conference, friends, giving back, startup grind, unconference, VC
It’s hard to know what the outcome will be of anything you do. You could wake up super excited for no reason at all and have the best day of your life … or it could be the worst day without rhyme or reason. On any given day we have no idea what will happen – who we will meet – what events will occur … or if we will make a meaningful impact on someone or something through the course of the day. And that should be something that we all embrace versus fear. Easier said than done, right?! … I know!
The conference that I just attended was unlike any other conference for one small but critical reason – the founder made the simple act of giving back to other attendees a core part of how everyone interacted. Instead of the “Hi I am so-and-so and I do such-and-such … what about you?” … and then the “boring, exactly-the-same-response” in return type of dialogue … the conversations went like this “Tell me your story …. how can I help you?”. And that simple question changed the landscape of the entire event.
Instead of putting your head down and walking past people, everyone looked you in the eye and said hello – and then stopped – and a meaningful conversation followed. Crazy, right?!
Now, not all connections will bring life-stopping change to the world, but I have to say that out of everyone that I met in 2.5 days, probably a solid 80% provided me with something of value. Such as ….
– I met a VC that is now trying to help connect me to the right company to find a job — thank you Dave!! You’re amazing!
– I met a fellow Canadian who is looking for some running routes around the city, to which I would be more than happy to share my favorite spots with Nathan (coming soon via LinkedIn my friend)
– I met Pete (who recognized me from my Twitter profile because I re-tweeted him the day before) who is originally from London and is now living in Whistler doing something really neat with 360 degree video … was introduced to that same VC mentioned above and who knows where that will lead! Good luck Pete! Not to mention that I now know someone who lives in Whistler! ha ha
– I got to interact with loads of young, spirited, bright-eyed 20-something year olds that have the ideas and enthusiasm to one day be ON the stage at these events in a few years — so I will be able to say “remember when we met and we laughed so hard at the whatchamacallit” — Girolama, what fun!! I look forward to your return trip in March!
… My point is that while we wake up and we go about our day with either hope or perhaps on some days, let’s admit it, a little despair … we never (ever) really know where the day will take us. We have to be open to all of the possibilities. We surely won’t see or experience change by living in our typical box — keeping our head down as we pass the new hire at the water cooler or stranger in the line at Starbucks .. so try to take the “give something back” approach and look to each person you encounter today with the concept of helping him or her along their journey. You might be pleasantly surprised with where it will lead you.
And by the way .. you can apply this to your personal life and not just work. Weaving this concept into your daily life with those that mean the most to you will have profound effects on the relationships with each person in your inner circle.
A final shout out to Mia, Elissa, Adam (Dr. Love), Thomas, Girolama and Silke — thanks for a very fun evening. See you at Startup Grind 2015!