Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Earlier this year I went to a business lecture, and I was a little bored, so I took notes.  I waited long enough so that the particulars of the event are no longer relevant, but my notes still seem to be applicable.  In fact, I’ve applied them to several other seminars since…

Hi, I’m an out-of-town business expert who’s very friendly in a charming yet superficial way, but I’m not really here to listen to the people in my audience. Here I am talking for a while.  And a little more.  And more.  And now I’m done.  Any questions?

Hi there.  I’m a hopeful but uninformed newbie.  My question is something about something patently obvious that can only be answered one way, but I’m so earnest that you have to answer me seriously.

 

That’s OK, questions like this one let me talk some more.  And a little more.  And I can say exactly what I want.  Great, that was fun.  Next question?

Pick me!

(Warily) OK….

I’m a neurotic Type-A fellow focussed on area of policy minutia that isn’t relevant to anyone else.  I have a three part question.

OK, let me try…

(Interrupting) I’m not going to let anyone answer any part of my three-part question.

OK, but I think…

(Interrupting) Wait, there’s one more part to my question.

Fine, now I’ll answer just the third party of your question with a two-word answer.  Moving on…

(Interrupting) Now I have have a followup question that includes the phrases “open-source” and “Web 2.0” and “sustainability.”

 

Oh, buzz words.  I have a can of those, let me just open it up on your ass.  “XML-enabled,” “first mover advantage,” “the long tail of,” “Flickr-ize,” “wirearchy,” “Ubuntu,” “there’s a module for that in the next release of Drupal.” Next question?

Hi, I already know you from somewhere else and I’m going to make an obscure reference to that event that no one but you could get.

 

Yes, you just proved you know me, but I clearly don’t remember you.  Should I pretend?

If you don’t, I’ll blog shit about you.

 

Ha ha!  I remember you now.  Next question?

I have glasses.  So my point is a serious one.

 

I don’t want to agree with you simply because you are wearing a golf shirt with a coffee stain.

Well, if a generalize my point enough, you can’t contradict it.  The universe exists, don’t you agree?

 

Ah ha, I can still win by agreeing and disagreeing in the same sentence.  It does and it doesn’t.  See, I’m not refuting you, and then if I make a witty pop culture reference, everyone will chuckle and forget that I didn’t make sense.

Damn.  You’re moderately correct and I’m not an asshole so I can’t keep arguing in front of the crowd.

 

We’re running short of time, so are there any blabbermouths who still want to…

(Interrupting) I have a fifth part to my question.

No.

I have a question and I’m cute.

Go ahead.

My question is in the form of a personal anecdote that’s not generally applicable and I’m going to tell it in reverse chronological order by re-using the phrase, “let me back up a minute.”

Your anecdote is super boring.  I’m going to stop blinking so I don’t fall asleep by accident.

Now my personal anecdote will demean half the people in the room.  But I’m still cute.
We’ll forgive you. Can we go now?

 

No, because I want at least one non-crazy person to speak before I’m done.  Are there any non-crazies?

I’m not crazy?

Oh good.

Let me start by saying I was working on the Internet in 1985…

Oh shit.

I’ve been listening to people like you facing these exact same problems for 20 years.  The only difference now is bandwidth, so problems are downloaded faster.  Nothing ever changes.  Let’s all give up.

 

That’s totally insightful and depressing and true.  But I make my living offering solutions to these insolvable problems.

Me too.
Me too.
Me too.

See? If we’re all working on a solution, there must be one, right?  OK, that’s all everyone.  I’m going to go drink.

Wait, can I use this gathering as a forum for my own self promotion?

No.

Too late.

Damn.  If I can get you all to clap, she’ll have to shut up.

Yay! (Everyone claps.)

Wait, I’m a sane person with a cogent question.  Hello? Hello? Hello…



 
 

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Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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