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The Icarus Sessions

Updated on December 5, 2012

The Icarus Sessions

This page gives you a quick overview of the rules and reasoning behind the (hopefully monthly) Icarus Sessions.

They're free, they happen all over the world and they will inspire you to make work that matters. Coordinated via Meetup Everywhere, every city and hamlet can have one. The first worldwide session to going to be held at 7 pm local time on January 2nd. Generally, it's dutch treat, with attendees coordinating the venue and splitting the cost... everyone volunteers, no one makes a profit. When you get to Meetup Everywhere, find your city, and even volunteer to be an organizer if you're so inclined.

The short version: ten or fifty or a hundred people come together and follow the simple rules of the Icarus Session, outlined below. You meet, connect, support and then go back into the world, ready to make a ruckus.

The rules are simple

The Icarus Sessions are a challenging new way to bring your art forward. Not to make a sales pitch, not to get customers or patrons, but to find the courage to stand up and say, "here, I made this."

You can attend a session without presenting, of course.

A presentation at an Icarus Session is 140 seconds long. You can go shorter, but not a second longer. You can use slides, or handouts, or even better, just bring your enthusiasm. The assignment: Tell the group about your art. What have you created? What frightened you? What matters?

Not a pitch. An act of brave vulnerability.

I made this.

It scared me.

This might not work.

Here's how it changed me.

What do you think?

How to get picked

Find the organizer of your local Meetup Everywhere and contact her (or him) and find out how presenters are chosen.

Here are three common methods:

1. Everyone speaks. This works particularly well for smaller events. At 140 seconds, that means it takes less than an hour for twenty people to present.

2. Names in a hat. This is impromptu and couldn't be more open while at the same time respecting the math of large groups.

3. Apply and be chosen. This maximizes the chance that every presenter is prepared, but it takes more work on the part of the organizer.

How to find the Icarus Session near you!

Click to get to Meetup
Click to get to Meetup

Click on the big picture above and it will take you to and then click on "View Details".

When possible, consider joining an thriving Meetup instead of splintering... But if there's no Meetup in your city and you're up for it, please take a leap and start one.

Video is optional

If you've practiced your 140 seconds and you want them shared with the world, videotaping is totally appropriate. Go ahead and post it on YouTube. Particularly great Icarus Sessions will spread, be posted, embedded, talked about and inspire.

The 140 second format lends itself to viral video, and there's no one to stop you. So go ahead if you like.

How to become an organizer?

It's simple:

1. Go to the Meetup Everywhere site

2. Join a meetup in your city, or start one

3. Hang out in the discussion and volunteer. It's sort of a vote of acclimation, lead by doing, committee mindset.

Pick yourself.

Share your art...

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    • profile image

      eileen53 4 years ago


      I don't know if you monitor this page any more. Here in Rochester, NY, we are about to celebrate our first anniversary session and I wanted to share how awesome this has been. We have a great group that spans many types of art and really brings a spirit of sharing and encouragement. Our discussions have dealt with creating every day, dealing with fear and failure and fear of failure, and how to deal with periods when you may not be creating as much. The sessions have truly been an inspiration to take more risks and to create more often, for all involved.

      Thanks again for the inspiration and instigation - we'll raise a glass at the birthday celebration!


    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 5 years ago from Burbank, CA

      Anyone in Burbank, CA doing this? I would love to attend one.

    • DAEdmonston profile image

      DAEdmonston 5 years ago

      I like this idea and I'm going to look into it. However, I doubt in my country location I will find an existing Session. We will see. Thanks for starting this.

    • profile image

      eileen53 5 years ago

      The January event was a bit chaotic in Rochester, NY, so we've just kicked into high gear with February. We had 19 artists and 9 presented. The inspiration, support, and connections were great. What was also awesome was that people stayed to keep talking well after the presentation portion was done. We are very excited and looking forward to growing the community and the event in the months ahead.

    • cdgood profile image

      cdgood 5 years ago

      What is inspiring to me is the people are so inspired by others inspirations!

