Also, for those who could not be there, there is a Vimeo channel up with videos being added every day.
1. There was only one traditional presentation the whole time and it was one given at TED a few weeks ago, so who could complain? The rest was all interview and Q&A in the main sessions. This made the focus more on ideas than on hero worship. Difficult to do when you are sitting a few feet away from some serious thought leaders in various fields. Also made presentations more honest, raw and authentic. Very few canned speeches.
2. By bringing together a lot of leaders from different fields it pushed people out of there comfort zone. Watch the video with Dave Gibbons interviewing John Park from Google and Maxim Karp (sp?) from Yang Dang. I went out with a lot of pastors after that talk. There minds were all blown.
When you bring together interdisciplinary thought leaders the potential for Medici effect type moments is huge. Would have liked to see more business leaders represented but social entrepreneurs, church leaders and non profit leaders is already pretty broad. Especially when most conferences only provide one of those and no breadth within a given category.
There were engineers, marketers, producers, pastors, consultants, non profit executives, artists, entrepreneurs, and all sorts of other people. Oh yeah, they even let me show up.
3. The huge focus on ideas and implementation made everything super practical and actionable. No esoteric “what ifs” or “if only’s” or idealistic theory.
4. It was affordable. Often times a conference will cater to learners who are virtually identical to the presenters. By putting successful folks on stage and allowing the Not-quite-there-yet’s to come in (by virtue of low cost of entry) it opened the doors for a lot of folks who may not have gone to a typical progressive thought conference in any one of the many fields represented.
5. It was extremely open. Text in questions all throughout. All presenters were out and about during the whole conference. I got to hit the water fountain with Scott Harrison (Charity: Water). Spencer Burke parked next to me in the parking lot. Zack Hunter checked in with his mom (who is a kind of a big deal in her own right) while I was talking to her in the hall. There were no false gods at this conference. Everyone there was there to learn, help, network, innovate.
I would love to talk more as I decompress and get in touch with all the great folks I met and promised some time to this weekend. If you went to the conference let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you have a favorite conference you have been to let me know that too. What makes it special?