Sun, 28 Oct 2007

WF360

So on fairly short notice, I got invited to a WF360 event called the "360 Summit", held on the trading floor of the NYSE. I thought "hmmm... interesting people, interesting place, good food, how can you go wrong?" There was a bit of uncertainty over the security vetting ... something about being unexpectedly a person short. But all was settled and my invitation was approved.

So I drove down on Wednesday night and stayed with my buddy Eli Dow aka aim://judas0riley (a reference to a Smashing Pumpkins album) in Poughkeepsie, NY. That's significantly the northern end of Metro North, which has an hourly 97 minute run into New York City. Since I can sleep on Eli's floor for the stunning price of "free", the $25.50 fare into the city seems cheap by comparison.

The 360 Summit didn't start until 6PM (be there at 5:45 to get through security the infosheet said, but more on that later), so no hurry to get into the city. I went for a ride on the future Dutchess Rail Trail. It's the former Maybrook line, and connected to the bridge over the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie. Finished that about noon, missed the 12:10 train, got the 13:10 train and with a little delay got into the city by 3PM.

Wandered around Chinatown and up Canal Street to Broadway, then down Broadway to Wall Street. You know, Heere, at the Wall, right outside Trinity Church. Went down Wall Street to Broad Street, which is the actual location of the NYSE. At 5:30 they said I was a little early, but come back in 15 and I could get in. Went down to see the Charging Bull, which was moved from Wall Street to Broadway shortly after its unauthorized placement (but I wonder where is the sculpture of the Crashing Bear). Came back at 5:45 and was asked to wait with the others. We all waited, and waited and finally self-organized into an outdoor 360 Summit, chatting each other up. Why wait? So I met Thomas Carroll and Rich, of whose last name I do not remember. Thomas works for RR Donnelley, so I told him my father's RB Donnelly story.

Shortly we had our photo ids checked against the guest list, and we went through security. At least, most people sailed through security. I had brought my Chordite keyboard which looks a little homemade because it is homemade. Even Isabel got tired of waiting for me, and she's the one who arranged for my invitation! So I sent her on to the trading floor and the waiting cocktails.

Met Linda Bolliger, CEO of BoardroomBound, which does corporate board training. Also met Tom Guarriello, Chief Idea Officer of True Talk (a blogger like myself). He was wandering around eyeing all the screens with amazement, as was I. We ended up at the same table after being called to dinner.

My table, the Bon Mot Masters, consisted of myself, Candace Kendle, Tom Guarriello, Laura Scott, Joanna Lau, Lorraine Segil, Mark Morris, Hamed Al-Hamdan, and a woman whose name I failed to record. The tragedy of an event like this is "so many interesting people, so little time." I got to speak at length with Candace, Laura, and Joanna because they were seated close to me, but with Lorraine, Mark and Hamed I only shared a few words.

Candace was interested in why I blog. It's mostly to share interesting things, like my Chordite design, bicycling, railroads, and open source. I also vent about people's lack of understanding of economics. This isn't the economics about which economists disagree -- of which many jokes have been made. No, this is the economics on which economists agree strongly and yet the general population is ignorant of. Things like free trade, and minimum wages (there should be none).

Joanna was fascinated by the Chordite. We ended up passing it around the table so everyone could see how it works. It has the usual problem of really only fitting one person's hand well. It's a problem, but I'm going to try a new solution for the next two keyboards I make.

We listened to three presentations as we ate some excellent steak -- or in the case of the vegetarians, pasta. Afterwards it was chocolate cheesecake, and some parting gifts: a girl bear, some girly lotions, and Godiva chocolates fit for a queen (are you sensing a theme here?) My wife cleaned up, but then again, she had to do my chores while I was off gallivanting.

Took the train back to Poughkeepsie without incident, arriving at 1AM. On Friday, I rode on three more rail-trails on the way home, making a total of 68 miles between the two days. Stopped by my mother-in-law's in Glens Falls for dinner, and headed home.

A good time was had by all. Especially me.

Other people's impressions of the event: Don Dodge, Howard Greenstein, Tom Guarriello, Dorian Benkoil, Christina Kerley aka CK, and Tom Steinthal posted twice.

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