It is early morning in Boston, the city where I came of age and lived until I was 32. I am in the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. The look of the City has changed so much since I lived here last. Through the spine of modern high rises, I can pick out the old John Hancock building, which was the tallest in the City when I first lived here. Behind it is the Prudential Tower, which I watched get built when I went to college in the 1960s. It is dwarfed by Big John the new tower, whose massive glass tiles were popping off and crashing into the roof of a hotel in Copley Square when I left Boston for San Francisco, 1976, the year of America’s Bicentennial.
It is nearly 40 years since I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live and work. I am very happy I made the move, but still, whenever I am here I have the feeling that I have come home. It is a good feeling.
I’m in Boston to speak at Hubspot’s huge conference INBOUND 15. I ran into Laura Fitton last night. She’s written her own book now and is a member of the Hubspot team now. now and invited me to speak here. I first met her in about 2006, when I was in Boston promoting my first book Naked Conversations. Now she has invited me to speak for the first time ever about my new book Lethal Generosity. The book is not quite ready. I finished the proofing my book last night and now the actual process of publishing it begins to be completed by Amazon paper, electronic and audio version, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
I speak tomorrow. Today, I will fuss with my presentation slides too many times. It is probably a good thing that the Hubspot people made me send them well in advance, or I would redo them 20 or 30 times between this morning and tomorrow when I present at 11 or so.
To add to the nostalgia, I will be meeting with someone today at Northeastern University, where I did my undergraduate work in journalism. I have not been back in many, many years and I am told the campus will be as unrecognizable to me as is the Boston skyline. When I went there, it was viewed as a respectable working class school. We used to joke that we were being trained to become managers for the Harvard kids who were being trained to own everything that the MIT kids were building.
Northeastern University is more than that now. I’m grateful that being a graduate has so much more veneer to it today then when I actually graduated. I’m also grateful for the school’s coop program where I actually worked half the time that I was a student. It will be fun to return.
But revisiting Northeaster adds to the tinge of nostalgia and excitement I have by being back in Boston to launch Lethal Generosity and I am excited about tomorrow’s presentation. I often speak with my friend and frequent co-author Robert Scoble. Before we walk on stage, I almost always turn to him as warn him: “Don’t say anything stupid.” Sometimes he listens.
Friday is my solo performance. I hope I follow the advice I have so very often given him.