Monday, March 21, 2005

You know, I just realized something.

A couple of years ago I was involved in the organization of a university symposium. I was head of the speakers committee, so I had to decide which topics to cover, hunt down potential speakers and convince them to come. And since the guy in charge of getting sponsors turned out to be a total loser, I had to do it with like zero cash.

Ok, enough self aggrandizing. The thing is I got the speakers on time and on (zero) budget. The event was a financial success (if only a modest one) and we all lived happily ever after. Ok, now for real, enough self aggrandizing, hehe. The event was aimed at Electrical Engineering (my major at school) and the whole point was to make it interesting for people in that area. What I realize now is that I myself was not one of those people.

Let me explain. In order for you to provide good content for this type of event (or for anything, really) you have to understand who you're making it for and give them what they want. The problem with this event was that I NEVER really cared about what people really wanted. I don't mean I never gave it any thought... of course we had discussions about what to include in the event and what not. But, still, honestly... I never really cared at all about the attendants. Yikes. It's almost scary to think about now.

I like doing things that are seen as original and that in some way impact other people. This event I helped organize was not terribly original and, in hindsight, probably didn't really help anybody out of any real predicaments... or maybe not too many. This is an achievement I've been very proud of for a long time; it taught me I really could do anything I wanted; it taught me I was indeed an organized person and a decent leader; I learned a great many things about negotiation and peacekeeping, and internal politics, and a lot of other stuff.

I recently encountered a colleague who is now organizing a similar event. I see his passion for the subject matter and his drive, and it only reminds me of my lack thereof. I look back on my own experience now and feel I could have done a much better job if I had actually enjoyed the subject matter. Or at least put some more effort into empathizing with my target audience and giving them something that would have genuinely blown their socks off.

Socks off is good, I like that.


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