Yesterday I “jetted” off to Manchester to speak at an event sponsored by the MIDAS group. I was up to speak about the future, about virtual worlds, about 3d printing. I also decided to make sure I adjusted a little to speak more about the power we all have as people. Inspired by hearing and being with lots of social entrepreneurs at chain reaction at the start of the week, and really feeling they were kindred spirits, it made sense to illustrate both eigthbars rise, the personal aspects of getting things done regardless of the obstacles and being proud of my community and how we have all come together at the right time both inside and outside IBM.
I know that many people sticking to the status quo, saying things should stay the way they are, saying that we are all idealists in the way we communicate and share to cause innovation to happen across the world will just think its more “kool aid”. Well it might be, however we might just be right.
The web seems to have been able to unleash and remove some of the fear people have had for getting things done. The web now really gives a place for a first step, sharing an idea with one other person, asking one person for help or their opinion. It is those first steps of gathering and affinity that are the most important to break the apathy. It does not matter if its hooking up over a game like WoW or even and shooter on Xbox Live, a chance meeting in Second Life, spotting a twitter on the same subject, a blog post comment or trackback or whatever there is to come next. People are really forming to get traction make connections and take action. For me this is the personal side of creating a smarter plannet, more devices, more connections but incorporating people in that.
After my pitch along those lines there was a barrage of excellant question there was another brillian pitch by Imran Hakim. He was famously backed on the BBC Dragons Den programme for his iTeddy idea by Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis.
Imran talked about how the idea even came about, his brother betting him it would never work. Imran is a real entrepreneur, iTeddy was not his first nor his last business. He spoke very personally about a restlessness, striving to make things happen, not just make money. Our stories were very much the same, one of battling and believing, of making the most of serendipity and contacts. He also shared some insights into just how long a Dragons Den pitch is, in his case 3 hours!
After both our pitches we were both swamped with brilliant conversations over lunch with everyone. I love to hear that people have felt moved, or enthused by what I have to say and that came across in all my conversations.
I also managed to have som time talking to Imran as the hall emptied, and it was a fascinating personal insight upclose with a very successful and connected business person with ideas and drive. Very inspiring I must say.
Thanks to all who attended and got something from this including my IBM colleagues.