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Order of the Purple Cows

19 Apr 2007
by Alex Hillman

I’ve been spending a lot of time going to and organizing meetups as I gather information, resources, and recruits for Independents Hall. I spend a good amount of time meeting people and DOING pitches (I don’t cognizantly pitch anymore…it’s become a bi-product of conversation).

This past week I got to participate in my first “Purple Cow Brainstorming Circle”. The Purple Cow, by Seth Godin, inspired the event. Seth is known as a “change agent”, and it makes sense to me that his type of thinking would inspire this type of event. This local group is organized by Mimi Somsanith and Jen Antonio-Lim, both of whom I met a few weeks back at CreativeCamp.

So what is a Purple Cow Brainstorming Circle? We’ll…it goes like this:

Each participant gets 3 minutes to pitch something they are working on.

At the end of the pitch they cite 3 things that they need in order to reach the goal of the pitch, as well as 3 skills that they have, as an individual, to offer back to the group.

Then there is a 3 minute Q&A session. And on to the next pitch-er.

Once everyone has gone, the entire group gets to spend time talking with each other, extending conversations from ideas that came to them during the pitch-sessions.

The ideas, which have been written down and posted on the wall by the moderators, also provide a venue for comments from people, and even a place to stick your business card if you want to help the person achieve their idea!

This “Idea-Pitch Open Mic night” allows for a rapid-fire version of what I’ve seen go on at the Barcamps I’ve attended. Ideas fly back and forth, but without a structure…one discussion may get stomped by another, and that original idea may get lost into an abyss of good ideas. This lets everyone get their stuff out, really fast, and save the “good stuff” (some may view it as side conversation or cruft…but thats where the real value in these events is) for last.

At any rate, the event was a TON of fun. I met some cool people who were totally into Independents Hall, and got a chance to hear some other peoples’ good ideas. It’s so great to see that other people are cranking out good ideas here in Philly, and a venue like the PC Brainstorming Circle encourages people to follow through on them.

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Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.