12.29.2008

Uber-networking event, part 1

For the past two days I've been at an uber-networking event in Charleston, an invitation-only event that brings together impressive folks from many different professions (astronauts, former CIA agents, CEOs) to share ideas. Although I'm tired and will be brief, I thought I'd report some of my observations from the field.

  • Many of the people at this event have a very good attitude. They are cheerful and welcoming, which I appreciate.
  • I, however, seem to have a bad attitude. Or not bad so much as critical. I'm noticing, for instance, that this event is overwhelmingly white, and that although probably an equal number of men and women are attendees, the panels so far have been predominantly male. I also find myself observing that it's easier to be cheerful if you have lots and lots of money, as many of the folks at this event seemingly do.
  • This event is set up for breadth rather than depth. I'm used to academic conferences, where you go to a panel consisting of scholars who have done a lot of research on one particular topic, and you get in-depth information about that topic. A typical panel at this event, by contrast, will feature 10-20 people, each of whom is given a very small amount of time--like two minutes--to offer thoughts on a broad topic (the family, or what I wish I could do to make the world better). So you get a smattering of thoughts, with the idea being that you can connect with folks later to follow up on the ideas you found provocative.
  • I have not yet followed up with anyone.
  • I have, however, had two good conversations with folks at meals.

3 comments:

joan said...

You are playing with the big boys. I've always been curious how it worked.

aaron said...

Wow. That seems exhausting.

You should invite some people to your house for a crab boil and some lengthy discussions.

claire said...

OK I know you are sworn to secrecy and all -- but I must know if you met an astronaut and if you discussed the probability of extra terrestrial rational life forms finding earth....