TEDxBoulder 2011

As usual, I got too busy and neglected to do a write-up of TEDxBoulder (an event I helped found and organize), which returned for its second year a week ago. With close to 1,800 people in attendance, it's easily the largest event I've ever been involved in.

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From a design standpoint, it was a new peak for our team. Everything looked amazing - from the stage design, to the venue itself. I'd always wanted to be on the stage at Macky Auditorium (I'm a CU alum), and I finally got my chance, if only for a few fleeting seconds when I decided to show the crowd the little bear pin I happened to be sporting that night.

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Our theme for the evening was Time & Change. However, the primary tenet I took away from the evening was to never stop making. Make more time. Make more change. Make more things. (Epitomized by Threadless founder Jake Nickell's talk that night, replicated here - and below)


If you were there, thanks for spending your evening with us. You have no idea how much I fret about filling all those seats. It's always a huge relief to see them slowly filled with friends and soon-to-be friends. If you weren't able to make it, we'll do it again next year. Maybe we'll have have a bouncy castle outside or something.

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Special thanks and hugs to Kimya Dawson, who performed that night. The next day at brunch, we discovered our mutual love for "Step Up 3D." (Best movie ever, son.)

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Blendtec Smoothie Geek-o-matic

I recently bought a high-powered blender that answers to no one. If you encountered this blender in a dark alley, there's a good chance you would get a weird rash. It's a serious blender. It's a Blendtec.

As part of my foray into CrossFit, I'm trying to eat more veggies. This has always been hard for me. I'm a notoriously picky eater. The kind of kid who orders hamburgers that consist of meat + cheese + bun and that's it. So the idea of eating spinach and kale filled me with volcanic fury.

So I bought a blender to [hopefully] get more veggies into my system via delicious smoothies. I'll periodically post my experiments here. Get ready. Get smoothie.

Got recipes or tips? Leave them in the comments! Help me avoid putting myself in the hospital!

CrossFit So Far

Based on the recommendations of trusted friends and rascals, I started doing CrossFit this week. (Is it "doing" CrossFit? Learning? Training? Or just CrossFitting? I'm so confused. Perhaps I should ask someone at CrossFit Roots, the place where I, um, do.) It's this exercise thing. There is a whole lot of sweating.

Part of the regime includes a change in diet that focuses on Paleo principles. No dairy, no sugar, no bread, lots of veggies, meat and fruit as well as some other rules. (I'm sure I missed plenty.) I'm on Day 2 of the regimen, and my arms are sore.

I like the variety. Our workout from Day 1 was completely different from Day 2 - except for squats. There are always squats, it seems. I'm doing okay. I haven't passed out or started crying - both of which I tend to do when playing World of Warcraft - so I've got high hopes.

I also ordered a blender. Because I'm one of those dummies that can't eat vegetables properly. I'm going to make smoothies. I'll write about that more when it arrives. If I get good at it, I'll invite you over for a smoothie brunch on the weekend.

Did I mention my arms are sore?

Ignite Boulder Sweet 16 

I let the dogs out.

Thanks to everyone who attended Ignite Boulder Sweet 16. And a super special HOWDY to Mary Rotman of O'Reilly, who came out to see what all the noise was about.

Ignite Boulder will return in December. The dog costume, however, will not. ;-)

All photos courtesy of Kia Ruiz. Gorgeous!

TEDxBoulder + Good Apples

I was delighted to see Good Apples' incredible work on display today on the Denver Egotist. They designed the program for TEDxBoulder (which doubled as each attendee's badge) and are having their work featured in the 2011 Communication Arts Design Annual.

As one of the organizers of TEDxBoulder, I'm instantly reminded of how special our inaugural year was. I can't wait to do it again on Sept. 24 at Macky Auditorium. (Tickets on sale now!)

[Image credit: Good Apples]

Twitter Marketing and Pandas

I contributed to a group interview on the Trada blog about How to Market Your Business on Twitter and ended up mentioning pandas and something I described as programmatic slime:

What I meant was that if you're a little too clinical and precise about your Twitter strategy, you may make folks queasy. It's the same principle as the uncanny valley. Just as humans are better when they be real, so are conversations.

Here's a panda:


Ignite Boulder Sweet 16 Rehearsal

One of my favorite parts of any Ignite Boulder is the mandatory rehearsal we hold about two weeks before the event. As I explained in this lovely interview I did for the SlideShare blog on how to organize an Ignite event, rehearsal is critical to ensuring that the speakers are ready to bring maximum heat.

This photo may not look like much, but what it captures is hugely important: a roomful of people, earnestly working to make an idea better.

We're doing our best to make our Sweet 16 extra special. I hope you'll be there. (Tickets here!)

[Photo credit: Andrew Hyde]

Painting Lesson at PoshSplat - Nailed It!

My lovely girlfriend and I went on a painting date last weekend. We took a lesson at PoshSplat, a place that lets you paint something pretty while drinking wine or (in my case) Clementine Izze.

I hadn't painted since high school, so I was pretty anxious. Stephanie did marvelously well. Here's how we did, including the instructor's version that we mimicked in real time:

I added a slice of pizza to mine. The implied narrative is this:

A hungry bird plucks a slice of pizza from the tomb of Chef Boyardee and takes to the skies. His nerves get the better of him, though, and he loses his beaky grip on the slice, watching it tumble from his mouth and toward the ground. The sun, ever the observer of the world's mundane events, laughs merrily. A nearby haunted tree opens its mouth in the hope that the bird will fly into it, providing some long-sought sustenance.


Big Omaha 2011 - Review

My review of Big Omaha 2011 in a word: focused.

I went into this conference looking for something smaller and more intimate. What I found was a collection of some of the most directed and sharp minds I've ever been around. The conference allowed me to get close to these folks and have genuine conversations with them, since they weren't preoccupied with other events happening just around the block (which is so often the case at SXSWi, for example).

The speakers were excellent and made themselves readily available instead of scampering off to a VIP room immediately after speaking. (Gary Vaynerchuk gets props for calling that practice out.) At one point, I found myself on stage with Gary and asked him about romance and World of Warcraft. I got too excited.


I also did an on-camera interview with Big Omaha's video team Malone & Co., wherein I touched on the best aspects of Big Omaha (people genuinely want to be there), what I learned there and how I want to utilize it (to make Boulder even better) and how absolutely thrilled I was to have snagged a ticket (which were limited to 600 or so).


I describe Big Omaha as "focused" because there isn't a lot of garbage standing between you and a great conversation. It's a single track affair, which I LOVED. (I had expressed reservations about this in my previous post.) By eliminating a lot of the conference clutter, Big Omaha allows you to focus on the content and extracting inspiration from it because your head is freed up to actually think about it, instead of racing around trying to check in everywhere.

I will return. I will bring friends. I just hope there are tickets available. Best problem in the world to have. Nice work, Big Omaha!

Big Omaha 2011

I'm disappearing to Nebraska for four days to attend the Big Omaha conference, a notably smaller affair than South by Southwest Interactive. I think it's capped at 500 peeps - something like that. And it's focused less on social media/tech and more to do with innovation and entrepreneurship.

I'm curious to see how much I like a smaller conference, having attended back-to-back large conferences (BlogWorld and SXSWi).

There are the obvious benefits that come with its smallness - greater intimacy, easier connection with attendees and a smaller pricetag. But there will be drawbacks (or at least I assume): fewer session options, less swag and freebies (haha), and fewer people altogether.

Let's hope that I love it. I have a feeling I will.