    • profile image

      donna-stott-coach 5 years ago

      Hosted our FIRST (of many) Icarus Sessions on January 2 at 7pm EST in Marietta GA. 8 brave souls (plus me) participated and it was FANTASTIC. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the videos of some presentations to the presenters! Love it, Seth... thanks for inspiration!

    • profile image

      minestronesoul 5 years ago

      Thank you Seth. You inspired me:

      "Not all of us are extroverts. Connection that is meaningful is more important than how much noise you make. Make noise quietly. Be weird seriously. Never solemn. Play lots. Be intimate and loyal. Don't shout if shouting is crass. Weird is good. Quiet is beautiful. Muffled is sad. Be brave and show up however you dare. Pick yourself, even if nobody has ever picked you in your whole life."

    • profile image

      danedormio 5 years ago

      The first San Diego Icarus Session was a decided success! Now it's time to build the momentum!

    • profile image

      deliberatesher 5 years ago

      Loads of fun at the Guelph, Ontario Canada Icarus session - is there going to be another worldwide day?

    • profile image

      rexwilliams 5 years ago

      Great group at the Seattle Icarus Session! Smart, diverse, successful people who still get scared but are making great art. We might even do it again next month. Join us if you're nearby.

    • profile image

      ron-bartos-7 5 years ago

      Small but enthusiastic merry band of artists in West Hartford CT. Meeting at a local restaurant...and they are baking COOKIES!

    • profile image

      GratitudeGuru 5 years ago

      I have an empty apartment in Overland Park that we're moving out of so I've opened it up for a meeting tonight - BYOC (bring your own chair) - but I'll have a fire in the fireplace and a fire in my heart for my passion of helping young and old find and follow their passion! @8togreat

    • profile image

      elainesue123 5 years ago

      Just found out about the Icarus Sessions. Joined a local group, unfortunately too late for today's MeetUp, but stoked for the next one. Thanks, Seth! Very excited to share my art with others>

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      tomcayman 5 years ago

      Getting ready to host our Cayman Icarus Session at 7pm outside in the Caribbean breeze. Whilst only four of us signed up at Meetup, I also set this up as a FB event and have at least another nine coming, so will be somewhere between 10 to 15 of us. In Cayman you just never know.

      Today my art was simply saying "This Might Work" and being unattached to the outcome.

      All coaches know that when they are unattached they do their best work, as they can suddenly listen without thinking for the answers.. they just listen, they just see, they just create the space.

      In my day job I am a Business Coach. Tonight I will simply create the space and see what it brings forth.

    • profile image

      philobr 5 years ago

      Just listened to Seth speak in New York - he's inspiring. Off to try my 140 seconds later about my art of making connections and my new venture @ClimbingFish.

    • profile image

      chris-kesihai 5 years ago

      @CoCreatr: Congratulations! We're three hours until our event here in Sofia and biting fingernails, wondering if anyone will come. It's always a scary thing to launch an event and you get kudos for trying. Next time, maybe try organising via whatever social media is popular in your part of the world. Nobody here uses Meetup - 18 linchpins - so we put the word out via Facebook. If nothing else, we got a few yesses and a few maybes. I don't know if they will show up, but at least it's a start. All the best for your next attempt.

    • profile image

      MyTaxBuddy 5 years ago

      @coreylordcpa: Totally agreed, Corey. Accounting and tax can be practiced as an art instead of a science by simply focusing on the people and not the numbers. It all works together. We are creating a new creative recordkeeping system for small business that includes the word fun. Look out Luca Pacioli.

    • CoCreatr profile image

      CoCreatr 5 years ago

      It is now 2013-01-02 uncomfortable 19:55 o'clock in Japan and it looks like we failed faster. Meetup shows a total of 22 Linchpins here, one organizer stepped up in Tokyo, knowing this might not work. Not enough of us did connect to say "I made this", no event to meet, not even a virtual gathering. For now we are learning from others. See you next time.

    • profile image

      lytingale 5 years ago

      I am hosting the Asheville NC session. We are choosing to define "art" as visual art, sound art/music, theatre arts, and the healing arts... and if we have time for more presenters, the art of living.

