I'm at Yes and Yes Yes (YxYY) this weekend: a nerd gathering in the desert. A large proportion of the people I look up to and count as friends in the industry are here - but it's not a conference. It's not even an unconference. It's not a networking event. It's an invitation to put a bunch of awesome people in the same place, encourage them all to say "yes" to things, and see what happens.
@benwerd #yxyy is like HTTP: no sessions, just conversations.
— Evan Prodromou (@evanpro) July 11, 2014
So far today I've been to Ben Metcalfe and Krystal Lauk's wedding; I've had an Indie Web Camp in a swimming pool; had epic, serious conversations with our Matter compadre Colin Mutchler while he floated on a giant watermelon; experimented with an Othermill and a Cricut; read an issue of Modern Farmer while sipping a Pimm's under a blue Southern California sky; and knocked around ideas for a hackathon set in a cinema on the Russian River.
And now I'm dressed in a waistcoat, ready to go to my very first prom.
Everything is decentralizing. While traditional conferences still have their place, I find it much more valuable to be in a space that every participant can own equally, where they can propose new activities at any time. Just as unconferences are an order of magnitude better than conferences in terms of the breadth of subjects and the quality of conversations (with an honorable exception to the transformative, festival-style XOXO), there's a lot to be said for bringing people to one spot and just seeing what happens, with no sessions, no speakers, and no agenda except to see what transpires.
My challenge to myself: to treat every day like a YxYY, where every conversation is open, where anything can happen, and life-changing, serendipitous experiences can be around every new corner.