Well, here's a sentence I thought I'd never write: "So earlier this week, I was invited to speak to a classroom of graduating MBA students at UC Irvine on the business history of Gallery1988." Not kidding.
The subject was "Mobilizing Around Art & Music" and since I never took one Business class at USC (and have never in my life created an actual PowerPoint presentation), I felt a bit intimidated when I was first invited. But in the end, the experience was actually awesome. I focused on the early days of the gallery, the transition from having zero people on our mailing list to eventually opening a second gallery and now finding a level of success that, honestly, Katie and I didn't expect to have within 5 years. We also spent a lot of time on our past, and future (if the students are reading this...remember, you promised to keep it quiet!), work with Mattel, Disney and other large companies finding inspiration within our artists and shows. Since the class, dubbed "Edge," has a strong emphasis on living in a 2.0 world, we also dissected the online presence of the Gallery and how its been vital to our existence. Most of the "business" aspects to the gallery are something neither Katie and I ever discuss outside of each other, so it felt a bit strange - but the class asked questions throughout the presentation and we ended up going for an hour and a half. Good times, and I hope more opportunities like this one pop up in the future. One student thanked me at the end of the class by saying with a huge smile, "It was great to have someone come in here and basically tell us that everything we've learned in business school quite possibly COULD be bullshit." Here are some pics...
This is now the closest I had ever come to Business School.
Been a while since I had been on a college campus and forgot how much inspiration it can bring.
Here's the class. I look stressed because I'm probably talking about the idea that our first two years were filled with exhibitions from great artists (i.e. Audrey on the screen), but we still weren't all that well known outside of a 3 mile radius.
Your guest professor has played Guitar Hero more than I've worn a suit. Real talk. Picture to prove it.
Starting to wrap up, the screen proclaims my newest victory, and yes I did wear a Miller Genuine Draft tee to teach a class of Business Grad students.
Thanks to all the students from Edge, as well as David Obstfeld (who extended the invite) and John Seely Brown (who's history at Xerox involved the creation of the computer mouse! He was nice enough not to throw his lunch at me as I said "bullshit" more than 5 times). To be honest, it's also a big deal for me to be invited to something like this, since I join a group of guest speakers that includes members of Obama's staff and the CIO of Starbucks this year. Thanks again, UCI.