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Milken Institute Global Conference Highlights Through the Eyes of Todd Harrison


Lessons learned from America's left coast.


We're no strangers to events in the 'Ville; human capital is the heartbeat of our community and we pride ourselves on being a reflection of the company we keep. What began as a Crested Butte Mountain Mingle in 2004 evolved into legendary summer soirées in Ojai and Vail. The Critter's Choice Awards arrived soon thereafter, followed by Festivus Benefits in 2007, 2008, and 2009 to benefit The Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education.

There have been additional gatherings -- regional Minyanfests, which will soon begin anew -- as well as other conferences, confabs, and off-sites. I've spoken at many events and attended others, all with an eye towards absorbing the atmosphere, soaking in the energy, and fingering social mood. I've long believed good things happen when you get smart people in the same space. That theory was put to the test this week.

I've heard incredible stories about the Milken Institute Global Conference over the course of my career -- the panels, discussions, the incredible networking -- and gladly accepted an invitation when it was offered a few weeks back. My partner Kevin encourages me to "get out of the office and work the room" but I've traditionally preferred my conditioned position behind eight screens of flickering ticks.

I took a slew of notes, mental and otherwise, with hopes of sharing some wisdom upon my return. What follows are random perceptions that left a lasting impression; the scribbles that made their way across the country. While my intention is verbatim accuracy, we must allow for a margin of human error. An A.D.D. person in a sensory overload environment is akin to a moth in a light bulb factory and there were a lot of bright lights in that big city.

There were many worthy panels featuring thought-leaders from around the world. I could only attend one at a time -- these were often tough decisions -- but the fine folks from the conference did a remarkable job of covering it all. For the full experience, I will point you to the video archives of the Milken Institute, which are chock full of wisdom and foresight.

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