It took a few days to come back down to earth after that phenomenal blogger ball last Thursday evening at Flannery's. More than 80 writers, bloggers, techies "and random smart people" as one blogger brilliantly put it, showed up to investigate all the noise and/or commune with like-minded folks. Here's what we know for sure:
--Eric Olsen is fast becoming a folk hero for his manic, jazz-like riff, a briliant piece of performance art that electrified anyone who witnessed it. Had it had been taped, it would have had a months-long afterlife bouncing around the web like that infamous minute-long clip of Steve Ballmer madly exhorting fellow Microsofties to eat their young at a company sales event (briefly earning him the nickname Monkey Man). Only Olsen's Ode was perhaps even more calculated--I think he wanted to wake up what was becoming perhaps a too-earnest evening with a visible, palpable reminder of what the energy of the web and blogging--and the writing life--is all about, or at least should be. And like every good writer, he simply ignored, hell, he obliterated, the silly boundaries that had been put before him and got to the heart of the matter at hand. Forget trying to do this in 5-7 minutes, he figured, I'm just going to get up here and give them the 12-gauge shotgun and see what happens. And what happened was magic.
--Jim Kukral gets rookie of the year, for his reconstituted blog. But actually, that's cheating, cause the guy is as experienced as they come, and he'll be welcomed back to the scene, embraced by his peers for his dashing, slashing style and his dead-on observations. We're especially awaiting his observations about business blogging, which is where this is all heading, especially for those of us who subscribe to the principal that our only goal in life is to make it unclear about whether we're working or playing.
--The legend of G will continue to grow, as well as his role as network hub, fed by his manic caffeinated work ethic (he does have a fulltime job, allegedly) and ease of networking with geek and non-geek alike.
--Like a good performer who leaves the stage too soon rather than too late, Don coquetishly (and humbly) raised his skirt just enough to leave us all hungering for more insight on his thinking and his approach. We'll need a night with him alone in order to pull it all out of him.
--Schumann's Toastmaster training was on display, with the clunky opening joke and all. But that only served to endear him all the more to an audience that's long-overdue to hear from him.
--Jim Miller took the unprecedented but welcomed step for an old leftie organizer: he actually did some marketing, preparing a one-sheet backgrounder on his listserv, What's Up in Northeast Ohio.
Here's some WSC (woulda, shoulda, coulda) regrets, the kind one gets as they replay an event tape, and begin thinking about the things that were missed (though there'll be plenty more chances to make it up):
--How could we have overlooked shining the spotlight on the national-class eminence among us, Kenn Louis?
--Or on the ever-quotable Jack R., two of whose books, on collaborative creativity and accidental conversations, serve as something of a theoretical underpinning for the movement in these parts (remember how the old Communist parties had a minister of theory)?
Still, these are relatively minor quibbles, all things considered. Thursday night's real enduring contribution is at least two-fold: it brought together smart, curious people from different industries (that ordinarily don't much talk to each other) into a new kind of network community. Chris Thompson, in attendance that night, may well have been thinking about this when he wrote (or at least posted) the next morning about how Cleveland's various business networks "are comparable to proprietary computer networks with no ability to communicate with other networks...We can complain until the end of time about the closed, conservative nature of Cleveland's business community. Or we can work to reshape and revolutionize it." And as Don Iannone wrote in his stunning new Conscious Living blog, the event helped all of us "to see more clearly the complex web of people in the Cleveland area who search for connectivity with themselves and others."
After last week, I feel hyperconnected just now. How about you?