About a year and a half ago I got an email from the head of entertainment at Interview magazine telling me I need to talk to a guy by the name of Jeff Rosenthal, that he’s got an organization of young entrepreneurs and she thinks I would be a perfect fit for it. A couple of days later I got a call from a super enthusiastic guy who used the words ‘dude’ and ‘awesome’ way too many times and was trying to convince me that he and 6 of his other friends are working on the next big movement in Gen X and Y entrepreneurship. Naturally I thought he was he was on crack. However, he wouldn’t go away and at some point I decided to yield to his enthusiasm and reluctantly agreed to join the first event. I didn’t even know what I was committing to but I found myself at the LA train station (A train station?! In LA?) About to board the Tequila Patron train with 14 other women. The next 12 hours were fun and inspirational. I met a group of intelligent, passionate and successful women from all fields, publishing to medicine to arts, forward thinkers and supportive. I accepted an invitation to come to NY for The Summit Series Clinton Foundation event at Russell Simmons’s house and soon after I went to the Summit Series weekend Conference in Miami, which left me completely blown away. Apparently, The Summit boys’ enthusiasm is not only contagious to me, it works on almost everyone.
I am now an official fan. Last weekend I participated in the Summit DC 10 weekend. Keynote speakers were Bill Clinton, Ray Kurzweil, Russell Simmons and Ted Turner and the participants were 600 of the most inspiring people on the planet. It was unbelievable. Just a few of the lectures I took - Revolutionary trends on the web (it’s all about users information and targeted advertisement) Mobile app explosions and the future of gaming in the App world, lucid dreaming and how to control our dreams, and Memories of a boy soldier from Sierra Leone. Mind-boggling lectures mixed with some serious partying. Someone online called it Davos meets MTV and I couldn’t agree more. The conference is also philanthropically skewed with representatives from Invisible Children, Feed project and Fuck Cancer just to name a few. It is invitation only so the participants are hand selected and pass the ‘Awesome’ and ‘No douche allowed’ test. Each person you speak to you’d wanna hang with.
It is so inspiring to spend four days in the presence of so many people who are actually putting themselves out there doing something for the greater good. Yes, there were a lot of entrepreneurs at the Summit who play the game of ‘making money’ but each of them is also committed to a charity or a cause. Not everyone at the conference is rich and successful but everyone at the conference is committed to moving our society forward, for real and without cynicism. You could hear a pin drop in the room when Ray Kurzweil was talking about the exponential growth in our society and predicted that by 2029 with the combination of Nanotechnology and medicine we will create a blood cell sized computer that will be injected into our body fixing us from the inside and by that “solving” the biggest problem of humanity… old age and death. And everyone in the room was ok with that enormous paradigm shift, no one thought WTF.
We all have our day-to-day mundane problems. Life keeps “lifing” and can suck sometimes. But weekends like Summit Series remind me of how important it is to surround ourselves with people who bring out the best of us. There is a saying in Hebrew “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.“ I’m proud to call some of these people my new friends, and proud to be considered a part of that group.
There is nothing left to say other than ‘That was so awesome dude’. Yup, I’ve been duded up.