Another favorite session was "Lightning Sessions," at AONW this week. Jon Marshall brought this idea to the conference. This is another example of people bringing the "extreme" back to "agile".
Here is how it works: within the hour and a half session, the participants continuously create new 60-second sessions. The only rules:
- Think of something interesting to say.
- Limit yourself to 60 seconds.
- You must begin your talk with the last sentence of the previous person.
Over the hour and a half we had at various times eight to ten people participating. That last rule makes the effort much more interesting: your concentration on the current speaker intensifies. For one thing, you never know which sentence will be that speakers last one. For another, if you've got something to say that seems really appropriate for that specific moment, you are kind of in competition with the others to claim the conch.
The result was really productive. The first several lightning sessions were based on recollections from sessions the speakers attended earlier in the conference. About halfway through the topics evolved to be more in the moment and innovative, less about the prior sessions.
Jon attended last year in Portland. There were many faces from last year, and several people from Portland and Seattle who I'd not seen in a while. The conference was full of the familiar and the new, regarding conversations and people. I hope we can gather many of us back next time.
That one will likely end up back in Portland. I wonder where? Last year we were at the Kennedy School, and it worked out really well. But maybe it is too soon to return there.
I had a thought on the drive back home... maybe "offsite" somewhere like Skamania Lodge or the Edgefield. We have a good set of sponsors and a very positive cash flow to help keep the participants' costs down.
I was also wondering whether we could find a way to specifically reach out to the open source community to mix up more folks with that influence into the AONW "community".
This week's conference was at the Seattle Center in the Northwest Rooms. One of our rooms, Alki, turned out to be a great social area, but too much echo for the sessions. Overall a good setting, though, and a good bit of sun brightened everything up. I especially appreciated the windows in the Alki room. And the food from Gretchen's Shoebox Express was really good.