Fusion 2001

Zion Lodge at Zion National Park, Utah

Hiking, Brainstorming, and Small-Group Personal Breakthrough Event

Friday Evening to Sunday Evening, Oct. 26-28

Fusion 2001 comprised nine intrepid, acceleration-aware futurists (see Confirmation/Invite List).

Zion Lodge (The only accomodations inside the park).
Motor lodge (75 avail):  2 queen size beds per room. $97 night, plus $10 per person for extras above two.
Cabins (40 avail): 2 double-size beds, gas fireplace, phone. $107 night, plus $10 per person above two.
[1-5 per room. Split four ways, this is $117/4 =$29/night, or $127/4 =$32/night. Very economical.]
Reservations: 435-772-3213
To see who's available to share a room, email john.smart{at}cox.net or call (650) 396-8220.

Cafe Hours: 9am-5pm. Dining Room Hours: 5pm-9pm
Our Dinner Reservations: Zion Lodge Dining Room, 6:45pm Friday, 6pm Saturday, 6pm Sunday

Zion National Park Detail Map
Zion canyon is one of the natural wonders of the West. Gotta see it!

Zion Narrows Trail, Saturday Morning Hike
An amazing half day hike, from what everyone says. You'll want to prepare a bit (see Action Items).



Friday Afternoon, start arriving (Check-in is any time after 3pm): Early arrivers might get together for early conversation, or just rest up after travel. Meet at Lodge Restaurant by 6pm!

Friday Evening, 6pm-8pm, Dinner. 8pm-Midnight, Intense Fusion I.
Location: John's Cabin (Table and Chairs Provided).

Introductions/Updates (Dinner)
Roundrobin personal and professional investigations (30 mins each).
Roundrobin wild brainstorming
Freeform followups. (Breaks for sunsets, dinner, etc.)


Saturday Morning and Afternoon, Zion Narrows Day Hike. (8am-3pm)
Let's have breakfast and lunch on the river! Take time to stop, swim, etc.

Saturday Evening, 5pm-7pm, Dinner. 7pm-11pm, Semi-Intense Fusion II.
Location: John's Cabin. (Daylight Savings Time tonight!)

More personal and professional investigation (20 mins each).
Meta advice and profile review.
More selective brainstorming.
Trial goalsetting.



Sunday Day Hike (The breathtaking Angel's Landing, 11am-4pm)
A great place to get some perspective. Another incredible hike.

Sunday, 7am-8am, Short Breakfast. 8am-10am, Relaxed Fusion III.
Location: Breakfast Table (Bring paper for writing out goals).

Personal goal discussion (10 mins each).
Problem and accountability review.
Final brainstorming.

10am-11am, Checkout (for those leaving today).

11am-4pm, Angels Landing Hike!

Leave Sunday, 4pm to whenever. Some of us may stay over and leave Monday AM.


Fusion is an awesome opportunity for connecting up with a small and very unique group of communicative, creative, intellectual, and goal-oriented people. Ideally, these individuals are well chosen to have similar core values but diverse and complementary skillsets.  The Fusion process encourages a lot of deep sharing and assessment of our strengths, passions, weaknesses, fears, and current problems, among high-integrity peers who are also doing the same. The end goal is for each of us to walk away with more key future understanding, better implementation wisdom, and clearer personal goals than we could have developed if we'd spent ten times as long on our own. In Fusion every participant is a designated presenter. None of us are spectators: everyone is asked to actively listen, think, and contribute (verbally and in writing) during the sessions. Like nuclear fusion (after which our process is named) if you begin with an appropriate substrate, and design the right "containment device" you can create tremendously more usable energy (productive output) than you started with.

The quality of a network is proportional to both the diversity and the intellectual commitment of its members, and our process attempts to maximize both. A source of amazing collective intelligence and periodic personal accountability, Fusion also aspires to the ideal that one way to get personal satisfaction is to intensively help other people. When we do a little homework prior to each meeting, the conversation, connections, and advice we get are truly excellent.

Our Fusion brings together scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, writers, and other individuals who are intellectually interested in the phenomenon of accelerating technological change. The additional core values we seek are optimistic, critical, self-honest, and solutions-oriented futurist, transhumanist, or Extropian perspectives. Those with religious and spiritual perspectives which are tolerant of secular humanism are also warmly invited.

Because everyone is formally given 10-30 minutes to hold forth at least once a session, and because we seek to maximize interpersonal interaction, group formation, and support giving, we've found the best Fusion size to be three to eight people. Any more than eight (ideally, five) should be run as separate groups (these need to be self-selected in advance), even if the whole group is coming together to the same location.

