Aside from a few structured activities designed to help participants meet each other, the weekend is completely in the hands of attendees, and the possibilities are endless.
Here’s a sneak peek at what it looks like to Say Yes.
At your average conference, we know the best conversations happen in the hallways. They happen over late night drinks, and on the walk from point A to point B. Those chance run-ins with esteemed colleagues, heroes, mentors– even strangers– can lead to conversations that propagate new ideas, concepts, and relationships. Sometimes, the results might even drive an entire industry forward.
YxYY is different from a garden variety conference because it inverts the concept of a topical event: The community is built first, and the topics emerge as its members interact and develop their own content and experiences.
Yes and Yes Yes is those valuable hallway conversations that are the reason you go... only here, they last for three uninterrupted days.
After weeks of conspiratorial ideating, informal pre-event meetups, and anticipatory tweets and Facebook posts, attendees at long last disembark from planes, cars and motorcycles. The Ace Hotel lobby is abuzz with energy. The dry desert heat melts away city stress, guests shed their travel clothes, slip into their swimsuits, and don their official YxYY wristbands, clutching bags “full of Yes.”
At Kick-off Cocktails, attendees sip drinks named “The Red Pill” and “The Engine” to celebrate collaborations with our creative sponsors. They mingle and meet up with old friends and new. As the sun sets, the co-founders officially welcome our intimate band of 400, explain the mantra of “How To Say Yes,” and personally thank our generous partners and behind the scenes volunteers. Then, our first surprise kicks off in the form of a unique co-created activity. Many participants form connections instantly, and afterwards seek out dinner conversations and the opportunity to explore the grounds.
The rest of the evening is unprogrammed, creating a space of ultimate potential and a thrilling sense that anything can happen. Participants can pursue whatever they want, for as long as they want. Many stay up gazing at the stars, sharing ideas and brainstorming activities for the next day, while others stay up – or awaken early – to witness the desert sunrise from the pool deck balcony.
During the day attendees descend upon the Ace Hotel’s communal spaces to discuss, create, plan, pontificate, and inspire.
The options are as diverse as the attendees themselves: yoga at sunrise, five-minute “Primers by the Pool”, board game tournaments, marathon 6-hour discussion sessions, pool-side dance parties, and arduino circuitry and 3D printed self-portraits in the Maker Lounge. We even said Yes to a wedding!
Each year has its own unique flavor as Yaysayers are creative doers – their energy and inventiveness shapes each YxYY into a one of a kind experience.
The cornerstone of Yes& is serendipity: sitting with soon-to-not-be strangers for meals because a seat is open at their table; wandering into the pool area solo and joining a group of shade-loving or splash-prone pool goers; meandering into an unplanned emotionally impactful discussion or activity combined with the open and welcoming attitude of Yaysayers. No one is a newbie or pre-judged here, and within a very short timeframe participants who just met seem like old friends.
As warm desert breezes waft across the pool deck, evenings are punctuated with organized activities that provide an opportunity for a community experience and sharing the inspirations of the day.
Yaysayers may be found entranced by Yes& stories that matter in either the Ignite session or at the Moth Radio-style storytelling hour, singing their hearts out till dawn in the RVIP mobile karaoke lounge, or lounging in or by the pool watching a movie during “Dive-in Movie” screenings.
Our touchstone event is YxYY Prom - complete with Prom Committee, photo booth, live band and DJs. The Yes& community plans and executes everything, including our unique annual theme, inspiring geeks and prom queens alike to dress up and get down!
LIFE AFTER, BUT STILL WITH, YES
Parting is such sweet sorrow – after a weekend of revelry and spontaneity, Yaysayers must say goodbye, wondering how to incorporate more “Yes” into their lives and how long they can realistically keep wearing their YxYY wristbands. The enthusiasm of Yes& endures in post-event meetups and online connections throughout the year. This diverse group coalesces into a community of peers, advisers and mentors. Connections made at YxYY produce new jobs, projects, ideas and partnerships.
The #YxYYfx hashtag tracks the effects of the gathering, charting the creativity that happens when people embrace the power of agreement, of building something together, and of simply saying “Yes.”