Saturday, February 04, 2006

BrainJams04May2006: New Orleans!!!

On Wednesday I got some fantastic news via an email newsletter. JazzFest is on this year for the last weekend of April (4/28-30) and the first weekend of May (5/5-7). My first thought was "let's go down there and organize a BrainJams between the two weekends". After some back and forth with Kristie concerning our hectic travel schedule for the first half of the year, I took the plunge and have made all our travel arrangements. Now all we need to do is find a venue.

This is a fantastic opportunity for us, and incredibly good news for one of our favorite cities in the world. Given my feelings about how everyone screwed up on every level of government down there after Katrina, this is a good chance to move beyond the couch potato rhetoric and contribute to the solution instead of the volume of complaints. Of course, it also a great chance to have an incredible time listening to some great music. I feel very blessed that I was able to see NOLA before the Hurricane, going to Jazzfest last year for the first time.

We would very much like to have a discussion about the best way to approach this very special BrainJams. It would be great to perhaps revive the discussion around Jeff Jarvis' Recovery2 and perhaps Sam Perry's work on Reliefopedia. Then again, we could just focus on how people can use technology to rebuild their society after a disaster. Of course the great thing about holding BrainJams is that we don't really need to figure that all out until everyone gets in the room together, but I do think we need to set our intentions around an organizing principle first and foremost.

Regardless, we need local volunteers to help coordinate logistics, we need a space for 120 people (if interest is high enough, perhaps double that) and we would like to very much involve the local government, chamber of commerce, non-profits, musicians and technologists. If anyone knows someone from BamaWorks, we would really like to get them involved too.

If you have any interest in being there for this incredible event, I recommend booking now since our hotel is already sold out for those dates and airfares are still relatively inexpensive.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Skype Beats Cell Phone Again

I have a lot of blog posts I am working on, but this is so sad and funny, I had to get it out right away. So I was talking with Greg Narain on our cell phones a few minutes ago, and the connection just went bad - it was all static and dropped words. So rather than trying to call each other back, I just sat down at my computer and we switched to Skype. The clarity was 10x better than mobile and it makes me think I will one day soon be using Skype as my primary channel of voice communications...

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

BrainJams DC: Small but powerful

Our BrainJams here in DC on Monday validated many key ideas and taught us many lessons. While we had expected around 35 people or so, 16 (plus Kristie and myself for 18) showed up for the morning BrainJam, in which I was finally able to participate. The good news is, it is a start - and a good one at that. Everyone I spoke with thanked us profusely for doing this in DC and was really enthusiastic about the format, the people and the insights shared. The afternoon Breakthrough sessions began with two groups, one for newcomers and one for more advanced discussions, but they merged during the course of the afternoon.

I have lots to share that I learned from the great people in attendance, as well as thanks for each of them for coming out on a Monday, even though many said "I didn't know what to expect, or even what it would really be". A few photos are on Flickr, but we did not get a chance to take many since we were so involved in the conversation.

Yesterday and today, I received a few emails which really tell the story of the event better than I can.

Matt Gallivan from NPR said:

"It was a great chance to meet a lot of interesting people in the community and to talk about a lot of interesting stuff."
Mirsada Pasalic, an emerging 'fresh face for aging advocacy' said:

"First of all I want to thank you for a FABULOUS day yesterday. I truly enjoyed myself and learned a lot. It was a great mix of people and the "energy" was all good, so thank you for putting it together!"
Camille Preston, an insightful leadership coach, said:

"Thank you so so so much for a truly powerful, inspiring and learning day! As I was describing it to a friend last night, all I could say was that it was fabulous and that my mind was literally truly jammed with so many new insights and perspectives. (as an extraverted nerd - I loved the intensity of learning and wished I'd planned to join the evening!) It was a truly wonderful opportunity to jump into something I "knew I should be doing"... but didn't know where to begin! There are a few things I'm ready to dive into - and I know that the learning will continue."
So all in all, BrainJams30Jan2006 makes it way to the win column. Best of all, it seems as if there will be a community of people willing to do what it takes to do this again and again...