Monday Soup: Catalyst 2011 Edition

1 part broth, 1 part noodles, and 5 parts awesomesauce.

Monday Soup

Here’s what went down since the last Monday Soup…


+ Flew into Atlanta at 4pm, which may or may not have been a terrible decision. Georgia has this new thing called a “Peach Pass” that you have to have in order to use the Carpool Lane. Well…nobody has it. Traffic heading North out of the city was brutal with a capital BRUT. You might need to fix that, Georgia.

+ The only silver lining to the traffic was that I was in the car with cool peeps. Catalyst sent Melissa from San Diego to come pick us up, and by “us” I mean Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, her husband Steve, and EMI recording artist Vicky Beeching. Was great to meet them, especially Jamie since we had been internet friends for a while.

+ After poking my head in at the Gwinnett Center, Tyler (my gracious host for the week) and I headed back to his place. Tyler’s wife Amy was about to have a baby at any moment, which was interesting considering Tyler was one of the main emcees for the conference (along with his buddy Tripp Crosby) and had a bunch of responsibilities and stage time on Thursday and Friday. They had contingency plans in place, but the timing might be awful.


+ Tyler and I headed over to the Catalyst Labs building to walk around and see people we know. At 10am we’re talking to Jeremy Statton when his phone rings. It’s Amy. Water Broke. Game Time.

+ I’m a bit lost. This is my 3rd year at Catalyst and every Wednesday I hang with Tyler all day. We meet people and he rehearses his Catalyst stuff and I just follow him around. Now he’s at the hospital and I’m wandering around like a nomad. Tripp texts me and asks if I want to stand in for Tyler during rehearsals and I’m all over that.

+ After rehearsal (in which I didn’t say a word, just followed Tripp like his shadow), I went back to the Labs building and caught Jon Acuff’s talk to a packed room of over 1000 people.  He killed it. After that I met up with Claire Ortiz, the Director of Social Innovation for Twitter, and we made plans to meet later at the Bloggers Meetup I was helping to put on.

+ Baby Stanton is here! His name is Jude. Congrats to Tyler and Amy!

+ Spent 3 hours at the Bloggers Meetup with 100 other bloggers. Great meeting a bunch of folks for the first time and seeing some “old friends”. At one point I had to get everyone’s attention (including other folks in the restaurant just trying to eat) to make announcements. Nothing like yelling in a restaurant.


+ I get a text from Ken Coleman as I’m arriving at the venue. He’s hosting the red carpet stage outside the arena before they open the doors and wants me to give him a hand. By the time I get there he’s got Carlos Whittaker on stage helping him out but they bring me up to be a celebrity judge for a denominational sing-off.

Because I had a few minutes to prepare I delivered a couple of decent zingers at the contestants and got a bunch of laughs, so that was pretty awesome. Thanks Ken!

+ Day 1 of the Conference was amazing. Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Dave Ramsey, Joel Houston, Judah Smith, and Francis Chan were the highlights. I got to hang a bunch with the super-talented Susan Isaacs, which was a blast. Also got to have dinner with Joy Eggerichs and her friend Stephanie from Was great to meet them.

+ After the conference I went to Ken Coleman’s meet and great with other authors, editors, and publishers in the industry (Ken has a book coming out at some point). Met Roxy from RELEVANT Media Group, who was my editor for the piece I wrote for their magazine last year, and a few other fascinating folks. Talked for 45 minutes with a guy named Dave who runs an ad agency, and the funny thing is our conversation might have been my favorite thing from the entire week. More on that later…maybe.


+ More great speakers at the conference, and more cool moments including Tripp and Jeff Foxworthy giving away cars to 2 guys they work with at the Atlanta Mission who have cleaned up their lives and are now helping others. Also had a cool 15-minute convo with Amena Brown and her new husband about performing and comedy and crafting a 1-hour show. Later in the day she took the stage and blew everyone away with a poem/spoken word thing that was unreal.

+ Tripp and Tyler did amazing jobs as the main emcees this year. Proud to know those guys and call them friends. Wish I could show you all the videos they did for the conference…when they go online I’ll definitely link to them.

+ Friday night was low-key and much needed. Dinner with Tyler’s family, some late night conversation about blogging, writing, and life, and a good night’s sleep.

Catalyst was a blast as always, but it’s great to be back home. Had fun meeting a few of you who came up and said “hi”. Always fun to reconnect with old friends too like Stephen and Kyle and Rob and Mike and Jenny and Justin and Darrell and Matt and Bianca and everyone else. Let’s do it again next year!

What about you, what’s in your Monday Soup today?