There's an amazing conference going on in Palo Alto at the lovely Stanford Med School campus, organized by the no less amazing Larry Chu under the supportive eye of Gunther Eysenbach. The weather is sunny and crisp. We're a stone's throw of some of the US's if not the world's most amazing tech companies and medical institutions. But, I am not going to talk to you about "hi" as in tech and the latest sensor or app or mobile tablet.
I am going to talk about "hi" as in the way we greet one another, because that's what all of this is about.
We have gone from a pre-technology world, where man/woman survived by living in communities, at a time when it was impossible to do otherwise. And with that community came not only food, clothing, and shelter, but also belonging, a place, a role, a natural support group, a spirtuality.
And then, thanks to technology, we could progressively travel greater distances and ultimately live on our own thanks to the advent of electricity, mail order, frozen food...I think you get what I mean.
And with each invention, we went one step further -- unwittingly-- in making that distancing possible...In the 21st century, our ability to satisfy our individual needs has led us to live with almost no consideration for "the other". Those who are not able to support themselves are not automatically attended to, whether ill, old, homeless...in need.
But, and this is the key point, technology has also enabled man/woman to come full circle to what we are meant to do. We are all seeking at least moments of happiness. We all know that real happiness doesn't come from material gain, even if the promotion, new home or expensive object are momentarily fabulous. It comes from "feeling good about yourself". And when do we feel best about ourselves?
It's above all when you're doing good. And we all know what that is. I may sound Pollyanna-ish, but I've been interested in the "study of happiness" for sometime. And so I was even more attentive to keynote Jennifer Aaker and her happiness lecture, where she talked of the contribution of thousands to potentially help a stranger with a bone marrow graft.
And now in a subsequent session, we've just heard 10 patient voices -- all people with medical challenges. Not only are they each examples of courage, we can see how that courage is multiplied by coming together with others.
And how is this all achieved? This is the Full Circle. We have for the past number of 2.0 years invented ways for technology to bring us all back together again. And that is the real story of Social Media. It's about putting people together as we were meant to be biologically and that is why in this room as we've heard this morning first from Jennifer Aaker and now from the epatients, there is an extraordinary sense of well-being and endorphins flying around. I don't need to measure it. I know they are there. Thank you all!