Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speaking with passion

We get a lot of interesting speakers at work.  This Monday a large crowd turned out to hear from Al Gore, who made a passionate speech about his new book on the subject of climate change.   I was privileged to host several of Mr. Gore's friends, which entitled me to a seat in the front row.  It's not often I sit so close for a speech by a former Vice-President, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Oscar winner, all rolled into one.

Gore is very passionate about the issues related to climate change.  I thought most of his points were fairly well-stated, though his lukewarm support for nuclear power ("I don't necessarily oppose it," he says, "but watch out for how easy it has become to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons") is a bit condescending.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that he knows his stuff in this field.

I've always had this (fairly universal) view that Gore is stiff and lacks charisma.  Not so - in person that is not the case at all.  He was interesting, well-spoken, funny and generally pretty charming.  He definitely knew how to work the crowd (always a politician, I guess).

So perhaps this was not the speaker whom I would first choose to see, but it is certainly an amazing opportunity I get at this job to see such interesting people up close and in person.  Some of the highlights - Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Magic Johnson, Chef Thomas Keller, and an amazing concert by Carlos Santana.  I feel pretty lucky.

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