“I only come here for the dancing”, shouted the guy next to me last night at the party. We’re at a business conference, but he totally made sense.

It’s a weird event. There’s little talk of getting rich or going public. It’s more about vulnerability, doing good, and making change in the world. I helped lead two sessions yesterday, a financing forum for beginners, and a men’s circle.

Profit gets discussed in the context of caring for employees and the environment. Yesterday a shoe company gave a case study. Their stated purpose was to ‘spread joy’. Toto, we definitely aren’t in Kansas anymore.

It feels subversive and important. These entrepreneurs are schemers and dreamers unwilling to accept the norm. But, even though their heads are in the clouds, their feet are pretty much firmly on the ground.

Conversations rarely start with ‘what do you do’, unless of course you’re talking about   yoga or mindfulness. There is an interest in truly knowing and being known.   I think that’s because starting a business with purpose so damn hard. The carrot that dangles in front of them is not so much financial return as it is social. The battle to stay afloat takes it’s toll, and it’s good to be around others who ‘get it’.

 

Another guy said he felt he was at a Grateful Dead concert for business, only with less tie dye or acid.

 

It all sounds pretty great eh? Yah, I am here as a fan and, of course, for the dancing.