I love Madison. I sometimes think the whole world is like this amazing place but then I go out into the world and realize how fortunate I am to live here.
Last night, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual dinner at the Monona Terrace. I heard Vice President Joe Biden was in the building sometime that day but I didn’t get to see him. Too bad because that would have made the night interesting.
Because of my own personal passion for Madison, I was looking forward to hearing Dr. Colin Harrison, the creator of the “Smart Cities” initiative based at the IBM Research Lab in Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Harrison is at his core a scientist so perhaps for the bio-tech crowd which Madison’s Chamber clearly embraces - it was a good pick.
But as one of the many small business owners in Madison, I was far more inspired by one of our own, Rebecca Ryan from Next Generation Consulting. She was a far more engaging and dynamic speaker but unfortunately she was in charge of simply setting the stage for the evening.
Dr. Harrison may have the credentials but he lacked the charisma to captivate our imaginations. This topic with this audience should have had us all standing on our feet. Instead, I received a text 15 minutes into his presentation from a friend saying “How bored are you?”
This city is smart. We are creators, innovators, and leaders. We do need to do a better job of telling our story to the outside world - not just to ourselves though. Still, it begins with us.
Every one of the business people at the dinner last night has contacts throughout the United States and probably many - around the globe. We tell our story again and again through social networks. Why not instead use the evening to coach us on how to tell our story better and to be mindful of the fact that people are listening?
The event started and ended on time. The content was good. The speaker - not worthy - although he should have been. My Chamber of Commerce needs to do better because they represent me - and half of all the businesses in the Greater Madison area. I want my Chamber to represent the passionate, disruptive and innovative people we are in the business community.
There’s always next year.