Friday, March 20, 2009

What I Learned from Ignite Boise

What did I learn last night at Ignite Boise? We're going to be just fine.

Despite the bad economic news and decline in business prosperity all around us if we go local, recharge the batteries and gear-up for the eventual upturn in our economy, we'll come out stronger in the end.  In fact, this is an opportunity to change the way we do things.  The old ways of doing business will die and new industries will emerge.

I'm still somewhat on a high from last night's event.  It was exciting to be a part of an energizing gathering that put on display some the brightest and most talented people the Treasure Valley has to offer.  With TVCNet being a sponsor of the event, I even had the opportunity to speak for a couple minutes about TVCNet and give my thoughts on what Ignite Boise means to our community (my thanks to the organizers for the opportunity).

To recap, here were some of the topics that caught my attention and how I think they apply to consulting and the independent professional to today's business climate:

  • Business Lessons Learned from Star Wars - Are you going to be Darth Vader, ruthless and unforgiving, or are you going to be Obi-Wan Kenobi, a wise mentor? It's how you decide to interact with others and the path you choose in life that will determine your success.  I'd like to think most consultants act in the spirit of Obi-Wan, being a mentor and teacher to their clients.  Some unfortunately step into a situation like Darth Vader, powerful and knowledgeable in the Force, but using what they have for the wrong reasons.
  • Creativity and Play - As we grow older we tend to lose the love and passion we had for play and creativity as a child.  Play and creativity is what sparks imagination.  Imagination leads to innovation.  Give in to play and creativity in spite of looking like a fool. You'll be surprised that you can reward yourself for having the courage to give in to your inner child.  As consultants, we sometimes tend to be a little too serious.  Let's lighten up a bit.  It might do us some good.
  • Your Digital Legacy - Think about this: our grandparents and parent recorded their life through photos, letters and postcards.  What do we have today?  Digital photos, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, the list goes on and on.  How will the next generation be able to look back upon our lives?  It's very eye-opening.  The amazing thing about the age in which we live in is that we have expanded the potential to record more aspects about our lives than ever before.  Imagine as consultants how we can record all we know about our area of expertise.  The potential is unlimited in this day and age.
  • The Explosion of the Internet Age - The Internet Age has transformed how we access and consume content.  Media falls into one of two camps; the incumbents which are newspapers, radio and television and the newcumbants which have taken the incumbents online via websites, social networking and video sites like YouTube.  What was learned is that if you change the user experience slightly it has the potential to change things tremendously.  As a consultant, are you leveraging media as an incumbent or a newcumbent?  Think about it, because it is evident with the collapse of newspapers and traditional media that the winds of change are tending to favor the newcumbents.
  • The Myths of Idaho - My thoughts on this presentation are not so much centered on Idaho, but that in general myths have consequences and if we make our decsions based on myth there are consequences.  As a consultant and independent professional, are you making your decisions based on myth?  Are you clients operating based on myth.  The solution is to stop, even for a moment, and seek to understand.  Get the facts and make sound decisions based on truth, not myth.
  • It's Not a Recession, It's a Revolution - This was one of the best presentations of the evening.  As I mentioned earlier, even though we are bombarded daily with bad economic news and we see businesses declining and failing around us, we are in the midst of change.  The old ways of doing business are going to be replaced with new ways to do business.  It's not about jobs, it's about companies.  The seeds of revolution will being with start-ups and small business.  As a consultant, what are you doing to support this?
The quality of presentations last night will, in my opinion, create a firestorm for the next Ignite Boise.  I can only imagine what kind of presentations we will have and I'm looking forward to attending and getting involved.  TVCNet will definitely step up once again and sponsor the next event.

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