6 AM in St. Louis

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Two years ago I was wandering around St. Louis at 6 AM before one of the Social Fresh conferences. I had my digital camera with me, and was looking for interesting photos to take. Right around 6:15, I saw the sun start to come up. A look to the east revealed the reds and golds of a spectacular sunrise about to make its way over the horizon, even if obscured by all the local buildings. Amidst the urban clutter was the landmark St. Louis archway. A look to the west revealed my hotel, all 28 stories of it.

Sunrise was on the way.

If you’ve ever done any photography, you know that moments like sunrises don’t last for more than a few minutes. There’s a brief moment of magic when everything is just right, and then it fades as the day begins.

I broke into an all out sprint to get back to the hotel, racing inside to the security desk. The guard on duty probably wondered if someone had been murdered at the speed I ran up to him, but my only question was whether it would be okay if I went up to the closed restaurant on the 28th floor to take some photos. He called the manager on duty, who said yes, and the guard unlocked 28 on the elevator. Up I went.

I immediately had to perform some unplanned acrobatics. The cleaning crew had just mopped the black marble floors of the restaurant and as I dashed out of the elevator, I slipped and fell on what felt like the slickest black ice ever. Thankfully, lots of martial arts experience and luck kept me uninjured and my camera unbroken.

I managed to get to the window in just under 10 minutes from the time I saw the sky change and aim to the east. My luck held:

St. Louis Sunrise

Be looking for opportunity.
Be prepared with the right gear and talent to take advantage of it.
Seize your opportunities with urgency, because they won’t last.
Be bold about asking.
Prepare to slip and fall, but be able to get up just as fast.
Take the shot.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


9 responses to “6 AM in St. Louis”

  1. tonyloftis Avatar

    Love your use of metaphor in the last two posts to illustrate important points about professionalism. 

  2. lovely photo…  one of the best parts of st. louis is our lovely sunrises and (especially) sunsets.. i dont know if it is where we sit geographically, but i would put a st. louis sunset up against any in the world, including on the coast..

  3.  Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this, Christopher, and great image. Love how your post briefly outlines principles of awareness, preparedness, and swift recovery – and how they’re essential to success in life and our careers alike.

  4. Trillfearless Avatar

    Cool story, Chris. Glad we got a chance to meet at SoFresh STL. I still have the notes from your ROI presentation and refer back to them every once in a while.

  5. Trillfearless Avatar

    Cool story, Chris. Glad we got a chance to meet at SoFresh STL. I still have the notes from your ROI presentation and refer back to them every once in a while.

  6. Love the message in this (and great shot). 

  7. Carrie Keenan Avatar
    Carrie Keenan

    This post coming into my feed tonight was perfect timing! I have been mulling some things about in my mind lately, now I know what I want to do. Thank you!

  8. You forgot “be a ninja.” Mere mortals would have gone through all that trouble, only to slip and kill themselves.

  9. Lol this can be made into a short movie 🙂 great advice 

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