Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kidscreen Summit Prep

I’m at home getting ready for the Kidscreen Summit, which begins tomorrow. Over 1330 companies in the field of youth entertainment will be represented and we will noodle through a number of issues to learn about new products, services, and ways of doing business. New technologies and entrepreneurs looking for a break will abound. I know I should be excited. Truthfully, I am terrified.

My fear stems from several things: 1.) my company has paid a fairly large amount of money to attend, and I am its sole representative at the Summit despite the fact that I’ve only been there for 7 months; 2.) as a result of #1, I feel a tremendous pressure to find something cool to bring back to validate the expense. This is not good – it’s kind of like working very hard only to get promoted or to make money. Wrong motivation = missed learnings and poor decisions; 3.) I’ve been in this field 7 months – seriously, what will I have to contribute in a conversation with people who have dedicated their entire lives to youth entertainment?

I hate fear; and I hate the feeling of stress it imbibes. I have to calm myself down. So let’s take these fears one at a time. 1.) though the money that was paid seems large to me, it’s within our budget, and for three days of learning that could give the company a competitive advantage, it’s a drop in the bucket. Check. 2.) There is cool stuff to be had – one only need to look at the agenda and list of exhibitors. I’ve have to be on another planet to miss all the cool stuff that will be available. 3.) I had this same fear when I started business school. In a finance class, what could I contribute coming from a nonprofit and theatre background in a room full of investment bankers. As it turns out, a lot. The beauty of tremendously complex fields, it turns out that no one has all the answers, regardless of how long they’ve worked in a field. Times change, and industries change with those times.

Okay, I feel a bit better. But what is really going to get me over my fear of this Summit – two things. First, I am pretty darn lucky to have a boss who believes in me enough to send me as a representative to this conference. Second, if wifi and an electric outlet are accessible, I’ll be live blogging from the Summit. It’s amazing how many fears can be dissipated if they can be formulated into a story. Check back tomorrow for the latest update….

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