What do a trumpet, a George Bush impersonator, and the C+C Music Factory all have in common? If you guessed, “Nothing, weirdo,” you’d be wrong.
The correct answer, dear readers, is they were all part of the inaugural, sell-out Platform Conference, held in Nashville, Tennessee on February 11–13.
I was pleased to produce the live-media experience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) for Michael and his team, so I had a front row seat to all the action.
After seeing the amazing speaker line-up, I knew the material would be solid. But as far as other expectations, I didn’t have any. I was a blank slate, ready to learn.
Let me start out by saying I’ve been to a lot of conferences. I’ve been backstage at some of the biggest events around. With some notable exceptions, they all follow a similar script. They all have the same feel.
For instance, speakers will book the latest flight in and earliest flight out. You’d be lucky to have them breeze through the green room, say “hi,” and then shuttle off to the airport.
This was not the case at the Platform Conference. Smart money man, Pat Flynn was there for the entire conference, not just for his time on stage. Every session, every break, every meal—he was there (so were most of the other speakers, by the way). I saw Pat interacting, sharing, and learning from everyone else. I cannot overstate how rare this is. It’s also incredibly generous.
Podcasting powerhouse, Cliff Ravenscraft, was emotionally generous with us. He shared his very personal story of career missteps, frustrations, and, ultimately, redemption—through podcasting, no less. I could feel the relief in the room from those who are/have been in a situation similar to Cliff’s—hate their job, but it pays the bills. Cliff’s story showed me what happens when passion meets up with good ol’ fashioned determination.
Stu’s comment about being from “the middle of nowhere” Canada (his words) instantly endeared him to me. See, I’m from Des Moines. (Yes, by choice.) While Des Moines may not be a thriving metropolis, it’s home. Hearing Stu tell the story of how his business grew from his little corner of the world gave me hope I could do the same—even from Des Moines.
After sharing some of my story in a side conversation with Stu, he encouraged me, “Anyone can run a business on the Internet. It doesn’t matter where you live.” I gushed on Twitter about his talk, but it was for good reason. He changed the way I think about business. Permanently. You can’t put a price tag on an enlarged mind.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Michael. Not because this is his blog, but because I saw a different side of him most don’t see. I was fortunate enough to spend considerable time with his five daughters (FIVE!) backstage. Do you know what I learned? I learned his children not only love, but actually like, their dad. Crazy, isn’t it?
Being a father myself, and sitting with dozens of parents during my time in ministry, I know how hard it is to have a healthy relationship with one child, let alone five. It doesn’t happen by accident, let me tell you. But Michael’s done it. This says something about the type of man he is.
This same relational intentionality permeated every aspect of Platform Nashville. To quote Stu McLaren, “I have never met someone whose public and private personas matched up so well.” Of course, there were plenty of stand-out moments from the other presenters. But, as they say, “so many words, so little time.”
I’d encourage you to consider your own platform-building efforts. If you need a nudge in the right direction, Platform Dallas is taking shape as we speak. (If you’re the worrying type, the Nashville event sold out. Keep that in mind as you’re considering!)