Monday, March 27, 2006

In Oxford for the Skoll Forum

I'm already here in Oxford and getting ready for the Skoll World Forum. This week I'm hanging out with the Skoll crowd and they've picked out a really cool hotel that used to be the Oxford prison (the hotel's name is Malmaison, or "bad house"). My room is made from three former jailcells. The windows still have bars on them. Reminds me of my old office five years ago at Moffett Field (which used to be the drug dispensary and had bars to keep people out, not in!).
The door is still the same metal encased door with a porthole for grub (haven't figured out if room service has a key). However, the hotel added a standard door handle to make it into a hotel room.


When you go out the door, you're looking at a typical prison cell block with catwalks and all.

My excitement about being here is based on the people I'm going to get to meet. First, there's time with my peers, other social entrepreneurs. This was a big highlight last year, and one of the main reasons I come to events like this. Second, I get to spend time with the Skoll Foundation team. Although we're located a mile apart in California, I'll probably get more face-time here in Oxford because we're all sheltered from the pressures of normal office obligations. This includes hearing from Jeff Skoll. Last year, I heard about Participant Productions and got an idea of how big Jeff's plans were. Now, seeing how much success he's had with films like North Country, Syriana, Murderball, Gandhi (dubbed into Arabic) and the New Heroes series, I'm really looking forward to hearing more from Jeff. Third, there are all the cool people who are excited about social entrepreneurship and want to get involved (or are already involved). Last year, I was very impressed with the business school students and professors I met, especially those in the Skoll Program at Said (the Oxford business school).

Well, more as it unfolds!

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