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  • Steven Wilson-Beales

Defeating the ubermensch – Dare Conference Party 2013


Karen McGrane at Dare Conference 2013 © Barbara Thompson

Right now there’s a fantastic event happening in London called the Dare Conference – and it’s ace.

Organised by Together, it’s all about developing those soft skills, like interacting with people, which you would normally consider secondary in your drive for technical excellence and that sparkling CV. It’s about risking more of yourself with others in order to create an environment where ideas can be shared and change can happen.

Here’s what I learnt. I wasn’t able to attend the actual event but watched the live feed during the day and attended the party at The Book Club, Shoreditch in the evening. As usual, this was another brilliant session organized by Jonathan Kahn’s team and a great opportunity to explore new ideas with like-minded people from, mostly, digital professions.

The evening session was an informal affair with a series of lighting talks in The Book Club basement from the likes of Karen McGrane, Kevin Hoffman and Elizabeth McGuane. We weren’t allowed to tweet because this was the chance for speakers to be really honest with us. It was quite a relief to put the mobiles and tablets away and just listen – I wonder how many times we actually do that in the office?

Obviously, I’m not going to go into the details here but, suffice to say, it was a real privilege to hear people to talk so honestly about their weaknesses, their failures. Because, as Karen McGrane discussed in her keynote speech earlier that day, it’s only by being honest with each other that we can overthrow the corporate identities we’ve been told to adopt at work and effect real change.

Meanwhile upstairs, Justin McMurray from Somewhere held a series of informal group discussions around the notion of ‘finding the others’. We were asked to think about the people that really influenced our lives and shaped the way we are today. I was completely blown away by some of the stories I heard and that’s all because people felt comfortable sharing. And this was the point of the exercise – it’s only by risking more with other people that we really gain anything.

I’m still computing everything that was said last night, a lot of it might sounds pretty simple but that’s because it is. I’ll certainly be thinking about how I can risk more with others in my life going forward.


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