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Big Omaha – Day Two

… continuing the pursuit of conversation at Big Omaha, here is what I was rewarded with on Day Two at Big Omaha:

  1. Meeting Chris Heuertz of Word Made Flesh was intriguing and reminded me that while conversation does not require an outcome, because it is meaningful in and of itself, one can still take away a spark of action. For that he reminded me to read Scott Belsky’s book Making Ideas Happen, which is sitting on my bookshelf…
  2. Brian Wong offered an engaging and insightful guide to bringing luck into your life. One consistent theme in this matched that in conversation: the importance of being open, willing to change and allowing potential to flourish through undirected drift. It leads to serendipitous opportunity.
  3. Brian Wong also remarked that he looks for a teacher capacity and for a traveler when considering a new hire. I would reinterpret that as someone who demonstrates curiosity, another essential element for conversation.
  4. Charles Best of DonorsChoose.org mentioned a New York teacher’s project request a little after the 9/11 terrorist attacksfor funding for an initiative connected to Afghanistan. I wondered what might happen if, before every war we decided to wage, for a short period we had to have conversations founded on that other country’s social and cultural activities, arts, recipes, lifestyles, etc. Is there potential that we might humanize them, and ourselves…
  5. Eddie Huang! What to say about Eddie Huang?! In the context of conversation, he was a captivating presenter, in large part because he brought his true self to to his engagement with us, and it was clear he was as authentic to his sense of self as he could be, whilst also being open to change. There is no shame in being yourself (including wanting money), but remember to ask “Why?”
  6. Chatting with some inspiring people committed to community building, including Trace Pickering, Ben Smith, Amanda Styron and Andy Stoll. Amidst the diversity of community building activity and frameworks lies conversation of many stripes.
  7. Nick Seguin of the Kauffman Foundation affirmed that communities matter and that conversation is connection. I couldn’t agree more.
  8. Wufoo’s Kevin Hale made the essential observation that humans are relationship building creatures. It was fascinating how Hale identified the need to break through traditional mindsets and roles, and focus on the best, most relevant people speaking to others (the customer, or anyone, I would say), such as end-users talking with the engineers and not customer service representatives.
  9. Michael Karnjanaprakorn was astounding. His diverse, honest and altruistic story was inspiring. The founder of skillshare.com, the point was made that it doesn’t matter what you ask someone, it simply matters that you do ask. As Skillshare points out, the future belongs to the curious. I would say, then, that the future belongs to conversationalists.

Now, to take all of these conversations and conversation insights into something new…

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