Let’s be blunt here, I’m a bit of a show off. There is nothing I like better than telling stories in front of a crowd of people. It’s exhilarating, I find it great fun, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that you’ve got an audience hanging on your every word (or even better, laughing).
There’s no doubt I’m a frustrated performer of some description. I can’t act, I can’t sing, I never felt good enough playing a music instrument… so these days alongside my day job I tell stories in ways that hopefully engages, entertains, and makes something click in people that helps them to see something about their world differently (and in a good way).
Some of the speaking I do pays the mortgage – either directly (a burgeoning paid speaker career is tantalisingly close) or indirectly (as a way to get myself in front of people who might then want me to do some work for them). Some of it I do just because I’m really excited to be a part of the event- Metaphwoar a few years ago, last years wonderful Silicon Beach, and next month’s Spark the Change all fall into that category.
I was contacted earlier this year about taking part in Spark the Change by a chap who I vaguely knew of from my time at the BBC, Dan Rough. I don’t think he and I ever really worked together, but there was a period when we were both working in the same department. He’d read a blog post of mine and thought it might make a good talk. Never being afraid of the sound of my own voice, I took him up on the offer.
There are two things that have really piqued my interest in the July event. Firstly that I’ll be speaking on the same bill as Tim Harford, something of a hero of mine. And secondly that the organisers, Dan’s company Gamevy, is really, really interesting. What they do is, well, some online game stuff. But how they are organised… well, see for yourself.
There are lots of people talking about wanting to innovate and disrupt at the moment. Most of it is hyperbole, or phrased something like “We’d like to be really innovative, so can you show us somewhere where that has worked in the past?”. People who actually go out there and do something really innovative are much fewer on the ground. I’ve been asked to take part in an event organised and run by such people.
Excited? You betcha.