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

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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.

http://the-eg.com
11-13 December
Monterey, California

Posted on: November 24, 2008.

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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?

    -Andrew

    Like

  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.

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  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.

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  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: http://tr.im/1g7s

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  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?

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  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.

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  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”

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  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.

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  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,

    Chris.

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  10. EG sounds great. I have TED as my first blog reader on my.yahoo 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

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  11. @ Jose – Great point!

    I realize that everyone is trying to better their lives, but give me a break. Tim has some great ideas and cool crowds he hangs with. But that does not mean you NEED to do the same things he does. Get your own life people. Stop being such followers!

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  12. Mike Rowe, Adam Savage, Mark Bittman, Todd Rundgren, etc. What a quirky group of people they have gathered together.

    At $4000, definitely not accessible to most. We’ll have to live through you, Tim. I assume some interesting blog posts will be made after you attend.

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  13. Tim, I’m glad to hear that you’ll spend a weekend hanging out with pop culture icons (even though I’ve never even heard half the names you mentioned), but how exactly does this tie in with all your previous posts?

    There’s no way to use 4HWW principles to get in for free or to get a discount, and dropping $4,000 at what is essentially a frivolous weekend getaway wouldn’t help us, your readers, become better investors. That was the story you were trying to cover over the past few entries, right? Being a better, more intelligent, less compulsive investor? :-/

    Don’t take this the wrong way – I love both your book and your blog, it’s just that you’re sending some really mixed signals to your followers…

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  14. This is great news! I find it hard to believe I live locally and found out about such an exquisite event through The Four Hour Work Week rather than through my community. I live locally and was disappointed when TED talks outgrew Monterey. It’s exciting to think we have such incredible things happening right here on our sleepy little Peninsula. We are ever so slowly evolving in our “hipness”… ;) LOL
    Does anyone know if there are opportunities still available to volunteer?

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  15. Tim

    Again you provide your readers with a truly great information find. Especially when you can get in easier than TED. Definitely one for consideration in my 2009 dreamline.

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  16. Hi All,

    Just a few things:

    1) Fixed the link to Jonathan Harris’ storytelling:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jonathan_harris_collects_stories.html

    2) If this event is out of reach, as it was for me for many years, don’t worry. I suspect the presentations will be on the TED website. The reason to attend, if you are able, is to meet the people there and get to know them.

    3) This isn’t about idol worship for me, it’s about meeting people with big ideas who are changing the world… all in one place. If Jeff Bezos offered to meet with you, but you had to fly to Seattle, would you do it? Take that cost and multiply it by the number of Bezos-like people at the EG. It ends up being much more than $4,000.

    4) That said, if you’ve never taken a mini-retirement, yes, I would absolutely apply that $4,000 to living like a rockstar in Argentina or the location of your choosing.

    Hope that helps!

    Tim

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  17. Good Points,

    I made my comment based on the comments I have read over several months. Definitely not a personal lash at anyone as I do admire the many great accomplishments you have made. I simply would like to state that EACH & EVERY situation entails its own tale. With this said, many may great frustrated and try living right through you. From Richard Branson to Anthony Robbins success has its patterns but all in all its different for everyone. I love the posts and just hope people can realize that there is a difference between learning and being obsessed.

    Have a Great Thanksgiving,

    Jose : )

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  18. Hi fellow TF fans,

    Would any of you know if the 4HHW is available in Portuguese?
    I would like to buy a copy for my father who unfortunately will only appreciate the content in his language given his strong command of the Portuguese language.

    Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Jeronimo

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  19. Reading about both accelerated learning and these top musicians makes me wonder if there’s such a thing as accelerated learning to master a musical instrument. Anyone? Anyone?

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  20. I must say its nice to finally read a fellow vagabonds blog, Tim mate you have taken the experiments to the max. Your book has led me to correct loads of stuff I was doing wrong and has been a great companion along the way, in fact I have recently handed over to another fellow thrill seaker who I have bumped into along the way.. and he has written since to say its completely changing the way he does things…. so if you can find me between sky diving lessons in South of France, learning computer hacking and network security in New Delhi India, or Marathon training in Switzerland… kick boxing sparing in London, or just skiing and staying in igloo hotels ( http://www.iglu-dorf.com/index.php?lang=english highly recommended fun) come and have a beer mate, and keep up the work I am loving the blog!

