I've recently started up something I hope will eventually take on a life of it's own. I've pulled together a few people from where I work to get together informally on the first Friday of every month to talk about... well... things.
It was spawned from the desire to learn more about the other side of banking. I've been in the financial sector for over 10 years now, but it's always been in the technology and security side. I know next to nothing, even after all of these years, about the business of actual banking. My interest is more professional and out of a sense of responsibility than it is passionate, but I am interested nonetheless.
What I would like to see happen, that is to say, my vision, is that it become a slightly more formal, if generous and forgiving, discussion where a given topic is chosen and presented, then discussed, each month. The goal is to learn. It's really that simple.
I was part of something very short lived and similar to this years ago in college. I vaguely remember it being inspired by yet another similar undertaking by one of the Founding Fathers, though I cannot, for the life of me, remember who, or by what name (if anything) it went.
Today was the first First Friday. It was an informal get together at a local restaurant with no real direction, or topic or goal. We talked about our own histories a bit, and shared stories, and generally let the conversation evolve as it wanted to evolve. The four of us enjoyed it enough that we decided to let it continue.
Topic ideas are, at this point, the average weight of tulip stems through the ages and how it relates to climate change, the height of the Empire State Building and what it reveals about the industrial trends of the 18th and 19th centuries, the state of the economy today and what we can learn from the rise of Rome as a superpower, whether Enid, OK has a reasonable chance of becoming the site of the 2020 Olympics, the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow, and how we drive in traffic and what it says about us.
Anything that spawns healthy debate is welcome.