We like to introduce new additions to the Conferize family here on our blog (also see our recent post). Yet, the person I’m about to present pretty much escapes formal introduction as he’s avoided the beaten paths more than anyone I know.
Let me first tell you how I met aladin. In 2004 I was at a conference where he gave an extraordinary and unusually eloquent talk about his work as Co-Chair of the influential Cultural Strategy Group for London in 2000-4 under Ken Livingstone, and how he worked with governments, cultural institutions, big international brands and civic processes.
Later one evening at the same conference aladin invited the entire audience on stage and, while standing below us on the floor, did another impressive talk and tantalized us with his preferred tool of the trade, a deck of cards. It was magical, so much in fact, that arguably the brightest (philosopher) mind in the room walked off the stage grunting “Impossible!” – after finding the missing card in his pocket.
It’s safe to say aladin operates within the realm of the seemingly impossible. With a background in economics he now excels in multiple fields, such as strategic counseling, civic resilience, sustainability and art. He’s also appeared in the The Book of Cool, made movie appearances and intervened with street gangs for years, more than once facing a knife or a gun. Unrelenting in his quest for better ways for society and people to conduct their lives, aladin recently created an interdisciplinary action research and development initiative called ‘7point9’.
You may think all of this is of another world. But perhaps the most surprising part about aladin is that he’s in fact very grounded once you get to know him. And that usually happens really fast, as he’ll meet you at eye-level and immediately pick up on and add to whatever you throw at him.
Of course aladin attends lots of conference just like the rest of us. A decade ago he even won a Financial Times’ ‘Award for Excellence’ for the best conference workshop facilitation of the year. But if you also accept the argument that conferences are really about the best ideas and most influential people of any industry, you can begin to imagine why Conferize has asked aladin to help us get off the ground:
As we’re working to create transparency with the meetings industry and bridging the gap between the onsite conference and its online community, we’ll help surface and convey knowledge that before was either hidden within analogue confinement, or lost in the vast digital sea we call the Internet.
There’s a definite strand of utopia to empowering individuals to somehow “attend” any conference from anywhere. To this end, aladin is the perfect travel companion.
Image above: aladin by Bill Roy (2012)