Prior to Fusion, everyone is asked to skim every other group member's written profiles, and structured brief written feedback is requested. If you take the time to write out some potentially powerful ideas, you know that in this group they will get thoughtfully considered. Even though we can't go deeply into all the good ideas, constructive critiques, etc. that are presented during the retreat, if you write them out, you can be sure they'll be considered later. Your Fusionmates are all selected to be a very reflective bunch.

Format and Deadlines

There are 2 reading and 5 writing responsibilities in a Fusion Retreat:

By Two Weeks Prior (By Friday, October 12th (or ASAP)):

1. Write your Profile (update every year). Email to john.smart{at}cox.net

Before Fusion I (Which is Friday, October 26th):

2. Read Profiles of all group members.

3. Write Feedback notes (20 minutes per member). Optional: Make a hardcopy to share w/ each person.

4. Write Passions to share. Make copies for everyone (nine).

Before Fusion II (Saturday, Oct 27th):

5. Read any Feedback and Passions info received from each member. Reread Profiles. Any notes you may have taken.

6. Write Meta comments. Optional: Give the hardcopy to each group member after you've discussed it with them, or keep it for yourself, as fits your personal style.

Before Fusion III (Sunday, Oct 28th):

7. Write your own Goals comments. No copies needed. It's all you baby!

Preparation Details
(These are Rough Guidelines. You Might Have Creative Alternatives.)

1. Fill out your Profile. If you can't spend more than an hour on this, that's plenty. Suggest you go through all ten questions very quickly writing just a few sentences for each, then come back to it once more to flesh it out a bit before sending it off. For the first seven questions use this form, going into as little or as much personal detail as you'd like). Then add these three more: 8) Some of your year 2000 (or recent years) personal and professional goals, progress you've made toward them, and ways you've fallen short. 9) A peek at the details of your weekly schedule, including some of your healthy habits, and some of your unhealthy ones, 10) Some self-perceived personal strengths and some personal areas you think you need to work on. Don't sweat over this! No one will be judging your Profile for completeness or brilliance, just looking for ways they might be helpful. Share only what feels comfortable for an initial encounter. When you've got at least a page, email it (in an attached file or within the email body, as you prefer) to john.smart{at}cox.net. I'll get copies of all Profiles out to all the group members ASAP.

2. In the following two weeks, spend at least 20 minutes per person writing out some brief Feedback notes (advice, compliments, constructive critiques) that come to mind after reading member's Profile. Maybe you can do a little personal and web research, including any URLs, books, ideas that come to mind for helping that person. It is recommended, but entirely optional if you feel it is too formal, that you make one hardcopy of these note pages to give to each of your Fusionmates. Do what feels natural to you. We ask this advance "homework" so you'll have a sense of some of the interests and background of the group before we meet up.

3. Spend at least an hour putting together some information on personal Passions (personal and professional projects, future-oriented topics, intersting events, organizations, people, perspectives, skillsets, information, tools you like) that you want brainstorming input on and/or think others should know about. Make a copy for everyone of some of the written stuff (just a few pages, no need to get expensive). If you're inspired, you might also bring a few gadgets, tools, or items (books, favorite CDs, articles, web printouts) to show and tell or loan to other members during the weekend. If you're willing to bring any stuff to lend out (software, audio CDs, audiotapes, DVDs, books, etc.) please bring a few self-addressed manila envelopes for it so that the member can have it as a reminder to mail it back (adding their own postage) to you by a particular date (experience suggests you write a due date on the envelope if you loan anything out).

4. After Fusion I but before II, write up very brief Meta responses for each member from your memory and meeting notes. Do you agree or disagree with others written and verbal comments? Elaborate as needed. What other advice to you have? After discussing all our Meta ideas with each Fusioner, it is suggested that you write legibly enough that you may give your notes (or a copy) to him or her afterward. Alternatively, you can keep the notes for yourself, whatever fits best with your own approach. The only thing you need to have here is at least three suggested action items for that person. They may be related to priorities you hear that person proclaiming, or they may be entirely different action items that you think the person may be overlooking, or they may be a mix. They don't have to be the "most important" priorities, just three useful action items, as you see it.

5. During Fusion II you'll be asked to verbally float some trial goals in front of the group. Afterward, go back over everything that was said and put together your own written Goals sheet, which you will share (and perhaps do more work on) during Fusion III. Think about ways to make your goals definable (numerically or conceptually), manageable (ie, break them into bite sized pieces), and prioritized, at least loosely (i.e., if I achieve three of these six I'll be happy). Ask yourself the consequences of falling short, i.e., how will you be held accountable to them. Because we're all asked to take at least simple notes during Fusion, be aware that others will be bringing notes about your goals to next year's Fusion. That's one way to build accountability.

6. Finally, keep your Goals sheet and other stuff so you can refer to it and bring it to next year's intellectual rendezvous.  See you in Zion!

Confirmation and Invite List

We've closed out at nine individuals for this year's Fusion. Next year, with more advance preparation time we might invite more, and perhaps help multiple groups to self organize (three to eight per group) and run themselves concurrently at the retreat.

