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    August 08, 2007


    One-Way-Ticket Planner

    Here is a stuff i wrote - more on the entertaining side of the conference...

    It is called: Whispering Through The Crowd
    - How a crowd of planners behaved at Ivy Party in San Diego -

    So the highlight of the “off the record” planning conference was without doubt the improvised party on Tuesday night at the Ivy.

    Here are Four insights about the crowd, directly inspired from “the night I would remember to forget”. First, crowds and passiveness. As we were all gathering and having fun at the bar downstairs, the bartenders abruptly stopped serving alcohol on the sole signal of the light being switched on. Everybody was shocked and asked for more. Not even a last round. Not even a small shot. Not even a discrete drop under the counter. Not even a smile. Arrogant bartenders almost ruined the night without a last call and what did we do? The Crowd protested but didn’t fight. No pugilistic attitude, no putsch, no coup to take over ownership of the bar. Revolution is not a modern idea.

    Fortunately, generosity happens and there we were in the elevator to the promised land of free booze and cool music and …bare fun. “Room 641” first sounded like a secret. But in less than a minute, everybody knew about the “Room 641” clandestine after-party. Guys and girls would exchange understated glances with a naïve excitement about what was to follow. Crowds are indeed viral - rumors spread incredibly fast at that time of the night.

    I don’t know if you read the book “The Wisdom of Crowds” but surprisingly the wisdom theory doesn’t apply to a crowd of drunk strategic planners. Guess what a crowd of likeminded ego-centric people which rate themselves “8 out of 10” on creativity and intelligence do at 2am in a chic hotel room?? They scream at each other of course! Making it inevitable for the security to come and stop everything. Making it inevitable for the party to not last longer than a video on YouTube. Short-format is our new cultural standard (and possibly the sad future of love-making, but that’s a side-note). At the least those of us from the Paleolithic Compact Disc Generation still like to do things in an hour-long format. But those hot YouTube-fed baby planners have no desire to concentrate longer than what it takes to heat a bun in a microwave. Unless they have strong leaders, crowds, like sport fans and Wall Street, have very little sense of long-term vision.

    Talking about love-making, I had a fabulously erotic experience with S., which would constitute my fourth and last observation about planner crowd behavior. So here we are, 100 people shoulder to shoulder in a luxurious hotel suite loaded with vodka and other bonding lubricants, all more or less “high” and smiling, content about ourselves as planners usually are. The host, J., trying to instill some wisdom, smartly suggested to “stop screaming and start whispering”. My occasional “google:hot+blond+sexy” friend, S., must have gotten the message right, because that’s precisely what she did. She slowly approached her mouth to my ear, breathing strongly enough to give me goose pumps in the neck and somewhere inside my cerebral cortex. I believe that’s the effect she was looking for. In a nice crescendo of sensuality, she added a more physical dimension to this arousing strategy, in form of a lubricous, expertly gentle hand traveling from my neck to my back to my “insert:blank”. While dopamine infused my neurotic network, she went on, following the MC’s instructions, calmly whispering dirty words to let me reach what we could call a “platonic orgasm”. Pure generosity with no further expectations of a give-back, which is even more appreciable. So just by whispering to each other in the middle of the mass, we suddenly felt alone. Nothing mattered anymore: Russel Davies could have stopped blogging, Apple could have been bought by Microsoft, the world could have collapsed. She was feeding pieces of heaven through my ear and the world looked very simple, everything suddenly made sense, in a perfect universal harmony. The crowd didn’t notice, the crowd didn’t care, the crowd didn’t matter anymore. So that’s my last observation: we like to be in a crowd because it brings us closer to ourselves. Intimacy within the crowd is indeed a fantastic feeling, a mix of intrinsic power and sheer humanity – that’s maybe a reason why we like to go the theater or to concerts.

    So that’s what I would propose until the next planning conference: We should whisper more often.

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