Julia Hobsbawm is a remarkable person. She’s recently published The Simplicity Principle, Six Steps Towards Clarity in a Complex World, is the founder of Editorial Intelligence and Names Not Numbers, my favourite ever event. She’s one of my favourite people. I adore her.
Julia discusses her experience with organizing and curating events, emphasizing her strength in creating engaging atmospheres rather than selling tickets. She founded Editorial Intelligence, a network that connects people and curates content, including podcasts and reports. Initially, her events were tied to political party conference fringe meetings, offering a dynamic and varied experience.
Hobsbawm had an idea to extend this concept to a weekend-long event, inspired by the intimate connections and discussions these smaller gatherings fostered. This led her to reminisce about Portmeirion, a unique location in Snowdonia, known for its Italianate architecture and association with influential figures like architect Clough Williams-Ellis and philosopher Bertrand Russell. Portmeirion, also the setting for the TV series “The Prisoner,” held a personal connection for Hobsbawm.
A chance encounter with Benjamin Webb of Deliberate PR, who was handling PR for Portmeirion, rekindled her connection to the place. She envisioned hosting an exclusive event there, taking over the entire location for a weekend. This idea materialized into a successful and unique event, attracting notable figures like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Annie Lennox, Simon Schama, and representatives from corporations like Vodafone, transforming her “mad idea” into a reality.
We talked about her approach to writing and performing keynotes, touched briefly on her TED and TEDx experiences, ZOOM fatigue, nerves, smelling the room and creating authentic and meaningful events.