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Bocce Gets Hip in West LA

bocceblitz1Who knew Beach Bocce was so cool? Apparently it’s the new thing to do in Los Angeles these days, and will catch a big wave on October 2 as Bocce Blitzkrieg comes to the Santa Monica Pier for a great cause. I’ve been volunteering with communication efforts for the Room to Read chapter in LA. If you’re interested, this will be a fun way to learn more about RTR and meet a diverse group of individuals who support its global mission to support literacy and equality in education in the developing world. I’ve posted the press release below for LA chapter members (or anyone else) to help spread the word.  

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Allison Wilson 213-925-9633

Event Contact: Dominic Bernacchi, 310-664-4530

BOCCE BLITZKRIEG STORMS SANTA MONICA PIER WITH LOS ANGELES’ FIRST BEACH BOCCE BALL TOURNAMENT TO BENEFIT ROOM TO READ

Registration is now open, with all ages and skill levels invited to experience bocce while making a direct impact on literacy in the developing world.

Santa Monica, Calif. (September 16, 2010) – Los Angeles’ first-ever Beach Bocce Ball Tournament will hit the sand on Saturday, October 2, with all proceeds to benefit Room to Read and its fight for global literacy and gender equality in education.

 when Los Angeles’ first-ever Beach Bocce Ball Tournament comes to the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, October 2. All proceeds will benefit Room to Read and its fight for global literacy and gender equality in education.  The all-day event is open to the public and will begin at 9 a.m. in the sand near the northern corner of Santa Monica Pier parking lot. Registration is now open, with entry categories for men, women and couples teams. Registration is $70 for teams of two.  The tournament will feature early round robin play funneling into brackets that will result in one team reigning as Beach Bocce Champions in each division. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to each and every bocce master.

Beach Bocce has been gaining in popularity in recent years, and can be enjoyed by competitors of all ages and all walks of life. The game is an adapted form of the traditional Italian ball game, played on the sand.

There will be just as much action off the sand, with games of skill open to everyone including Blindfolded Bocce, The Awesomely Accurate and the infamous Ball Handling competition. The Beach Bocce Blitzkrieg will also include special appearances by KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox and The Bocce King, “Giuseppe Napoli” as well as some of LA’s finest food trucks and an oasis from the heat of the competition provided in the Bud Light Beer Garden.

To register or make a donation to Room to Read in the name of Bocce Blitzkrieg, please visit http://www.bocceblitzkrieg.com.

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About Room to Read

Room to Read is an innovative nonprofit leader dedicated to promoting and enabling global education. Founded in 2000, the organization is based on the belief that education is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty in the developing world. Since then, the organization has supported over three million children by providing better access to higher-quality educational opportunities. Room to Read has catalyzed the construction of more than 700 schools, established 7,000 bilingual libraries with 5 million books, and continues to support the education of nearly 7,000 girls. Room to Read is providing opportunities that change children’s lives and communities throughout Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia. By 2010, Room to Read hopes to improve literacy for 5 million children by establishing over 10,000 libraries and distributing close to 9 million children’s books. For more information visit our website at www.roomtoread.org.

About Room to Read Los Angeles Chapter

Room to Read chapters are comprised of dedicated individuals who have made a long-term volunteer commitment to promoting Room to Read within their networks and communities. Since 2006, the chapters have collectively helped source over one third of Room to Read’s operating budget and they have an equally ambitious goal for 2009. Currently Room to Read has 39 chapters in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Australia. Room to Read’s Los Angeles Chapter was launched in 2008 and to date has raised more than $250,000 toward Room to Read’s goal of reaching 5 million children by 2010.

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What’s Your Superhero Power?

MOTM logLast night I had the pleasure of dining with 18 fascinating technologists and entrepreneurs, reminding me again of the depth and diversity of the talent pool in Los Angeles and the emergence of our region as a technology center for the world. We were gathered for a “vision-casting” session for MOTM (Meeting of the Minds), a salon made popular over the past two years by its unique format and the ability of its thoughtful founders, Kurt Daradics and Baron Miller, to lead intimate discussions of well-curated groups of individuals gathered around important industry issues of the day.

The hallmarks of MOTM networking events are their spontaneity, unscripted introductions by the hosts of each of the 40 or so invited guests and a speakers whose role is equal parts teacher and moderator — all buttressed by networking made richer by the contextual relevance of the participants.

Last night was different. Gathered around a large dinner table, our commonality was not around an industry sector, but rather our desire to help the founders chart a course for the group in light of two key developments: 1) MOTM is expanding beyond Westlake Village to include events  in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange County; and 2) MOTM is partnering with Ben Kuo’s socalTECH.com, bringing a live events component to the venture-focused newsletter and introducing the local financial community to MOTM’s mostly technology and entrepreneurial set.

