San Francisco Sunshine

Home again and settled in after many magical days in San Francisco. I had so many phenomenal conversation, and I simply must share a bit of it with you.

When you have an hour or so with someone you have been admiring for a long time, how do you make the time productive? I had lots of practice on this trip.

1. Gil Friend. As I walked up to the building we were to meet in, I saw a man just ahead of me. Dark hair streaked deeply with gray. Yep, it was Gil. And as he turned, he saw me. Thank goodness for profile pictures and avatars. He recognized me immediately. We sat down in the Natural Logic office space – a warm open area full of treasures, books, and yet a bit minimal too. He asked me for a story, and I gave him one. I spoke of years in the country, middle america, of gardens and composting, of care for community, of care for the land. I told him of the path that brought me to thrivability – via philanthropy, writing, and social change and online community, network weaving and the gifts of strangers. I showed him the thrivability cards and spoke of my vision for growing this work. He listened. He really listened. He smiled. There is something quite thrilling about having someone you admire hear your story. I mean really hear it. And I asked him for his story. And he told it. It is his to tell. I listened, as you know I do. Deeply, feeling the emotion behind the words and the passion fueling the effort to move along the path. If I admired him from afar before, I admire him even more on closer connection.

I look forward to reading his book, The Truth about Green Business. Gil has the experience to have watched the green movement evolve for nearly 40 years, and he has the rigor and presence to discern what works and when.

2. Bobby Fishkin of Reframeit, a firefox add-on that lets you mark up the margins of any webpage (and see what others have marked up too). I met Bobby, late, for crepes. (FYI – do not think that a stroll from the Embarcadero straight up California to Van Ness is easy or quick.) Bobby has a mind like a racecar and a tongue of a poet or playwright. Well, the later makes more sense as he has written plays. I met him originally at NetSquared in 08. And I delighted in seeing him at sxsw (we had dinner with Frank Hamilton and Evonne Heyning there). He is young, brilliant, creative, and delightful. I do not know what will will ever do together, but I am sure the path forward will be fun, interesting, and profound.

3. David Hodgson. Well the main purpose of the visit was to spend time with David hacking on thrivable and revenue streams. We spent much of Monday doing wall drawings and having conversations before heading out for Paul Romer’s talk at the Long Now Foundation.

Tuesday! Lovely Tuesday!
4. David Evan Harris of Global Lives and research guy at IFTF. I took the train down to Palo Alto for the Internet Identity Workshop, so I lined up all the visits in that area on Tuesday. I got off the CalTrain and switched to a local train. Only the ticket machine didn’t take credit, and I didn’t have enough cash! However, a lovely man had said hello to me. I asked him where a cash machine was, and he generously gave me a dollar so I could take the train immediately. Thank you Sam. So…on to David. He was recovering from a bit of surgery. We talked of this and many other things. And now I owe him a ton of emails for follow up. David is a wonderful and creative thinker with a heart of brilliant gold. We spoke about philanthropy and thrivability. He shared a bit about the Long Now Foundation and a few other orgs helping with Global Lives.

5. Kaliya Hamlin, Judi Clark, Guillaume LeBleu and a host of others at the Internet Identity Workshop. I made it in time to enjoy a few quick conversations with these friends before a session on Currency. Now you know I had to come for that, and Kaliya had tipped me off on the time to attend. Thanks Kaliya. I still need to send photos of the notes I took on the board during the session. Waves to Hannes, a new friend I met there.

6. Thomas Kriese. mmmmm Thomas, it appears, has left Omidyar Network. We had a terrific conversation over coffee discussing urban chickens, triathalon training, and thrivability. I always cherish time with Thomas, and I love how he pokes at my ideas to test them and me.

7. David’s Dinner: Lana Holmes, Ann Vowels, Carmen Mauk, and Mariah Howard plus David and I. MMMmmmm good food, fabulous wine, and amazing encouragement. I can’t even describe the energy in that room, and perhaps I should not try, for there was safety in that space that I would not want to break. However, I will say that I was inspired and well fed – body, heart, head, and spirit.

8. Ken Homer and his lovely and funny wife Diane Fischler. David and I drove out to Marin to see Ken and Diane. The two of them have a wonderful and playful dynamic between them. Warming to see. I have met Ken once before. He is a total twitter connection, just as David is. Ken really knows how to have productive conversations. And I don’t say that in any way flippantly. With years of doing world cafe, coaching, and facilitation, Ken is very clear on process and has some terrific webinars now on conversation art. He took David and I for a walk in Kentfield? We absorbed amazing views, many micro-climates, with a rich and diverse topic range as well. Ken took the lead and told us inspiring stories, guiding us through the rich topography of his knowledge and experience while we navigated the varied mountain terrain. It is beautiful to watch connection emerge as people move deeper into awareness of each other, and I was delighted to watch this process as Ken and David “grew on” each other.

9. Ken Lynch. I was serious about it being a Ken day. 🙂 David and I passed through the campus of Dominican where he earned his Green MBA (gorgeous space), and into an area in the East Bay to meet Ken Lynch for dinner. I met Ken through my dear pal, Jo Guldi, because Ken was working on carbon coins and very interested in currencies. He came through Chicago, and we talked briefly. I was here to get an update on the currency work he was doing. My takeaways from this meeting were less about specific outcomes and more about sensing that Ken is one wicked dude. And I don’t mean evil at all, I mean bright, pure hearted, very present, determined, curious, and open.

10. Jerry Michalski and April Rinne. Mmmmmm Jerry and April. While I stayed with them, I don’t feel like I got serious conversation time with either of them at any length. I reveled in the flowing love between them and the presence of great intellect and warm humor, play and reverence. To give you a sense of it, April and I had a brief but intense discussion about philanthropy. I think she got more out of me about my big beliefs in 5 minutes than most people ever get. And dynamically, at one moment I think Jerry had April in some wild circus-like position, and I thought, they have the cirque du soliel in their living room.

11. Charles dear Magowan. I met CM years ago on Onet. And he has made me laugh regularly ever since. I take deep delight in wandering with him anywhere, as he has this amazing encyclopedic knowledge of something within sight. (I sense this is especially true in San Francisco.) I learned about the changes in Cognitive psychology, the history of Crissy Field, the efficiency of the biz model for his upcoming wild business, and so much more. To understand my relationship with Charles, one must understand my appreciation of absurd humor, the male mind, professorial dynamics, and a love of being a bit awed.

12. Kevin Jones. Well, Charles took me for a bit too long of a walk, so I drove dear Ziggy (Jerry’s old BMW) across town as best I could. I was very late to meet Kevin, and he was very kind and gracious anyway. Like Gil, I have been watching Kevin for a long time. Admiring for years –, good capital, socap… all good works. How do you connect in 20 minutes or so? We moved fast and talked faster. cards, games, thrivability. Boom. and off I went.

I also spent more time with David and had lunch with Chris Watkins (ChrisWaterGuy) of Appropedia. I missed his comrade Lonny. I stayed a couple nights with my dear cousin Kim too! I also missed Kara (someone I had met at Portland BarCamp a couple years ago). There are many friends I did not get to see nor have time to meet with. 🙁 Almost all of the conversations were too short. And I feel really touched by these connections and inspired on the path forward. Thank you. And thank you to David for making it all possible!

ps. On the way home, I got a fabulous education on Hinduism from an amazing man from Mumbai, Pradeep. What am amazing trip.