Potluck! 14.0: Eight Speakers, Six Minutes Each
Yesterday evening, Liz and I headed over to to attend Potluck! 14.0, an event where eight speakers were given six minutes each to talk about whatever they liked. I was one of the participants, and I was looking forward to seeing this really cool space, firsthand.
The interesting thing about the lineup is that it’s a curated one. You can’t really apply to appear at one of these events. Rather, the organizers find people they know/meet and the speaker list is invitation-only.
While not required, Saya and Pete were encouraging people who wanted to, to live-tweet things using the #IdeaPotluck tag. As incentive, they offered up a prize bag filled with all sorts of good stuff (with no small amount of Luna Bars) to the person with the “best” post about the event.
A glimpse of the stage area. Note the awesomely comfy couches near the projector, and that also occupy the first row. It was a really intimate space, and made things feel less like a formal presentation – and more like just talking to a room full of friendly people.
Folks mingling about, before the start.
A quick view of the room, prior to the start. Not pictured – the large group of people sitting on the couches, to the right of this image.
Me, talking about working at the Q101 radio station, and running this daily blog for over 12 years. Kind of hard to summarize my talk, as I jumped around all over the place. If you really want to know how Mr. T, Emily Dickinson, and the luckiest penny in the world all tie together… let me know, and I can maybe tell you in person. Might be easier that way.
For those that attended, here’s proof that the bank (where I found the lucky penny) got robbed the next day.
Patty Morrissey talked about Wednesday dinners and the importance of family. It was a very touching and emotional talk, and was something that Liz and I were both inspired by. On our drive home, we wondered how we might go about having people over at our place, more regularly, to share a meal.
Adam Desjardins had the crowd in stitches, with his “12 Reasons Not to Have Kids.” He and I talked later in the evening about polyphasic sleep – which I’m hoping he doesn’t attempt (but a small part of me does).
Mike Carpenter gave a very meta (and fast-paced) presentation on… well, presentations and communication. He employed an improv technique called “half-life” where he attempted to cover his topic in smaller increments.
First, he went for 3 minutes. Then he started over with only a minute thirty. It got to the point where he only had seconds to cover his points, and he was bounding around the room trying to get everything out.
Casey McMillan spoke about her younger self, and trying to reconnect with the imaginative, creative girl from her childhood. She told a great story about a “magic carpet” that someone had created for her, which she would sit on and read… and it sounded magical. And when she broke it out for the crowd to see, everyone went nuts (and was instantly super-jealous).
She closed her talk by sitting on the magic carpet (at the crowd’s insistence), and reading a poem she wrote. It wasn’t an easy thing for her to read in public, and the crowd was incredibly moved and incredibly supportive throughout.
Tommy Choi talked about drawing inspiration from his dry cleaner, and how he incorporated many of those lessons into his everyday professional life. He spoke about how the dry cleaner would always open the door for customers – not as a point of differentiation, but because it was simply a nice thing to do. He also talked about how to become the “best version of yourself,” and how the fear of being punched in the face is oftentimes worse than the punch itself.
Ashleigh Edwards was my favorite presenter of the night, as she had me laughing pretty much non-stop. Her talk was on her interest (obsession?) with John Cusack and centered on why he’s always depicted in the rain, in many of his movies. She then went and showed example after example, even citing a moment in the movie 1408 where he gets drenched while indoors.
Asleigh’s presence and timing were fantastic, and her delivery of jokes was just great. One of my favorite phrases of hers was when she talked about how Cusack seemed to be inviting otheres into “his moist existence.” Hysterical stuff.
Henry Riggs, who played two songs for the crowd. He talked about his musical process a little bit, and how he would sometimes just record himself playing and used music to “get things out.” And then he’d go back over the recordings, and pick through words and sounds… and then craft his songs from there.
While he was tuning his guitar between songs, his B string broke, and he just moved on like a champ, brushing it off and not missing a beat. The second song he performed was, I think, called “Hideous Love Mutants” and was part of a musical. As he was performing this, I overheard someone behind me say “If it has mutants and love in the title, we’re totally going.”
Group shot of the presenters. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the stage with these folks, and really enjoyed listening to everyone’s talk. I understand now why the event is curated, as everyone just did a fantastic job talking about their passions, their lives, and did so in really creative and entertaining ways.
The space at Potluck! was also fantastic, but the crowd is really the main draw. Though I barely knew anyone, it felt like a room full of friends – and the crowd is there, encouraging the speakers every step of the way.
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