“What are you planning to do in 2009?”, or thoughts about #lifecamptoronto

I’d been meaning to hold a lifehacking-oriented BarCamp since early last year. Timing is particularly good over the next two months: January is when most people make their resolutions and goals for the year, and February is when most people abandon them. By sharing best practices and support, we might be able to inject that extra little bit of energy people need to get over that hump… and by sharing our goals with each other, we can deepen our connectivity as a community.

Here’s a snippet that shows you just how powerful this is:

What are you planning to do – no matter how large or how small – to make the world better in 2009?

One of our Ferrazzi Greenlight thought leaders, Mark Goulston, M.D, recently asked this at a networking meeting of high level lawyers, financial advisors, CPAs, and consultants. Mark noticed something interesting happening: People could recall, almost to a man, what others said their 2009 mission would be. Meanwhile, after having been together five years in this group, they still had trouble remembering who was in what profession! Elevating the conversation to something that truly inspired them connected them in a way that professional small talk never could.

Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone

(Check out their discussions, too!)

One of the best things I did during the holiday season (and quite possibly one of the best networking things I’ve done in the past year) was to send out my updates and ask for people’s goals. It sparked wonderful conversations with many of the 200 people in my initial list. If people e-mailed me their plans, I added notes to their address book records so that I could remember their goals. Knowing that about people made me feel much closer to them, and I’m actively looking for or keeping an eye out for things that can help. Based on that great response, I’m now slowly expanding it to my LinkedIn and Facebook contacts as well.

I’d like to do this, but on a bigger scale. I want to start experimenting with facilitating networking events – not the schmoozy, sleazy type of networking events, but something positive, filled with energy, and packed with hacks for making your life better. I want people to come together, learn a whole bunch of useful tips, share what they’re passionate about and what they want to make happen, and meet people who can help them make those things a reality. I want to create an environment for maximum serendipity.

So here’s what I envision:

  • People will submit their goals and tips before the event, on a website that helps people identify people they might want to meet up with.
  • It’ll be a brunch event, because morning’s a great creative time and we need excuses to drag ourselves out of bed (relatively) early on a Saturday or Sunday morning
  • There’ll be coffee, tea, and morning snacks, sponsored by smart companies interested in people interested in developing themselves, personal development coaches, gyms…
  • Everyone’s nametags will have a number and their first and last names on them. The number will be cross-referenced with the website list, to make it easier for people to get back in touch with each other afterwards. Maybe like the way speed dating is set up…
  • The event will have an open mike where people can share their goals and their tips. If people find the tip helpful, they can write the person’s number down to thank them later. If people can help with the person’s goal, they’ll raise their hands and shout out their number. The person at the mike can write down that number and try to bump into those people during the rest of the event.
  • The rest of event will be for networking.
  • After the event, people can use the website to look up people’s web addresses or e-mail addresses. Alternatively, people can drop their contact slips into a box. I can encode and send out lots of connecting e-mails in case of a match or partial match.

I’d like to make this happen in January or February. I need:

  • co-conspirators who can help me plan the event, since I’m new to event-planning
  • a target date
  • a website – we can start with something like eventbrite or a wiki page
  • lists of people possibly interested in attending
  • lists of people attending
  • a bright and sunny place where we can have a brunch event with a sound system, depends on number of people
  • sponsors, or someone who can help me learn to approach sponsors (after we figure out how big the event will be)

You know it’ll be interesting. Let’s make it happen. =) Or borrow the idea and make it happen in your own city – that would be awesome too!

4 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://itellstories.org Sameer Vasta

    Sounds like a fantastic idea Sacha! Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be around to help plan (plus, I’m not much of an event planner) but you might want to get the attention of Mark Kuznicki. He’s a pro at mobilizing community and has been involved in planning a lot of cool events in Toronto. He’s at http://remarkk.com.

  • gary

    it is a great concept especially the goal focus. i am weak on the details of organizing it in reality. i would like to be able to contribute a goal without being there in person. gary

  • gary

    *By sharing best practices and support, we WILL be able to inject THE energy people need to get over that hump!*

    sharing our goals with each other, WE CAN DEEPEN OUR CONNECTIVITY AS A COMMUNITY. i see tremendous potential here. – gary

  • http://remarkk.com/ Mark Kuznicki

    Great idea Sacha! And, as you already have a hashtag all picked out, you should really launch this idea on Twitter and watch it take off! We’re planning #ChangeCamp on Saturday, January 24th and #CupcakeCamp is on Sunday the 25th. – @remarkk

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  • http://twonotesahead.com Aidan Nulman

    Great idea, Sacha! I’d love to help out however I can (and am thus emailing your personal email now…)!

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  • http://coldacid.net Chris Charabaruk

    I’ve gone and added LifeCampTO to Upcoming, since I seem to be using that for tracking all my events these days (helps that it’s the only event site hooked up with FriendFeed atm). It’s here and points to the EventBrite page.

    • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

      Awesome! Thanks, Chris!

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