January 22, 2009

When I grow up, I will have friends and strangers over for dinner

January 22, 2009 - Categories: connecting, event, social

Every week for the past 30 years, I’ve hosted a Sunday dinner in my home in Paris. People, including total strangers, call or e-mail to book a spot. I hold the salon in my atelier, which used to be a sculpture studio. The first 50 or 60 people who call may come, and twice that many when the weather is nice and we can overflow into the garden.

People from all corners of the world come to break bread together, to meet, to talk, connect and often become friends. All ages, nationalities, races, professions gather here, and since there is no organized seating, the opportunity for mingling couldn’t be better. I love the randomness.

Jim Haynes, NPR

Someday, when I am my bestest self, I will host regular lunches or dinners, and I will bring interesting people together for conversation. In preparation for this, I’m learning how to organize events around themes, and I occasionally practice with dinner parties. I’d like to learn how to scale beyond the eight people who can comfortably fit around the dinner table. I’d also like to learn how to host these events without disrupting home too much, respecting the need for privacy and time. I’m still not comfortable holding regular restaurant-based events because restaurants are too noisy and not set up for good conversation, but I haven’t been to enough of these events to figure out how to set up a home for conversation salons. (We don’t have cocktail tables or endless stacks of saucers. ;) )

Someday…

Has anyone figured this out? Can anyone help me learn?

Hat tip to Keith Ferrazzi for the link.

The unexpected lightness of learning

January 22, 2009 - Categories: learning

I had been invited to participate in the usability studies for Pass It Along, an IBM peer-to-peer learning system. The project team was planning a revamp of the site, and Amanda had prepared a visual design for our feedback.

The logo she used was simple: passitalong, lowercase, with “it” shaded in a different color. I couldn’t help but comment on how wonderfully symmetric it was, with the two descenders (the bottom parts of p and g) at both ends of the word. No, really, look at it.

passitalong

It’s prettier than “Pass It Along.” I’d never noticed things like that before I started to learn about type, and now exposure and awareness lets me appreciate new things.

When I commented on the pleasing symmetry of the descenders, Amanda stopped and laughed. She said, “You know about descenders?! You always surprise me!”

So I told her about @fivetwelve‘s braindump of cool font resources (The Elements of Typographic Style (Bringhurst), ilovetypography.org) after he saw (on Twitter) how I enjoyed the Helvetica documentary.

Jargon is the secret handshake of different professions, a shibboleth that distinguishes between people inside and outside. It’s fun crossing boundaries and learning about people’s fields, and it’s fun being able to see things in a new light. =)

Reblogged: Web 2.0, Sharing, and Uncertain Times

January 22, 2009 - Categories: Uncategorized

Just posted some reflections on today’s mentoring conversation. Check it out on our team blog: Conversations with a Mentor: Web 2.0, Sharing, and Uncertain Times