My SOBCon09 ROI
Long before there was a SOBCon, I fell in love with a character in a book Radical Edge by Steve Farber.The character was so humanly written, the first question I asked Steve when I met him was whether Agnes is a real person. He said, “No,” and looked off at a vision. To this day, I’m thinking he got off on a technicality. Not important. What matters is her message. Here’s a dialogue between the character Agnes and Steve (also a character in the story.)
“I don’t know how much of that I could have accomplished if I hadn’t found my frequency.”
Steve questioned the idea, “Human beings are more complicated than than that.”
He got this answer.
“Yes they are, But it’s not about finding your frequency by ruling out everything else; on the contrary, it’s about finding the frequency that includes all those other important values and ideals. The very act of trying to wrap it all up is what’s really important, because in order to do so, you have . . . define them, think them through, understand them to their core, and evaluate your life against each one.”
A bit of challenge to say the least. Every year SOBCon brings that conversation back to me.
A Community on the Same Frequency?
Putting on an event that is not the usual has its downside. How do you explain to sponsors, speakers, attendees what they’ve never experienced? Ever tried to explain Cirq du Soleil to someone who doesn’t know it? I have such respect for the street team who first launched it.
Words alone aren’t adequate. Images are ambiguous. Even the passionate vision of an evangelist drawing details and answering questions is only a promise of a future reality. I can talk about what happens. I can talk about the value propositions and the offers. But until people experience it, I have to believe that a big part of their investment is trust.
In business you can contract schedule and budget. You can write specs and standards, but you can’t define human experience. The quality of experience is a function of how people invest their time, energy, and trust. I saw trust in every step of SOBCon
- Trust with the planning. I trust myself. I trust my integrity. I trust my advisors who get relentless phone calls about the content ideas that change, evolve, grow, mutate like living organisms. I trust their honesty, patience, and good will for the conference.
- Trust in my partner. Trust in Terry means I never think about whether he’s there to support me, whether I’ll need to defend my ideas. I trust that he’ll tell me when I’m off my rocker. I trust that he’ll be there in the dark of night when everyone else is sleeping.
- Trust in the folks who offer the time to the project. It’s more than delegation when your house payment counts on it. It’s more than getting help when your name is on the letterhead. Trust is a big word when it’s possible that people could be making more work not less. It’s even bigger when some volunteers disappear or soon show they want the benefits of participating without much investment.
- The mutual trust with the sponsors, speakers, and attendees. We all trusted that we all would deliver.
- Trust that serious work can be fun. Being in a room where we can finally ask unabashed questions and get solid answers … or create new solutions is invigorativing and reminds us that we can do things we forgot we knew how. Our minds release different chemicals when we play with ideas.
- Trust in ourselves. Letting go, asking unabashed questions to get solid answers … and creating new solutions … is invigorativing. How cool is it to be reminded that we can do things we forgot we knew how.
SOBCon runs on trust and produces actionable ideas.
It was 130 people all set on learning this new world of ours, all set on helping each other out. That kind of energy is electric, spontaenous, and self-generating. In a high trust environment, we talk and think faster and laugh more. The ideas come at the speed of the Internet with humanity and just don’t stop.
Trust doesn’t rule out everything else. It wraps up the other values … competence, integrity, generosity, comaradeship, and so many others. But trust is the fuel and the frequency of SOBCon.
Ever been part of a community on the same frequency?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!
Lisa Thorell says
Excellent post here on the difficulty of explaining the unexplainable, more specifically, the difficulty of using words and written language to convey human experiential events. One encounters this most obviously in “explaining” Twitter to people who never used it.
Particularly like this:
“But it’s not about finding your frequency by ruling out everything else; on the contrary, it’s about finding the frequency that includes all those other important values and ideals.”
ME Liz Strauss says
If you find that sentence brilliant, I think you’ll like all of Steve Farber’s books. He’s an outstanding thinker, writer, and human being. I’m lucky to know him.
I couldn’t agree with you more.