Speaking at the University of Arizona
Posted on Apr 05, 2008
The other weekend, Charlie and I, flew to the University of Arizona to speak at their Thinking Forward Leadership and Innovation in Marketing Conference. It was a cool experience. The people who were involved with the Conference are rather intelligent and they really blew my mind in regards to their thoughts on Threadless/social media/Internet communities. They have words that I have never used that they use to describe the things I do every day. Weird.
The trip was hilarious from the get go. On a Thursday, we flew into Phoenix via SouthWest. That airline is a clusterfuck. I am not a fan. However, it is much better when we have “Business Class” tickets - which apparently means we get a drink ticket to dull the pain, and get to board a bit earlier than the others. It was a mess of annoying drunk middle aged women on a group trip, children and indignant and entitled business men who thought they were all that. We owned them all. Once we landed, we rented a very stupid car, and then drove the neat/boring drive to Tucson. Once we got to Tucson, we wrote our presentation (luckily Jeffrey has spent countless hours creating legitimate slides for us slackers to pilfer) and got on our way.
We had some awesome Mexican Food. Went to a couple hilarious bars, met some cool people, and ended up at a lesbian bar. It was pretty different than our times in chicago. ;) The night life in Tucson, near the college, is full of college kids. Weird. Being around so many young people was invigorating. And annoying. haha. GOD I am so old. OMG.
The next day we went to the event and spoke. It went over well. We got some good feedback. Like: don’t swear as much, don’t put up Obama 2008 slides and practice before we actually do it. I thought that was decent feedback. I think if we did it again the only thing I wouldn’t change is the Obama slide, and it seem that was the most offensive. Apparently, you are not supposed to be political at all on a college campus. I wonder when this happened? It certainly wasn’t like this when I was in college. Maybe at a “conservative” business school, things are different. Regardless, if I were to speak there again - and the political climate is the same as it is now, I would put the same slide up.
The other people we spoke with were amazing. Particularly Robert V. Kozinets. This dude is awesome. He has written extensively about tribes on the internets and burning man. I imagine that you have read about him before (even if you didn’t notice). We ended up hanging out with him quite a bit. Another person who uses words I have never heard to describe things that we do everyday. I am particularly interested in his work on Burning Man. I guess I will have to read it.
After all the festivities of the event were over, we chilled on the streets of Tucson, and eventually met up some of the staff of the Eller College of Management for dinner. The dinner was great, but even more great was meeting Sidney Levy. Sidney is apparently one of the people who developed the world of brand marketing. He was billed as the father of symbolic marketing. This is serious business. However, he was very much not serious business. He was awesome. Charlie and I hung out with him for about an hour, just talking about life, love and all things that occur between. Sidney was quite funny and had a lot to tell us. I am going to attempt to help him get his gullibility project going. Excitement.
Speaking is pretty awesome. I learned a lot from talking to the people around us. It was awesome to hang out with young people who are excited about something that I am not excited about. Inspiring and hope giving. I hope that Charlie and I get to do it again. Hopefully in Hawaii, or maybe Guam, or possibly some other paradisiacal place.