From Business to Buttons: The only conference that makes me cry

Jonas Söderström

Who will make Jonas cry this year?

I attend – and speak at – a lot of conferences. I've visited summits from San Francisco to Sydney, and mingled at meetups from Tromsö to ... Trollhättan!

All conferences have their good moments, their strong parts, and their pleasant surprises.

Yet there is no conference except From Business to Buttons, where speakers have brought me to tears. Repeatedly.

Perhaps you're not sure that hairs on end, wet cheeks, and desperate searches for a hankie is the ultimate quality measure of conferences. Maybe it's just me. I'm such a softie.

Well, there have been many other powerful moments. Moments of great clarity, understanding, insight. Sense of wonder, when Steve Wozniak was on stage in 2015. Laughter. Like when we thought that maybe Jaime Levy  was starting a strip tease act on stage in 2017... 

I did not cry when Al Gore spoke in 2016. It wasn't the greatest speech I've heard, but there was this quality ... that made me totally understand the guy I had met a few years earlier: a campaign manager from the US elections. A former campaign manager, that was. He had crashed and burned for one of the candidates that did not win. He told me he'd never, ever run a campaign again – "except for Al Gore, of course". "If he told me to jump off a cliff, I'd do it." 

But I cried when Patricia Moore spoke so beautifully about "From day one to none: The Lifespan Design Challenge" at FBTB 2016. 

I cried at FBTB 2017, during Eric Mayer's talk "Engaging with Compassion" – about the death of his daughter, and the brutality and thoughtlessness of the "reminders" on Facebook.

And I cried when Mike Monteiro ended his surprising talk about ”How to fight fascism– not the subject we had expected! – with the slide ”Made by an immigrant” And, rightfully, received a standing ovation. 

Oh, and one more thing about FBTB that I love. It's a single-track conference. Meaning, everyone in the room – some 700, 800, 900 people – have shared that same powerful experience with me. No more "Oh, did you miss speaker X because you chose track C? What a pity! You should have been there!" Well, thank you, but no thanks. 

So do join me (and the +700 others) at From Business To Buttons this year, too. It's going to be awesome. And if you want to place your bets, feel free to do so: who will make Jonas cry this year?

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