I'm out of the house unusually early this morning, as Thomas Friedman is speaking at Castilleja School, and my wife managed to get me a ticket.
As an historian interested in Silicon Valley, I'm fascinated by Castilleja. More than any other place, it's given me a sense of just how tightly-knit the area's elites are: for all its global reach and influence, the Valley is still a bunch of small towns, knit together by schools, churches, volunteer organizations, and all the things that turn groups of people into communities. I come to events here, and the parents include people who were recently on the cover of Business Week or Wired. The real power scene isn't Stanford or Sand Hill Road; it's the line of parents waiting to pick up their kids from Menlo or St. Joseph's or Casti.
The students are in their dress whites this morning. Since they're normally in dress blue, it actually isn't that much of a step up in sartorial splendor, but it's a nice gesture. It's hard to raise a bar that's already high. Friedman is pretty high-profile, but the school has a constant parade of Macarthur genius prize-winners, Nobel laureates, people who used to have Secret Service details, and other generally fascinating people who come and speak to the students. (It's hard to raise the bar....) If, as I've sometimes heard, middle school here is like high school in most other schools, the speaker series rivals that of many colleges.
Introduction.... actually being done by one of the students. That's cool. She started an NGO that does relief work in Africa. Okay, that beats my vice presidency of my high school chess club (two years in a row). Would my high school record even get me into community college today?
Friedman's up now. Some anecdotes... why the world is flat... some more anecdotes... references to Lexus and the Olive Tree... I've posted the rest of the talk on Future Now.
Q&A is restricted to students. Love it: I recognize half a dozen CEOs and VCs, people who normally are the center of attention, and they're sitting in the back, listening. And not grumbling. Here, they're just parents.