The Entertainment Gathering – How to Hang with Bezos, Yo-Yo Ma, and More


The Entertainment Group (The EG) is the most incredible weekend gathering you’ve never heard of.

I had no idea what it was 12 months ago, but two unrelated friends — also first-time attendees — raved to me about it in the same week. Once I did the digging, it quickly became the event I most wanted to be part of.

Where else can you sit next to Yo-Yo Ma, Jeff Bezos, and the guys from MythBusters with the breathing room lost at the mega-conferences? Share drinks with the winners of Nobels, MacArthurs, Oscars, and Tonys without the pretension of a white-tie ball? Hang with Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs while listening to the world’s top dueling pianists?

Now I’m in the mix: I’m speaking on December 12th, most likely on accelerated learning and the quest for elegant skill acquisition.

Founded by Richard Saul Wurman, the mastermind behind TED, to recreate the dream conference, it hosts the most unusual and creative cross-section of inventors, entertainers, artists, scientists, rising stars and living national treasures you could ever imagine… Mike Hawley (MIT Media Lab professor, digital media pioneer, veteran of Lucasfilm, computer inventor with Steve Jobs at NeXT) directs it. And unlike TED, you can actually still get in without filling out an application and soliciting letters of reference.

Just a swipe of your all-powerful credit card while a few spots still remain. It ain’t cheap, but this is one of the few cases where I think it’s worth it. I was planning on attending whether I spoke or not, and I’ve never paid for the other usual suspects in the high-end conference world.

Here are a few of my favorite past EG presentations, from “talks” on the TED website:

Rick Smolan: Natasha’s story
Jonathan Harris: New storytelling tools
Mark Bittman: What’s wrong with what we eat
Kevin Kelly: The next 5,000 days

The EG is where Negroponte launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) laptop, Brian Greene gave a crash course in quantum theory, Caleb Chung gave away Pleos. Paul Horowitz told us how he’s actually hunting for little green men. John Underkoffler (the real genius behind the “Minority Report” interface) showed his inventions, Jonathan Harris presented his dazzling web artistry, Pablos Holman showed his terrifying hackery, and Will Wright unveiled SPORE for the very first time.

I’ve been told they’re giving away Chumbys as door prizes this year… but it’s more than just hackers and gadgets.

It is Yo-Yo Ma playing the ‘cello, and Leon Fleisher at the piano, and Jonathan Winters reminiscing about his life. It is Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Calligrapher, Donald Jackson. It’s Minsky, and Mossberg, and Markoff and Myrhvold. It’s also guys like Peter Gelb, who runs the MET Opera in NY showing how they’re now HD-casting La Boheme across the country, which they pretty much have to do seeing as how MacArthur-winning architect Liz Diller has been tearing up Lincoln Center and redesigning it. If you want to jam with Todd Rundgren or Laurie Anderson, wangle a bit part in David Pogue’s next sophomoric tech video, explore King Tut’s Tomb with Zahi Hawass, join the Ringling Brothers Circus with star clown Bello Nock, or have your snapshot taken with Bran Ferren’s 10 *gigapixel* camera, you might want to come to Monterey December 11-13th.
11-13 December
Monterey, California

Posted on: November 24, 2008.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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63 comments on “The Entertainment Gathering – How to Hang with Bezos, Yo-Yo Ma, and More

  1. Wow! Sounds awesome and it sure isn’t cheap :P I would love to go this and TED.

    My goal is to attend in a year or 2.

    There needs to be an event like this on the East Coast. Does anyone know of such a thing?



  2. Do you know if your talk will be posted online like the TED Talks are or like your presentation at the DO lectures was?

    That would be a great opportunity for those of us not fortunate to attend to soak up some additional information.


  3. Great line up. I will plan on making it next year. Also great book Tim, I have read The 4-Hour work week 2x and am now using elance and reading The earth is flat. I have recommended your book to dozens of people and one of my friends is going down to Argentia for the Tango Festival and will be down there for a month. I start my traveling this summer and I am looking at making it my lifestlye. Way to go.


  4. TED is incredible, one of the sites I head towards when I feel like watching TV. This sounds just as a good albeit more from the angle of a personal experience as opposed to seminars and talks. I’m looking forward to the clip of yours, but it would also be cool to see you take some snapshots from other moments of the event.

    Btw Tim, I tagged you for the 7 random/weird things blog meme currently making the rounds:


  5. I second the motion for posting the speeches online.

    Tim certainly fits in and damn wish I could go.

    Dana: If I ran a facility, I think it would be great place to find some new clients! Who wouldn’t want “the brightest creative forces in our society” (EG website) in inventory?


  6. Awesome Tim. . . .Please post your talk after the conference. It sounds like a top-notch event. Sort of like an entrepreneur mastermind orgy. Have fun. . . Like Andrew commented above, I too will be attending in a year or two.


  7. For an event with so many innovators, it seems to me that most of the talk topics are overused themes of the day. Com’on now? How played out is the formula of applying exponential factors and quoting stats to any emerging or growth-oriented concept, platform, technology, ideology….see “the next 5000 days”


  8. Don’t let the fact that you don’t have the time or money to attend the session keep you from broadening your horizons. Every week, I try to meet someone new and learn about them It can be as simple as starting up a conversation with the person next to you in line.

    To often, people limit themselves to a small social circle. There’s a big world out there with a lot of interesting people. Even if it’s on a small scale, try to meet a few of them.


  9. Tim,

    This is a great event. We have had clients go in past years and although it is an investment, the contacts they made and the inspiration they received gave them a massive ROI. When will you know what topic you are covering? Do you know if any of the other speakers will be discussing any topics of particular interest to female entrepreneurs?

    All the best,



  10. EG sounds great. I have TED as my first blog reader on and often watch the vids. I think we are fortunate to live in times that we can access this sort of thinking for free!

    I hadn’t heard of EG until now so I may have to make it a goal to attend one. -Flying in from New Zealand adds to the cost though ;oP