A Quick Sketch Biography of Christopher Penn

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Based on Chris Brogan’s masterful template.

The thing most people know me for depends on how you know me. As Stephen K. Hayes says, we all wear different titles to different people. You might be Mom to some, but Daughter to another. Chances are you probably know me in a few forms:

– As the producer of the Financial Aid Podcast and Chief Technology Officer of Edvisors, Inc./Student Loan Network.

– As the co-founder of the PodCamp UnConference movement along with the aforementioned brilliant Chris Brogan, and now Executive Director of the PodCamp Foundation along with co-Executive Director Brogan. Also organizer of PodCamp Europe, speaker at Podcamp Toronto, PodCamp Boston, PodCamp NYC, the PESC conference, and more.

– As a New Marketing guy involved in a lot of projects, from Marketing Over Coffee with John Wall of The M Show to a regular at Coffee with Crayon to the producer of Virtual Hot Wings with someone and C.C. Chapman.

– As this guy who leaves odd comments on your blog or podcast, or makes comments on Twitter directed at you, or adds you as a friend on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Virb, and other social media sites du jour.

– As a 14 year practitioner of ninjutsu at the Boston Martial Arts Center.

Which is the real me? All of them. None of them. It depends on who you are and the context in which we interact. If any of them are a surprise to you, then welcome to context switch.

The people I associate the most with includes you. Because if you’re reading this, you associate with me.

People who have influenced my life are countless. There’s an expression in my martial art – shikin haramitsu daikomyo – that is recited before and after every class. Loosely translated, it means every experience contains the potential for the enlightenment we seek. This could be it. Everyone has something to teach (even if it’s how NOT to do something) if only we’re paying attention.

My early years, before you probably got to know me were unremarkable.

You might not know this, but I used to be terrified of public speaking, and was TERRIBLE at networking. A few things along the way changed that – necessity, along with the rush of speaking onstage. My junior year of high school was the turning point, when I found that I could influence people reasonably well with my words, and ended up being voted Senior Class President, which was hilarious. Ever since then, being onstage has become a love hate relationship which has evolved to love over the years.

I’m passionate about new media and martial arts. Actually, I’m passionate about a lot of things. I love good music – I wouldn’t have played so much of it on a financial aid radio show if I didn’t love it. I love good food – occasionally, too much. I love the power and reach that new media and the Internet give us that a generation ago would have been impossible to even fathom, much less take advantage of. It’s the project closest to mind right now but it’s also an important one – can you imagine a decade ago a bunch of fans of a musician not only bootlegging concerts, but reselling them on behalf of the musician and directing every dime to the musician?

I love the martial arts because it’s so grounding. In a lot of other areas, your ego can run away on you, get out of check, but when you step into the training hall, if your skills can’t back up your words, you end up getting the crap kicked out of you, and that’s an absolute necessity to stay focused, stay on the path, wherever it leads you. The martial art I practice focuses on winning under nearly impossible conditions, beating the odds so you can get home happy and healthy.

In the next year or two, I hope to meet you.


One response to “A Quick Sketch Biography of Christopher Penn”

  1. […] worth sharing, you can clip it out with Clipmarks and go back and look at it later. You can riff on something on your own blog. Text is just super easy to produce, share, remix. Easier than any of the other […]

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