The Q Conference, Austin, TX – What is Q? – Post 1

A couple weeks ago, I attended the Q Conference in Austin, TX.  A lot was said and among my goals is to put out these posts before next year’s conference (yeah, I’m pretty ambitious).  Anyway, because it’s not very publicized, many do not know what the Q Conference is or who the Fermi Project are.  Well after my second year attending it, I’m not real sure I do either.  But whatever it is, it’s good – real good.  Here’s what I know.

The Fermi Project was started by Gabe and Rebecca Lyons a few years ago.  Prior to that,  Gabe was on the Catalyst Team and as the story goes (the one not told by Gabe), he was given a great deal of credit for the success of Catalyst.  After a few years there, Gabe felt compelled to work in a different direction, one smaller and more conducive to conversation and eventually the Fermi Project was born. 

So what does Fermi mean?   Yep, that’s a good one. It’s “a metric unit of length equal to one quadrillionth of a meter … (That clarifies it all, right?).  Basically, “In contrast to things that are big, Fermi represents the beginning of a chain reaction”  (and slightly fuller explanation here.) But the name certainly matches their origin story.

The Fermi Project puts on the  ‘Q’ Conference (‘Q’ is for ‘Question’).  The tagline is for Q is Culture, Future, Church, Gospel.  The speakers focus on one of these and are from one of the 7 channels of influence which are: media, business, education, government, church arts/entertainment, and the social sector.  Similar to T.E.D.S., each regular session presenter is given exactly 18 minutes for their message (there’s literally a countdown clock next to them) and also there is the keynote presenter who receives 36 minutes.   This was the first year they did the 36 min. and I think it worked out  pretty well.  It’s hard to stay attentive for 30 speakers, so the time limit is a great idea that keeps everyone focused.  In addition, there are talkbacks, panel discussions, music (Over the Rhine, Zach WIliams), group discussion, free fair trade coffee (Land of a Thousand Hills from Rwanda), and after-parties at local pubs and billiard places.

Most of my friends know that I enjoy attending conferences and I find them to be extremely beneficial for so many reasons.  Hoping some of you can join me next year.  Til then, I’ll try to communicate the goodness of Q.

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