Savoring People in San Fran

Wow, what an incredible trip.

Friday night I arrived in San Francisco. Michael Maranda and I drove to the San Fran University area to meet with the Appropedia folks organizing the Open Sustainability Network camp. Discovering that they didn’t have a clear plan for facilitation, I stepped in. I knew if I didn’t that it would not be where I wanted to be. Do-acracy, right. :) The amazing and delightful Evonne Heyning along with her handsome, Brent, joined us. (Despite her living in LA, we do manage to make our paths cross several times a year.) I have a tagging project in mind based on an idea I came up with during the Omidyar.net days. It will be perfect for collaborating with Amoration and Evonne’s circles of love. I will tell you about it when we are ready. (Too bad I missed Tony Deifell, because he is such a whiz at spreading mind-opening ideas.)

Saturday the conference began. An amazing woman, Amber Word, arrived to act as our greeter and artist. I wrote up the four principles of Open Space and the two laws, then Amber drew a splendid butterfly and bumblebee. Collectively we created our marketplace, and I was pleased to see a rich collection of ideas being explored next to projects being shared. We, of course, had a session to discuss what sustainability means. I am thrilled to share that people really loved the thrivability framing. Let the thrivability meme propagate!

I left a bit early (Michael Maranda took over running the evening news). Kaliya had arrived, and we talked until it was time to head to the East Bay. (Kaliya missed the Sunday session where her knowledge of open standards would have been incredibly useful. Perhaps her energy helped create that space/conversation.) Kaliya and I jumped on public transit and talked on the ride to Rockridge. I always enjoy her discerning insight into process and identity. We parted with promises to hang out at the Bioneers after-party on Sunday.

Next, Tom Portante met me at the train stop. We have been talking about going out to Tilden for a carousel ride for a couple months. We made it just in time for two twirls around the merry-go-round. As we walked up to it, I realized that it might be sort of silly for two adults to be riding, but I let that inner voice fade into silence as the horses went up and down, and the spin nearly pulled me off the saddle. What a thrill. How alive! We had time for dinner and espresso in Berkeley before arriving at Wisteria Ways for a house concert. (I did their web design years ago.) After hugging my old friend Lisa Tracy, we reveled in the amazing voice of Amy X Neuberg. WOW. Fantastic experience, and Tom is just the person to share it with. He really knows how to savor experiences.

Sunday at the conference found new friends easily discussing projects, actions, and possibilities at the Open Sustainability Network conference (#osn). I enjoyed conversations on geo-mashups, messaging the network, and building a coalition for Open Sustainability. I think we came away with a group committed to sharing data and creating data-standards–yeah!!! Post-conference de-brief dinner was lovely ending with goodbyes to several of our amazing circle. But I managed to steal away Lonny, Amber, Chris, and Scott for the Bioneers afterparty.

We arrived miraculously (without clear directions) at the Sacred Grove. I managed to find both Kaliya and Kachina Katrina. We thought we might stay an hour, but we wandered, danced, and played until 3am. (I believe the band we danced to was Dogon Lights.) I might have mingled more, but it was gret to focus on playing with the people I brought.

Monday started late. :) I met Lisa Parker on Haight at The People’s Cafe. (I met Lisa at our Inspired Legacies event in late June.) We have much in common and a shared vision, so our time together went fast. I am eager to see what Lisa does next with YouthGive as well as her own efforts to help democratize philanthropy.

Monday evening was our dinner party! Rather than run around the Bay Area having one on one meetings this time, I had decided to have a dinner where people could meet each other. Jerry was one of the people I invited, and he had plans with some friends that night. So he brought them with. (Jerry and I are working together with some amazing people on guildsmiths.) Tracy Gary made it! (And my dear co-founder showed me our Inspired Legacies bi-annual report which consumed my life since early August along with our trade show booth banners – so terrific!). So the crew who turned up for dinner at Chow included: Jerry Michalski, April Rinne, Tracy Gary, Eric Utne, Leif Utne, Leif’s friend JP, Amber Word, Kaliya Hamlin, and later in the evening David Harris and his partner. Topics on the table included TheUptake (Leif is on the board), Zanby, EarthCouncils.org (Eric’s project), Global Lives (David’s work), Inspired Legacies (showing off the report), microfinance, and more. As the party broke up hours later, Leif invited those remaining to karaoke. Eric, Leif, JP, Amber and I wandered down the street, with all our bags in tow, to a fabulous little bar and some fun. I have never been to a karaoke night, so I had to turn off the little inner voice arguing not to do anything to look silly, and be open to whatever might happen. It was fabulous!

Tuesday again started late. I met with David Harris for more conversation (I have done some limited pro-bono consulting for Global Lives since I met David at Omidyar.net in 06.) He is consulting for Institute for the Future, so he gave me a tour and a handful of introductions. IFTF maps on the wall made me feel right at home. The experience was highly encouraging. We caught up a bit – David has been doing a lot of traveling for his project; then he kindly coached me some on the services Nurture offers. Since I passed Redwood City on the way to see David, I messaged Thomas Kriese. We met at Peets around 4pm for a fast-paced exchange and update. Next, I went back into San Fran to meet with Jodee Rich of Peoplebrowsr for a demo and discussion over dinner.

What a phenomenal trip. Thanks to everyone I met with! And apologies to many I missed this time through.

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