I really should just learn to go with the flow. Thursday night was supposed to be spent on the train in the Oakland rail yards since our luggage was sent there from our hotels. We were informed at 10 PM, however, that the rail authorities were not going to let us stay in the cars for security reasons. To remedy the situation we were put up in hostels across the Golden Gate Bridge only equipped with toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Today was filled with fewer hiccups as we finally made it onto the train. We are put in 3 converted train cars from the 1940’s-50’s. Two of the cars are sleeper cars and the other serves as a kitchen/observation car. We spent the morning listening to Eric Kessler, a former advisor under the Clinton administration and founder of Arrabella Advisors, spoke to us about what his company looks for in individuals who are seeking philanthropic funds. His biggest message I took away was that the biggest investment anyone can make is in themselves. If you don’t believe in your own idea and live it and breathe it every day there is no way that it will succeed to its fullest capabilities.
This afternoon we heard from Mike Zuckerman, the founder of [freespace] which was the hub we used last night. He shared with us he journey from working with Yahoo to becoming a civic hacking leader and create a space where individuals can come together and create a collaborative and innovative working space.
Traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains with this group of very talented and motivated individuals has been quite the humbling experience. I have learned a lot from the others on this trip and have had the great pleasure of getting to know them individually. A lot of participants have expressed interest in having me teach a little financial 101 seminar so I will be doing that in the coming days. We will be having a free day on the train tomorrow to enjoy the ride through the Rocky Mountains and will be arriving in Denver tomorrow evening for a Colorado Rockies baseball game!