Walking into the Koerner Hall building, at the Royal Conservatory of Music, you could instantly feel the energy that filled the space. Today was the first of three thought-provoking days. A group of eager ‘idealist’-as they are called here at ideaCity, were busy munching on morsels of deliciously catered food while mingling with other attendees. The agenda for the day was jam packed with presenters lined up from 8:30am to 8pm. Moses Znaimer gave a brief intro before the day of presentations began.
Today’s themes included the ‘Decline of the Male’, ‘Feminism’ as well as ‘Relationship & Family’. The event was also for the first time broadcasted live to various schools within Canada, specifically at Ryerson University and OCAD University here in Toronto. This new outlet would give students the opportunity to watch for free, via video, the talks that were being presented here at ideaCity. A great step in the right direction for this conference, because the people that really should be the ones hearing some of these great talks are the young people ready to make a difference in the world.
The conference kicked-off with an outstanding opening performance by Kaylah Paquette & Andrea Christakakos. Then a series of 20-minute speeches, including one by Lakshmi Pratury, a Cultural Entrepreneur and the Founder of Ixoraa Media.
Lakshmi Pratury worked at Intel for 12 years as a marketer and evangelist for various products and services. She later moved to a capital venture firm, working closely on connecting India’s legendary software community with U.S. tech. Through this experience she was able to recognize the importance of relationship building and the need for technology in India. In the end, she founded the Digital Equalizer program which offers technology education to about 80,000 children and 2,000 teachers in India. The theme of her presentation today was redefining success. She doesn’t believe in measuring success by the dollars in your pocket or the bi-weekly paychecks you get from the office. Instead, she asks us to “aim to be billionaires of the moment”. You do this by counting how many “moments” you appreciate throughout your lifetime. “What is one memory that you want to take with you to your grave?”, she asks. Each of the memories that you mention are your ‘moments’. To accelerate the accumulation of ‘moments’ we need to influence someone else’s life for the better, if through your influence, you have created a ‘moment’ for that other person, then we can count that ‘moment’ in our bank too. In essence, the more people we can positively influence, the faster we can become ‘billionaires of the moment’. Pratury also talks about how we should be seekers of knowledge. That is one of the reasons why she will be launching the INK conference (which stands for innovation and knowledge) in India this coming December 2010. A collaborative effort to bring the Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American individuals who have used passion to do something innovative, to speak to a group of ambitious souls. It is great to see events like TED, ideaCity, EG and soon to be INK becoming more and more prevalent. Great talk Lakshmi!
There was also Melissa Auf der Maur performing her music on stage and talking about how technology empowers people to explore creative and artistic ideas, as well as her view on ‘technology + female = future’
Then we had Natalie McLennan sharing with us how she entered the high profile escort industry in NYC at a young age, and her journey of self-redemption, as detailed in her book The Price: My Rise and Fall as Natalia, New York’s #1 Escort. In her talk, Natalie urges us “not to label someone by their past, but to see people for who they are.” Well said! Sometime we do need that reminder =)
Other notable things that we have come across here at ideaCity are their really cool sponsors! Apple computer stations spread across the lounge, Steelecase furniture for some comfy seating, and Aveda representatives on hand to give massages both for the body and for the hands. However, nothing beats the Panasonic 3D TV booth, which Ben and Eugene spent a good 20 minutes at!
We even got to sample the tasty Soma chocolate and hear glass musicians play their tunes. Aside from that, there has been plenty of time to network and we’re glad to have met many many great people! Overall it has been a great start to a very much anticipated event, thanks #ideaCity for having us here. Look forward to our updates tomorrow @Vidafine