There is an event coming to Florida that is certain to set a new standard for conferences, seminars and lectures in America. This is an event for dreamers and doers, for those looking to be inspired and for anyone whose heart beats a little faster when they see or hear something that no one ever imagined.
While we live in a digital world where it may seem easy to find passionate and inspirational people with a keyword search and a couple of clicks on YouTube or Netflix, collaborating in-person with a few hundred souls who feed off of creativity and innovation is an organic, human experience like no other.
On November 6, PINC.Sarasota
is the stimulus that will bring these people together at Florida Studio Theatre
PINC is an acronym for People, Ideas, Nature, Creativity. The PINC experience has been happening in Europe for 15 years, and continues to grow after every event. When I learned about PINC almost two years ago, I began following it on various media channels, read reviews from attendees, and soon decided I would be in the audience within a year or two.
This past May, I hopped over the Atlantic and attended PINC.15 in Zeist, Netherlands. As someone who has been to so-called "creative conferences and expos,'' I expected great public speakers trained to tell their unique stories and present their research and studies like they've done many times. Simply stated, PINC was nothing like what I anticipated and far exceeded every expectation. It is an experience that separates itself from every conference or seminar we are familiar with in America.
As the last speaker in Zeist wrapped up, it was announced that the next PINC will make its American debut later this year in Sarasota. As a resident and contributor in this community, I felt chills of pride as 500 well-respected corporate leaders, successful entrepreneurs, media types and visionary innovators applauded and congratulated the PINC organizers for taking this experience to Florida's creative coast. While I couldn't share that moment in time with my friends and colleagues in Sarasota, I will share five reasons why you should take advantage of the opportunity of having PINC.Sarasota in our own backyard on November 6.
1. The Speakers
The organizers have a special talent for selecting 16 speakers from around the world who have little in common, and turning them into a beautiful mosaic of ideas, experiences and visions. These speakers range from well-known specialists in their fields to brilliant misfits who have gained notoriety doing the extraordinary. The characteristics they do have in common are their ridiculous passion for their topic and the fact that they are currently changing the world in a unique way.
What I enjoyed most about the PINC speakers was that nothing seemed rehearsed. A few were talking to an audience of this size for the very first time. My favorite was an introverted time-lapse photographer and natural history film maker who began with, "This is the first time I've presented this to anyone other than my friends and family.'' It will be moments like this that suck you into the intimacy of PINC and realize that you are part of a special experience that can never be duplicated.
Unlike other conferences, PINC dismisses the ordinary Q&A time after each speaker. Instead, the speakers stay throughout the day, available and welcoming to talk 1-on-1 with anyone from the audience during intermezzos, lunch or the after party dinner. By the time the day was over, I had conversations with the Art Director of the New Yorker, a guy with a webcam built into his bionic eye, two architects with mind-blowing redesigns of deserted Parisian metro stations, the Founder of The Museum of Everything,
the medical industry expert for face transplants and human growth regeneration, a Canadian educator who believes empathy is our most valuable trait, a Sierra Leone native named to Forbes 30 under 30 for technology, and two Brits who thought it would be fun to recreate the entire Back To The Future movie via tweets. Needless to say, having the opportunity to talk with the speakers made this one of the most unforgettable and interesting days of my life. I wait with anticipation to create new experiences and conversations with the speakers at PINC.Sarasota.
2. The Audience
Imagine a day when you can be surrounded by a few hundred people and no one is pulling out their mobile phones, plugging in laptops or disappearing to a lonely corner to make a call. Imagine a place where everyone around you is so engaged in what's happening in the present that they dismiss the notion that they should be anywhere else. It had been years since I felt like this until my experience in Zeist. I quickly learned that when you are part of a PINC audience, you have a responsibility to meet strangers, share ideas and collaborate with people who you would have never thought would add a new element to the way you see things. The PINC organizers make this process convenient and comfortable. The day is planned for the audience to engage with each other naturally. I want you to be surprised like I was with some things on the agenda, so I won't give away all of the details, but one protocol that I loved is that you sit in a different seat after each set of four speakers. Things like this are part of the unofficial PINC code that differentiates itself from other conferences, and supports those that need an extra nudge to get out of their comfort zone.
