Last week when I was talking with Linda Stone I told her that I tried to live a “FooCamp Life.”
What’s FOOCamp? That’s Tim O’Reilly’s annual campout where he invites about 300 “Friends Of O’Reilly” to O’Reilly’s headquarters in Sebastapol, CA, for a campout. I was invited for the first two years, then haven’t been invited ever since.
Not getting invited back was the greatest gift that Tim O’Reilly could have given to me. Why? Because he had shown me a way to live, then by pulling it away he forced me to do it on my own. Interesting too, that the same effect caused the creation of BarCamp.
How did FOOCamp create that need? I remember one night at the first FOOCamp when I arrived with my son, Patrick, and we were hungry. There were a few people setting up tents and stuff and they pointed us to the kitchen. When we got there it was empty, but found a box of apples (the eating kind, not the computing kind) and started munching away. Soon an executive from AT&T walked in. Then Yossi Vardi did (his kids started ICQ). Then Linda Stone walked in (she gave me some heck for working for Microsoft which struck me as odd at the time since she was a former executive at both Apple and Microsoft). Then the two guys who started Google walked in. Then Tim O’Reilly himself walked in. That was the beginning of my FOOCamp experience and it only got better from there.
So, when Tim stopped inviting me I told myself I’d have the ultimate revenge: I’d live a FOOCamp Life and have an interesting conversation every day, just like the one I had at FOOCamp that Friday evening at about midnight with my son and a bunch of interesting technologists.
When I told Linda this story she was taken aback. She’s been tracking how people manage attention and she said that my “do an interview every day” was attention management done right. It does keep my life on track and keeps me from being distracted by Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook, and all the other stuff. It’s my #2 priority after hanging out with Milan, Patrick, and Maryam. All else, including important emails, gets dropped on the ground.
Anyway, the FOOCamp Life was in high gear yesterday with an interview by NHK’s brightest in the morning, a meeting with Brad Mays, who does PR for AT&T, then onto an interesting conversation with Andrew Feinberg and Alex Tcherkassky of www.capitolvalley.net, a blog that tracks the intersection of politics and technology. More on that conversation in the next post.
Then onto a party where there were tons of interesting people from across the tech industry.
Today I’m going to a film screening at Stanford. More on that when I get permission to talk about the movie.
So, who else is living a FOOCamp Life? How are you managing attention?
Anyway, that gets to the point of this post: attention thieves.
What gets your attention off of your life goals? Or, in my case, keeping me from living a FOOCamp Life? For me, this post was conceived because I started up MSN Messenger and instantly got distracted by several conversations with my friends.
So, what is distracting you from your goals?
Twitter? Facebook? Email? An RSS Reader? World of Warcraft? Flickr? Phone calls? TV?
How do you manage attention? Er, how do you manage your attention thieves?