Not everybody will climb a mountain to the top, but they miss out if they don’t. If you missed The Summit this weekend, you missed a lot. The Summit experience, like the reference to the mountain top, might be impossible to describe with words. I drove 15 hours each way to be there. On my drive back, I reflected on what happened, trying to figure out why it pushed all of my buttons. I finally gave up on that idea and settled for a couple of highlights.The
Summit is a conference. I generally don’t like conferences. They are crowded and noisy, eventually making my nerves push through my skin and strangle people around me. The format of The Summit feels more like TED surfing. Since it’s modeled after the TED style of presenting, it reminds me of when I see one TED talk, and then see another, starting a chain reaction that kills several hours.
I’m not sure how the describe the content for The Summit talks. Surprising and jarring come to mind. Presenters are coached to not preach or give how to or focus on skills. Instead, presentations inspire like Brad Montague‘s hilarious Making Things Simple Without Being Simplistic (what we’ve learned while making kid president), or paradigm shifting like Crystal Kirgiss‘ Changing Views of Youth Throughout History. Ideas that change are the norm for the Summit.
Each talk for The Summit follows a simply format. Each is 12-15 minutes of up front time. There aren’t really workshops. Instead, everyone gets equal opportunity. After a series of presentations, there are intensives where Summiteers can choose which speaker they would like to interact with. This format really works. It’s like watching several great talks and then have the chance to ask questions with the presenter.
Cartel culture runs rampant throughout the time. There are obvious moments of whimsy like passing out Marko’s beard fans or the executive seating (Ikea Poang chairs) in the front, but there are more subtle hints as well. Presenters don’t retreat into a room to isolate themselves. I can’t count how many times I would see presenters or Marko or Adam or Tash in deep conversations. Cartels are based on agreement. The Summit just felt like a tribe united in the agreement to share and listen.
I am so looking forward to next year.