A professional poker player, a vicar and a porn merchant :)

Just another evening in Adam Street then with Oli Barrett. I have to confess that I skipped the speed networking, but the speakers were so good I thought that I would share them with you.

The first speaker was Caspar Berry, a professional poker player – amongst other things – who spoke about risk and assured us that in order to manage risk, we needed to embrace failure. (His opening gambit was a quote from a sign spotted on a boating lake: ‘Boating is fun until death occurs’). It was a bit complicated, especially when he tried to recreate Vegas, but his message was that we must not be afraid to fail, because it is the natural order of things repeated failure should statistically ensure success at some point. He described the story of Abraham Lincoln who’s early political career was a catalogue of failure before finally succeeding as one of the most celebrated Presidents of the US. (Then he was assassinated – reiterating the saying boating is fun until death occurs).

Next up was Joanna Jepson, a vicar from St Peter’s church in Fulham. Her passion was the development of slow relationships in community – so she said. But actually what she seemed more intent on talking about was the Examen of consciousness (a practice invented by Ignatius of Loyola). Best described here: http://www.freshworship.org/zine/examen.html. Essentially being clear what is bringing you joy, or satisfaction (achieving your goals) and what is not. Then stripping away that which is not achieving anything for you and leaving you with the gift of time. Funnily enough I have been doing this already, just not in a religious way (I am not especially religious, nor necessarily not – if that makes sense). Joanna promised us that by doing this, we would achieve corporate stillness! Worth a go 🙂

Last to bound to the front of the room was Shed Simove. Now, you had to be there to really appreciate this guy – he makes adult novelty toys, works on Big Brother and does a million and one things as well as being a truly energetic and amusing speaker. (Many a belly laugh, and the guy sat coding on the floor even shut his Mac and listened). His message was to give anything a go, no matter how random or unrelated to our norm – and so long as we follow through to the end and complete what we started, then we will eventually hit pay dirt. He has written a book called Ideas man and I for one will definitely be buying it 🙂