I had the distinct pleasure of organizing the Web2Open at this year’s Web 2.0 Expo in New York City.

Over these past few days, I’ve met a new group of amazing people, with skills and passion in over-drive.  People who have brilliant ideas, projects and powers to make things happen.  It’s been truly inspiring.  Instead of the Web feeling old hat, it feels like a place where magic can still happen, and it’s becoming less and less about just the shiny objects and more about using tools for self-actualization.  We’re moving up Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, and it’s beyond looking for food, clothing and shelter, and more about who we can become.

On many levels, the Web2Open was also about the evolution of the unconference as well.  It’s about giving people a platform to share their passions, to meet people they might never otherwise run into, because of geography, or cultural reasons, or any of the reasons we sometimes shut ourselves off from what’s truly possible.  For example, I had a truly amazing dinner with JC Hutchins last night, discussing creativity, valuation of creativity, and how we decie between doing the easy thing and the hard one, and the strength it often takes to say no to people who are really looking out for their best interest, not yours.

I’mn learning that community is not just a bunch of people, but it’s people you can call and they not only pick up the phone, but they are happy to sign onto your plan or idea, because they trust you.  Your community can have many layers and the strength of the connections may vary, but the best stuff happens when you say “I have this opportunity for you- what do you think?”  and there seems to be very little pause before they say “You bet- count me in.”  That’s priceless.  That’s people voting with their feet, their voices, their wallets, and they do it in part because they know you will deliver and make it worth their while.  And when time, attention and money are tight, that kind of opt in is priceless.

It’s going to take some time to fully process everything that’s happened, let alone dig out of my inbox and send the PDF’s I owe people, links, etc.  What I can say for sure is this memory will be with me for a long time.

Thank you to O’Reilly Publishing, Brady Forrest, Jen Pahlka, Sara Milstein, especially Meghan Reilly who helped us pull this all together from the TechWeb end;

Christopher S. Penn, the Marketing Ninja, Michelle Wolverton, the best VA and friend ever, for their support and assistance;

All of our great volunteers to who helped man the desk- more on these superheros in my next post;

All the speakers, attendees and everyone who participated in any way in the Web2Open.  You made it the event that it was, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of it.