Throughout the day, you’ll start to realize that all of these little things start to make an impact on the way audience members engage with each other. PINC will attract the attendees who are ready to make a positive impact, and then it will guide us through the day in order to gain and share insights from numerous people coming from completely different industries, including some you once looked at as competitors. Sarasota needs a conference like PINC to bring an audience like this to the same building for a day. While the conference itself will be special, the collaboration from those attending the conference will create timeless results.
3. The Intermezzos
After each set of four speakers, the audience will leave the theatre for an intermezzo filled with detailed surprise after surprise. During the first intermezzo in Zeist, I was greeted at the door with the Dutch version of a cronut and an iced coffee. I devoured this delicious pastry and began making my way through the crowd to a table that featured books from a local store. The selection of books was specially picked for this audience and soon became conversation starters for those around the table. Before I knew it, I was spending the intermezzo talking about Malcolm Gladwell literature with the bookstore owner, ad execs from a UK agency, an attorney and a reporter from Wired Magazine. Every intermezzo experience continued to surpass the last, never allowing the audience to escape the feeling of being in the moment and always ensuring the day crescendos with surprise and delight moments.
4. The After Party Dinner
PINC does a lot of things exceptionally well. One of them is food. As an audience member, you will be served an appetizing breakfast and lunch, along with unique local snacks throughout the day. But nothing is like the After Party Dinner. All together, this was the best food I've had at any conference. It proved that the organizers pay attention to every single item on the agenda and do an incredible job of arousing all of the senses. The After Party Dinner was filled with several stations of carefully selected and themed delicacies, bottomless drinks, motivating conversation and a dessert table that everyone shared on Instagram prior to consuming. It is rare to be at an all-day event and the attendees have more energy and enthusiasm at 8 p.m. than they do at 8 a.m. PINC pulls this off masterfully. There is no doubt that PINC is working diligently with the chefs at Louie's Modern and The Francis to make the PINC.Sarasota dinner one to remember.
5. The Book Exchange
About a week before the conference, I received an email from PINC co-Founder Nelleke van Lindonk regarding general information about the event. There was a particular part of the email that got me very excited and already had me thinking this would be a special conference. It read, "We are repeating our popular action whereby we ask everyone to bring a book, either new or from the bookshelf, not too expensive, simply a book that appeals to you and you think will appeal to other PINC participants. Write a short message in the book for the unknown receiver and include your email address and wrap it in paper. At PINC, we will add your book to the pile and when you leave at the end of the day you take one of the other anonymous books away with you. This has resulted in some fascinating contacts being made.'' As simple as that sounds, it left me thinking why every event I go to doesn't have a book exchange. By the time registration was over, the table at the front entrance was covered in gift wrapped books. At the end of the day, along with receiving an awesome parting gift from PINC, the last thing you do is select an unknown book to take with you. As I watched other PINC participants ponder their book of choice, I selected one with blue wrapping paper. It was a Dutch cookbook that now resides in my kitchen. While I can't read Dutch and don't understand the recipes, the book is always reminding me of the conference that helped recharge my creative batteries.
As these are just five reasons why you should attend PINC.Sarasota
, trust me that this event will be the talk of the town and a staple event in Sarasota for many years. You have the privilege to be part of the first group to experience this in America. So on November 6, dismiss your job title, forget the rules and be amazed, entertained and passionately fulfilled. As a past attendee of PINC, I'm comfortable promising two things.
This event will bring together the most diverse audience of game changers that has ever been assembled in Sarasota.
Ideas that you never imagined as possible will become a reality by the end of the day. These ideas will become new interests of yours and conversation starters for years to come.
My wish is that you will join me in the audience while we see the world differently, learn together and discover how to break barriers. Ask anyone who has attended PINC, and you will get the same response. PINC will empower you with creative confidence that you didn't know existed. It is an experience you don't want to miss and one you will never forget. See you on November 6 at Florida Studio Theatre.
Sam Davidson is an award-winning marketing and communications professional. He has served on The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and has received numerous accolades like Sarasota's Young Professional of the Year and Biz941's People To Watch. He is currently traveling the globe and will be launching The Wanderkiss Project in September where he sets out to interview couples from around the world. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.