Being at an SMX or SES sometimes just isn’t enough. A few people really grabbed my attention at the last couple of conferences, and not because they were speaking… None of the encounters I am thinking about were speaker related.
The best way to get noticed is to be an interesting conversationalist.
It really all started with a Árni Matthíasson who – instead of coming up to me after my spot to thank me for talking or to bring up a problem in his business, came up to take the thoughts in my presentation and leap forward in the argument by a magnitude – leaving me to realise just how much further I needed to think ahead than I had done to date. He told me about the concept of the Panopticon prison. I had been presenting the concept that individuals now – like never before – had the ability to change a brand’s marketing message if they didn’t like it… by talking about their view of a brand or their experience on the scalable mouthpiece that we all live with now day to day. Arni give the analogy that this gave individuals the same power as the Panopticon. We don’t now have to police brands all the time, because brands are imprisoned in the knowledge that at any point in time, someone may be spying on them. Powerful stuff I thought.
Then just a week later in London, I was delighted to find myself drinking with Steve Jackson (Warning… noisy link) whom I had thought was a games designer until that point, but clearly there are more than one. I had several stimulating conversations with Steve. The merits of Finnish saunas probably doesn’t warrant further discussion sober, but we had an interesting conversation about where people turn when faced with adversity. Steve turns to Winston Churchill’s “We will never surrender” speach which – being a Brit – I obviously know. But for those that don’t, you can get motivated via your Iphone. Again, a great conversationalist whom I will look forward to meeting at conferences again.
Neither person, though, quite prepared me for the late night conversation between Jim Sterne and the Fantomaster… Talk about Law meeting Chaos! Jim set about asking Fantomaster what he would want if nothing was impossible. Fantomaster replied “magic”… but then Jim went on to ask “for what purpose”?
That’s when I really understood the difference between Law and chaos. For these two, It was nothing to do with Good and Evil and everything to do with philosophy.
The moral of the tale is to be a good conversationalist if you want to be remembered the next morning.