    • Judiknight profile image

      Judiknight 5 years ago

      I am hosting the Atlanta session and looking forward to it. We have a diverse group of folks who are finding us from Meetup and posting on Social Media. 32 people so far. It is going to be great.

    • garagerob profile image

      garagerob 5 years ago

      I so like this! Great idea.

    • profile image

      mariajose-barriosrolania 5 years ago

      Great, great, great idea. You are a genius Seth!

    • profile image

      Paula7928 5 years ago

      What a great idea! Great lens too!

    • Donallphin profile image

      Donallphin 5 years ago

      What a wonderful idea and process. I live in Utah and will look forward to getting involved here. Thanks!

    • profile image

      wesaidgotravel 5 years ago

      Hello from Allepi, India. I am searching for good enough wifi to see if there are any sessions set up in India. I would be happy to help set one up! Love this idea. Loved the meet up a couple of years ago. ARTISTS SHIP! Lisa

    • profile image

      chris-kesihai 5 years ago

      Anyone have any ideas about event format? I have a friend who organises Ignite talks, and always takes a break in the middle with some kind of networking activity.

      I've held several TEDx events, and we always schedule time for people to meet each other and discuss the ideas they have heard. We've also run little competitions to put people together and challenge them.

      I'm interested to know what ideas people have for making Icarus sessions as engaging and rewarding as possible.

    • seth godin profile image

      seth godin 5 years ago

      @TruMarketPSC: the Kindle etc versions will ship on 12/31 from Amazon, etc. Order them now if you like

    • profile image

      TruMarketPSC 5 years ago

      I look forward to engaging here in Minneapolis with others that want to expand their horizons, Thanks again Seth. Already ordered your books, do we get them also in digital format for the convenience?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @coreylordcpa: Corey, you are an artist. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

    • profile image

      IslandSign 5 years ago

      @coreylordcpa: sounds like honing the art of living to me Corey!

      I could well use to improve the focus on the accounts related to my craft

    • profile image

      ErinJoy 5 years ago

      @coreylordcpa: That's beautiful, Corey!

    • profile image

      ErinJoy 5 years ago

      Hosting in St. Louis, MO for women entrepreneurs! Will share details here as they unfold. Thanks, Seth!

    • petermurray profile image

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      @linxcoach: I'd like to challenge you to invite people who are not like you and even people who don't like you. I think there is a real value in getting a diverse group together because there is more chance of serendipity and synergy coming from people who have never met each other before or been exposed to their art.

      I am deliberately inviting different circles of friends and asking my friends to do the same so we can all meet new people and experience the art we have never experienced before.

    • profile image

      linxcoach 5 years ago

      Hosting in Southwestern Ontario - our group on Meetup is called People Like Us - so looking forward to this awesome way to start 2013 - thanks Seth!

    • petermurray profile image

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      I'm hosting Izmir's Icarus Session.

    • profile image

      jaysinghsyd 5 years ago

      @coreylordcpa: Sounds like art to me, but don't take my word for it. In fact don't let anyone define what you do. Ultimately, it is going to be how you see it and how you commit to it.

      Furthermore, The Icarus sessions are like a shop of colours and brushes. You might just find a colour that adds another level to your art.

      Dare to do. Dare to speak and listen and engage and explore and fly.

      Put your name down.

    • profile image

      coreylordcpa 5 years ago

      I'm not sure if what I do is an art or more of a craft. Yes, I am creative but a lot of people say it is not an art. What I do, I'm an accountant. How I do it, I challenge the status quo, I design ways to solve problems, and I create collaborative environments that help customers feel comfortable with a highly technical issue. Why I do it, because I feel that people are happier when they are able to focus on their passion and do what they do best. I evoke an emotion much like art does but it is not typically called an art. I am a CPA and I love my craft because of why I do it.

    • profile image

      coreylordcpa 5 years ago

      This concept seems really, really cool. I would say I have more of a craft than an actual art. Yes, I am creative but I am not totally sure if what I do is an art. What I do is accounting. How I do it, I challenge the status quo, I design and create solutions specifically for a customer, I create a collaborative and comfortable environment in order to do this. Why I do it, because people are happier when they can focus on their passion and what they do best. I evoke emotion from customers so I guess you can say it's an art but really I suppose it would be up to this group if they are willing to let a CPA in and call it an art. Thank you for your input.

