I spent the past two days in an old building in SE Portland with an absolutely amazing group of people, hearing passionate people talk about doing what they love. I am still amazed that I was there and feel so lucky that I got to attend XOXO. I went into the weekend not quite sure what it was going to be like, but super excited not just for the speakers and fringe events, but excited for the attendees. As the weekend approached my twitter feed was filled with so many people whose work I’ve admired flying into my town, that I got more and more excited. And the short bit here is that the weekend was so much better than I ever thought it was going to be.
I also approached this weekend differently and didn’t really take notes as I listened. As a matter of fact, most of the people in the audience were just sitting listening with very few lap tops out. It was a treat to just soak it in and then chat about it with the people around me afterwards and over lunch at the carts. I also really enjoyed the way the talks were set up with some shorter 15 minute talks and then longer 30 minutes talks and the keynotes were 45 minutes. Sometimes I think the shorter talks can be better because they distill what they wanted to say down to the essence and I love that.
If I had to pick one overarching theme from the weekend that is sticking with me it is to not be afraid and do what you love. When you follow your passion things will work out and the various people who spoke all work in very different fields, but they followed what they love and amazing things happened to them. I want to own this for myself and to focus on that one thing that I truly love rather than be so scattered, which I’ve felt quite a bit lately.
If you want to get more detail about the talks, Anil Dash live blogged the event, so head over to his site and check out all the posts. He did an amazing job of really capturing the talks and the feel of the room.