During the Olympics here in Vancouver, the Digital Media and Wireless Association of BC (DigiBC) hosted VX2010 … the “Vancouver eXperience” … V for convergence; X for intersection.” They brought in many of the entrepreneurs and business leaders who were attending the Olympics and hosted mixers, conversations, and showcases.
I was fortunately enough to be asked to sit on the Innovation and Collaboration panel, held at Robson Square on February 25th (the day before my birthday, actually). We had a great conversation: Olivier Vincent, the CEO of Canpages, Par Singh, the president of Intellectual Ventures Canada were also on the panel, and the moderator was Dean Prelazzi from DigiBC.
I arrived early to take in the previous panel, and was pleasantly surprised to find Robert Scoble on-stage. We briefly chatted about dark fibre and Google and other geeky goodies, and then I was whisked away to prep.
That night there was a reception at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The event was just perfect: we watched the Robson Square Olympic fireworks show, met dozens of smart creative people, and at cake:
I’m in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics opening ceremonies (actually, the closing ceremonies too) with probably thousands of other performers. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience: the chance to be part of an Olympic games.
I know only about a hundred of the performers: those in my immediate cast group. But as we’ve gotten to know each other over the almost a year of meeting, practicing, and preparing, I’m more and more amazed at the talent and intelligence in the group.
A young guy behind me is a pediatrician specializing in childhood skin diseases. A woman in a parallel section is an educator, company founder, consultant, and speaker. A big bald guy a few rows down is a serial entrepreneur. The guy two people in front of me is a young architect. Many of the participants are students at UBC or SFU. Others are young professionals. And it goes on and on …
Last night we had a dress rehearsal with 30,000 people in attendance (including my wife Teresa and our 3 kids). Since we were called in early and needed to be there most of the day, I took my laptop along and worked for a few hours. The number of people who came up, chatted, dropped business cards or connected in other ways was amazing.
I applied to be in the Olympics ceremonies for a chance to participate in a major local event with global implications. (It’s also been great fun and great exercise!) I never dreamed it’d be great networking and relationship-building as well.
Tomorrow we do a second dress rehearsal in front of 45,000 people, and Friday we go live to the world, with 70,000 people in attendance live and perhaps a billion or more tuning in on TV and online.
It’s a great privilege to do this, and an even greater privilege to do it with such wonderful companions.
As a longtime resident of the greater Vancouver area, and a participant in both the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, I’m getting excited about the Olympics. They’re just around the corner, and everyone is frantically getting the last few things ready, in place, and perfect for the storm that is about to erupt.