Fusionmates for 2001:

Mark Finnern (SF, CA)
Paul Grasshoff (LA, CA)
Steve Harris (Provo, UT)
Scott Lemon (Heber City, UT)
Steve Potter (Pasadena, CA)
John Robb (Acton, MA)
Sandra Russell (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
Brian Rowley (LA, CA)
John Smart (LA, CA)


Send your recommendations in!

Action Items

1. Figure out how you're going to get out to Zion. Carpool/Road Trip out? Book your motel room at the Zion Lodge (Reservations: 435-772-3213) or bring a sleeping bag and come throw dice for the beds in John's or one of the other Booked Rooms (email John to find out options, or call him at (650) 396-8220).

2. Fill out your Profile by Oct. 12th and email it to joh{dot}smart{at}cox.net

3. Write up 20 minutes of Feedback notes on each member's profile over the next two weeks, and collect any Passions stuff to share.

4. Print this page and bring it to remind you of the rough format we are aspiring to (we may make many modifications along the way, of course). I'm sure we won't be following everything here to the letter.

5. Bring some pens and paper, and a small notepad and pen for hiking so you can copy down interesting ideas, links, etc. as they come up. I'm sure we'll continue Fusioning to some degree on the trail, and I expect the conversation will be as inspiring as our surroundings!

6. Bring at least a disposable camera so you can capture some of the beauty. I'll ask if you could email me (or snail mail loan me) a few pictures for site posting as well.

7. Bring a nice comfortable jacket for walking around at night. It can get chilly.

8. Some munchies and drinks for breakfast and lunch, and any you'd like to bring to share for the Fusions.

9. Bring a favorite frisbee or any other games you'd like to play.

10. Zion Narrows Hike preparation. You're gonna get wet!  Feel free to do some other hike instead that day, but we hear this one's really beautiful. We'll be hiking up a narrow canyon, along and through a stream that runs down through the canyon. Park service won't let us go if its too overcast, so count on sunny weather. The water level should be low this time of year, but there will still be some in-water hiking, potentially up to chest deep for short periods. Still, if you keep moving, wear relatively non-waterlogging clothes, and bring some trail food, the Park Service says you should dry off quickly in the daytime sun, and not have to worry about hypothermia (we'll see :).

The best footwear might be any of these three, depending on your preference: 1) open sandals w/ hiking treads (dry off quickly, but not much protection), 2) aquasocks/water shoes/ruggedized booties (more protection, but dry slower), 3) waterproof socks (most popular are SealSkinz). These could be used with waterproof hiking boots, but that's probably overkill. As long as you're willing to deal with squishy shoes for a little while, the socks plus any hiking or athletic shoe should work just fine. Of course you could skip special footwear entirely as another option. I'm personally planning on the open hiking sandals approach, and may pick up some waterproof socks to go with them, which I'll keep in my fanny pack but put on if my feet start getting cold. We'll see if I change my mind once I get to the camping store.

As for other hiking gear, don't forget water-resistant sunblock, and maybe a hat and sunglasses. Camelbacks or fanny packs or a little backpack to bring along food. Wearing a bathing suit would be nice, so you could jump into the water at will. I'd also bring a small towel for the trial, and and perhaps an extra pair of shoes for when you get back from the hike.

11. Oh yes... Come enjoy yourself!


John has put together Fusions twice before, first at U.C. Berkeley in 1980-81 and then at U.C. San Diego in 1988-9. Fusion 2001 is our third incarnation. This one will be run by John, Scott Lemon, and Paul Grasshoff, as well as any other member who wants to get involved. We tweak the format each time, and feedback is highly desired. In April 2001, this Fusion retreat was decided for October, to sustain a mini-version of the Foresight Gathering, which isn't running a Fall event this year.

We'll be following up this annual retreat with a regional Fusion in Los Angeles (six of us meeting every three weeks for two to three hours, probably beginning in November), and we encourage you to form your own regionals in your own city.  The Fusion process means something a bit different for each group that chooses to use it. Please feel free to adopt and modify it as you see fit.

Future Retreat Potentials

As this Fusion is primarily a Western U.S. group, we'd like to experience new locations in that area on a regular basis (and perhaps going several times to some that we think need more "exploration"). Particularly attractive are places with nice hiking, beautiful scenery, interesting history, or intellectual resources, all conducive to reflection and conceptual breakthroughs. Here are a few future candidates. Please add your own as well!

Asilomar, CA
Big Bear, CA
Big Sur, CA
Yosemite, CA
San Juan Islands, WA
Sequoia National Park, CA
Goblin Valley, UT
Grand Canyon, AZ
Santa Fe, NM

Suggestions/omissions? john{dot}smart{at}cox.net

See you there friends...