Side note: I still have a couple of tickets for Wired's NextFest. If you are interested, send me an email to mark at finnern dot com.
She asked me how the Mini Future Salon the night before was, and without really thinking about it, I answered: "Well, not a lot of people showed up."
The little exchange stayed in my mind. Sylvia's question was not how many people showed up, but how the Future Salon was.
It made me think about when a Future Salon is a success? Number of participants plays only a minor part in it. Way more important is, whether people had a good time. Was there stimulating conversations? Did I get some new insides or perspectives, that I didn't have before?
For me all these elements were fulfilled last Friday: Nice venue, with good food, I got to know new people. We talked a lot, may be too much for my taste about how to get the terrorist/middle east problem under control. What would change, if there is a technology that with 99.9% accuracy tells, whether someone is lying or not. For sure privacy implications are humongous. (See: New technology detects a lie before it's spoken [Thanks Mike Korns])
Mike also wrote me in an email:
Thanks for a wonderful evening.
It was very thoughtful of you to schedule an impromptu futurist salon last night.
We had a great and lively time. I hope you enjoyed the 12 Galaxies event? Afterwards, the five of us continued talking on the sidewalk, then all walked over to our hotel and didn't stop until 1PM.
For people to go on taking until one in the morning after being kicked out of the coffee shop at 10pm is a wonderful indication that the Future Salon was a great success.