The Substitute for Experience

I had an epiphany in the shower this morning: After a lifelong career in broadcasting, during which I have mostly thought of myself as a little bit of the renegade, a little bit of a challenger of the status quo, I am now a card-carrying member of the status quo.

The epiphany came as I was thinking ahead to the upcoming NAB show in Las Vegas—you are going, aren’t you?—and I realized that all of the people whom I am slated to see, huddle with, break bread with, paint the town red with, etc., are in the same boat—reformed and former challengers, now members of Groucho Marx’s “club who wouldn’t have me as a member.”

This is not headline news—I’m looking forward to seeing friends of long standing, as, doubtless, are you. But there was a point when going to an industry conference was primarily to meet new people and learn stuff that we didn’t know. These days, going to an industry conference is primarily to talk with old friends about stuff that we already know.

The way I see it, first, shame on me—and maybe you as well—for not making it a priority to learn new stuff at the convention. (And no, I’m not talking about the next-gen gizmo I encounter on the exhibit floor—although that’s fun, too.) Second, probably the best way to learn new stuff is to meet new people. And the new people I need to meet are those who are today’s versions of my former renegade self.

Accordingly, I am hereby issuing a challenge to myself and to you, dear involved, Las Vegas-bound industry veteran: make it a point to meet some new people and learn some new stuff.

In fact, I’m going to take it one step further: I am going to ask a bunch of my friends for their short list of people under the age of, say, 40 who are making things happen and who will become the industry leaders of tomorrow. Those are the people I want to meet; those are the people from whom I can learn the most.

That said, I am still looking forward to seeing my old friends in Las Vegas—which means you. Either before or during the conference, give me a call at 949-533-4912 so we can be sure to hook up.

It’ll be good to see you, and who knows? We might actually learn something from one another.