    • profile image

      adiazpaz 5 years ago

      I created a community in Google+. We are all invited!

    • profile image

      jaysinghsyd 5 years ago

      @adiazpaz: Great stuff. Keep us posted on how you go.

    • profile image

      adiazpaz 5 years ago

      @jaysinghsyd: thanks.

    • profile image

      adiazpaz 5 years ago

      Ours, in Newcastle upon Tyne, is going to be at The Post Office. Paul Lancaster is organising it.

    • CommanderNicole profile image

      CommanderNicole 5 years ago

      Loved this.

    • profile image

      PurifyYourBody 5 years ago

      @mitch-peterson-71: Hey there, where in Logan is it? And when?

    • profile image

      jaysinghsyd 5 years ago

      Hello friends,

      Have set-up a Facebook group for all the Icarus sessions to share any ideas, thoughts, photos, or just ask for help in organising.

      You can join -

    • profile image

      jaysinghsyd 5 years ago

      @markcollard: Hi Mark, we're putting one together for Sydney. Where in Australia are you?

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      Thanks for the information about the Icarus sessions on meetups everywhere because it sounds really interesting.

    • profile image

      rbarnesdotcom 5 years ago

      Seems like a perfect way to get the new year rolling. I am in!

    • markcollard profile image

      Mark Collard 5 years ago

      Yes, yes, yes Seth. You are truly an inspirational person. I can't wait for my heavy volume of Seth-ness to arrive in my hands in Australia. Next step, to join an Icarus MeetUp here, or start one...

    • profile image

      bronsondavid 5 years ago

      Wonderful wishes to you all for happy, healthy, and FUN holidays. Looking fwd to meeting some of you in NY in '13!

    • worldrevivalnet profile image

      worldrevivalnet 5 years ago

      thank you!

    • profile image

      RobinHenault 5 years ago

      This sounds like a wonderful way to create the kind of synergy that generates enthusiasm and creativity. I am new to the group, but the first to sign up in my 'hood! Very exciting!

    • profile image

      gene-rumley 5 years ago

      Great Idea ---Really look forward to linking up with everyone world wide--awesome!!!

    • profile image

      gene-rumley 5 years ago

      Great idea really looking forward to this event to link up worldwide Orlando, Florida area

    • profile image

      SpencerCrandall 5 years ago

      FYI, one becomes an "official" planner by suggesting a location for the meetup.

    • profile image

      david-drake-1042 5 years ago

      Ok Seth, Sounds good to me. Now just tell me how and the Space Coast of Florida will be good to go on January 2nd.

    • profile image

      donna-stott-coach 5 years ago

      I'm in. Working on a location for my community. Hey, did books ever ship yet? I sponsored and have a few books that came with that I think. Sorry if I'm behind the curve on that...

    • profile image

      mitch-peterson-71 5 years ago

      Seth, thanks for all you do. Logan, Utah is in.

    • profile image

      marylholden 5 years ago

      Do you mean you are making us step out of the electronic field and actually Internet face-to-face? EYE think so! And, EYE'm in!

    • ernieplotter profile image

      ernieplotter 5 years ago

      Art has to be the cornerstone of the new society. How could we turn something so simple as a book into a masterpiece that society venerates as art?

      You have shown us all how. Beat the fear, put the passion, roll the sleeves, draw the map and go outside and spread the word. Icarus and everything that is built around it (the Kickstater project, the bookmart, the Icarus sessions and so on) is a perfect example. You turned something common (a book that could have been easily sold because it has your name on it) and turned it into the type of art the tribe wants to devour badly.

      I can only imagine what it must have felt for you to build everything around this project. From every word of the book to the production, design and now the part where you sit back and enjoy the results. It should be like electricity running from tip to toe.

      I think that art and artist are titles imposed by the tribe, to me Seth, you are a fist class, top artist who just keeps getting better and better.

      Thanks for all your work!


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