13 May 2010

Last week I attended the SF New Tech event on Mobile Tech at Mighty on invitation (and free ticket) from Melissa Dodd. I went on a slight whim, thinking that I wanted to immerse myself in a tech entrepreneur environment, listen to people starting things, get a sense of what was out there right now. I expected a smart and over-educated crowd with inflated egos. What I got instead was a lot of very enthusiastic and realistic risk-takers that unexpectedly inspired me.

I spent a few minutes talking to Ashley Wali of Cleargears. She put herself out there and asked to join our slightly insular group and conversation and impressed me from the beginning. She was lovely, open and encouraging, excited about what she's doing, and unpretentious. She remembered names well and asked us what we were working on (a great, unassuming question that makes people much less defensive). S.5 talked about her design business and Ashley immediately got her contact info for potential collaborations. When she asked me what I was doing, I talked about my background in education and interest in technology and attempts to explore the intersections. Ashley's clear enthusiasm and support of my ideas surprised me, though I'm realizing now it shouldn't have. She told me her and her husband had always been moved by the disparities in education and that they fully supported any efforts to use technology to improve the situation and propel educators forward.

I was touched and realized that my mission, once I articulate it, will easily get support. At this event I saw people of various ages trying things, failing, adapting, adjusting, and trying again. They were funny and had flaws. They made themselves vulnerable by presenting their ideas, being open to criticism and suggestions, and learning from it all. Tal Flanchraych from Cabulous was one such example. I loved it. I had to leave earlier than I wanted because they started late and I had other stuff scheduled for the evening, but I know I want more of this. I'm on SF New Tech's mailing list and will look for more (free/cheap) tech events to attend.

Lastly, since that event I've been thinking of my reading and talking to people and watching videos as research, as my own curriculum for the degree in My Career that I'm giving myself right now. I'll be posting links to particularly powerful ideas and articles here in the right column of this blog, calling it my Class Syllabus. And I love these classes! My only wish is that all of this fantastic process would also yield me a credential or diploma that others would respect, and that would boost my resume. Sigh.