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San Francisco

Almost Anything Is "Possibl" At Visionary Conference May 30th–31st

Possibl, a visionary conference billed as "The World's Fair for Creative Ideas," will take over Pier 35 near Fisherman's Wharf on May 30th and 31st with thought leaders, seminars, and a free expo featuring an Etsy indie emporium, small business and startup displays, a local food lab and product demos and workshops. 

But that nugget can't begin to describe the ambitious goals the organizers have for the event. As the promo material states, "Based on Albert Einstein’s belief that 'We cannot solve our problems with the same level of consciousness that created them,' the approach of "What’s Possible?' is clearly based on evidence-informed knowledge and critical thinking."

Steven Jay, a Florida resident who is co-producing Possibl with Aaron Lander, founder and CEO of PopUpsters, crafted it as a multi-sector event that looks at how everything affects everything else. It'll touch on areas including health, consciousness, education, ethical business, media literacy, arts and culture, human rights, eco-diversity and bio-diversity.  "We saw a world that’s gone a little crazy and we saw politicians constantly never finding a solution,” Jay said. "I see things in a very ecological, holistic way."

Photo: Jay Ach, courtesy of Port of San Francisco

Jay said he studied quantum physics, so he was "fascinated by how everything was connected," he said. And he worked in the entertainment industry for a long time and organized a music and internet expo in 1999, so he had a network of contacts to approach for putting together a roster of speakers. They include peace activist Cindy Sheehan; YES! Magazine editor Sarah Van Gelder; Mickey Huff, director of Project Censored; Michael Levitin, editor-in-chief of Occupy.com, Sean Armstrong of Redwood Energy, which designs zero net energy homes; and various other authors, media leaders, health care experts and more.

“I think there’s a lot of stuff going on in San Francisco that’s very tech," Jay said, "and this is not a tech show. This is heart and soul.” He also said a big focus will be on youth and asking them what they want and showing them possibilities for the future. "I grew up watching the Beatles and Ed Sullivan," Jay said, "and I remember the years growing up watching the space program going to the moon. That was exciting. We had this great excitement growing up. At night we could look into the sky and dream, and that was so important to me and to my classmates and I think it was important to society, and now we don’t see that as much. We need to bring people together instead of pulling them apart."

Lander, meanwhile, is behind the expo part of the event. It'll include about 90 Etsy makers, about 60 or so other small businesses and a "local food lab" with at least 15 food vendors selling everything from pre-packaged food to hot dishes. "We foster the entrepreneurship happening in the Bay Area and connect people to events and things to grow and expand their businesses," Lander said.

Admission to the expo hall is free, and tickets for the conference are on sale online. They're $39 until May 25 and $59 thereafter, and a student discount is available. 

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