A Stanford student’s first day at SIBOS

20 Sep

The first day of SIBOS was built on uncertainty and setting expectations. It was clear from the very beginning when a drummer wearing Native American garb opened the session by playing the log drum that the sessions would not be the typical kind. The speakers themselves felt like they were still feeling this new form out, trying to get comfortable with it.

In the afternoon session, people formed teams, participated in small groups, and started to really get a sense for how to run with the free-form, tribal format of the Innotribe sections. We had very energetic discussions and each group member amplified the thoughts of his/her fellow participants. There were lulls brought about by the unstructured setting, but the discomfort brought about opportunities for proactive action, because someone needed to step in and suggest something to get the session moving. Like when we were told to break into teams and discuss 3 principles for social data. In my group, people simply sat around and stared at each other or shook hands and conversed locally for 1-2 minutes, but then people quickly pushed ideas to move the group forward, suggesting that we introduce ourselves, asking questions, structuring our time. One person stood up and never sat back down –he ended up diagramming our entire discussion. Another person made sure our discussion tied back to the questions and guidelines we were given. Out of free form came a structure mutually created from our newly formed tribe.

It wasn’t easy to talk sometimes, and it was unclear who knew what about what. There were more different kinds of players than I was expecting, our group of 10 had maybe 2 people who actually worked in banks, while the rest worked in various connected services. So though we had a productive and interesting discussion, it was difficult to nail down one area to go into depth in, because we had more breadth than depth in our general backgrounds, and no set topic to unify our discussion.

I’m looking forward to getting to speak to some individuals in more detail. There are many fascinating figures and ideas in the sessions. The deep dive demonstrated the power of collective energy and possible opportunities in unstructured settings for those willing to be proactive. I hope the next four days will harness our individual strengths and drive them towards a more specific, unified purpose.

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