Ladies and Gentlemen, the C2 conference has come and gone and after 3 full days of innovation, immersion, creativity and full on business disruption, I have gathered my thoughts and am ready to delve into the highlights of #C2M19. I should warn you though, 3 full days of C2 brings one extra-long blog post. Sit tight… it’s mostly pictures ;)
This past weekend brought C2 to Montreal. For those of you who are in-the-know, you’re well aware that C2 is an event that is not to be missed. But, for those of you who are like, um, what’s C2? Here goes: C2 (which stands for Commerce and Creativity) was born in Mtl in 2010 by one of our finest homegrown creative agencies, Sid Lee in collaboration with Cirque de Soleil. If you can imagine what minds like those can produce, then throw in technology, commerce, science, sustainability, art and society and voilà! C2!
Basically, C2 is a festival that moonlights as a conference – because… Montreal. Over 6500 industry leaders from major businesses worldwide come together to give this unique conference the immersive experience it boasts. People from all over fly their way to Mtl to be part of C2, because when else do you get a chance to have epiphany-style moments several times a day? Um, never. Throw in a killer Montreal crowd and all that makes Mtl notorious for it's nightlife, and there you have it. C2 curates storytellers, creative minds, innovators, movers and shakers to take the stage and collectively educate, achieve, inspire, brainstorm (shall I go on?), the thousands of people who buy tickets to attend the non-profit conference. Yeah, I said it. C2 is a non-profit organisation, which means every penny they make gets reinvested back into the project so that next year will bigger and badder than ever. Genius and also, so sweet.
I attended a few incredible talks, but my favourites by far were Piera Luisa Gelardi, Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder of Refinery29 and Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer at William Morris Endeavour. Then, for the win, having the opportunity to hear Guy Laliberté give an interview, because he never (ever) gives interviews. One of his basic core values in running a (very successful) business is that it’s all about the team and letting the players shine in all their glory. Which translates to, let the people who are great at interviews give interviews.
Guy Laliberté is an enigma and a force to be reckoned with. His vision is unparalleled and his heart knows no bounds. Honestly, it sounds like I’m gushing, but he is well worth the gush. He walked out, bare-foot in the sand (right at home for him, I’m sure!) and was just so affable and authentic, it was a pleasure to listen to him speak.
He had a few poignant messages that resonated deeply with my values. First, he explained that the word “afraid” doesn’t exist in his vocabulary. Instead of being afraid, evaluate danger, assess the risk, and then decide if it’s worth the plunge. “Never nurture the fear; nurture the vision.” I mean, that should be a poster somewhere, seriously. Another key takeaway was that people are so immersed in their own personal worlds that we no longer have insight into the bigger picture - with our heads down staring at our phones we have no idea what’s going on around us. Who is the individual and what is his/her role in the universe? He recently created PY1 (look for it in an upcoming blog), with Lune Rouge, his new company. PY1 is an immersive collective experience that dreams up the technological world that our reality doesn’t have the infrastructure to create, but with his vision, PY1 can foreshadow what’s to come. I’m excited for the premiere next week!
Snapping pics and seizing opportunities, C2 was a veritable business playground, a meeting of the minds, and an out-of-this-world experience. Every aspect was thought through and not a single space was left vacant. They had a C2 lab, masterclasses, hands-on workshops, and if that isn’t enough, they developed an entire village to discover, complete with party and all.
I learned a ton, I made new connections, I shared ideas, I was inspired to push harder and reach higher, and then, in the spirit of disconnecting, I took a step back and ripped a page out of Guy Laliberté’s playbook… I moseyed on home to relax with my family phone-free.
Until next year C2, can’t wait to see how you’ll top this one.
Photography by Patricia Brochu