I spent the middle part of last week in New York City attending the OgilvyOne Digital Summit called Verge. Polly LaBarre (former senior editor of Fast Company) sums up the day wonderfully in her post Control is So 20th Century. After meeting her at the conference I went out and bought her book entitled Mavericks at Work. I also met Michael Tchao, GM of the Nike Techlab Group, and his partner, who were up from Portland. We discussed geeky things like the old Apple Newton and how to gut a Mac Classic and pop an LCD and Mac Mini inside. I talked briefly with Shawn Gold, former Publisher with Weblogs Inc. and now the SVP of Marketing and Content at myspace. I wish I could have stopped to chat with Chris Anderson or ZeFrank as well, but my entourage was heading to SoHo for dinner. Don’t feel too sorry for me.
This summit got me thinking. Not about the topics of video on the web, or blogging, or the long tail, but rather about creating and networking, creating and networking, creating and networking. Everyone I met, and just about everyone I saw, was churning out books, articles, speeches, performances, blogs, art, products, mashes, mergers, content. I agree that nobody calls a good song “content”, but it’s not a bad label for everything all together now. I always feel envious in situations like that, and I always have excuses for why I don’t have as much crap out there for other people to consume. Here are a few of my own personal (literally) favourites:
I have too much work to do.
I have kids. When they’re a bit older, I’ll have more free time.
I don’t have enough time in the day.
I don’t have enough energy because I never get any sleep.
Sensing a common theme? I just need to consume less and create more by using my time more efficiently. Make choices. It’s not hard, it just takes commitment: something I’ve always been so-so at. Just ask my fiancé of 10 years… It’s so easy to blame it on the kids, isn’t it? I kinda like the idea of being the crazy dad who’s always making things, writing things, doing things, meeting people, filled with stories and spark. Or I could be the dad who spends the entire day watching people hurt themselves on YouTube while eating a bowl of chips and spitting crumbs on the keyboard as I laugh at other idiots. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that I don’t want to do it.
As I walked around Manhattan after the summit, listening to Death Cab for Cutie’s album Plans on my iPod Nano, I thought a lot about nothing. It felt so good to just wander and appreciate. Appreciate the architecture and the character of this amazing city that I had never visited before, but felt like I already knew. I felt like a comfortable alien. I got my shoes shined. I went into Trump Tower, and Tiffany’s, and Central Park, and the Empire State Building, and the Chrysler Building, and the New York Public Library, and Grand Central Station, and a few Starbucks along the way (consuming and creating liquids). It was so good for me. A giant three hour walking reboot of the old parameter random access memory (PRAM). Thank you New York City. I’ll be back, but next time with more to show you too.