It was August 2010, and I’d been invited to be one of three on a ‘Baby Boomer Trends’ panel for the semi-annual meeting of Big Red’s North American Marketing team. Held at a Sheraton not far from HQ, the headliner William James Adams Jr., known professionally as will.i.am, the founding and lead member of Black Eyed Peas. Our little panel was an optional break-out session in that snooze hour just before lunch. The room filled to capacity as the three of us on the panel met for the first time. I have absolutely no recollection of who the woman on the end was, but I will never forget the guy in the middle.
Jeff Taylor introduced himself as the founder of Eons.com - a social networking website for people over 50, which made perfect sense as to why he was invited. As much of an honor as it was to be included on such a panel for my trend skills, and true, I also happen to be a Baby Boomer demographically, the real reason I was there, IMHO, was to meet Jeff. It was like love at first sight. Professionally speaking. The coolness of his energy was captivating and I hung on his every word. A tall solid guy with short, spiked slightly graying hair, thick glasses, a scruffy petite goatee, and a New England’ish New York accent. Relaxed and yet commanding he exuded a demeanor I was dying to know more about. The opportunity presented itself when we were both invited to lunch by our mutual host, Sue Lane.
Over sandwiches and Diet Cokes®, Jeff casually mentioned he had founded job-hunting website Monster.com, establishing himself as an internet entrepreneur. On top of which, he had a radio show on Sirius/XM’s Electric Area as DJ Jefr Tale. Excusing himself, Jeff got up to leave saying he had a plane to catch. Destination - Burning Man. “I’m sorry. What? You’re going to Burning Man?!?” I gasped. Sue asked if I knew what that was, and I most certainly did. It was magical and unobtainable as far as I was concerned. That is until Jeff added, “I don’t just go to Burning Man. I run Root Society - one of the largest EDM camps.” Grabbing his Diet Coke® on the way out, he looks me in the eyes and says, “Do you want to come?”