Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making the Impossible Possible One Prize at a Time

By now, most people have read the press release about our tech-star studded May Benefit , “A Radical Benefit for Humanity, Making the Impossible Possible One Prize at a Time,” but I’m here to tell you about all the fun and excitement that happened behind the scenes.

A few days before the main event, virtually the entire X PRIZE staff schlepped ourselves up to San Francisco and set up office in the board room of the Taj Campton Place (Ratan Tata, an X PRIZE board member, owns the hotel chain so, needless to say, we were all excited about our stay). Though the majority of the staff flew into the city, one team member packed up an SUV full of supplies and made the six-hour trek, with her dog as copilot. Once everyone had settled in, it was time to work, work, work, finalize details, review the seating chart, address any last minute changes, etc. However, once the sun went down it was time to let a little loose and socialize over dinner and drinks with coworkers and intellects from the Visioneering meeting (which was held in conjunction with our benefit). Of course, it is not your typical cocktail conversation with X PRIZErs! Topics of conversation included education in America versus India and spinal cord regeneration. Stimulating conversation and engaging people…who could ask for anything more? Three hours of sleep and two espressos later, it was time to do it all over again!

The day of the event was incredibly busy, not to mention freezing (sidenote – if you are ever in San Francisco in May, bring your coat)! When the big day finally arrived, it was time for the real action to begin at Lucasfilms. The café was transformed into our ball room, which featured wooden X’s as our center pieces and plasma TVs on every wall. Our robots, which featured virtual guests like Google’s Sergey Brin, began to arrive (thanks to Scott Hassan at Willow Garage), banners were positioned and then the guests started to trickle in. I’ll let the press release pick up from here about what happened at the event but I will add that Debbie & Mitch Menaged out bid all the others for my favorite auction item… a Chihuly glass sculpture.

What’s next you ask? We are doing it all over again but this time we’re taking the show to New York. So, NYC, get ready for the second X PRIZE “Radical Benefit for Humanity” because we’ll be seeing you November 6th!

By: Lindsey Burris, Executive Assistant, Alliances

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