Delivering the keynote . © Luca Gatscher Photography

1. Big is not always better but better is always bigger

In 2015 the festival was epic in size with over 1,900 visitors. This year Fifteen Seconds had 3,000 visitors, five parallel tracks and 80 speakers. Unlike companies that scale at this size and at this speed only to lose the familiar feeling that keeps it real in the first place, the Fifteen Seconds team was able to keep all the goodness that I first felt in 2015.

2. Familiar is comforting, new is magical

My second visit to Graz was made that much easier after being greeted by Nino at the hotel, talking to Thiemo at the opening ceremony and chatting with Stefan on the morning of the first day of the festival.

Meeting Sven, Pamela, Melissa, Taylor, Matthias, Tim, and all the other people in Graz for the first time was inspiring, thought-provoking and quite simply magical ??.

This lead to the moment above; being greeted at the Vienna airport by Julia and her colleague.

3. Love is in the details

One thing that I felt last year was all the love and care that went into making the festival happen. This year I felt it even more: from the pre-festival coordination with Arnold, the hangtags on the hotel doors and Alex as my personal assistant on the ground, the experience was amazingly delightful from beginning to end ?.

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” -Cesar Chavez

On a side note, I facilitated a Master Class focused on lifelong learning. As I wanted to have the audience get their hands dirty and actually experience building a prototype it was a challenge getting a over a hundred people in a tight room to build something in teams. In the end, one of the teams created the highest structure I have experienced since personally facilitating workshops. That’s a huge testament to the dedication and motivation of those that attend the festival.

4. All in the family

The family you grow up with is invaluable; the family that chooses to adopt you is priceless. I should know, I’ve been adopted.

Arnold, Nino, Anna, Thiemo, Stefan, Liza, and Raphael of Fifteen Seconds

Whether you are a paying ticket holder, volunteer or invited as a speaker the mere fact that you have decided to be part of the collective experience makes you a member of the Fifteen Second family. A family that embodies the will and way to keep it real ❤️.