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  21. Hey all,

    Not taking advantage of watching TED vids for free, going to these types of events if you’re at all able to afford it (or hack it by volunteering or even speaking!), and taking what you can from amazing individuals in diverse fields is akin to intellectual treason. If you care about expanding your mental and physical horizons. If you care about making some contribution to the world you inhabit. If you care about taking the road less travelled…include this in your lifestyle plan. It may cause you pain at some point, but you’ll never regret it.

    I’ll see you down that rabbit hole…

    PPC4

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  22. @PPC4 Great point, well noted.

    I made a call, got The EG 08 program coordinator’s direct number, left her phone messages earlier this week. Told her I was a college student, want to be of assistance and help volunteer. As of now- no response but will follow up. All efforts count :-)

    Cooked some yams this morning, mixed with a hit of rice milk AND some stevia, so Yummy! Everyone, enjoy the leftovers. Am glad I have my digestive enzymes and live tablets to help recover.

    Life is so good! Wishing everyone the best…

    -Dinastia

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  23. @Jeronimo,

    The 4HWW is indeed available in Portuguese. The title is literally “The 4-Hour Workweek” in Portuguese. “A semana de trabalho de quatro horas” or something like that. My apologies that I don’t recall the name of the publisher, but you should be able to find it through any Portuguese bookseller.

    All the best,

    Tim

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  24. Tim, great videos – I enjoyed them tremendously.

    Mark Bittman corresponds with “Diet for a New America” by John Robbins. I agree, eating with integrity is advantageous. Jonathon Harris- dynamic, very touching and fell head over heels with Natasha’s story…extraordinary.

    Thank you.

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  25. I hope I can make it to one of these some day. I will actually be flying in to US for about a month, but won’t have the chance to make it.

    Speaking of your books in different languages, is it available in Japanese?

    Like

  26. This really doesn’t have much to do with the post, but I was just curious if any of you guys have made money with Google Adwords? Is it a scam or is it for real? (Background: I’m about to have my first child and want to be able to stay home with him but make a financial contribution to the family as well.)

    Tim, maybe you can comment? Is it better to just create your own product?

    Thanks so much and I love the book and blog!

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  27. Tim,

    I’ve had communication with someone who is coordinating The EG event. It comes down to you.

    With your permission, I would like to attach myself to your registration as a “student”. If that’s okay, let me know and I’ll let her know.

    Thanks!

    Like

  28. @Emily

    Hi Emily,
    I just read your above post and I felt I should share what it is I do. It may interest you. I help people, many of which are busy moms, create an extra income stream on a part time basis. If that interests you the slightest I’d love to share more. Email: aaronb05@sbcglobal.net

    Like

  29. @ Emily

    I have used adwords with all my businesses and I find the system extremely effective, but I would make one point, its all well and good getting ‘leads’ to your site, but it takes a really good site to make them convert to sales…..

    Plus there is always a place for natural search brought to your site from effectively SEO’ing your site, I’m lucky I guess as my girlfriends business is an PPC (pay paer click) and SEO company, and she takes care of it all for me… another great tool by Google is Analytics this is very useful in judging success with SEO and link building etc.

    With adwords it is good to look at the the slightly less expensive adverts… and spend some cash on building a better site… and it takes a while of playing around until you get an effective system for your niche…

    There are lots of info on the web that can help you…

    good luck

    David

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  30. Tim, this may be off topic, but I just read your recent Twitter entry. As tempting as it is, it’s unnecessary to personally trash people. There is a reason you’re a well-known author and she’s working in a restaurant. Not classy to use your position for revenge. Don’t smash ants with a baseball bat. Solution: cut your losses and don’t eat there anymore. Promote a restaurant you really like.

    ###

    Hi Carl,

    I appreciate the comment.

