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Entries in Travel (56)


Going the SEED Conference in Chicago on Monday

Picture 1.pngOn Monday morning I'll be boarding the Amtrak in Milwaukee and heading South for the SEED Conference in Chicago. It's being put on by 37signals, Segura, Inc., and Coudal Partners at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The event features Jason Fried, Carlos Segura and Jim Coudal, leading a presentation and discussion on design, entrepreneurship, and inspiration. I like the work all three of these guys have done, so it will be a very interesting day:

You'll learn about taking control of your own work, seeking out methods to inspire new ideas, and adopting unconventional ideas about collaboration and business. The SEED conference will fill your head with knowledge you can use.

This isn't about theory, it's about practice. You should attend if you're a designer (print, web, video) or a business-minded soul who's looking to take your creative ideas and turn them into something satisfying and bankable. Anyone creative with an open mind will take away something useful.

I'll be taking sketchnotes, similar to the set I did for the UX Intensive back in April, 2007. I have a Moleskine sketchbook at the ready. I hope I can keep up with the presentations and discussions! I will post the collection of sketchnotes to my Flickr account, so others can view, read and learn from them.

If you're attending the SEED Conference on Monday the 29th and want to meet at the event, drop me a line and say hello.


Back from Belize with Sketchnotes

Whew! I'm back from my service trip to Belize — I had an AMAZING time!

Belize Sketchbook Pages 9 & 10

The country was wild and beautiful, the people of Belize friendly and hospitable and the food was so very delicious. We all had a wonderful week.

Our Meadowbrook team was just incredible. Every student and leader stepped up when it counted and gave of themselves every single day. It was exciting sharing Jesus' love with the people of St. Margaret's Village.

The staff of Praying Pelican Missions, who managed our trip, did a superb job providing for our team. I have to send special thanks to Matt, Tatiana, Laura, Bree and John for a great week in Belize!

I have many stories to share: wild bus rides on the Hummingbird Highway, tons of village kids waiting for our bus to arrive every day, a visit with a Mennonite family, sharing their home-made pineapple juice, and discovering that the Internet reaches to remote Belizean villages. Those stories will come as I catch up at home and work.

Meanwhile, I'd like to share a set of Belize Sketchnotes. I'd hoped to do more sketching in Belize, but there just wasn't time in such a compressed week.

Thanks to all who prayed for us — we felt your prayers in Belize.

Related Links
Belize Sketchtoons Slideshow
Departing for Belize
Serving in Belize: 2007


Departing for Belize

Wow. It's finally here — our departure for Belize, Central America.

BelizeMtns.jpgVery early tomorrow morning my wife and I depart, along with 4 leaders and 26 students, for St. Margaret's Village, in the Cayo District of Belize.

Back in February, when we had our first team meeting, this weekend seemed so distant. Back in April, when I posted about the upcoming trip details, it still felt so far away.

I'm excited, and naturally, I have some nerves about the trip, having never travelled with such a large group, nor to Central America. But even with so, I know this is going to be an amazing experience for our team.

The past 2 months have been crazy for our family, to say the least. Yet, Last night, I realized we've managed to sell our house, buy a new house and prepare ourselves and a small army for an intense week in Belize. I think we've done OK. :-)

250px-LocationBelize.svg.pngI especially appreciate your prayers for our team this coming week. Please pray that we would gel as a group around our goal, we would represent Jesus as we serve Belizeans, and that we would all stay healthy and return home safely.

I can't wait to share my stories, sketches and photos here on the blog when I return!

Images: Wikipedia


SOBCon08 Suggestions

sobcon08.pngNow that I've taken a little time to unpack my thoughts about SOBCon07, I felt it would be a good time to share my suggestions for SOBCon08:

• More Workshops — I would love to see more workshop sessions, like we did with the "Iowa Caucus" of Mike Sansone, Mike Wagner and Drew McLellan. The ideas and collaboration from this session was energizing, but we ran out of time.

• Longer Breaks — I wished for more/larger gaps between sessions, to congregate with others and get to know them better. I just popped out to meet with people to solve it, but I'd prefer not to choose between sessions and meeting others.

• Free WiFi — T-Mobile WiFi was available for individual purchase, but I'd prefer a free, SOBCOn WiFi service to encourage more blogging during the event. I think 3 or 4 WiFi base stations would have been about right to avoid a saturated network.

• SOBCon Speaker & Attendee Page — I'd love to see an official speaker and attendee page on the SOBCon site, with names, photos, bios, 5 favorite posts and blog links. This would help new attendees "meet" other attendees before the event.

• Unified SOBCon Page & RSS Feed — What about a single Page and RSS feed, where any post with "SOBCon" and "SOBCOn08" tags would be included? Attendees could follow a single feed, and see every related post before, during and after the event.

