orange you the conference guy?

I love going to conferences, not so much for the content, but more for meeting people, those I’ve met and those I’ve yet to meet. What I’m discovering, as a relational-oriented guy, and not a task- or goal-oriented guy, I look for people connections more than trying to find personal applications or takeaways. More responder than initiator — that doesn’t make me a bad person.

One thing I’ve done this season is to wear orange at conferences, lotta orange– on my phone cover, shoes, headphones, mouse, water bottle, t-shirt, Bible… Great color to spot in a crowd, like I’m a human traffic cone. Aside: my orange Crocs stand out, attracting eyes that glance down, but most people refrain from commenting. I’ll smirk back at ’em. [photo courtesy dankimball]

By the way, save the dates January 27-28, 2009, for a BIG conference Innovation3 in Dallas, hosted by Leadership Network.

When I meet new people, I’m starting to hear: “aren’t you the conference guy?” I think to myself, no, I’m not. I’m attending more of them than I used to, but I’ve never been to notable conferences like Willow Creek‘s Leadership Summit, Catalyst, Exponential – the mother of all church planting conferences, Buzz, Granger‘s Innovate, Desiring God, C3, Soularize, Resurgence, Off the Map, National Outreach Convention [w/ free webinars leading up to Nov 08]. Ohhhhh, and, there’s one called the Orange conference! All of these are church/ faith related. Too much worky-ness.

For my own fun, I’d go to conference for my vacations– on my short list: TED, SXSW, Gnomedex, International CES, podcamp/ unconference, MacWorld Expo. Family probably wouldn’t enjoy ’em like I would.

I think conferences are great for motivational inspiration and a shared experience with a leadership team, not so much for content or information. Great for connections too. I wonder when Christian conferences will live-stream their sessions, give it away for free, instead of keeping it as an exclusive for attenders. Some conferences do give their content away for free post-event (eg resurgence, Desiring God). Conferences can be more about connections and conversations than content and control.

I’d like to see more rethinking and more innovation on the conference economic engine / business model. Pagitt, how about reimagining conferences?

Cf. I wonder if conferences [as we know it] have a future as travel costs escalate? Jeff Shinabarger on what makes a good event; Seth Godin on the new standard for meetings and conferences

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9 Responses

  1. Doug Pagitt says:

    Great idea. Tony Jones and I have started a company to do just that – JoPa Productions.

    Our first is The Great Emergence with Phyllis Tickle in December –

  2. cynthia says:

    You at Awaken at Mosaic…… I’d know this photo anywhere.

  3. davidw says:

    I love the opportunity to connect that these things provide as well. With the connections being the most meaningful thing I am hoping we see a lot more Local Conferences where folks are even dissuaded from attending if it means a plane ticket.

    This comes from becoming a skeptic toward big box solutions and strategies and a disinterest with flocking to a location to hear the latest celebrities.

    I hope for more and more of a trend toward local and communal in our church conferencing. We absolutely need to be encouraging and connecting, but maybe we can do it in a 100 mile diet sort of way that will make possible long term connections and truly shared experiences.

    oh.. and TED rocks.. (just to totally discredit myself)

  4. davidw says:

    hey.. is that the Books of the Bible TNIV you are toting?
    Love that translation and layout.

  5. Chris says:

    You raise a number of valid points. Since most of my work-year is spent helping to plan the CCDA conference, I resonate with the idea of releasing the conference content for free. Right now we make it available to everyone a year after the conference takes place (3 months later for our attendees/members…yeah…I know) but I am interested in the more open-content application. I’m also really interested in the idea of making our resources more regionally available. There’s already institute classes, but they are less accessible than a regional conference would be. Who knows though…some big changes could be in the works.

  6. djchuang says:

    @davidw – yes, that is the “Books of the Bible” TNIV edition, and I do love reading that edition because of its layout. For some reason, it is much more inviting to read, with its paragraph formatted text, no verse numbers to distract, and not paraphrased. The soft cover and color is inviting too 🙂

  7. William Woo says:


    I love orange too. Being a UTEP alum, and UT fan, so many kinds of orange. I also have an orange bible, ESV.

    Keep on Blogging…