The process of Googling has come to define New Millenial thinking – if you lack some piece of information you can just borrow it from someone else, a stranger with whom you now share a connection. This collaborative borrowing is the main thrust behind Mindshare LA, an event held every 3rd Thursday of the month and most recently at the Lacy Lofts in Downtown Los Angeles.  Founded by entrepreneurial  impresarios Douglas Campbell and Adam Mefford, Mindshare is a live-action Web 2.0 or “the human version of swarm intelligence,” as presenter Kjerstin Williams succinctly put it.  Bringing together artists, designers, scientists, and thinkers, the party is a forum for human technology in its most literal form – shared knowledge.

Fueled by fancy pastries, an exceptionally well-stocked open bar (Red Bull anyone?) and a room abuzz with stylish people, the forum is structured in three parts – an introduction, a series of 5-10 minute presentations on anything from the “Physics of Santa Claus” to “Photojournalism in Afghanistan” followed by a free interaction period. Upon entering the space each attendee is presented with a name tag with the analog version of a Facebook or iChat status – “ask me about [fill in the blank].” The taglines I saw varied from “how to make the best sushi rice,” “PIES,” and “monetizing unique users” (mine) – all conceived in the hope that they would serve as an entry point to interesting or inspiring conversations.

These conversations are complimented by interactive art pieces such as “Artfall,” an interactive whiteboard that responds whatever is drawn on the surface. All in all Mindshare provides so much mental stimulation it's like a mini grad-school. At this “intellectual buffet” — as one Mindsharee put it — “why not taste everything?” A paean to knowing a lot about a lot of things, Mindshare is where polymaths get their groove on. Are you a Computer Scientist from Caltech interested in making paintings from a random iteration in a line of code? Are you a Private Equity Specialist with your own urban planning consultancy and an interest in iPhone apps? Are you a Motion Graphics Editor/Pie Aficionado dying to learn about the benefits of butter vs. shortening crusts?

The “Artfall” whiteboard from Mindshare Labs

Modeled after the TED conference in Long Beach, Mindshare is where science tech meets creative design, building a bridge between people of radically different backgrounds with the eventual goal of broadening their scope. This is place where the ubiquitous question, “So what do you do?” elicits the response “Circus Performer/Robot Wrangler.” Indeed, your brain is inspired and your senses are aroused, resulting in what Campbell describes as “Enlightened Debauchery” or, “Hey — after all that brain prodding, if you go home and get laid, even better!” In this swarm of intelligence, the goal is cross-pollination in ALL of its many manifestations.

Well, does it work? Yes. My name tag status eventually facilitates a conversation with CTO of uWink, Brent Bushnell, who, along with Eric Gradman, contributed the aforementioned interactive whiteboard to the mix. And yes, I do learn thing or two about monetizing unique users.
Mindshare LA
3rd Thursday of every month. 8:00 PM @ (location varies, check site for updates)
Cost: $20 – $30 depending on how early you buy tickets.

LA Weekly