3 Insightful Takeaways from Arianna Huffington’s Convergence Keynote

March 7, 2014


Arianna Huffington took the stage at Microsoft Convergence as the keynote speaker to talk about how technology is reshaping and redefining how the world engages. I had never seen her speak before and she was absolutely amazing. This was not your run of the mill surface talk type keynote; her insights for me were both game changing and inspiring.

It was really interesting to hear about how 850 reporters at the Huffington Post go about their day reporting on what they know best; their own personal lives, a convergence between old and new media, the advantages of technology, and the importance of learning how to disconnect.

Here are three takeaways that resonated most with me:

  1. Arianna on headlines: “No more, if it bleeds it leads…  what people like to share are good news.” Arianna pointed out that acts of generosity and compassion that show human beings in their best light are some of the top performing posts on Huffington Post. She went on to clarify that the media are not doing enough to showcase the good things that are happening. They are constantly looking to what is not working, corruption, etc. So she started “The Good News Section of Huff Post." One great example is a post from a mother, a special education teacher, who one day stopped saying "hurry" to her child. She went on to apply this rule more broadly and found that we are all doing this to ourselves, rushing through the day. Scientists call this "Time Famine" – breathlessly going through our lives. As a result of the post, the mother got a book contract, but more importantly the success of it showed that there is a huge interest in articles about people who want to lead more meaningful lives and also understand their lives better.
  2. Arianna on success: “We need to redefine what that is.” Is it based on the metrics of money and power? Or is it also a third metric based on our well-being, wisdoms, wonder, and giveback? There is no tradeoff between productivity and creativity. We don’t pay employees for their stamina. We pay them to tap into their wisdom and creativity. When they are recharged and renewed, that’s when they are most productive.
  3. Arianna on technology: “We are raising children who run to their iPads before they run to their parents.” People are looking for technology to help us disconnect and learn how to meditate or become more connected with our inner selves. And it all starts with communicating that information. Some of Huffington's most popular posts are about getting more sleep. Arianna offered up a quick tip as an example: “Do not charge your phone next to your bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you are going to look at the data. There is scientific research that proves if you look at it, your sleep is not going to be as good. This then leads to you not being so good at your job the next day.” To clarify her point even further, Arianna mentioned that Volkswagen in Germany gives their workers cell phones, but turns them off at 6pm and turns them back on at 7am. This is to make sure that the employees unplug because now we take our work everywhere. She then gave advice for the rest of us. “The world goes on if you don’t check your feeds, and you come back recharged. We need to be setting boundaries for ourselves as creativity is going to be more and more of a premium.”

Solid advice from an incredibly insightful thought leader. I heard your message loud and clear, Arianna. Here’s to us all finding that better place between technology and our inner happiness.