Some of you may have noticed a flurry of posts and Facebook activity to promote the WCF and its associated Creative Class meeting; since at least one friend asked me why I am so active in this, let me share the remarks I sent to Juha, as they may be interesting for others.
Consultants are a dime a dozen. Of course, I think I am special, but so does any other consultant on the planet, without exception.
The only way I can actually demonstrate to be “special” is by managing a balancing act: on one hand, put to work my methodology in real life cases. I have been lucky enough to accumulate a wealth of experience and cases, but I need to continue practicing the concreteness mantra, to avoid becoming a hot air balloon, all theory and no practice.
On the other hand, I must continue to push the envelope of my thinking, by challenging its wisdom and comparing my experiences with others; this I can only do by reading, listening, discussing in a genuine open environment.
So the question is where I can find places where this discussion can actually happen. The big events have become the unquestioned domain of marketing show-off: MWC, SXSW, Burning Man and even fabled TED have all gone mainstream: nobody really discussed, everybody shows off.
In truth I remember well when Matthew told me I get my butt over to TED, or when Sean and Ana said they were looking for friends to spend a weekend in the Black Rock desert: I had never heard of these places and couldn’t be bothered, but they were right and I was wrong, so chalk these up as missed opportunities.
Is the WCF the next TED? I don’t really know – I got involved by chance, but I met some interesting people there, I had some interesting discussion and no, there’s not much marketing going on. This must be hell for Yana and Alex and Val and all the other fine people who are trying to pull this off, but on the other hand it makes the attendance experience so much more enriching from a human standpoint.
So here I am, torn between the hope that WCF becomes a huge success for those who pour so much effort in it, and a secret hope it remains a small group of people coming from all corners of the world, especially outside of the “traditional” western countries, which adds to the fascination for me and perhaps forces us to contemplate these new, huge, young and growing economic systems grappling with the same issues facing enterprises across the world, but with the clean slate of someone who skipped Porter and Kotler to land with both feet on Robert Scoble and Seth Godin.