As often is the case at MOTM, I was impressed by each of the guests in their own right — CIOs, gamers, musicians, programmers, content developers, bloggers, an executive coach, a television personality — and the potential not just of those assembled, but what’s possible if the power of all MOTM’s participants were to be harnessed, either for commerce or for good.

About halfway through introductions, and as an offshoot of a Marvel/Disney discussion, Kurt began asking each person to state their “Superhero power,” obviously intending to call attention to something special about each of his guests. While some were more comfortable joking about fictional powers like X-ray vision and the ability to breathe under water, more thoughtful answers included “guitar shredder” and “social chameleon.”  

Although not called upon to answer this question, my faux answer would have been the transformative Wonder Twins powers my sister and have enjoyed joking about since childhood. My more serious answer would have been “master networker,” for the enjoyment I receive from meeting new people and my desire to connect those who haven’t met yet in order to help each other advance their own agendas.

So, what’s your Superhero Power?

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Think.

Think smallFew things possess more Power than a Thought.
Because a Thought has the potential
to become something significant.
To solve something meaningful.
And to inspire us to achieve great things.

What makes a Thought so powerful is that it can be created by anybody.
At anytime.
From anywhere.

That’s why thinking should be encouraged
and nurtured in all its forms.
No matter how small.
Or how impossibly grand. 

Because wherever Thinking happens,
Big Ideas follow.
Minds become enlightened.
Knowledge grows.
And people discover new ways to unlock their Potential.

So start Thinking

View this inspiring spot for Qatar Foundation.

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Digital Family Summit Recap

dfsummit_banner_125x125Returning to LA to co-host the Digital Family Summit ended an abbreviated Advertising Week on a high note. It was an honor to interview Gerry Philpott of E-Poll and Karen North from USC, who graciously helped us implement the first-ever Managing Online Communities Survey. It was also fun meeting our speakers Mike Jones and Peter Hirschberg, and getting to introduce Jason Calacanis who interviewed them during a live broadcast of his show “This Week In Startups.” 

The best part of the evening was seeing old friends, including Brian McCarthy, Craig Moody, Liz Heller, Jim Jonassen, Joey Tamer, Darren Chuckry, Tony Greenberg, Mark Jeffrey, Tracy Bagatelle, Olivier Chaine and the list goes on. I was also pleased with the high caliber of attendees — at one point I found myself having just had six conversations in a row with CEOs.  

Here are some photos, blog posts and tweets if you’re interested in seeing what others are saying about the event. Also, please visit our sponsors, without whom great events like this would not be possible. Thanks too to all who attended and helped us promote the event.

When the crowed of 250 or so thinned out around 11 p.m., I enjoyed a yummy sushi roll and fried rice from Wokano, along with the company of my old friend DJ Loomer whose musical influence added just the right ambience and downbeat funky tempo to our affair.

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Digital Family Summit – 9/23/09

dfsummit_banner_125x125After introducing my new pal Kurt Daradics to my old friend Brad Nye one evening last summer, our after-dinner conversation led to an idea to host the first Digital Family Reunion, something that would not have been as relevant just a few years ago. What kind of opportunities could we stimulate by introducing the web1.0 community Brad and I were a part of, having hosted VIC parties in LA throughout the late 1990s, to LA’s new generation of digirati whose post-dot-com-era networking groups include the likes of Mixergy, Twiistup and DigitalLA? 

Held on December 11, 2008, the Reunion struck a chord with the digital media community in LA, attracting 800 energized professionals to the Skirball Cultural Center for a special evening of education, networking and entertainment.

Since then, we’ve had many conversations about how to harness the positive energy created that night. Beyond just networking parties for technology, media and entertainment professionals, what type of organization could the Digital Family become that would provide value far beyond anything else out there today? I’ll keep you posted on the outcome of that debate. In the meantime, we’ve planned an educational event to rally the community around a topic of common interest and importance later this month.

Digital Family Summit ’09 will be held Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at the Wokano Restaurant in Santa Monica. With a theme of “Managing Online Communities,” the program will feature a live broadcast of This Week In Startups, during which Jason Calacanis will interview MySpace COO Mike Jones and Peter Hirshberg, CEO of The Conversation Group. Use the code DFR30 when registering and save $20

In tandem with the theme of the event, we’ve partnered with E-Poll Market Research and the Charles Annenberg Weingarten Program on Online Communities at USC to launch a research study to uncover best practices for managing online communities. If you an online community builder please take our survey. If not, please forward it to somone who is!

I hope to see everyone on Sept. 23rd!

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