Thought Leader Life with Dave Nielsen (@davenielsen) #009

In this episode of Thought Leader Life, Michael and I talk with guest thought leader Dave Nielsen. Dave, who is the founder of and co-founder of, describes his work as educating people about cloud computing and consulting to companies trying to reach cloud computing space. Described by Mitchell as the “father of unconferences,” Dave gives a clear-cut description of how open-space technology can be used to get people to initiate and be involved in discussions about a broad range of topics, and share opinions on issues that may have never been talked about before. As the person who facilitates and mediates discussions on CloudCamp, Dave watches over trends and helps people and companies recognize and follow these trends to optimize their success strategies. Interestingly, Dave thinks of himself only as a thought leader when he says and does things that are on the mark. He believes there’s a range of thought leaders – people who think they are thought leaders (but who are not), people who know they are thought leaders (and who really are), and people who don’t know that they are actually thought leaders.

I ask Dave which part in the thought leadership funnel resonates for him. He points out that engagement, as the earliest stage when people are still trying to learn, is the most important part of the thought leadership funnel. To emphasize his point, Dave shares the quote: “If you tell me something, I’ll forget. If you show me, I’ll remember. And if you engage with me, I’ll embrace it and live it.” Digging more into the evolution of “unconferences,” Michael asks Dave to explain how the unconference format is good for discussing things that are in “crisis.” Unconferences work well in cashing out ideas and getting people into a discussion about new things that happened; and a crisis is new, so then people get self-organized around the issue. Dave gives an example of the Atlanta Olympics–when issues about relocating came up, unconferences were organized to spark discussion and there were sessions for each relevant topic, and soon people were self-organizing. And that’s how unconferences can be a beautiful way at making people interact and arrive at an agreement.

Towards the end of the show, Dave shares his ongoing collaboration with me where THiNKaha and Campsite will work together to create a new facilitative and interactive environment. And this is something we are all excited about.

Here are a few “‘aha’ moments” from the episode. See more in the upcoming book, soon to be a part of the THiNKaha app-only book series and watch the interview below!

Engagement is getting someone to really embrace what you’re trying to share with them. @davenielsen

The unconferences are actually very democratic and it is a great way to learn and share information. @thinkaha

As we get more connected to the Web, we want to be more engaged in the information. @davenielsen

Follow Dave on Twitter at @davenielsen. Tune into Thought Leader Life every Saturday for more thought-leader goodness!