As I announced yesterday, I am eager to discover at Big Omaha the degree to which conversation is either recognized by participants as an essential element of or is identifiable within the entrepreneurial success stories as an intrinsic component of these innovation narratives. Here is a snapshot of what I found during day one…

  1. Conversational engagement (which you will note from my essay on conversation means much more than idle banter, small talk or networking) began from the moment I arrived, with great conversations with Justin Mac Nair (Hitten Skins) and Amanda Styron, Seed Here.
  2. Ben Lerer of Thrillist advised that we should not look to the light at the end of the tunnel. Life is about the tunnel. In other words, live for the present not the future. This theme powerfully echoed that of a participant at the “Ass for Every Saddle” Squishtalk in April.
  3. Sahil Lavingia of Gumroad and more invited audience members to contact him via a list of various means, the last of which was, “Come talk to me in person… It’s kind of odd that I mentioned that last.” Indeed. It is. And speaks (excuse the pun) of the need for attention to the art of personal conversation.
  4. Sahil Lavingia also said that every Saturday he tries to meet as many people as possible. Now that’s intriguing and undoubtedly conversational.
  5. Seth Goldstein‘s advice included the exhortation to: “Have difficult conversations.” Right on. Any conversation worthy of the definition should involve some unpeeling of reserve and revelation of some insight.
  6. Yael Cohen of F Cancer was fabulous. Her organization’s education and call to action campaigns required conversation; lots of awkward conversation, as part of their message and method. Cancer is a subject that requires a new approach to how it is discussed at a personal, professional, social and cultural level, and intimate, life-changing conversations are essential.

Conversation’s capacity as a medium of innovation, change and fulfillment was apparent throughout the day. I look forward to more tomorrow…