IT'S ANTONIO NEVES!
Phew, that feels better. We've been holding on to that for a little bit and just couldn't wait any longer to tell you.
We knew that it wouldn't be the same this year if we didn't have Antonio, and as he said on Twitter "me + @BigOmaha go together like PB & J." Antonio's a great friend of ours, so we asked him a few questions on this, his third year leading us all through the Big Omaha experience.
Who is Antonio Neves?
Antonio's an entrepreneur, award-winning journalist and speaker. He's the founder of leadership consultancy THINQACTION and co-founder of The Ignition Lab accelerator. He emceed Big Omaha in 2012 and 2013.
1. You're hosting for the third year in a row. What are you most excited for?
It's such an honor to host Big Omaha once again. Flat out, Big Omaha is one of my favorite events of the year. The lineup for this year is bonkers. It's so much fun to be the connective tissue throughout the event. And as awesome as the speakers are, let's be real, Big Omaha is about the attendees and the community. It's so much fun to meet first-time attendees and reconnect with people who come each year. Omaha has become a second home for me and I'm really excited to reconnect with my extended family.
2. What's been your most compelling moment of Big Omaha (so far)?
Tough question. There are so many! If I have to pick one, I'd say it was the way that Dusty and Jeff responded to Dave McClure's "everything sucks" talk in 2013. The tone and energy of his talk wasn't well received by the audience and many found it offensive. When Dusty and Jeff apologized to the audience for this, it set a positive tone and it started an honest dialogue on social media. What could have been a negative, turned into a positive. It was one of those moments that we all learned a few valuable lessons.
3. What's one thing the community should be focusing on or working toward?
Continuing to make each other better. What I love about Big Omaha is that it doesn't feel competitive. Instead, it feels more like a community where everyone supports one another with an awesome baseline of support. The truth is that it feels good when someone shows interest or cares about what you're working on. More than anything else, I've learned that our biggest breakthroughs tend to come when we're helping others. That's what Big Omaha is all about.
4. What advice do you have for first-time attendees?
Get the party started now. Identify some key people that you would like to connect with at Big Omaha and start reaching out to them via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you're trying to connect with a big-name speaker in advance, here's a pro tip: Send a handwritten card to them in advance. That way you'll stand out in the crowd. When you reach out to people in advance, it creates a context that otherwise wouldn't exist and makes it easier to start conversations.
5. What was the best thing you've had for lunch at Big Omaha?
I'm the wrong person to ask this question as I typically avoid lunch so I'm not lethargic after lunch. I can tell you this: The best place to nap during lunch is in the blogger lounge. If you're looking for me during lunch, that's where I'll be. But don't look for me because I'll be napping.
Bonus question: What can you tell us about your sports coat selection for this year?
Great question. It's one that has been on my mind. I might have to pivot and go without a blazer this year. Not sure if I still dig the whole jeans with a button down with a blazer look. I feel like someone's dad. So instead, I might just rock a Detroit Pistons basketball uniform.
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