A quick scan of the headlines from 2016-2017 can make one think the world has truly lost its mind.
How could *anyone* in the UK possibly vote to leave the EU? I was in the UK less than two weeks before the Brexit vote. I learned more about the forces in play in a South London pub than I learned from anything I read in The Economist or FT. After I returned to Seattle in June, I wrote on my Facebook wall that we shouldn't snicker at Donald Trump. The guy could win. And again, in November, millions of people woke up to ask, "what the hell just happened?"
Technology has ensured that we no longer live in a world of the mass culture and the counter-culture. We now live in a world of massively parallel culture. Technology gives us the option to dip into or out of the mainstream. Simultaneously, we can dive deep into our preferred digital tribe of like-minded people. As this process scales, we become more connected and more fragmented. The line between the wisdom of crowds and the idiocy of mobs grows thin indeed.
Jeff Gomez knows a great deal about activating the passions of fan bases --- "tribes" --- through storytelling and digital media. As CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, Jeff's creative extensions of Hollywood blockbusters like Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, Men in Black and similar intellectual franchises have given him unique understanding of the drivers of passionate fandom.
Now, he is taking some of the same principles and techniques and applying them outside of the entertainment industry. Working in areas as different as Southwest Australia, Columbia, Mexico and the Middle East, Jeff is using the power of story and community to re-imagine how massively parallel cultures can find better connections and more common ground.