Meeting Bob Geldof at the Nesta Innovation conference

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Well what can I say? Meeting Bob Geldof has always been one of my life's ambitions and today I managed to do it :)

Anyway, I am getting a bit ahead of myself. I have been at the Nesta Innovation Conference all day and they have had Tim Berners Lee (inventor of the internet), Gordon Brown (some politician) and Bob Geldof as keynote speakers. Although they did play U2 as he walked onstage which makes me suspect that the organisers are not as fimiliar as I am with his discography (Best album - "Deep in the heart of nowhere" althpough not much of a commercial success).

Bob has been a hero of mine for many years primarily because of what he acheived at Live Aid and Live8 but more because of the way he acheived it. His autobiography "Is that it" covers this in a lot of detail but in a nutshell he (and the original team) acheived some amazing things through just keeping going, breaking lots of rules, innovating on a shoestring and sheer bloody-minded arrogance.

Anyway his speech was really good and the video of it is at this site and he came up with the best quote of the whole conference from George Bernard Shaw:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. All progress, therefore, depends upon the unreasonable man."

The highlight for me though was the chance to meet one of my inspirational heroes and so I worked out the route between the stage and the speakers area and strategically placed myself. I thought this is just a timing thing - what can go wrong?

Well a full bladder from too much coffee went wrong. After his speech there was a round table discussion for 90 minutes and with 30 minutes to go, I knew I wouldn't make iit. But then I saw a photographer pop out through a nearby door and I thought "I'll follow him". So I nipped out and tried to return thoroughly relieved. Then this petite cute security guard said "you can't go through those doors, you need to go in at the back". I had come this close and I wasn't going to lose my prized spot through overzealous security, so I simply went past her fast enough that she couldn't grab me before I got inside (by which time she gave up). It was an interesting scenario with this girl telling me I can't go through a door, me telling her it will be fine and all the time walking through the door.

Then 20 minutes later, the session ended and Bob walked offstage following my predicted route (I would have made a great stalker) and he then found a smiling social entrepreneur standing in front of him with an outstreched hand. He shook my hand, I told him how he had inspired me as a social entrepreneur, we spoke for a few moments and then he went offstage and I wandered around grinning like someone who has finally met one of his lifetime heroes.

Days don't get much better than this :)

Note: Photographer: Rob Kennard


Dr David Green 22 May 2008 at 04:26  

Nice one Dave - this Dave down on the Southern tip of Africa is now officially jealous! :-)

Dave Dawes 22 May 2008 at 13:45  

Well one of the other of my lifelong heroes I want to meet is Nelson Mandela and you have a much better chance of that David than I do :)

Alice Casey 30 May 2008 at 03:43  

Hi! Good going with the Bob-stalking! I was at the NESTA event too but definitely wouldn't have had the er, presence of mind... to storm backstage! I also wanted to post here to let you know about something I've been working on with the NHS Institute that you might be interested in - its on my own blog here:

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