lessons from 140 characters in Detroit

@chrisbrogan at #140confI was at 140 Characters Conference in Detroit last week. (Presentation here.) I’m still trying to catch up in many ways. In the meantime, I wanted to get some notes down about what I’m starting to learn.

In brief, there was a one day conference in Detroit with people talking about social media and their lives. Each person or panel had between 10 and 20 minutes. With a timer. The event ran from 8:30-6:00. There was one break for lunch.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. We hear from a huge number of people, normal people like us, saying “I just did something.” At some point you start to say, “I could do something.”
  2. Everyone has the same time limits and sits together so the famous people seem normal.
  3. The normal people, on the same stage and with the same time limits as famous people, seem famous. (In a good sense of the word).
  4. The worst presentation can only go 15 minutes.The best presentation is distilled to 15 minutes. You can survive one and be thirsty for more. (And there weren’t any worst presentations.)
  5. For a speaker, the preparation for a short talk in the middle of many talks makes you focus on what matters. And that thinking is important, regardless of what you actually say in the conference.
  6. There was as much open space between the door and the back row of seats as there was between the back row of seats and the stage. The conversations are huge and important and possible. (And noisy sometimes for the people trying to listen. Sorry.)
  7. The hosts encourage and celebrate and hug everyone who speaks. You feel like you belong.
  8. A stage set that looks like a living room gives lots of flexibility for speakers and panels. And every piece of furniture was used.

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