In the past, I have had to practically be held down and reminded to keep it simple, stupid. These are the KISSes I get. And they are necessary as when I think about things, when I pour myself into a project, I invariably over think it. Just a little background about myself. I emcee shows and do comedy when I can. And there is this adage amongst my small following that goes like this: "Where is Jared in the living room?" What that implies is that people came to the show based on the Jared they'd seen in more casual circumstances. It is around these professional turns where they are greeted with elaborate thought-out jokes that leave the room silent. You can hear someone stirring their drink and hoping for a building fire.
You'll note in the video above that at about :30 I fall into some premeditated garbage, and then at about 1:05 the Tourette's guy saves me.
It isn't always that bad, but the point is that it could be better. It always could be better. In my mind that means I must concoct some more humor, but to the overwhelming majority of others it means that I must relax and be myself.
This brings me to #YxYY.
Here's the deal with this festival of Yes (yestival?) at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs: It's not a conference. They call it a nonference and its eclectic mix of startup gurus, futurists and brainy eccentrics in general has garnered it the name "Burning Ted." It's a cross between the wide open desert festivities of Burning Man and the intellectual enlightenment of Ted Talks. All of that might sound complicated, but in fact it's the simplest thing yet. If you can handle it.
It's jarring because most of the events aren't posted until a few days before, many of them created on the fly. Can you handle that? Can you deal not having a schedule? At first, I struggled.
But a most important tenet of #YxYY is that there are no sales or marketing. You're not there to promote your business or sell domain names. You're there to share ideas. Actually, you float around in a pool and talk to people. You get drinks on the patio and meet people from all different places and backgrounds. You get together and carve out little bits of life to highlight and discuss. You go to a special room and play with kittens.
It's true. In one of the most brilliant conference ideas I've seen, the local shelter brought in kittens that needed play time and, ultimately, adopted. Several found new homes.
WHICH IS WHERE I found myself. A new place with no rules. I had a head full of promotional ideas, but this place didn't need or want them. And in a terrible twist, I found that I had no idea how to talk to people at a conference if it wasn't about business. I sat by myself and racked my brain for ideas. I'd drop some small talk and then find myself in a corner. I had nowhere to go. The feral monkeys of my brain tore about my cranial landscape, ripping through old files and shrieking in a panic. I'd often glance at the ground, giving the curious bystanders the resignation they needed to leave.
The problem, it turns out, is that Jared had left the living room. He was in the desert both literally and figuratively; the scorching sun a spotlight on failure. WHICH IS THE PROBLEM. It's not a show. Even shows aren't shows. It's an opportunity to be you. YOU. SWEET MOIST MOSES ON A MOUNTAIN TOP YOU GET TO BE YOU. Even if your 'you' is a person who caves in conversation then, heck, go with it. I once read that to deal with ADD (my wife had suggested I research it) that you can simply tell people you have an attention disorder so they don't think it's them. And, guess what? That's a conversation. That's the beginning of some common thread as everyone struggles to be on their game all the time.
But it's not a game. It's life. And it shouldn't be so difficult. Especially when your by a pool in Palm Springs.