    I totally agree it’s not necessary to hit ants with a baseball bat. I just have a lot of followers in NYC and wanted to save them the trouble of dishing out $100+ for meals, only to find the service sub-par. It wasn’t intended as a personal attack; just giving the restaurant the benefit of the doubt under other night managers, as the issue was specifically related to decisions by one person.

    The 2nd floor bar is outstanding and handled by other folks, either way.

    All the best and thanks for your thoughts,

    Tim

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  31. I maybe blogging in the wrong area, but I am trying to find the beginners guide to rent my ideas so I to can have a four hour work week.

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  32. The EG sounds like a hoot, but I was more excited about the TED website. I love to watch the videos and learn stuff. To me, this is what makes the internet so cool. Before the internet, people like me would have no shot at listening to (watching) these great presentations. Thanks for bringing some of us up to speed, Tim.

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  33. What a great concept. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I am always looking for things like this, and this program seems much more entertaining than other programs and seminars I have attended in the past. I’m always getting something new from this site, so I’ll always keep coming back.

    Like

  34. Tim, want to put up link to interview with you about Trial by Fire but not sure it is allowed here. I’ll check back and you can let me know. Reason for confusion: this is your blog and my article appears on a site that does allow ads but has major Google juice so I’m hoping that it gets extra viewers for your show, which rocked! I just don’t know the TOS for your site yet.

    The show -Trial by Fire, hope people write to THe History Channel and request a repeat. It has a permanent place of honor on my Tivo and I’ve got a watch alert set up for the title.

    Like

  35. Hi Tim!

    Love your blog. Very addicting to read! Your lifestyle is incredibly inspiring.

    Will be @ the EG, and I am very much looking forward to meeting you!!

    I am a student and the Entrepreneurship Center Student Director @ Bryant University in Rhode Island. I have been conducting a lot of research on this topic – “the advantages (and disadvantages) of acting on your ideas while young” (i.e. starting a company / nonprofit or writing a book while your young).

    So far, I’ve interviewed some amazing people like Steve Wozniak (who will be @ the EG), David Pogue (NY Times Tech Columnist, and will be speaking @ the EG), and Chad Moutray (Chief Economist, SBA). The overwhelmingly positive amount of feedback I have gotten from these people has inspired me to consider writing a book on this.

    I would love to interview you between a seminar. Having traveled the world, learned six languages, attained a Guiness world record, and written a best selling book before you even turned 30, I’d have to say you are THE example of “acting on your ideas while you’re still young”!!

    With warm regards & endless possibility,

    Lauren Amarante

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  36. Hi Tim,

    I attended this conference and it was everything you mentioned and more – I’m still reeling.

    I have your book (and use it ;) but wanted to stop by your blog and congratulate you on a great presentation. You’re very inspiring and explained your practice perfectly for the audience in attendance.

    Take Care,

    Gretchen Fox

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  37. thanks for the shout out for eg. what a chance but you’re right tim. $4000.00 to go hang in a country like a rock star may be a good idea. The pictures, experience, and the stories!?!?!?! However, make the right contact and you could be living like a rock star for more than just a few months.

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  38. Nice. In a similar light, tried contacting Queen Latifah about my Character Cards, with the info in 4HWW, no one answered before or after hours so tried during, no go. Will keep trying before/after. Any more ideas? Perhaps a podcast on iTunes…?

    Thanks Tim, keep up the awesome job, looking forward to seeing your show.

    Like

  39. Hi Tim, I know why you left amish comm. I been there done that and don’t want to go back ever! I left 12 years ago and I’m much happier and I hope you are too. God Bless and party on… :O)

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  40. Tim,

    This post is what introduced me to TED, and it’s since become a Major Life Goal for me to attend.

    I’m a twenty year old writer (mostly poetry, some plays, some fiction. I just write.) with a good leaning towards people and skill management. (Stage management for theatre mostly, although the last four months I’ve been the assistant mananger of a new nightclub in vancouver) I’m giving myself, tops, another eight years before I go.

    Thanks.

    Like