See You Next Year @TEDxDetroit

I’m 2 days removed from TEDx Detroit and I miss it.

I miss the connections.

I miss seeing my fellow board members.

I miss seeing the attendees.

I miss seeing the inspiration.

I miss seeing the optimism.

I’m glad I miss it.  Now I’m hopeful that everyone that attended has something to grasp onto and feel inspired.

Inspired to do.

Inspired to create.

Inspired to share.

Inspired to make a difference.

The story from Wednesday that continues to resonate in my head is the one of connecting tw0 lab participants in a possible business deal.  That’s what TEDx is all about.  Bringing people together and allowing their creativity to grow, their ideas to develop and ultimately putting them into action.

A special note to my fellow board members of TEDx Detroit.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve with you.  All of you have a special place in my heart because of the passion that you have for what this event is all about.  I learned a lot and I look forward to doing it all over again next year.  There are so many memories that I’d love to share and it would take me hours to gather them here in this post.  So the memories I’ll leave you with are photos.  Photos from Sarah Cunningham, author and one of our awesome volunteer photographers.  Take a look at her view of TEDx Detroit from her camera lens.

Photo Credit: Sarah Cunningham

So many memories to last a lifetime.

To all the attendees, take what you learned and inspired you and do something with it.  Our opportunity is now to show the world what we can do.  Take the lead.  Make it happen.

See what others are saying about TEDx Detroit:
I Was Part of Something BIG Wednesday from Elena Wollborg
TEDx Detroit 2011 Thank You from Charlie Wollborg


Want 2 Tickets to @TEDxDetroit?

TEDx Detroit is a week away!  Can you believe it?  I certainly am excited to gather the biggest and brightest minds our community has to offer for this day of community and idea generation!  I really want to encourage all of you to take this day to attend and I’m giving away 2 tickets to next week’s TEDx Detroit so you can.  All you need to do is tell me why you deserve the 2 tickets in the comments below.  I’ll pick the best answer and let the winner know tomorrow.  Make sure you leave your twitter handle in the comments too!

If you don’t win, there is still time to get your tickets.  Go to and apply today!

To get your creative juices flowing today, I wanted to share with you last year’s talk from DJ Prime Minister.  If you are turntable kind of person, you’ll love this.  Remember, get your responses in by end of day today!

@TEDxDetroit 2010 Relived…Stephen Clark (@SClarkWXYZ)

Today’s TEDx Detroit 2010 moment is from birthday boy, Stephen Clark.  If you’ve been around Detroit over the last year, you’ve hopefuly heard about the #backchannel.  What simply started as a dare by Charlie Wollborg to Stephen Clark via Twitter has turned into a truly interactive newscast on WXYZ.  Stephen has changed the landscape of news by asking us, his audience, to help create the stories he covers.

As we continue to get closer to September 28th and TEDx Detroit 2011, take a look at Stephen’s talk from last year.  While you’re at it, make sure you wish him a happy birthday too!

If you haven’t applied to attend yet, make sure you do so soon!  Seats are filling up quickly!  You can apply by CLICKING HERE.

TEDx Detroit 2010 Relived…@nullfear

If you’re a fan of TED and the local TEDx events, you’ll appreciate this.  As TEDx Detroit approaches on September 28th, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite talks from last year.  First up is Will Smidlein also known as @nullfear on Twitter.  I affectionately refer to this 14 year old as “boy genius” because he is.  Bryan Willmert first introduced me to will last year and it’s been awesome getting to know him ever since.  Enjoy his interview with Charlie Wollborg from last year and if you haven’t signed up yet, do it soon!  We’d love to have you there and meet some of the most talented and creative minds the Detroit area has to offer.

Catalyst 2010 – The Tension Is Good

Last week I had the honor of attending Catalyst 2010 in Atlanta.  What started out in 2000 as a conference attended by 1,500 church leaders in Atlanta has since grown to an event attended by over 100,000 people.  Most recently a second conference was added to the West Coast with 3,000 leaders attending.  I had heard about it through friends from Kensington Community Church but couldn’t really grasp the magnitude until I was there in person.

At its core, Catalyst doesn’t differ much in message from other conferences I’ve attended this past year like Future Midwest and TedxDetroit, with one exception…change is talked about in the context of the places many of us attend on Sundays, our churches.  This conference, at it’s core, is about “maximum impact” and being a “catalyst” for change.

The core vision of Catalyst has always been to impact the next generation. By creating “change agents” throughout the church that possess wisdom and understanding, the opportunity is created to usher in the necessary adjustments to an ever-evolving church. By helping these leaders grow in their leadership ability – Catalyst can have impact on an entire generation. We have a high belief in the impact that one changed life can have on another and therefore focus our efforts towards personal change with a community application.

