Likeminds 2010 – The Event

The Likeminds conference is quite unlike any other conference I’ve ever been to before.

Informal, respectful, conversational, relaxed, open, chilled and intimate are all words that I heard other people use to describe the event throughout the day. Organised and setup by the combined genius of Drew Ellis and Scott Gould, Likeminds 2010 is held in the south west of Britain in a city known as Exeter. To call this conference ‘unique’ wouldn’t really do it justice.

Note: Exeter. Not London. We’re not just talking the next village outside of the the city, I mean really, really far away.

Likeminds get plus points for this. Big time.

Why is this a good thing?

Well, there are a few reasons; first and foremost – as much as I love love love London – sometimes (and just sometimes) there is a tendency to be a leeeetle bit cynical. Maybe a touch pretentious?

Can I say that? I think I can. I just did. So sue me…

Throw in a smattering of ‘oh, it’s just the same faces talking abut the same things’ and you have a recipe for familiarity breeding contempt (only in minority, admittedly – but it still happens). However, while there were some faces that I recognised at the Exeter Conference Centre this past Friday, the majority of attendees were brand new. In fact, of the names and faces that I did recognise, I’d never actually heard them speak before or seen them on the conference scene a long while.

Secondly – and this is something that we could all remember from time to time – there are other people that live and breathe outside of London! Would you believe it? I know. Amazing. The amount of locals – aka ‘Exonians’ – who I spoke to before, during and after the event who said to me ‘If this event was in London, I doubt I would’ve gone, but it’s on my doorstep – so there’s no excuse…’ really brought it home to me how important the conference was to the local business community. From representatives from Devon County Council to local entrepreneurs who have started making the first forays into twitter; this conference mattered.

Like Minds Part I

Photo credit: Benjamin Ellis

The speakers were superb, not just in the quality of their presentations, but also in the delivery of their ideas and thoughts. Like I said on the day, even if you took nothing away content wise, at least we all experienced a master class on how to present to, and engage with, a capacity audience. I’m going to come back to this in more depth another time, but it has to be said they really were all fantastic. Moving on, another thing stuck out for me (in a good way) was the format. Each section ran as follows

  • Keynote
  • Panel
  • Endeavour

The first two parts of this trio are not a new format, in fact they’re relatively par for the course; the keynote speaks on his/her chosen area and the panel then discuss and take questions on the themes raised by that talk. The Endeavours however are a completely new idea that I’ve not seen before. To quote Scott Gould, Likeminds co-founder:

“The original idea was to showcase and support like-minded endeavours that were doing good in and around the Exeter area. This itself came around they came around because (after looking at the schedule) I realised how hypocritical it was to have no actual action out of what we were talking about. It started when Twestival approached us asking if they could have a five minute slot to talk about their endeavours and then it rolled from there. Including Hospice Care, Leap Anywhere and HeartFM.”

A great addition to the format and one that I hope to see Likeminds repeat in the future.

There’s more to come on this subject soon (covering both the speakers and the key takeaways), but for now I just want to say an extra special thank you once again to Drew Ellis and Scott Gould for a fantastic event. You guys should be proud.

Well done.

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16 thoughts on “Likeminds 2010 – The Event”

  1. Spot on! Likeminds room was like no other before.
    Everyone in it seemed to grasp pretty early on that they were watching and playing a role in something special.
    Never before has an event seen such buzz before, during and after.
    I even hear that those who weren’t there felt the energy and excitement about what they were watching via the live stream.
    Roll on the next one.

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  2. What a great article and a great group of folks, as the conference it titled it is all about LikeMinds and the buzz was spot on and everyone seemed to contribute to it…

    As Chris has said – roll on the next one.

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  3. Hey Dude

    Good capture, and thanks for the very kind words. It truly only comes together because of the people involved – no cliche!

    You’re right that it *is* important to get away from London – which is the whole idea – to immerse yourself into a different location and get a different mindset – hence Dartmoor being the perfect place for further activities 🙂

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  4. Glad you enjoyed it, James. I do feel a bit spoilt, having it on my doorstep, but it was great to have such a cross-section of people there, and a format that allowed so many of them to share their thoughts. The journalist / blogger debate being an interesting example, with some good intervention to get some sort of a conclusion. I thought the lunch format was interesting too – it would’ve been good to talk with you more over lunch, but we didn’t really get the chance.

    Looking forward to the next post.
    Jonathan

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  5. ‘I mean really really far away’.

    Like it 🙂

    Thing is, it’s great to step out of the comfort zone every once in a while and see what’s around. An let’s face it, Exeter is such a Like Minded place.

    Thought the Endeavour spots were particularly inspired….

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  6. Damn. I was thinking of going, and decided I couldn’t really justify it – because there is so much going on in London…

    More fool me!

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  7. r.e. my point about noise, i’ve been trying to sum up the cogent output post even, and there is soooooo much of it (although quite of back slapping as well). Amazing what happens when people get enthused!

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  8. I see what you mean Stewart, the back slapping has been quite loud! I have another one or two posts coming which will hopefully address this over the coming weeks… you know, once the enthusiasm has died down a bit 😉

    Thanks for stopping by,

    James

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  9. Agreed, James, I think it’s fantastic to make connections with businesses and people doing interesting things all over the UK. Everywhere I’ve been I come across amazing people and ideas. I’m so looking forward to the next Like Minds event, and hearing more new voices.

    And FWIW, I come from a country where 200km is regarded as a comfortable commute, so trust me, Exeter isn’t really that far away 🙂

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