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Billy Joel on the Global Creative Economy Convergence Summit

4 minute read
by Alex Hillman

The Summit is officially underway, and there’s a possibility that if you’re reading this…that you’re already at the Philadelphia Convention Center, or you’re on your way there.

There’s still a massive amount of distortion in the continuing debate about my posts, mostly circling around the assertion that “bottom up” is better than “top down”. That wasn’t the point, unfortunately. My two attempts to articulate what I was feeling were largely misinterpreted, thanks to fragmented conversations.

Someone will inevitably make the statement that if I’d participated in the summit, the fragmented conversation could be unified.

In the words of Billy Joel,

You’re may be right. I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.

My point was to make some observations about concerns that I have based on things that I see in front of me, through my own lens. My goal was to encourage people think for themselves, not to agree or disagree with me.

That’s a hard thing to do without a little radical expression.

I’ve had conversations like the one on my  blog at least 50 times in the last 2 years with various members of the community. Many times with different conclusions, often times resulting in more questions than answers. Rather than continue having it behind closed doors, it seemed like it could be helpful to discuss things in the open.

I’ve spoken with a LOT of people about the posts, and the resulting discussions, in private. It seems that’s where a lot of people are more comfortable having difficult conversations. I understand why, but I think it’s a damn shame that people aren’t comfortable being honest in the open. Smart people. People I respect.

I’ve had some of those people tell me I am an unreasonable douchebag. I’ve had some of those people tell me they are happy that I spoke up. I’ve had some of those people tell me that they don’t really understand what all of the fuss is about.

I’ve had moments where I said to myself, “Why’d you even bring that it up?”. Then I remember, “because nobody else would”.

I guess there’s another Billy Joel song worth remembering. For all of the ego I slung in the “controversial” essay I wrote, I hope those of you who know me realize how reality tempers my words.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.

Today is day one of the Global Creative Economy Convergence Summit, and I’m still not attending. But a lot of you are, either as a presenter or an attendee. Or a sponsor. Or a volunteer.

My honest to goodness hope hope is that this discussion over the last 3-4 weeks has heightened your senses about what you might, or might not experience in the next two days.

I’m not a fortuneteller, so I don’t know what you’re in for. Nobody does. But if you’re reading this, that means you’re paying attention.

If you’re a presenter, I congratulate you, and hope that you’re met with a welcoming audience and an opportunity to make an impact.

If you’re an attendee, I implore you, to look around at the people and their actions and interactions as they are happening around you.

If you’re a volunteer, I hope this experience proves valuable experience and you take lessons learned and organize your own events as well. This city is ripe for them.

If you’re a Philadelphian, I hope you show our out-of-town guests what makes Philly truly awesome.

If you’re visiting from out of town, I hope you enjoy your stay, and you get to see more of our city than our Convention Center. A lot of us like it here, and I hope you get a glimpse into why.

And everyone who is participating on any level, I hope you spend more time those two days listening than talking. There are a lot of great voices here. I hope you spend more time building new relationships than slinging business cards. I hope these relationships tighten (or begin to form) your bond with Philadelphia.

I look forward to hearing from everyone who IS attending the event about how it went.

Final thoughts, Billy Joel? Who started the fire is still up for debate, but when we’re gone, it will still burn on, and on, and on.

Disclosure: neither Billy Joel nor any of his staff actually supported this post. My lyrical references were for only effect. As far as I know, Billy won’t be at the summit either, but not because he’s angsty about it. I’m sure he’s just busy.

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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.