Mindshare LA: A Night of “Enlightened Debauchery”

mindshare la june flyerLast week, Kacie and I went to Mindshare LA. I’d been meaning to go to this event since I first read about it the fall, but had never actually made my way over to hear the talks and mingle with the rather intellectually elite crowd. But then I started getting more into LA’s tech evets, and I met Travis Savo, who is part of Mindshare Labs, at BarCamp. Once I had a personal invite — and knew one of the speakers (Jason) — of course I was going to go.

The event was held at a repurposed firehouse on the east side of Downtown LA. We entered from an alley, where a Border Grill taco truck was parked for our dining pleasure, and picked up our name tags before exploring the already crowded venue. There was a little courtyard, where Travis would DJ later, another outdoor space where there was an open wine and beer bar as well as snacks from Portos, and an inside space with a bar, some small side rooms, and a room set up for the presentations.

The speaker list was a diverse group of people all passionate about what they do.

Jessica Jackley, the founder of KIVA, gave a talk about microloans and about what KIVA is doing to help alleviate poverty around the world. I got to learn a bit more about the lending process and was really inspired by how she has been able to grow the organization so quickly and effectively.

Geoffrey Sommer, an aviator and risk analyst who has done work for NASA, talked about killer comets and meteorites and talked about how closely we can predict an impact and whether we could really do anything about it. I’ve always been a sucker for disaster shows, though they absolutely terrify me, and from what he has determined, we probably shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about things coming from outer space to kill us.

Ariel Blumenthal, a composer and the founder Sentient Music for Media talked about creating custom soundtracks for spaces that evolve as you move through the space and set differet moods in different parts of the spaces and Dr. Alex Benzer, the author of Tao of Dating for Women and Tao of Dating For Men talked about why smart people often have a difficult time dating.

The big talk of the night, though was Jason Porath‘s A Short History of Hollywood’s Genitalia Coverups. I first heard Jason give the talk at BarCamp, and it had the room roaring. We all laughed at terms like “tent removal” and “scrotoscoping,” and got to see quite a few examples of Hollywood coverups. I’m hoping the video of this one turns up sometime so I can share it.

After the talks, we stuck around for another drink and enjoyed the music. The courtyards were beautifully lit up with firelight, and we also got to check out a laser maze — I didn’t actually try it, but it looked like something a bank robber would have to go through.

I didn’t take any pictures, but here’s a video from SEOP:

SEOP at the Events: MindShare LA | 6/18/09 from SEOP on Vimeo.

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