance to do something with their lives, and be given the freedom to do it. Neil, in his enthusiastic fashion, gushed over his wife Luria and how they (together) have made quite a life for themselves. To live freely and with their hearts in their work - that is where each of us should aspire to.

I wish all of these people in their pursuits - nothing but smooth sailing and good fortunes. I look forward to their further adventures.

Photo credit: kk+

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