Last year, when I turned 40, Elmine and I organized an unconference to celebrate (of course we also had a bbq party!), and we invited people from our various circles. The topic was ‘Working on Stuff that Matters‘, ‘WSTM’. Some 40 people participated in the unconference, some 20 workshops were held, and it was an event that is still giving us energy almost 18 months later.
We always wanted to create something tangible as an outcome of the event, to create an ‘Epic Sh*t Multiplier’ as we called it on the day. We created an e-book, explaining ‘how to unconference your birthday’. The text was written during the summer of 2010. A professional designer (BUROPONY in Rotterdam, hire them, they’re great!) created the book itself in May/June this year. In the past days we sent out cards to all participants of the unconference to allow them to download the book. We’ll publish the e-book itself on-line later. Right now it’s a gift for those who attended [UPDATE Pdf available for download]. A small token of our appreciation for the big gift they gave us by attending the unconference, and the energy and inspiration that is still generating for us. Thank you.
Below are some pictures giving you a sneak preview.
During the design process
Sending out cards to participants
On May 12th I will turn 40. As already announced Elmine and I will celebrate my birthday in two ways. On May 14th we organize an unconference around the theme ‘Working on Stuff that Matters’, and on May 15th we will host a big BBQ party.
An amazing group of about 35 people, friends, colleagues, clients and family alike, from a dozen nationalities and countries, have rsvp-ed to be part of the unconference. I am wowed, humbled and extremely pleased to be able to welcome them to our home for what will hopefully be a very inspiring day. The group for the BBQ will be about twice as big.
Time to start building the programme
With the unconference a little under 2 weeks away, it is time to start building the program. We will do it BarCamp style, which means a lot of flexibility during the day itself. But to be as flexible as possible, it is also needed to be well prepared.
So those of you that will attend please already start thinking about what you can bring to the discussion on May 14th, and what it is you hope to find.
There is room for 16 30-min sessions, as well as 3 plenary 30-min sessions (mainly for round-up and synthesis). This being my birthday party, I will do a 20 min plenary intro talk at the start. If you want you can already add some of your thoughts for sessions at SuggestedSessions. Do remember that we will collectively create the program at the start of the unconference itself, given the interests and energy in the group.
Working on Stuff That Matters – What’s your take? Blog it!
As is to be expected when you live in a global village, a large number of people cannot make it to the Netherlands mid-May. But it would be great if you can still be involved in this, even if you will not attend personally on May 14th.
I like to ask you to blog your thoughts around ‘Working on Stuff That Matters’! Consider it the best gift you can come up with to absolutely make my day. You can choose to blog somewhere in the 11 day run-up to May 14th, or you can choose to blog on May 12th itself. I will make sure all your blog postings are available to all participants during the unconference. We will also think of a way to do a video skype-in halfway through the day. Please tag things relevant to the event with #ton40 and #wstm
Creating something that matters
During the day it would be great if we could move somewhat beyond just conversation. Can we create an artefact during the day that incorporates our thoughts and results? Any thoughts on what this could be are welcome! Add them in the program under the appropiate header.
Starting the day – Doing introductions differently
I am looking for suggestions on how to do introductions differently during the unconference. We will have some 35 people, who mostly won’t know the others, apart from me and Elmine. I’m thinking about hanging up a large canvas where everybody puts her/his name and three aspects of themselves, as well as something about how they see their connection to me. Or maybe another participant can add aspects based on the coffee conversations during the first hour of the day.
Carrying the unconference over into the BBQ
All the things that we create during the unconference will be on display during the BBQ. We did that with Elmine’s birthday 2 years ago, and it creates another wave of conversations and connections in a very different setting.
On all of the points described your input is welcome!