• All Day Coffee — In the afternoon on Saturday, a couple of attendees and I were searching for coffee but found only stacks of soda bottles. It'd be great to keep hot coffee available all day, for those of us who like the rich, black brew. :-)

I hope these suggestions will encourage the '07 attendees to suggest some ideas in the comments, and be useful for SOBCon08 next year.


Unpacking SOBCon07

SOBCon07I'm not surprised to find myself still brewing and unpacking the reverberations of this weekend at SOBCon07. The conference was a concentrated burst of energy, community and challenges, that I haven't been able to completely process.

Part of it for me, and I think for many attendees, was diving headlong into something completely new, without any expectation of what to expect, or what we'd get out of it.

I didn't know anyone but my buddy Phil Gerbyshak, so I had to step out and meet some new people. That's the wild thing though — people were stepping out to meet me, treating me as an old friend.

Some of this must be chalked up to knowing Phil, but much of the warmth and friendliness of other people seemed to be at the very core of the SOBCon vibe.

Here are some observations after much brewing and pondering:

We all came to give and take. Everyone present came ready to give something away, while being confident they would receive that much and more in return. Everyone I met was sharing energy, which encouraged me to keep sharing my energy.

This was our conference. Bloggers dreamed it up, handled the logistics, showed up and then created it like a barn raising. We connected and encouraged each other, challenged each other and made it happen. Two nights in a row, I witnessed people spontaneously gathering to talk, pulling chairs into circles until no chairs were left.

We are brands, like it or not. One thread running through the Saturday sessions was how we're all projecting a brand (ourselves), whether conscious or unconscious. From our writing to our blog design, everything we project and communicate is our brand. The challenge for everyone was how to sync your brand with who you really are.

We're communicators, not bloggers. David Armano challenged us to stop calling ourselves bloggers, and instead consider ourselves “conversation architects.” I'm a communicator — whether with words, sketches, graphics, sound or video — I aim to communicate with others through this space on the web. Rohdesign is now operating without "Weblog" in the title to reinforce this idea.

Conclusion: I had a great time at SOBCon07!

It was more powerful than I expected, and the people were wonderful. I've already established relationships with several people I resonated with, and plan to build more relationships as the week goes on. Relationships really are at the heart of SOBCon.

I was also challenged to step my communication to the next level. After 4+ years of writing at Rohdesign, I'm energized to keep on sharing, encouraging and learning.

I can't wait for SOBCon08!

SOBCon07 Attendees:
Liz Strauss
Wendy Piersall
Andy Sernovitz
Phil Gerbyshak
David Armano
Mike Sansone
Drew McLellan
Mike Wagner
Terry Starbucker
Christine Kane
Rodney Rumford
Ben Yoskovitz
Chris Cree
Robyn Tippins
Diego Orjuela
Vernon Lun
Jonathan C. Phillips
Sandra Renshaw
Brad Shorr
Timothy Johnson
Tammy Lenski
Sean Rox
Muhammad Saleem
Lorelle VanFossen
David Dalka
Todd And
John Yedinak
Joe Hauckes
Tim Draayer
Jeremy Geelan
Carolyn Manning
Sheila Scarborough
Steve Farber
Dawud Miracle
Doug Mitchell
Jeff O’Hara
Dave Schoof
Jamy Shiels
Adam Steen
Hannah Steen
Chris Thilk
Barry Zweibel
Eric Bingen
Ellen Moore
Cord Silverstein
Jean-Patrick Smith
James Walton
Sharan Tash
Vernon Lun
Tony Lee
Scott Desgrosseilliers
Mark Murrell
Kammie Kobyleski
Easton Ellsworth
Mark Goodyear
Ann Michael
Kent Blumberg
Ashley Cecil
Robert Hruzek
Sabu N G
Mazur Krystyna
Lisa Gates
Franke James
Chris Brown
Troy Worman
Karen Putz
Jesse Petersen
Terry Mapes
Andy Brudtkuhl
Lucia Mancuso
Peter Flaschner
Derrick Sorles
Thomas Clifford
Rajesh Srivastava
Claire Celsi
Jason Alba
Alex Shalman
Cristiana Passinato
Brad Spirrison
Ari Garber
Dr. Rob Wolcott
Cheryll Cruz
Sharon Scherer
Jason Wade
Jill Pullen
Doug Bulleit
Wendy Kinney
Brenda Friedrich
Ella Wilson
Chelsea Vincent
Ayush Agarwal
Paul Mangalik
Premchand Kallan
Xochi Kaplan
Michael Snell
James Bergstrom
Raj Majumder
Keith Levenson

Special thanks to Jonathan C. Phillips for providing this extensive list of attendees. :-)

Photo: Vernon Lun

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