Ed Cone, combo of politics, tech, community

One person I’m glad to have gotten to know last year is Ed Cone. I had read him for a while — he writes for a variety of tech magazines — but I didn’t realize other stuff about him or the community he came from. His family has been part of Greensboro, North Carolina, for generations. If you visit the Converge South conference this year (he helped start that) you’ll notice that the “Cone” name is all over the place. It must be weird to come from a family that had such a huge impact on a region.

But, I find Ed to be an interesting guy. He’s very tied in with his local community. And us through his blog and tech writing. His neighbors really have no clue about that, but those tight and loose ties are evidence that something is changing in our society. We’re becoming global neighbors. Just look at Yuvi, a 15-year-old kid who lives halfway around the world from me, but seems like a kid next door for evidence of that.

One other thing Ed has is this infectuous love of politics and love of his local community. I didn’t really grok why so many great American politicians come out of the south until Maryam and I visited a local neighborhood party and had banana pudding on the front lawn of some guy’s house. It was like a Web 2.0 party in San Francisco, except there was a collegiality that just doesn’t happen in SF parties (they are getting too big, for one). I think it was all due to the banana pudding. Maryam and I have been craving it ever since. That stuff is like crack.

Anyway, Ed’s one of those guys I want to spend more time with in 2007. Oh, and wait until you meet his friend Sue Polinsky. Tech mamma of Greensboro (she helped get wifi put in city wide). She’s a hoot. Here she writes about “why ConvergeSouth.”

I don’t know what about this post of Ed’s sparked this whole thought process. I think it just caused a banana-pudding flashback.

What’s interesting is tech bloggers usually know Ed as the “Know it all” of CIO Insight magazine. The political bloggers probably know him through his political blog (he’s a supporter of John Edwards). And his local community has no clue about either of this stuff except that he helps plan a conference every year and lots of interesting people show up.

My friend (and book coauthor) Shel Israel is writing a book on global neighborhoods this year.

Shel, you gotta get to ConvergeSouth this year and have the banana pudding. When you do, you’ll see firsthand how social media is bringing together Ed Cone’s different communities.

Oh, and my life is real weird. Patrick, Maryam, and me were at Shel’s house on Christmas, and enjoying listening to his mom’s great wisdom of life. She’s a firecracker too, just like Sue is. Now we all know where Shel gets it. But, notice that we’re all brought into Shel’s life as his mother-in-law is in the hospital, thanks to a pothole in Half Moon Bay.

It’s a bizarre life, but one that’s proven to be very fulfilling. From the hot tub at LIFT (we’ll be there again) to the banana pudding at ConvergeSouth.

I wonder what new experiences we’ll have this year?