Catalyst sees a need to ignite and unite the next generation of leaders allowing their passions and gifts to flourish and have maximum impact in our churches and culture.

The list of speakers was incredible: Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Craig Groeschel, Perry Noble, Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes, Daniel Pink, and Seth Godin…just to name a few.  Each of them, in their own way, spoke about how tension in an organization can be used to positively foster change.

This idea completely changed my way of thinking about leadership.  I never thought tension was good.  I often viewed tension as conflict, something I have found difficulty in dealing with.  However, when presented with this way of thinking, I began to realize tension in an organization can be a good thing.  Tension in this sense challenges an organization.  It requires communication and feedback.  It forces leadership to think differently and do things in a way that hasn’t been done before.

As I look back on my career, I often tried to eliminate tension and solve a problem that wasn’t actually a problem but more a tension.  Is it possible that the tension was required so that the organization could move forward?  I guess this is something that I’ll be on the lookout for as I move into this next stage of my career.  Are there TENSIONS that need to be MANAGED versus PROBLEMS that need to be SOLVED?  Andy Stanley talked about leveraging tension to the benefit of an organization.  This is a tremendous balancing act for any leader.  You have to weigh BOTH sides and take your personal bias out of the equation.

My faith in God was reignited after Catalyst.  I realized there are some tweaks I need to make and some things I need to get bring back in order to stay grounded in my belief in God.  My hope and prayer is that I can be receptive to tension and leverage it to not only advance the organization but to also advance God’s Kingdom.

My challenge to you is to be aware of the tensions in your life and use them as a catalyst for change in you and your community.  The tension is good!

UPDATE: You can also read this article HERE at Rochester Media.  Thanks to Tom Gendich for giving me some space!

The time for feeling good is over…time to DO something

I attended TedxDetroit today and I walked away feeling great and inspired but then reality set in quickly.  The time for feeling good is over.  It’s time to do something with the “feel good” emotions many of us left the Detroit Institute of Arts with.  Lately I’ve been frustrated when the talk in my Twitter stream is filled with things like:

“Now that I’m inspired, know my greatness, and have the confidence to share my ideas…what’s next?”

I’m not frustrated with the person making the statement but rather the sentiment behind it.  This is just one example of something I saw today but is a common theme in some of the conversations I’m a part of.  Now I’m not saying that I always act on my ideas and inspirations but if change is truly our motivation, it begins with even the smallest of steps.

When it comes to Detroit, there are countless numbers of people in the circles I run in that are hopeful and optimistic at the opportunity that is in front of us.  We all know the saying, “things can only get better.”  That is such an accurate description of the area I live in but it can only get better if we begin to DO some of the little things to get the change ball rolling.  One of the little things I’m talking about is Detroit Servathon.  I recently wrote about it (click here) letting you know what it was all about and how you could help.

Students from Oakland Christian School clean up the area in Detroit they hope will be the site of a new playground

Yes, this is self serving because my kids go to one of the schools participating in it and I want them to learn the lesson of volunteering to make good things happen.  However, this also is challenge to all of you who want to do things to change Detroit and our region.

I’ve seen how this area rallies around voting competitions to push the local contestants to victory.  I’ve seen you vote Team Detroit SXSW (David Murray, Brandon Chesnutt, Henry Balanon and Audrey Walker) on to victory during Chevrolet’s SXSW competition earlier this year.  I’ve seen you vote The Victorious Secrets on to victory in both Fox Sports Detroit’s April in the D Contest and‘s band competition.

Those were great stories because they involved people from our community and I don’t want to take anything away from them.  What I hope is that you will vote for this project on the final day of voting to see if you can get $50,000 to Detroit Servathon so the students can build the playground for the kids of Detroit.  The opportunity to DO something is right here and it’s not that hard.  If you have a computer or a cell phone, you can do this.

Here are 3 ways you can vote:

  1. Text your vote to Pepsi at 73774 with our project code 102331 in the message area
  2. Click HERE to vote for DetroitServathon
  3. “Like” the Pepsi Refresh Application on Facebook, download the app, search for “Detroit Servathon” and VOTE

After you vote…SHARE the information!  This only happens if you DO something.

Stephen Clark shared the #backchannel story at TedxDetroit today.  The one thing that stuck with me was when he said that the news was traditionally, “we talk and you listen.”  With #backchannel, the news is now “you talk and we listen.”  Well I talked and Stephen listened and we were able to get the story on the news yesterday.  It’s not a huge project but one that is making a positive change and I took the chance by asking Stephen to consider airing the story and he did.

I know this isn’t the last time I do something like this to promote change rather than talk about it.  Will you do something to keep the ball rolling?  You might be surprised at how easy it can be.