I say this not to sound arrogant or self-important: there are not a lot of people who think like me in the political circles I travel. The old way of doing things is still, by many many many, considered the best way of doing things and more than a bunch of times my ideas have been met with the rolling of eyes and nervous laughter.
Big Omaha 2010 brought together people from around the country who think and feel like me. The speakers had put their ideas and passions into practice and succeeded, usually after they’ve failed several times. I felt, for the first time in a long time, that I belonged and my habit of thinking differently and not being afraid was not different at all. “This is my tribe,” I felt.
My absolute favorite moment came when, midway through asking Gary Vaynerchuk a question. I say I want to help elect good people to office and dude offers to fly me to DC for the Government 2.0 conference. Due to some very important family business, I’m unable to go, and he understood.
I’m glad somebody got it on video because after he offered to fly me to DC my mind kind of went blank.
Everyone heaps praise on Gary, and rightly so, but the presentation that stole the show for me was Scott Harrison and Charity:Water. He’s effin’ right. You can’t begin to solve any problems with a society if all you’re doing all day is hunting down water, and worse: that water is killing you.
It costs $5000 to build a well. We raised enough money at Big Omaha to build at least three. I’ve put a link to Charity:Water on my sidebar and I heavily recommend you give what you can. I’ll set up a fund raising page on there soon and make a post about it. Those were the most impacting moments of the conference for me but I don’t want to minimize the other speakers.
- Danae Ringelmann of IndieGoGo was great and talked with me for a while about campaign fund raising after her presentation. Her website is gorgeous, too.
- Robert Scoble interviewed Matt Mullinweg of Automattic and it made me want to go check out WordPress.com again. I’ve been pretty exclusively using self-hosted versions of WordPress but with some of the latest advances, especially the gorgeous TwentyTen theme, I’m going to start recommending it to campaigns if they can’t pay a designer.
- David Hauser of Grasshopper asked us to cheer wildly for every speaker that got up there (and even more glad I wasn’t the only one who did it) as it gave a shot in the arm to every speaker upon their start. He also had the amazing idea of mailing media people and other big talkers a package full of chocolate covered grasshoppers to promote his company’s name change from GotVMail because “it fucking sucked!”
- I’m re-reading Reworked by Jason Fried of 37signals. More than one idea from that book got me the aforementioned eye roll. Great talk, down to Earth guy who spoke with me briefly afterward.
- She wasn’t a speaker, but Wendy Townley, author of Nerdy Thirty sold me a copy of her great book for $5 and it was worth every penny. I may drive to Omaha to give her the other $5. Review coming soon.
Massive massive ups to all the boys and girls at Silicon Prairie News for pulling off such an amazing conference. It was my first big conference and I fear I’m forever spoiled.
I get the eye rolls now, but just they wait. To paraphrase Gary V, we’re changing the politics world, the business world, the technology world, the media world, shoot, THE world, whether they like it or not.
I will be back in 2011 and I want you all to come with me.
Photos by Malone & Company Photography