The Most Inspiring Keynote

March 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Keynote: Frank Warren

“We don’t keep our secrets; our secrets keep us. And sharing them takes courage but ultimately allows you to be free.” – Frank Warren

If you haven’t heard of PostSecret or Frank Warren, please check out PostSecret when you have the chance.

I went to this panel with excitement. I really like PostSecret and couldn’t wait to hear Frank Warren speak.

Post Secret

He started the presentation with this touching video:

PostSecret started as an art project a few years back. He went around Washington, DC with index cards and passed them out to strangers on the street. One side was blank, while the other asked the person to write a secret, any secret and to drop it in the mailbox anonymously. Soon, he started to receive these postcards back and he was amazed by the art, beauty, wisdom, soul and thoughtfulness of each one. But, the postcards didn’t stop. He kept getting them and getting them, from all over the world. Warren quickly became “the most trusted stranger in America.”

Currently, Warren has a collection of 200,000 secrets and posts 20 every Sunday. He receives secrets written on everything from wedding announcements, parking tickets, a Rubix Cube (the person wrote 6 different secrets and he had to solve it to read them) and Starbucks cup (“I serve decaf to customers that are rude to me”).

Before the panel began, attendees were allowed to write their own secret to be shared to the audience. One secret that immediately got a huge reaction was, “My job sent me to SXSW to steal ideas from start-ups. I’m here pretending to be a freelancer.” Wow.

Warren wanted to share these cards with the world, so he started a blog. The Internet is a powerful, free and open tool fore everyone. It’s an online community that is self-growth and organizes itself. By creating a blog, he was able to share the human experience with everyone.

Warren noticed two themes while collecting these postcards:
1. The secret is underneath – we face the problem
2. We all have potential to change our life – we can liberate ourselves from the secret

The secrets reveal humor, beauty, art, wisdom, the soul of the creator. Each artwork is meticulously designed and each word is painstakingly chosen. Warren articulates that there’s an artist born in all of us. These postcards show that the role of the artist is expanding.

One extremely powerful quote he said during the presentation was “All of us have a secret that breaks our heart and if we find it, we’ll understand and have more compassion in the world.” He believes that together, if we share our secrets with each other, we can change the world.

Next came a huge surprise! Warren asked if anyone had a secret to share. A guy walked onto the stage and proposes! WOW. There was a long pause and everyone was looking for the girl. When he saw her make her way down the long aisle, he said, “Hurry, I’m shaking up here. There’s a lot of people.” She came on stage and of course, she said yes. It was so sweet.

Post Secret

“Free your secrets become who you are.” Every time I read or hear that, it gives me chills. It is so strong and inspiring. With those last words, the entire audience gave him a standing ovation.

Wow. Definitely a lot better, amazing and heart-warming than yesterday’s disastrous keynote from Zuckerberg. :)

Here’s the keynote visually from Sunni Brown of Brightspot Information Design:

Visual Information Design - Frank Warren Keynote
Click to view larger / Photo Source

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You, You and You Redesigned

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